It's that time again.... Back-to-School Pictures!

I know I probably don't share most of the housewives thoughts about back-to-school time. It seems like there is a large percentage of moms who dread a new school year. Not me! I love the excitement of a new school year. I even love school supply shopping. Seriously, nothing smells as good as fresh paper and new crayons. And yes, I'm even looking forward to them being back at school so that I have a few hours to get things accomplished without the bickering that goes on between siblings. Can I get an "Amen?" 
Both of my girls will be at new schools this year. That's exciting in and of itself. I have one going into kindergarten and one going into mid-high. Lots of new adventures ahead for both of them. 
One of the things I look forward to come school time are back-to-school pictures and/or first day of school pictures. We've always taken pictures of the girls on their first day of school, but last year (thanks to Pinterest), I decided to take some back-to-school pictures. There are so many prop/pose ideas to choose from on Pinterest. I just so happen to have an old time school desk, so that's what we used. Here are a few of the pictures from last year's session.
My oldest daughter
My youngest daughter
My friend's sweet daughter 
Another friend's sweet girl 
My daughter and her best friend in the entire world
I wish I had time to show you ALL the photos I shot last year, but I don't. But, what I really want to share with you is how easy the editing was for these pictures. I do own great photo-editing software, but it stresses me out. And, since I'm not really a professional photographer, I don't feel badly for not using it. Ha! 
So, if you are not a professional photographer either,  you just may be interested in how I edited these photos. I used to use the ever-popular-no-longer-in-existence Picnik. It was free but also gave you the option for an upgrade for a measly $24.99 a year. It was SO worth that! Oh, how I miss you,! 
I have been on the hunt for an online editing program that was at least similar to Picnik. I have found it. It's called or you can also use Google+ editing. PicMonkey is just like Picnik but with a few less features. Of course it's those features that I loved. 'Tis life! 
When I upload a picture to edit on PicMonkey I first adjust exposure, color, size, and sharpen the picture. I then open the "make-up" tab. I fix blemishes, whiten teeth, line eyes with the "mascara" (if needed - it does help brighten the eyes) and then brighten the eyes. Always use the adjustments to make things change from more to less effect. 
After I've fixed the bones of the photo I open the effects tab. It's here where you can add different kinds of filters to your photo. It allows you to adjust on each filter as well. I almost never just use one filter. Most times I've used two or three different ones on a single picture. I just work with the picture until I find what is pleasing to my eye. 
At this point I'm usually finished with the photo. There are times when I may want to put a frame around a picture or add text. You will see the tabs to do those things there as well. Here I'm adding a watermark.
I get told frequently that my pictures look great. Everyone wants to know what kind of camera I use and what kind of editing software. I do own a nice camera, but if one doesn't know how to use it properly, it's just that, a camera. Get to know the camera you own. Read the manual and learn how to use it properly. When you take a good picture you can take the credit for how it turns out - not the camera. I don't know one photographer who appreciates when someone says, "Your camera takes great pictures!" 
Let me know if you've used PicMonkey or what editing programs you do enjoy using. If you haven't used it and do try it out, I'd love to hear what you think. I hope this little tutorial will be useful for you. We are here to help housewives everywhere do life better or at least easier! 
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~Mrs. Albright
Laughing when someone asks what photo-editing program I use, like a....

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