Thursday, December 30, 2010

Time for a change...

I started this blog in the hopes that I could learn and share with others. And I have... but not really on here. I just can't seem to find the time to blog as often as I'd like and thinking up tutorials, typing them up, taking the screenshots, uploading the images and organizing everything just takes up so much of my time that I've pretty much stopped doing it. But I don't want to. I love to share what I've learned and I know I have a passion for photography. I've grown in leaps and bounds this past year and I continue to have aha! moments with my work. I couldn't have done it without the kindness of others and that's the driving force behind why I started this blog.

However, since I can't seem to find the time, I think I'll close this blog down. I've been thinking about it and always have this in the back of my mind. But I can still share what I know and what I've learned in other ways. Which is where Circus Pastiche comes in. It's gone beyond sharing at this point. I love to offer help to those who need it and I love creating new actions to streamline my workflow and add the little things that make my images pop. I figured what the heck, why not offer a hodge-podge of items including handmade props to the friends I know. Things that I would use myself. Put myself to work and still be able to do the things I love. Still be able to give back.

So check out Circus Pastiche, keep tabs on the new things I'm doing and just hang out!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Composite? Hair Fix Tutorial! ~ Photoshop Tutorial

I wont go into the crazy details about why, but recently I had to do a composite photo. If you've ever done one with anybody with plenty of hair, you may have struggled with the edges looking a little funky. Like I did.

So today I whipped up this tutorial as I was fixing this image of my lovely niece.

I've already finished compositing the image and um... didn't know what made it seem so off. Thankfully, someone was kind enough to point it out to me so here we are.

See the back sections of her hair? They don't exactly look like they were really in front of the background.

We'll work on a transparent layer above the actual image.

First, I select a color from her actual hair so it matches.

You can also alt click while hovering over the area of color you'd like to set in your palette.

Then I choose a 1px solid edged brush and start painting streaks like mad (works better if you've got a tablet... Mine's still packed from our move so I did it with my laptop thingy. Because... Felix dunked my mouse in the toilet. Don't ask. :P)

Choose another color.

And another...

And keep going until I have several colors there.

When I have plenty there to work with, I stop painting. I click on this little doohickey in my layers palette to lock the transparent pixels of that layer.

Then I use a large soft brush with a low flow and I paint a few of those softly so they'll blend with her hair just a bit better.

Getting better, right?

Now I'll add a layer mask to that transparent layer.

Change the flow of my brush again.

And paint on the layer mask to slightly mask away the ends of the hairs to soften them and blend them into the existing hair.

Even better, huh?

Now I'll duplicate that layer and go to filter>guassian blur.

I used these settings, but you may feel better to adjust yours to your own taste. This way the hair isn't so sharp.

Then I adjust the opacity of both layers to taste.

And that's about all there is to it!

Subtle, but more believeable, yes?

So now you can start taking people out of boring places and putting them in strange ones. Show me your composites!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hello Folks! - How To Make Blog Frames Tutorial - Plus PSD Download!

It's been awhile since I've posted here guys! But here I am, posting again and thanks to another photographer who asked me about the frames on my photography blogsite I'm going to do a quick tutorial on making your own custom frames to fit your style!

Most photographers I know have pretty frames to display their images on their blog and I love how they make the images stand out so I had to figure out how to make some for myself. So today we'll make the simple photo border frame you can see on my site.

First, I needed to know what size I was going to use. I didn't want to resize my images when posting them to my blog so I had to find a size that worked for me. I like my photos displayed BIG so I created a new file in photoshop using the dimensions: 1050 x 700 px and 72 ppi since this is for internet use.

I set my background to match the color of the background in my blog so the frames will fit seamlessly when I post.

The frames will be on a separate layer just in case I decide to change the background color of my blog. This way I wont have to re-create frames when my mood changes.

So, create a new layer call it "frame layer" and fill it with white. This is going to be your frame. Resize it to where you'd like it. Mine is centered and leaves slightly more room on either side for shadowing.

Now duplicate your frame layer twice. Name one Left and one Right. You can turn off your frame layer and your left layer. We'll work on right first.

Next, we'll add a drop shadow. If you're new at this, just select your right layer and double click then select drop shadow in the layer styles box or go to layer>layer style>drop shadow.

You'll use these settings:

Copy the layer style by right clicking on the right layer...

and right clicking on the left layer (you'll have to toggle your view of this layer) and pasting layer style.

Now you're probably thinking... why did she double the drop shadow on the same side? Well... photoshop wont let you change drop shadows individually. It only thinks you can have one light source. This irritated me for awhile when I tried this the first time, but I found a way around this. :)

You'll toggle your view off of the left layer and create a brand new transparent layer. Then you'll merge your right layer with your transparent layer by selecting both layers, right clicking and selecting merge layers (for all you newbies out there =])and toggle it off and forget about it for a minute.

Now toggle your view on your left layer again. Now you'll open up the layer styles box again and change your settings for your light direction using these settings.

Create another transparent layer and merge it with your left layer.

Now you have drop shadows going in two different directions.

Next you'll liquify (filter>liquify) and if you haven't done it before, well, you should learn how because I think it's one of photoshops most powerful tools.

I use a large brush to push the sides in toward the middle.

Toggle your frame layer on to check your progress. Liquify as needed.

Once you get it where you like, toggle your frame layer on again. You should have something that looks like this.

To create a box for creating clipping masks, I duplicate the frame layer and fill with black, and resize where I want my actual image. And for fun, I added some text.

You can create more boxes for using two verticals within the same frame and customize your frames with your watermark, etc. I keep all of mine in one psd file which I open and drag all my pre-resized images into. I just use clipping masks and move my watermark as needed per image. You can also take any frame or texture you find and use it as a frame. I've used funky or deckle borders to make a more vintage look. You can add things like tape or peel-backs or just about anything you'd like.

Oh, and I fully expect you to comment on this post and show me your creations. I love seeing your stuff too!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Soft Vintage - Quietide Tutorial

For those who are searching for the Groovy Moods action set, please check out the brand new blog over at the Fairfeather Photographers blog where you can find this updated and tweaked action set, the toolbox action set and many more! Hope to see you over there!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Skintone Tutorial + Color Cast Removal

Yes, the dreaded skintone subject. The bane of my existence for oh so long. Today I'm going to broach it. I'm going to attack it, scramble it's brains and leave it eating my dust. If you're struggling with skintones hopefully this tutorial will help.

I've learned the hard way that most of the time it isn't enough to set custom wb on your camera or use a grey card and to the exposure just right for beautiful skintones. Of course those things are quite important and I recommend you learn those first, but sometimes you've got color casts and you just gotta go in and fix them yourself.

So lets begin!


We'll start off with this lovely SOOC image of Kate & Kara. These girls are super cute. They were however, holding the yellowest flowers known to mankind. Their super adorable bright pink polka dotted dresses also wreaked havoc on their skin by causing magenta color casts.

To the untrained eye there isn't a thing wrong with the color in this image. But if you zoom in...

Notice that her chin looks kinda pink and her nose is definitely picking up some yellow from that flower. Her overall color also has a tinge of blue. We don't want that. Zombie kids generally look kinda scary.

So we're going to fix it.

First I like to start with an overall color correction. This will adjust the majority of the skintones. So I'm going to add an adjustment layer. If you're working with elements, I apologize because I don't know if you can do this or not. You might have to duplicate the layer, do your curves adjustment and then adjust your opacity.

I'm going to pull down on my blue channel in my curves adjustment layer. And if it's a bit much, I'll either adjust it or adjust the opacity of that layer.

Looking better already. I think these two are a tad underexposed, so I'm going to do another curves adjustment layer but I'm not going to actually adjust my curves. I'm going to set my blending mode to screen and adjust the opacity of it. I can then mask out any areas that get too bright like their hair and the flower on her headband.

A quick glance at their arms tells me I'm in the right direction.

To get decent (and realistic) skintones you probably should check your numbers. To do that, select your eyedropper tool and your info palette should display numbers when you hover above an area of your image. Here are some numbers that you can use that will tell you roughly where your numbers need to be.

African American: (RGB) 128, 58, 45/ (CMYK) 32, 81, 81, 34
Asian: (RGB) 199, 151, 120/ (CMYK) 15, 44, 55, 1
Caucasian: (RGB) 227, 176, 149/ (CMYK) 10, 33, 40, 0

Remember, these are just an ideal. Your colors should be somewhere around these numbers. After some time, you should start to develop an eye for this and you wont need to check your numbers as often. I still do if something doesn't look quite right in an image. Just remember that everything is opposite. If your image is too yellow, you'll add blue. Too blue, add yellow by taking out blue. Too magenta? Take out green. Too green? Add magenta by taking out green. Skintones looking just a bit grey and drab? Add just a teensy hint of red. Too vivid? Take some red out.

So. Our basic skin is fixed, but we still have color casts to get rid of. Lets dig in.

Though there are many techniques for this, my favorite way of getting rid of color casts is to recolor. It gives me the most control and I'm kind of a control freak when it comes to my pictures! I always always do this on a separate layer because it's very difficult to get it just right.

You'll need to select your brush tool and then change the blending mode of your brush to "color".

Your flow to 1%

And your opacity to 50% Note that this is one of the rare times I adjust the opacity of my brush. :P

Now we're going to attack her chin to remove some of that magenta. Since I want something that's the same light value as the area I'm going to be coloring, I click on my color to bring up my color picker and then use my eyedropper tool to click the color cast area. And I know that the opposite of magenta is green, so I'm going to slide the little slider up until I have a greenish color. You'll develop an eye for picking the ride shade as well. Just think opposite!

Next I go over it lightly with my funky green color. Don't be afraid to experiment with your shades.

Looks better already, doesn't it?

I'm going to do the same thing, but with a blue color on her nose, tip of her chin, etc to get rid of the yellow I'm seeing.

And since we mixed yellow and blue, a few areas got a tiny bit green, so I'll choose a magenta and go over those areas as well.

I do the same for Miss Katelynn who is OOF I might add, and the reason this photo got rejected. It's great for teaching color cast removal though! She has the flowers closer to her face and really got a dose of yellow.


Then, I'll do another bleaching layer to brighten a few spots by creating another soft bleach layer using my curves adjustment layer, inverting the layer mask and exposing the areas I want to brighten - basically any areas that sort of look grey.

Last, but not least I'll run my luminous facial scrub action from my photographers toolkit which is basically a copy of your red channel set to luminosity blending mode to smooth out their skin. Which might just be my next tutorial. ;)

Note that I would also probably have completed most of my normal editing which I covered in my last tutorial.

Here is a before and after!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My Basic Workflow Tutorial - Using My Photographer's Toolkit Action Set

This post has been deleted. My Photographer's Toolkit is getting an overhaul and version 2 will be available for purchase via my Circus Pastiche page for details coming soon!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Deleted Post

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Posh Princess

Talia over at Posh Princess is giving away a free pair of hand sewn baby booties. I don't know about you, but I love anything that's hand made and I know that soft soled shoes are the best thing for your little peanut to wear. Her designs are adorable and her prices are very reasonable for these kind of shoes. So if you'd like to check out her stuff head on over to Posh Princess on etsy, or check out her new blog for the giveaway.

New Powers!

I think my son is set to be a super villain. He just discovered these amazing new powers. He can hold onto things like the coffee table in the living room and walk while holding onto the edge. This is how he gets into everything like my computer, my mouse, the pen I'm trying to write my grocery list on, my coffee, you name it, he's getting into it. While I don't particularly care for his villainess, I am proud of his new achievements so here he is, standing while proudly holding on to the "monster chair".

And another that I have been envisioning since before he was born that I took last week. I love that I have all ten feets in this one.

38 Weeks

And this was taken on the same day that my oldest daughter turned 15. I know! 15!!! I still can't believe that I'm the mother to a teenager, let alone one who's old enough to get her permit.

It's been a very long time since I got a photo of all my kiddos that I'm actually happy with. Thanks to my awesome *snort* editing powers, I did a couple head swaps. Can you tell which ones?

My 5

Hopefully I'll be posting another new action that I've been working on. I actually have a few, but I don't think I've perfected them quite yet. The photographer's toolkit is coming along though and hopefully it will be done soon.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

New Action Set!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Groovy Baby Action

I'm so sorry, followers. Life has kept me busy, and I haven't really been up to blogging, but I promise, that's going to change. So for being loyal, here's a brand new action set just for you! Ok, well it's for everybody, but since you follow this blog, you'll see it first. So you can stick your tongue out all all the not so lucky people who know nothing about this secret little back of the woods unknown blog. See, there are some pros to following a blog that nobody else knows about.

I know I promised a toolkit, but when I get in photoshop, my mind goes completely blank. I might just be taking my mad (cough) skills for granted and assuming that everybody knows how to do most of the things I do while barely thinking. So that might just be the place to start. And as soon as I get my laundry done, floors mopped, dinner prepared, noses wiped, homework checked, and have about 5 minutes to myself (sorta) I'll sit down tonight and make a list of things that might just be handy when automated. Now, if only life were that easy. Do they have a photoshop plugin for dinner? I'm totally at a loss.

Anyway... here's the action set and preview so you can kinda see what it does. Ciao for now!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Hello again!

I know it's been awhile since I've posted, and to my loyal followers, I apologize. No excuses about how busy I've been (because, I really haven't) I just haven't felt up to posting. I really haven't had much to post!!!

But I'm coming up with a few things!

I got a new lens last week! My 50mm f1.8 (finally) got here and I've been playing around with it. Mostly I've been taking lots of snapshots to get used to it especially since it has such a shallow depth of field and I was pretty sure I'd have focusing issues. Not as many as I thought I'd have though, so I'm off and running with this new lens!

I've also decided (wisely) to reinvent myself again. This time, I've been focusing on the technical aspects of my photography. It was so easy to just rely on my photoshop skills to fix up my old photos (namely of the point and shoot variety) that I hadn't taken the time to really compose my shots. By that I mean, I hadn't prepared to truly learn my camera and all there is to know about exposure and getting it all right. Shamed, I couldn't even call myself a photographer as I had so proudly proclaimed myself to be. So I've had to throw away everything I knew and set myself up to learn something new.

And here I am again. I proudly (and for real) can say that I am a photographer. I may be just starting out, but I can say it and know within myself that I am allowed to make errors and I am allowed to learn and grow. Aaaah it feels so good and I feel so much better now.

Before my new lens got here, I read a post on ILP about exposure. That's when I realized that I didn't know much. Heck, I'd barely scratched the surface! Then I started to wonder what else was out there that I never knew I needed to know. I had to rid myself of my stubborness and be humble enough to actually read about white balance, reading my histogram, lighting, and there is so much more. Oh, so much more. I'm still learning, and now I think I'm headed in the right direction.

I know I didn't post here, but I have been taking some time off from photoshopping and putting every ounce of my brain power (and believe me, with 5 kids, there isn't much left sometimes) into learning how to take better pictures in the first place. It feels good to know that I'm actually saving myself countless hours in editing by learning how to get better shots SOOC! Those are hours that I can spend with the kiddos!

So, needless to say I'm also learning some handy new things in photoshop as well and will be putting together several actions in a sort of "toolkit" which I will also share with you!

I'm ending this post with a stunning image I shot with my new lens (that I absolutely love!) that knocks my socks off right now.