Tamron 90mm Macro Lens GIVEAWAY – Win a Sweet New Tamron Lens


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Flowers, Bugs, Baby’s Feet, Wedding Rings…

No matter what type of photography you do, a macro lens always great to have in your camera bag!  Now’s your chance to win one from MCP and Tamron Lenses.


The Prize: A Tamron 90mm f2.8 Macro Lens with Vibration Compensation (for Canon, Nikon or Sony)

The Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 Di VC USD 1:1 Macro/Portrait lens has a value $749.  There are a few versions of this lens – this contest is for the most up-to-date one and it is vibration compensation as seen at these links: Canon version,  Nikon version, Sony version.  

Contest Rules:

The contest ends Sunday, June 1st. at 8pm eastern time and winner will be picked via random drawing, and announced on the top of this post on the MCP Blog. Odds are winning are # times entered/# of entries.  Valid only where permitted by law.

Tamron USA Inc, the sponsor of this contest, is responsible for sales and marketing in the USA, therefore, they cannot ship outside of the USA. BUT if you reside outside the United States, the lens will ship to MCP Actions, and we will ship it to you. In this case, you will be responsible for the international shipping costs as well as any duties, taxes, or tariffs.

Enter below:

Click here to view this promotion.

How to Find the Perfect Portrait Lens to Avoid Distortion

Whether you’re a new photographer or someone with a lot of experience, you may have heard about lens distortion.  Have you ever wondered what is the “perfect portrait lens.”  While there isn’t one perfect lens or focal length for portraits, let’s check out how each focal length impacts lens distortion so you can choose the best lens for every situation.

First, what is lens distortion?

Lens distortion is the distortion of the true view of the subject in a photograph.  Generally, lines that are straight in true life become skewed outward in a photograph.  The lens optics cause this — the wider the lens, the greater the distortion.  Have you ever seen a photograph taken with a fisheye lens, which is very wide angle?  These cause major distortion (often used on purpose for creative photos)?  If you have, you noticed that it was extremely distorted.

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This is part of what sets fisheye images apart and makes them unique, but this effect is caused by lens distortion.  One other thing to keep in mind when learning about and understanding lens distortion, especially in relation to portraits, is that the closer you are to a subject, the more pronounced your distortion will be at any focal length.

What does lens distortion look like?

Lens distortion is pretty easy to recognize once you know what it looks like.  Portraits taken with at wide angles will have distorted features.  In addition, if you are including all or even part of a person’s body in a portrait and are using a wide angle, your subject will tend to have a “bobble head” appearance.  This is amplified by the fact that you will need to be close to your subject to take your portrait as compared to the distance you would need to be with a longer lens.  Longer lenses have much less distortion.  First, you do not need to be nearly as close to your subject which lessens the distortion effect. Additionally, longer lenses incorporate “lens compression”.  They flatten features, rather than widen them, which is flattering for most subjects.

Below are example photos demonstrating distortion at different focal lengths.  All photos in this article are SOOC (straight out of the camera).  Immediately below you will see two separate compilations of eight photos.  One set was taken with a full frame camera and the second set with a crop sensor camera.  All photos were taken with the same settings:  f/9, ISO 100, 1/160, and were taken in studio.  I used three lenses.  All shots from 24 through 70 mm were taken using a 24-70 2.8.  The 85mm shots were taken using an 85mm 1.2, and everything from 100mm to 200 was taken using a 70-200 2.8.  I used the 85mm prime because even though that focal length is included in the 70-200 range, that focal length is not marked on the lens barrel and I wanted to be sure I got that length exactly.

My assistant, who is obviously very enthusiastic, did not move between shots as I was very clear that he needed to stay still!  I moved back with each shot and framed them as close to the same as I was able.  The shots at the wide end are darker due to both vignetting from the 24-70 at the wide end and because I was actually standing in front of the light because I had to be so close to my subject.

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As you can see, the wider the angle of the lens, the more distorted the subject becomes.  At wider angles, his face is narrowed, is nose appears larger and wider, and even the edges of the backdrop are visible because of the wide angle.  At longer focal lengths, the subject’s face starts to widen and look more true to life.

What about the lens correction option in Lightroom or ACR?

Both of these programs have a lens correction option, which does reverse some of the vignetting and distortion caused by wider angle lenses.  But is it enough to still use these lenses as portrait lenses?  I don’t think so.  In the example below, you can see a before and after.  The before is a SOOC shot, taken on a full frame camera at 35mm.  The after is applying lens correction in Lightroom.  The after shot is brighter due to the reduction of the vignetting that occurs at the wider angle, and the shot is also flattened somewhat.  However, this shot after lens correction is still not comparable to a photo taken at a longer focal length.

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Does this mean I always have to use a long lens when I’m shooting portraits?

The short answer to this is no.  Once you understand the effects of wide angle lenses, you will learn when you shouldn’t use them but also when you can use them.  So why would you want to use a wide angle lens when you shoot portraits, based on the examples above where the subject looks rather unnatural when shot at a wide angle?  There are some photographers who will use wider angles to slim subjects.  In the example below, similar portraits were taken at 24mm and 135mm, using the same settings except for focal length.  Again, these shots are straight out of the camera.  In the first portrait, the subject is more elongated and her face appears more angular, making her appear somewhat slimmer.  However, you can see that her head does appear somewhat large for her body (the “bobble head” effect mentioned earlier) and this is something that takes practice.

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The shot below, again straight out of camera, was taken at 37mm using the 24-70 lens.  I was able to be a good enough distance from my subject where the wide angle did not cause as much distortion as it would be if I had been closer.  While it would have been ideal to have been able to be even farther from my subject with a longer lens, I obtained acceptable results with the area and conditions I was working in at the time.

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Lens compression was mentioned earlier.  What does this mean?

Longer lenses, due to their optics, have the effect of both flattening the features of your subjects and bringing backgrounds in closer.  In a studio setting while using a solid color backdrop, the background element may  not be as apparent.  I wanted to show an example of this in a setting where it could be clearly visualized.  Compression is not distortion, but it is related and as it has been mentioned several times in the article it’s important to show an example.  In the two photos below, the same settings were utilized in both photos:  f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/500 shutter speed, and the same white balance settings.  The left photo was taken using a 50mm lens and the right photo, a 135mm lens.  My enthusiastic subject was in the same position for both photos but the background appears larger and closer in the second photo.  His features also appear somewhat flatter.  This is due to the lens compression of longer lenses.

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So what is your perfect portrait lens?  There is no one correct answer to that question.  That depends on several factors, including if you shoot with a crop sensor or a full frame; your usual shooting location; and even your style.  For me, an 85mm indoors and a 135 outdoors are my favorites, but yours may be different.  The most important thing is to understand how different lenses will impact your photos and make your choices from there.

Amy Short is the owner of Amy Kristin Photography, a portrait, maternity, and fine art photography business in Rhode Island.  She can be found at Facebook and Google+.  






How to Edit Sunset Silhouette Images

Before and After Step-by-Step Edit: Creating Stunning Silhouettes with MCP’s help

The MCP Show and Tell Site is a place for you to share your images edited with MCP products (our Photoshop actions, Lightroom presets, textures and more).  We’ve always shared before and after Blueprints on our main blog, but now, we will sometimes share some favorites from Show and Tell to give these photographers even more exposure.  If you haven’t checked out Show and Tell yet, what are you waiting for?  You’ll learn how other photographers are using our products and see what they can do for your work.  And once you are ready, you can show off your own editing skills using MCP goodies.  You might even make new friends or gain a customer…. since you get to add your website address right on the page. Bonus!


Today’s Featured Image:

By: Leigh Williams

Studio: Leigh W Photography

Equipment Used: Canon 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS at 40mm

Settings: ISO 400,  f4, SS 1/320

MCP sets used:  Quickie Collection Photoshop Actions

This Photoshop action set is only available for Photoshop (not Elements)

  • Steps taken to achieve desired look:
    • Urban Ocean – 100%
      • Contrast Flair – 33% (Default)
      • Light It Up – Turned Off
      • Over Exp. Fixer – 28% (Default)
    • Urban Sunset – 54%
      • Contrast Flair – 9%
      • Light it Up and Over Exp. Fixed Turned Off
      • Circular Gradient at 75% in Orange/Yellow to accentuate the sun itself. Brush a little off the grass.


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Featured Photographer: Meet the Woman Behind Impromtu Photography

Over the next few months, please join us for a fun, behind-the-scenes look at some of MCP’s favorite photographers through a special “Featured Photographer” series.  Learn their secrets, their favorite photography items, how they got their start, and much more!

This Month?  Let’s get acquainted with Cindy Gillespie, owner of Impromptu Photography!  Cindy has been a long-time fan and contributor for MCP and has shared some gorgeous images over the past few years, particularly of the wonderful wildlife she finds close to home, like the one below!


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Enjoy this glimpse of Cindy!


Photography Business-Related Questions:

1)    How long have you been in business?  Full-time or part-time?

This will be my 4th year.  I would have to say that I am full-time especially when we are talking about Michigan…. we all have our busy times but, this year was a long winter that hurt a lot of us itching to get out and feel the sun on our faces!


The following is a sample of Cindy’s work from when she first started back in 2009 (the top – this is her Granddaughter!) compared to a more recent photo on the bottom.  We just love to see how photographers evolve over time!

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2)    What type of photography do you specialize in?

I guess I would say that I do just about every type of photography with the exception of Weddings.. I have (co-shot ) second shot a few but, to be honest, it just isn’t something that I felt the heart and soul connection with.

3)    What made you want to be a photographer?

I watched my Grandfather as a child with a camera. His slide shows on holidays were always amazing to me… I always thought that they were magical… then through college, my younger brother had taken a few black and white film and developing classes.. I truly thought that he was going to be the next Ansel Adams.   I have always enjoyed my camera but, more so once my Granddaughter was born.  I had decided to take on a project of photographing her every week (Saturdays) for her first year… it was the first time I had a DSLR in my hands…. and I began posting them. One thing lead to another and another and well…. here I am!

To be honest… I have a hard time with someone saying “she’s our photographer” or “she’s a photographer”.   I am a very behind the scenes kind of person… I don’t like being in front of the camera (I’m still working on that).   I guess I just like being tucked away and being able to watch. I like being able to capture and freeze a moment and let the image hold the attention. It’s about the photograph / image for me … not about me. 

4)    When did you know you wanted to be a photographer?  

I don’t know that I ever wanted to “become” a photographer. I just wanted to show the beauty of everyone and everything with every image I capture.   Even a “weed” has beauty… we just have to see it in the right light to find it.

5)    What is your favorite part of being a photographer?

Finding and capturing the beauty of the simple things in life.   The amazing eyes and the drool on a child’s lip… the tender touch of their hands in mine as we start our adventures of our time together… bringing a smile to everyone whenever I have a chance and the honor that goes along with it.

6)    How do you juggle your personal life with photography business demands?  i.e. weekend shoots, night events, editing marathons, etc.

I don’t juggle very well at times… but, I know I have to make time and a balance with my family.   There is just a time that you have to walk away from editing and listen and enjoy your family also. 

I DON’T do late night marathons… I have found that I make some hasty mistakes or become over judgmental of myself when I do… I prefer my early morning coffee that leads to afternoon and sometimes leads into a National PJ day for me.  

7)    What is your yearly income from your photography business? 

Somewhere in the $25,001-$50,000 range. 

8)    How many hours a week do you put into your business?

Well since I don’t just photograph people, I tend to have my hands and thoughts going quite a bit. I would have to say about 40 as of right now.   I don’t plan on expanding that work-week. I feel that is plenty for me, personally.

9)    What makes you feel “successful” in your business?  If you’re not quite there yet, what are you striving for and when will you feel like you’ve “made it”?

I don’t feel that I am “successful”…. I don’t feel that I am special by any means.  I KNOW I haven’t “made it”… at least not in my eyes.   I still have goals and a lot to learn.   There is ALWAYS something to learn in photography and in life… so I am just enjoying the adventure.   Where it takes me…  

10)  Where would you like to see your business go within the next 3-5 years?

I am not young… but, I would like to think that I have 5 years left in me.  I guess I will have to wait and see how and what kind of adventure this leads to.  I am just enjoying my time doing what I love.

11)  Do you have a lot of competition in your area?

I truthfully couldn’t answer that in-depth… I know that there are some… I know who some of them are… But I don’t compete.  I don’t feel it’s fair to myself or others.  It’s a respect that I feel towards them. 

  1. Do you follow their social media sites and vice versa?  I know that some follow me… I followed more so when I was starting out… but, not from my area or my genre of photography.
  2. Do you interact with them on a regular basis in any venue?  I do have a local photographer that through this winter I did refer a corporate session to.   She was shocked and delighted all at the same time. We’ve talked briefly but, not often.  Photography seems like a very tainted profession for some reason… I believe many feel threatened and I don’t understand that… we all see things differently… we can stand and look at the same flower and take 12 pictures each… and those 12 pictures will be totally different to the other photographers… those 12 pictures will look entirely different after a creative edit or finishing touches.   So, the threat… I just don’t understand.

12)  Do you have help with your business (not including accountants/lawyers/etc)?  If you do have help, how long was it in your business timeline before you hired on additional staff?  (multi-photographer studio, business manager, 2nd shooter for specific events, assistant during shoots, etc)

I do have an assistant. I found her through a friend of a friend. She is a local High School student and this year will make a little over 2 years together… she is amazing !!!  We don’t even have to talk. She watches me and knows where I am going or what I need… she finds me light when I need it the most and most of all… well, I couldn’t even imagine this adventure without her in it.  We are a team!

I found her when I knew I needed help with reflectors and children … I was about 2 years into the business but more on a professional level at that point.


Here is another example of Cindy’s work.  Such precious moments captured!

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Social Media-Related Questions:

1)    Do you regularly blog?  Daily?  Weekly?

I blog at least once a week…sometimes more.

2)    How would you rate your writing skills?  Is blogging fun for you or is it something you really wish would just go away!

Writing skills?  Hummmm… I really don’t have much, if any!   I guess I just try to write much the same as I talk.   And yep… I use a LOT of exclamation points when I am excited.  icon smile Featured Photographer: Meet the Woman Behind Impromtu Photography

3)    Do you regularly update your Facebook page, Twitter, Google+, etc., and interact with your clients and potential clients after updating something?  How many times per week?  Per day?

Just this year I pulled a poll on my Facebook page, at the beginning of winter… that was to ask if I should bring my nature and birds back to Facebook verses just having them on the blog.   Through that, I found out that many of my followers missed my nature… So I tend to post daily and sometimes twice a day.    I have it set to that my blog automatically posts to Twitter and Google Plus… 

4)    What social media site do you enjoy the most?   

I enjoy Facebook. I like seeing all the genre and talk, most of all I like seeing images from around the world. Pinterest I love… I get lost in it though… seems like an hour and it’s been 4!  I love the colors and textures that come through my Pinterest feed… that inspires me sometimes and gets my mind imagining, which may or may not be played out well with a session.   For the most part it works quite well.  I’ve been fortunate to have clients indulge me and my crazy ideas… they just had no clue as to where it was going at the time and then loved the images afterward.

5)    What social media site seriously makes you want to throw your camera out the window? Why (be specific)?

Facebook  - Sometimes I feel that people don’t have a clear understanding about the difference between what a snap shot is and what a professional photograph is.   That frustrates me.  But it does make me strive to learn more and show quality verses just “someone with a camera”.

6)    Do you use Pinterest a lot to showcase your work or share interesting items in the photography field?

I haven’t used it to show case my work, so to speak. I have a board of “things I love” that Jodi and MCP actions are in, though!  Along with my entries that were accepted as “Show and Tell” images.   I take that as an honor and a privilege.

7)    What items do you tend to pin?

Colors, textures, outfits, colors that I never even knew would look good together (I am a bit monochromatic with my personal colorings).

8)    How many boards on Pinterest do you have focused for your business?  What types of boards are they?

I don’t have really any that are a focus on my business… but, anyone that knows me knows my passions.

9)    Do you use Instagram for business-related purposes or is it used more for personal use? i.e. Behind the Scenes during shoots, features, etc.

I’ve dabbled in it… I haven’t really noticed that it has made a huge or any difference, so it’s not something I really focus on.

10) How many followers do you have on your social media sites?

  1. Facebook – 467 as of today.  That’s not much compared to a lot of people.  But, I am good with it.

Cindy does such a great job of capturing the emotions in a moment.  


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Photography Equipment & Services Offered-Related Questions:

1)    What is your favorite professional printing lab service?

Ohhhhhh I adore Canvas!

2)    Do you offer packages for your prints and custom services?  If so, what?   

I only offer printed proofs, because I believe in printing those images.  Too many people have them tucked away on a computer or phone and never print or display them… and, well, of course many don’t back them up either but, that’s another topic. I offer all prints Ala Carte and offer custom cards and announcements.   I enjoy the challenge of making my own cards and making them unique in comparison to many that I have seen.

3)    What is your favorite lens to use?  Do you have a “fun” go to lens?

I adore my 70-200 2.8 for nature, my 105macro for my floral, and my 50 1.4 and 1.8 for my little ones.   I like to be close to interact with them and giggle and sing with them.   Oh and I have a horrible voice so most likely they smile or laugh “AT” me.   But, that’s okay.  I’m good with that!

4)    What professional printing lab would you stay away from with a 10-foot poll?

Anything drugstore, mass market or “one-stop-shop” type of establishments.  They do not calibrate and produce horrible results.

5)    Do you rent lenses, camera, or other equipment to try things out?  If yes, what is your favorite rental place?

I have never rented… I knew what I wanted and waited what seems like forever to save for it.  When it comes to lenses and quality there is usually a nice price tag.   But, that also drives me.

6)    What brand of equipment do you primarily shoot with?


7)    What piece of your equipment could you not live without?

My camera and lenses!  Ha!  Or my reflectors.

8)    What piece of equipment do you wish you never would have spent money on?

I still own and don’t regret a purchase.  I watch, read and listen a LOT. I am thankful for being the hesitant purchaser I am. I investigate things to the point that people are asking me months down the road how I like something,  just to find out that I am still pondering it.   So, it takes me at least 6 months of beating my brain and eyes reading to make a decision.   I think that is what has saved me many times.


Yet another great example of Cindy’s work.  


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Photography Marketing-Related Questions:

1)    Have you done any community or charity events to get your name out in your community?  Did it work?

Yes.. I have done some community events and have donated to a lot of charities… I mostly donate nature or automotive images to raffles and charities to auction off and if it’s a local gathering I will usually raffle off a session.

2)    How do you promote your business and do you see success with this?

I am horrible at this part of it, my business exists on word of mouth alone.   I do not advertise other than Facebook.  

3)    How do you go about getting new clients?  If you work on a lot of referrals, do you do anything special for those who have referred you?

I have a referral program for my clients.  They refer and I give a print credit for them to use or save up for a specific item.  This has worked wonderfully over the years as my client base continues to grow. 

4)    Do you offer a lot of specials during the year or special items in order to attract business?

I have never done a “mini-session” or specials.  I will discount items or a session if I feel a special situation may call for it. 

5)    Do you work with a lot of local vendors in cross-marketing?  i.e. caterers, florists, baby stores, etc?

No I don’t… Maybe I should think about the local florist!  I could barter that one!

6)    Do you offer newsletters through website sign-up, such as MailChimp, ConstantContact, etc?  Do you have large mailing lists?  What do you generally use this for?

I had a website sign up and the plug-in failed miserably.   So that is on my list of “to do’s” for my web designer this year. 


Photography Editing-Related Questions:

1)    Do you use Photoshop or Lightroom for post-production?  If both, do you focus more of your time in one or the other?

I am probably an exception … I use Photoshop Elements 10 and 12 and Lightroom together. I haven’t found anything that I can’t do or find a way to work around with these two amazing programs.

2)    Do you use actions and presets as part of your post-production work or do you primarily use hand-editing functions?

I use hand editing and Photoshop actions as a team… I also have a pretty clear understanding of how the two have to work together to understand how an Action, in fact, works.

3)    How do you primarily use actions and presets?  More for simple finishing touches or to really enhance and change a photo?

I mainly use actions… I do very little to my nature… as it is nature.  I typically enhance.   Although, I love to get my creative on and go all out and do over the top!  I love that kind of challenge for myself and my editing skills.

4)    How long have you known about MCP Products and where did you first hear of us?  How long have you been following MCP on social media?

I really can’t tell you how I heard of them.   I have been using MCP’s products for over 3 years pretty exclusively.   I just love the clean workflow that Jodi and her team have created with the products that she offers.

5)    What would you say is your “style” in photography?  How do MCP products help you achieve this? 

I guess I would consider my style to be clean… fresh and alive.. and I would have to say that MCP’s products give me that.

6)    Do you use MCP products?  If so, which ones?  (specify something here regarding free or paid ones)

I have Eye Doctor and Dentist (that was my first), I have all the free ones MCP offers, as well.  Particularly, Blog It Boards are amazingly handy! I have MCP Four Seasons, which I love to mix and match. And the Inspire actions, which I absolutely adore. 

The crazy thing is, I have  purchased other actions sets from other businesses in the past and found that they didn’t play well mixing one set with another… Jodi and her team figured out this formula, apparently, because there is not one action from any given set that doesn’t work with another.   I mix and match my MCP Actions sets quite often and they work and play seamlessly together.  I truly appreciate and am thankful for that.   All the others well… they have been deleted off my editing programs… I truly believe when you have a product you adore you have to remain loyal to it.   I am one of those people that do it ALL or nothing.  icon smile Featured Photographer: Meet the Woman Behind Impromtu Photography


This is an example of a before and after edit that has been shared on the MCP blog before.  Maybe you recognize it!  This is just one of the ways Cindy makes her edits come to life and changes an entire view of the picture through her MCP Actions she mentioned above.


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7)    Do you believe in the ease-of-use and comfort that actions and presets can bring to a photographer’s post-production process?   

Oh my goodness yes!!!!  Ease and production speed!!!!


Photography Fun!

1)    How do you get inspired?  Do you ever feel like you’re just creatively tapped?  How do you get your mojo back after feeling that you’re in a creative slump?

When I am in a slump it is usually because I have lost focus… that is when I will do what I refer to as “shooting for my heart and soul”.   That is usually when my nature and floral come in….It requires me to be alone and have some quiet time… it also requires me to look at things differently.  So in the end I find that it usually grounds me and gives me a different perspective on, not only photography, but life in general.

2)    What was your first experience like as a photographer?  Cringe-worthy or superhero?

I really don’t think that I did badly looking back at it…. I was starting out. I didn’t know much and didn’t have anything along the lines of good software or a good camera.  I did the best that I could with the little knowledge I had and overall, it was a pleasant experience. 

3)    Guilty photography pleasure?  Let us hear it!

My alone time… my shooting for my heart and soul.  Oh and camera straps!! 

4)    What’s the craziest question you’ve been asked as a photographer?  Who can relate?

“Wow that’s a big camera – that’s why you can take such good pictures!!!”

5)    Do you travel a lot and if so, do you tend to photograph a lot when on vacation and blog about it, too?

I don’t travel a lot… but, in the summer I attend Vintage Volkswagen shows with my brother and I love photographing them (even vehicles have personalities) and the nature that is in those locations.  And yes, I do blog about it.

6)    What has been your best experience/biggest accomplishment since you’ve become a photographer?  Critical acclaim, that awesome gift one of your clients got you, being a part of a special family moment – don’t be embarrassed!

I have some amazing clients that give me gifts from their hearts…and some pretty amazing Thank- you cards.  I keep them all!!! I keep them in my office so that I have a daily reminder that not only have they touched my heart, but that I have touched theirs.  I am the lucky one that gets to look at amazing little faces and eyes whenever I need to brighten my day, just by pulling up a session.  That’s the biggest gift to me.

7)    What has been your worst experience since you’ve become a photographer?  Peed on, not paid, client tantrums… let’s hear it!

I have had copyright infringement from a professional writer… I found it very hurtful that they took an image and edited it and used it and yet no acknowledgement for myself.  I learned my lesson to ALWAYS have a contract signed and not to trust everyone.   Because it’s that one minute that can put a tainted thought in your creativity and well-being.

8)    What has been your biggest regret in your photography business that you wish you could have a do-over button for?

I shot for free for a long time and some of those people still expect it to be free… since they have been part of my journey, I often have a difficult time charging them now… even 3 years later.  I wish I would have thought wording and execution of “portfolio” building out a little better.

9)    What is your least favorite part of being a photographer?  Come on… we all have them!

When I have had a client push a child to be a model for hours and hours and that child was done 1/2 hour into the session and I didn’t put my foot down for the child.  I can tell you that now, I do… and I don’t think twice about it.  I will reschedule if necessary … everyone has a bad day, even children!


70 8x12MMDramaCB1 600x978 Featured Photographer: Meet the Woman Behind Impromtu Photography
pin it4 Featured Photographer: Meet the Woman Behind Impromtu Photography


Cindi’s Final Thoughts…

When MCP and Jodi came to me for my first image share… I was out of town.   I had posted it to a MCP’s private group on Facebook … I think at that moment after waking the next morning with all the likes and comments on it, I found myself  and my visions appreciated and validated by other photographers… that is something that I personally hold as an honor and privilege.   Has it changed me… yes… it has pushed me to learn more and more!    

I think we all need that from time to time.  It was and still is an extreme honor to have peers regard one of my images as beautiful or worthy of being shown to hundreds of thousands of people (on Facebook and a website).  

When I started this journey my life was a bit of a mess… I have had some pretty major life altering experiences in my life in the past 5 years that have changed the way that I walk and talk daily… but, more so they have given me a different perspective not only in my life but in my photography.   So… remember that everything that happens in life is a lesson, an experience and an adventure… good or bad it makes us who we are… Who we are then spills into our daily lives and our photography.   We see things differently.   I know that I do… I can see it when looking back at my work of years ago and where I am today.  I have learned to trust my heart more so than ever. 

Each of my photographs hold a little piece of me.   My personal feelings and heart are in each of them.  But, the part that I adore most is handing a Mom, or a young girl, or a Dad their printed proofs and the reactions…smiles, awe’s, and tears… well… that is what I love to do.   And let’s face it there is nothing in this world that can replace holding a printed image in your hands!

Follow Impromptu Photography’s Facebook page at  Impromptu Photography and see her website here.  

Everything You Need to Know About the ALL Powerful Lightroom 5 Radial Filter

You might remember the controversy surrounding this photo. Its beauty and editing potential are so great that we are using it again as an example to illustrate how to use the Lightroom 5 Radial Filter. Thanks again to Dayna Moore for sharing this fabulous image with us!


radial filter edit Everything You Need to Know About the ALL Powerful Lightroom 5 Radial Filter
pin it4 Everything You Need to Know About the ALL Powerful Lightroom 5 Radial Filter

The Radial Filter is a tool that was introduced with Lightroom 5. This filter allows you to apply local adjustments to your image with an elliptical, or oval, shaped mask.

Since we designed the local adjustments included in our Illuminate Lightroom preset collection with this tool in mind, I’ll use them to add lighting effects to this image. (Of course, you can definitely use the local Illuminate presets with either the Graduated Filter or the  Adjustment Brush tools too.)


Taking You Step-by-Step Through In Using the New Radial Filter Tool

Step 1:

To begin, activate the Radial Filter by clicking on it. It’s circled in the image below, just under the histogram.


radial filter Everything You Need to Know About the ALL Powerful Lightroom 5 Radial Filter
pin it4 Everything You Need to Know About the ALL Powerful Lightroom 5 Radial Filter

Next, you can choose a preset from the Effect drop down menu (under the arrow in the screen shot above). Or, you can adjust the sliders (to expand, click on the triangle above the number 76 above) to create the effect you’d like.

Once you’ve dialed in the settings, adjust the Feather slider near the bottom of the Radial Filter panel. A lower Feather will make the edges of your effect harder and crisper. A larger Feather will make for soft and natural transitions between the effect and its surroundings.

To apply the effect, click and drag with your mouse over the part of the image that you don’t want to change. For instance, in this image, I’ve chosen the Deep Blue Blur from the MCP Light local presets because I want to create a vignette effect around the kids, leaving them as is, but deepening and darkening the sky around them.


blue mask radial filter Everything You Need to Know About the ALL Powerful Lightroom 5 Radial Filter
pin it4 Everything You Need to Know About the ALL Powerful Lightroom 5 Radial Filter

You can see the circular shape I drew in the image above.The sky within the circle still has it’s natural orange tone, but the sky around the outside of the image is a deeper and darker blue.

Step 2

My next step will be to emphasize the orange tones around the kids. I click the New button at the top of the Radial Filter panel, and then select the Orange effect from the MCP Illuminate presets. Before drawing I click on the Invert Mask box at the bottom of the panel – an inverted mask has the effect inside it rather than outside.

And now I draw a second oval, similar to the first.


orange mask Everything You Need to Know About the ALL Powerful Lightroom 5 Radial Filter
pin it4 Everything You Need to Know About the ALL Powerful Lightroom 5 Radial Filter

You can see in the screenshot above that I have two pins. Each controls one of the edits I’ve just made. The one with the black dot in the center governs the orange light. The black dot indicates that it’s active for editing.

When  a pin is active for editing, I can make the following changes to the effect:

  • Change any of the effect sliders or select a new preset to fine tune the look
  • Change the size or shape of the oval by clicking and dragging on any of the 4 white boxes on its edge
  • Move the oval by clicking and dragging inside it, but not on the pin itself

And to change the pin that is active for editing, simply click on the one that controls the area you’d like to change.


The Results?

With those two quick edits, I’ve created this edit:


lightroom radial filter before after Everything You Need to Know About the ALL Powerful Lightroom 5 Radial Filter
pin it4 Everything You Need to Know About the ALL Powerful Lightroom 5 Radial Filter

Keep in mind that you can use this tool with any of the local presets included with our preset collections. For instance, InFusion’s Shade makes a great vignette that is more adjustable than Lightroom’s built in vignette feature.

So give Lightroom’s Radial Filter a try, if you haven’t already!

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