She moves too fast now…this would have been a cute shot had I got her eyes in focus and the exposure correct.

I knew it was beyond repair, but I thought I’d play just in case. I get asked a lot about post processing. I love to play with my pictures in Photoshop, but my goal is to get each picture correct in the camera. It doesn’t matter how great your photo editing software is – you can’t make a bad shot good. You can make a good shot great and a great shot incredible. That is why correct focus and exposure is crucial.

Here are some examples of using different programs to try and improve this shot.

Some people would consider this a ‘keeper’ after a little tweaking on the computer…I however will delete it. I can’t get past her eyes being so out of focus. If only she had moved slower, I can get over the underexposure, but the fuzzy eyes…just can’t.

And here is one from that same time, but with eyes in focus…ahhh much better.

Bottom Line –  photo editing software is an amazingly wonderful tool to enhance what you capture with a digital camera, but photo editing software isn’t a cure all for every picture. By aiming to get it right in your camera first you can then use photo editing software to enhance what you already have insteading of depending on it to ‘fix’ everything.

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  • annie - AMEN! I agree totally – my goal when I photograph anything (I’m not a professional photographer) is to love what comes out of the camera. period. I have photoshop- it can do wonderful things – but I don’t want to spend all my time tweaking and fiddle-farting. Thanks for posting this – I think people rely on software so much- rather than focusing on truly what’s going into the camera.Thanks!

  • Lindsay - Oh I am with you there. You would probably always look at that picture and have a pit in your stomach. Not worth it. Focus is key!

  • Anna Joy - Thanks for the tip! I always try to get it right on my camera the first time since I don’t have photoshop…glad to know that that was the right thing to do!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Thank you so much for that tip! Someone told me one time “if it ain’t tight, it ain’t right…” (Was that you?!). Such a great reminder…

  • stylefyles - I agree with you about the out of focus eyes…even your lightroom shot, which gave the entire photo a sort of hazy, soft look, still didn’t do it for me. But that last photo….is great!

  • Ang - Rooke was so excited to look at this post with me! He didn’t really understand the photo tip, but was pretty pumped to see so many pictures of Little Sister!

  • the inadvertent farmer - Photo-editing programs are like a really great swimsuit…they can only do so much. There are time that even a miraclesuit will not cover those thighs…not that I know anything about that…ahem.

  • Jill E. - sadly beyond the truth. i wish sometimes so much i could change the focus on my shots. that is my biggest challenge.

Here is another idea for something fun to do this summer….

Step 1: Go to your local nursery (or anywhere that sells flowers & planting pots)

Step 2: Let the kids pick out flowers.

We needed four.

He had to count to make sure we had four.

He was very gentle and protective of his four plants.

Step 3: Paint pots to plant the flowers in. I used terracotta plants, spray painted them white, the boys paint with craft paint, then topped it off with a clear acrylic sealer. Our pots are too small for long term for the plants we chose.

Step 4: Plant your flowers in the pots.

Step 5: Water and clean off the outside of the pot.

Step 6: Give them away. The boys chose to give theirs to their great grandma (pictured) and two widows that live nearby. Our neighbor made one too for her mom.

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  • Amy - what a sweet idea!

  • Yanet - What a 2-for-one idea! Entertains the kids + it gives someone a nice smile. :•) Your little boy seems to have the sweetest disposition.

  • Asha - What I love about you is that you don’t sit home on your butt with four kids, you actually get out and do things. You are so inspiring!

  • Shannon - What a perfect idea! Something so simple but will bring so much joy to all involved. Totally writing this one on the calendar! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • anne c - so precious! great idea! you make me want a bunch of BOYS! your boys seem so sweet and caring…and that is b/c you are a great mommy Ashley! thankful to know that there are boys being raised to be humble, caring, thoughtful, Godly men..for my Kate one day :)

  • robyn - love this idea. your so thoughtful with your boys. i tend to get all the work done and feel a smidge selfish with their projects and want to keep them.

  • ~abi~ - i love all your generous craft ideas!!!

  • Sophie - Such a sweet idea! And your boys are so adorable and thoughtful. They’re going to be true gentlemen (:

  • Balancing Everything » Plant & Give - […] love this idea, plant and give this summer. ← Homeschool Swim […]

  • ~Kim - Ok, can we go ahead and arrange the marriage of our kids? I have a four year old little girl and you have a four year old little boy. Let’s say in about 20-25 years? SUCH SWEETNESS you are raising. Thank you so much for being such a wonderful mommy AND for sharing it with all of us! : )

  • D'On - What a sweet idea! I may have to do that this summer.

  • BlueEyedYonder - What an incredibly thoughful idea! I was humming along through the pictures thinking “How sweet decorated pots”, then you threw in the whole “give them away” part. It caught me by surprise in a great way. What a beautiful life lesson to teach your boys.

  • cristina - what an awesome idea. what a great way to keep the kids busy and teach them the power of giving :)

  • Natalie - What a fun and thoughtful gift! I’m sure your boys will remember this for years to come. What a good mom you are for doing this with them :)

  • Ashey McWhorter - What a wonderful idea to do with my 3 children. Thank you!! :)

  • Erica - Aww. What a wonderful idea! I love it! I may have to steal your idea. I love the pictures.

  • Tysha - I love this idea! I wish someone who lived closer to my grandmother than I do would bring her a pretty painted flower and pot! We will have to do some for the grandmother’s around here who’s grandkids live too far away to do it… 😉 Thanks!

  • ASH - The picture of him holding the plant with his eyes closed reminds me of my cute lil cousin. This was a great idea for kids to do!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh, I LOVE it! What a wonderful idea!

  • lifeologia - How Perfect. It teaches about planting, caring for plants, not to mention giving, loving, working together – and counting – I could go on and on.
    I will have to try this with my little one this summer too. 😉

  • MelissaM - I love this, Ashley! I’m going to do this after my baby is born with my 2 yr/old for her great grandparents. Thank you for sharing!

  • Renae - I’m looking at your photos and wonder if something is wrong with me or my camera? Every photo you shoot is so fantastically (a word?) colored! My photos seem drab and dull. PLEASE tell me what your secret is!! I’ve been here (on your site) for 7 minutes and i’m completely addicted.

    BTW, we bought a house on June 1 that has a sycamore tree in the front yard…LOVE.

  • Tiffany - All the pictures are darling (as always!) but that last one is so very sweet. I love it. Thanks for sharing this idea–I am adding it to our summer fun list…

  • Regin? - so touching at the last photos, a good idea))))

Abbie Morrison interviewed me on her new blog Inspire(d)…you can check it out if you want to….I’d love to hear your feedback…

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  • Esther Nelson - Wonderful! I had the same questions about how you have time to do it all and stop to take a picture!

  • Alba - really, you are a huge inspiration!

  • Erin - Great interview Ash! Love the way you shared your heart (and Starbucks meal plan)…and wow, what a gorgeous picture of you!! Beautiful woman inside and out…

  • robyn - what a wonderful interview and highlights of your life in photos. beautiful!

  • Celia - Loved the interview! And…. that first photo of you….. wow, absolutely gorgeous!!!!

  • Alina - The interview-loved it. Great pictures of you-you are a super woman!

  • Sophie - That first picture of you is absolutely stunning, Ashley! You’re such a beautiful lady, inside and out.

  • amanda torres - I really loved reading your interview! I have to say being ‘intentional’ really hit close to home. That’s been on my heart a lot lately…being more intentional with helping others and daily activities with the kids. You really are an inspiration, and your stories bless others. Thanks a million!

  • Kristy C - Great interview! I love reading the way you feel about raising children and I hope I can be as intentional as you are when its my turn to teach my children about God’s creation.

  • Ingrid - that was wonderful! i loved reading that :)

  • molly - intentionally balancing life with a family of young children is incredibly hard
    thanks for sharing how you do it so beautifully

  • Margie - Great interview! It’s nice to get a little glimpse into how you make it all happen! I loved reading about how you got your start in photography, it’s hard to believe that you have only been doing it for a few years, your pictures make it look as though you have been a photographer forever!!!

  • Courtney Connelly - Ash, I got a bit teary eyed as I read that interview because it captured your true essence dear friend!

  • Shannon - That was lovely! I loved seeing some of those pics again, the one of baby sister in the cat eye glasses onesie. Your story is so inspiring! Loved it 😀

  • Amber - loved the post! thanks for another inspiring look into your life!

  • Jodi - Loved this interview Ashley. Your words of wisdom and inspiration are incredible. Thank you.

  • bambooska - Such an awesome idea to have everyone jumping in your wedding photograph! Loved that.

  • Sarah M - I loved the interview, and loved the gorgeous picture of you at the top–soo pretty!
    I actually found that interview from the lady who did her blog design–Leigh Ann @Freckled Nest.
    I thought it was a very ‘real’ and inspiring interview!
    Sarah M

  • shelby - I love her site and I love the interview. Very cool!

  • Anna Joy - You are my biggest inspiration! The interview was great and that first photo of you is very glamorous :)

  • Lisa - Since finding your blog I have always thought of you as a cute, hip, young mother. After seeing that incredible picture of you- WOW! You are a strikingly beautiful young woman! (After reading you blog for a while I can say that is beautiful inside and out!)