14 Light & Airy photo recipes for summer

There’s just something about opening your windows in the summer, right?!

In the midwest, it’s a big deal when spring finally happens and it’s warm the whole day! You may have heard this before, but our weather can swing from 70 to 30 in 12 hours. So basically we dress in layers if we plan to leave the house!

We are talking about starting a garden with Daniel and all those garden colors have had me thinking that there are just so many ways that you can edit a photo.

You can edit a photo on the warmer side or the cooler side. You can bump up the exposure and give it a little extra or you can bring it down and keep the focus on the lines in the photo.

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Embrace your photographic voice

The possibilities are endless when it comes to editing! My whole heart behind creating the Light & Airy Preset Suite was that I wanted to help creatives find their photographic voice. If our styles are similar, I definitely wanted to give away all my editing secrets — honestly, that’s more fun to me! But I also wanted to give creatives the opportunity to step into a photographic voice that is their own.

And that’s what we’ve done! Hundreds and hundreds of you have grabbed the L&A Presets and you’re rocking those blue-greens and creamy skin tones. So I thought it would be fun to do an inspirational post with a lot of different light and airy photo recipes for you to give a try this summer!

14 light and airy photo recipes for the summer

Before we get started, there are a few important things to know about the Light & Airy Preset Suite! There are two editing “systems” that are inside the suite: the 10 second editing system and the signature presets system.

1) how to use the light and airy 10 second editing system

I designed the 10 second editing system to be easy to use and intuitive. There are different presets in this section and they are broken into groups: LA 1, LA 2, LA 3, etc.

You can mix and match presets from the different groups to find your own photographic voice. You can mix and match presets to deal with a particularly tricky edit. You can mix and match presets to experiment with a new style or develop a look for each session you shoot.

Quick note on developing looks for each session: you can rest easy knowing that we’ve done a lot of testing with the 10 second editing system. So you can mix and match, find a unique look for a session, and your edits will be consistent in color and exposure from shoot to shoot. This is definitely a more advanced feature and something I wouldn’t suggest for a beginner!

2) how to use the signature light and airy presets

These are presets for our more advanced shooters. You’ll click a single preset, adjust your exposure, temp and tint as needed and you’ll be all set!

So why do you need to be a little more advanced to use these presets? Well, it’s because you’ll need to have an understanding of lighting while you’re shooting and understand how to create consistent imagery in-camera before you can really get the most out of these presets.

I love all of the signature presets (Fuji Classic, Fuji Modern, Portra Classic & Portra Modern) but Fuji Classic and Portra Classic are my personal favorites. Of all of the signature presets, Fuji Classic is the easiest to use!

Let’s get started with some light and airy photo recipes!

1. Middle-of-the-day-photos with greens

Apply the Fuji classic preset, adjust your temp, tint and exposure and you’ll be all set!

Use Fuji classic for images that might have some strange color reflections! Color reflections happen when one surface reflects onto another.

Preset used: Fuji Classic



2. when you're inside with some shadows

Who here loves the rich shadows that you see in some film photos? This is why I created the Portra Classic preset! Apply this preset to your indoor photos that have some depth to them and watch the light and airy color come to life.

Preset used: Portra classic


3. or when you're shooting at night

Basically, Portra Classic loves to give those shadows a chance to shine, too.

I shot this image of my sis after the sun had set. The light was just barely visible on the water in the distance (it was pitch black on our walk back to the car) and Portra Classic makes this image really shine.

I really loved how her shirt paired with the water and the gentle pop of color from the candlelight. 

Preset used: Portra classic


4. or you can give your light & airy photo a 10-second edit

I shot this image of Jen a little earlier in the day when it was a bit rainy. I would normally use Portra Classic for an image like this to make those shadows pop without feeling like I’m losing my light and airy touch. But I wanted to show you that you can get a different look really fast just by mixing and matching different presets from the Light & Airy 10 second editing system.

I edited this image a little cool because we were at the lake at the end of the day. But you could warm it up for a totally different look!

Presets used from the 10 second editing system...
LA 1: Light & Airy Basic
LA 2: Portra Film
LA 3: Restore Whites
LA 4: Brightest
LA 5: Contrast - Medium
LA 7: Skin Tone - Cool
LA 8: Saturation - Muted


5. when it's so overcast that you think you can't shoot

You know those shoots where it’s so overcast that you want to cry because rain is inevitable and it’s going to rain all day long? Yeah, Portra Modern is your friend for shoots like this. Make sure you face your subject toward the brightest area and you’ll be all set! I majorly cooled off this image because it fit the mood I was going for, but if you warmed it up, this image would totally feel like Hawaii!

Preset used: Portra modern


6. When you’re walking around the lake

One of our favorite things to do is walk around the lake or just sit there are let Daniel throw rocks into the lake! This was taken on a rainy day, but the sun was starting to peak out over the water right before it dipped behind the trees.

Everything in Missouri is still trying to wake up from a cold winter, so this image was already feeling warm to me because of the rocky ground and dead tree. Isaac was watching Daniel and taking care of Hannah so I could go take a photo of a leaf or something and I just felt like this was him. He’s such a good dad! So even though this isn’t a location I would necessarily pick (because you know I love those greens), I couldn’t help but include this image.

To all you photographers who spend your life serving other people and giving them photos, don’t forget to photograph the life around you. You are worth it!

Preset used: Fuji classic


7. When the sun has set and there are a lot of greens

I had so much time for couple photos at this wedding and I was on such a creative roll that we shot well into dusk and darkness! Ha!

So for those times when the sun has set and you need to make sure those greens don’t take a turn for well, awful, this is your preset!

When you’re shooting after sunset, your temp and tint have to be pretty close to perfect, so play around with those sliders until you get it just right.

Preset used: Fuji Modern


8. Overcast with an illuminated subject

Can you tell I love to photograph my sisters? Ha! Call it a summer tradition! This is from the same shoot as #5, but edited just a little different. I love what Fuji Classic does to the bokeh!

Preset used: Fuji classic


9. When you need to bring out the shadows

The thing I love is that I could really put image #8 right next to this image and they would look great together!

There are just a few differences — the color and depth of the greens, a slight skin tone change and this image has more depth in the shadows.

Portra is usually a bit warmer, so you could bump up the temp on this image! You won’t even have to worry about “burning” your greens.

Preset used: Portra modern


10. When you’re wanting something warm, but not burnt

Portra Modern is one of my faves. I always imagine someone holding a bag of popcorn at a wedding with evergreens in the background for this one! There’s just something about the balance of greens and reds.

Portra modern really shines when it’s heavily overcast… much like Portra 800!

Preset used: Portra modern


11. When you’re in a wildflower field

Because flowers should be as beautiful in a gallery as they are in person! Also, greens should get to shine without outshining your subject! Portra Modern is the most advanced preset because it really acts like Portra, but once you master the temp and tint and do some experimenting on when you should use this babe of a preset, you’ll fall in love with this one!

Preset used: Portra modern


12. When you’re shooting red flowers for a kate spade wedding

I can totally picture a Kate Spade inspired wedding where Fuji Classic is the only way to go!

I love some Fuji Classic. But this wedding was full of rich pops of color… it was not a muted wedding. So Portra classic was the way to go!

Also, I totally photographed this bouquet on the bride’s suitcase!

Preset used: Portra Classic


13. When you want something that feels monochromatic

Is anyone else obsessed with Shay’s SC Stockshop? I mean… so good! I love that she’s been styling some monochromatic images because there’s just something intriguing about them!

Well, this preset was built for the monochromatic scene — deserts, cliffs, white beaches — you name it! But I also love to use this preset when I want the colors to pop, but I also want the image to feel soft and muted.

But not the kind of muted where the greens look sad or burnt… the kind of muted that makes you pause. It’s a romantic kind of muted.

Preset Used: Fuji Modern


14. 10 second edit on overcast days

Look at my baby girl! I took this on an overcast day and did a quick 10 second edit to use it conjunction with a video. I needed a clean edit that still had those creamy skin tones. Look at her little hands on that tulle! 

Presets used…
LA 1: Light & Airy Basic (apply this one to every image)
LA 2: Fuji Film
LA 3: Restore Whites Max
LA 4: Brighter
LA 5: Contrast - Medium
LA 7: Skin Tone - Warm
LA 8: Saturation - Greens


Now who is ready for summer?! I feel like I want to go take photos just so I can use some of the presets that I don’t use as often! If you don’t have the Light and Airy Presets yet, the 10 second editing system and the signature presets both come with the Light & Airy Preset Suite. So does a membership site, but if you want all the info, you can click here to check it out!


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What’s your favorite Light and Airy preset to use? Do you find yourself experimenting with other presets in the suite or do you get locked in and tend to stick with your favorite?