KEH Blog


Protecting Your Memories

What do you do with the hundreds/thousands of digital photographs taking up space on your very vulnerable computer?  How do you organize them so that you can find them when you need them?

Let’s keep this simple. Because simple is good and makes it much more likely that you’ll actually DO it!  Here are 4 EASY steps to get those memories protected. (and free up some valuable hard drive space.  BONUS!)


1.    Hunt and Gather

a.    WHERE are your pictures?  Still on your camera? On your computer? Still on the memory card in the bottom of your purse? Photo-sharing website maybe? Bringing all of your photos together in one place will help with the next step.

2.    Make Some Hard Choices

a.    Digital photography makes it too easy to take a bazillion pictures.  Sometimes multiples of the SAME PICTURE.  It can get out of control pretty quickly.  Set aside some time to go through your pics and get rid of duplicates, blinks, blurs, and blanks.

3.    Organize (I know, bad word!)

a.    Be aware that this will take more time than any other step.

b.    Be aware that spending time on this step is SO worth it!

c.    This step is going to be different for everyone.  Your categories will mean something to you and may not mean anything to anyone else.  It’s okay.  Some people have folders for each child and a sub-folder for each month/year/milestone for each child.  If you don’t take a lot of pictures (liar) you may just want to create a folder for each year.

d.    Give each photo a descriptive name.  Get rid of the IMG_2384 label.  How do you know which picture that is without having to open it?  Try file names like: mallory11bday1.  I like to keep files I need to get to often on my desktop.  Other folders go to the “My Picture” file.

4.    Back Up!  Make Copies!  Do It!!!

a.    If you skip this step you might as well skip all the others!

b.    Burn a CD/DVD and label them.  Even better, make two copies and send one to your mom or a friend or relative. 

c.    Use an external hard drive.  This can be a flash drive or a desktop drive.

d.    Make prints of your favorites.  GET THEM ON THE WALL!

COMPUTERS CRASH ALL THE TIME!  Make sure that when (not if) yours does you still have your memories.

The Importance Of Self Portraits

Let's face it.  Once we are no longer in our teens, not many of us enjoy being in photographs.  I've made a living out of being BEHIND the camera.  So why then am I writing a blog post on being IN the picture?  For future generations.

When my girls look at the pictures I have taken over the years they do not see many with me in them.  They find lots of pictures of themselves and plenty with their dad.  But where is mom?  Surely she was present for all of those events and special moments.  Of course she was.  Right there behind the lens. 

We all have plenty of reasons to not want to be in front of the camera.  No make-up, hair's not done, still have a few pounds to lose, really not dressed for it...blah blah, blah.  If we used the same criteria for our kids we would never take their picture either.  But if you really think about it, our family does not care one bit about those things.  They love us for who we are and they want to remember the moment with us there, in the photo with them.

It can be hard to hand the camera over to someone else when we have our technique just so.  But for crying out loud, give the camera to Dad every once in a while.  Who cares if the focus is a bit off?  Well, you probably do, but you need to learn to let it go.  It is far more important that your children be able to look back someday and see a family in the family photos.  Not just a bunch of pictures of themselves with no parents in sight. 

 Learn to use your timer.  A tripod is also helpful but not necessary.  You can always find a bucket or box or something else sturdy enough to hold your camera still so that the whole family can be in the picture together.  Make sure to take at least one group shot with everyone in it at every event.

And my favorite idea...let your kids take pictures of you for a change.  It's fun to see yourself from their point of view.  They will LOVE being the photographer and I promise that you won't care in that moment what your hair looks like.  The memories of these reverse photo shoots will be some of your very favorites.

Lightroom: Lens Corrections & Manual

Post 25
Series: Introduction to Adobe Lightroom®

Ready For A Good Time?

That is, with Lightroom, of course. Let's test what the Manual section of Lightroom's Lens Corrections does. In the Lightroom Develop Module, open the Lens Correctionoptions by clicking on the arrow to the right, then select the Manual tab. Here you see Transform with these options underneath, accompanied by sliders:

Distortion, Vertical, Horizontal, Rotate, Scale, and Aspect

Here is what they do:

- Distortion



+ Vertical

- Horizontal

+ Horizontal

- Rotate

+ Rotate

- Scale

+ Scale

- Aspect

+ Aspect

 Crop & Chop

Under your Lightroom Transform options, you will see a box next to Constrain Crop. If you are left with white space around the edges after your desired manual corrections have been made, click this box. Your image will be cropped to eliminate that unwanted white space.

Under Constrain Crop is a little section for Lens Vignetting. We will cover this next time, because they go hand in hand.

Now, I had a blast playing with this. You? And I actually get to use this for work. Score!


Next Post: Lightroom Vignetting in Lens Corrections

These posts are part of a series: Introduction to Adobe Lightroom®

Jennifer Apffel is a photographer with over a decade of experience in portrait, event, and product photography. She also does freelance graphic design and fine art. For more check out, or look for her on

The Coolest Cameras and the Best Stories

Have you sold a camera to KEH that was passed down to you from a family member or other type of inheritance?  If so, we would love your input!

A new television documentary series wants to hear your unique and special experiences, because behind every great camera is a great story.  If you would like to share your story, please briefly describe the following:

  • The camera gear sold to KEH

  • Who the camera gear was inherited from

  • Why it was tough to part with it

  • What made you decide to sell it

  • The approximate selling date and price

Please email your stories to  Thank you for your input!

What's your camera gear worth?  Find out how much you can earn by visiting our Online Quote Wizard or by calling the KEH Purchasing Department at (800) 342-5534.

The Random Creative Photographer: A Filter Using Water

Welcome to some random creativity, a series of posts about unusual things I'm doing to create unique photography.

Filters and More Filters?

How many photography posts, articles and books have you seen on filters? Yeah, I know. But I haven't seen much like this yet. Are you ready to try something new?

Source of Inspiration

While visiting Hawaii, I wandered through the art galleries of every local artist I could find. One artist's photography images are permanently etched in my mind. Many years later, I have regretfully lost her name, and have been searching for her images. When I find her, I'll let you know!

About a year after seeing this particular gallery, I wanted to try some thing to see if I could get a similar look in my photography. I found a filter technique that reminded me of that look. It is all-but-impossible to duplicate anothers' image exactly. One will have different subjects, different lighting, and many other factors that mark the images one of a kind. A photography image is a moment in time that is temporary and unique. That's one of the things I love about photography. So even when you use this filter technique, you will get a result that is only yours.

Florence Delva is not the artist photographer I found in the Hawaiian gallery, (Ms. Delva's work is far more abstract) but there is a hint of similarity. Beautiful.

Choice Subject, Subjective Choice

Choose a subject that makes sense. This filter uses water, so a subject that has some association with water (whether you add it artificially or it is already there) is important. That being said, I'm sure some of you will ignore this recommendation and come up with some fascinating contrasts that really work. I'm cheering you on.

Not Just Another Floral

This image is a favorite of mine. I love the way the colors blend, the way the light glows, and how soft and feminine the flower looks. The thing I'm most proud of is that most work in the creation of this image was done before the shot was taken. I'm a big Adobe fan, and I use Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator -And And And- with a complete disregard for sleep. That being said, when I create an image that doesn't need after-processing, I feel super-accomplished. I call this series "In the Mist".

 What It Is and Isn't

This is not a soft filter, and there are no post-processing filter additions required. The image effect is made through the light wave distortion through the water droplets. The amount and location of distortion on your image depends on placement and distance to your camera lens.

Filter Build

Making the filter requires glass and a spray bottle with water. I used a piece of glass from an 8x10 frame. Be careful and avoid cutting yourself on the sharp edges. If you'd rather, tape all the edges so the glass is easier to handle.

Plan and Prep

  • What is your goal? What colors, subject, lighting, etc. do you want in your image? Determine this first. Once this is all planned, ready, and set up, then get your camera and filter materials.
  • Be aware of your light sources. Bright sun vs. overcast vs. outdoor shade vs. backlighting vs. artificial lighting all look very different on your subject and change the distortion on your glass filter. 
  • The very last part of the shoot is spraying water on the piece of glass right before you take the picture. I sprayed water around the edges of the glass, so the distortion is greater further from the center. I kept the center of the glass mostly clear because I wanted the contrast of the blurry outer areas with a sharp floral center.
  • For these images, I also sprayed the flowers. The water droplets on both subject and filter blend them together nicely.

Creation Satisfaction

Test the difference holding the filter closer and further away from the camera. Tilting the glass can catch the light differently as well. You may wish to set up your glass filter on a stable platform or tripod. I prefer the hand-held method because I get greater flexibility in creating the exact image I want.

Next Random Creation: A Water Filter ...and Architecture?

Jennifer Apffel is a photographer with over a decade of experience in portrait, event, and product photography. She also does freelance graphic design and fine art. For more check out, or look for her on



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