Photoshop That | ME Family Photographer

I was recently chatting with some friends about my work as a Photographer. The interesting part of the conversation was their emphasis on Photoshop. In fact, as they were speaking, it sounded as if Photoshop is what I do.  Like I’m a Professional Photoshopper.

The truth is, Photographers are experts in photography. We make photos with our cameras and develop them with software (ie: Lightroom and Photoshop). We are not graphic artists who make art with Photoshop.

What I just said, above…that’s the meat. You can go ahead and re-read it if you were skimming casually through this post.

In fact, if you want to know how to aggravate a photographer? Use the words, “you can just photoshop that”. It seems to be a common misconception that Photographers love spending time fixing ketchup stains, runny noses, wrinkled clothing, undyed hair roots, tan lines, and life’s other imperfections with Photoshop.

Photoshop does have it’s place in our work. I use Photoshop every day on every photo. But probably not for what you think.

The thing about professional photography is that we shoot in a file format called RAW. When you shoot in RAW, you need to edit photos. You can’t even view RAW photos on your computer without professional software that will enable you to convert them. RAW photos lack contrast, they are grey and blah, they literally look like they have a dull film over them. They need to be edited before they look as good as they do on the back of our camera.

My process is to import the RAW photos into Lightroom where I adjust the white balance (if needed), the crop, and the lighting. This is where I also cull down the photos I took to the photos I keep. Once I’m happy with my Lightroom adjustments, I edit the images in Photoshop.

In Photoshop, I’m doing detail work (fixing acne, smoothing skin) and playing with the light & contrast some more. If I’m feeling sassy, this is where I’d also add something artsy, like a unicorn or rainbow. Or thought bubbles for what really happened during my family’s photoshoot.



So here are some before and after edits from my family’s session to give you a sense of what I type of editing we do. These photos were shot by Sarah (using my camera). It was pretty dark out and I asked Sarah to shoot the images underexposed, knowing I would adjust them (this is where shooting in RAW comes in handy).


moore-family-2016-1-5The whole gang.

moore-family-2016-11Me & my love.

moore-family-2016-1-2My love got a new headshot for Linked In.

moore-family-2016-1-7And from a less dark situation, this one is from my son’s senior portrait shoot last week.

The moral of the story: don’t wear ketchup stained shirts to photoshoots.

Perspective | Maine Family Photographer

A few weeks ago one of our wonderful clients called me about getting some new headshots. While we were chatting she shared that I had taken “an amazing picture” of her daughter during their last shoot, back in June. But she wasn’t talking about the daughter I was hired to photograph. She reminded me that at the end of her daughter’s 15th birthday shoot, I walked over to their younger daughter and asked if I could grab a quick shot of her. She had been playing along the salty shore at Drakes Island with her parents, as her big sister was off getting photographed with her besties.

The little girl was around the same age as my youngest, and still held all the joy and innocence of childhood in her face. She had that after beach look, curly, sun touched hair that was likely loaded with sand, and a big towel draped around her damp swimsuit. The air was orange from the firey sunset and this sweet girl, glowed as she hugged her towel and waited patiently for us adults to stop chatting.

My client went on about the photo, she said, “what is amazing about it is that I took a photo of her just a minute earlier with my phone, and yours looks so different. Like so completely different. Even her hair looks like it was combed, and it wasn’t”. She was so in awe that I asked her to send me her photo so I could see what she was seeing.



When I see these photos, I don’t think that one is necessarily better than the other, but they are starkly different.

Both of us captured what we saw. A mom captured a silly playful moment with her little girl who was enjoying the beach, and one minute later, I captured a patient little girl, who was bundled up as the sun disappeared behind the horizon.

Perspective changes everything. That’s the beauty of the art of photography.

Holden| NH Newborn Photographer

“I brought my climbing gear,” he said.  I immediately thought of rock climbing gear and, as a former rock-climbing guide, started brainstorming all the set ups I could create.


“No, I’m a lineman.” he explained.  Oh, ok…  I had no idea what that was.  The look on my face must have betrayed me because he quickly explained that he works on power lines.  As I rummaged through his gear setting up the shot, asking what each thing was, I gained a much clearer understanding.


Holden’s dad, Justin,  literally scales telephone/power poles with a harness around his waist, a helmet on his head and giant sharp spikes attached to his boots.  (I thought there were cherry-picker-basket-truck things to give these guys a convenient lift up to where they need to work.)  The sheer mass of the insulated gloves this man wears to do his work put the whole risk factor into perspective.  When I asked Amy if she worries about him her response was, “every day” followed by stories of him coming home with all his arm hair singed off. I was in awe and more excited and determined than ever to make their lineman shots not only work… but rock!

Aaaaand Holden’s mom, Amy, is a nurse.  So basically his parents are a bunch of heroes/lifesavers if you ask me.  Also, I really don’t think they could be any sweeter.  As the session when on, we got to chatting more and I found out they are avid outdoors people and hunters and adventurers.  As if the deal wasn’t already sealed…  I just REALLY like them!


Would you believe that Holden, at the ripe old age of 6 days, had a big story to share too?  You see, Holden’s cord was wrapped around his neck when he was born.  His shoulders were stuck,  only for a few minutes during birth, but by the time they got him out he wasn’t breathing and his heart wasn’t beating.  In fact, his heart didn’t beat for THREE minutes.  They immediately whisked him away, performing CPR.  Can you EVEN imagine!?  I can’t and I won’t.  Praise God this little fighter made it.  They brought him back to life!  Back. To. Life.  Guys, he is beautiful and handsome and precious and all things good and lovely… and he has no deficits from this crazy start to life!  I get goosebumps just recounting the story to you all!  I am certain that this little boy is destined for great things.  And I can’t think of two better people for this miracle baby to be entrusted to.    Health, happiness and blessings to you Justin, Amy and Holden!




Hugs & Snuggles,



Kahlan| Maine Newborn Photographer

I felt so honored when I learned that Kahlan’s first venture out of the house with mom was to come see me!  Ohhhhh how I remember those first days/weeks… lets be honest, months… with a newborn.  Simultaneously the most wonderful, terrifying, exhilarating and exhausting moments of my life!


Please, new mamas, know that I’ve been there.  I get it.  I have such a love and compassion for the tender, precious, life altering phase that you are navigating right now, whether its your first child or your fifteenth! (Ok, I’ve never actually had a mom of 15 in the studio.) When you come to our studio you enter a judgement free zone!  Come as you are!  Take a nap on our bed!  Walk to the coffee shop below and grab yourself a treat that you DARN well deserve!  I pray the studio is a place of peace and joy for you and your family!

And I remember what a peaceful, delightful presence Kahlan and her mom had.  It filled the studio that morning and it was just a privilege to capture this sweet girl.  I think you can really feel that energy coming through in each photograph, don’t you?  mccluskey-blog-4





I do it for the snuggles.



Clara| NH Newborn Photographer



When Clara’s mom told me that she would be happy if we just got a picture of each of her girls NOT blurry, I was pretty excited.  I love low goals!


Would you believe it decided to rain cats and dogs on the day of their photoshoot!?  The day where a mother and father and 4 little girls, had to get outfits on and hair done and a newborn fed and happy and out the door?  Yeah.  Not cool Maine weather.  Not cool.


Despite the dreary weather, Clara’s mom was first through the door with a brilliant smile on her face and a positive attitude to boot. “That’s the great thing about curly hair!  The rain will just make it curlier!” she quipped.  I knew it was going to be a great shoot.  And it was!  There was snuggling on goat hair rugs, jumping on beds, super hero capes and lolli-pop treats.


olstad-blog-7Little miss Clara took it all in stride and was just a DOLL for her solo portion of the shoot. Clara and her family have a very special story.  You see Clara is a unique little girl in that she has a twin in Heaven.  We and her parents stand on God’s promise that they will meet one day and have all their babies together in one place.  So we had to do a very special photo to celebrate the gift of Clara’s life, to honor the story that is now a part of this family’s fiber and to honor and remember Clara’s twin.