Editing backwards

While scrolling through the internet in 2010, I saw an image of a child. It was raw, natural and documentary like. It sparked a love for capturing beauty. Over the past few months I found myself over editing pictures. Perfecting the image lost the very essence of humanity, flawed and beautiful. A picture must be polished but no one is perfect. In efforts to gain the rawness of my imagery back, I tested out editing backwards. Since switching things up, I’ve seen more texture and rawness in my photos. We can’t edit out the things in life that connect us all, simply real, simply human.

  • Color toning

  • Gray layer dodge and burn

  • Blemish removal

  • Skin macro dodge and burn




Somewhere in the process of perfecting a photo, we loose so much of the realism. Photoshop, and makeup has make us loose sight of what makes a photo really beautiful. Here are some simple tips to make your photo enhanced but realistic.


Makeup must be seamless and bare. Less is always more. Contrary to the belief, it does take longer to do a seamless, natural face but the reward is worth it. Too much foundation can cause unnecessary creases, and loose the natural texture in the face. Make sure that the makeup artist you are working with is at industry standard. 






It's easy to go crazy taking out everything in photoshop. Before you know it, one hour into editing the person doesn't even look the same. The industry has taken photoshop to fake perfection. Well natural is coming back. Quality takes time and natural is one of the hardest to perfect in photoshop. 

1. Avoid blurred techniques

2. Use micro dodge and burn

3. Always compare before and after

4. Edit from far away.  

Studio lighting

Studio lighting is guaranteed with the right knowledge. You can capture a variety of different styles and looks if you know and understand it. 



The goal

The goal is to be able to see any image, and to be able to tell what lighting the photographer used. You should be able to deliver any mood or look a client is asking for. You are in control, the camera is in your hands. Set the lighting according to the mood and the feel you are going for. Good imagery and good lighting doesn't happen by chance. You must apply the proper tools and knowledge.

Set everything right in camera

Before you leave the studio, you must be confident that the images came out good. Don't depend on retouching to make bad lighting magically disappear. I repeat, bad lighting can't be saved.




Hard light vs Soft light

Hard light is more contrasted, and captures more highlights. It's generally has more texture. Hard light is not to be used with people with rough, or bad skin. It takes more time to retouch. 

Modifiers- Beauty dish, umbrellas with silver insides, bare light.


IMG_0268 (1).jpg

Soft light is generally less contrasted, easier to edit, and more flattering on most skin types. I recommend to use this on older, professional clients. If you are just venturing into the world of studio photography, soft light is a good start.

Modifiers- octo-box, white inside umbrella, parabola.






  • Octo-box- eight sided soft box

  • Mono-box- five sided soft box

  • Parabola- 7 foot umbrella, or larger umbrella like modifier

  • Beauty dish- Can be used to capture fashion or beauty close ups. Creates very contrasted images.


  • Triggers- connects camera to lights, so they are synced

  • Lighting meter- Makes accurate suggestions of what to set the light to

  • Reflector- Bounces light from strobe

  • Strobe- powerful, flashing light

  • Stands- there are a variety of stands to hold lights and reflector

  • V flat- tall white or black tall board. Made to block or reflect light. 

Beauty set up





Portrait setup



White background setup




Loop lighting


Benefits of studio use

  1. The weather can't affect the shoot.
  2. Great backup when it decides to rain
  3. Specialized industry, so the monetary benefits are great


  1. You are in control. Set the lighting according to what you want to accomplish.
  2. Makeup is a must. Studio images are generally sharper. You will be able to see more flaws. 
  3. Start of simple. A 7 foot white inside umbrella is $100 and can be used for anything.
  4. Practice! Use a mannequin to practice light set ups. 
  5. Get a mentor, assist local studio photographers

Self Esteem

Ugly caterpillar, slowly conquering my school. With every step I make "squish."  For weeks I endured your stench. Soon you folded into a brown cocoon, now my school resembles.....ugh. Nature took its delicate time molding you into a beacon of light. You blossomed, and soon my school was filled with yellow butterflies. You are life's demonstration of a wise lesson.

Life's scars and bruises painted a dark outlook on life. To feed my lost identity, I resorted to self sabotage. Life doesn't happen to you, you decide your response to life. For years I sulked in self-pity, depression and suicidal thoughts. The road to redemption came when I learned who I am and whose I am.  Slowly I started to form wings. If you ever feel like you are still a caterpillar,  know this one fact! You have within you the potential to fly. 



Being Patient with the Process

I painted an exquisite vision. It had dates, numbers, locations, times, and imagery all connected to the outcome. It drew me in, motivated me, captivated my mind. The slideshow of possibilities became my love. When time became tough, its' promises held me grounded like a strong root. But in the process of falling in love with the unseen, I forgot what was right here, right now.





Running, speeding down the track to be in first place, only looking to the finish line. My legs gave out and I went crashing down. I got so caught up, I forgot me. I neglected to take care of myself. I am here, I am living, renewed with every second. I am not my future, or my past, I am present. So I took a hot shower, clearing my head by focusing on the water hitting the pavement.  Breathe in, breathe out. Take one step at a time, no moment is promised.