Posts made in September 3rd, 2011

end of summer recipe round-up

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Posted on Sep 3, 2011 in Food

You may have noticed that my recipes lately are starting to trend to the Fallish side of the seasonal spectrum. I can’t help it! But before I completely bid summer adieu, I figured it’d be nice to a round-up of my absolute favorite dishes seen on BTHR this summer. I’ve had so much fun creating stuff based on the bounty of the Southern Indiana farmland! Here are my favorites:

Which one was your favorite?

blogging, behind the scenes: photo editing

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Posted on Sep 3, 2011 in Career

Missed the other entries in the Blogging, Behind the Scenes series? Check them out here.

So I’ve styled my shoot and taken my photo, now what do I do? I take it into Adobe Lightroom! Because of my graphic design background, I’m an Adobe Creative Suite expert, but I did not start using Lightroom until I started blogging. I am so glad I made the switch, though. While Lightroom and Photoshop can do almost all of the same things, Lightroom is set up specifically for editing photos in batches and managing photos, which is what I do for the blog. The workflow for Lightroom seems to make a lot more sense for blogging for me. I do use Photoshop rarely when I need to do actual retouching work (say, a hunk of Puppyface fur on a burger…not that that has ever happened or anything.)

After I’ve imported the photos, I browse through all the photos and then do a quick sort by “flagging” the ones that look promising. Then, I show only those and make my final choices for what I want to end up on the blog. It’s a pretty harsh cut! For my sweet corn and three berry ice cream post, I shot 44 photos and only 6 made it into the post.

After sorting, what I do to edit each photo varies dramatically, but there are a few things I do pretty standardly:

Turn up the exposure and/or brightness. It seems strange, but I actually like to overexpose my photos for the blog slightly. I think it helps wash out the dinnerware and background noise and make the food really stand out.

Adjust the colors to match real life. Sometimes the way food looks in the photo isn’t accurate to reality. A perfect example is the tomato soup from this week. In person, it was a vibrant, red-orange. The photos looked like a washed-out orange that made it look like carrot soup (which I’m totally going to make now). So I adjusted it to fit “real life”.

Crop the photo to remove background noise. As you saw in my last behind the scenes post, I do not have a large studio area, so a lot of the times, there will be some background noise that I don’t want in the final result. Or I just want a better composition. I usually shoot photos wide so I can have more room to play with in the crop. You can always crop a photo, but you can never add more photo if it isn’t there.

Sharpen and add clarity. A lot of “real” photographers are probably cringing at this, but I almost always sharpen my photos slightly and bump up the “clarity” dial. Lightroom handles both of these adjustments very well. In fact, I think Lightroom handles sharpening photos a ton better than Photoshop. Honestly, if I stopped being so lazy and shot with a tripod, I probably wouldn’t need to sharpen, but I don’t see that happening. :P

After I’m done editing, it is time to export! If you haven’t noticed (you probably haven’t) all the photos on my blog are horizontal/landscape orientation. So that makes exporting easy. I have Lightroom preset to export my photos at 1000 pixels wide and then save them into a folder specifically for blog photos. Why 1000 pixels? Because I like giving people the option to “zoom” in on my photos. You can click any photo on my blog and they pop up larger in a light box. The actual width of the photos on my blog is 590 pixels, but WordPress does the automagical resizing for me. So I just upload one 1000 pixel photo, and WordPress does the rest.

A word about tagging and naming my photos: if you haven’t noticed, I reuse a lot of my photos. No need to retake 40 pictures of tomatoes, you know? So I make sure to name and tag my photos for easy searching for me. And it works perfectly! So instead of a photo being named “dinner” when I upload it, I’ll name it “chicken with rice and broccoli” so if a few months down the road, I need a photo of broccoli, I can easily find it.

Next installment of BBTS, we are off the photo train and I talk about my writing process (hint: there isn’t one).


What software do you use to edit photos?