Wednesday, June 15, 2011

There's a contest going on! Win and IPad!

I just love MCP actions and now they have quite a few available for Photoshop Elements. I find that the actions have enhanced my skills and photos considerably.

Check it out and see if you might win an IPad!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Photo Collages

I came across an amazing artist on ETSY. Her name is Mae Chevrette. She starts with a photo as her canvas, adding paper, textures, print, and words to express her thoughts and feelings. I highly recommend you check her out. I ordered one of her prints from one of her original canvases with a quote from e.e cummings and it is simply stunning. I can't wait to get it framed and hanging on one of my walls. Truly a piece of art at very reasonable prices.

I share this with you because it leads to a lesson or discussion on trying things outside the box as it relates to photography, crafting or any other form of creativity you take up. I shared with Mae that I was interested in taking a class to learn this technique and she said "Why waste your money on a class, when you can invest in a few simple items and try it out for yourself?" She took the time to share with me her process for creating photo collages, and it was wonderful to learn from a person who I see as an expert and artist. Many times people don't want to share what they know, their resources, or their ideas on how to do something because they think it will steal away their own creativity. I think Mae realizes that every artist sees things differently. There simply is no way that I could "recreate" Mae's art as it comes from her heart and her soul. She gave me the techniques, but I have to be willing to open myself up to trying something new. It was her encouragement that has me motivated to give it a try.

I think taking classes is a great thing to do to, but I tend to shoot for perfection and often times leave disappointed that I couldn't make it look exactly like the others. Don't be afraid to push the envelope and develop your own style. Classes are great for trying something out without investing a great deal of money in tools you may never use again. In time, you will find your niche and know when the investment is a valuable one.

Today, when you go out on your photography adventure, why not venture into the unknown just a bit. Try taking photos from a different angle, perhaps shoot something in Manual mode if you have never tried it and see what you find out. Go in search of a new subject. As you print that photo, think about what you might be able to differently with it. Add a brush technique? Create a postcard? Maybe create your own photo collage that highlights your dreams for the coming year? I promise it will leave you feeling refreshed and renewed.

And, one other thing, don't be afraid to ask questions. Most people want to share their own inspiration and will offer it willingly. Some may say no, but dust of your feet and move on. I find the journey an exciting one. I would love for anyone to share their own creations, their ideas here. Please feel free to post your tutorials, lessons, resources, and ideas.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Getting Better with the Camera

Goodness it has been awhile since I have posted. Life happens at times at light speed. I have been relearning the camera, adding new techniques in Photoshop and constantly learning. Recently however, while working with a customer I realized that perhaps I do have some opinions and thoughts about the composition of a great photo. And perhaps when taking a picture its important to pay attention to your surroundings, what's in the way, how you can make it better before you take the picture. The benefit to this is the picture is close to perfect even before it gets loaded into photoshop. Its clear, sharper, and if all goes well doesn't have a palm tree sprouting out of the head of the person in the picture!

So, I have created my list of photography resolutions for the new year. The top things I plan to do to ensure better picture taking!

1) SLOW DOWN. Look at the subject from different angles, see the light as it hits the subject, look at the way you are holding the camera.

2) Do your best to use the "rule of thirds" to create your photo. Its so easy and can improve photos ten fold. This is explained perfectly on so many sites. A google search will give you so many to choose from.

3) Get out more and find new locations. I got stuck in a rut going to the same place getting the same results. There are a zillion places to experience and explore.

4) Read more. Check out PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS USER

. I joined and they have so many online tutorials and a magazine with new things to try. This year I made some wonderful snowflake gift tags with my nephews faces inside the snowflake! They were a big hit with the family. Now I am trying to figure out how to turn it into a offer on my ETSY site for sale.

5) Take classes. I don't understand the relationship of ISO, shutter speed and aperture. I am convinced that they place a huge role in creating a better picture, so this year I am paying for a class or some personal one on one photography training.

6) Find groups of other photographers and attend. Everyone I have met in these groups have been willing to offer information and advice willingly and my work has improved immensely.

7) Explore other mediums. Currently I am working on combining my photos with collage. More about that later!

8) Go to art shows. Pay attention to color, texture, layout. Look for the same colors and textures in nature, or when doing a family photo try to incorporate them into the shot.

9) Practice still life photography. Its an easy way to learn about lighting, improve your work when indoors on a bad weather day.

10) Set up a room for your work. You don't need a large photo studio, but you do need a place to practice, to read, to access all the tools you need to create your art.

I think I am going to be surprised with the results this year! I can't wait for next year to look back and see what I have accomplished! What about you? What have you learned that has improved your photography?