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.

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Wildflowers in the spotlight

There are fields behind our house. I took a walk one day last week between downpours, and found many more wildflowers than I’d expected. The land appears to be just grazing meadow, so meadow flowers abound, and I thought it would be a crying shame not to do something with them. Hence the camera and my enthusiasm came out. It’s a pity the light didn’t. Even with a light conservatory, it was difficult to get enough light through the lens for my macro lens and tubes. In the end, I settled for my standard lens and the macro tubes to get the details I wanted as I didn’t want to resort to artificial light.

Bush Vetch

Wild Comfrey

Hawksbit

Black Meddick

I wanted to capture the beauty others miss. Either they wouldn’t even notice the flowers, as some of them are tiny, or they wouldn’t stop to look.  Maybe some of these photos will make you look twice next time you take a walk with the dog? If you click on the photos you can see them much larger and in more detail. I’m planning a set of wildflower photos in macro for my website, and therefore for sale, quite soon. I’m not sure if these are going to be the shots. Probably not. I’ll need better light to get the top quality shots I want, and time is important, as these flowers will only be around for a short while.

Photographs to Treasure Forever. Brand new baby

There can be no better reason to take, back up and print photographs than a new life entering this world. I have just spent my weekend visiting my son to meet my first grandchild. He, of course, is the most gorgeous baby in the world! My trusty Nikon camera was there to record those precious moments that will never come again, and I took plenty. 133, to be exact. Some pictures are good, some are great and some are no-so-good. That’s the reason to take so many. To make sure I have a good selection of photos to treasure forever.

Charlie, my grandson photos to treasure forever

Charlie, my grandson, two days old

If you have an event that you’d hate to miss or lose, check your camera batteries before you set off. Ensure that once you’ve captured your event with far more shots than you’ll actually keep, back them up. Can you imagine losing them? Then don’t let it happen. Then start editing, adjusting, cropping your images. If anything happens to them, you’ve always got those original backups.

photos to treasure forever. Charlie with grandad

Charlie with his grandad

photos to treasure forever. Charlie with mum

Charlie with his mum

photos to treasure forever. Charlie with his dad ans sister

Charlie with his dad and sister

photos to treasure forever. Charlie with his nana, me

Charlie with me, his nana.

Of course, if you are the photographer, you’ll have to get someone else to take those photos of you in the magic moment. I often come back from trips and don’t have any photographic evidence that I was there, but on this very special occasion, I wanted those personal memories! Make sure you have yours.

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.

Macro Photography Magic

Macro photography is wonderful, mysterious and fascinating. I was the kid with a microscope, peeking into unknown worlds, many years ago. Now I can do it with a camera, macro lens and macro extensions. Today no gardening, we’re rained off. My partner brought me flowers yesterday, so out came the camera and macro kit.

I’m always looking for  a new, fresh way to present flowers. After all, they are probably the most photographed subject apart from people. People don’t look good in macro and won’t stay still, so I prefer to work with nature, and flowers in particular.

So, today’s shots have been fun to do. Light levels were not brilliant as it’s raining, so I used a white reflector behind the flowers, raised the blinds in the conservatory and adjusted the exposure a little once I got the shots into the computer. Much has been said about photography and computers, and fierce debates continue, but I’m all in favour of any tool or paintbox an artist can utilise. Minor adjustments to improve photos can only be a good thing, in my book, and allow more flexibility to the ‘artist’.

Anyway, here are the results of todays fun. I hope you like them!

macro photo white dahlia

white dahlia macro

Perfect petals macro

Perfect petals macro

macro petals

Macro petals photo

vision-in-white

vision in white gypsophilla

Druids Temple or Folly? – a photographic trip into the past

As you know if you follow my blog, we travelled a lot this summer around the UK. One trip was a camp with friends that ended in a rather special treat. Our good friend Pete took us to one of his favourite spots. A so-called Druids Temple in Yorkshire. Built in the 1800’s, we think it was used by the wealthy family for ceremonial purposes but can only guess just what kind of rituals were performed here. Some say it was just a folly, but the scale, detail and magnificence of it gave me the feeling it really wasn’t just a showpiece but a large piece of working kit. What do you think?

My Friend Pete proudly waiting at the entrance

A First Glance Inside. Scale.

Inside the Temple Space. This thing is huge!

The Inner Ring-not visible when you enter, with cave-like structure

Taken from above the 'cave'

Inside the Cave Structure. The standing stone in front of it shields it from view.

Friends above and behind the Temple - barely visible through the trees. Well hidden!

This is one set of photographs that was hard to pick out for you. In the three hours we were there I took over 100 shots trying to capture the flavour of a very mystical space. I hope these do it justice. A hidden gem from the past still there for us to enjoy. I look forward to visiting there again, probably next summer. Come on, what imagery of unusual place have you got on that hard drive of yours? Care to share?

 

Inspiration for Photography – Where does yours come from?

Where do you find inspiration when you take your camera out? Do you shoot friends? Do you concentrate on wildlife? Architecture? Do you experiment and see what happens? Are you willing to think outside the box? Personally I can’t help but keep trying new ideas. I can’t help shooting anything that takes my eye. When you look back on this blog at previous posts, you may be forgiven for thinking that all I’m interested in is flowers and animals. But here are a few of my experimental shots. I’ve never done night photography before, but on holiday this year, high on a hill overlooking the Brecon Beacons I was wending my way back to my camper when I stopped, looked and felt compelled to return with my camera. I’d been at a wedding all day. Then our camper had got stuck on the way back up to the site and I’d trekked, still in wedding gear, up the track to the site and across the field to our new found friends. They’d wrapped a blanket around me and the farmer helped get our van back on site. By now it was one in the morning so I was very tired But I had to try to capture what I saw for my own memories of the place. The wonderful, scenic place we’d found ourselves in after booking over the internet. Memories of my partner’s son’s wedding, memories of the friends we’d made on that hill around a camp fire in the dark. We’re still in touch, months later with those new friends. And the memories of the place are preserved.

Brecon Beacons at Night

This was the place during the day. Still beautiful, in not the best of weather conditions for a brilliant shots, but these aren’t intended for sale or for competitions. They’re for me and my partner to fondly look back on and share with friends and family.

Brecon Beacons

We left Wales and crossed the Severn Bridge. I’ve never been over it before and was interested in getting pictures of it but slightly worried because of my heights phobia. So I focussed (pardon the pun) and got busy with my camera. Of course you’re not allowed to stop on the bridge and my partner was driving. I could only point my camera out of the window and hope I was getting a good shot. I didn’t want our slightly grubby windscreen to interfere with the images, so used auto focus and kept my fingers crossed. I’m pretty pleased with the results.

Severn Bridge

Then I went for some more obscure angles, to see the structure of this wonderful bridge.

Bridge detail

Severn Bridge detail

No, they’re not perfectly composed. No, they wouldn’t be judged as great pictures. Does that matter? Quite frankly, no. What matters is that I have my memories and I have experimented and got interesting detail of that bridge I couldn’t have otherwise captured.

Wellies

When we reached our next destination on our trip, we were greeted by these in the entrance to our campsite. This is an image that was inspired by someone else’s inspiration to brighten up their site. If only more people helped to make the world a brighter, more recycled place. Delightful!

So where does YOUR inspiration come from?

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