Congratulations to Amy Kovac, our newest photo challenge winner!

Before Photosanity, Amy struggled with photo organization and found it challenging to capture good photos of her family.

The photo below is an example of Amy's photography before Photosanity, when she shot only in auto. Amy was first drawn to Photosanity not only to "get out of auto" but to find a solution for her "lack of organization and lack of a solid back-up plan."

Amy shares, "it wasn't until I took the course that I realized how much more there was to learn beyond just organizing and backing up my photos. This old picture summarizes some of my struggles (that I didn't even know I had!)."

Before Photosanity, all of Amy's pictures were posed: "I had my family in direct sunlight so there are shadows across their faces. They are also standing with an ugly green sign behind them. This particular park has some wonderfully shady spots and plenty of pretty flowers/bushes to use as a background -- I chose this particular spot because I didn't know any better at the time. Now I'm much more aware of the lighting and the background."

About Amy's photography...

What are your favorite editing tools for photos?

I basically follow the tips I learned from Alethea's Aperture course. Pictures I absolutely love and want to share, I crop, play with the White Balance, brighten with Curves and then increase the Black Point to give the picture more definition/pop.

Prior to the Aperture course, my photos were in iPhoto and I only cropped my pictures. That's it!

Did you edit the winning photo at all, and if so, what tools (program, filters, etc) did you use?

I did. I cropped it, I played with the White Balance, I brightened using Curves and then I increased the Black Point a lot to give the photo more definition.

What is your favorite location for taking photos and why?

My favorite place to take pictures is on vacation. I take thousands (literally!) when we travel. Everyone is happy. The background is beautiful (and often outdoors)! I'm not in a rush to get anywhere. And we are together as a family. I love to document our trips together.

What is your favorite type of moment to capture with photography?

My favorite moments to photograph are the daily activities (many of which are spontaneous and silly) -- be it a game of frisbee outside, a trip to the park or playing with the water hose in our backyard. I love to catch us on film, having fun!

How often would you say you use your DSLR as opposed to your iPhone or other mobile device?

I use my iphone almost exclusively for my photo-a-day project. So, on any given day, I take 10+ photos with my iPhone. If we go somewhere where there will likely be good photo taking opportunities, I grab my DSLR (the park, the Arboretum, a school event, etc.). I use my iphone daily and my DSLR 1-2 times per week.

If you could give any advice to a parent who is new to photography, what would it be?

Capture the moment, not just the smiling face. Choose a focus point on the top right or top left of your camera so your subject's eyes are in focus but off-center. Purchase a prime lens (either the 50mm f/1.8 or the 35mm f/2.0).

Organize your pictures in Aperture using Alethea's template -- do it now! It's a lot easier to organize your photos as you take them. It's time consuming to go back and organize pictures you took years ago!

Are you working on any photography projects right now?

I am most proud of my Photo-A-Day project through Shuttercal. I have some holes to fill but with a little work, I will be able to purchase a canvas at year's end.

About the winning photo...

Why is this photo special to you?

It just captures my son...he loves to swing and he LOVES to stick out his tongue. I'm noticing it more and more these days. If he's focused on something -- school work, playing ball, playing Legos, his tongue is out. It totally cracks me up.

How Amy captured the moment...

We were outside and I did take several photos but I had time (since he loves to swing!).

Camera Settings: ISO 400, f/6.3, 1/1000. 50mm lens

Do you plan to do something special with this photo?

I sent this to my mom and my husband. I share most of my photos with them. Occasionally, I share pictures with a broader set of family members but I don't do that as often. The day-to-day moments are shared with Mark and my mom.

Find out more about starting your own photo-a-day project and getting control over your photos!