Thursday, 18 December 2008

3 is a magic number

Having a newborn in the house means I have an endless supply of cute photographic ideas to try out, sadly it also means I have a million reasons to end up being unable to carry them out!

Having taken almost 2 weeks to get around to shooting our Christmas card with 3 children I was glad to get another couple of shots, no matter whether they are technically good or not!

I'm very lucky in that I have 3 children who's features suit black + white processing as it cover a multitude of newborn blotchy-ness!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Location scouting with point & shoot

Today's midwife appointment gave a fantastic opportunity to scope out some lovely autumn locations near by.

This is valley view park (or at least thats how I know it, google maps can't identify it from that name!).

JD loved running around in the leaves and we will certainly be back there at the weekend with the D300 to capture some more lovely colours to add into em & jd's project 365.

View Larger Map

Friday, 7 November 2008

Outtakes and alternates continue...

Some more outtakes from this evening's combined Christmas portrait and project 365 sessions.

Crinkly throw from ikea, man I love that place for fabrics.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Christmas portrait outtakes

Well, the season is nearly upon us with halloween this week and bonfire night next week its basically a whistle stop tour to Christmas from here.

Having a new baby on the way before Christmas we're eager to minimise shopping effort all round so set about doing some new portraits of our own 2 today to frame and give as gifts.  

These are some of the outtakes, I think I like them better than the ones I've selected for framing! 

Monday, 27 October 2008

Inspire me!

Having made a definite effort over the last week to blow the dust off my poor neglected D300 it seemed pretty much like everything then conspired against me to prevent me taking any photographs. After my Grandad was rushed into hospital I was admitted to hospital myself then when I came home he sadly passed away. Then there's the daily chores of family life combined with preparing for a new baby, which in our case means decorating the entire house.

So it was in a very unlikely place this weekend that I found finger-itching inspiration that made me regret leaving my camera at home when I went out. I was out at the florists with my mother choosing funeral flowers for my grandad we outside next to the door I spotted a basket full of the what I thought was the most bizarre sad looking pumpkins in the world. I was inappropriately consumed with the urge to waddle home and bring back my camera and beg the florist's owners to let me photograph them. I resisted and picked out flowers helped by the fantastic store owners who offer tea and handled the whole thing with a lovely approach.

When I returned home my husband could tell I was twitching to go back, especially when I told him the basket they were sitting in was perfect newborn photo shoot size....

So we went back and bought the basket of gourds, I was totally enthralled by the colours and spent ages arranging them and getting the lighting right to show off their fantastic contrast. Then excitedly processed them in lightroom 2 ready to post.

Inside the store incidentally I discovered a wealth of fantastic seasonal 'props', lovely willow, berrys, crispy autumn-like leaves and peacock feathers so expect lots of up-coming shoots to be using such seasonal items!

Anyone who is local I can't recommend this florist enough, its the second time we've used them for a sensitive occasion when I friend suffered a miscarriage a year ago we sent a plant to offer our condolences and they met our needs perfectly.

There is more from the lovely gourd family on the 'everything else' web gallery through clicking the title link.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Abandon all technique ye who enter here....

Well, having a had a break from my camera for everyone in the family to be ill I was determined to get out & about and refresh my skills this week. Of course mostly it has been on the way to or from nursery pick ups or hospital appointments but at least my poor neglected D300 got a bit of fresh air.

As for my technique, well it got abandoned. Being 33 weeks pregnant I can no longer bend down to get my son's face in the shot and if I kneel down I'd better be sure he will stay in that position because I'm basically going to be there until a crane comes to pick me up! The shots I was most pleased with today came from abandoning all hope of 'proper' photographic technique, these came as a combination from peeping over brightly painted playground toys and allowing the camera to hang at navel level and shooting on continuous.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Wave of light

Last year we took part in the wave of light for babyloss awareness and lit a candle for our angel and friends and those angels who lost their fight on the unit I worked on.

This year I have realised virtually everyone I speak to has been affected by miscarriage, still birth or the loss of a child in some way so that's why I couldn't light just one or two candles this year because I realise now I would need an awful lot for all the angels who have touched my heart in the last year.

Using a mirror in this shot really is just to illustrate that we often feel like we are the only ones who have suffered loss but if we look up and look around we will find there are lots of people around us who have suffered as well and they can help us through, or at least cry with us and share precious memories.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Little Miss E

I did a shoot for this little lady when she was a newborn, now she's over a year old! How time flies.

She's still as photogenic as ever, there will be more on my website when I workout what's preventing it updating!

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Little Miss C

I was lucky enought to re-visit a client from a newborn shoot this week, here is Little Miss C, still as gorgeous as ever!

The joela photography website has also undergone on update to the galleries and information to make it easier to use.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Birthday present

Tink present
A quick free lightroom preset to download, add some fairy sparkles in photoshop and your little one will be tinkerbell! Click the title link to be taken to the free download.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

New website up and running

Finally after a week of grappling with FTP uploading, flash templates etc the new joela photography website is up and running. The trail logo will be disappearing sometime in the next 24 hours and I might even remember to add key terms for web searches at some point as well.

Why not click on the title link to check it out & leave a bit of C&C?!

Friday, 1 August 2008

Quick tutorial - rounded corners in photoshop

Rounded corners can give a lovely vintage feel and be a good compliment to this type of processing, and there's an easy way achieve them...

Select the rounded rectangle tool, check that the 'paths' option is selected on the top bar and select the area of your image you want to apply the corners to.

Now open the paths palette and click on the dotted circle icon at the bottom, this will turn the shape you have drawn into a selection.

Copy the selection and paste into a new document with a transparent background colour.

You're done!

Obviously this image has been further processed, I will be posting further tutorials on adding borders and vintage processing in upcoming posts.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

A break from lightrooom

As most (if not all) of the free downloads I have offered have been related to lightroom I thought it was about time I included one for our friend photoshop.
A friend asked for a Christmas card template but didn't really think anyone would appreciate that quite yet so went on to develop this thank you card. The text is customisable, as is the image and colours used. As this was put together in CS3 I can't guarantee it will work will earlier versions, enjoy! For the free download click the title link.

Monday, 14 July 2008

And sometimes its not...

After a horrible shock when I picked up my D300 yesterday and the AF had stopped working I had renewed motivation to go out & shoot, of course I have 2 children so what I did (after changing lenses in dis-belief a few times and fiddling enough to get it working) is stay in & shoot of course...
This was one of the resulting shots, the others were of flowers that I got for my birthday this week. This was shot with my 50mm f1.8 lens, my favorite lens of all time but doesn't quite do its capabilities justice. As I was infact shooting the real-life 5 year old daughter and not a stuffed version she moved all the time so rather than shoot at f1.8 like I'd like to I shot at f4 to give me a slightly deeper DoF and some error room for the endless 5 year old shuffle.
To edit this shot was all about layers. I liked the original so to preserve it exported from lightroom as a TIFF to PS and used adjustment layers to make sure I didn't do anything I couldn't get rid of.
First layer: sharpening. Duplicate the background layer + run high pass filter at 2 pixels. Then add an inverted layer mask and paint in the sharpening to the areas of the image you want it (white a soft white brush). In this case I painted in over the feather. Then switch the blending mode to hard light or soft light, whatever your preference.
Second layer: black + white conversion. In this image to enhance the contrast I lightened the yellows and darkened the reds, but only very slightly.
When I was happy with these the image was flattened and the background duplicated again. The duplicate layer I set to a blending mode of colour dodge which vastly enhances the highlight areas of the image, too much in fact. I added an inverted layer mask and using a soft white brush set to 35% opacity and 40% flow painted in the highlights I wanted to emphasise.
So all in all for a fairly simple black and white image it took much longer to edit than a standard portrait!

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Sometimes its best to leave alone...

Editing is all about flattering your subject, sometimes you can spend hours adjusting colour balance, removing blemishes making eye sparkle, converting to black & white, using textures, frames and adding fantasy effect. And sometimes the best editing is none at all.

This little one had such a perfect pose that the best way to flatter her is to leave portrait exactly as it is. No editing required.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008


As part of a course I have to present some landscape and still life shots. This is so far outside my comfort zone I may need a street map!

So set off today to shoot around Newcastle city centre, yes in the midday sun, harsh light poor shadows, no midtones but what else can you do with a 3 year old in tow and a 5 year to pick up shortly afterward?

May head back down if the opportunity becomes available to get some child free time nearer sunset, unlikely as thats pretty late here at the moment. So for now a hot chocolate tinged black & white conversion will have to suffice! So instead of a processing preset to download today's title link will click through to a much better and mroe experienced regional landscape photographer.

Monday, 16 June 2008

What words are we made of?

These are the words that most often arise on my shots it seems...they actually are not what I expected though obviously I tag every shot with my camera's make i expected to see more child related and less work related words..... pic is on the title link.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

New portrait preset

I had the pleasure of shooting this gorgeous little man this week and although we only purposefully shot her about 20 minutes got some really lovely poses.

This one just needed a little punch and I wasn't so happy with lightroom's punch preset as it darkened it down too much.

So click the title link and you can try my punchy portrait preset for free, C&C welcome.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

An appeal for a friend in need.

Isn't the internet a wonderful thing? A fantastic source of information, entertainment, and most importantly contact and friendship. Over the last 2 years I've been very active on flickr and have made some fantastic friends who mean as much to me as some that I see on a daily basis. We have laughed and cried together and been angry and amused together.

A few days ago I found out that an online friend is not only sick, pregnant, in financial dire straits but also now at risk of losing her precious baby to a complicated very premature delivery. To try to prevent this is hospitalised away from her husband and 2 young girls, undergoing invasive and stressful medical procedures daily and facing a huge amount of general uncertainty. You can read her blog by clicking the title link, I don't feel its my place to share all the particulars of anyone's medical condition and I don't have the words to adequately pass on the situation this family is in, nothing can do better than their own words.

So I would ask anyone to remember this family in your prayers and anyone who feels they can click the link to make a small donation. It will go toward ensuring they can secure childcare, pay some basic bills and have some comfort while separated. As they are in the USA there's little more direct I can do right now so hope this goes some small way to providing help and comfort for this family in need.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Going all girly

There's something to be said for a touch of pink, I think anyway! So today's free lightroom preset is a quick & simple click for a gorgeous pink tinged split toning effect. If you like your pink hotter simply dial up the saturation! Click the title link for the free download as always.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Slight change to advertised program..

In that today's free download is not a texture from my industrial trip out on location but from today's more mundane walk to feed the ducks. Click the title and follow the link to download the full quality JPEG file.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

More from the tracks

As its time to start another course later this week I'll be posting some landscape shots (EEKK not comfortable territory for me..) but before then here's another from our trip out to the abandoned train tracks..... keep an eye open for some free downloadable textures from the same location over the next couple of days.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Summer's here? Location location location!

THE best thing about the weather turning good is the ability to get out and about.  After  7 or so months of shooting inside it is so liberating to be let off the leash and find somewhere nice to take some portraits.

Today we visited some abandoned train tracks which has some great opportunities or both fake rural and more industrial shots.  It is my new season's ambition to go shooting in once place I have never been before every week for the rest of the summer.

This was shot with my new 'back up buddy' a second hand D80 with my favorite lens ever (nikkor 50mm 1.8) though not fully open this is shot at f2.8 which gives just a pleasing level of depth of field at a distance, it also allows me a bigger margin than f1.8 if I'm slightly off with the auto focus points!

Thursday, 13 March 2008

New free preset - an apology for a long absence

A quick new free preset available for download from clicking the title link as usual, based on a cross-processing effect which I've found difficult to achieve in lightroom, don't know about anyone else!

Will be posting a red based cross process preset in the near future also.

Have fun!

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Cards for Lois

A contact of mine brought the situation of one her friends to my attention, she is diagnosed with terminal cancer, she has a family and she is carrying on as best she can for them.  Faced with this she would like to do something to uplift her and show her that there is so much love and support in the world as she continues to put her faith in God as author of her life.  Please click the title link to read her original post and send Lois a card.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Monday, 28 January 2008

They're finished!

After a few weeks working on the best methods I have finally finished my first set of photoshop actions for CS3.  These are not ground breaking new processing techniques but simply convenient actions for the most commonly used processing techniques.  The example shown is my vintage action, examples of the rest can be found at my flickr account and they can be purchased through QXL for a very small price, the listing can be found through the title link :)

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Sunday, 13 January 2008

A quick texture tutorial for photoshop.

Part of my daily posting diet on flickr yesterday included project365 shots for myself and my kids. As it was the weekend and we've all been ill this week I opted for a lazy home based-shoot and some photoshop editing applying textures. I used Michelle Black's new freebie texture which you can find by clicking the title link. After posting a few people posted comments asking how I'd done it so decided it might be a good idea to post a tutorial here to help and PS new comers out.

Firstly, the original photo was shot against a white background, that makes editing later easier. You don't nee a back drop I often use a white wall in my house with good lighting. Today I used a projection screen but thats not particularly necessary as long as you've got a good contrast between your subject and background.

Firstly I should make it clear this tutorial is to use the texture as a background and not to apply over the entire shot. I will probably cover that later. I opened both the files in photoshop firstly. Then I selected all of the texture file and copied and pasted it into a new layer over the photograph. You can do it the other way around but will loose your EXIF data is you do.

Once the texture is pasted over the photograph you will alarmingly be unable to see your image. At this point reduce the opacity of the texture layer to around 50%. This will allow you to see what's underneath. Now with the eraser tool set to 100% opacity and 100% flow begin erasing the texture from your subject, I always start with the face and work out. Erase just almost to the edges then refine your eraser brush. Set to a smaller diamter, around 19 pixels, with opacity at 37% and flow around 74% and erase the edges in smooth strokes. Once this is done increase the opacity of the texture layer back to around 95% so you can see and spots you've missed. Once this is tidied up run the blur tool around the edges to give a smooth finish.

Don't worry if you make a mistake, you can use the undo tool if you are not using very long strokes, if there is a white area left when you increase opacity you may also be able to use the clone tool to even it out.

Have fun!

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Glorius in the garden - new free preset.

Winter may seem like an odd time for me to be advocating getting outside to shoot, but winter sun (as any driver will tell you) can be more intense than spring and summer. It gives fantastic contrasts on frosty days particularly. This image has been processed with my new garden glory lightroom preset. It will enhance shadows and emphasise the natural greens and reds in your shot to make the most of the winter sunshine.

This is my garden I did not have to wander too far to get what I wanted, I'd love to see what anyone else comes up with & how the preset looks, please feel free to post links to your pictures in the comments section.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

New year new preset

Not a fantastic photo but this is a shot from New Years day, I started the flickr 365 days project on boxing day and this is my SP. The violet doze preset is perfect for those lazy days shots and works on black & white conversions to add a little splash of colour. You can download the preset by clicking the title link, C+C welcome as always especially as this preset was exported on my mac and not the windows machine I had had to use for the others so please let me know if there are any compatibility issues.