Our latest photo challenge winner is Susan Malat!

Susan, who has been a member of the Photosanity community since 2011, shared how photography helps her to connect with her kids and keep track of all their growth and change.

This photo is an example of Susan's photography before she took the Photosanity Workshop and Lightroom Workshop, and long before she began one-on-one coaching.

Before Photosanity, Susan shot only in auto and now she is honing her skills and creating works of art as special as the memories they capture.

About Susan's photography...

What are your favorite editing tools for photos?

At the beginning of this year, I started using Lightroom for editing my DSLR photos and it has definitely made an impact on my photography.

I also started shooting in RAW this year which has helped with some editing flexibility. I use Snapseed to edit my iPhone pictures.

Did you edit the winning photo at all, and if so, what tools did you use?

I did some very minor editing in Lightroom - brightened it a little using the curves and pulled in the blacks a bit for added pop.

What is your favorite location for taking photos?

Outdoors, and overcast days, early morning or late in day when there are less people around. If I have these conditions, I'm pretty happy taking pictures anywhere.

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

Major milestones and holidays are always going to be captured and can sometimes feel stressful, but I am trying to think a little more creatively about those moments and how to capture them from a different perspective, which has made the process a lot more fun.

For back-to-school this year, while I did take the important shot on my front steps like I do every year, I also snapped a quick picture on my iPhone of my daughter's clothes and shoes picked out the night before and hanging on her closet for the next day, as well as a shot of the note I wrote and stuck in her lunch box. I am trying to carry out this thinking in every day moments as well.

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

I use my DSLR about 2x a week. Sometimes more depending on weather and our activities. My iPhone is always with me so I probably use that almost every day.

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

Take it one step at a time. It's overwhelming if you try to accomplish all of your goals at once.

Set small attainable goals or choose one project to focus on. Once you accomplish one thing, it will give you the motivation to continue.

Are you working on any photography projects right now?

I'm working on a wall gallery and I'm starting to think about a 2013 album. I've never done an album recapping a whole year and I'd love to do one this year.

Now that everything is rated and organized in Lightroom, I think it will be a lot easier to do.

About the winning photo...


Why is this photo special to you?

Those blue eyes get me every time. There are some photos that they just really come alive and to me, this is one of them.

Also, I love the sand all over her face. This summer, she and the sand were one. I've been thinking that my daughter has gotten so big and this photo reminds me that 6 year olds are still little. They still love the sand and don't mind one bit that it's all over them.

How Susan captured the moment...

I took this photo in the late afternoon on the beach.

Settings: ISO 200, f/3.5, 1/2500

Do you plan to do something special with this photo?

This will definitely make the 2013 photo album that I hope to make.

About the photo challenge

The Photosanity PADF (Photo-a-Day Friday) Challenge takes place weekly in the Photosanity Peer-to-Peer Facebook Group. Each Friday a photo theme is set and photos are due the following week. Detailed feedback is given on three selected photos and a winner is chosen.

Membership in the Photosanity Peer-to-Peer Facebook group is free to anyone who purchases or has purchased a Photosanity workshop or service. It's a great way to connect with other like-minded photo-obsessed parents at all levels - it's an amazing community.

If you have made a purchase and would like to join, fill out this form and you will be admitted once your eligibility has been confirmed.