Using Photography To Make Greeting Cards

Photography isn’t just, for me, an end in itself, as anyone reading this blog will know. I like to use it to illustrate, to investigate (macro gives an insight into another world) and to design. Recently I’ve discovered card making. Not just a photo printed on a card, but using photography to personalise cards and make them much more meaningful to the recipient. I take shots of friends and family from my archives and give them the Photoshop treatment. Then I print them, as photos on photographic paper. I then apply them to blank cards, and add extra embellishments and personal greetings before popping them in the post. Everyone’s so pleased with them I thought I’d share the idea and some of the photos I’ve used with you.

greeting card mum

Mum’s birthday card

Mum loved her card. Despite being over eighty, she looks great in ‘Marilyn’ mode. I achieved this by going, in Photoshop to image – black and white – and adding here the colour I want by playing with the tint hue and saturation tabs. Once I has the colour set, I took the image into the filter gallery. In this case, the film grain setting  under the ‘artistic’ tab finalised the effect. You will need to play with the filter gallery, as I’ve found that each photo I work with for these effects can be surprisingly different. It depends on background in the shot, the contrast in the image, the subject you are dealing with and many other factors. But these effects are well worth exploring, and it’s quite fun to do. Give it a try! Once I had the image as I wanted it, I added text, picking the colour for text from the creamy white in the image, so it all looks coordinated and works as a card front. To give the card a border, go to select – all, then select –  modify –  border. Choose the pixel width you want then go to edit – fill and choose the colour you want your border to be. You can use the colour picker to lift a colour from your image. Once you have the border as you want it, go back to select and choose deselect. You’re now ready for printing.

This next picture has a completely different technique.  It utilizes the sketch – photocopy function within the photo gallery and works well on clear, uncluttered photos. It seems to work well to comic effect, as on this card.

greeting card

Birthday card sketch

greeting card

Inside the card

This last one is fairly simple. I took a shot from a wedding speech and put it through the filter gallery. Here I used ‘film grain’ and the adjustment tabs to the right to get the flattering film star effect on this photo.

greeting card

Film grain card

Recipients seem to love them, so why not play in Photoshop and see what you can do? It’s got to be better than buying one, and you get to have fun in the process.

Photography Blog Interview-an honour

Many thanks to Ed of Exhibitions Without Walls fame! I’m honoured to say he asked me to do a guest interview with them. This was not an easy interview, asking some searching questions, but I enjoyed the challenge. If you would like to read it, and see the photographs chosen to accompany it, you can find me here. You’ll need to click read more at the end of the visible part of my interview to see it in full.

sempervivum photograph

sempervivum

Exhibitions without walls is a website devoted to photographers and digital artists, holding competitions six times a year. It’s worth checking out if you fancy a challenge, as the quality of images is very high. It’s also worth getting your camera out  and having a go!  Nothing ventured, nothing gained. They have a blog too, which is where they showcase digital artists and photographers, and where you’ll find me. Thanks again, Ed, for the opportunity.

Explore with macro photography. It’s another world!

I’ve had time to experiment today. Macro photography is another world to explore, and I like exploring. Here are some photos from todays batch. The fine tuning in macro is time consuming and eye-tiring, I have to say.What looks absolutely perfect when focusing doesn’t always come out as clear as I’d like. So many shots are taken to get just one or two. As I’m often asked, I’m using a Nikon D90 with a Tamron 70-300mm macro lens and extension tubes.

I don’t always focus on wildlife and flowers. There are objects around the home that make interesting experimental pictures, too. Here’s a candle pot I gave the macro treatment.

Candle pot photo

Candle Pot. Height 3"

candle-pot-macro

Candle Pot Macro attempt 1

candle pot macro photo

candle pot macro attempt 2

Pretty, interesting and pretty interesting, don’t you think?

Then there’s the glass ball that is part of another ornament. It’s about 2″ in circumference and has a pattern on it that intrigued me, so here we are. I’ve played with the temperature and tint settings in Adobe Photoshop RAW to get the colours.

glass ball macro photo

Glass Ball macro 1

glass ball macro 2

Glass Ball Macro 2

But I couldn’t resist totally the lovely colours and light on some flowers and plants today, so here they are.

muscari macro photo

Muscari macro

leaf macro photo

Leaf Macro

African-Violet-macro

African Violet Macro

See, told you! It’s another world.

Photos of a Drowned Forest and more….

Porlock Bay in Somerset was a new experience for me. I’d travelled to Porlock to meet friends on a campsite there in my trusty camper. I couldn’t help myself, especially when we saw the delights the area has to offer. Out came my trusty Nikon D90! I have a passion for the coast as I was born by the sea. St Annes in Lancashire doesn’t look anything like this, though! Out in the bay is a sunken forest that dates back to the last ice age. I’ve found results in google that purport it  and others like it to be proof of global warming, but unless we were pumping out greenhouse gases eight thousand years ago, I don’t believe we were responsible!

Drowned Forest

It was fascinating to see these trees, and very difficult to photograph in any detail, as my tripod shook in the wind that day. The usual technique of a nice steady tripod was used, but I also needed my partner to act as a windbreak, and even that only helped a little. Balancing the tripod on stoney ground wasn’t easy, either. I tried to get close-ups of the lichens growing on some of the bark, but macro and windy conditions don’t go together. Here’s my best attempt.

lichen

The beach at Porlock is very stony and very photogenic.There are more shots on my website

Porlock bay

Porlock weir, a little further along the coast threw up a whole load of photographic opportunities. I really enjoyed myself clicking away. Not very shot works out of course, and here’s an example of one I’m not too happy with. It’s not well composed, but gives a flavour of the spot.

Porlock Boats

Sometimes, enthusiasm carries me away a little. The difficulty was keeping people out of this shot, which I recomposed and tried several times. I have one I feel might be worth putting on my website.

I also took several images of this abandoned old boat. One of these has inspired me to Photoshop it into a picture you might want on your wall. again, you can find that on my website. There are far too many to place on here!

abandoned old boat

 

Photographer Filtering out Distractions

 

Rubbish

 

I had a bit of an accident yesterday and scalded my wrist. This pretty much knocked me for six and all my plans from thereon in were scuppered. We had to spend nearly two hours at the Walk-in Centre but they soon sorted me out. So my partner lost two hours work, I ended up further behind than I should have been and really should just have slowed down. It would have saved pain AND time. Time I really needed to get on with photo processing and new images.

 

Primrose

 

It made me think, though, about filtering out distractions. The scald was done in the first place because I was trying to do too many things at once, reached over the kettle and caught the blast of steam on my wrist. I’m old enough to know better, but was NOT filtering out distractions. I seem to be much better at that with a camera in my hand. Filters on cameras, of course, can filter out unwanted flare etc, framing filters out unwanted objects that might distract the viewer and Photoshop filters can be used to remove distracting elements either by calming their colours or blending them into the composition better.

 

My neighbour's front garden

 

In life, we are constantly distracted. Advertising, yet another human catastrophe, noisy neighbours, a TV show, phone calls. What stops you concentrating? My pet problems are

1/ Noise-unfortunately I live in quite a noisy area. People shout when they could walk and talk, their dogs bark incessantly, their children scream.

2/They throw rubbish around and let their kids run riot.

3/Terrible human tragedies

4/Phone calls.

5/Housework

I cope with number one by wearing headphones and playing myself music when trying to write or process images. The music depends on what I’m writing/doing. Today it’s Anastacia. I need cheering up and some extra energy.

The rubbish? I try to concentrate on the beauty around me. Today’s photos are by way of antidote, but there’s one shot of the stuff that could depress me if I allowed it to. Spring is here! Flowers, greenery, new life. We have to celebrate the positives in life or we’d truly go mad. I do my garden, make my bit of the planet as rich in wildlife as I can, grow beautiful things to surround myself with.

Tragedies? All any of us can do is sympathise, contribute to relief efforts financially and refer to our spiritual beliefs for comfort. Then go back to putting beauty and joy back into the world. How else would there be any balance and how else do we stay sane in a mad world?

Phone calls? Can’t hear them with headphones on. That helps. But if stuff has to be dealt with then do it as soon as possible then get back to work!

Housework? Do it as quickly as possible without scalding or maiming myself, and try not to let it distract me if there’s stuff left to be done.

 

Grape hyacinth. Small but a welcome distraction!

On the subject of filters, I’ve recently been given by my father and a friend, some new filters for my camera, and some extra ones for Photoshop. So I’ve definitely got plenty to do learning how to use them and finding out what I can make them do. I’ll keep you posted as I hopefully make progress. I’ll try to filter out the distractions that slow me down. What do you need to filter out?

 

Photoshop Tutorial Resources for Photographers

Watermead Country Park

Hi everyone. I hope you’re having a good weekend.  As  promised, I’ve been investigating some resources that could be useful if you wish to learn more about Photoshop and how to manipulate your images once downloaded. I’ve found some very interesting sites. Although it would take me weeks to work through all the information available on these sites, the tutorials I’ve read and watched seem very comprehensive and fairly straightforward to follow. So I’ll pass them onto you and you browse away to your heart’s content. The images I’ve posted today are from our walk yesterday at Watermead Country Park. For those of you who are interested, I’ve used a couple of waterfall shots from yesterdays post to create new products on Zazzle. I’m having fun building my shop there. Once I’ve finished photoshopping I enjoy seeing what products some of my shots would be suitable for then going and creating them. Now I just need more people to see them and like them. If you do pop into zazzle please let me know what you think.

Watermead Country Park

OK, here are the sites for your reference and a little about what each one has to offer.

http://www.russellbrown.com lots of video tutorials including creative masking without masking, green screen removal and clone painting. An interesting site with several sections. I’ve found the most useful stuff in ‘Tips and techniques’ and ‘Dr Brown Scripts’.

http://3rdelement.com/photoshop/a-letter-from-florence/ Very easy to watch video tutorials on all sorts of stuff including extracting an object from its background, masking and applying adjustment layers.

http://www.dpbestflow.org/ Find information on here about workflow, colour space, image editing, copyright registration, metadata and more. This is a very technical site but well laid out and with explanations that are easy to read an follow.

http://photoshopcafe.com/tutorials/pen/pen.htm loads of written tutorials, images are not very clear but info is good and directions easy to follow. CD/dvd tutorials available from author. Topics range from creating water drops on an image to using the pen tool.

http://designshack.co.uk/articles/css/create-seamless-web-background-textures-in-minutes written tutorials on subjects like creating seamless background textures in minutes and making reflections in Photoshop. There are weekly freebies inc free textured papers. A designers website with useful stuff for photographers. You’ll also find information about marketing and CSS. This site is well worth a look, although only some of the information relates to Photoshop and photography.

That’s it for now. If I find any more I’ll mention them in a later post. Of course, for those of you with full versions of Photoshop there is also the Adobe site itself. Happy Photoshopping! If anyone wants to add a cool resource they’ve found, please leave a comment. We’d all be more than grateful.

Birthday Wanderings into Beauty

Weir 1

It is my partners birthday today. We decided to take time out from computers and visit a previously unexplored local haven, Watermead Country Park near Leicester. What a gorgeous afternoon! The first thing we saw when entering the park was a weir, and I had to play. So I’ve given you three of the shots taken each with a different effect in mind. They are abstract shots, and all I changed between each was the shutter speed, then a little curve readjustments to get the effects I have done. On the last shot of the three, you can see the swirling water in front of the weir.

Weir 2

Weir 3

We watched herons fly overhead and glide down onto a lake, saw cormorants (I think) roosting in the trees and a beautiful sunset. We had to wrap up warm, but just look at the colour for this time of year! Imagine my delight, too when we found catkins. Looking up at them the contrast with the sky was stunning, so I had to show you. So today is all about winter wonder and my partners birthday.

Catkins

Gorgeous sunset

Watermead Country Park

Sunset at Watermead

We came home and had a lovely meal, candlelit of course. He’s now busy blogging, so I’m taking a moment to get this post out to you. I’m investigating some nifty websites with Photoshop tutorials. When I’ve finished going through them I’ll pass them on to you. Photoshop is and amazing programme that seems to have endless possibilities, and for those of you who, like me, want to do more with their photos than just shoot and post, I’m hoping to find some new ways of using Photoshop to enhance or even transform the humble photo.

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