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You Have Questions, We Have Answers


Q:  When shooting in RAW is there anything extra that needs to be done when exporting to be sure it has the clarity and sharpness needed?

A:  Because RAW files are kind of flat, I always adjust my clarity, contrast and sharpening while editing. Even if the preset sets them to one thing, I usually hand edit those to settings I prefer. I've always had a certain look that I like and part of that comes from how I have those 3 settings, mainly the clarity. I set contrast to about +18, clarity to -12 and sharpen to 36.


Q:  What's the best way to remove reds/oranges from skin tone and the picture in general due to bad lighting?

A:  My trick for fiddling with skin tones is this-know what color you need to adjust and then move the color saturation to the left a little bit (this is the specific color like red or orange) and then move the luminance slider to the right a little until you are happy with the result. This is how I've always done it and I've always been complimented on how I edit my skin tones, so it seems to work well!


Q:  I'm starting to dip my toes into wedding photography and your blog posts have been so helpful. I just had a quick question regarding what camera setting do you mainly use when shooting a wedding. I always shoot manual but I realize that that probably isn't always the quickest option when you're needing to shoot quickly during a ceremony or reception. Just curious what's your go to wedding setting? Thanks!

A:  You would be surprised at how long you can keep the same settings! For the ceremony, you're in the same spot for the most part. I have my second shooter move around more than I do so that I can capture all the important parts, so I stay in the middle of the aisle. For all of the formal family/wedding photos, you have the same settings but may switch it up a bit. I did an 8 hour wedding a few weeks ago and I know I did change settings, but you just get used to it. I use BBF, so I have my fingers on my camera nearly the entire time, ready to shoot something. I think that makes it faster to adjust settings. I also have a grip on my camera, so it's more comfortable to hold. I don't have a "set" setting, other than trying to be as open as I can.


Q:  Amy, you always just shoot in straight manual mode and just adjust SS, ISO, and aperture as needed? Do you ever just use a different mode? Like aperture priority or anything?

A:  Dionne, I shoot in straight manual. To be honest, I don't even know how to use the other settings. When I mentor people, I compare it to how I potty trained my kids. They went straight from diapers to underwear. Nothing in between because I wanted them to know if they didn't have a diaper on, they were ready for the real thing. Pull ups confuse them when they potty train because it might as well be like wearing a diaper. Going from auto to manual, in my mind, is similar. I didn't want to know the other settings so that I would be pushed to learn and master manual. I didn't want a safety net. But that's how I learn best and each person has to do what's best for them.


Q:  Sharpening a photo - on my screen it looks amazing. When I print, it is out of sorts. So I printed new ones once I lowered the sharpening and it was better. How do you know where the sweet spot is for sharpening if it looks good on your screen? Is this one of the downfalls to having retina display on a Mac?

A:  I don't know enough about Mac to say, so all I can say is what I know about sharpening. I sharpen when I edit, so I make sure when I export photos for print, I don't apply additional sharpening. To me, that seems to be key.


Q:  I just started shooting RAW instead of JPEG. Do I need to to reload my presets? I've been editing with the same presets I've used for JPEG images, and having a hard time with the transition.

A:  For Pretty Presets, the presets are designed to work the same on jpeg images as they do on raw images. So you shouldn't need to adjust them.


Q:  Hi Amy!   I'm very new to pretty presets and I have the workflow and summer sets. Can you use them together? And if so how would you go about it? I like to do a clean edit first and then play with presets but I found some of the presets don't work well with my previous edits. I've heard you cant layer some presets, how do you go about it?

A:  Hi Robyn! One of my favorite things about Pretty Presets is that they DO layer! Only certain sets though! And the Clean Workflow is one of them! I usually apply the preset and then do the workflow presets. The reason why is because those presets are like adjusting sliders. They help fix clarity, WB, contrast, highlights...The presets in the summer set will make adjustments as well, so if you do your clean edit first, it will get adjusted after you apply a preset. I like to think of the preset as adding another layer to my photo and everything else helps to fine tune my photo.


Q:   I know this is silly... but I cannot figure out how to use the brushes. They're added... I've double checked preferences and they're there, but I can't find them when I'm in develop.. frown emoticon I'm assuming I'm just overlooking them??

A:  You want to know something? I owned LR for 2 years before I even knew brushes existed!! Now I couldn't live without them! Here's a handy picture to help you. You'll first click on the brush that I highlighted. When that opens, you'll see little arrows and that's where you choose which brush you want to use. Once you're done with that brush, you click on New and select a new brush.

Amy Phipps's photo.

Q:   I do have a question I keep forgetting to ask. When doing your edits is there a way to make the pins invisible so they aren't in the way when working with small areas with more than one brush, like eyes or mouth?

A:   Just type the "H" key when you are working and the pins will disappear!

Q:   If the WB needs to be adjusted on a photo because it is either too cool or too warm, is it best to adjust it after applying the preset? I am finding that on some presets, the adjustment is overwritten by the preset and then it has to be readjusted. Just want to make sure I am doing this correctly. (still working on getting it right in camera)

A:  When you start doing edits, I always suggest doing brushes, preset then local adjustments. Brushes won't change at all. No matter what else you do to your edit, the only way to change a brush is to open the brush back up and do it manually. If you do local adjustments, those get changed if you do a preset. So, if you need to change WB, do it after the preset!



   Amy Phipps is the photographer behind On the Phippside Photography, located in Stockton, California.  Amy has been married for 21 years and has 4 children.  When she’s not trying to decide between which of her 43 black shirts to wear, you can probably find her sipping on a Dr. Pepper and walking around any day of the year in flip flops.

Visit her website.

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