These days, we all know the controversy over severely PhotoShopped celebrity magazine covers and images. Most of us are pretty familiar with the fact that while many celebrities are gorgeous to begin with, their images are often altered to make them look even more extremely “ideal.” What we see on the cover of a magazine, or in an ad is often so highly retouched that the person almost doesn’t look like themselves anymore.

At Blue Sky’s Studio we don’t believe in making you look like a perfected-plastic version of yourself.

We work with a variety of tools like lighting, camera angles, stylists, makeup artists, and the right setting to make you look your absolute personal best. And sometimes we use PhotoShop to achieve that extra bit that cameras sometimes miss out on.

Let me explain…

We all have bad hair and face days, right? And just because you happened to look tired, or have a big pimple on your cheek on the day of your photography session doesn’t mean that’s what you really look like. We know that.

That’s why we use PhotoShop as another tool to tweak your photos so that they are the best representation of who you are.

Here are some examples of how our expert photo editors adjust lighting, blemishes, pose, alignment and sometimes even swap body parts (your own of course, don’t worry you’ll see) in order to create perfect pictures of you and your family.

Light and Brilliance

Sometimes even with the best lighting tools, the raw images could use a little tweaking. In this before and after image, we adjusted the lighting and a few other features to not only lighten up the image, but bring out the brilliance of our client’s features–especially her eyes. Sometimes the camera just isn’t able to fully capture the glow we can see with our natural eyes.Before and After Headshot Photography

Family Cooperation

If you’ve ever tried to take a group shot, or a family photo, you know how hard it can be to make sure everyone is looking their best. While we have some awesome tricks up our sleeves–even  professional photographers sometimes have trouble making sure everyone looks exactly how they’d like. Not everyone in the shot always looks their best or cooperates–we’re looking at you toddlers. Ha ha.

In those cases we take many variations of the pose and we can then adjust a variety of features to create the perfect group shot. Take this one for example.

In the before image you’ll notice a few subtle adjustments we’ve made, namely we’ve removed the woman in turquoise from the background; we adjusted the awkward angle of the woman on the left’s whose dress made her look larger than she actually was (we know most ladies don’t want that!), and we’ve adjusted several family members poses (just swapped from another version of the same shot, where they looked better), then we even moved the man on the right in just a smidgen closer to his wife. Finally, we tweaked the shadows on the sand to remove the driftwood and make a more uniform, subtle shadow.

Lighting, Drama and Modesty

J Lo isn’t the only one who gets wardrobe malfunctions and there’s no reason you should have to live with those awkward clothing moments in the family photos you hang on your wall. In this senior photo session, our subject’s dress revealed a little more than she preferred, so we tucked her in a little bit, smoothed the way her dress fell and tweaked the lighting to bring out her beautiful glow. We also smoothed out the tiniest of blemishes and evened out skin tone.

Pose Fixes

In this before and after, you’ll notice we adjusted lighting as well, but what you may have also noticed right away is that we also slightly moved the model’s pose so that she wasn’t as hunched over. We also tucked the back of her dress where it was pooching out a little bit.

high school senior girl photography

In this before and after, you’ll notice we also adjusted her shoulder slightly to reduce the appearance of a hunch and lightened up her face and removed a few very minor blemishes or uneven skin tone.

high school seniors photography photoshop


In this comparison, you’ll see we adjusted lighting, but we also edited out the house on the hill and the wrinkles on the woman’s beautiful red dress. We also adjusted her arm pose and waist, ever so slightly. What you might not also be able to see is that we retouched her lipstick a bit as well, as it had rubbed off a little bit during the shoot.


Kids will be Kids

We know one of the secrets to getting great shots of children is taking a ton of photos–the more photos, the more likely we’ll capture the perfect moments.

But what if you have a picture with the perfect pose and setting but one of the kids has a better smile in a different photo? No problem.

As crazy as it sounds we can swap out a head as we did in this before and after example, so that both kids have the beautiful, natural smiles that we want, in the perfect setting and pose.

You see, PhotoShop can be a great tool to adjust lighting, pose, wardrobe and even expressions to provide the best combination and photos that you will cherish for generations, not photos that you’ll look at and think “it’s almost perfect except for that….[fill in the blank].”

Nobody wants that when they are hiring a professional photographer.

We’re committed to helping you and your loved ones look like their best, true selves whether that’s in Orange County family photography, high school seniors photography, or even professional headshot photography. We hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little bit more about how we use PhotoShop to achieve stunning results for our clients.

Want more tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your Orange County photography session? Sign up for our email list! Or visit our full Orange County Photography website.



At Blue Sky’s Studio, we’ve always prioritized making every detail perfect for our clients’ photography sessions. That’s why we hire professional stylists to help you select not only the right wardrobe and accessories, but to coif your hair, and create that picture-perfect makeup look. Here are a few of our secret methods to make you look your best on photo day!

Do you ever look at those photos of celebrities and wonder how much is PhotoShop and how much is just great styling and posing? We get it. And while we do perform tastefully subtle PhotoShop enhancements for some clients (wink, wink), we prefer to make you look your best from the start.

wardrobe details

Pay Attention to the Details

When selecting what to wear for your photography shoot we always recommend a few wardrobe changes for variety, but be sure to notice the details.

Ask yourself: how does it fit? Is it flattering to your body type? Does it feel good on you? Do the armholes fit? Is the hem in the right place. 

Be sure to test each garment, complete with any accessories, or layers you plan on wearing. Take some time to do a 360 view in the mirror to make sure it looks how you want it to. Try different accessories, shoes, skirts, pants, etc. until you find the right combinations.

If you don’t trust your mirror, take selfies or have a friend snap quick photos of you in your outfits so you have a better idea of how it will look for your professional pictures.

Can’t decide? No problem. Bring your wardrobe options to your shoot and our stylist will give you professional advice on which pieces work best.

Natural Blush & the Egg White Facelift

Most women apply blush to their cheeks after they’ve finished their foundation, but did you know that if you do the blush first (a little heavier than you usually would) and then apply foundation, you’ll achieve a more blended, natural look?

Niki Metz, of Jouer, also recommends that you apply egg whites to your face, especially around the eyes, a couple hours before you apply makeup. Then just before it’s time for makeup gently rinse off with warm water. The egg whites have a tightening effect on your facial skin.

Of course, if you’re using our stylist, you won’t need to worry about applying makeup after your faux facelift.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Spanx

Did you know that according to celebrity designer, Rob Zangardi, who styles stars like Jennifer Lopez, Ciara, and Rachel McAdams, that even models wear shape-friendly garments like Spanx?

It’s true! Shapewear helps smooth out your least favorite areas so the camera won’t even know they’re there. Rob also says that the must-have shapewear is the Spanx Short, to tuck in your tummy, hips and thigh areas. Just don’t forget to try it on with your clothing so you know how it will fit.

Prep Your Canvas (aka Your Face)

No matter how great your makeup, it will always look even better when your skin looks its healthiest.prep your face

A week before your shoot, be sure to get good sleep and drink plenty of water.

Don’t get any crazy new facial treatments or products that could potentially cause allergic reactions or discoloration. Also be sure to keep up with your normal skincare regime. And don’t forget to moisturize those lips!

The night before your shoot, avoid alcohol. Even a small amount can make your face a little puffy or dehydrated. And be sure you get a good night’s rest.

The day of the shoot, be sure to arrive makeup-free and ready for our stylist to work her magic!

Tailor It!

Let’s say you found that almost perfect dress or blouse, or jeans, but they’re not quite right. No problem, if you plan ahead.

Don’t be afraid to take it to a tailor or an alterations place and have them nip and tuck the garment so that it fits your body in the most flattering way. It’s a great way to speed up your shopping process too–as long as it can be altered to fit your unique body or style.

How You Feel

How you feel makes all the difference. In the end it’s important to pick a wardrobe that fits who you are. When it comes to completing your look with makeup and hairstyling, be sure to bring some pictures of the type of looks you like. Our stylist will work with you to create a look that feels natural and expresses your best self. dress in what makes you feel good

Bonus tip: We often use Pinterest to create mood or theme boards for different Orange County photography shoots. Even if you never use Pinterest for anything else, we recommend signing up and using their massive database of images to create your own board with the styles that feel like you! Then you can show us your board prior to, or at your session!

Hair Style

Be sure to schedule your hair color update at least a week before your shoot so that the color has time to mellow to it’s best shade and your roots won’t show!

Avoid getting a new hairstyle just before the shoot. And even if you’re just getting a trim, be sure to do it at least a week in advance, again so your hair settles into it’s usual look.

If your hair is on the dry side consider doing a professional deep conditioning a few days before your photography session.

Nail It!

An often overlooked part of your overall style is your hands and fingernails. Be sure to go get a manicure a few days before your shoot. You don’t have to do color, but trimmed cuticles, nails, and moisturized hands create that beautiful finished look in all of your photos.

get a manicure before your photo shoot

We hope you’ve enjoyed these styling tips. It’s always an honor to see the beautiful results our stylists achieve in our Orange County photography sessions.

Learn more about all of our Orange County photography services and book your session today!

I love people photography!  In fact, if I won the lottery, I would be one of those people who continued to do my job, because it is really what I love to do (oh and I would travel all over the world between shoots).  But uncovering how my clients want to be photographed, and always being focused on providing the most amazing portraits that fulfill my clients requirements, can sometimes leave me wanting to do a “just because” photo session.  

That is where styled commercial photography sessions come into play and why they are so important for me to continue to stretch my creativity and develop my photography skills. It also allows me to take a different perspective during the photography session.

For example, last year we decided to do a fun, collaboration styled session with Breathe Autumn Rain jewelry (click on her link to see her amazing jewelry), with makeup by Brittany Norton (brittanynortonartistry) and myself all contributing to a photography session.

We were extremely lucky to get several beautiful girls to volunteer their time to model for us in exchange for providing professional headshots for them.  We all consulted together on wardrobe, overall style and also how to best give everyone involved an opportunity to do something a little different and creative.

For the location we decided to photograph around Laguna Beach and Newport Beach.  The results were that everyone had an opportunity to play, be creative and produce gorgeous images that everyone would be able to use in their portfolio.  Enjoy!






Headshots Orange County:   Is it time to update your personal brand with new portraits that truly represent to your clients who you are and what service you provide?  We would love to work with you to create a custom session that lets your brand message shine.  Check out our new style guide that walks you through everything you need to know to create amazing portraits that get you noticed.

Click an image below to enlarge the style guide:

Orange County Family Photographer: Tips and tricks for getting amazing images of your younger kids.

Top Questions Regarding Kids in a Photography Session:


If your child is at all shy, please be patient. We give them as much time as they (not you or I) need to warm up to me and my camera. It is very rare that even the most apprehensive child doesn’t become my buddy after 20-30 minutes. Eager to please, many parents urge their child(ren) on, and this rarely ever helps. Please allow us to create a bond with your child at their pace. Please give us a little space with your child so they do not feel as though they have to “perform” for you with us.

Please do not answer for your child when we ask him or her a question. We try to bond with them by getting them to talk to us. Often times, we will reach out to “test” your child(ren) to see how they will respond. Depending on their reaction (if they reach back to hold a hand/finger), we will know how to proceed. We like to take time to get to know your child and let them get used to us before we start shooting.

Please please please do not tell your child(ren) to “smile” or say “cheese”. That’s our job. Besides, “cheese” or “smile” is almost always a fake or forced smile. We will get your child(ren) to smile by other measures that create real smiles such as goofy faces, funny stories, talking up their interests, etc…you know, kid stuff!! We’re great at kid stuff (we’re kids at heart)!

We encourage any ideas or props in your session, so have fun with it and get creative! Many parents bring in 1-3 outfits and various accessories such as hats, scarves and jewelry. However, it’s important to keep in mind that changing multiple outfits on younger children usually changes their moods too. We recommend keeping it simple for the younger subjects. They grow up so fast!

Frequently Asked Questions

1) What should my child wear?
A little planning and clothing harmony helps create a better looking portrait. It is important to wear complimentary tones and colors, but matchy/matchy attire is not required. Neutral colors work great in almost all situations, and simple goes a long way. It’s best to avoid busy patterns and prominent logos or writing on clothing. Bright colors, hats, scarves and other accessories work great in the studio, in a field, in a historic district or in an urban shoot. In a group shot, remember all of the clothing should be complimentary. It’s important to remember that children do not like binding or uncomfortable clothing. Bare skin on newborns is classic and timeless. If there is a color/outfit that you LOVE your child in, bring it. We encourage you to bring several clothing and accessory options for a studio shoot. Ultimately, the photography should be about your child and/or your family and the clothing should compliment the shot!

2) How long will the session take?
We take all the time it will require to capture the best expressions and poses (children permitting). It’s important not to rush through a photography session. Most sessions last approximately 30-60 minutes. Some may take longer depending on the purpose/type of session, so it’s important that everyone participating is relaxed and enjoys themselves.

3) My child won’t smile, what should I do?
Let us handle getting your child to smile. We have been photographing children for years and we are very good at getting children to give us genuine smiles. The best way to get great smiles from children in your portraits is by playing games, singing songs, and talking about things they love. Keep in mind though, that some of the best and most favored photographs with many of our clients are the more serious, contemplative expressions of their children. If you notice, a great deal of the classic works by master artists from years ago to modern artists and photographers today capture amazing expressions that are not always smiles.

4) Should I be present during my child’s session?
For older children we usually create the best results when Mom and Dad are not around. For younger children and babies, it’s always best to have a parent present during the session. Both parents can be present, but only one is required.

5) Can we have our dog in the picture?
Pets are always welcome!

6) My child is very shy (or is very active). What should I do?
Nothing other than informing us of your child’s temperment on your Session Consultation Sheet. Your child is coming to a new place with people he/she doesn’t know with various equipment and lights.  It can be overwhelming for some children. The best approach is to be patient. They will warm up to us/settle down at their own time and pace. It’s important not to make a big fuss about the photography session beforehand for children who become anxious about new situations. Kristin or Deseree always begin a child photography session by talking with the parents first. This sends the message to your child that you and Kristin are friends and helps convey safety to your child. Kristin  will then turn to your child and ask them a question. Please let them answer. This is when one of us will offer our hand to see if your child is receptive. It’s important not to rush your child or urge him/her on. We love working with children and want to have you rest assured that we will create beautiful photographs that will last a lifetime!

Taking the time to prepare for your child’s photo shoot will not only make the experience enjoyable for you and your child, but will also help create an environment for amazing photographs for you to treasure forever. 

If you are ready for a session with your little one, just email us the best time of day and we will get you on the schedule at