Monday, March 29, 2010

I Heart Faces - Dramatic B&W

This week's theme at I Heart Faces is Dramatic B&W.

I kinda like drama so this is fun...

Here's one of my favorite black & white images...I shot this last year as the bridesmaids were helping the bride carry her stuff to the formal posing area...I can't really pinpoint what it is I like so much...probably just the entire feel of the photo...enjoy!


Head over to I Heart Faces 
to see all the great entries this week 
and join the fun yourself!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fab Free Actions for Elements!

Erin and Rita, two of my favoritest blogging friends, have just completed a HUGE project that we can all benefit from - they've converted the Pioneer Woman Actions to be compatible with Photoshop Elements!

This is wonderful news for us pse users because most actions are only compatible with big photoshop so now there's finally some love for us little guys~

I was actually able to try out the PW Actions early last year right after I had shot my first wedding.  I downloaded the free 30 day trial of Photoshop CS4 and loaded the actions into it.
* just a sidenote...I discovered purely on accident that if you leave the program open and don't turn off your computer that the trial will last way longer than 30 days...just sayin:)

Anyway ~ I wanted to share some of my favorites with you to give you an idea of what can be done with these actions.  Some of them have been tweaked a bit here and there but nothing much:)

Fresh & Colorful


PW Black & White


{...don't ask}

Seventies (my personal favorite)


Boost combined with Soft & Faded


There's several more actions in these sets so have fun and try them all out!

Here's the link:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Anatomy of...Boy On The Swing

I got a comment from Brandy on the My Favorite Weekend post about how I got that great green background on this shot~

Well, it was nothin' fancy, just a perfect example of how a 70-300 lens gives awesome bokeh!  
My focal length was at 190mm when I shot this.  

Here's my original, which is pretty darned perfect as-is...not talking about my skills, simply referring to Rebel's friend as my fabulous model~

I just loved this shot but of course had to mess with it a bit.  I actually did very little editing to my first attempt...I softened the skin just a tiny bit...then I added a subtle scratchy texture that darkened the edges...then I popped the color with Coffeeshop Vivid 2 on the Soft option.  

I played with it a few other ways and white using Coffeeshop Bittersweet Vintage and B&W on the High Key option...I erased just a little on his skin as you can see in my screenshot...but I made sure to keep that mud swipe untouched...boys look good in mud!

Then I used Erin's Defog action on the Pea Soup option at 67% and erased from his eyes... get this...

Whoops - forgot to tell you that I cloned out the writing on his shirt...I thought it was distracting.  I just used the clone stamp and stamped over it using the color from other parts of his shirt.  

Then I got really funky and did this...

...just havin' some fun and playin' around with blending modes~  

Give it a whirl...try all of them!  I think I duplicated then used Soft Light....then duplicated and used Multiply...then used Screen and kept his face lighter but erased the Screen off the background...I bet I tried at least 12 different combination of modes...then finished it off with a texture from ShadowHouseCreations.

I like all of these finishes but still think my original looks great.  Like I've said before...actions and textures and editing doesn't necessarily make a photo better...just different~  

{my photos have been lookin' a bit pixely lately here on my blog.  I think it's because I'm letting blogger choose the size instead of doing it myself.  It's pure laziness on my part...I reduce them for the web with Size It but then let blogger resize them again...learn from my mistakes and size your photos correctly if you want them to show nice on your blog!}

Monday, March 22, 2010

My Favorite Weekend

It's been 4 long, cold months since we've been on the soccer fields.  
I've missed it.

With 3 boys playing Select Soccer our soccer weekends are hectic, tiring, chaotic, expensive, frustrating and generally just crazy.  

We had 7 games this weekend which gave me plenty of time to chronicle just exactly what it is I love about my favorite weekends...

I love the fact that Wild Child gets up early, dresses for the cold and gives it his all...

...even when he'd rather be snuggled up warm back in his bed.

I love watching the skill...

...and the unexpected.

I love watching my kids find new friends to play with...

...and exploring around the fields with the old friends.

I love the team spirit...

...and even the fashion statements.  

Leather neon yellow doesn't go with just any outfit.

I love not worrying about my camera settings and still getting shots like this...

...and this...

I love watching the sideline coaches call the game...

...the refs should really listen to them more often.

I love seeing the determination...

...and the good sportsmanship they're learning.

And I love the battles.

Anytime you combine
a lot of boys...

...with a lot of adrenaline...

...and only 1 trophy...'re going to see some battles.

I really, really love it when we get the trophy.

But what I love the most...

...what really makes this my favorite kind of weekend... to know that the battle on the soccer fields... the only battle... kids will have to fight this weekend.

I Heart Faces ~ Angles

The theme this week at I Heart Faces is Angles.

Well of course I love shooting at weird angles all the time so this was fun...the hard part is picking which photo to use~  

I chose this one of cropping was done, this is sooc as far as the angle is concerned...I used Coffeeshop Vivid 2 on the Bright option for the post processing.

Check out I Heart Faces to all the other great entries and join the fun yourself!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Day At The Tradeshow

Whew!  I spent weeks agonizing over my "tradeshow debut" only to have it fly by on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

First off, I just have to say that I implemented almost every tip that was suggested here by all my cyber friends and it made all the difference in the world.  The candy...the slideshow...the giveaway...the various guys are pretty smart!

The adventure started Friday evening when I stuffed my van full and headed to do the set up at the gym.
This is what awaited me....I had to work my wonders in this 10x10 space!  {Overachiever was my photographer for the evening}

After about an hour and a half I had something that resembled a real live photography booth ~
Here's one table that just had photos on it, and that's a canvas on the big easel...

I set up my giveaway table at the back in the middle. Anyone who wanted to enter the giveaway or grab some chocolate had to at least 'come inside' and take a look!

On the other side I had more photos along with some examples of my products...Christmas cards, greeting cards, accordion books (my favorite!) and I had my trusty Mac at the very end of the table playing my animoto video for the world to see~

So Friday night when I left I was feelin' pretty good about the whole thing...the video played perfectly, everything was in their place and I would hang my banners first thing in the morning... Saturday morning comes alive with rain, rain and more rain!  I spent way too much time on my hair
trying to pull off the "artsy, hip" look, which I mentioned doesn't come naturally to this exhausted mother of 4:)  After making 4 trips in and out that morning trying to carry my umbrella and all my junk, my hair was windblown and wet, and my mood had completely tanked!

When I finally make it to my booth I realize that the hangers I had for my banners are way too small to fit  over the top pipe.  My tanked mood goes even farther into the I grab some safety pins and do the next best thing.  Hey, at least they're up.  

Then I plug my Mac back in and try to start my video loop.  It shows nothing.  NOTHING!! 
My dvd is nowhere to be found on the screen and I can't find it anywhere in my system, it won't eject, NOTHING!!  I spent about 20 minutes trying to act calm while my booth neighbors are watching when inside I'm wishing I could simply walk away and crawl back in bed:)  Having an income is so overrated...

Then, in a glance, I see that the video that I've been trying to find inside my computer for the last 20 minutes is sitting on my other table, safely nestled in it's case.  I hadn't even inserted it in my computer!
Do these kind of things always happen at events like this??

After I stopped freaking out and the crowd started filtering in, I actually enjoyed myself a lot.  The main attention getter was definitely the video would catch their eye, they'd watch for a few seconds, then scan the rest of my booth to see what it was all about.  I don't know that anyone stood there and watched the whole thing but it did the job and caught their eye.  And it was so noisy in the gym that the music wasn't even an issue.  I could have had the Barney theme song blaring and nobody would have noticed!

What made my day extra fun was having my BFF's with sweet are they for giving up their Saturday to stand in a gym with me and eat cardboard pizza?

I got to talk to a ton of people thruout the day and had some great visitors too...

...this little gal kept me company for a while...

...and these girls were tons of fun...

My crew even stopped by looking like homeless vagrants and spent the afternoon swiping every free handout they could get their little paws on...yes, their father let them dress themselves that morning!

When it's all said and done I had a great day and learned a LOT!  I was able to talk about photography and photo editing with all new people and that's always a good day in my book.  Was it worth the time and investment? I don't know yet.  I guess I'll have to see how the leads work out this year.  Ya never know until you try.

I do need to address one very important matter that I learned about tradeshows.  If you're going to be standing on a hard gym floor for 8 hours it's a really good idea to wear sensible shoes.  I know this because I DID NOT wear sensible shoes!  Instead, I wore these...

Yep.  Black, leather, knee-high, stiletto heels.  

Would I advise anyone to wear these all day?  Nope.

Did I look better than I usually do in my everyday, soccer mom, sensible shoe wearing outfits?
You Betcha:)

Thanks for all your suggestions/advice/honest feedback/and everything else!  You helped make my "big day" so much better and a great memorable experience~

Stay Tuned...I'm gonna tell you all about those accordion books and why I love them!

Blog Designed by Rita of CoffeeShop