Christmas Card Picture Inspiration

Some of you may remember several months ago when I posted pictures of a picnic photoshoot I was hoping to do for mine and Ben's one year anniversary...well somehow time got away from us and that never happened. So here we are...almost to Thanksgiving and no good pictures of our little family other than those taken professionally at our wedding.

Well that presents a problem seeing as we used wedding photos last year for our Christmas cards, and it has been over a year since the wedding. So I got to thinking, dreaming, and brainstorming ideas for our pictures, and then randomly text Lauren of Sincerely, Lo about taking the pictures for us. You see, Lauren lives just minutes outside of the city my in laws live in, and Ben and I are spending Thanksgiving with his we will be right down the road from Lauren! I thought it was a shot in the dark, but had my fingers crossed hoping we could make something happen in the little window of time we would be in town. 

Well, a few texts and lots of emojis later, we were all set with a price, locations ideas and a date! EEEKKK! So then of course my wheels really started turning, and I wanted to share some inspiration I have pulled. We are hoping to do our session outside, and include Piper of course. We really want to incorporate traditional Christmas colors, and some coziness as well. 

Can you tell I am a tad bit excited? 

I have so many plans. I am hoping to include a pretty quilt or blanket, some cozy white mugs and my heart shaped marshmallows, a big read bow for Piper, and some red lipstick of course for myself! 

Do you do Christmas cards? What are you and your family doing for pictures this year? 

Tips for Editing Photos (quickly and without hassle)

Guest posts are always so exciting to me! I love handing over the reigns from time to time and I enjoy seeing what others come up with to share. One thing I get so excited about is when the guest post is on a topic that I want to learn more about, like photography! So today, Meg of Me with the Three is here to share some photography tips. We all know blogging and pictures go hand in hand, so kick back and enjoy this awesome post, and make sure and head over to Meg's blog and show her some love!

We've all done it.

Started snapping away and didn't change the camera settings, and out came a really poor photo.

The times I find myself doing this most is when I go from a poorly lit location to a bright or artificially lit location.

I've learned a simple two step fix to help "recover" these photos.

Black and white. 

I know, sounds simple. But it really is! Converting to black and white takes away all the distraction of the colors and lighting being wrong, and creates great contrasting images.

In the photo above, the original was taken under bright florescent lighting and it threw the colors off.  There were also a ton of colors in the photo, which is sometimes good, but I wanted to create a more dramatic effect.

Here's my simple process that can be done in most any editing program (I use Lightroom, but the idea stays the same across the board).

1. Convert to black and white. Most programs have a button you can push to do this automatically.
2. Don't stop there though. More than likely, you now have a very flat, mostly grayscale photo, with not much contrast or drama. The next step is to bump up your highlights and lights, while bumping down your shadows and darks. (This is the language used in Lightroom, but again, you should be able to find the Tone Curve of any editing program you choose.)

Really simple! And it creates, I think, a more dramatic photo that's easier on the eyes and more pleasing to look at.

Here's another example.

What do you think? Or what's your favorite way to edit "bad" photos?