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We all know last Saturday was a rainy day, but I’ve never experienced a wedding day quite like this one. From the time we arrived to about an hour before we left, it rained HARD. There was no let-up. But as all the vendors were trying to go out of there way to make sure everything they COULD control went well, Cameron brought tears to my eyes when I overheard her say, “I’m having a GREAT time!!” As if to say – rain shmain – I’m married! She was quick to make decisions that were hard ones. Move the ceremony inside. Move the reception into a different room that isn’t pure mud. Rearrange the entire timeline on the drop of a hat. I’ve never been a part of a wedding day with so many moving parts! And I write this to say that this couple handled it with such grace and positivity. This characteristic is why I know their marriage is going to be so beautiful. Up for and ready for anything. Adventurers. Laughter. A “This too shall pass,” way about them. What could have been a miserable day, was NOT. It was gorgeous and happy and fun – I was so excited to be a part of it! Cheers to this couple and the vendors who made it all happen!

Venue | Inn at Perry Cabin
Planner | Eden Events
Hair and Makeup | Serendipity Salon
DJ | Josh Rhett, mydeejay
Dress | Amy Kuchel

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If you’ve ever seen someone tune a violin, you know that there are two places to tune the instrument. There are the huge knobs on at the end of the neck, and the little tiny knobs down by where you hold the instrument near your chin. The difference between the two is a matter of “fine tuning.” The larger knobs are for the large changes, and once you get it about right, you go down and tune using the little tiny knobs. It helps get the instrument JUST right.

Well, there are two places you can adjust the exposure in Lightroom on an image. How to you know which one to use and when? It’s very similar to that violin. In the Basic Panel, there is a slider for Exposure. This is your large knob. It’s slightly more intelligent and will get you to the point of, “That’s about right!” In the Custom Tone Curve, you can really fine tune your exposure. I’ve broken down my standard preset from the my original Before/After post to share the individual changes. The “before” photo below is the image edited with everything except my exposure. The after photo is with the addition of the Exposure slider in the Basic window.

And now hover over to see the final image with the addition of the fine tuning of the tone curve. I like how I have the power to keep the black point where I want it, but make the skin come alive. In that way, curves are a powerful way to add contrast as well as additional exposure…but that’s another day!

I have two more notes on this topic. 1. In no way is this the only way to edit a photo. Everyone has a different technique and method to this madness. This is how I view and use Lightroom, and I hope it helps at least one person! 2. It really helps to nail your image in camera. Because this isn’t a before or after on SHOOTING for exposure, I won’t spend time on this point, but that is key to make your editing process fast and easy.

I would love to hear your questions! Comment below if you have any!

I’m so thrilled to be blogging this wedding. I’ve been looking forward to photographing these two since they emailed me. I knew Doug in college, and when I met Katie, I was all… we HAVE to be friends. I’ve never met two more steady and trusting people. We all know wedding days always have something unexpected, and last Saturday had three severe thunderstorms roll through RIGHT at pivotal moments. The first look, bridal party portraits, and the ceremony were all adjusted, but Katie and Doug took it in stride. No tears, no visible stress – just joy. Joy because no matter what the sky did, the heavens were celebrating their union. Can I get an amen?

Planning + Event Design | Leigh Pearce Weddings
Venue | Adaumont Farm
Caterer | Painted Plate
Florist | Just Priceless
Videography | K2 Productions
Ceremony Music | Rob Massengale Entertainment
DJ | Mario, DJ Complex NC
Rentals: Party Reflections,  PartymakersLa Tavola
Lighting | Kenneth Eller
Vintage Car | Fantasy Limo
Bakery: Elizabeth Ann Pastry
Hair + Makeup | Carla White

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I said, “Ok, let’s move out of the field.” But Doug and Katie decided to share mid-portrait prayer. I love how grounded and sweet these two are!

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Thankfully Katie and Doug made it to shelter before the storm, but the rest of us were NOT so lucky. I had to put this photo in – too bad it doesn’t highlight the sideways rain and lightning!!!

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  • This is an incredible wedding, Ali!! I love every photo!!ReplyCancel

  • These are so gorgeous! Definitely some of your best work. I love the picture of the bride looking out of the car as well as the picture of the car in front of the pond with the stormy clouds in the sky.ReplyCancel

The Lord blessed me when he gave me a husband with the birthday of 8-8-88. As all of my friends can attest, I am the worst a remembering birthdays. I’m humbled every year on mine when I receive text messages from people who I haven’t talked to in forever wishing me a happy birthday. So, I also have a little anxiety about remembering other dates. Thankfully, Chad and I share an anniversary with my parents, so I usually remember that one… but I thought I’d write down our “dates” for reference.

August 18 2007 | Weekend We Met | IV Leadership Retreat
December 8, 2007 | Asked Me Out | Melrose Dance
February 9, 2008 | Started Dating | Winter Retreat
February 27, 2010 | Proposed | Virginia Beach
October 24, 2010 | Married | Bristow Manor

In researching all of these dates, I realized a few things. God has used InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in my life more than I know! IV is where I was introduced to Evangelical Christianity, and where I met my husband. Not only where we met, but our first real date was an InterVarsity dance, and we started dating at an InterVarsity conference! The proposal and marriage we did on our own, but what a testimony! Also, we seem to be fall/winter heavy with our big events. What does that mean? And finally, VIRGNIA has been very good to us. No matter where life takes us, this state has our history locked in!

Anyway, I’m glad to have spent the time looking up these dates. Most of them probably won’t be celebrated, but it’s fun to be able to look back and say, “about this time of year was when we were dancing for the first time!”

View More: © Annamarie Akins

  • Have you ever posted the story about how Chad proposed!? I would love to hear it!ReplyCancel

    • Ali

      ahh! yes – if you search “our story” you can find it! it’s a 3 part blog reading adventure :) ReplyCancel

  • That image is so heavenly. The LIGHT is just perfect.ReplyCancel

For so long I struggled to find my editing style. I listened to many people’s talks about “finding your style,” and believe me, I took copious notes! I just didn’t know if what I was doing was visually appealing! So, I would pull up other photographer’s blogs and compare my images to theirs. Is the color the same? Contrast? Black point? Etc? I would also change the look of my photos at least 8 times during a wedding season, editing almost every wedding differently from the last.

I decided that I would make a change last year. I needed to not only develop a classic style that could last over time, but I needed make my workflow less stressful. Beating myself up over the fact that my images didn’t look like someone else’s was getting old and draining. So, I pulled a well exposed image into Lightroom and I edited it the way I liked. I spent time on it, trying different things – some new, some old. And then I made a preset. And from then on, I applied that preset to EVERY IMAGE I brought into Lightroom.

Hover over the Straight Out Of Camera [SOOC] image to see my basic preset applied. [Note that if you are on a mobile device, this feature may not be available to you!]

As you can see, this image changes a ton! But I didn’t spend ANY time editing this photo. I applied the preset at import and BAM. Over the past two seasons, I’ve updated my preset only twice, and the changes were minimal. Having said that, my preset does not alter anything that can’t be applied to every image. If I have a perfect image, I don’t need to change any of the things listed below! In my preset, there are no changes in:

  • temperature
  • crop
  • split toning
  • lens corrections beyond “Profile Corrections”

Having an “AlisandraPhoto” preset is something that has taken so much time off of my editing, and I can honestly say that I feel like I have an editing style! Now, for preference sake, I dropped the color temperature of the image a smidge, and it was ready to export. See the final image below! I set up this photo below and had Caroline snap it! This is how excited I was about having my own preset…