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About Lola Elise

is a professional wedding and portrait photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. She is the co-author of Photography Life and author of the Lola Elise website. Read more about Lola here.

5 Tools You Might Not Be Using in Lightroom

I am a professional wedding photographer and I end up editing thousands of images for my clients. While there are lots of wedding photographers who outsource their post-processing to free up their time, I am a believer in editing my own photos. In order to make my job easier, I tend to look for shortcuts and tools in Lightroom itself, which I use extensively. I’d rather do everything in one program than switch back and forth between Lightroom and Photoshop. You do not have to be a wedding photographer in order to take advantage of these tools in Lightroom. You can use these techniques wherever they are applicable. Below are some of the tools you may not be using to edit your photos.

1) Straightening Tool – Perspective Correction

There will be times when you come back with photos that have a tilted horizon, making the composition look awkward. Perhaps you held the camera wrong or simply did not pay attention to framing at the time of taking the picture. Either way, you can fix this issue in Lightroom by using the straightening tool, which is located under the Histogram and looks like a perforated rectangle. Or you can simply press the “R” button on your keyboard to activate the Crop Overlay Menu in the Develop Mode. When you activate the Crop Overlay, the image you are working on will be framed with a cropped edge. While you can hold the corners of the photo and twist and turn it as much as you want, fixing the horizon can be much more calculated and easier than that.

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How to Photograph Engagement Sessions – Planning

Engagement sessions are a big hit with couples and photographers. Almost all couples agree for a session before the wedding, so engagement photography has pretty much become a staple of wedding photography. An engagement shoot is done after a couple gets engaged and it usually is captured before the wedding. Some photographers sell this session as a separate product and most photographers include this session in their wedding packages. Regardless of how you like to approach it, understanding the basics of photographing couples and knowing how to coordinate a shoot that involves more than one person is crucial. Hence, I decided to write a piece to explain what goes into the planning process of an engagement session.

Planning an Engagement Session (18)

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Behind the Scenes: Ladies of Downton Abbey

Though I am not a very big fan of watching movie series and soap operas, Downton Abbey series is the one that I enjoy watching. Historic movies, documentaries, and photographs are my favorite genre.

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Weekly Photography News #1

Instead of dedicating a whole post to every news revolving around photography, we decided to write a weekly article, which will include some fun finds from the photography blogging sphere.

1) Photographs and Memories

The other day I asked my mother-in-law if she had any photos of my husband as a baby. I love looking at other people’s photos, especially from childhood. You can learn so much by just looking at a simple portrait. The conversation started, because I wondered if I had enough photos of my own children’s early days. You see, regardless of being a photographer, I like to enjoy many things as they happen, without a camera. You’ve probably read about putting down our cameras and actually remembering memories from our initial archives a.k.a. brain cells. If you haven’t read the article yet, check it out.

Although I am still not fully convinced of the notion portrayed in the above article, I tend to follow the logic it pushes forward. I have a cure for my situation though – someone else usually holds the camera. That conveniently keeps me minding my own business and stops me from taking ‘selfies’ with my children.

Photographing Memories

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How to Photograph Food with a Camera Phone

We all know the mantra of the best camera being the camera that you have available with you. Following the same analogy, I decided to dedicate this post to photographing food on camera phones. Let’s face it, our camera phones are with us every step of the way, and I will not be the last person to admit that I use it more than any other device in my household. So, I think it cuts the bill of being “the best camera” when you need one in a jiffy.

Cheese and Cucumber Sandwiches

Although I never seriously thought of shooting food with a camera phone, I got involved in this process by being in a challenge group in Facebook and Instagram. This was a perfect opportunity to see what I can come up with. These social platforms are built on the idea of being connected to your audience in an instant. Boy, it was instant alright! I had to report every single food I ate throughout the day. I had only minutes (if not seconds) to style, photograph and edit the photos I took. I shall add that there is a tiny leverage that will work to your advantage. For obvious reasons, social media is a little more forgiving than a professional photography blog. You can take a breather when your downsized and well-sharpened photos do not get judged harshly for being so out of focus and blurry.

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When to Use Flash

Some photographers oppose the idea of using flash or light modifiers. Sometimes because it does not suit their style, sometimes because they do not feel comfortable using flash in first place. While we as photographers often love the feel of soft, natural light, knowing how to utilize artificial light can be of tremendous value in low-light environments. Not to mention that such knowledge and being ready to overcome challenging tasks in pretty much any environment can boost confidence and give peace of mind when working in the field. In this article, I would like to go over situations when flash should be used and how it can work to our advantage. I divided this article into indoor and outdoor photography to make it easy for everyone to follow. Please feel free to add your use cases in the comments section below. Please note that I am not going over the basics of flash photography here – the article assumes that you understand the relationship of flash with ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture.

When to use flash (13)

1) Indoors

1.1) Lighting Ballrooms, Churches, Wedding / Corporate Reception Areas

As a working professional, one should have at least the basic lighting plan to be able to capture the day with ease. High-end DSLRs may be flexible enough to capture images in poorly lit environments, but it is a game of compromises. If light levels are too low, you will have to deal with blurry images due to motion blur / camera shake, or you will have to increase ISO level too high, which obviously increases noise, messes up colors and greatly reduces dynamic range. In short, you are leaving very few options for post-processing. In order to avoid that and potentially reduce your post-processing time and other headaches, why not use flash instead? You can start out with a simple configuration, with flash mounted on your camera, or you could get more creative and use flash in an off-camera setup to make images appear more dramatic and well-balanced.

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Let the Image Speak

Rather than taking a deeper look at an image, those of us who are just getting into photography might get carried away with thoughts of major post-processing. If given enough consideration, most photos do not need major editing or hardly need any editing at all. Before venturing into piling on every single editing trick you’ve learned on the photo of your choice, I call you to consider these basic tips to make your workflow faster and hopefully easier.

Let the image speak (2)

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Interview with a Fine Art Photographer Oleg Oprisco

Today we are bringing you a whimsical world of Oleg Oprisco‘s fine art photography. The depth of Oleg’s work and the idea behind each, thoughtful shot prompted me to share his creations with you. I reached out to him with multiple questions and he gladly agreed to share his knowledge with the readers of Photography Life.

Oleg teaches multiple workshops every year and is a great educator. He promised to appear in Photography Life more to share tips about his line of photography and if you have any questions for Oleg, leave them in the comment section below.

Oleg Oprisco (24)

Tell me a little about yourself, your childhood, where you live and how you started in the craft of photography?
Hi there! Everything started when I was sixteen and got a job at a photolab in a little city called Lvov, located in western Ukraine. During my three years of working at the lab, I mastered all the stages of printing film and digital photography, and all the peculiarities of working with color.

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ONA Brooklyn Review

I am not a big fan of lugging around a backpack full of gear while photographing events. That being said, I have done it ample amount of time and each time I get tired of carrying a backpack around. Even though Nasim makes it very light for me, I end up returning the backpack to the car and walk around with a DSLR, along with one lens. At times, I ask Nasim to carry my gear in his backpack, so that I can change lenses if needed. But this is not practical if we are shooting in two different locations. Getting tired of this situation, I decided to look for a solution.

I first came across ONA bags in one of the Facebook photography groups I was part of. The first thing that caught my attention was the design of these bags. Lots of girls do care about what they carry around and so do most men. After-all, what we carry around is our image. This is a review of an ONA Brooklyn satchel, which we ended up purchasing.

Ona Brooklyn (3)

1) Product Specifications:

  • Handcrafted with vegetable-tanned leather
  • Fully customizable, soft interior with 3 dividers
  • Secure, easy access tuck lock closure
  • Room for an SLR camera and 2-3 lenses
  • Adjustable padded shoulder strap
  • Exterior dimensions: 13.5″L X 10″H X 4″D
  • Interior dimensions: 12.5″L x 8″H x 3.5″D

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Introduction to Street Portrait Photography

In my opinion, street photography is a significant craft, geared towards preserving human history and history of any given society. It helps us preserve once-in-a-lifetime moments and capture truly authentic imagery. As many of us start getting weary and tired by the polished, glossy magazine looks we encounter daily, random portraits photographed in streets preserve that originality a lot of us crave, once again reminding us of real subjects and objects around us. Street portraiture is a big chunk of street photography and documentary. Today, I want to concentrate on giving you some tips on street portraiture. I should also warn you that the pointers I give today may work better for female photographers, rather than for boys with cameras :)

Street Portraits (11)

1) Brush up on your people skills

Photographing people close-up is a little different than photographing street architecture or doing documentary style street photography. While the main reasoning behind street photography itself is to get away from posed, artificial and repetitive, photographing random people provides a great opportunity to work with the raw beauty. But it is a challenging task for many of us – those people on the streets are not your paying clients, they do not know who you are and most of them do not wish to be photographed at all!

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