best news ever!!! // boise idaho family videographer!

So, I told you all on Instagram a few days ago that I had some super exciting news coming your way, and here it is!!! (I could’ve put about fifty exclamation points in there and it still might not do my giddiness justice.) I’m now offering family videography services!

I have no desire at this specific time to do wedding videos (those are huge projects!) but these kinds of videos can be added onto a session or purchased alone, and to me are just the best thing ever. I made this video of my boys and myself at home on an afternoon when Adelaide was at school and Justin was at work, and I will truly treasure this forever. I can visualize all of the incredible moments I will get to document for you all - your tiny newborn’s little grunts and coos, your toddling baby toppling over and getting back up again and again and again, your little one’s sweet voice and mispronounced words, quiet or crazy moments in your home or your favorite place to be together, adventures with your lover - the everyday experiences all wrapped up into this treasure that you can play on repeat forever. My photography services are going nowhere - I love photography! - but video can capture something pretty incredible that photos just can’t.

And the good thing is, your videos will be even BETTER than this one because you don’t have to take the video of yourself like I was doing here. ;) (Actually, I had my husband come help me re-shoot some clips I wasn’t satisfied with and he did great, so I have to give him credit for that!)

I made my mom cry with this and she’s not even a big crier. So just imagine how you’ll feel when this is your own beloveds on video. I think you’ll be obsessed, just like I am with this.

To celebrate this, don’t forget to enter the giveaway posted on my Instagram! Yay!!!!

Split toning for better skin tones // Boise, ID family photographer

Split toning is not a feature I use very frequently, but when I do, it is such a great help for making subtle yet important tweaks to my photos! The key word here is SUBTLE. You do not want to overdo your split toning or you’ll end up with some nasty looking photos reminiscent of an era of photography we don’t want to bring back. ;) If you do it right though, you can achieve gorgeous skin tones even on your digital images shot in less than perfect lighting.

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I use split toning for two reasons, and both reasons have to do with the fact that I’m a MAJOR perfectionist over my editing, specifically over my skin tones. Ha! I’m not trying to make anyone else into a perfectionist, but if you sometimes just can’t quite feel satisfied with your skin tones, this post is for you!

The first reason I use split toning is to match my film scans. I’m not going to cover this today, because it’s a pretty tricky process to get exact, and I also firmly believe that you do not need to get your film and digital matched exactly - despite the fact that my perfectionistic nature often tells me otherwise. You need to get them close (which I do with my Mastin Labs presets), but I do not typically add split toning to those presets - only on occasion when I feel the need. 95% of the time, I get my film + digital images matched closely enough that I can’t remember which ones are which once I have them exported, even without adding any sort of split toning.

The second reason I use split toning is to make the skin tones in my digital photos prettier. Film rocks at creating gorgeous skin tones, while digital needs a little help sometimes. Usually, applying a Mastin Labs preset will do everything I need for my skin tones, but there are certain circumstances where I still feel the need for some adjustments - usually when I’m photographing subjects on grass or with a very yellowy, warm background (sunshine through yellowed leaves) or in deep shade with green surroundings. These sorts of settings mean that warming up your photo to help with your skin tones can leave you with a very yellow photo overall, and one that just doesn’t look as good as it could. Though I don't use split toning all that frequently, each of the photos in this post is edited with split toning!

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Before I walk you through, I just have to put this out there: these are my opinions, and this is my favorite way of quickly fixing some less than stellar skin tones. I shoot film, and I also shoot digital to emulate film. This is the style I personally love shooting, and so all of this revolves around achieving that specific look. If you love really warm images, go for it. If you find a different way of fixing your skin tones that’s different than this, go for it. If you’re in love with a totally different style, go all in! The good thing about photography is that there is room for all sorts of different opinions, styles, and methods! I hope this is helpful, but if it’s not, you do you. ;)

Alright, so let me actually SHOW you what I’m talking about and not just tell you. I took this photo of my daughter this past spring, near sunset, standing in some very dark shade on very green grass. The photo is totally fine, and is probably good enough as is, but I’m not loving how her skin doesn’t glow more. You can see some of my settings (I always edit using Lightroom), and you can see that split toning is OFF in this photo.

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If I warm the image up to make her skin tone prettier, it feels too warm for my preferences. Again, it’s fine, but I don’t love how yellow the grass and background look, as my overall style is on the cooler side. In the image below, you can see that I warmed the image up quite a bit but split toning is still disabled.

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So, what I do to find that balance of cooler greens and shadows, but warm, pretty highlights and skin tones, is add in just a little bit of split toning. In the image below, you can see that I cooled down my white balance again, enabled the split toning with the shades and saturations that I felt looked best, and I also upped the highlights and whites a little bit because split toning can sometimes make them look a little more muted, in my opinion.

 

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This image, to me, is perfect. I love that the grass isn’t all yellow, but her skin glows warmly. Also note that it has the same white balance as the very first photo where her skin felt too cool.

 

Okay - a little cool.
 

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Best! Pretty skin tones and totally balanced.

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Okay - a little warm.
 

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With split toning, there’s no exact I can give you for what hue and saturation will look good. I keep mine roughly around what they are in this screenshot, but every situation is different and will call for slightly different values.

A word of caution - don’t obsess over this. When I started using split toning I felt like I needed to use it all the time, but you really don’t. It’s a fix for certain situations, and isn’t something that will necessarily make all of your images better. And keep in mind how subtle the differences are in the examples above - this shouldn’t be very obvious, even when you’re the one working on it!

summertime // my own family photos on film

The end of summer marks many things for us. My oldest beginning full time school... My middle turning four... My youngest *finally* calling me mama... Five months in Idaho, five months as homeowners, five months settling into a totally new life, one that has its highs and lows but that we love deeply. It's has been a season of growth and change in so many deep ways.

I've been reminiscing lots about this past summer, and had to share some photos. They're not perfect - many were shot on very, very expired film that I'd never dream of using on my clients and that gives unpredictable results, but it was free, just sitting in my office and waiting to be put to work. So, why not?

What I love isn't that these photos are so perfect, it's that this was the first summer I felt like I could almost give my kids one of my own childhood summers. With our move here, and getting away from living in such a busy and expensive and huge city, I feel like we've rewound the clock a little bit and found a place where we can do what we grew up doing. It's a place where we can still afford swim and soccer and ballet, and where it's all done for fun and not for competition, and where we can play in the sprinklers and do yard work on weekends and light fireworks on our driveway for the 4th and make friends at the park and swim in the river and stay up way too late because it's light til 10pm and soak it all up - because even though it's so blazing hot, it'll be over before you know it and it's time to enjoy it now. 

I talk about it all the time because it grates on my nerves all the time, but social media has changed our ability to just enjoy the little things. It makes the mundane seem unimportant, which is so far from the truth. And so I suppose I always want to keep the curtains back enough to show that the imperfect, uneventful, very average life (mine, maybe yours) is deeply beautiful. Not because I always remember to believe this - but because I know it is truth, and one that I'm always working to live in light of.

So these are photos from our summer. At times so wonderful and filled with all the highlights of this wonderful city and these stages with our children, at other times filled with bored, bickering kids and 105 degree temps and smokey skies and an anxious countdown to the first day of school. I want to remember our half-done, weed-filled yard, my babies' tans and little swimsuits and water play, and our trip up north that turned out to be incredibly expensive and stressful and yet still truly wonderful (story for another day!), and a season that felt both filled with activity and yet full of pause at the same time.

I hope your summer has held some sweet highlights, that your eyes can see the divine in the everyday, and that autumn brings renewal and peace.