Friday, 28 December 2007

Classic looks.

I am a real fan of the classic look photo, so thats what today's shot and preset is all about. This shot is lit with natural sunlight and (my new toy -thank you santa) a softbox. Its the first time I have used any artificial lighting that was not onboard my camera and am quite pleased with results. Straight black and white conversion with lightroom's own high contrast B+W setting is stunning but I prefer the slightly softer look. The preset (which can be downloaded by clicking the title link) will give a sepia conversion and some background lightening to emphasise the subject.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Loads of photos to process?

Yes me too. Christmas shots are so difficult to process I think, by the very nature of the holiday the are very busy shots and difficult to isolate your subject in. I don't claim this preset will help you do that but it will add some interest to those that are a bit flat. You can download my 'rocket man' preset by clicking the title link.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Merry Christmas everyone!

Hope everyone had fantastic day.

Friday, 21 December 2007

More Christmas goodies..

'Tis the season to do some standard shots, Christmas bokeh (check, covered), family shot under the Christmas tree (check, covered) and candy cane hearts. As all my contacts have moved on from bokeh light shots onto the candy canes I have made another lightroom preset to make your canes pop out of the shot. This preset is available for free download through clicking the title link. Have fun, and C+C welcome!

Monday, 17 December 2007

Merry Christmas!

As its Christmas and I'm feeling particularly festive after carol singing last night I have my first free gift ready to download. This is a preset for lightroom design to enhance your Christmas bokeh shots. All my contacts on flickr are going bokeh mad so I though why not add some extra sparkle to those Christmas shots?
While adding some extra depth to bokeh its subtle enough in most cases not to destroy the foreground focus so will not black out your subject and need not be reserved for pure bokeh shots. Enjoy, I know I will!
Preset download at: or click the title link.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Back to basics

Have you ever done something disasterous to your computer? Well, yesterday I managed to drop a cup of juice onto my macbook. I consider this fairly disasterous. Generally I do back up every month (only once a month though) everything important, I learned this the hard way from having to formatt the hard drive on my last, 8 month old, windows PC. Its something I continued on my ultra-reliable mac, what I did not account for was my own stupidity of course! How many times have I stressed at the kids for moving drinks close to my shiny white macbook while I am working, thousands probably. So it's the ultimate irony that I should be the one the ultimately kill it off. Currently its drying out and I'm hoping the sticky sugar in the juice hasn't done too much damage. I could not bring myself to follow the (very sensible but gut wrenching) suggestion of a fellow mac-addict to pour more water on it to rinse the sugar out off components.
So I find myself without any PS actions, and actually without lightroom at all so am having to shoot in JPEG again. That said sometimes its good to be unable to rely on LR to correct your mistakes, it's good practice to think better about what's through the lens before pushing the shutter release like I used to with a film camera. So here's my back to basics shot, anyone with a spare windows copy of LR is my new best friend.....

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Photoshop brushes - the essential companion to any long running challenge!

As a said in my last post I am conducting an advent challenge, to photograph whatever my children find behind the doors of their advent calenders each day during advent.

I have to admit that I have modified my brief a little since then.  I will now make an image of that object from a photograph and I have also decided that I will link it with a relevant bible verse.  This will support my own daily reading and it helps me ensure that my challenge does not become a preoccupation for its own sake and that God will remain at its centre.

I found these fabulous brushes on (link through the title) without which my challenge would have faltered on only day 8!  My photoshops skills are not as fabulous as they should be so this will be an excellent opportunity to develop them.

Why not check out our new 'who's online' map?  See who else is having a look!


Friday, 7 December 2007

What inspires you?

What makes you want to grab your camera?  What do you see and know it will make a fabulous photograph?  Why do you take photographs?  This advent I am challenging myself to photograph whatever turns up in my kids advent calendars everyday.  I'm doing this because I have taken December to concentrate on my own family, but I still want to be challenged artistically and technically during this time and, so far, I have found few other opportunities to draw my faith into my photography.

This shot, in all honesty, was mediocre SOOC.  I had envisioned beautiful light, a dramatic sky... what I found was blankets of cloud, low light levels and an uninspiring flat colour.  To process this shot I used several adjustment layers in PS, one to render the sepia, another for dodging and burning and another to add the vignette.

So in those times between jobs, when you're driving to the supermarket, keep that camera close because you never know what will make you want to grab it.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Emphasising in images.

Planning composition in photography cannot be underestimated, however there are times when further adjustment is necessary after shooting I made the adjustments to this image using PS on the mac. In the original the poor dragon fly is a bit rusted and a bit drab, plus I an only so tall so am limited as to how much distance I can get when I used a zoom lens to increase the bokeh on the shot which is fairly close range.

The first, most obviously, adjustment to make here was the saturation of the coloured aspects of the ornament. This is fairly simple using the sponge tool on PS. I also emphasised its outline with the dodge to to brighten the edges. After this I wanted to increase the saturation in the background as it looked a little washed out, but without detracting from the ornament which is the focus of the shot. To do this I used the orton effect applied to the whole image, a tutorial on achieving this effect can be found through the title link. Before using this though I selected the dragon fly with an elliptical selection tool set to feather 20 pixels and copied it, after applying the effect I re-pasted the unaltered selection back in and flattened the image.