Equipment Review : Lens hood

Owning & Using the appropriate equipment can make all the difference!  Here is a little goody that I’ve found makes a difference in my images.

Lens hoods are super helpful.They block the sun and keep it so your photos don’t get any lens flare. They also help protect your lens when you set it down or switch out lens’ during a photo shoot. Here are two different kinds, both work great!

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE

Collage Templates


Are you sad about the disappearance of Picnik??  Don’t be!!  There are so many way super great creative things you can do in Photoshop Elements.  In this post I’m going to teach you how to create darling collages.  Easy Peasy!!


5 Simple Steps:

Step #1: Open Collage and Images…

Step#2: Select the Collage layer you will fill first…



Step #3: Use the Move tool to drag and drop your image into the collage…


Step #4:  ”Group” Image onto Collage Shape (Opt+Command+G).  Then resize image with the “move” tool to fit shape.



“Group” just means that your image will take on the shape of the layer below it in your layers Palette.  Here’s a closer look…

Step #5: Repeat with the second collage shape and image.  Select collage shape, move image, group, resize, done.


Easy Peasy!!

So where in the world do you get the collages?  I have you covered.  Here are templates I created for your Photoshopping pleasure.  The collages are $10 a set OR ALL 4 sets for $32.  House of Smiths readers get a killer coupon for 25% off any purchase.  Coupon code is “hos”.
All colleges come with a video tutorial with some more super rad Photoshop tricks. (including how to add that darling blue pattern to your collage, like I did in the first collage.)


Here are the 4 collections to choose from…

CLICK HERE to purchase the Basic Collection - $10


 

CLICK HERE to purchase the Grid Collection - $10

 

 

 

CLICK HERE to purchase the One Big Photo Collection - $10

 

CLICK HERE to purchase the Circle Collection - $10

 

CLICK HERE to purchase all 4 Collections - $32
(Don’t forget your 25% off coupon – “hos”)

Here is one more collage I just HAD to share.  
Enjoy and happy editing!!


Emilie teaches ONLINE photography and Photoshop classes. They are all ONE ON ONE and completely trailered to your skill level.  Now is the perfect time to take that step from Picnik to Photoshop!!  You be blown away by how simple it is and how much better Photoshop is vs. free online editing programs.

CLICK HERE to contact Emilie
CLICK HERE to learn more about Emilie’s classes

Select Focus

These 2 Youtube videos address the topic of Select Focus.  Select Focus gives you the ability to determine the exact location of focus in your image.  When you are working with a lens with a lower aperture this is essential.  Otherwise, you will run the risk of catching a shoulder in focus & a face out of focus.  Or a hair bow in focus and a face out of focus,etc.

Enjoy these 2 videos…

Here is an example.  I used my select focus to focus on her eyes.  If I would have

20 Spring Photo Ideas

Spring is such a fun time for photos.  Here are a few ideas…

1  Kids hanging from a tree covered in blossoms.
2  Kids playing outside for the first time in short sleeves
3  Tulips with a dust of spring snow
4  Easter outfits (set the timer so you can be in this one)
5  Kids wearing dollar store bunny ears
6  Easter decorations (especially the sentimental ones)
7  Easter Egg Hunt 
8  Kids in there new Spring shoes
9  Kids smelling Spring flowers
10  Kids picking dadelions 
11  Picture of anything robin’s egg blue
12  Kids with their best colored Easter egg
13  Bare toes in green grass
14  Picture of your April Fools joke
15  You and each of your children for Mother’s Day
16  Kids with umbrellas in Spring rain
17  St. Patrick’s Day green outfits
18  Your first Spring picnic
19  Any kind of Newborn animal
20  Before and After of you spring cleaning projects

Happy Snapping!!

Warm it up with Photoshop

This tutorial was originally posted on the Snap Conference website.  If you have even the slightest interest in creative blogging you must come to this conference at Thanksgiving Point on April 19th thru the 21st.  I’ll be teaching a class on photography and boy would I love to see you!!
 With winter and gray skies upon us it’s more difficult to capture a warm image.  Here’s a step by step Photoshop tutorial on how to warm up your photos.

 Click the black/white circle icon (fill or adjustment layer icon) and add a “Gradient Map” layer from the drop down box.
 Double click the Gradient Map to edit the colors.

 Choose a rich dark chocolate color for the shadows & choose a creamy butter color for the highlights.  Click around until you get just the colors that look best to you.  It usually takes a few clicks to get just what you want.  The first few times of running the process takes the longest.  After a few times you find what color you like best and it become much easier and faster.
 From the Blending Mode Drop Down Box choose either Overlay or Soft Light, which ever you think looks better.
 Adjust the Opacity with the Opacity Slider of the Gradient Map Layer until you like it.

This is just one trick of many I learned while attending Emilie’s workshop.  Her workshop includes how to shoot in Manual Mode, more lighting rules, her go to poses and her easy Photoshop process for editing. Emilie also teaching ONLINE classes.

Lighting Tutorial

This post was originally on Less Cake More Frosting.  If you missed it there here it is…



To create the perfect shadows one needs to pay special attention to the direction and strength of the light.



The least flattering light is light coming from directly above our heads.  Light coming from directly above our heads creates very unflattering shadow.  A very fitting example is from Seinfeld.



Check out my 2 faced experiment…





The least flattering direction of light on our faces is from directly above our heads.  Light coming from above our heads casts freakish shadows on our faces.  It makes our eyes dark, it make our noses look big and our teeth and smiles dark.  No good.

The easiest way to solve this problem is don’t choose a spot with top down light to take a photo.  Or you can also add a reflector.  A reflector reflectors the light back up into the face filling in the shadows with light.  When you have a bad light direction your goal will be to fill in all the unflattering shadows.


This is just one trick of many I learned while attending Emilie’s workshop.  Her workshop includes how to shoot in Manual Mode, more lighting rules, her go to poses and her easy Photoshop process for editing. Emilie also teaching ONLINE classes.



Sharp & Soft Action Sets


I have received dozen of emails and inquires about how I make my images so sharp.  It does have a bit to do with selecting the correct manual setting in your camera.  However, I also sharpen all my images in Photoshop.  I wanted to pass along my tricks.  I created a set of actions, the action set includes 3 actions: 
-Way Sharp
-Perfect Sharp
-A Touch Sharp

I couldn’t stop there!!  I decided to also create a Soften Action.  This Action Set also includes 3 separate actions: 
-Way Soft
-Perfect Soft
-A Touch Soft


   
The action set includes a video tutorial on tricks to using the actions.

Actions are compatible with CS AND Elements 9 & 10.
Also comes with a step by step video for all other versions of Elements.

No More Blurry Images

The most common reason for blurry images is a slow shutter speed.  If you shoot in automatic mode or aperture priority then your camera will often select a shutter speed that is too slow, hence a blurry image.

Shutter speed is the speed that the shutter opens, lets in the image and then closes.  Shutter speed manages two elements of your photo: the amount of light in your image and the amount of motion captured in your image. 

When the shutter speed is on a lower/slower setting the shutter is open a longer amount of time letting in more light.  The slower the shutter speed the longer the shutter is open and the more light that is let in to create your image.  When the shutter speed is on a higher/faster setting the shutter is open less time letting in less light.  The faster the shutter speed the less time the shutter is open and the darker your image.  
When the shutter speed is on a lower/slower setting the shutter is open a longer amount of time capturing all the motion found in your scene.  The slower the shutter speed the longer the shutter is open and the more motion that is captured in your image.  The lower/slower the shutter the blurrier the image.  When the shutter speed is on a higher/faster setting the shutter is open less time capturing a smaller amount of “time” in our scene, stopping any motion that is happening.  The faster the shutter speed the less time the shutter is open and the less motion is captures.  The higher/faster the shutter the sharper your image. 
   I never shoot a portrait of a person less than a 250 shutter speed.  However, as you can see from the example above 250 is fast and doesn’t allow a ton of light.  An image shot inside at 250 shutter speed tends to be a bit dark.  So what do you do???

After pulling up my blinds, turning on all my lights and moving my baby towards the open door,  I set my camera to 800 ISO, 250 Shutter Speed and 2.8 F-Stop and this is my final image….

Learn more in my photography workshops:
-Shooting in Manual Mode
-Perfect Lighting Every Time
-My Favorite Poses
-The Magic of Photoshop
  
Photo By Emilie Workshops:
My next Salt Lake Workshop will be Saturday, March 3rd
My online workshop prices will increase by $50 on February 15th.  
Contact Me if you’d like to lock in the lower price.

rules to using window light

Winter is tough for the photography world.  It’s freezing & dull outside.  This tutorial will teach you how to capture a stunning image inside with window light.  The first rule is to pick a time of day when the sun in not directly coming into the windows.
Below are the 3 rules to placing your subject in relation to the window…

Rule #1: Place your subject on the same level as your light.  I used a table to lift the sweet baby off the ground and level with the window light.
Rule #2:  Place your subject close to the window.  You will be surprised how much difference the light will be just 1 or 2 feet away.  

Rule #3:  Be sure to have lots of window between you and your subject.  This will create a softer light than if you have very little window between you and your subject.  (I did end up pulling that curtain all the way back and out of my light.)
 

Here are some more images I captured…

Happy Snapping!!
This is just one of the tips you’ll learn during my workshop.  I offer workshop in Salt Lake and
online.

 Just a few of the things you’ll learn:
-Shooting in Manual Mode
-Perfect Lighting Every time
-My Favorite Poses
-The Magic of Photoshop
  
Photo By Emilie Workshops:
My next Salt Lake Workshop is Saturday, March 3rd.

How to add your logo using PhotoShop

Open your image and your logo in Photoshop.  Your logo needs to be in a psd or png format (these formats allow a translucent backgrounds).

Use the Move tool (short cut V) to clip amd drag your logo onto your image.

Be sure there is a check mark in front of  “Show Transform Controls”.  This allows you to change the size of the logo.

Use the Move tool (short cut V) to change the size of your logo and place it where you would like it on the image.

Now let’s learn another little trick…

Open an image & select the text tool

Create a text box and type the text that you would like on your image.  Select the font, size & color from the control panel.

Adjust the font, size and color until it’s just the way you want it.