Sunday, December 27, 2009

Capturing Kids

It's Christmas and I have 5 little nephews running around like crazy, giggling, wrestling, making funny faces and just being kids. There have been snow ball fights, bingo games, opening presents, a few tired tears, hugs, and a bunch of love. I brought the camera with the goal of trying to preserve some of those special moments. Before I started I equipped myself with a little knowledge to help make it a little smoother. One important lesson I learned was to capture the unexpected. Get away from "Posing" them the way you want, don't force the smiles and look for the special times when they are just being kids. So I waited and watched. At the park I took pictures of hands. Just hands making sand pizzas. At home my brother and my sister's two boys sat together in GrandDad's chair. One nephew on his own with hands behind is head and his feet crossed looked just like GrandDad.

As the day progressed I was able to see things about each child that I had never noticed before. The way one cocks his head to the side when he is trying to figure something out. The way one twirls his hair around and around with his little fingers while watching a movie. It was truly insightful.

Digital photography makes it possible to experiment. You can shoot and shoot and shoot and then sort through the photos to capture the ones that express what you want to express in your photo montages. Kids don't stay small for long so get busy captures those special moments.

Show me some or your favorites! Here are a few tips I found on Digital Photography School Its great to go prepared!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Something I Made!!

Well, Christmas is coming and it seems everyone is in the Christmas spirit, but much more cautious about spending. While many are hitting the stores, there are just as many finding ways to cut costs, and still enjoy the Spirit of Christmas. To me, its be a new, exciting challenge to see how I can create something new, spend less, and make it special. Photography allows for so many options and whether you print your photos at home, or send them out, there are special discounts for first time orders, free shipping, and more. There are three areas that I focused this year and here is what I did:

1) Holiday Office Party and Gift Exchange: I decided to make it homemade. I found a vintage style Candy pedestal for under $10. I was making holiday candies for family and friends so I made 2 doz to go along with the gift. All the candies were simple recipes using pretzels, oreos, peanut butter, rolos. For the recipes I used give me a call!

2) Christmas Cards. I made my own. The photo in this listing was a tree I found on my photography expeditions. A little photoshopping, a few snowflake brushes, a Word Art layer, and some other layers (all free, including the cardinal!!) and I am good to go! If you can't find any of the free things I am talking about, drop me an email or leave me a comment on this post and I will point you in the right directions.

3) Family gift exchange. This year, we are taking a cue from Just Something I Made and the gifts are coming from inside our house! Just go to her site and click on the Thrifty Gift Exchange Post on December 14th! We all have so much stuff in our house that we don't need, don't use, that someone else may enjoy. Why not give it a try. Our family is now on the phone, talking, trying to figure out what they are going to give up, or bring, and its really stirring up some humor, stories, and excitement.

I hope you will try to do the holidays and little different this year. You don't have to do it all, just pick a few things you can do and make it happen. You will be surprise how much fun it is!

Friday, December 11, 2009

So Many Free Photoshop Resources on the Web!

I am addicted to Photography and Photoshop and constantly amazed at the number of people willing to share information, techniques, expertise, and more. And the resources, tutorials and on-line education available all for free! I have met so many interesting and talented paper as I learned Photoshop, and I encourage everyone to search for anything you might need to learn a new task, develop a new talent.

Lately I have been interested in layers and textures. And now there are actions! All designed to help improve your photos. And so many people have created free ones that you never have to purchase them if your budget does not allow. Some of the sites ask for donations or have select products available for purchase, but the free items are available without commitment or obligation. So try your hand at something new.

What amazes me about layers and textures is that it can transform the ordinary photo. Give it the extra oomph! that it might need to soften, highlight, texturize.

Here are some new sites I have happened upon. Please drop on in on them and let me know what you are working on. That is what the internet is all about. People connecting with People. Its a virtual library, a social event that you need to participate in. Don't be a wallflower!

ShadowHouseCreations The author creates the most interesting photos, and offers all kinds of free brushes, textures, and layers. His brushes were used to add the birds, and an extra tree in the photo above!

This is an amazing site that offers tutorials, resources, free actions, and more. She accepts donations of any amount to help her keep her site running, but its not a requirement for using the information. For me, a donation is well worth it. Her items are fantastic!

Another informative site that offers tutorials, layers and actions and walks you through how upload them in any version of Photoshop. They also have a newsletter! Great tips and techiniques. They also have products for sale, but again, a lot of freebies.

If you want to try your hand at layering, trust me its easy. Drop me a line if you need some help.

Another huge resource is Flickr groups. People share their photos and work, you can get free textures of all kins on this site, and the groups allow you to post challenges you are having and get advice and suggestions from people who may have had the same struggle.

There is no excuse for learning. The free information is out there, print, bring it home and learn a new skill. Its easy peasey!

This photo includes my photography of a tree off the Potomac River, 1 cloud layer, one cloud texture, and one color texture all from ShadowHouseCreations and/or downloaded from Flickr. It has an eagle that was added using a brush set that was free on ShadowHouseCreations.

Now on to actions! Don't know much about them yet, but I am doing the Research. Will keep you posted.