J&M Lighting Course Filming Recap

I was thrilled when Mary e-mailed me asking if I wanted to pose as a bridesmaid in her and Justin’s new video on lighting! I’ve been a part of a few of their workshops for the past year or so. It’s always so awesome to meet new photographers from all different parts of the country. Plus, every time that I’m a part of one of their workshops I always pick up new pieces of information that I missed the last time!

They chose 5 photographers to come to the workshop and be live audience members during filming. These people asked questions, shared the heart behind their businesses, & practiced the different lighting techniques that they had just learned — ALL while being filmed. Talk about bravery, haha! This approach to an online course is going to be SO great for those who will be tuning in because they’ll be able to experience so much teacher/student interaction.

We ended up filming for around 10 hours yesterday, and let me tell you, this course is JAM packed with such awesome content. Basically, you’ll be getting the in person experience from the comfort of your couch (I went to J&M’s lighting course as an attendee over the summer and it was a TOTAL game changer!). I’m literally so excited to download the course when it’s all finished!

Happy Wednesday 🙂

Tech Tip Tuesday: Batch Editing

When I’m out on location photographing a couple, I’m looking for a spot with 1. great light 2. something in the background other than pure sky that helps to frame the photo 3. pretty architecture if at all possible.

When I find that spot that works, I resist the urge to take only a few photos before moving on to the next location…. as tempting as it is! Whenever I have a posing brain freeze moment, my tendency is to walk around and find a new location while I think about how to pose my couple next. I’ve been working on staying at the same location for a longer amount of time and only switching out my lenses. This gives me a chance to collect my thoughts and get a fresh angle on the same location. And the results of the photos are drastically different!

During an engagement shoot I try to find 3-4 different places at the same location (or two locations!). This gives my couple more than enough variation in their shoot and helps me during the editing process. All of the photos that were taken at the same place are going to have a similar edit with minor adjustments. When I first learned how to copy, paste, and batch edit photos in Lightroom, I was the HAPPIEST camper. My editing time was literally cut in half.

Having 3-4 different locations means only 3-4 different edits. From there, I can copy and paste those edits onto each photo that was taken in the same place. Awesome, huh? I always go through each photo individually to tweak the temperature or brightness, but at least I have a great starting point to work with. Below is how to batch edit photos in Lightroom!

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1. Click on a the photo that you want to batch copy.
2. Hit the command key and click on the photo(s) that you want to edit
3. Then click “sync” at the lower left hand corner of the screen

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This window will pop up after you click “sync.” Make sure that all of the settings that you want checked are checked and then click “synchronize.” All of the edits that you made to that one original photo will be copied and pasted to all of the photos that you selected.

Happy Tuesday 🙂


Tech Tip Tuesday: Why Deleting My E-mail App Has Made ALL of the Difference

You know when you try to snap a picture on your iPhone and you get an error message that says that the picture can’t be taken because there isn’t enough storage on your phone? I groan literally every time that comes up and start deleting all of the apps that are taking up the most amount of storage, haha! The last time this happened to me was about a month ago, and one of the apps to go was the one for my work e-mail. This happened to me on a weekend, and I figured I would re download the app as soon as I got home and after I took all of the photos off of my phone. And if I really REALLY got the urge to check, I could just login through Safari. But a funny thing happened that day….

Since the app was no longer there, I stopped checking my e-mail. Ok, by now I’m sure you’re thinking, well duhhhhh…. but this was HUGE for me. I used to check my phone e-mail at least once every hour just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything important. I even had a “ding” sound that my phone would make every time an e-mail came in because I felt like I had to respond immediately — and it was SO distracting! During the work week, I would stop what I was working on to respond right away. And during my down time I was finding myself ignoring family and friends because I was literally attached to my phone at the hip. Not cool!

Needless to say, I never re downloaded the app. Now I’ve set designated times that I check my e-mail — usually 3-4 times a day. I still do check once after work hours and a couple of times on the weekends just because I like to stay in the know. But I’m slowly learning that it’s ok not to respond back within minutes of receiving an e-mail. Better yet, it is so nice to not have my phone acting as a constant reminder and distraction through out the day. Love me some sanity, haha!

Editing Consistency is Key

I didn’t think much about having a photography editing style until I started photographing weddings. That’s when I really started to see how other photographers would edit their photographs and really make them their own. I was amazed at all of the different styles that I saw — dark & moody, highly saturated, light & airy, the list goes on! In my photography classes back in college, I would edit to make sure that the colors and exposure were true to what they looked like in real life. While my editing style was definitely consistent, it was really my subject matter that made my work recognizable as being a “Tori picture,” haha!

My editing process has changed since I started using Lightroom a couple of years ago, but my primary concern while editing has stayed the same. I’m always checking to make sure that my colors + exposure are reflective of what everything actually looked like when I took the picture. That being said, I tend to be on the brighter side and I like my greens to be ever so slightly film-y.

While I was editing a portrait session a few nights back and I decided to try something different with my greens and overall saturated for one of the photos just for fun. I love muted photographs where the lighting is soft, and I’m obsessed with green that have been slightly desaturated. This combination makes for some beautiful photos.

But it didn’t feel right because that’s not my style.

My colors have always fallen on the more saturated side (although I rarely bump up the saturation!). I’m drawn to bright colors and images with a punch of contrast in my own work. But so are my clients. That’s why they’ve hired me! If I had a portrait session and delivered work that didn’t look like anything that I’ve ever produced before, there’s no doubt that they’d wonder what happened. By producing consistently edited work over and over again, you’re showing potential clients your authentic editing style. You’re teaching them to trust you and the work that you’re going to produce for them. There’s no guessing game as to how their photos will look if you commit to one style time and time again.

Happy Thursday 🙂


Tech Tip Tuesday: Editing for Wedding Dresses in Color & B&W

Hey there, friends and happy Tuesday! Today’s blog post is going to be short and sweet. I used this editing tip during my B&W film class days back in college and it helped me to get a better handle on my colors & temperatures — and now, it helps me with my color + B&W digital work!

I have a blank Word document saved on my desktop that I pull up when I’m editing on Lightroom or Photoshop. Whenever I feel like the colors are looking off, I open the document and drag it over next to the bride. This helps me see if the dress is looking like it’s a color other than pure white (or blush, ivory, etc.). When the sliders are a little off, the dress can start to look yellow, blue/gray, magenta, or green. It’s almost always a very slight adjustment, and moving the sliders up or down literally a couple of notches makes all of the difference.

As far as black and whites go, I was taught that a black and white has to have the blackest black, the whitest white, and every gray scale tone in between — obviously editing is a personal preference, but approaching B&W’s this way stuck with me and turned into my style! Sometimes my B&W’s would end up looking muddy because all of my tones were landing in the gray zone area and didn’t have pure white or black. In other words, they were lacking contrast! Pulling up a white document and pulling it over to a B&W image that I’m editing has helped SO much in pulling me out of the muddy gray zone and finding the pure colors. Hope this helps 🙂

1 Simple Way to Add Hashtags on Instagram

Using hashtags on your Instagram posts is a such a great way to drive traffic to your page and to generate potential business! I’ve gotten lots of inquiries from people that have found my work through Instagram. I love to use local hashtags such as #njweddingphotographer, as well as super popular ones like #stylemepretty or #theknot.

I have 5 different categories that I continuously post on Instagram. These include travel, couples/engagements/weddings, seniors/portraits, & myself/Ryan. I copy and paste the hashtags from a note in my phone and post them in a comment beneath my caption. It’s so much easier than typing out the hashtags each time I post a new photo! Each category in my note is listed with all of the specific hashtags underneath. It looks a little something like this:

I also always include five bullet points above the hashtags. When you copy and paste the five bullet points along with the hashtags into a comment below the caption, it makes the hashtags “invisible.” So, you’ll still see “toripetrillo […]” beneath your caption as if you made a new comment, but you won’t see the icky hashtags that follow. And now, when someone else posts a comment on your photo, the hashtag comment that you made will be hidden by the new comment.

Happy Wednesday!

What Makes Your Business Stand Out?

Over the past couple of days I’ve listened to the Turn it Up conference (as well as others!) to learn from some world renowned photographers. The amount of insight has been nothing short of incredible — I’ve been taking notes like crazy! Listening to these talks got me thinking about my own business and the changes that I could make for improvement and to make it stand out in a crowd.

There are hundreds of photographers in my area, thousands in my state, and a countless amount of others in the rest of the country. Talk about a saturated market! All of these photographers offer the same service that I do and lots of them have just as much talent. So the question then becomes, how do you stick out to potential clients in the sea of photographers? What makes them choose you over the others in your area? What makes your business and the things that you offer special?

I can think of two big ways that my services may differ from other photographers in my area. The first being that I’m a shoot and share photographer. Depending on the type of session, I give my clients a certain amount of edited images through an online gallery as well as a print release. I don’t do in person sales. By not doing this, I know that I’m missing out on additional profit that I could be making… but in person sales just aren’t my thing. I would rather focus all of my attention on my clients and their experience. When you book with Tori Petrillo Photography, you will always be communicating and working with me. My business is a one woman show! My goal is to take on a certain amount of clients each year (not quite there yet!) because (well, it is only me, haha!) I want to be able to give each couple a unique client experience. The more clients I take on, the less personal it becomes, and I just don’t want to run my business that way.

One of the major ways to make your business stand out in a crowd is to share more of YOU! You have a unique personality that is unlike anyone else. Use that to your advantage! Tell us about your likes and dislikes. Share a funny snippet on Instagram about your day. Trust me, people do care! Do you remember being in elementary school and stopping to listen when your teacher would share something that happened to her the night before in her personal life? Hopefully that wasn’t just me, haha! People LOVE learning about the person behind the camera — not just seeing a perfectly curated portfolio (though that is important to showcase too!). If nothing else, sharing more of you helps to make points of connection for potential and ideal clients. She loves row homes?! I love row homes too! And all of us photographers out there know how seamlessly a session comes together when we click with our clients and have similar interests 🙂

Happy Wednesday!