Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Photo editing...

I am currently helping the girls in my American Heritage Girls troop earn their photography badge.  This badge has helped me remember my love of photography and get back to doing something that I love.  I got my first SLR camera when I was about 24 or 25 and instantly fell in love with it.  This led to the purchase of my own black and white darkroom equipment and so much more.  I also took a college level photography course.  However, aside from using my camera, I've tucked all of my equipment away for about 20 years.  During that time, my SLR was replaced by a digital SLR.  My husband was kind enough to purchase it for me for Christmas, and then follow it up with an awesome zoom lens which I love.

I've always loved taking pictures, but recently I've been honing my skills and learning not just how to take great pictures using only manual settings on my camera, but also how to edit them.  I have owned and used Photoshop for years because of my business.  However, I am always amazed at just what this program can do.  I stumbled upon the website of a wonderful photographer located in Texas.  Her site has taught me more about taking pictures and also editing them than I ever hoped to know.  If you have any interest in taking better pictures, I highly recommend taking a look at Kristen Duke's blog.  Aside from the fact that she is so gracious about sharing tips on how to take better photos, she also has tons of awesome decorating ideas and so much more.

Based on one of her lessons on editing pictures, I messed around with a recent picture of my twin boys.  Here's a before and after of the photo.  Do you see what I mean?

Before editing...

and after.

Here's another one of my daughter that I edited.  Mainly I'm just enhancing the pictures, and sometimes cropping them a bit.  Fixing any blemishes, etc...


and after.
I am using the layers in Photoshop to add a soft light layer.  You can play around with the levels and get just the right amount.  The difference is amazing!  It makes the colors so much richer.  Another tip I've learned is to play with the eyes.  That's a bit more difficult, but really makes a difference too.  Here's one I did of my son.


and after.
This doesn't just work on people pictures.  You can enhance any photo using the soft light layer in Photoshop.  This is a picture of my daughter's pink dogwood tree in our back yard.

Pretty cool stuff!  This could totally become addictive.  Now if I could just my kids to be enthusiastic about helping mom improve her photo taking skills.  Lately, if they see the camera in my hand, they run.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Spring is finally here!

Aside from the pollen aspect, I love Spring!  It comes as a close second to my all time favorite season, Fall.  Each year I enjoy watching the abundance of tulips, daffodils and crocus bulbs sprout up in my garden.  Here's a photo trip through some of the gorgeous Spring flowers and trees in my area.  Enjoy!