Thursday, November 20, 2014

Snowflake Overlays

 
I LOVE winter and snow...good thing since I live in Michigan!
 
One of my most popular blog posts ever is my
 
I've been busy making some Free Snowflake Overlays
and want to share them here with you for free.
 
As always, use these as you please with no need to courtesy...
just don't sell them!  I always want them to be FREE!
 
 
These snowflake overlays add a whimsical feel to photos
and are great to use for Christmas!
 
 
You can add them using Photoshop or Photoshop Elements by
following the instructions on my earlier blog post:
 
 
 
 
To make it look more dreamy and wintery...
you can add my FREE Haze Overlays before adding the snowflakes.
 
 
I am having a ball with them as I edit my Christmas portraits!
 
 
Here they are! 
 
Enjoy, and let me know how you like them!
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Cinemagraphs

 
I'm so excited to share my Cinemagraphs I created over the summer!
 
Cinemagraphs are photos in which a part of it is moving video.
You are probably seeing these all over the Internet.  Thought I'd share
a few tips I learned while I was experimenting.
 
First, you need a camera that takes video.
 
Take a short video...say 10 to 20 seconds long of a static subject with something
in the photo that is moving.
 
One fun and easy Cinemagraph is blowing bubbles as seen above.
 
I had to do this over three times trying to get it right so here are some pointers:
 
You must be on a tripod or have your camera steady on a table or chair.
 
Start your video recording and let it go for about 5 seconds to steady the camera
then have your subject blow the bubbles.
 
Have the subject hold their movements as still as possible.  I know they
must move to blow the bubbles, but have them remain still after they blow.
 
I tried this with a young child, and she could not be still enough.
 
In this next Cinemagraph, you can see a slight wobble in the hose head
because the little boy could not hold it steady.
 
 
 
The same thing happened with their mouths in this next Cinemagraph.
 
 
 
Sometimes, it's just easier to  have your subject sitting
still while the action happens in the background like
with this waterfall.
 
 
I followed this great TUTORIAL from PHLearn
and was able to edit my Cinemagraph fairly easily in Photoshop CS6.
 
To share them online, load them onto a
site such as Photobucket.
 
I hope this helps you to create some FUN Cinemagraphs!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

How to Create Orb Photos

 
This blog post has been almost a year in the making.
I'm so excited to share ORB photos with you!
 
I came across orb photos on a photography forum and knew
I HAD to try them!

 
So, over many months, I created orbs whenever I was
photographing outside at night.
 
 
It's actually fairly easy and VERY fun to create orbs.
 
I started by following THIS TUTORIAL on
how to make the lights used to create the orbs.
 
My photography pal Lucy came over one winter afternoon
and we wired several colors.
I have no experience or talent for electricity or wiring,
but even I could follow these simple instructions.
 
Then we went down into my dark basement to try our hand at spinning the orbs.
 
We followed this great TUTORIAL from Evan at PhotoExtremes.com
 to learn how to spin the lights and capture it with the camera.
 
 
Lucy immediately caught on,
but it took me awhile longer.
 
The biggest tip is to place something like a coin on the ground
and always aim to swing the lights over the coin.
That's the BIG trick to making a great orb!
 
 
Lucy got a little creative...
 
 
But nothing is as cool as the ORB!
 
 
The settings I use are:
 
ISO 100
Shutter Speed:  20 sec.
Aperature:  Between 8 and 16 (you will need to experiment
depending on your light.)
 
Use a strong flashlight to focus,
then turn off the autofocus on your lens.
 
That evening I tried doing an orb outside in my driveway.
I was VERY excited to create orbs.
I set this on time delay and ran into the shot.
 
 
Next, I introduced the orbs to our Photography Club
and we decided to make it our signature. 
We would take an orb photo on each field trip we took at night.
 
The first one that winter was the Big Red Lighthouse in Holland, Michigan.
 
Here's the first attempt by members who were just
learning to swing the lights...ha ha!
 
Since they did not move, you can see their ghosts.
 
 
One person, who will remain nameless,
could not catch on
 
 
 
Nope...they did NOT catch on!  ha ha!!!
I admit, it is a bit of a challenge to swing it over the same spot over and over.
 
 
So we kicked that person out of the shot and I spun this orb.
 
This is my favorite orb photo!
 
 
Our next try was on Silver Beach in St. Joseph, Michigan in the summer.
 
We set up and practiced as the sun was setting.
Oops...it's going to take lots of practice!
My sister and niece were just learning.
 
 
Notice that you can see the ghosts inside the orbs.
That's because it was still too light outside.
 
It's best to wait until about ten minutes after the sun dips
below the horizon when the sky is a rich, dark blue.
 
 
YEAH!  We pulled it together with THREE orbs!
 
 
Next, I brought the orb lights on my vacation to Napa Valley a few
weeks ago.
 
My friend Ellie was wonderful to help with the orbs
down by the hotel pool.
 
 
Shockingly, just a few hours after these photos were taken,
Napa was struck by a 6.0 earthquake...their largest in 25 years!
 
It was FRIGHTENING!
 
This very pool was swaying and sloshing!
I'm so grateful we were not doing these orb photos when the earthquake hit.
We could have hit our heads on the cement and
my camera would have crashed with the tripod!
 
 
Ellie caught on immediately and she tried swinging
two colors at once. 
 
In this amazing orb, she swung the colors at different lengths.
Great job, Ellie!!!
 
 
In this one with two colors, she swung them together
at the same length.
 
 
This last one was taken at Bay City's Wenona Park
on an outing with the photo club.
 
Where ever we do the orbs,
people come over to ask what we are doing
and they ooh and ahh when they see the results
in the camera.
 
I hope you will try this technique and have
a blast with it, too!
 
 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Wildflower Composites

 
Sorry,  I haven't written a new blog post lately. 
My summer has been STUFFED with
all kinds of new projects
I am excited to share with you...so YOU can try them, too.
 
First are these wildflower portraits.
 
 
Aren't they BEAUTIFUL???
 
 
The truth is...they are composites!
The baby wasn't really in the basket.
 
We have an amazing walking path near my house that is
overflowing with a colorful array of wildflowers.
 
I ride my bike on the path every morning and was dying
to photograph children in the wildflowers, but it's way too difficult
to haul my props and the toddlers that far onto the walking path.
 
Soooo...I came up with the idea of photographing the
props and adding the babies in Photoshop!
 
 
Yes, I looked silly with this big pink bassinet propped on my
bicycle handles...
 
 
As I was sitting in the wildflowers photographing the bassinet,
a woman approached me and kindly asked, "What are you doing???"
 
Ha ha!!  THIS is what I was photographing:
 
 
 
And another day, I hauled this basket on my bike:

 
The path also winds past our Community Gardens.
 
 
It's four long rows of endless color and Summer produce and flowers.
 
 
Another day, I hauled an old wash tub on my bike handles
to the Community gardens
and added a cute baby later in Photoshop!
 
 
I simply extracted adorable Allie out of this next photo and
plopped her into the fun wash tub.
 
 
If you don't know how to do this, there are numerous
tutorials online to show you how to move objects from
one photo to another.  That's how I learned how to do it.
 
 
Of course, I didn't want to haul my bubble machine
on my bicycle...so I added bubble overlays I bought from
 
 
I always run an action after I add the babies
to meld the colors together and make it look like the baby belongs in the photo.
 
To add some hazy sun,
Check out my free Haze Overlays.
 
 
Because I feel so fortunate to live near such summer splendor,
I am sharing my basket, bassinet and washtub originals
so you can try this with your own babies and toddlers.
 
You can also use the photo above of baby Allie for practice.
 
These are all free for you to use without any need to courtesy me
(Unless you want to... : )
 
DO NOT SELL THESE!  I want them to be FREE!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Enjoy!

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