During the slower months of winter, I like to take on personal photography projects.  I saw some gorgeous headdresses online and decided to create one for my 5-year-old daughter.  I purchased ribbon, silk flowers, and feathers from Hobby Lobby and busted out my hot glue gun.  30 minutes later, I had a unique headdress for a creative shoot.  I found a perfect wooded location and put my daughter in a vintage slip that I purchased from Etsy a few months ago.  I wanted to create a unique and whimsical shoot… just for me.

“Advice from a Tree

Stand tall and proud.

Sink your roots into the Earth.

Be content with your natural beauty.

Go out on a limb.

Drink plenty of water.

Remember your roots.

Enjoy the view.”

Verses from a beautiful poem by llan Shamir



Now that winter is upon us, do you ever struggle with finding beautiful light for pictures?

I have found the most perfect place for indoor pictures in my home.  It’s the perfect location on sunny or even rainy days.

I simply throw open my front door!

I have my subject stand in the doorway of the front door of my home facing out toward the light (with my subject’s back toward the inside of my house).  I then stand outside (with my back to the street) a few feet from the door frame.  Voila!  Gorgeous light and especially wonderful catchlights in the eyes.

So throw open your doors and take some beautiful photos of your loved ones or clients.

We’d love to see your “doorway photos”- please post them on our Digital Darkroom Secrets Facebook wall or leave a link in the comments below.  We can’t wait to check out your gorgeous work!



Do you ever go through periods as a photographer where you feel like you lack in creativity?

I had been feeling that way recently, until my wonderful husband bought me a Lensbaby Composer Pro for my 39th birthday.

I love the versatility of the Lensbaby Composer Pro with the Sweet 35 optic.

It’s perfect for these cold winter days that are getting shorter and shorter.  I pulled out the Lensbaby to play around with it a little more today. To read more about the Lensbaby lenses and fun optics click HERE.


To see how I (Krista) and Rachel create beautiful and dramatic B&Ws without actions, visit our Digital Darkroom Secrets Workshops.

Rachel and I absoultely love creating our own custom actions in Photoshop.

It saves us SO much time in Photoshop and allows us to spend more time with our families and our clients.

You can create your own custom actions to speed up your workflow, too.

Let me show you how.

1.  Open Photoshop and open any picture to work with.  Open your actions pallette and make sure that you are not working in button mode.

2.  Click on the “Create a New Action Set” button.  In the dialoge box, rename your set and click okay.

3.  Now click on the “Create a New Action” button.

In the dialog box, rename your new action.  I renamed mine “Soft Edit”.  You can also assign this custom action a function key to create a shortcut for you to use when you are editing.  I like to assign my new action a custom color so that it can easily be found when I’m working in button mode.

You will then click record.

Here is where the magic happens.  As you edit, every edit that you make will be recorded.  You can make your own adjustment edits or even run a favorite action and sharpening at the end.  Take your time.  You can even reduce the opacity of the actions or edits that you make, just remember that Photoshop is recording every adjustment that you make.

4.  When you are finished recording your adjustments and edits, click the “Stop Playing/Recording” button.

Now you have a custom action that you can run on a set of images or on all of your images.  This will save you TONS of time in Photosh0p.

We’d love to hear from you!  Try creating a custom action of your own in Photoshop and let us know how this tutorial worked for you.  Feel free to post comments here in our blog or on our Facebook page HERE.