Friday, April 26, 2013

Mother's Day Giveaway

I want to start off by thanking you. I am floored, touched, and honored to have read the stories that came pouring in over the past few weeks. I read stories of women so powerful, so funny, so courageous; it has been humbling to say the least. 

To those of you who submitted your story- thank you. Thank you for trusting me with your journeys, your tales of everyday struggle and happiness. It was truly courageous of you to step forward and put yourself out there and I feel honored to have read each of your stories. 
You are all amazing mommies and women!!

To those of you who nominated a friend, a family member, or just an inspiring woman you know- wow. Just, wow. You ladies are an inspiration yourselves. The way you spoke of these deserving women in your lives, the way you shared their struggles and triumphs as if they were your own, was awe-inspiring. 

To each and every single person who emailed me with a submission or a nomination- thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I want you to know- that I took every single story to heart. I laughed, smiled, and cried along with each of you as I read your stories.
I wish I could choose you all...

This has been a difficult task to say the least. I didn't realize what I was getting myself into, what I was opening up my heart to. I honestly have thought about this for days- carried each of your stories with me- imagined living a day in your shoes.

I wanted to run this contest because Mother's Day is something near and dear to my heart. Becoming a mommy was one of the most intense struggles of my life, and when my daughter was born, my view on life was forever changed.
Q made me a mommy.
For that, I am forever bound to her and forever grateful for the opportunity to have been given such a gift,
such a miracle.

I knew, however, that I wasn't the only one out there with a story. I feel so very blessed, that I wanted to give back. To acknowledge that being a Mother isn't something that should ever be taken for granted,  over-looked, or (god-forbid!) under-appreciated! ;-)

Several of your stories touched my heart in a very familiar place. I connected with many of your journeys and felt that I could relate to your struggles and joys, having experienced some of them myself. 

There was one story, however. One story of a woman that struck such a deep cord.
This woman's path was one that I have not walked down, one that I could not imagine. 
This is a woman who is a complete stranger to me, but I can tell you this much about her:
She is stronger than I am. 

So drum roll please....

Surprise & Congratulations to 
Jenny D. 

Jenny, you are one deserving mama!! Let's go take some pictures! 
Please contact me at to set up your session!
And thank you to her amazing cousin, Suzanne for the heart-felt nomination.

(How about a little love for Jenny, huh?
Seeing as how she's probably the most shocked about this announcement than anyone!)


Love to you all, mommies or not.
xo -J

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Color Correcting

As promised- here is the first installment of my new Q&A feature!

Here is a question I received from a sweet budding photographer:

Hello Jordan, 
I have a question to ask if you don't mind. I think many photographers have different ideas on this topic as well. I recently photographed a Senior girl who decided to wear a bright fluorescent halter top. While the top was beautiful and really accented her skin, my camera photo came out with the color reflecting on her skin. I tried so hard to get rid of it but it wasn't happening. So my question is: 
1) Does a photographer need to let their customers know what not to wear to a photo shoot? Or do they just let them come as they want?
2) is there a way to make this type of thing not happen on camera?
3) is this something you would need to fix in photoshop, or is this something that happens and you just give them what you have?
lol.. i know, i guess this is a learn as you go type thing.  I've been looking at that photo for days now trying to figure out what to do with it.  While it looks great, as a photographer, my eyes go to the bright spot. 
Again, I really thank you for your time in answering my question.  I am slowly getting to where i want to be one day.  

Why Hello there, L! 
You are right- as with every question I receive, there are probably a million different answers and every photographer might give you a different one. Thus the beauty of "individuality"! I'll answer this question (and all others) to the best of my ability based on what I would do in the situation.
1. I absolutely guide my clients in wardrobe selection! When we speak in advance, I ask what colors they are thinking of wearing and most clients actually ask for recommendations! I would definitely advise my clients to stay away from solids with a strong color cast. (This is where patterns/neutrals/and layering comes in!) ;) Anywhoo...sometimes there is just nothing we can do about what a client wears to a shoot. Maybe the outfit has a special meaning or they are going for a certain colorscape to match a room in their house. Of course there are many situations where you can not control what color the client is wearing at all (i.e. prom dresses, bridesmaid dresses, etc.)'s what you do...
2. There is no way (to my knowledge) of avoiding color casts in camera (aside from watching the light, avoiding angles where the sun only heightens the color, etc.) *note: this does not refer to white balance, which is another topic entirely...

3. The answer lies in post processing. I use Photoshop CS6, so I will be explaining how I would go about fixing a color cast using this program. Of course, there are a hundred different ways of fixing color casts in photoshop...but this is the way I typically do it:
I recently did a birthday studio shoot with a bunch of florescent colored balloons. I got this one shot that I just loved, but alas, the bright orange balloon was casting an awful glare on the little girl's skin. Here is my straight out of camera (SOOC) shot:

(aside from the awful bluish tint covering the entire image (should have adjusted my white balance) you see the bright orange on her face and arm?)
There are many things I did to correct this image, but for the purpose of this tutorial, I am going to stick to the color cast issue. The first thing I did was open up a curves layer. With the "finger"/dropper tool I selected the center of her forehead and pulled the midtones up. This just brightened my entire image up and made it easier for me to see "true to color".
The next thing I did was open up a Hue/Saturation layer. Using the "finger"/dropper tool (underlined below) I grabbed the darkest part of the color that I wanted to get rid of. In this case, the "orangest" part of the balloon. Now, you'll notice, there is no "orange" in the drop down menu, but the beauty of this feature is that whatever you select with your dropper, the hue slider will automatically select as the color it reads. In this case, it reads the orange as "red". I then lowered the saturation bar which removed almost all of the red from my image- thus making it very blue & washed out. Don't panic...that is what masking layers are for!!!
I then took my new hue layer (white box in the bottom right corner) and inverted it ("command I" on a Mac). Now we have a black box (see below) and all of our red cast came back. So we take a soft white paint brush and paint on our picture where we want the red cast removed (her face/arm). 
(Always remember with masking layers: white paint brush reveals, black paint brush conceals). 
In this case we want to "reveal" the hue/saturation layer we just created.
See how it takes the "orange" off her face/arm, but leaves it everywhere else in the picture? Here is a quick before & after so far:
Another option is to use your "Selective Color" tool. Think of your picture like a big color wheel. If you reduce the red, you will be lifting the blues, etc. (Did you notice how pale/blue our little girl has gotten after reducing the red in the "after" picture above? We'll want to fix that later.) 
For now- let's talk "Selective Color".  Since we are dealing with skin tones, you want to make sure you select "neutral" from the drop down menu. You can then fool around with the sliders until you get the desired effect. Since there is no "orange" option, I slightly reduced the magenta and the yellows.
Like with the hue/saturation layer, we want to invert the mask to black, then paint our effect back on with a soft white brush. I painted just over where the orange cast was strongest (side of her face and arm, including the edge of the balloon as well.) I adjusted the opacity to get the look I desired.

And THAT is how I would tackle a strong color cast. 
Please note, that is NOT how I would finish editing this image!!
It still needs a lot of work- including fixing her skin tones, sharpening a touch, a little crop, and playing with my vibrance slider. 
I've attached the final edit of this image just so you can see the different between where we left off and the end product. 
While Skin Tones do fall under the "color" category- I just can't cover them here. Skin tones are a whole other tutorial...we're talking CMYKs, awesome skin-correcting actions, color balance, etc..... ;)
Final Product:

And just because I always find side-by-side B&As helpful...

I hope this has been helpful!
Feel free to share, pin or comment....and keep those questions coming!! :)

xo -J

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Little Miss A

I met Libby several months ago when I did a Valentine's Day mini-shoot for her daughter.  We hit it off right away and joked about how similar our two girls looked. (don't you agree?)  When she approached me about doing her little lady's 2-year-old pictures, she was chock-full of ideas!

 Persnickety dresses, red poppies, ice sounded like a photographer's dream! I threw in a few ideas of my own and suddenly we were facing a 3 scene, 3 outfit change photo shoot- in just one hour's time! 
Sure, it was a bit hectic....balloons were lost, ice cream was dripping, bubbles frantically being blown...and yet, we did it!

Here are some of my favs from sweet Little Miss A's shoot. 
Happy 2nd Birthday you little Ice-Cream Queen, you! 
Wishing you lots of love... xoxo

Feel free to share, pin, like...or leave a comment!
It's nice to know that you've stopped by! :)

Friday, April 19, 2013


I had this picture in my room as a child that I absolutely loved. 
It was of a blond little girl playing in a field of yellow and white wildflowers.
It was a picture of a painting- the edges still ragged from where my mom had ripped it out of a magazine. (Reader's Digest, maybe?) 

She gave it to me because the title of the picture, in tiny quotations at the bottom, was "Jordan". 

I loved it so much that I put it in a frame (torn edges and all) and kept it on my dresser.

I used to stare at it every day, wishing that I was as beautiful as the little blond girl
 and wondering why some famous artist would choose my name of all the names in the world.
(I hated my "boy name" growing up)

I have no idea who the artist is and I had completely forgotten about that picture until I started culling these images from a recent session with my little one.

These pictures are literally my "Jordan" painting come to life- beautiful blond girl and all. I have searched endlessly for this painting on the internet but can't seem to find it anywhere. If I ever do stumble upon it, I will share it with you. 

But for now, I am just sitting back and basking in this "full-circle" moment. :)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mother's Day Giveaway!

Becoming a mommy has been one of the most rewarding, yet most difficult experiences ever. I truly treasure being a mother (even amid the tantrums and endless piles of dishes) and I salute and appreciate mothers everywhere in a way that I never could have, before I entered the realm of mommy-hood myself. 

With Mother's Day approaching, I wanted to give back. I am offering one FREE (completely free- no up-selling or hidden fees here!) mini session to one deserving mama. 
Think that could be you? Do you know someone who fits the bill? 

Here's what you have to do:

Email by April 25th.
Be sure to include:
1. Mother's name & ages of children
2. A short story about why you/she deserves this photo session

That's all! 

*Date of the photo shoot TBD by the lucky Mama & myself, but will need to take place within the month of May 2013.

I will announce the winner on April 26th right here on my blog!! :)

Good Luck, Mommies! I can't wait to hear your stories!!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Giving Back

When my good friend, Liz Labianca asked me to help assist at her group "Momtering" (mom mentoring) session, I was more than happy to tag along. 

I'm not going to lie, though, I was nervous. What if I got in the way? What if I wasn't as helpful as she needed me to be? Good Lord, what if one of the moms asked me a question that I didn't know the answer to! 
I was nervous about being put on the spot in a room full of strangers.

Well, it was a lot of worrying for nothing. Yes, of course, there were times where I second-guessed my helpfulness, times when I was put on the spot with a difficult question, times where my knowledge was challenged. But guess what else? For each moment where I felt useless, there were 5 where I felt that my presence was helpful. When challenged with a question, after stopping to think, I found that I already knew the answer. These amazing moms were enthusiastic, at times overwhelmed, but always eager to learn and apply their new-found knowledge. I learned something from them and their fearlessly confident teacher, Liz.

This experience made me realize that although there is always more to learn, I need to stop questioning where I am in my journey, and embrace it, share it.

I'm not sure if many of you know this about me, but I used to be a teacher. Participating in this day of learning made me realize something that I always used to instill in my students: teaching others something you have learned only instills a deeper understanding within yourself. 
 How quickly I had forgotten the power of sharing.

So thank you for the continued inspiration, Liz. 
And thank you to all of the moms for reminding me of this invaluable lesson.

 In honor of "giving back" I am going to start taking limited questions from you! Simply email your photography-related question to I'll be selecting a few questions once a week/month (who knows, I'm still working all of this out!) to answer right here on the blog,

So, ready? set? Submit!
(You can request for your name/info to remain private!)

*Included are selected images from Liz's Momtering session with my settings attached. 
Happy Shooting, friends! :)

© JJM Photography