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Travel Photography – Five Tips to Get Images Meaningful to YOU!

Posted by on Feb 23, 2017 in Blog, Learn, Photography | 0 comments

Travel Photography – Five Tips to Get Images Meaningful to YOU!

So you’ve gone on a big trip of a lifetime, brought home thousands of images.

Turns out the ones that you want to print and hang on the wall, or that your friends and family want to see are not the ones you expected. (more…)

Snow is White, not Gray

Posted by on Dec 15, 2016 in Blog, Featured, Great Outdoors, Photography | 0 comments

Gray snow because of underexposure

Gray snow because of underexposure

White snow because of overexposure

White snow because of overexposure











Unless you take control, when your camera looks at a bright snowy frame, it thinks – whoa! That’s too bright! I need to darken it down!

And so it does, making your snow turn out gray.

Fix this problem on phone shots by touching the screen to set your focus, and looking for the little sun or light bulb on a line beside or below the focus square. Use your finger to slide up or down on the line to increase exposure until the snow is white, then shoot away.

It’s more complicated on a regular camera – you need to understand how to control the exposure using ISO, shutter speed and/or aperture – let me know if you want help on that.

Lightroom to Gmail setup

Posted by on Nov 14, 2016 in Blog, Lightroom, Sharing Photos | 0 comments

One of the best things about Lightroom is being able to send images directly to your email client without exporting/opening  your client/attaching the file etc etc.

Unfortunately, setting this up to work with a Gmail account can be problematic because, unless you use this workaround, you need to lower your Gmail security settings (never a good thing) to make it work.

Here’s how to set up the workaround: (more…)

Lightroom: Remove Graduated and Radial Filter Effects with Brushes

Posted by on Mar 20, 2016 in Blog, Learn, Lightroom | 0 comments

Lightroom: Remove Graduated and Radial Filter Effects with Brushes

I love Lightroom’s graduated and radial filters, but sometimes they affect areas that I don’t want to be changed – such as a bird in a sky that I’ve darkened.

Erase brushes are available in Lightroom 6 and CC for both the graduated and radial filter that can undo that effect for selected areas.

Here are the instructions in a nutshell as well as a 6-minute video where I show how to use the Erase brush in the graduated filter, plus tips on using the brushes in general.


Springing into Flower and Blossom Photography

Posted by on Mar 11, 2016 in Blog, Photography | 0 comments

Springing into Flower and Blossom Photography

Spring is surely a glorious time for photography – everywhere you look there are amazing things happening!

Tips for springtime photography

Rookie (and Pro) Mistakes

Posted by on Feb 1, 2016 in Blog, Learn, Photography | 0 comments

Rookie (and Pro) Mistakes

I recently went on a shoot with a group of mostly amateur photographers to one of my favorite places to shoot here in Portland – Hippo Hardware. This eclectic collection of vintage hardware, lighting, plumbing supplies and paraphernalia is a photographer’s delight.


I was careful to charge my battery, even had a spare, but somehow I neglected to check if I had a media card in the camera, which, in fact, I did not.

Instead of pretending that I intended to shoot with my phone all along, I made the mistake of asking if anyone had a spare card. There were downward glances and looks of disbelief until finally someone quietly gasped – ‘You’re a professional’.

In fact, I know other pros who have made these kinds of mistakes (we are human after all, and some of us sinking quickly into the more forgetful phase of our lives) but still – Ouch.

Back to my checklist

I’ve taught many classes for beginning photographers that include my ‘Out the Door Checklist’:

  • Take extra media and extra charged batteries for camera and flash (if used)
  • Flash?
  • Clean lens, take cleaning supplies
  • Tripod? If yes, plate in it?
  • Filters?
  • Check baselines (file format, ISO, drive mode (single, burst, timer), focus mode, image stabilizer, shooting mode (video, Manual, Aperture, Shutter, Program etc))

Lesson learned to practice what I preach!

I did manage to get some fun shots with my phone, so saved a bit of my integrity!

Camera Photos to Lightroom – Automatically!

Posted by on Jan 17, 2016 in Blog, Learn, Lightroom, Sharing Photos | 0 comments

Camera Photos to Lightroom – Automatically!

I know I’m easily entertained, but discovering how to have my phone photos load automatically into Lightroom has to count as one of the highlights of my month – maybe year! Takes a few minutes to set up – but works like a charm thereafter!


Images from your phone are COPIED automatically into Dropbox when you take the shots, then whenever you open Lightroom, images are MOVED automatically from your Dropbox folder to the folder of your choice on your system and imported into Lightroom.

Important points

  • The photos WILL remain on your phone
  • The photos will NOT remain in your Dropbox using up your quota – they simply ‘pass through’ to the Lightroom ‘Watched Folder’
  • The photos will NOT re-import from the phone to Dropbox (even though they aren’t in Dropbox any more) so no worries about duplication
  • You can set up the Lightroom import to include your copyright etc

How to set up

Obviously you need to have Lightroom, a phone and a Dropbox account (free up to 3gb – useful for this and soooo many other things! Get @

Dropbox must be downloaded/installed on the same computer as your Lightroom program (not just the online account).

  1. On your computer, create a folder in Dropbox called Camera Uploads
  2. Enable Lightroom’s Auto Import feature (File > Auto Import > Auto Import Settings) – Generic instructions here
    • Watched Folder: specify the Dropbox > Camera Uploads folder created in Step 1 as the watched folder – important that this is done before starting the upload as it must be set up on an empty folder! Also note that there can only be ONE watched folder, and no subfolders will be included
    • Destination: specify where on your system that you want the images moved TO from Dropbox (I set up a folder called ‘Phone Auto Imports’ in my main pictures folder)
    • File Naming: set up your renaming options if desired (I leave it as it came out of the phone)
    • Information: As on a regular Lightroom import, you can set Develop settings, metadata or keywords to be applied on import. (I turn on only my copyright)
  3. Install the Dropbox app on your phone
  4. Open the Dropbox app on your phone and go to Settings (gear icon bottom right iPhone, Android click the menu icon upper left – looks like 3 bars – then gear icon upper right corner), turn on Camera Upload – click the setting to make sure that it only does it when you are on wi-fi (iPhone – Use Cellular Data – OFF, Android How to Upload – WiFi only)
  5. Your existing images will be copied to Dropbox.
  6. Open Lightroom and watch your images float out of the Dropbox folder into the one you designated and show up in the folder you designated in Lightroom!
  7. Using Lightroom – delete, move the images into other folders, edit, share as usual.

A few notes

  • Before your delete them from your phone,  make sure the that all of them have been imported  – especially the first load if you have a lot
  • I had set up the Lightroom mobile sync to do this task before but was not happy with it – slowed down my phone, drained the battery and uploaded images more than once
  • Seems sporadic whether it is uploading images from my Snapseed and VSCO albums so I am not deleting those albums from my phone until it’s clear that it is being done or not

Remember that any new images will automatically go through this process every time you get connect to wifi/open Lightroom – phone images that have already been processed in this way will NOT be re-copied to Dropbox/Lightroom.

Let me know if you have any questions!


A Magical Night of Painting with Light

Posted by on Nov 22, 2015 in Blog, Learn, Photography | 0 comments

A Magical Night of Painting with Light

About 100 miles east of Portland on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge  is a Stonehenge replica build by a character named Sam Hill as a war memorial in connection with his elaborate mansion Maryhill.

The setting was perfect for a gathering of a group of nine semi-masochistic women photographers from the Women Learning Photography Together Meetup group, led by the inimitable Rebecca Evans and Dawn Baker, assisted by their minions Pat Dickerson and Val Drake to do light painting, and the ever popular steel wool spinning.

Although bundled in many layers, the newbies were ever so grateful for the generous sharing of hand warmers – it was hard enough to work the camera controls in the dark, but the compounding of not being able to feel the buttons made it especially challenging.

We had the place to ourselves. After quickly setting up tripods facing the altar slab, Dawn placed a small light on the altar for us to auto-focus on in the dark, then we switched to manual focus. Tests were run on various ISO/shutter speed/aperture settings, and then the fun began.

First, steel wool spinning. A gob of fine grade steel wool is stuffed into a common kitchen wire whisk which is attached to a dog leash. The designated spinner (wearing a fireproof jacket)  clambers up onto the altar rock, lights the steel wool on fire and starts spinning it like a whirling dervish – in front, around, over her head. Sparks fly! Cameras click – most running for 20 – 30 seconds. On playback, the cold air is filled with squeals and oohs and ahhhs.

Again! Again! We all beg like 5 year olds…

A few more steel-woolies, then the light sticks – crazy combinations of flashlights and long colored plastic crayons recently garnered from the dollar store. Rebecca swirls and spins them across the grounds as cameras silently record the antics.

A few more plays with light on the stones and the trees, and the lightweights of us head home, leaving behind the diehards to dream up more ways to capture light and take our breath away.

More on light painting at this link, more on steel wool spinning at this link.

It’s Time to Let Them Know What You Want…

Posted by on Nov 9, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Christmas blog bad gift ideasPersonally I don’t need any more stuff. I’d much rather have an experience and better yet, learn something new.

If this sounds like you, before your loved ones get you something awful for the holidays that you have to pretend that you like, let them know that you’d LOVE to get some time with someone who can help you take better photos and/or help with your photo file organization and/or using Lightroom better.

Yep, that would be me! Gift certificates available at a discounted rate through Dec 22 – $50/hr gets me showing up with a bow around my neck to help you however you like – in-person or online.

Just give them this link and we’ll take care of the rest!

As always – thanks for supporting my small business.

Offering Worldwide Photography, Lightroom Training!

Posted by on Mar 20, 2015 in Blog, Featured, Learn, Lightroom, Photography, Sharing Photos | 0 comments

online training, lightroom, photography, microsoft office, excel, powerpoint, word

Your time, Your system, Your questions!

I’ve expanded my horizons (literally) thanks to a new tool I’ve discovered to replace the troublesome Skype.

This new tool does NOT require students to have an account or do elaborate setup – I just send a link, a few clicks and I’m seeing your screen – like sitting next to you! I can take your mouse if I need to, and, get this – we can record the session for you to watch again later! Wow.

 I’ve used this with several non-computer savvy students, works like a charm!

Sessions are $30/half hour with a half hour minimum. Fee includes a recording of the session if requested.

Potential Topics

  • General Photography – basics of exposure or composition for example
  • Organizing your files – the MOST requested topic!
  • Basic and advanced Lightroom topics
  • Lightroom Workflow Diagnostic: We review your workflow and work together to make it more efficient
  • Excel, Word, PowerPoint
  • MailChimp