Real Mom*tog – Jessie Nelson


It’s been about 7 months since we started the Mom*tog Instagram account and I love the talented, kind, and fun group of women that have all joined in.  It’s such a supportive community of Mom*togs.  Many moderators are nervous when I ask them to contribute, but by the end of their week they end up having so much fun, making new friends and seeing just how much they were able to help fellow Mom*togs.  I even end up learning something new from each of them!

One commenter mentioned that she wished she could easily bookmark the tips on Instagram.  Since you can’t Pin or bookmark them over there I thought I’d start sharing the most well received tips here.  That way you can Pin them for easier reference later!

This week we had Jessie Nelson from Twin Falls, Idaho on talking about how to take pictures in the snow.  Jessie is a Mom*tog to two adorable boys and a professional photographer at Rock Creek Photography.  She gets a lot of practice taking pictures in the snow and, subsequently, her snow pictures are magical.  As many of you know, it’s not easy to get great snow pictures!  She gave a great tutorial on her settings and how she makes adjustments in Lightroom.

From Jessie:

*** Canon 6D with 50mm f/1.8 lens; ISO 250, f/2.5, 1/1250 Edited in Lightroom


“Good afternoon!  It’s Jessie (@jessieolean) again and right now I want to talk about how I personally shoot and edit pictures in the snow.  My favorite part!  First, I tend to overexpose +2/3 to +1 when shooting in such white conditions.  With all the light bouncing off the snow, my camera seems to think it’s plenty bright outside and underexposes my children’s faces.  So I compensate by overexposing.

I do 90% of my editing in Lightroom, especially when it comes to snapshots of my own children.  I can’t say enough good things about that program!  I love it.  When I bring a photo into Lightroom, I tend to work from the top down.  I don’t like my snow or faces to look blue, so I often warm up the temperature a notch or two.  In this particular photo I increased exposure +.10 and contrast +5.  I like my snow to be bright so I brought up the whites to +20, just before the right end of the histogram hit the right side of the box.  But I like to be able to see a bit of the detail in the snow so I lowered my highlights to -25.  I increased the shadows to +15 to see my son’s face better and decreased the blacks to -50.  Again, I like my histogram to take up the whole entire box and I like my blacks black. Vibrance is set to +15.  In the tone curve panel I added a slight S curve. Here comes the fun part: I LOVE playing with the radial filter and brushes.  My favorite ways to use a radial filter are to brighten my subject a notch or two inside the radius.  I may also use a second filter to decrease the exposure outside the radius, decrease shadows, and increase saturation.  This makes my subject stand out against the background.  I’m still experimenting and learning everyday, but this is my basic post-processing routine.  However, snow photos don’t always need any radial filters when the entire  background is white.  Use your creative juices and play!”

You can see all of Jessie’s snow picture tips here or by searching the hashtag #momtogjessie in Instagram.

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