Jan 2 2013

MOPs and Photography

I’m a part of a local Mothers of Prschoolers group who wanted to have a speaker on photography. Moms and photography? Perfect combination. We are always pulling out our cameras to snap cute things our kids do.

I started my photography journey as a scrapbooker who wanted to get nicer photos to go into the pages I was designing. Enter The Daily Digi and Katie the Scrapbook Lady. The Daily Digi regularly has photography posts from Katrina Kennedy who explains things in a way that is so easy to understand. Katie the Scrapbook Lady raves about classes that Katrina teaches on her blog.

I signed up for Katrina’s daily photo prompt emails and soon received an invite and discount for Your Life Captured Through the Lens. This class helps you hone your composition skills and teaches you haw to go from using auto modes on your camera to taking full control with manual mode. I decided to sign up and learned a ton.

Well, bragging about how much I learned through this class got me asked to actually present at MOPs. So, here I am, night before the presentation, finalizing everything. I hope everyone finds this helpful! I have linked to the handout so you can click through to the handy links I posted in the reference section.

May 7 2012

Adobe Configurator

Have you heard of Adobe Configurator? It’s a nifty feature that I learned about while watching Photoshop User TV hosted by Scott Kelby.

You can create your own custom tool panel to use within Photoshop CS5 or Illustrator. I created a panel of the tools that I use most while creating a scrapbook page. In addition to creating your own panel, you can also save it to share with others (or yourself on different computers).

Here is a screenshot of my panel:

Configurator Panel

I also made a custom workspace:

Set up your photoshop windows the way you want them to be every time you open the program, then go to Window-> New Workspace. Save the workspace with an appropriate name. Now while creating, I have the things I use most often at my fingertips. And, the nice part is I can edit these things as my skills develop to suit my needs.

Photoshop Workspace

Mar 14 2012

How Do You Get a Family Portrait?

Question: How do you get a family portrait when your family is spread all over the country?

Answer: Take multiple photos and merge them with a photo editing program.

The solution is easier said than done. When I was back home in September, I had everyone get together for a family photo. The only family missing was my middle brother’s. When taking the picture, I left some blank space in the background:


I then asked my brother to send me some photos of his family against a blank wall. Unfortunately, one of his photos was way overexposed. Being a novice photographer, I wasn’t sure what to do, so I started fiddling with the exposure and other settings in Lightroom and Photoshop. The photo was not coming out well, so I put my photo project on the back burner.

Just a few weeks ago I was looking for some new scrapbooking blogs to read that have tutorials regularly. I found Mye DeLeon and her post here about fixing underexposed photos in Photoshop. At the end of the post, Mye also talks about how to fix overexposed pictures by duplicating the layer and changing the blend mode to multiply. So easy and made my picture usable!




20111211-Serious pic layers.jpg

After a lot more layering with adjustment layers to equalize the color and lighting in each photo so that they would blend, I finally have a finished product. A little late for Christmas, but just in time for Easter.

All Together.jpg

Oct 24 2011

Final Canvas Art Design

In case you are wondering, here is the final draft of my canvas art piece.

Immortal Invisible Final Upload

I really like how the font turned out. The color of the font is a sample of the fall leaf color. I changed the effects on the layers to emboss and satin to give it the shiny gold look.

The bottom layer is a brown-black sampled from the tree bark in the spring photo, then I used a photo of a forest and played with the blending modes and opacity to find the effect that looked best.

Using drop shadows, I was able to make the photos look matted.

Oct 20 2011

Canvas Art

While singing at church one Sunday I was inspired to make a piece of wall art based on the hymn Immortal Invisible, God Only Wise by Walter C. Smith.

This summer Groupon had a Canvas on Demand coupon. Now the coupon is expiring on October 22, and I still am not quite happy with how my art is looking.

Here is my original concept:

Need some constructive criticism

It really wasn’t working for me, so I got some feedback, scrapped the original idea and came up with these:


Immortal Invisible Horizontal


Immortal Invisible Vertical

Now, which do you like better, horizontal or vertical? Should I keep all the text in golden yellow? Should I change the capitalization in the verses? Leave some comments and help me out! (Thanks to everyone who has commented so far in this process. Hope you aren’t getting tired of it)

Aug 23 2011

Lightroom Metadata Bug?

I am having problems with metadata that I enter into Adobe Lightroom’s catalog not consistently saving to JPEG files that were downloaded from my camera. My goal is to have the metadata saved directly to the JPEGs without extra steps such as exporting files from the catalog or resaving images as JPEGs in Photoshop.

I am experiencing the same issues with Mac OS v 10.6.8 and 10.7.1. My photos are captured with a Nikon D50 as JPEG (setting: FINE). I am running Lightroom 3.4.1.

I set catalog settings to automatically write changes into XMP, set Lightroom to back up each time I exit, and set camera RAW cache to 50 GB. All other settings I left as default. Pictures were copied into the catalog as JPEG from my camera card. I tagged and added captions or titles to numerous pictures.

Today when I opened Lightroom, some pictures had the exclamation point badge (sidecar file has conflict) and some didn’t. When I tried to resolve the mismatching sidecars by clicking “retry metadata export” or “save metadata to files” manually within Lightroom, the program would go through the motions of exporting the metadata (progress bar, etc), yet when I checked the actual file that the catalog is linked to, the metadata was not included in the information for the actual image. The exclamation badge still showed in the catalog also.

All the metadata I entered into the catalog remains there and is correct.

Photos captured on the same day, downloaded from the same camera on the same day they were taken can behave differently. Some photos will have the metadata saved properly, others will not.

LR and Info Highlighted

In comparing the info for files where the metadata wrote and those which didn’t, I noticed that the permissions are different. I changed the permissions of the non-written files to match the written files and tried to resynchronize with no luck. I can export a photo from Lightroom and the metadata will be included in the newly created file. I can also download the files from my camera, open and resave them as JPEGs in Photoshop, import them into Lightroom, and the metadata writes to the files with no problem.

Is anyone else having this problem? I can’t find anything in the forums or searching the web.

UPDATE: Adobe has released version 3.5 for testing. The problem I was experiencing seems to have been fixed.

May 2 2011

Week 3 Photo Assignment

This week’s assignment was to learn about the auto settings on the camera. Each setting optimizes the camera settings for various situations. I was a bit lazy (mostly because I’m so pregnant I can’t move very well) so I didn’t get all the settings.


Macro Mode




Portrait Mode


Sports Mode:

Action Mode


We also learned how to take a self-portrait. Make sure you hold the camera off to the side to get the best angle (and some other creative shots).



Belly Self Portrait

Apr 21 2011

Week 2 Photo Assignment

Week two focused on composition. Look for lines and architectural props that frame your subject. Zoom in, then zoom in some more. Create visual triangles by how you pose your subject. Employ the rule of thirds in your work. Use props- anything can be a prop, even buttons on a shirt. Take photos from different angles: above, below, behind.

Zoom in



Visual Triangle




Rule of Thirds

Rule of Thirds

Vary the Angle

Varied Angle

Props/ Vary the Angle


Use Props

Props/ Rule of Thirds

Props/ Vary the Angle

Apr 18 2011

Week 1 Photo Assignment

Week one was the study of light. How does natural light affect your subject? Certain times of day have different hues of light, the quality of light changes, and the shadows change.

We had to take photos of the same subject at different times of day. Here are some examples:

9 AM


12:45 PM


5 PM




I also took photos that illustrate front light, side light, and back light:

Front Light



Back Light



Side Light


Apr 17 2011

Adding a New Dimension

I have been digital scrapbooking for almost 2 years now. We have so many digital photos, that it is nice to do pages directly on the computer instead of printing or waiting for them to be developed. Our photos are decent, but I want to be able to have some great photos.

Although we have a great camera, I have barely scratched the surface of its potential. I have never learned basic composition, lighting, or other photo techniques.  I use the auto modes on the camera and have no idea how to use ISO settings, aperture, or white balance.

I found a basic 4 week photography class at Big Picture Classes with Elisha Snow that will introduce me to these concepts and hopefully improve my photography skills. We have a short assignment every week and are encouraged to take as many photos as possible to practice the concepts taught in class that week.