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Editing Dogs in Landscapes

Watch the video tutorial below to edit this image step by step. My process for editing landscapes is a fair bit different to my normal process in that:

  • I don’t shape the light nearly as much
  • I’m a bit more flexible with colour-grading and don’t mind if the dogs get a little coloured
  • I am not obsessing quite as much about drawing attention to the subject (especially through use of light and dark) but instead about creating a balance between the subject and the landscape
  • I may use self-created presets for series of images taken in the same landscape with similar lighting, to speed up the process
  • I make more use of the HSL panel, and the colour grading panel in LR/ACR than I normally do.
DSC04402 DSC04402-Edit

Beware the glow!

Often, when editing our landscape photos, we need to quite dramatically darken the sky, while brightening our subject. Depending on how you do this, it can quite quickly create a glowing white halo around your subjects. If you’re using the adjustment brush to adjust exposures, this glow will be larger and soft. If you’re using “select subject”, it’s likely to be smaller and sharper.

It’s difficult to get rid of this glow without spending a lot of time very precisely adjusting your masks. Therefore I recommend gradually fading your exposure adjustments, using radial filters in a not-too-specific way, and avoiding as much as possible big exposure adjustments between subject and background. Not always possible! 

One way to see the glow is to zoom right out on your photo and look at it thumbnail size. And make sure you come back to it with fresh eyes later on!

Check your masks

Similar to “beware the glow”, do a good, thorough check of your masks if you’re darkening the sky and brightening your subjects, especially if you’re using a “Select Subject” tool. Often, it can miss small bits and pieces (see below example!) and these can look very strange and out of place!

Watch out as well that the new masking features don’t just blur furry parts of your subject, or parts where some fur meets the background and it has a hard time finding the edges. You will want to fix these masks up.

Below: before & after. If you see these blurry edges, just use the brush tool to either add or remove the effect from where it’s blurry.

Mask blurred edges Mask blurred edges 2

Dreaming in Green: Full Tutorial

DSC01244-Pano-2 DSC01244-Pano-2-Edit

This was such a fun little edit! Making a panorama, taking our overly bright photo and deepening those greens, working through so many of my normal process.

Make sure you download the 4 raw files from above. To take this photo, I used my panorama technique which I cover in depth in the Learning Journey. But in this case, I’d gotten a bit too close to Hijinx as I’d only JUST gotten into position but hadn’t framed up the photo yet, and was expecting him to look toward me, when he looked so beautifully to the side and into this lighter, open space. 

I could either forgo the shot and move backward/change my perspective to be lower, and wait for him to look at me to have better composition…

Or I could take the photo with the perfect gazing direction and expression, and take extra photos of the scene to “build out” later in editing. So, that’s what we’re going to do. 

Make sure you check out the step by step editing process that accompanies this video, but remember! You don’t have to do the exact settings as me, with the exact numbers. 

Sample Examples: live session

In this live session, I collected all the wall art samples I’ve ordered over the past 3-4 years, as well as my album and folio box and other small things, to show you what SOME options are that you might want to offer clients. 

This is NOT a definitive list. I have not ordered every product from every company, so ultimately my advice is to see something you think you would like for yourself, and that you find beautiful, and order a sample of it.

Many of the companies listed below do quite large sample discounts especially when you sign up with them for the first time, so order a sample and see if you like it. 

There is no “right or wrong” when it comes to choosing products to sell to clients. If you love a product, you’re more likely to sell it. If you only have it because you think you should… you probably won’t sell it. 

There are also endless ways to go about pricing your products, however one guideline could be:

Cost of Goods Sold (eg., the cost of the raw product) + Shipping * 1.5-3 (for Europe/UK) or up to * 5 for USA + Tax = Cost of the product for the client. 

Professional Print Labs

Keep in mind that not all of these are “professional photographers only” (like Whitewall and Saal Digital) which means your client could theoretically find out the raw price.

Keep in mind as well that this is not an exhaustive list. I’m sure there are many, many more print labs. Feel free to write a comment below of any you have used and can recommend and I’ll be sure to add them to the list.

Many of those in the UK and EU will ship to the UK or EU so don’t rule them out just because they’re located in one place or the other – however do be aware that due to Brexit, there is no longer free trade between the EU and UK so customs fees and charges will apply. I’m sure there are similar things in place for the US & Canada and potentially AUS & NZ.

Similarly, you may be able to order from Graphi, Whitewall etc to the USA, but I have no idea what happens with taxes, customs and so on. You would need to check with those individual companies as some of them have branches overseas (I know Queensbury does, for example).


  • Digitalab
  • Loxely
  • 3xm
  • Nphoto


  • 3XM
  • Saal
  • Nphoto
  • Whitewall
  • Gicleeart
  • Finao
  • Laminamarc


  • Millers
  • Bay photo
  • Frame suite
  • Visionart
  • ACI American colour imaging
  • H&H
  • Floricolor
  • Album crafters
  • WHCC
  • Midsouth


  • Pictorem


  • Graphi (Italy)
  • Whitewall?
  • Queensbury (nz company)


  • Atkins in SA
  • Brilliant prints
  • Streets
  • Seldex
  • Photoking

Editing Toolbox: Reduce Highlights

As always, there’s about 100 ways to do things or fix problems when it comes to editing, so this toolbox goes through a few options for you.

Keep in mind that how effective these methods will be depends on how large the blown out areas are. If you have HUGE white blobs, this is going to be much harder to fix and might be something you look at fixing in camera, on location in future. Bracketing, under-exposing, or using an external light source or reflector could help.

Some options for fixing/reducing blown highlights include:

  • Lower highlights in LR and reduce clarity
  • Copy/paste some bokeh from somewhere else in the background
  • Clone stamp bokeh from somewhere else in the background
  • Use motion blur on the bokeh
  • Use gaussian blur on the bokeh (I recommend you add noise afterwards)
  • Fill in the white spots with the brush tool in a colour from the outside of the bokeh
  • cover the bokeh with a radial gradient, or add haze in Adobe Camera Raw.

Your main goals are probably going to be to:

  • soften the edges of the blown out areas so they aren’t so sharp
  • add some colour so it isn’t so white

Keeping that in mind will help you decide what you want to do, and how to do it with the tools available to you.

Product Photography & UGC

Product photography, and more specifically, User Generated Content (UGC) is really taking off in social media right now.

Thinking about offering product photography or hooking up with brands to do UGC for them can be a GREAT way to earn some additional income by taking photos of your own dog/s. 

Product Photography or Commercial Photography is going to be photos of the product for an ecommerce website usually. Imagine you want to buy a collar or a dog bed. You go to their site, click the product, and view the photos. Someone has taken those photos, and they have a lot to do with whether you make the purchase or continue shopping. 

UGC is generally more for social media, and might show you/your dog using or interacting with the product in a way that feels natural. “Look at my great new harness!”: This content is usually posted on the COMPANY’S social media, and NOT yours. It’s different to a brand partnership or sponsored post arrangement, as you might not have anything further to do with the brand beyond creating content for them. Therefore, it doesn’t matter how many followers you have or if you’re even ON social media, you can create UGC.

The two types are super closely linked so often if you’re taking product photos or videos, you’re also making UGC, depending on the terms of your arrangement and how the content will be used.

For me, I am set up on Fiverr, and have put together a media kit for any companies who contact me through social media, that explains my rates for both sponsored posts on MY channels, as well as UGC. 

I’m not going to go into what to charge in this post! 

But in this interview I did with Erin for Pet Biz Creatives that she’s kindly letting me share with you all, I talk a lot about product photography both from an ecommerce business side, and from a photographer’s side.

If you want more thoughts and info on this option as a revenue stream please let me know on Inspawration Connect and I’ll be happy to share more of my experiences. 

Some of my recent product photos

Layers Flowchart

I’ve been asked a couple of times whether there are lessons or resources on layers, specifically:

  • when to group and hide layers
  • where in the process to do clone/healing layers
  • what the hell is going on with smooshed layers

The problem was, the answer always begins with: “It depends.”

After all, whether or not you turn off layers depends what you have, and what type of layers are there. Where you do your clone stamp depends on what you’ve done already. 

So I made this flow-chart. I’ve tried to cover as many possible editing scenarios as I can think of, and of course some scenarios will have more than one “thing” that you’ve already done or WANT to do.

The important thing is to understand why it might be important to do things in a certain order, so you can make smart decisions about your workflow. I’ve tried to include some explanations as to why I would do things certain ways. 

As this is a Canva whiteboard, I can add or change whatever is there easily, so if you think I’ve missed something, haven’t explained something well, or want something added, let me know in the comments box at the bottom of this lesson. 

You do not need a Canva account to view it, and you can zoom in and out and navigate around. You can also download a .pdf version but it might be more difficult to read and can’t be updated if anything changes – unless you download a new version.

Snow Behind the Scenes

In this 2.5 part series (because the third part is a YouTube video… there IS more footage from this particular day for you guys but it will have to wait until I have time to edit!), my boys and I head out into the woods during a snowy week here in Germany.

I talk about all thing snow related:

  • exposing for highlights
  • what to do with twigs and sticks or having nothing in the foreground
  • snow eyes
  • rules to break when it’s snowy

As well as a TON of general location scouting and shooting advice:

  • how I check a location before my dogs get involved
  • what I’m looking for in a background, foreground, visual interest
  • why some locations work, and some don’t
  • even thoughts on mental health and not feeling like every location needs to be SPECTACULAR – even if I’m cynical and jaded!
So even if you don’t have snow ever, or you’re watching this in the middle of summer, I highly recommend you still watch. I can almost guarantee you’ll enjoy it and learn a thing or two. And if not, you know where the comments box is. 😉

Part 1

Part 2

YouTube Snow Video

Editing Toolbox: Add Snow

In this editing toolbox, we’re going to add snow to the green parts of our image. You can of course add this to any coloured area of your image, it doesn’t have to be green. 

We won’t be adding falling snow. You can learn how to do that in the “Add a snow overlay” lesson here. 

You’re going to need a pretty decent understanding of Photoshop to follow this tutorial.

Note that it DOES take some playing around, experimenting, and redoing the layers and effects to get it to look how you want it to look. Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work immdiately. Use the many tools you have in your toolbox to fix the issues you might have.

For example, in the video, you’ll notice I say that I don’t like the dark corner in the lower right. I later fix this with a curves layer, simply pulling up the curve to lighten that section so it isn’t darker than the rest of the snowy foreground. 

If problems pop up, ask yourself: what tools do I have to fix this?

How to do it:

In this particular case, I started by already separating the yellows and greens with the HSL panel in Lightroom so I could just work on greens. It didn’t really help. 

On an image layer, go to Select > Colour Range.

Use the eyedropper tool to select the colour of the ground/foreground/whatever you want covered in snow. Hold shift and click to add more colours, or click the eyedropper with the + next to it. 

Adjust the fuzziness to soften the edges of your snow and make it less harsh.

Hit ok when you’re happy. Be prepared to revisit this screen. 

Go to the adjustment layers panel (lower right hand corner, where you make curves layers etc), and click “Solid Colour”. Select white. Boom! Snow! 

Let’s make it more natural.

Double click the layer (not the thumbnail) to bring up the blend options.

Move the shadows/blacks arrow of the “Underlying Layer” toward the middle. You may want to split this arrow to better/more gradually blend the effect. To do so, hold option/alt and click the arrow. 

Now, your snow should be looking reasonably good. If not, you might want to make a new selection and try again. 

What you do from here is really up to you!

You might want to make your snow a more blue tint, or you might still have some green that you don’t want there.

Some options to colour the snow include:

  • hue/saturation layer, either very specifically isolate the green tones and desaturate them, or possibly even use the hue slider to shift it toward blue. 
  • gradient map. Make the shadows a more deep blue/purple, and the highlights a pale blue.
  • colour balance: add blues/purples as you want
  • gradient: try making a gradient from one colour to another. In my final image I used one going from a kind of  orange, to pink tone in the top right, to deeper purple.

Affirmation Journal

Our amazing student Robin created this affirmation journal as a way to record the amazing things happening in life, and to give you daily positive affirmations.

She has graciously shared the .pdf with us which you can download below, but as there are 190 pages I highly recommend you pick up a hard copy for yourself from Amazon (and you’re supporting one of your fellow students in the process, woo hoo!)

The Perfect Trap: How Perfectionism hurts Performance: Guest Speaker Kai Simmonds

The Perfect Trap: How Perfectionism hurts Performance: Learn more about  Perfectionism and how it harms more than it helps. We’ll dive through the effects of Perfectionism as well as it roots and some ways to overcome it.


Kai Simmonds Bio:

Kai is Certified Corporate Wellbeing Coach who has spent the last 2.5 years supporting over 100+ clients with anxiety, stress and burnout. She is a Certified Life Purpose Coach, Yoga and Meditation Teacher and Sound Healing and with her combined knowledge is able to help ambitious professionals achieve big goals without burning themselves out. Her mission is to help others learn to live a balanced life full of purpose and joy.

Please help Kai out by leaving her some feedback on this form, once you’ve watched the recording! Not only does this help her improve her workshops, but it can support her business with testimonials, and I’m so grateful that she came in to talk with us, it’s the least we can do.