Thursday, January 15, 2009

The 100 Most Popular Photoshop Tutorials for 2008

Here is a really cool site I found for anyone who is familiar with photo shop. Basically these are all tutorials to achieve a certain look. Check it out, you will love it! I know I did.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Photoshop Lens Blur Tool

For those of you Photoshop users out there, here is a cool tutorial I came across. It may be a bit complicated for new Photoshop users, but it doesn't hurt to try. Here is the first part of the tutorial:

Here is the second part of the tutorial:

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ambient Lighting

Ambient Light refers to any light in a given scene that isn’t artificial light, light supplied by the photographer. Sunlight, candlelight or light emanating from surrounding lamps can produce ambient light in a photograph.

Ambient lighting has become something I am a little obsessed with lately. I am actually in love with it! I was a second shooter for a wedding a couple of weeks ago and Melissa (who has been an amazing mentor to me with photography) showed me the proper way to do ambient lighting. Ever since than I have been practicing with it and trying new things. It is so much fun! I found a little website that goes more into how to capture the ambient lighting. This one uses Christmas lights as examples, but in general you could use any other kind of lights you want. You could even do a shot of Down Town with all the pretty lights flickering. In a couple of days I will be going to Universal Studios and touring Hollywood with my husband for our 5 year anniversary. (I am actually just really excited to take pictures!) I plan on taking some fun ambient lighting pictures in Hollywood in the in between stages of light and dark. I am so excited to see what I come up with! Here is the link to the website that shows how to capture this style onto the camera:

Also you do not need a high end camera for this. A point and shoot will work as well. Just remember to turn off that flash. Here is a video if you would like a more detail description of everything:

Here are a couple websites about Night Photography.

And last but not least, here are some of my own ambient lighting pictures. Some of these were done in doors just using the available light.

More pictures to come... once I get them uploaded.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

70 Beauty Retouching Photoshop Tutorials

For anyone who has Photoshop, this website will be very beneficial to you. There are some great tutorials in here. Enjoy! I know I will too!

Photography Composition 101

I think this post may help a lot with taking more interesting pictures. Here are a few tips when setting up a shot.

The Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds is based on the fact that the human eye is naturally drawn to a point about two-thirds up a page. Crop your photo so that the main subjects are located around one of the intersection points rather than in the center of the image. Below is a site that goes into this theory more with some examples.

Filling the frame

if you want to improve your photographs 100 percent, move closer. The one sure way to keep from including "too much" in a photograph is to fill the frame with your subject and nothing but your subject. Filling the frame from edge to edge leaves little doubt about what your intended target was. There are two ways to get closer: Use a telephoto lens or move closer. Here is a site I came across that included some great information on this topic.


Patterns, both natural and man-made, bring a sense of visual rhythm to a photograph. Patterns appear whenever strong graphic elements—lines, colors, shapes, or forms—repeat themselves.

Once you do become aware of the power of patterns, you will discover them almost everywhere. For example, a field of flowers or in a garden like the picture above. The secret to finding patterns is to explore potential subjects from a variety of angles.

Below is a link to more information on composition. I included a couple tips that I thought were important above, but if you would like to read more on it please visit this site. I personally think composition is the key factor in making a good picture. If you can master this, you will be able to take your photography to the next level.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Beach Photography

So of course we have to have a beach photography post since most of us live in San Diego. I did some searching the other day and came across this article. I found it to be most helpful in this subject.

Beach pictures could be the most common images captured by photographers. Beaches set the scene for family vacations, weddings and intimate getaways. There is a reason beaches are so widely photographed. They are beautiful... But there are many common mistakes made in beach photography. This article will help you take great beach pictures that are creative and impressive.

Have you noticed all beach pictures look the same? There's the standard sunset shot, or the posed family members with shadows blacking out their faces? Here are some tips to avoid some of those beach photography pitfalls.

First of all, look all around you. Look down, look up. Are there unique details or small items you can capture? You could spend hours simply on macro beach photography, capturing seashells, crabs or small toys on the beach.

There is one mistake quite commonly made when photographing the beach: putting the horizon line dead center. While it might make sense, as it is symmetrical, it violates the photography rule of thirds. You should always be aware of lines when shooting beach pictures.

The rule of thirds

Take a look at your previous beach photos. Is there a horizon line in the middle? How does it look to you? This actually slices the photo in half for observers.

Instead, stick to the rule of thirds. This means you should place the horizon in the bottom or top third of the beach picture instead.
Frame your beach picture

No, this isn't about the frame you buy later... This is about giving an anchor to your image. Look for natural frames for beach photos, such as a rocky outcropping or a leaning palm tree. You are looking for something that naturally places a frame around the target of your picture, the beach.

Before you shoot, really examine all areas of the image. Is there something distracting or ugly in your shot that you didn't intend to capture? Cars, electrical lines, a stray sunbather...

Also be sure your horizon line is straight. Sometimes, especially if an element in the foreground distracts you, you can end up with a lopsided beach.

Don't just shoot the beach. I mean, how is that different than all your other beach pictures? Instead, look for interesting items to serve as a focal point with the beach as the backdrop.
Look for Unique Still-Life Images

Check the area for an interesting focal point. Perhaps it is a lone and empty beach chair, or a bottle of greasy, sandy suntan lotion, or maybe even a surfboard propped against a palm tree. Place this item in the foreground, and keep the beach scene in the background.
The sun and its impact

We've all seen beach pictures gone bad, with the subjects (usually family and friends) partially or completely obscured by shadows and bright backlighting.

Sometimes you want this, say if you're shooting a couple hand-in-hand at sunset. Many times, you don't. Be sure you have the sun behind you, the photographer, not the people or things you are shooting at the beach.

A slightly overcast day can actually be better than a sunny day, and morning and afternoon have better lighting than midday with the long shadows from an overhead sun.

You don't always have to point your camera straight ahead, or directly at the beach. Look for unique and interesting angles for your beach pictures.
It's all in the perspective

What if you get down on eye level with your baby playing in the sand? You could stand straight above a crawling crab, or point straight up to the swaying branches of a palm tree.

Look for unique and unusual angles and perspectives for your beach pictures.

Splashes of color

Since beaches often feature rather bland colors, like shades of sand and driftwood, also keep an eye out for interesting splashes of color. A bright red beach umbrella, green palm leaf or hot pink sandals can really add something to your beach pictures.

Positioning for beach portraits

Place your subject or subjects to one side, with the beach shoreline filling the rest of the frame. This will allow the person to pop out from the picture, while still providing a lovely setting for a portrait.

Get up close

You are shooting something big: the beach. But remember who your subject is: the person or people. They should dominate the photo, not be a blurry, tiny image lost in the frame.

Get up close to the person you are shooting so that they fill about a third of the frame.

Catch the action

Not all portraits need to be posed. Look for candid picture possibilities. Instead of people squinting or scowling in the picture, catch them splashing or chatting or playing with sand and a bucket.

This is a wonderful way to catch memories and moments, not just cheesy poses.

The information from this article was found at

The first picture on this post, and the pictures below are some of my own example shots that include some of these tips. For those of you who don't own a high end DSLR camera, this is a perfect example of what I have said before. It is not the camera that always makes the shot! The following pictures are all from my point and shoot camera. These were all taken in Puerto Penasco, Mexico last year during my Thanksgiving vacation. I highly recommend Puerto Penasco by the way. October/November is the perfect time to go. The weather is about 80-90 degrees and the water is in the mid to high 70's. It is just perfect! OK I will stop, now I sound like a commercial! :o) Although with all the violence in Mexico right now, I am not sure anywhere down there is safe... Anyways here are a couple of the pictures:

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Diffused Window Lighting

Today I wanted to play around with window lighting. I really love this effect since it creates a nice soft diffused light over the subject you want to take a picture of. I went to Yardage Town after work today and bought some sheer white material. Which came out to be around $5 or $6, not bad... When I got home I hung up my sheer material on my living room window. After that I needed a subject. Since no one was home I had to improvise... I used my shoes-Which served as a dual purpose. I have been meaning to practice taking pictures of shoes to get a more creative mind when shooting them. Usually this is something brides like to have a picture of when they get married. So in order to do this I pulled out my T.V. Tray stand so I could put my shoes on it. After hanging the sheer material on my window, I used the left overs to drape over the stand. Once I did this I noticed that wood shows through sheer material! Duh! I had to get creative... So I grabbed my white fleece robe and draped it over my T.V. tray stand. If you can picture all of this, it really looked quite ghetto! But hey, if it works who cares right? So after creating my "ghetto studio" I arranged my shoes in different positions while shooting in different modes and using different settings. It is funny how one little setting can change a picture. Here are my end results:

In all these shots I am only using the natural light from my window, along with material to diffuse it. To get this shot, I had to play with the exposure a little bit. If your exposure is too low, you will get a very dark subject with a bright background. Now if you are trying to get a silhouette shot, than this would be good. If not, bump up the exposure until you get what you want. In my "3 Mistakes Photographers Can Make" post I covered a little bit on this subject, but I wanted to go into more detail about it with this post. Hope it helps!