Photo Storify

Photos, Stories and Scrapbooking

Category: Photography (Page 1 of 11)

Santa Got a Hug

As I shared Saturday afternoon, Kate, Corbin, Jeff and I set off to see Santa at Mulhall’s Nursery. It really was a lovely display, complete with a big chair for Santa and his guests, a Christmas tree and letters periodically dropping through a mail slot on the wall right into Santa’s burlap bag. Kate and Corbin had a thoughtful conversation with Santa before posing for some individual photos per Kate’s request.

The light for photos was perfect. I thought I had captured everything and began to lower my camera. I smiled as I watched Corbin switch from giving Santa a high five to giving him a hug instead. By that time, I realized I had missed those shots as I fumbled with my camera. However. next to me stood my son, to whom I had given my iPhone. His first words were, “you know this video is only a little over two minutes,” but two very precious minutes that told a sweet story in my mind.

All of the photos on the right side of this two page layout are from that iPhone video. Those on the left, I captured with my Fuji X-T2. You may be wondering how I got stills from a video. I found the easiest way to do that was to open the video full screen on my computer and make screen shots of the clips that I wanted to include on my layout. On my Mac, the keyboard command is command + shift + 4 and drag the crosshairs over what you want copied.

Note: I blended out a head or arm on some screenshots by adding inverted layer mask to a second screenshot that I clipping to the original.

To simplify my process, I placed template 17 on the left and template 18 on the right. Both are from Project Template Album No. 3. I deleted the numbers and rotated and adjusted the position of a couple of frames and masks. I also cut and pasted the threads to accommodate the changes I made on the template.

Next I clipped a focal photo to each fotoblendz mask as well as some stains and hipster plumes. I recolored some plumes and stains a blue to work with the color of my grandson’s shirt.

Note: there are copies of a screen shot labeled Floor Mask in the layers panel. I used those to mask out everything but a part of the floor I needed to be visible above the part I didn’t want.

I then clipped photos or video clips to the smaller framed masks. On one photo on the right, I added an extraction of my granddaughter above the frame and masked out parts of the white frame and shadow below.

To fill in the gutter for a page that will be part of a lay flat book, I placed a sketch of a photo of Kate dropping her letter for Santa into the mail slot. Because the photo only shows the top of her, I stamped brush 1 from Christmas Trees No. 2 in a green. I also added brushes from ArtsyPaint No. 6 and ArtsyPaint No. 8 below the frames in red. There are also two textures from PaperTextures No. 4 below the frames.

For dimension, I added a png version of MultiMedia Holiday No 2, file 2, as well as two more red buttons from the psd version, a pine from ArtPlay Palette Pine, a Santa from ArtPlay Palette Shabby Christmas and another from ArtPlay Palette Christmas Nostalgia.

On the upper left side, I dragged the layers of psd file 1 from MultiMedia Holiday No 2. I placed the title below the dimensional layers but above the stain, art stroke and splatter. I moved the greenery and resized the bow to accommodate placing my title inside the wreath.

Side by side, I really can’t tell any difference in the quality of the photos from the video and those with my camera. There is a little difference in the color balance, but I may be able to increase the saturation on my raw photos to decrease that. You can see it only in my grandson’s blue shirt. So I’m encouraged to use more clips from iPhone videos on future layouts.

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An Afternoon with Santa

It’s been a little hectic here, but we found time to visit Santa this afternoon at Mulhall’s Nursery. I’ll post a layout with these soon. Upon arriving, Corbin and Kate wrote letters to Santa and dropped them into his special mailbox. They hid among the Christmas trees after seeing Santa’s reindeer. Note: It’s very difficult to capture two active kids running among hanging trees.

After waiting as patiently as possible in line, Corbin and Kate listened intently while Santa discussed what they had written in their letters and asked whether they had been good all year before suggesting that they pose for a photo.

Kate was delighted that Santa helped her climb up on his knee when she asked for an individual photo.

So Corbin decided he’d get an individual photo too. My son, to whom I had given my iPhone, captured a video of Corbin giving Santa a hug; a high five just didn’t seem to be enough. Kate of course quickly approached to give Santa her own hug. I’ll have to figure out a way to get the stills of just those moments from the video.

There were some cute displays for additional photos at the nursery.

For the next two shots, I used the portrait mode on my new iPhone. I’m still learning how to use the camera app.

Before leaving we spent time playing in the miniature garden.

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What a wonderful afternoon at the nursery. I’ll go back to capture some of the beautiful Poinsettias on another afternoon.

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An iPhone and a Template

 

When Corbin and Kate spent the night a couple of weeks ago, we walked down to the trees beyond the pond. All I had with me was my iPhone 6 to capture my grandson’s gallantry towards his sister as he helped her mimic whatever he did, including leaping over a little stream. I did warn them about getting wet if they fell into the water below. As you can tell by the photos, Kate was hesitant at first, but soon enough began directing her brother exactly where she wanted him to stand in order to help her. It was getting dark so I had to increase the exposure later in Lightroom. Some of the photos were a little blurry, something I accepted as part of making photos of active children with an iPhone, or any camera for that matter, as the sun was setting.

For this two page spread, I used two templates from Anna’s new album, Project Template Album No. 3. Note: I put a title in the place of a textbox on the template and deleted the numbers as well as the tape and hipster plumes.

First, I clipped photos to the large fotoblendz masks and stains below, adjusting the exposure with adjustment layers.

Next, I clipped photos to the small frames, again making adjustments to the photos with adjustment layers. Note: I changed two of the photos to black and white with Topaz Studio.

I then placed copies of three small photos above their respective frames, extracted my granddaughter and grandson with the Quick Selection tool and cleaned up the framing with a small hard brush on the layer mask created with the extraction.

I stamped stains from ArtsyStains No. 3 and ArtsyStains No. 5 below both templates for additional color.

For the gutter, I placed another photo and changed it to black and white with an adjustment layer. I then added an inverted layer mask to the photo and stamped with brushes from ArtsyPaint No. 8 and ArtsyStains No. 3 to reveal just parts of the photo.

Finally, I added paper textures from PaperTextures No. 4 and PaperTextures No. 5 to finish my page.

My layout was quick and easy to complete with the snapshots I captured that evening with my old iPhone. Digital scrapbooking can’t get much easier!!

However, technology changes quickly, definitely on phone cameras. Like my grandchildren, I made a leap too and bought a new iPhone X last week. I haven’t gotten to take many photos with it yet, but what I captured of Kate last weekend, see examples below, with the new portrait mode definitely show the technical improvements over my older iPhone. I don’t think the blur is as good as my Fuji X-T2, but if you look closely, you will see that the background is indeed blurred, much like you would get with a DSLR. I’m looking forward to experimenting more with my new iPhone.

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Embrace the Change

The Red Sunset Maple we planted in our yard in 2012 isn’t quite so little anymore. I’ve been taking photos of it every year when the leaves change. This year, it’s just now in full color. I keep trying different angles. I’m waiting for some sunshine before capturing some photos this year.

Anna Aspnes has a knack for creating shadowed overlays and transfers in her artplay palettes, but overlay 2 has got to be one of my all time favorites. I dragged just the overlay from ArtPlay Palette Rudeneja onto a new blank document with solid paper 1 below and started thinking.

Although I don’t have the skills to create the kind of shadows that Anna creates, I decided to import a photo of just a branch from my Red Sunset Maple tree and try creating something similar. I extracted the branch and created custom shadow by duplicating the extraction, filling it with a dark brown, tweaking the shape with the warp transform tool and changing the blend mode to linear burn. I added a layer mask to the shadow, reduced the opacity in order to try to get it to look more realistic.

To fill the background, I placed artsy paper 2 below my extraction. That helped give my branch more dimension.

I then placed transfer 3, transfer 5 and art stroke 1 from ArtPlay Palette Rudeneja. I adjusted the position of overlay 2 so that it was directly above the overlay on solid paper 2 and changed the blend mode of overlay 2 to multiply to add depth to the paper. Note: That overlay is part of solid paper 2.

With a title from Change WordART Mix No. 1, a mix of two psd files from MultiMedia Branches No. 9 and a sentence of journaling, I decided my page was finished.

Now, what I really want to learn is how to shadow the way Anna does!

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Carving Pumpkins

One of my goals for this year’s book has been to look back in time on some pages, something I did on this one. The earliest photos were taken in 2008, a time when only Owen, my oldest grandson, was old enough to carve a pumpkin. By 2010, Logan carved a pumpkin and by 2012, Corbin, my youngest grandson, was old enough to get involved. I captured the photos of Kate yesterday.

Have you ever started a page but had to wait to fill in the remaining photos until you could make them? That’s what happened with this page, I had everything finished, I just needed to place photos of Kate carving her pumpkin on the layout. I actually could have created an entire two page spread with just photos of Kate with all the photos I made yesterday. However, I want the boys to have pumpkin carving photos to remind them of they’ve also had this experience.

I began this page in Lightroom, searching for photos of my grandchildren carving pumpkins. I made some adjustments in the develop module and then exported them to Photoshop. Note: Lightroom is especially convenient for searches when you want to combine photos that deal with a common theme from different years.

After placing all the layers of templates 15 and 16 from Hipster Plume Template Album No. 2, I turned off most of the layers. I deleted a text box and put my title there. I also deleted the hipster plumes because I didn’t think they worked with my topic.

The background of the focal photo on the left was green, so I extracted my grandson and recolored the mask a soft brown. It was simpler than finding a paper that worked.

Then I turned on the small frames on the left and clipped my photos to the frames. I added adjustment layers to the photos to create a more consistent look to the page. I added some splatters.

Next, I opened the layers of psd file 1 from ArtsyHalloween No. 1 on a new blank psd page. I wanted to add the eyes and nose from file 3, but I was finding it difficult to work with all the layers on my original document. So I stacked the layers from the two psd files on a new file and deleted most of the file 3 layers until I got the playful look I wanted.

I then dragged the layers to my original document and created a group. On the far left, I reduced the size and flipped the layers horizontally as a group. On the other side, I moved the eyes but resized the group larger than on the left.

For the page gutter, I masked a photo of just carved pumpkins. The bottom layer is on linear blend mode at 20% opacity. The copy above is on overlay at 30%.

Next, I began turning back on the layers of the template on the right. I clipped three more photos to the small frames, adding adjustment layers as needed.

I added another group of the artsy pumpkin on the far right, resizing and flipping the orientation of the eyes. At this point, I had to stop until I had some photos of Kate to add to the page.

To the large mask on the right, I clipped Kate’s photos. I added a stain from ArtsyStains No. 5 to the right of my granddaughter to fill the space that one of the plumes that I had deleted. I clipped another copy of the photo to that stain. As I’ve explained in previous posts, I often clip copies of the focal photo to stains below a fotoblendz mask.

I turned on the last two small frames, clipped photos and adjusted the exposure with adjustment layers.

Kate wanted a turn to use my camera and take my picture. I handed it off so that she could hold the camera and push the little button. I stamped a brush from ArtsyPaint No. 13 and placed that in the background, softening the edges with a brush from AnnaBlendz Artsy No. 9. I changed the blend mode to linear burn at 30% and clipped my photo to it after giving the photo a black and white filter from Topaz Studio.

I finished my page with textures from PaperTextures No. 5 and ArtsyPaint No. 13.

I love the older photos combined with the new on this page. It won’t be long before they all outgrow pumpkin carving. Only three dressed up to go trick or treating this year; it’s a little sad to me how quickly the time has passed. Every moment with them is precious.

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Choosing Background Paper

I arrived at Lauritzen Gardens about 5pm for an evening photography class that began at 7pm. I used the time before class to capture mums in the Victorian Garden and garden art in the Japanese Garden during the magic light just before sunset. What I couldn’t figure out was what I could capture after dark in an unlit outdoor garden without a flash, let alone the tripod that I forgot. Think about it, photography is all about light. Without it there are no photographs. Yet in the dark of night, I found a bit of light in the conservatory.

Inside the conservatory the white flowers under a light above stood out against the the darkness of the room and the black night outside the windows. If you look carefully at the small photo on the left, you can see the grid of the windows. With camera settings, 1/80 sec at f/2.4, ISO 6400, I was able to hand hold my camera securely enough to capture these white flowers. My instructor recommended I use auto white balance. This is one of the angles I tried as I walked around the large potted plant. If it hadn’t been for the light above I would not have been able to capture a photo.

Initially I tried masking the photo on the darkest black paper I could find, solid paper 2 from ArtPlay Palette City Limits, before I decided that I would finish this page quicker to use Artsy Layered Template No. 257. I clipped copies of one photo to several of the template layers. I masked additional copies that I had placed above other layers.

Once I knew that the template layers would work with my photos, I placed the black paper and made additional adjustments with levels adjustment layers. I recolored a few of the stains a lighter color to blend with the flowers. I deleted a couple of the template layers. I also added transfer 3, art stroke 2 and splatters from ArtPlay Palette Evanescent. I adjusted opacity and blended into the edges.

Next, I clipped my photos to the small frames. extending one photo into the frame below it. I lightened the white in the flowers with a levels adjustment layer on screen blend mode and used a brush on the adjustment layer mask to keep that part dark.

To finish off my layout, I added a button from ArtPlay Palette Evanescent, two threads from ButtonThreadz No. 2 and ButtonThreadz No. 3.

I generally use light backgrounds for my layouts, but occasionally a black background provides a better contrast for some photos. Using black paper with photos having a black background also made it easier to blend these night photos. In fact, blending is generally easier with paper that blends with the background color of photos.

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Simple Techniques and Basic Skills

When the kids spent the night recently, we walked up to our newly renovated neighborhood park. Kate’s been anxious to play there again now that the fencing has been taken down. It was a riot watching Corbin convince his sister that sand on a saucer swing made swinging even better. All I had with me was my iPhone, but I took some shots as they played, never thinking that I would use them to create a page. Yes, there are only photos about just a few moments at the park on this page, but for me they tell an important story about play between a big brother and a little sister.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with these photos. Initially, I dragged three of them on to my page. I knew I wanted one spanning the gutter of the page, so I would need to make some adjustments to a template. I added a layer mask to the photo and used brushes at various opacities to bring back the part of the photo I wanted to reveal. I changed the blend mode to multiply. I used another copy to extract my two grandchildren and the swing on normal blend mode and 100% opacity in order to make them stand out more from the background.

I followed the same process with the other two photos, using the lines of the sidewalk in the background and the mat in the front to line up the photos. It seemed more important that the scene flowed across the page rather than that the figures were exactly the same size. Remember, I was just playing around with my iPhone when I captured these photos. The color in my photos in the late evening light appeared too strong for me, so I attached a hue and saturation layer to each photo and reduced the saturation to blend them together better.

Next, I placed frames from two templates from Hipster Plume Template Album No. 2. I made some adjustments in placement and size to fit my page design. I clipped my photos to the small frames and again added hue and saturation adjustment layers to reduce the saturation of each. I added the buttons for interest and depth.

I didn’t want more frames in the empty space below the center blended photo. So I imported another photo that showed more of the mat under the equipment. I used a paint brush on an inverted layer mask I attached to the photo to reveal enough to fill the space.

To recreate the sky in the photos, I added transfers from ArtPlay Palette Mountain High and ArtPlay Palette Summer Days. I attached inverted masks and blended away parts that interfered with the photos. I reduced the opacity, used hue and saturation adjustment layers to adjust the saturation and changed the blend modes to multiply.

I sampled the color of the mat under the equipment and stamped paint brushes from ArtsyPaint No. 7 and ArtsyPaint No. 10 on new blank layers to extend the look of the playground mat. I used an opacity of 60% as I stamped on new blank layers under the framed photos. I stamped two splatters to finish my page.

A reader recently wrote a comment thanking me for sharing easy to use ideas. I am very grateful that she took the time to let me know that the ideas were helpful. I really don’t use complex techniques for my book pages. I blend and extract with my photos. I use templates (or parts of templates) and transfers. I stamp with brushes using the brush panel on new blank layers. I experiment with blend modes and adjustment layers on my photos. Having developed some basic skills with Photoshop makes my creative process much easier. I can’t say that I’m fast at creating my pages. I enjoy experimenting as part of my creative process so I’m not in a hurry. However, simple techniques and basic skills are the key to creating my pages.

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More Brush Play

Fall isn’t quite here yet in Nebraska, but I looked back in Lightroom for some photos that I captured a couple of years ago because I love fall here. These photos remind me that looking up through a canopy of leaves to find the sky is a photo perspective that I have neglected. My Sunset Red maple tree is large enough this year for me to photograph from below the canopy when the leaves begin to change in November.

I’ve been working a lot with brushes and began this page playing with Anna’s new PaintedLeaves No. 3. I stamped brush 6 in brown on a new layer and clipped solid paper 5 from ArtPlay Palette Amidst. I then duplicated the brush layer and recolored it a blue.

Note: I attached the layer masks after I placed the frame so that I would know where to erase.

Initially I experimented with adding leaves from a photo of my Sunset Red maple tree, but the color didn’t work. I then roughly extracted the leaf from transfer 1 using a layer mask. I duplicated that extraction, placed it over the brush stains and gave each a color overlay with the styles panel in order vary the color of each leaf. I added a drop shadow to each extraction.

At this point, I moved the psd layers of file 3 from MultiMedia Accordion No. 1 on to my document and enlarged the layers about 20%. I clipped a photo to each mask before masking out some of the brush and transfers on the left. I adjusted the exposure with levels adjustment layers.

I then placed overlay 3 and three copies of transfer 6 (rotated) from ArtPlay Palette Amidst behind the photo frames.

To fill in more white behind the frames, I placed all but one of the layers of Artsy Transfers Notabilia that I had used on my previous layout.

I finished my page by adding the leaf word art from Autumn WordART Mix No. 3, a leaf from the ArtPlay Palette Amidst, and a stem from MultiMedia Accordion No. 1.

What I like most about this layout is that my eye still focuses on the vibrant photographs.

Summer’s End

No one stood behind the counter as I signed my name on a paper for an evening photography class at Lauritzen Gardens early in September. What a wonderful experience to search for light in a late summer garden, especially on the warm yellows. Pretty, isn’t it. I’m going back in October for another evening class to see what’s blooming.

For me, Anna’s FotoInspired templates are perfect for my photos. All I need to do is clip my photos to the masks, adjust the exposure by adding level’s adjustment layers and then add a bit of paint and/or a multimedia flower to finish a page. I used template is from FotoInspired Template Pack No. 2G for this page.

I’ve explained before how I clip my photos to the masks. I thought that for this post, I would share how I add adjustment layers to my photos. Rather than duplicate the photo, I clip a level’s adjustment layer to the photo. I do make basic adjustments for  color balance, whites, blacks, exposure, clarity and vibrance in Lightroom before exporting my photos to a layout. However, once I have all the photos together I often find that I need to refine the adjustments more so that all the photos work together on a page.

First, I press option (alt on PC) plus the icon for adding a new fill or adjustment layer at the bottom of the layer’s panel. I select levels and then a pop up window appears. In the space for name, I type the blend mode I want to use, in this case overlay. I check the box to clip it to the photo and choose the blend mode from the drop down menu at the bottom of the window. I adjust the opacity of the layer after pressing ok.

Note: I often add an overlay or soft light blend mode with a levels adjustment to increase the contrast on my photos.

For this photo I left the opacity at 100%.

Because the photo still looked a little dark, I again pressed option and the adjustment icon and chose levels again. This time, I chose screen blend mode in order to lighten the exposure. Yes, I could have done the same with the camera raw filter, but this is quick and adjustable.

For this photo, I reduced the opacity on the screen adjustment layer to 40%. In combination with the overlay adjustment layer, that seemed to be enough. I use the number keys to quickly adjust the opacity. This is the only photo on this page that needed an exposure adjustment.

To most of the other photos, I added an overlay adjustment layer. The opacity for these was set anywhere from 40 to 70% depending on how it looked. I pressed a number key to adjust.

To finish my page, I stamped splatters from Splatters No. 1 and paint from ArtsyPaint No. 9 on new blank layers. I placed the psd layers of file 5 from MultiMedia Spring No. 3, recoloring two layers of the petals and adjusting the opacity. I placed a transfer from ArtPlay Palette Sol behind my journaling and added a title.

FotoInspired templates are so easy to use and perfect for focusing on the photographs in a simple artsy way. I prefer adjustment layers because they use less memory than duplicating a photo layer. That keeps my file size smaller. I’ve just finished one more page for my flower book.

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Perspective

What I see as I look through my camera lens isn’t always what my artist side puts on a layout. Often, I don’t even know what a piece of art will look like until I begin experimenting. However, that’s the joy I find in creating, finding a different perspective than what I initially saw in my camera.

For this page, I began with a photo that I captured last week and file 4 of MultiLayered FotoBlendz No. 7. After working with my photo, I clipped copies to the different layers.

Next, I extracted the gates to the Victorian Garden from another photo and placed that over the first photo. While I liked the look, I didn’t think it looked as artsy as I wanted.

So I created a composite by pressing the keys command + option + shift + 6.

I turned off my composite temporarily and placed brush 1 from Cameras No. 4 on my page and changed the blend mode to linear burn.

I used the Elliptical Marquee tool to cut a copy of the center of the lens on the brush. I placed the copy just above the original and filled it in more with brushes.

I reduced the size of a copy of my composite and clipped it to the copy of the brush lens that I had created.

Next I clipped a larger copy of my composite to the original camera brush.

I placed brush 7 from Camera No. 4 below and clipped another linked copy of the photo to it. I placed one more copy of brush 1 on normal at 40% normal blend mode.

To emphasize the lens of the camera brush, I placed two threads from UrbanThreadz No. 14 and one from UrbanThreadz No. 3. I stamped some splatters from Splatters No. 1 on new blank layers and positioned them on a diagonal.

To finish my layout, I added a title and journaling explaining why I created this piece of art. I think it important for my family to know why I create from a different perspective at times.

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