Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Final Lesson - JS Photo Editing

For the class lesson, Jessica asked us to do this with an adjustment layer that turned the whole grid to black & white and then to just recolor the center photo. It's a cool look that really makes that center photo pop. Maybe if I had a stronger center photo I'd like it this way.
What I discovered is that when I turned the adjustment layer "off" I really preferred this 9 photo grid in full color. This is designed to be printed on photo paper and then added to a 12 x 12 layout with title, embellishments, journaling, etc. Cool.

Friday, July 17, 2009

JS Photo Editing Lesson 10 - Combining Techniques

Two different attempts at combining textures, edge burn, adjustment layers, and layered text. I think this technique is great for photos that are otherwise less than perfect. The photo of Jay & I at the beach was actually pretty blurry. By the time you've added all these effects, the overall "mood" of the photo is what stands out - the finer details like facial features aren't as important.

JS Photo Editing Lesson 11 - Selective Hand Coloring

Same original photo as used in lesson 9 - this time I cropped in tight to create a photo of Jay & I without the extra background. Using adjustment layers, desaturate the photo and then with the brush tool, selectively recolor just a portion of the photo. I finished this off with Jessica Sprague's paper edge frame. Love this finished look!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

JS Photo Editing Lesson 9 - Edge Burn

BEFORE: Original Photo corrected for lighting.
AFTER: The effect is very subtle because I didn't pull the midtones too far to the dark side, but the idea is that the edges of the photo darken while the center stays bright. You can see it if you compare the wood color from the pews and the vegetation outside the windows. Darkening the outside edges of the photo is supposed to draw your eye to the center to this lovely photo of me as Maid of Honor at Krystal's wedding and that super handsome guy I'm with.

JS Photo Editing Lesson 8

Before - original photo with minor light adjustments

After - added texture and layered type.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Flood Photos?

BEFORE: Original Photo - admittedly not the best lighting here, so I did have to correct to get the really dark shadows out of Rachel's eyes when I pulled this into Photoshop.

AFTER: I did light balance correction and also color corrected for skin tone. Then the Jessica Sprague Day 6 tricks. This involves more texture files, the specific ones we were working with today are called "TTV" textures and are supposed to make the photo look like it was taken from a really old camera. So, I desaturated the color, then added a TTV and two other textures and played with the opacity levels.
I have tons of old photos (some that literally survived a flood) that I have spent hours trying to clean up in Photoshop, adding back color and removing specks and noise. So, I'm not sure why anyone would purposely want to MAKE their photo look like it went through a flood - anyone care to help me out here?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Shadow Play

BEFORE Photo - straight out of the camera. This was taken by Rachel (11 at the time) of her own shadow on horseback. You can see a smidge of the real horse in the lower left corner of the photo. She has an eye to take photos of things I just wouldn't ever think of and this one is pretty great straight out of the camera.

AFTER photo. Jessica had us add "textures" - another new term for me - which are essentially jpg files of, well, textures (duh). Three textures were added to this photo - first, an actual Daguerreotype, used to add some depth of color to the photo; second, brown paper bag, which gave the photo a more sepia tone (and if you look close, you can almost see the ripples of the bag texture); third, grungy edge which is just what it sounds like. To finish it off, I added a frame and a bit of "burn" mode from the PSE7 brush tools around the edges inside the frame. The finished result actually reminds me more of the Hawaiian red dirt and definitely evokes a mood. Kind of makes me think of a cave painting?

Hawaiian sunset

Seriously, just when you think you honestly couldn't improve on a photo just the way it came out of the camera, Jessica Sprague gives you a clipping mask... This was Day 4 of class. Photo is completely unretouched, just added the mask which really enhanced the soft calm mood of this photo taken at sunset on Maui, December 2004.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Vintage Look

This is my photo BEFORE the Jessica Sprague class work.

Same photo AFTER. We used adjustment layers in PSE to desaturate and colorize the photos to give them a more vintage look and then did some hand coloring to add color to the cheeks and bring back some color to the dresses and flowers. Finished it off with a frame (HOF3 Negative frame) and brush (K.Pertiet Stamped Moments). What do you think?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

On Being Happy

There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world. Robert Louis Stevenson

The quest for true happiness, contentment with where we are at in life, can be an elusive one. Especially if you haven't yet figured out what it is that truly makes you happy - or you have figured it out, but don't make time to enjoy whatever it is. I'm reading Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. She has this to say about happiness: "The revelation that we have everything we need in life to make us happy but simply lack the conscious awareness to appreciate it can be as refreshing as lemonade on a hot afternoon. Or it can be as startling as cold water being thrown in our face."

So I'm trying to be more aware of what it is that makes me happy and include more of that in my life. Being creative makes me happy. So today, I turned my day upside down. Instead of getting through all my work, running all my errands, going to the gym, and then if there was any piece of my day left, allowing myself some time to be creative, I got creative first! After grabbing my breakfast and heading to the computer (my usual routine) instead of logging in to work, I logged in to my Jessica Sprague Photo Editing class and played with a photo, PSE7, and some digital brushes. For the results see my "Special" post .

This is a perfect example of the idea that happiness is a CHOICE - a habit to be cultivated by choosing to be happy. Another excerpt from Simple Abundance: "Your happiness is not a frivolous, expendable luxury. The pursuit of happiness is an inalienable right guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence. But we have to be willing to pursue it. Ultimately, genuine happiness can only be realized once we commit to making it a personal priority in our lives."

For a great blog with a lot of posts about happiness check out The Happiness Project. Today I made happiness a priority in my life. Is it a priority in your life?


Day Two: using brushes. And now I finally know how to choose the color for them! Now if PSE would just allow you to leave ALL your brushes loaded for selection... maybe the next version. Anyway, another old photo from my "Photos I LOVE" folder - here is Becca - my moody, but extremely photogenic, technically youngest daughter.

Monday, July 6, 2009


Day One of Jessica Sprague's Photo Editing: Frames and Special Effects class. It's as simple as adding a .png frame and word art to enhance the mood of your photo. And even though this one is a couple years old, I can't help thinking, damn Sarah is one gorgeous young lady. Can't wait to see what is next with this class.