It's Christmas time in Columbus

This is one of my favorite holiday photos. It's a picture from last year that I took of Carter, whose newborn picture is one of the most popular shots I've ever taken. Click HERE to see that.

Little Mr. Carter, what can I say? You're just so darn photogenic.

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This bucket was something I spotted at the Christmas Tree Shop in Dayton, Ohio, when I was visiting family. I eyeballed it for a few minutes trying to decide if a baby would fit inside - sure enough it was perfect! On a side note, I really wish we had a Christmas Tree Shop here in Columbus because it's filled with neat home decor and potential photo props.

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Carter's family is from Atlanta originally, so they told me about a Santa wonderland that is set up in Bass Pro Shops around the country. One is located in their former Georgia suburb. Of course it's just our luck that we don't have a Bass Pro near us! I'm off to Google the closest one because I want my own family to experience something really cool like that.

These photos look like a studio, but they're actually a portable white backdrop with strands of Christmas lights. I set this up in Carter's mother's living room using my backdrop system with a very long roll of white paper. The setting up took longer than the actual photos.

Want your baby photographed this holiday season? Contact Browning Photo now!

Ohio pillow

I opened my mailbox to find the cutest red pillow waiting for me! Well not for me, but for a charity fundraiser I will be attending in a few weeks. Erin of Westlake Craft generously agreed to donate one of her awesome Ohio pillows to help raise money for Family Promises, a Delaware County organization that helps families transition from homelessness to independence. It's a worthwhile cause and I'm delighted that I got to take these pictures!

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ohio pillow

Please be sure to check out Westlake Craft for more adorable designs and to create your own custom pillow. Go to westlakecraft.com or - even easier - just click HERE to see more!

The newest Buckeye in the Ohio crate

My husband's family has a highchair that has been used in their family for over 100 years. It's one of those wooden highchairs with the large tray that lifts up for the child to sit in and swings down over him as the parents grab the child's hands to keep them from getting their fingers pinched. There are also no straps - this was the late 1800s! safety was different back then - so the child could just slide down to the floor if he wanted. It's best to use rolled-up towels to barricade the baby in place if the child is a climber. Just ask me how I know this!

That antique highchair has had dozens of children sit in it throughout the decades. This Ohio crate reminds me of that wooden highchair. There have been a number of children in my Ohio crate and hopefully many more to come!

Itty bitty Colin was just seven days old when he had a turn in the Ohio crate. His older brother was born in California but Colin was born here in Columbus so he's a natural-born Buckeye.

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I've written before here about this handmade knit hat. It's from a lady in Florida whom I found on Etsy who knits the most darling hats and newborn props. I recently purchased a custom hat for my own son that I was SO excited about and of course he's at the age where he won't sit still for pictures and thinks the hat is a toy that should be immediately removed from his head and flung for Mama to go retrieve. Oh well!

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Here is a close-up of sweet sleepy boy Colin in the buckeye hat sitting in the Ohio crate. Welcome to the world, Colin!

Extreme Makeover: Newborn Edition

One of the great things about modern photography is that digital photography allows us to take a ton of pictures and see them almost instantly on the little screen on the back of the camera or on your cell phone. So you'd think that professional photography is just pointing the camera and clicking the shutter button, and voila! Perfect image. That's just not the case.

Cell phones and basic digital cameras take pictures and save them as JPEG files, which are then ready to email or post online or be printed. Professional photographers shoot in RAW format, which then needs to be developed using software. A JPEG processes the scene in front of you as you see it and takes its best guess at exposure and color levels, while RAW is capturing zillions of bits of information and saving the pixels in its memory, allowing us to tell the information exactly how it should look. The benefit of RAW is that it allows SO much more to be done with the image. An example? You really love the Adele song "Rolling in the Deep" so you buy her CD or download that specific song and play it on your iPod. Sounds great! But what if you go to an Adele concert in person and she sings "Rolling in the Deep" better and richer and more soulful than you've ever heard it on the radio or on the album. That's like JPEG vs. RAW for us photographers. The JPEG will be ready fast, but the RAW will be so much better for actual quality of the image.

Changing to shooting in RAW was the best thing I've ever done for my photography, but the big drawback is that it requires post-processing in either Lightroom or Photoshop. A single image may take me 15 minutes to get perfect, or it may take me HOURS. Modern digital processing is amazing and because it is RAW, it allows me to completely transform an image.

I have to confess, I really really love Photoshop. And not just for taking wrinkles off my own pictures! It's a fabulous tool for taking splotches off newborns. And remember what I said above, that JPEGs guess at the details but RAW is just basic information that needs to be developed? Look at the RAW below, which is dull and dark and grayish - that's how a RAW always looks unprocessed.

This is Carter. He's a handsome little fella that I got to hold on his first day of life (reminding me that babies smell SO good when they are born!). We did some candid photos in the hospital and we also did a newborn session on about day five of his brand-spankin'-new life. Unlike most newborns, Carter just didn't want to snooze! That was fine because we got some fantastic images with his eyes open. Sweet Carter with the wonderful smelling head had some blotchiness going on, which is typical for a newborn. Oftentimes wee ones can have flakes and peeling and scratches, which is easy enough to clean up thanks to the magic of Adobe Photoshop.

The level of retouching that someone would like done is always a guess, and I think it's always better to err on the side of caution. No one wants to look plastic, after all. I think he looks real but perfect.

Our Before image was in need of exposure adjustment, color correction, redness reduction, and spot treatments.

Our Before image was in need of exposure adjustment, color correction, redness reduction, and spot treatments.

This happens to be Carter's mother's very favorite picture of him. She says that you can see the whole world through his eyes.

Kestel, the very stubborn dachshund

Meet Kestel. He presented a little bit of a challenge for me because 1) he's a black dog, and black dogs are a bit more difficult to capture in photographs than lighter-colored dogs and 2) Kestel is a bit hard-headed! Or should I say he is DOGmatic... (get it?)

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Here is Kestel out in the snow. I love how the light catches his silky black fur!

This little dog is something else. He loves children and loves food. His leash? Not so much. When Kestel walked over for a treat and stood facing the wagon (instead of turning in front of it facing me so I could snap his portrait), that was how he decided he needed to remain, with his tail-side by my camera.

There was coaxing... gentle nudging... then some prodding... and finally I asked if I could just pick him up and turn him 180 degrees. "Good luck with that!" his owner told me.

Kestel decided that instead of me picking him up, he'd roll onto his back. Not only did he sprawl out, but as I tried to scoop him up he went limp, too. I don't know how he managed it but he added at least fifty pounds to his short little frame. If I were a Kings Island worker at the 'Guess your age or weight' games I would be transferred to another game before the first day was over. What looked like a 12 pound dog felt like 150.

Finally I got him picked up and turned around, but not without some sweat on my brow. It's OK, Kestel. I think you're perfect just the way you are.

After all, they say that black is slimming, right?

Bella, the patient yellow lab

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Every few weeks we visit my husband's family in Plain City, Ohio. It's a quick trip from northern Columbus and we just have the best time. Ever since we moved from Dayton to Columbus, we make a point to scoot down the road from Delaware County over to Union County at least once a month for a visit.

For ten years my husband's family had a wonderful yellow lab named Maggie, who was best friends with Bella, the yellow lab next door. My husband's family likes to say that Maggie taught Bella everything she knows. Sadly Maggie is no longer with us but Bella carries her sweet spirit. When Bella doesn't want to listen or starts to act up at the vet, her family just asks, "Bella, would Maggie do that?" and she straightens right up! Bella loves to play and her favorite pastime is tearing up cardboard soda containers.

I took these pictures for Bella's family in December. Can you believe it's winter in these photos? And can you believe she's a grown dog? She looks like a puppy! We had a lot of fun. Just looking at her face in these makes me laugh. Aren't dogs the best?

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Testimonial from Bella's owner:
We L-O-V-E the photos of Bella! ... Lisa did an outstanding job of photographing my Yellow Lab, Bella in December of 2015. She captured the natural beauty and playful nature of our family pet...photos we will treasure for a lifetime
— Kathy F.
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Bella was so patient and nice to work with. Look at those sweet puppy eyes!