Monday, March 3, 2014

LightRoom Presets - Go get them!

Things have been super busy around our household! I have lots to update on but it might have to wait another week or two when things slow down a bit. I wanted to take the time to look into some LightRoom presets. A favorite photographer of mine that I stalk follow on Instagram had her presets on sale recently and of course I wanted to break out my wallet! I, however, have never used them before, didn't know how to use them, and wasn't sure if I'd even like them.

Off to Google...

I found this great article that explained how to download presets and what they are. Then I had to go in search of a program to open the zip files. (Am I qualified to be a programmer yet?) Hah!

After I figured out it might be worth a shot, I found this great website with many FREE LightRoom Presets! I downloaded about 6-7 of them and picked a few photos that I liked. This was a great way to test out my skills and even make new presets of my own!

Below were the results:

So for the first photo I used the preset (one click, my friends). In just one click I felt like that photo went from amateur to "woah she might have a fancy camera." Then I brightened the photo, popped the blue color for his eyes a bit, and softened his skin with the luminance setting. No rhyme or reason. I just play around with settings most of the time. Then I felt like my photo went to a whole new level with the extra adjustments.

This second photo I did was an outdoor picture. I wanted to try one of each. I used a different preset and got a dramatic first (one click! squee!) effect. I then brightened, highlighted blues, and added more vignetting as well. I absolutely love the end photo and it didn't take me 10 minutes to go through every setting like it used to. 

Less than 2 minutes, people!

If you haven't used a preset before, I encourage you to try! I absolutely love them! I will probably try to make some of my own from photos I've edited before and these new presets and see how I like them. After that I will certainly look into buying other photographer's presets because I just don't see myself starting a business any time soon so this will strictly be for family and close friends anyways.

 I have read in a few articles that Photoshop does "actions" which are similar, but you cannot edit the picture afterwards. Also, I saw that it sometimes depends if you shoot in RAW vs JPEG but I haven't tested that theory yet. I will since I can shoot both at the same time and compare the different images. 

Here are some more of my images that took me almost no time at all to edit once I set up some individualized presets...



Saturday, January 25, 2014

Instagram - December 2013 (and a little January)


 1. Cam's favorite place to go shopping is the grocery store. He always has the hardest time (and pushes mommy's patience) in choosing which color car/cart to drive.
2. Cam got new Pottery Barn Kids bedding from grandma for Christmas. It was accidentally shipped to our house beforehand so we decided to put it to good use right away.
3. Brad took Cam to see Grandma Jones and Aunt Rachael while I studied for my finals and worked. He loved the lights, train, and made a reindeer friend.
4. He was really into Christmas movies this year and got tons of movies from Santa! This winter has been too cold to go outside almost every day so we do movies once in a while.
5. I was late taking Cam to school one day so we had an impromptu breakfast date at Big Apple Bagel. Why we don't go here more is beyond me. It was delicious!
6. Santa came to Cam's school one night and they were able to decorate some cookies, too. He was more hesitant about Santa this year, but still sat on his lap.
7. I finished my 3rd semester of nursing school!! One more semester to go!
8. We have fully transitioned to the toddler bed, which brought on the curious toddler who changes his clothes mid-sleep. (We are currently wearing only backwards zip-up pj's due to the curious toddler who strips and urinates in the middle of the night, too.)
9. I decided on my one-month break (that felt like one week) to peel wallpaper and paint Cam's bathroom. I got a lot checked off of my "To Do" list, which felt great. 
10. We bought a Children's Museum membership and visited for the first time ever. Camden absolutely loved it! We only went to one exhibit, too, so I know there will be many more trips in our future.
11. We have had tons of snow. Sub-zero temperatures, also. Winter can be over. Any time now.
12. Early January Cam had his first dentist visit! He did so well (I was surprised) and let everyone clean his teeth and look around. I'm sure it helped he really wanted to pick a toy from the toy chest and got lots of goodies.

All in all it was a great break from school and it's back to the grind. Juggling work, 2 clinicals, homework, care plans, discussion posts, reading, and studying is going to be challenging but I can't wait to be done with school!!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Children's Museum


 We recently purchased a year membership to our local Children's Museum. It's been rated #1 in the country (world?) for as long as I can remember. They had it decorated for Christmas time, but Camden had so much fun in the Playscape.


 There was a big music room where kids can play with egg shakers, drums, and other instruments. I grew up with music (flute/piccolo here) and want Camden to be able to do the same. When I was in school music wasn't an elective; it was an expected part of the curriculum. I feel that it still should be although many superintendent's don't agree. Whether it's offered in school or not, he will be participating in lessons either way. :)


His favorite part of the museum (besides the food) was the messiest part, the water play area. There was flowing water, scoops, spoons, plastic sharks, etc. He loved it. There were aprons, but they were all really wet and by the time I found a dry one, his clothes were soaked anyways. 

Overall we absolutely had a great time! I love taking him places where we aren't having to constantly watch what he touches or plays with. I like the fact that he can play with anything and everything he can reach.


I think it really helps him to be able to test his own limits and is great sensory stimulation. We will definitely be getting our money's worth out of this membership!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Family Christmas

 Per the usual we had to get a real Christmas Tree (Frasier Fir) and we found a bargain at Home Depot at less than $50 for a 10-foot tree! Camden was so excited to water and decorate it!

 Per our tradition, we also had Brad and Cam put the star on the tree. We had to borrow a large-tree stand that would be sturdy enough to hold a 10' tree.

 As you can see the tree was gorgeous and that includes the random hanger Camden thought would fit well on the tree. Confession: I was too sentimental about the silly hanger and left it through Christmas. ;)


We ended up seeing Santa at his school on their holiday party night. They got to make cookies and see Santa.

 This year he was a little more hesitant to sit on Santa's lap. He did, but after I talked with him a little. Last year it was all I could do to hold him back from being in everyone else's picture. Hah.

We also had a mommy's play date Holiday Party getting all of the kids together. We really miss our Friday play dates and I can't wait until school is done in another 5 months.

 Christmas morning was a BLAST! He loved ripping off the wrapping paper. He had to get every last piece off and tore it off every square inch at a time. It was slow and he is at the age where he wants to open every single toy as he sees it.

Funny how many high-tech and expensive toys he received, but his favorites were a puffy jacket and a $3 cell phone from the dollar section at Target.

Of course Papaw Jones got him a Big Wheel. I mean where do we store all of this?

A family member made a fantastic idea for future presents. Because he gets so many different toys from all four sets of grandparents he has and then even more from us, it was suggested to start a college fund and allow people to donate. Starting on his 3rd birthday and all following holidays, we will be starting a college fund and allowing family to donate and asking for monetary donations with minimal toys. This way we are being responsible and frugal. We can also keep Camden modest in gifts and what he receives.


But really, how easy is it to say no to that adorable, perfect little face?!

Not easy. At all.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Indiana Blizzard

Our street.

 The past 48 hours has been a crazy whirlwind of heavy snow and desperate ploys to keep my toddler entertained. With a snow emergency comes beautiful and amazing scenery.

Back yard.


Front of the house.

Buried mailbox.

Gorgeous snow!