Watch Me Edit: Artificial Light

Watch Me Edit: Artificial Light

Hey guys! I decided to continue my series, Watch Me Edit! My first post in this series was all about how to convert to black and white. It seemed like a hit, so I thought I’d continue it.

If you’d like to see me edit a specific image, please be sure to comment and let me know! I’d be happy to show you how I edited it.

I decided to go with an artificial light image because those can be difficult to edit. During the winter months I am really drawn to using artificial light because it helps push me. This instance was no different! I wanted to get a good image even though my lighting wasn’t amazing.

And as you see in the video, my straight out of camera is quite the sight….crooked, white balance all over the place, and exposure wasn’t right. But I show you how I fix that and my thought process on this image.

Watch Me Edit: Artificial Light in Lightroom

what editing program I use

I wanted to talk a little bit about what editing program I use: Lightroom! I really love Lightroom and it’s easy to use features. As you can see in the video, it was really easy to transform a not so great out of camera shot into something worth keeping.

That being said, I am a huge advocate for getting it right in camera! But, it’s important to know how to use your editing program in situations where you just can’t get it right in camera.

Like the image I’m editing below, I had to act fast. My toddler wasn’t going to sit still for very long so I just had to go with what I had set originally.

Back to Lightroom, though, I really love this editing program because of it’s user friendly features. It might seem a little daunting at first, but I promise you it doesn’t take long to get familiar with everything.

My other posts about Lightroom:

Well! Let’s get started!

Watch Me Edit: Artificial Light in Lightroom

I really love the final image here! It’s probably one of my favorite images ever.


Watch Me Edit: Artificial Light in Lightroom


Watch Me Edit: Artificial Light in Lightroom

I hope to hear from you in the comments!

Watch Me Edit: How to Convert an Image to Black and White

Watch Me Edit: How to Convert an Image to Black and White

I’m going to start a new blog post series called watch me edit! And it is what it sounds, I’m going to be posting videos of me editing images. I don’t know about you, but I learned a lot by watching someone else edit. That’s how I learned 90% of my editing process.

If you’re curious about reasons why you would want to convert an image to black and white, read my blog post about it! I give you 5 Reasons to Convert an Image to Black and White and they’re gooooooodddddd reasons, just sayin’! Let’s dive in! But first….

check out my A Beginner’s Guide to Shooting in Black and White post

Watch Me Edit: How to Convert an Image to Black and White in Lightroom

what editing program I use and why

I love love love to use Lightroom to edit my images. On occasion, I do pull my images into Photoshop to either clone or add a little more pop. But, the majority of the time I use Lightroom for everything. I love it so much! I love how easy it is to use and I love the edits I’m able to produce in seconds.

a good SOOC (straight out of camera) is important

Before we get started, I wanted to dive into just how important it is to have a good SOOC. Light and exposure IN camera are so so important. Don’t take pictures thinking, ‘Oh, I can fix this in post!’. You should be taking pictures to make post processing easy. Even if you love editing, you don’t want to make it hard on yourself by taking a really crappy SOOC! This is true for any post processing, and not just black and white edits!

I’m a constant under exposure, and for that reason, my style is a little darker. If you have a brighter style, where your whites are really white, make sure you are not blowing any highlights. Highlights are not as easily fixed. If anything, make sure you have proper exposure SOOC and then brighten your photo in post to get the style you love. Be smart with how you expose your images!

Now that I’ve blabbed about the importance of SOOC, on to the video!

In case I went to fast in the video, here are the settings I tweaked to make this a nice deep black and white.


  • Exposure: -0.36
  • Contrast: +29
  • Highlights: -17
  • Shadows: -35
  • Whites: +9
  • Blacks: -38
  • Clarity: +15
  • Dehaze: +7

If you have any questions about how I convert my images to black and white, do not hesitate to ask! I am happy to help!


Watch Me Edit: How to Convert an Image to Black and White in Lightroom

After B&W Conversion

As always, thank you so much for swinging by!

10 Must Read Photography Books

10 Must Read Photography Books

There are so many things to learn when it comes to photography. Which is one of the reasons I love it so much. But trying to learn these concepts on  your own can be quite the challenge. There are plenty of wonderful books out there to help you learn new techniques. From editing, to taking the picture, to even blogging, there are tons and tons of books out there. Here are my must read books regarding anything related to photography.

need some help setting goals? check out my Settings Goals post.

1. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5: Classroom in a Book – I am very slowly making my way through this book. But just within the first 40 pages I have learned so much! If you are a newbie to Lightroom like I am, this book is definitely the one for you. I love how it has exercises that you can follow along with. It has a hands on approach and I love it. I’m excited to continue going through it and learning more about Lightroom.

2. Adobe Photoshop CC Classroom in a Book (2017 release) – I do not have this book, but I assume it’s similar to the one above. I have Creative Cloud (CC) and would most likely benefit from this book. If you need help with Creative Cloud and need a little more help than just with Lightroom, this is the book for you.

3. The Design Aglow Posing Guide for Family Portrait Photography: 100 Modern Ideas for Photographing Newborns, Babies, Children, and Families – This book has so many great ideas and tips to creating images. Not only are there tips on every page, but every photograph has the settings that were used and what type of light was used. Reading through the book is easy and fun. The pictures are beautiful and the tips are so helpful. A must read!

4. Mastering Exposure – This book takes you through the basics of exposure – ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. It breaks each one down and explains them better. Then after that it goes through and explains how to achieve certain effects with specific settings. It’s a great read and will definitely help you if feel like you are struggling with exposure.

5. Mastering Composition – Just like Mastering Exposure, this book will also take you through the basics of composition and then go more in depth on how to get certain comps.

6. Skin: The Complete Guide to Digitally Lighting, Photographing, and Retouching Faces and Bodies – I haven’t read this book but it is definitely on my list! I have heard great things about it. Skin in photographs is probably one of the hardest things to get correct. This book will help you do just that each and every time you edit your images! Going along with this book, another great guide is Flawless: The Secrets of Skin (Sarah Wilkerson) from Clickin Moms.

7. Photographic Composition: A Visual Guide – I’ve had my eye on this book for quite a while, but I need to finish a few books before buying any more! This book has beautiful photographs, with an in-depth breakdown of the photographs and why the composition works for it. Definitely buying this one next!

8. Capture the Moment: The Modern Photographer’s Guide to Finding Beauty in Everyday and Family Life – This book is next on my list of books to buy. Created by Clickin Moms, this book goes through natural light, composition, storytelling, fine art, black & white, low light, and the technical aspects of photography. Along with having beautiful images for each category, there are also creative exercises to try and perfect. This book is perfect for getting out of a rut and being inspired.

9. Mastering Macro Photography – This book comes out October 1, 2017 and I am beyond excited about it. It is similar to Mastering Exposure and Mastering Composition – made and written by the same company. This book is sure to have beautiful photographs along with ways to achieve certain macro effects. Looking at Amazon, it will also explain the best equipment to use to get macro photographs. I’m really excited to get this book, I know it will help my macro photography.

10. Mastering Landscape Photography – Landscape photography is something that I dream of becoming better at and this book will help me do just that. I love the images in this book and the beautiful ways David Taylor explains things.

There are so many books out there. What photography (or editing, writing, blogging) books do you recommend? Post in the comments below!

Why You Should Be Comparing Your Photos in Lightroom

Why You Should Be Comparing Your Photos in Lightroom

I always compare my images in Lightroom while editing my images. In this blog post, I want to go over the advantages of doing this and also how to do it! It’s really easy and it can up your editing game.

Lightroom is my favorite editing tool. I on occasion use Photoshop, but Lightroom is my go to editing tool. I believe Lightroom is user friendly and gets me the edits I want 95% of the time.

When you’re first starting off editing, I suggest getting used to Lightroom before moving on to Photoshop. Photoshop is an excellent tool to use, however, it is a little more advanced than Lightroom and can get complicated.

If you’re interested in learning more about Lightroom and all of it’s neat tricks, I recommend either taking a course and reading a book about the subject. I have done both and they have helped me learn how to edit the way I want.

You might also like some of my other Lightroom posts:

Why You Should Compare Your Images in Lightroom | Aly Dawn Photography

how to compare your images in lightroom

Before we get into why comparing your images in Lightroom is good, let’s review how to compare your images! It’s really so easy, and I really love this feature. I use it every. single. time. I edit. And, you should, too. We’ll get into that in just a bit.

But, first, how do we compare images?

You can watch the video below or find a step-by-step guide below it:

  1. Open Lightroom
  2. Go to the Develop module
  3. Under your image to the left, click on the R|A Button (Reference View)
  4. Drag the image you want to use as a reference to the left side of the screen
  5. Click on the image you want to edit and start editing; changes will only be made to the right image
  6. Happy editing!

Now that you understand the how let’s talk a little bit about the why.

why you should be comparing your images in lightroom

Comparing your images is really easy. Right? You weren’t scared about how to do it, were you? Now that you have that knowledge, I want to discuss with you the importance of doing it every. single. time. you edit!

it helps you have consistency in your work

The Lightroom Reference tool helps you have consistency in your work. This is important because you want people to recognize your work as being yours.

When editing (without the reference view), you might edit an image and make it look pretty, but then go back and see that it looks nothing like your other images. Yikes, that’s not good! So you go back and forth between the develop module and library module to make sure your image matches the other ones from that session. Have you ever done this? The reference tool just takes out the annoying back and forth you might experience.

it helps you have consistent white balance

Without using the reference tool, it’s so difficult to see if your white balance is consistent from image to image. This could be packed on to the end of the last point, but I feel like it needs it’s own point.


Sorry for the all caps, but I really need you to know that. Also, if you have trouble finding ‘correct’ white balance (which I mean, is there really a ‘correct’ white balance? It’s all about your taste), then at least try to make your images look consistent in your white balance.

When you pull up a reference image for white balance, I would recommend putting an image up that you love the white balance on and you feel like it’s ‘correct’. That way you have that image as a reference to make all the images consistent in white balance.

it will help you grow as a photographer

I think this goes without saying. The more consistent your work is, the better your photography will become. The more you compare and make sure each photo is consistent with the last, the easier it will become to get your white balance correct across all images, your editing will look cohesive, and overall, your images will scream ‘YOU’.

As you use the reference view, you might find it easier and easier to get the cohesive look you so desire, and eventually, you might be able to not use the reference view tool anymore (except for extreme cases!).

I promise you this will help you grow as a photographer and help your post-processing.

Thanks for dropping by! Leave me a comment if you have any questions, I’m always here to help!

5 Reasons to Convert an Image to Black and White

I’m in love with black and white photography. There’s just something about it that pulls me right in. It can take an ok photo to a great photo. Sometimes color is necessary to help portray your story. But there are times when converting to black and white just makes your photo that much better. Be sure to be thoughtful when decided whether an image should be converted to black and white or not. If you’re not sure when it is appropriate to convert, keep reading for 5 reasons to convert to black and white.


I’m always drawn to a good black and white. I love my color edits, as well. But there’s just something about black and white that always draws me in. It can enhance the emotion, mood, and overall image. Here are some examples of why I choose to convert to black and white.


1. to enhance the details

I love love love converting my macro shots to black and white. I find that it enhances the water droplets and makes them sparkle. It also enhances the details. Of course I love my macro shots in color, too, but I always convert to black and white if I feel like it will enhance a certain part of my image. For the image above, it brings out the water droplets more, which was the main focus of the image.


2. when the white balance is just off

I really try to make the white balance work for every image….but let’s be real here, it doesn’t always work. Lightroom has plenty of resources in adjusting your white balance. But, let’s be honest here, sometimes it’s just off no matter what we do. There are times when there’s just too much green. When there’s color casts (illustrated above in the color image). Sometimes, the black and white conversion just makes it easier.


3. to add drama and enhance a mood

I really love how dramatic a black and white image can feel. I usually like to convert any image I feel like has any sort of drama. Sure the color image looks great, but the black and white takes it to the next level. It can really enhance the mood of an image.


4. to show off the shadows

If you have an image that has amazing shadows, often times converting it to black and white just make them that much better. So, try it. Convert that image to black and white. I usually try to have neat lighting in my black and whites, the light always adds to the feel and mood of a black and white. Having nice shadows and converting to black and white creates balance in your photos.


5. to make an image feel classic

The first word that comes to mind every time I view a black and white is classic. Black and whites just have that feel to it. Choosing to convert to black and white will give them that timeless, classic feel. I love including both color and black and white in my client galleries, so that they can hold on to those memories.

Choosing to convert to black and white is a personal and artistic choice. Whether you want to enhance the mood, get rid of distracting white balance, or just simply make an image classic, black and white is definitely a powerful tool in photography. Have fun converting your images to black and white in Lightroom and try to convert images that seem like they need a little bit of help. You never know, you just might like the outcome.