I have a BRAND NEW site!

I'm thrilled to share with you my new project...

It's a website where I teach you EVERYTHING you need/want to know about photography through short concise video's. Yes, I've written a book all about photography... but this time I am able to explain everything in person. AND I have much more content than what I've written in my books.

I've made a short video explaining what it's about...

Check out the new site, Key to Pictures!

Like I said in the video, my mission is to help anyone who wants to learn about photography succeed. So in order to do that I have priced the monthly subscription at only $17 a month.


* Access to all of the photography lessons on the site at any time.
* A new video each week sent directly to your email.
* The opportunity to ask me your photography questions which I will answer in the Q& A video on the last day of each month.

Check it out!!! Let me know what you think! 



Capturing the mood when working late...

I went into Lyndon's room to check on him before I went to bed and this is what I found...
He had created a desk for himself complete with a laptop and an iphone. His homemade laptop and phone were made out of paper and the iphone charger was made out of 2 of his mini skate boards.

I couldn't help myself, instead of telling him to go to bed, I had to grab and camera to remember the moment. I love his imagination and creative mind. My little late night worker...

To capture images in the dark (without an ugly flash), you will want to increase your ISO and decrease your aperture. But just remember, the more you increase your ISO, the grainier your pictures will become. So it's important to find the correct balance.

For all of the pictures above my settings were: ISO 1000, 30mm, f/1.8, 1/30th sec. My shutter speed was still quite slow but I didn't want to increase my ISO much more because of the grainy issue. So instead, I held very still and squeezed the shutter button slowly as not to get to much camera shake.

For more help and great photography tips be sure to sign-up for my newsletter (look up on the top of the side bar)------------------------>>>>>

Also, with my new secret project I a working on, I need some input from you...What are some key questions you have about how to improve your photography? Any are all questions will be much appreciated! Leave you question in the comments below or send me an email: katie@keytopictures.com


New Year, New Goals...but first...

I love January.

I always make goals and resolutions throughout the year but January seems to be a "reset" button for me. It's a time to start fresh, regain order, and begin again. But before I get into my goals for myself and for this blog, let me fill you in with what has been happening in our world for the last month...

To begin let me say we've all spent the majority amount of time in our PJ's. I can probably count the number of times we were all showered and dressed! Such is life with a new baby over the holidays. :)

Lily turned 2 months on December 24th!

 She loves to look RIGHT in the camera for all of her pictures! I can't tell you how happy that makes this mom photographer.

I had to get a picture of her in this outfit because it happens to be Jon's (my hubby) favorite newborn outfit that both Maddie and Lily wore. This was the last time she wore it because it was getting too short on her.

Maddie and Lyndon were in our Church Nativity presentation. Maddie got to be Mary and Lyndon was a sheep. They both took their roles very seriously. Here's Maddie riding in on a donkey. I didn't know she would be riding a donkey so when she came out on stage on this wonderful gentleman's back I just about busted out laughing. 

Maddie and Lyndon also sang some Christmas Carols with their fellow primary kids.  Jon got it all on video.

I finally made a Christmas advent calendar. I had been meaning to make one for years but just never got around to it. I didn't want this Christmas to go by without one so I stayed up until 2am on November 30th to finish it!

We decorated the house with Christmas decor...

Lily was blessed.  Jim and Kris (Jon's parents) came out for the blessing. My parents were driving out but got stuck in a snow storm in Wyoming and couldn't make it. We were all sad but they will be coming out to visit us this week. Flying this time!

Our good friends, the Barlow's, from Austin came for a visit! They were on their way to Utah for Christmas and stopped at our house to spend the night and catch up. We had such a great visit and miss them even more!

We spent Christmas at Jon's parents house in Omaha this year. It was a fun-filled full house. When everyone was at the house there was 22 of us. It was crazy and fun all at the same time. Jonathon's Grandma Gregory was also there. Here she is holding Lily...

Lily got lots of attention...

The kids went sledding a couple of times. I was a wimp and didn't go. It was way too cold for me! But I got some pictures of them from the warm cozy house... And Grandma Gregory is entertaining the kids on her ipad...

The holiday treated us well. I hope you had a wonderful time too. Again, thank you for all of your positive comments and support during my struggle. I'm doing really well and look forward to good things to come. 

Speaking of good things to come... I have some GREAT stuff ahead for all of you! I'm excited to share what I've been up to for the past several months. Stay tuned!


Thank you and Merry Christmas

I want to thank you so much for your sweet words of support.

It's amazing what comes from knowing that there are other people who understand what you are going through and who are praying for your health and success. Just reading your kind words lifted my spirits. Thank you.

Things are going well. I've only had a few bumps in the last week but for the most part I'm feeling good. I'm spending Christmas with my family and it's helpful to be surrounded by people I love. There are many difficulties that come from having PPD but I've seen the blessings too. I'm the kind of person who doesn't like to reach out to others for help but I've been forced to rely on others and it's been a blessing for me to see the love and compassion from those who surround me.

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas! 

ISO 400, 30mm, f/2.2, 1/125th sec. 

(I didn't do any editing except for cropping it to a square.)


Day ????

I've had a little collision with life.

It's taken the ugly form of Post Postpartum depression coupled with anxiety attacks. I assume many of you have had to struggle with this difficulty so you know when I say that it sucks. big time. I've never felt more scared, sad, hopeless and helpless all at the same time. I'm naturally a happy, glass is always half full, hopeful sort of a person so when I experience something so dark and so the opposite of my normal self, it is terrifying.

Luckily I have an amazing husband who has never left my side AND who has managed to keep our family in order and running. I'm grateful for modern medicine that was able to give me the somewhat instant relief that I prayed for. And I've realized I have so many people who are genuinely willing and happy to help me. Blessings do come in the midst of trials.

I've learned these 7 "S" words that are imparitive to me having a successful day:
*sweat (exercise)
*say prayers

To anyone who is going through a tough time, my heart goes out to you. I'm definitely not out of the woods yet but at least I've seen a ray of sunshine and glimmer of hope along the way. Soooo, obviously my Countdown to Christmas has taken a back seat but I would still like to post when I can and please keep sending me your Christmas Photo's. It's been so fun to see. (email me: katie@keytopictures.com) Check out all of our entries so far!

Today's photo is of my little Snow Baby. It's a fitting picture for 2 reasons, First, she was born on the first snowfall of the season and second, it's super snowy outside today!

Here is the photo SOOC:
ISO 400, 50mm, f/2.0, 1/100th sec.

Crop to a square
apply the Lightroom preset "Black and White Creative - High Contrast"
decrease exposure to 0
decrease blacks to 14
decrease brightness to +33
use the exposure brush at +33 to lighten the eyes
apply the lightroon preset "Sharpening wide edges - faces"

I am keeping everyone posted on the Christmas Countdown and happenings via my NEWSLETTER, so if you still haven't signed up yet be sure to do it! (And as a bonus you also get my free articles teaching you more photo tips!) Look all the way up on the sidebar. ---------------------------->>>   

And if you're still looking for Christmas gifts, my photo products are still on sale!! Click here for more info or to purchase.


Day 2-Countdown to Christmas...

Day 2 of our countdown happens to be our 10th wedding anniversary! So today is the perfect day to post a picture of my dear husband with our sweet Lily. When I found this mistletoe headband, I envisioned the most adorable picture of Lily lovingly looking at her Dad while he puckered up to give her a kiss. Clearly, Lily didn't get the memo because her expression was one of annoyance and aloofness. What are you going to do when a 7 week old won't cooperate with your photo visions?! haha. Nonetheless, I think it turned out to be a cute picture...

 Here's the original photo SOOC...
The details for the photo is as followed:
ISO 400, 30mm, f/2.0, 1/125th sec.

Cropped and tilted photo to the left
decreased temperature to -7
increased tint to +16
increased fill light to 36
increased blacks to +10
increased contrast to +49
increased vibrance to +10
decreased saturation to -17
lens vignetting amount to -100

*editing done in Lightroom.

Here is one more edit I tried...I'm not a huge fan of coloring only one part of the picture but I thought I would show you anyway... :)

How are your Christmas photos coming?? We've already gotten some fun ones pinned to our Countdown to Christmas Pinterest board...check them out!

I am keeping everyone posted on the Christmas Countdown and happenings via my NEWSLETTER, so if you still haven't signed up yet be sure to do it! (And as a bonus you also get my free articles teaching you more photo tips!) Look all the way up on the sidebar. ---------------------------->>>   


2nd Annual Countdown to Christmas Photo Challenge!

There's only 12 more days until Christmas...do you know what that means?

It's time for my second annual Christmas Photo Countdown!

Last year I took a Christmas-y photo each day and shared it here on my blog. I also tried to give a bit of photography advice accompanying each picture. This year I'm changing things up just slightly. My photos will all involve my newest little photo prop, Lily, AND I'm inviting you to play along. Check in on the blog everyday to see my photo and also send me a link (katie@keytopictures.com) to your blog/flickr page/snapfish account to view your holiday photo and I will "pin it" to our special pinterest board so we can all join in the fun!

Today is Day 1:
And day one's picture is the one I used for the logo above. Here is the original photo, SOOC (straight out of the camera)...
 The details for the photo are as followed:
Lily is laying on our bed and I'm using natural light from a window to her left.
ISO 400, 30mm, f/1.8, 1/125th sec. 

Cropped to a square
Increased brightness to +30
Increased temperature to +2
Increased vibrance to +33
*edits are done in Adobe Lightroom

 Spread the word and join our holiday photo adventure! Feel free to copy this picture (right-click on the image, click "save image as...") and have it link back to my blog...

  I am keeping everyone posted on the Christmas Countdown and happenings via my NEWSLETTER, so if you still haven't signed up yet be sure to do it! (And as a bonus you also get my free articles teaching you more photo tips!) Look all the way up on the sidebar. ---------------------------->>>    


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