How to Create a Matte Finish in Lightroom 5 Using 1 Simple Tool

Ashli -Pinterest cover
Hair, makeup and styling,: Me, duh. Model: Ashli

Today my goal was to figure out how to create a matte finish in light room without having to purchase a “matte finish” preset. Turns out it’s super easy. Here is the step by step on how to do it, and a few more photos of my beautiful  model Ashli.

I love the look of the matte finish. I feel that combined with a slight over exposure gives photos an “early morning” feeling. It’s clean and easy on the eye.

I took Ashli’s photo next to a West facing window (this was all we had to work with).  I uploaded all photos, flagged those I liked and began the edit. As I continue on this journey, I am learning that less is more with editing- especially when it comes to people and faces. I got lucky that Ashli is such a natural beauty- minimal editing besides basic adjustments in Lightroom. Below is a before and after, with the steps I followed to achieve this look.

SOOC(Left): ISO 800, f 4.5, SS 1.40
SOOC(Left): ISO 800, f 4.5, SS 1.40

I almost always begin my edit with a crop, and both of these images have been cropped.

Next, I went in and made my basic adjustments to the photo. As you can probably tell, I like my photos slightly over exposed to give them a bright, luminous feel.

  • Temp: +4
  • Exp: +.70
  • Tint: -53
  • Saturation:-46

Ok. Now that your basic edit is finished, go to your “Tone” curve while still in the “Develop” module. It should look like this:

Screen Shot 2015-01-03 at 9.08.08 PM In the bottom left corner of the box, there is a small circle. As you can see, I’ve moved the circle up along the left axis to the top of the grid square. In addition to “mattifying” the photo, it also increased the exposure slightly, which was ok with me. That was it, VOILA!

I used this technique on almost all photos from this shoot, as you can use it to layer like any other tool. After this step, although the photo didn’t really need a preset, I decided to look through them anyway. I had been using the preset “RJ Cinema” from (Here is a link for 100 free presets from this site, including the ones I’ve used on these photos.)

So here, I also added a preset, because I was really digging the look. All photos below have basic light room modifications, the tone curve modified, and one of the RJCinema presets from the link above.

Feel free to post your photos trying this trick- I’d love to see how they turn out for you. Enjoy!

I think this one is my fave!
I think this one is my fave! (Reminds me a little of Kendall Jenner here .)

Ashli - RJ cinema4


Uppin’ That #selfie Game

While cruisin’ arount Pinterest this morning, looking through all the photography tips and tricks, I came across a pin entitled:

101 Extraordinary Self-Portrait Ideas to Spice Up Your Facebook Profile

It intrigued me. While “spicing up my facebook profile” is not my primary concern, I was interested in seeing other photographers’ “selfies.” (Check out the link above).  Being overly self critical, it’s not often I take (or anyone takes) a photo of myself that I deem “post-worthy.” “DELETE!!!!” I usually scream.

I would like to be able to take better photos of myself for my blog. Looking through the photos, I thought- “ok- I have the tools to do this, too. I can at least get one decent shot.”  1. I have a camera. 2. I have a tripod. 3. I have a self timer. “What the hell. . .” I thought. I’m going to give it a whirl.

I went upstairs to my make-shift studio (a spare bedroom) and set the tripod up in the window seat. I cant stress enough how much easier taking photos can be when you have NATURAL LIGHT!!! ( I took these at about 2:30 in the afternoon, next to a West facing window). Find a window! I am embarrassed to admit that I don’t know how many photos I took- because I deleted them as I went. Sneering at a lazy eye here, growling at my nose in others. I’m willing to bet I took at least 50? And out of those 50 I only “approved” three. WAH WAH WAH. . .

Anywhoo- here they are:

Canon Rebel T3: 50 mm f 3.2, ss 1/100, ISO 200
Canon Rebel T3: 50 mm f 3.2, ss 1/100, ISO 200

I did minimal adjustments in Lightroom 5. I did a teensy bit of eye enhancement and and upped the exposure to 1.10. I also added a tad of airbrushing in Picmonkey. Pick monkey is uber user friendly and I like to use it for portrait “touch ups” on the face. Of course you can use lightroom or photoshop, but if you’re a beginner I think Picmonkey is an easier route.

I also found  a link on Pinterest for 100 Free Presets, from Camera Stupid, that I’ve been playing with. I used them on these photos.

I’ve really been eyeballing the packages from Pretty Presets for Lightroom. Literally drooling. It’s like any minute, I’ll give in and press the button! Has anyone purchased from them? What are your thoughts?

50 mm, f 3.2, ISO 200 ss 1/100
50 mm, f 3.2, ISO 200 ss 1/100

selfie 3 Obviously, the composition on this last photo isn’t great. I just wanted to see if I could actually use the self time and produce some results that I liked. All in all, I think I’m slowly but surely improving- and having fun along the way!

Until my next camera project, bloggin’ friends. . .

xo Kelli

Inside the Studio 2014: A Holiday Recap

baby collage holiday 2December kicked off my first real efforts at photography- and I have to say- not too shabby! I’ve learned a lot about lighting, composition, and the ins and outs of my camera itself.

I can’t wait until Spring and warmer weather to get a bit more creative with the outdoors, but for now I’m ready to start booking for Valentine’s Day shoots, babies and boudoir!

Here are a few photos of the holiday shoots with these adorable cutie patooties. (Thanks mommies for putting your trust in me and letting me be the lucky lady to capture their smiles!)

davis CollageFirst we have Davis. I am absolutely in love with his Santa photos, and who doesn’t love a blue eyed babe in IU coveralls? He was such an angel the entire time!

rya collageIt took us a while to get Rya warmed up, but after we bribed her with a few M&M’s and sat her up in the window seat, she was happy as a clam. I loved her enthusiasm for the photo booth props! I find that the natural light from this window is much more preferable than the studio lighting I have in that room. While I have a decent little set up, natural light is where it’s at!

reign CollageI CANNOT wait to photograph this babe again! Her momma and I have already talked about a whimsical meadow set up with lots of adorable props for the Spring. Reign was super curious about all the props, but we finally got a few smiles out of her. I’ve captioned the one on the right “Santa brought me what!?!”

Last but not least, click here to see inside Lola’s Holiday shoot with a few more photos!

If anyone is interested in shooting with me or have some creative ideas for a shoot, please email me at If  interested in seeing the props used or the set up for the holiday shoots, let me know!

Inside the studio: Lola’s Holiday Shoot 2014

Lola  cover photo

As my photography journey continues, I’ve decided I need some good lookin’ people to practice on and who better than this little angel? I’ve been working on a small studio in a spare bedroom in my home, and thought I could possibly do some photos with little Miss Lola. Her mother is one of my best friends, and I hadn’t seen any holiday photos of Lola thus far into the season-so, I took the opportunity and asked her momma if I could be the one to do the shoot.

Poor Lola was teething and a little confused as to why we were shaking a stuffed moose, making fart noises and draping her in Christmas lights- but she was a good sport. Bless her little heart! Here are a few photos from the shoot.


Seriously- How adorable is she?!
Seriously- How adorable is she?!
Those baby blues!
Those baby blues!

Lola 2

And last but not least. . . (I thought the one with the garland would be cute for a Christmas card- leaving enough room in between the garland and the baby’s head for some text!)

lola 4

My Next photo-related post will be on some DIY Christmas backdrops. Get ready to have your kitchen table strewn with craft supplies! (Not all of them are shown in this post because I didn’t chose to share any of the photos that included them!) Hopefully I’ll have some more photos of these little holiday babes in which you can see them soon!

So, while I know there is room for improvement, I’m happy considering this is one of my first shoots. (But then again it’s easing photography some one so cute!)

Happy Holiday’s ya patooties!

Let me know if you or anyone you know is interested in photos.

My First Boudoir Sesh as a Wanna Be Photog . . .

When I started this blog, I looked around at other blogs via pinterest and WordPress. My photos skills were and are lacking to say the least. ( I like to use the word “sucky”.) I was so fortunate to stumble across a great deal on a nice camera (Canon Rebel T3i) (nice for me , especially as a beginner) and start my photo journey. The goal was-and still is to take better photos for my blog. I started out wanting to take better photos of my food and my “ootds”, but if thought it would be best to do some practicing first.

So far I’ve taken a few pictures of babies (willing) and friends (I had to force them.) Then, recently, I had a stroke of luck and a friend wanted to do a boudoir shoot so she could make a sexy photo book for her man’s birthday. HOT DAMN! (She’s always doing sexy little things like this, making me feel like the most awkward boring girlfriend in the world. I want to be like her when I grow up). She asked me to do the photos because I would, being a beginner and her friend, of course-do them for free.

We chose a day and had a makeup artist friend do her makeup, and used a vacant apartment next to her as the “studio”. At this point I only had the natural light coming in from a North facing window- but this window was huge, and a blessing for someone who knows nothing about indoor/studio lighting thus far. I give any and all credit of these photos to the beautiful model, the window’s natural light, and the nice open space we had to use.

Here are two of my favorite photos we ended up with: (I would love some input- but please be kind! This was my first time ever taking portraits! I am still learning how to use my camera. Please comment with resources, tips and tricks! Also, I have cropped the photos down a lot for privacy of the model, so theses photos are not in original proportion.)

Here goes nothing- (is it silly I’m nervous for other people to see these and give their two cents? I’m not even the one in the photos!!)

Krista 24-bw

I would also like to toot my own horn and say that this particular subject, is the most self-critical person (besides myself) that I know. She tends to hate every picture of herself, and I was completely prepared for her to say she didn’t like any of the photos and to scrap them all. I ended up sending over about 55 photos (a black/white and color version of each) and SHE ACTUALLY LIKED 22 of them. I was flabbergasted- I guess her opinion boosted my photo-kills ego a little bit. But come on- she’s beautiful with a killer body!! Who wouldn’t like these photos?

Overall, I had so much fun with this project. I got do to the models hair, and style all her photos. I was present taking photos for the make-up artists portfolio, and we shared a bottle of champagne as Lil’ Wayne and Nikki Minaj blasted. Um, can this be my every day? This would be my dream job- hair, makeup, styling, champagne and photos! This was an amazing outlet for my creativity (although these photos my seem simplistic to you- I think putting the “look” together is half of the photo’s success.) Hopefully, IF I get good enough, I’ll be able to do this more often! It was such a fun girls day!!!

Ok, now I guess it’s time for your critiques and suggestions. Bring it on photo friends! (Again, please be kind as I AM BRAND NEW!)

xo Kelli