Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Crave Photography Giveaway

I was reading one of the blogs I follow, The Maternal Lens, and learned about this AMAZING photographer in Utah. She goes by the name of Crave Photography and her work is totally reflective of the name, because I am absolutely craving to see more of her stuff! Right now she is doing a giveaway for mentoring. Here's a list of things she will be teaching:

*several ways to get sharp sparkly eyes
*how to get creamy skin tones
*several different methods for adding yummy light to photographs
*several different ways for adding deep rich shadows
*bold vivid colors
*vintage looks
*ultra sharp photos
*adding artificial lens flares/haze
*working with textures
*Q&A where you can ask Andee any questions about photography, business, photo shoots, lighting, camera, lenses, posing, etc...

What a great giveaway! Here's to hoping I win!

Moving, Edits, Programs and Lomo Photography, OH MY!

There are all kinds of different ways and styles to edit digital photography and several different programs to do it in. When I first started shooting with my DSLR, I would edit my work in Photoshop Elements 2.0. There was no rhyme or reason for choosing this program, it just happened to come with an Epson scanner we had purchased and was "free". I would do basic edits, like enhancing color or converting a color image to black and white. And then I discovered the world of vignettes! I was so excited about this "new" technique. Now mind you, vignetting is not new, but it was new to me at the time and I couldn't believe the difference it made in my work. In fact, I'm still amazed at how something so simple can completely change the look of an image.

Just as I was beginning to delve into the world of digital photography and editing, we moved. Some of you may be thinking, "Moving? What does that have to do with photography and edits?" Let me tell you, it changed EVERYTHING for me. I
assume that moving for most is probably something that is kept locally (within a 200 mile radius of where you grew up), at least that is how it has been for a majority of people I know. For my husband and I, we tend to have the outlook of, "If you're going to do it, do it right". So we uprooted our comfortable lives in Ohio, said goodbye to friends and family, and relocated to Washington. Now, there were reasons for the move, it's not like we just left on a whim, but those reasons do not really pertain to this story. So how does a cross-country move effect one's photography? Instead of focusing on my work, I was preoccupied with things like housing, unpacking, socializing and learning the lay of the land. Photography had become a distant memory and my camera had become a magnet for dust. Sad, I know. Then one day, my laptop took a dump and I found I needed a new one. My hubby and I started talking about the different ones to choose from, which ones had the best ratings and what I would be using it for. It was then that photography came to the forefront of my thoughts. It was time to start shooting again and start honing my skills that I had started to develop.

With my camera back in action, old laptop dead (thank goodness all my previous images were backed up on an external hard drive), a great new laptop with
no editing software on it and my Photoshop Elements 2.0 disc buried in one of many unpacked boxes (not too mention it was way outdated), it was time to find some new software. My husband suggested I try out Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2. I have to admit, I was concerned about using this program. All notes I had written down were for Photoshop and did not apply to Paint Shop Pro. To make matters worse, all research I did to learn how to use this program turned up instructions for Photoshop. Obviously the preferred software for photographers is Photoshop, but I had Paint Shop Pro and had to do with what I had. I'm not going to lie, I did not put forth a ton of effort to learn how to use this program and took the laissez faire approach by only using basic edit techniques. Looking back, I really wish I wouldn't had been a bum about it. I really wasted an opportunity to learn how to use a good product. But now I have a new product to learn and plan on focusing on a new technique every week to optimize my work.

The new software I am now using is Photoshop CS. I abs
olutely love it! What I love the most, is that now I can start learning some of the cool techniques I ran across during my research for using Paint Shop Pro. One of those was Lomo Style Photography, a method for making digital photos look like they were taken from an old Russian LOMO LC-A camera.. I love the dramatic effects this style creates and have been wanting to try it out on a few stock art images I have. Here are my first two attempts at this style:
Original /Lomo Style

Original/Lomo Style
I'm very happy with the results and can't wait to try it on some more images.
I can't wait to learn all the different techniques that Photoshop has to offer. My plan is to learn a new technique weekly and apply it to my work. The prospects are exciting.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Hello Portraits! It's Been a While...

Tomorrow is my first photo session, involving people, in long time. I'm kind of nervous but also very excited. In preparation for tomorrow, i went scouting for new shooting locations Friday. I found a few really cool spots. On of which was on the property of a winery. There are a row of trees on one side and on the other side of the trees is a hay field with old style irrigation. I'm so excited about this location. It has TONS of potential. However, I'm not using it for tomorrow. I'm going to be selfish and do my family's portraits there first. For tomorrow, I'm taking my clients to a residential neighborhood that's out in the country. There is a railroad track that runs near it and also a lot of tall green grasses. I think it'll be a great site! And, if time permits, I'll take them to another site near by. This one has a wooden corral style fence with tons of cool tumbleweed, sagebrush and other desert plants behind it. I just happened upon it while driving around and was highly amazed that this fabulous setting was next to the road! Hopefully tomorrow blesses me with good natural lighting, creative mental imagery, and knowledge to work my camera and settings.