Archive of ‘Behind The Scenes’ category

The Swish & Flick

| Behind The Scenes, Posing Tips

Ladies have you ever been frustrated by a strand of hair caught in front of your face in an otherwise lovely picture of yourself? Caty Dunlap Photography’s first posing tip video to the rescue!

This week I took a short video while on location to share some of my posing knowledge. In this video, I’ll describe how to remove any unwanted distractions sticking to your face in your portrait before you even take a picture. I call it the “Swish & flick”. Try it out today. This posing tip works for selfies too.


Can anyone think of what influenced the name of this posing tip?

Check out the CDP gallery for inspiration & examples of families knocking it out of the park!

I don’t know why I choose a sports metaphor. I don’t sport. 😂

Until Next Time,





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Time for an Update

| Behind The Scenes, Let's Get Down To Business

No, not just a blog post but a fresh update on the Caty Dunlap Photography (CDP) brand. A brand is what you offer. It’s not just your name, logo & tag line. It’s the service you provide & how you distinguish yourself from others. Branding is how you create & display your brand.

What Hasn’t Changed

  • From the beginning, CDP has been a people-oriented service. Not a customer-oriented service that separates the consumer from the person within. My clients have come to feel more like my friends. #peoplefirst I live this everyday personally as well as professionally. Celebrate family. Celebrate love. Celebrate life.
  • Portrait sessions are what you make them. Let’s make them fun! You’ll find all over the CDP website & blog the saying “having your portrait taken is only a chore if you make it into one”. I still firmly believe this. It’s like going to church. If your child says “I don’t want to go. Church is boring,” and you respond, “I know but we have to.” How miserable will your whole family be? How will that impact how you feel about the message that day? How will that make you feel about going back?

For tips for portraits with young children check out this blog post:

  • I still believe natural light photography is the best for portraits. It’s not always easy on the photographer but it creates the most flattering, natural images of people & that’s who I do it for.
  • Last, but certainly not least, CDP continues to offer full sized jpegs in every portrait package. Not thumbnails here! This puts my images in my clients’ hands for life without having to make the tough decisions about which portraits to print if your budget is limited. With digital printing rights, each family can print unlimited portraits for years to come or come back to me for professional-grade prints.

What Has Changed

In the 3.5 years since I opened CDP quite a bit. My photography style has evolved into dreamy, light & airy portraits that focus on people, not everything in frame. I decided I want my brand to be more consistent with my photos. I can’t very well recommend picking outfits in natural, muted colors like soft pink & blue with timeless neutrals like cream & heather gray then have bold, hot colors all over my website can I? Lol.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison to see my updated style:


Parts of my old style are still present as you can see but I’m loving the updated quality. To better match what you see in my portraits I’ve updated the CDP colors but most of the other branding elements have remained the same.

You may have already noticed the new paint job in an email, the CDP galleries or social media. Let me know what you think!

Until Next Time,





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Goodbye Old Bio!

| Behind The Scenes, Let's Get Down To Business

Many of us out there are uncomfortable talking about ourselves. I love being around other people but I’m uncomfortable being the center of attention. That’s why you find me behind the camera not in front of it. 😉

For the last 3.5 years my bio has read pretty much the exact same thing. It’s time for an update. So long old bio:

My two biggest passions are my faith & my family. I joke that fotography would be the third “f”. Life passes by quickly & memories are fleeting but photographs can capture those feelings & experiences for years to come. Certain photographs evoke accomplishments or humor while others remind us of the importance of love.

Through the years photography inspired my family to become closer & I hope your family receives the same blessing.

As a full-time registered nurse I adore taking care of sick babies & their families. It felt quite natural to serve families in another capacity, as a part-time portrait photographer. I can’t believe Caty Dunlap Photography opened 3 years ago! I’m incredibly grateful for the support of my family, friends & clients who feel more like friends. God bless you all!

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Can’t you just push a button to make it black & white?

| Editing, FAQs


Yes, almost all editing software or programs to order prints have a button to change a colored image into black & white (B&W). If you like the result, by all means, use it. It’s a quick tool for everyday photographs. But I think you deserve better especially when it comes to your family’s portraits! You deserve to not blend in with the background, to have your child’s skin glow, to have tiny toes pop out of the image. That’s what a professional photographer offers.

Which would you rather? The auto-button:

Or a thoughtfully, transformed image?


For my portrait packages that include a private preview (an in-person consultation & review of your portraits just prior to completion of the portrait package) sometimes I get requests for a black & white copy of a portrait. Absolutely! I will transform your portrait into the black & white image tailored to the style & mood of the original portrait. First, I will return to the originally edited NEF or PDF so when I save the B&W image the quality will not be affected. (Versus editing a jpeg file & then saving a new jpeg file which results in small losses each time you save). Then I convert the image into black & white using the color filter that will best blend certain elements & distinguish others. Contrast, lighting & sharpening may be adjusted to better serve the photograph.


Is all this editing really necessary, you ask? If you think in the old days photographers just pointed-and-clicked, think again. Back when there was only black & white photography photographers chose colored filters to better capture certain aspects of an image. A colored filter darkens the complementary color (red/green, purple/yellow) & lightens anything that is the same color as the filter. These filters were placed over the lens of a camera but now we have the luxury to do this in post-processing. Photographers in the past would also edit their photographs… in a dark room. For example, they used techniques like dodging & burning to lighten or darken different parts of a photograph. Today, we continue the tradition of creating portraits through both technique & processing. In fact, many of the tricks used in a dark room can be found in editing software like Lightroom or Photoshop.

Anyone can take a photo; photographers create photos.

(And anyone can become a photographer who desires it.)


Until Next Time,





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Oops, I Did It Again

| Editing, Maternity Photography

I started to shoot a couple before asking everyone to empty their pockets. My surprise? When I asked the dad-to-be to remove his cell phone from his pocket… he pulled out a pocket Bible! What a strong man of God!



Until Next Time,


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Gasp! The Cell Phone Bulge

| Editing

What do you do when you realize a cell phone sneaks into a shot towards the end of a photoshoot?

Patch tool 1

When working in photoshop there are easily 10 different ways to get a similar result but I like to use the PATCH TOOL. Hightlighted in this picture on the toolbar to the left of the screen is the patch tool. Draw the shape of the object you want to remove making sure to leave clear margins. Depending on your edition of Photoshop you either select “content-aware” before or after hitting the delete key. If a pop of box appears, make sure content-aware is chosen after you hit delete. And voila! The program will take content from it’s surroundings to root out the problem.

patch tool 2

If the first patch tool doesn’t meet your needs sometimes reshaping the patch selection into smaller & smaller segments helps.

As a side note, Lightroom’s SPOT REMOVAL brush works similarly to the patch tool.

Happy editing!



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Great Example of Why I Shoot RAW

| Editing, Family Photography, Maternity Photography

At some point I’ll write a post about shooting in RAW vs JPEG but I want to share a story from tonight now.

I’m trying to cull & edit some maternity portraits from yesterday’s session tonight after a 12 hour shift at the hospital when I come across some UNDERexposed shots. When my youngest nephew Oliver became disinterested in taking photos I started rapidfire captures (where you’re almost taking continuous photos because you don’t know when a toddler will jump out of the shot & you might only catch one smile). At one point I set my camera down to either pull Oliver back in the frame or to catch a dog to my lap…gotta love on-location photography 🙂 . When I resumed shooting it took a couple frames before I realized my flash was off & with the setting sun in the window a flash was required. If I had shot this in JPEG (where you trust your camera’s software to choose things like sharpening & contrast) it would have limited my editing capability afterwards. For many photographers, that’s not much of a loss at all but this picture straight out of camera (SOOC)…


…would have been lost! But since I shot it in RAW it gave me the ability to edit different parts of the exposure to create this image:


And thank God for RAW because that little boy on the right side was done smiling after this.

Until next time,



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Take That Zombies!

| Editing, Website Management

This year I have learned a lot about myself, photography & running a business. I’m kind of embarrassed by what I learned this week. Images shot in RAW (vs JPEG) make HUGE files. This is helpful when clients want lovely, big prints. Here’s the tough lesson I discovered: apparently some programs will compress the image size in order to use less processing memory. When images have already been compressed for web use or were smaller originally (think shot in JPEG) the difference is hardly noticeable. But… when large image files are compressed in these programs it leads to ugly, gray images or zombies as I’ve come to think of them. The following images may be disturbing to some viewers. 😉

zombie 3

I didn’t notice when I updated my blog on my laptop because I have a good computer & a color-accurate program. It wasn’t until I saw my own website on safari on my iPhone or an iPad that I noticed the zombie invasion. Facebook images appeared normal on an iPhone but when the same images were viewed on my website in Safari it looked like a different photo! Here’s a side-by-side comparison from the SAME IPHONE:


Trying to assess the damage & what I’d have to fix I took a look at the rest of my site. I felt a little like Shaun from “Shaun of the Dead”:

I can’t see any. Maybe it’s not as bad as all that… Oh, no. There they are.

zombie 1

Windows does the same image reduction to desktop backgrounds or full screen slideshows.  I wish there was a display option to opt-out of this but sadly, there is not. The solution I’ve found is to compress the image size myself prior to posting to the web. Unfortunately, it takes time to update the larger files I’ve already added prior to this revelation.

zombie 4


Lesson learned! Goodbye zombies! No double tap required.

Until next time,


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