a walk with a boy

Sometimes, Henry and I sneak away while the girls are coloring on the driveway with chalk …









And then sometimes, he gets really mad that I wouldn’t let him splash in the muddy water when it was cold outside. I am clearly the worst mom ever.



All of these were edited in RadLab (which I received to review on I Heart Faces — note: that is an old review and the giveaway is no longer valid, but you should still check it out for basics on the program). I still have a serious love affair with Lightroom, but it’s always fun to play with toys that you forgot you had.

favorite iPhone apps for editing photos

8 Favorite iPhone Photo Apps

When I was teaching my classes at the I Heart Faces conference, I admitted to using my iPhone for MANY of my everyday shots. I mean, it’s easy to use, a lot smaller than my 5D Mark ii, and I pretty much always have it with me. Part of “capturing the everyday” is capturing spur-of-the-moment moments. I try to stay away from posing my kids, and it is often easier to grab my phone and capture what they’re doing, because by the time I run and get my 5D, I’ve missed the moment.

But I don’t want my iPhone photos to look like phone snapshots, so I think of every picture as a photograph. A legitimate I-could-print-and-hang-this photograph. I assure you, if you start thinking of your phone camera as a real camera, you will notice a huge difference in your phone pics.

I had a few attendees asked me what I used to edit my photos, so I thought I’d share my favorite apps for taking, editing, sharing and printing iPhone photos.

Favorite app for taking photos …

camera+ Camera+ – I love that you can actually control both the focus AND the exposure with this app. I don’t typically use any of the in-app filters or effects, but I use this a lot, especially when I’m shooting backlit pictures. Your iPhone will typically underexpose an image that has backlighting because the whole display will be bright, but with Camera+, you can force it to overexpose and get the subject exposed correctly. It’s like metering on your phone!

Favorite apps for editing photos …

pictapgo PicTapGo – this is my go-to editing app. It has a LOT of filters, but my favorite part is that you can control the strength of each filter. So you can choose something and then turn it way down to suit your tastes. You can also stack as many filters as you want — again, controlling the strength of each layer. Another awesome feature is that you can save a recipe if you’ve found a filter combination that you like for all of your photos. For instance, I have an “indoor” recipe that I use on almost all of my indoor photos – it’s such a time saver! Finally, another favorite feature is the ability to send straight to Instagram full-size. In other words, it doesn’t force your photo into the IG square.

edited with PicTapGo
edited with PicTapGo

afterlight AferLight – another amazing app that offers very clean edits that don’t look like your typical IG filters [just say no to orange skin!] Like PicTapGo, it offers the ability to layer your effects and control the opacity of each filter. I feel like PicTapGo is a little easier to use, but AfterLight offers some gorgeous filters that I haven’t been able to re-create in PicTapGo. They also have really fun frames, so you can do those circular pictures that are popular in the blog circuit. I also love that I can straighten photos in this app – PicTapGo doesn’t allow straightening, and I’m kind of horrible about not getting things exactly level when I am trying to grab a moment as fast as I can. You can share to Instagram straight from this up, but it does crop to the IG square, so that is a downside of this app versus PicTapGo.

edited with AfterLight

vscocam VSCO Cam – I’m a huge fan of Visual Supply Co Lightroom presets, so when I found out that they had an iPhone app, I was so excited. At the time, I had an Android … and there was no Android VSCO Cam app on the map. So I’ll honestly admit that this app is what got me to switch to the iPhone. I wasn’t disappointed. This app seems to work best when you use it as your camera and photo editing app, but you can also import pictures into that you’ve taken with your other camera apps or just your regular camera. They have loads and loads of included film-like filters that are just stunning. You can also purchase more sets if you so desire. The downside of this app would just be the lack of ability to change things “just a little bit.” They do have an editor where you can change the brightness, fade, etc., but it seems like “1 click” is maybe just a little too much. But other than that, I absolutely love this app.

edited with VSCO Cam
edited with VSCO Cam

Favorite apps for sharing photos …

I typically share all of my phone pics through Instagram [kelihoskins], so these apps are taking into consideration that you will post your pictures to Instagram.

squaready Squaready – since I treat my iPhone photographs as real photographs, I like to share them in the same format that I took them. In other words, I balk against the Instagram forced square, but I love sharing on Instagram, so this app will post to Instagram in the uncropped version. You can also move the photo around, add more border [kind of like a mat in a frame?], etc. But I typically just center it and post to Instagram from the Squaready app. If you use PicTapGo to edit, you can post straight from there in uncropped format, but if you are editing in Afterlight or VSCO Cam, you will want to save it out first and then post from Squaready to keep the uncropped resolution. This app is also wonderful if you take panoramas.

uploaded to Instagram using Squaready
uploaded to Instagram using Squaready

diptic Diptic – I like to use this program for making simple collages. There are literally a bajillion collage apps out there, but I’ve been using Diptic since I got my phone, and I don’t like change. I also am not someone who does a collage with different shapes and hearts and squiggles, but if that’s your style, then there are also many collage apps out there for you, too! This app can be used to create collages for Instagram or just about anything else [Facebook, blog posts, Twitter, etc.]

edited in Diptic
edited in Diptic

Favorite apps for printing photos …

printstudio Print Studio – this app is so super easy to use, and I love the little square photos that you can get. The photos are printed on a really thick, high-quality paper, so they are more like cards when you get them — perfect for hanging on a string for a photo wall! I stick them to the square tile backsplash at my desk, and almost everyone that comes to our house thinks it’s the coolest thing.

printed with Print Studio
printed with Print Studio

postalpix PostalPix – I found that these printed a little dark, but the quality is great and perfect for Project Life books or something. It’s a very seamless process, and I had no issues ordering from them. The quality isn’t *quite* as good as Print Studio, but I was still very pleased.

And both of these apps also give you the options of printing different sizes, phone cases, mouse pads, etc.

I absolutely love my iPhone, and I love the ability to shoot and share within seconds, especially with friends and family in other states and countries. If I can shoot photos and edit them in a way where they look somewhat good? That’s even better.

So … what’s your favorite photo editing app?

with my camera in my hands …

I write this post with a happy heart. I have a beautiful Canon 5d Mark ii in my hands, and oh, it feels SO GOOD. Just like I always knew it would.

Full frame is just … wow. Amazing.

three kids

I am working on a [very simple] photo wall for our new house, and this one is going front and center … I love it so so much. They’re all sweaty from running around, and Lucy + Emma are in pajamas, and Henry’s onesie is all stretched out from wearing it all day … but these are my kids. This is my life.

[I’ll be talking about capturing this very thing at the I Heart Faces photography conference this October]


So … to celebrate my new camera and our busy lives, here are a few shots I took on a normal day.

[sock sliding Risky-Business-style]















why don’t you take pictures anymore?

Why don’t you take real pictures anymore?

I hear this question a lot, and I wanted to take a minute to address it.

My camera is sick. I dropped it on our concrete driveway about 3 years ago … I sent it to Canon and had it repaired, and it worked great for a while but now has some soft focusing issues. I find myself using my phone for everything. And while I still LOVE photography and want to be a part of EVERYTHING going on right now [including my friend Erika’s amazing photography course], I am just really frustrated and sad about my camera.

Since we close on our new house in 26 days [!!!!!!], I can’t buy another one right now, but I’m hoping to maybe have enough left over after everything to talk Ken into letting me replace it.


The following pictures are ones I took of Emma the afternoon of her seizure … I’ve just now gotten around to opening and editing them.






I can’t believe it’s been over a month.

I’m going to try to pick up my camera more often, especially since we are only going to be in this house for a few more weeks … the house we’ve called home for almost 7 years as a family.