Photo Storify

Photos, Stories and Scrapbooking

Tag: Lightroom (Page 1 of 2)

Eight Years and Two Days

Born eight years and two days apart, it’s hard to imagine that Owen, my oldest grandson, and Kate, my youngest grandchild, will be close. Yet, every once in a while I capture a photo of the two of them together that tells me that with time they will have a closer relationship. Since they had a shared family birthday party this year, I decided to create one page for the event.

I began this 24×12 inch page by extracting Kate from the photo and giving her a custom shadow. I then clipped copies of photo to the psd layers of mask 1 from WaterColor FotoBlendz No. 7. I also extracted my grandson Owen so that I could replace the background in that photo with solid paper 4 from ArtPlay Palette Autumn Soul and overlay 1 from ArtPlay Palette Whizzo when I clipped it to png mask 3 from WaterColor FotoBlendz No. 7. I positioned the two photos so that they were facing in opposite directions to support my journaling. Once I had the two focal photos positioned, I went back to Lightroom to find that one photo I remembered of the two of them together.

Note: The dot overlay over the solid paper from ArtPlay Palette Autumn Soul was easier to manipulate so it matched the dot spacing on solid paper 6 from ArtPlay Palette Whizzo. Owen’s shirt was actually green, so I gave him a gray blue shirt instead with a hue and saturation adjustment layer.

I dragged the layers of template 16 in Travel Template Album No. 3 on to my document. I extracted my grandson and granddaughter, substituting another copy of the gray paper with overlay 1 for the background below the photo and clipped all three layers to the fotoblendz mask. I again added a hue and saturation adjustment layer to the photo to change the color of my grandson’s shirt.

Next, I deleted the frames from template 16 because there were too many of them in the arrangement for balance on my two page spread. I kept the template’s stains and text boxes. I replaced the frames with a frame set from template 7 in Hipster Plume Template Album No. 1. I dragged the frames over to my page and clipped my photos to the masks. Rather than change the color of my grandson’s shirt, I converted the photo to black and white with an adjustment layer. That also created a rest stop on the right side of the page.

Note: Once I knew the shape of the frame arrangement I needed, it was easy to look for a replacement that would work below the fotoblendz mask and have the correct photo orientation.

I moved one text box to the left and adjusted it’s size to fit the space for balance. I repeated the pink and gray in the stains before adding file 7 from UrbanStitchez No. 2 to ground my granddaughter.

For a little birthday fun, I stamped three line drawing brushes from eA Birthday No. 1. I added color to the brushes with some of the balloon stains from WaterColorBalloons No. 1 and ArtsyStains No. 2. I added my title and their ages. With a sticker, button and thread from ButtonThreadz No. 3, I finished my layout.

I, of course, captured a lot more photos of the party, but I don’t think I needed them all to tell this story. Despite the difference in age between my grandchildren, I hope that one day they will enjoy this memory of their shared birthday party.

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Mixing Masks and Templates

Photos often tell the stories on my pages, but journaling fills in details to help my family remember our time together. On this trip, the wave pool was a favorite place to play for everyone. Even Kate, wearing a life vest, walked out into the water to jump the waves. If the boys weren’t jumping the waves, they were wrestling with one another in the water. Yes, I put my camera down to get in the water to play with them.

I created a special collection in Lightroom to make it easier to find and organize my favorite photos from our recent trip to Wisconsin Dells before I started creating pages with them for my book this year.  This book isn’t just about this trip; I anticipate that I will create only seven or eight pages with photos from this collection. I created this page by mixing masks with frame arrangements from three different templates. I think mixing and matching this way actually makes it easier to ensure that the pages uniquely work with my photos whether portrait or landscape orientation.

After creating a new 24×12 inch document, I first imported a family photo that I wanted to highlight by masking. I clipped it to mask 4 from MultiLayered FotoBlendz No. 7. I chose it based on the shape created by my family photo. Once I had that blended, I went back to Lightroom to choose some small photos to tell the story.

I chose the small frame arrangement from Hipster Plume Template Album No. 1 based on those photos. I clipped the photos to the small frames and added adjustment layers to adjust exposure and contrast. Note: I make adjustments in Lightroom before importing but often find that I need to adjust more when the photos are all together on a page.

I placed the frames and then extracted my son with the Quick Selection Tool from a second copy of the large masked family photo and placed that layer above the smaller frames. In other words, that family photo is clipped to a mask below the small frames and the extraction is above the frames.

After clipping the small photos to the frames, I imported another photo and blended it into mask 1 from MultiLayered FotoBlendz No 5 that I placed on the right side of my page. This mask allowed me to hide the young woman assisting everyone out of the boat. Then I added hue and saturation adjustment layers to ensure that the color tone was the same over the entire page.

I again selected a frame template arrangement based on my photos. In this case, I combined photo frames from Simple FotoBlendz Template Album No. 3 and Hipster Plume Template Album No. 1.

To fill in the background, I blended in another photo with a different perspective of the tubing slide by stamping with AnnaBlendz Artsy brushes on an inverted layer mask. I added two textures from Paper Textures No. 4 below two frame edges. I also placed an overlay and transfer from ArtPlay Palette H2O just above the paper and adjusted their color with hue and saturation adjustment layers.

To finish off my page, I added a title, some bubbles from Magic Bubble Overlays No. 1, a blue fish to help balance and create a visual triangle color, threads and a few splatters.

I finished my page journaling on the other side with another story that day about Kate sadly watched her brother and daddy ride down a tube slide. She wanted a turn. So I put my camera inside a helper’s jacket so it wouldn’t get wet and went down with her, Corbin and Daddy. She seemed to like it. However, by the look on her face after a second ride, I don’t think she really liked it all that much.

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Personal Styles Change

I have used that photo of my dad before, actually nearly five years ago on another page. Looking back at my old page, the fact that my personal style has changed in the last five years is quite evident. My 2012 page looks far more traditional in design. Elements of my current style, as I explained in a previous post, Finding My Style, were evident in 2012: the blending I like to do and the focus on a photo and telling a story in photos and journaling. However, the overall design of that old page was rather conventional. On my new page, the design is far more freeform, definitely more artsy. That’s a skill I have worked on developing through classes and practice in the last few years.

To create my new, more freeform artsy page, I began with brush 4 from ArchiTextures No. 7. That brush reminded me of the house that my dad lived in as a child. To the brush, I clipped two copies of artsy paper 1 from ArtPlay Palette Quaintville, one on linear burn at 50% and one one normal at 60%

To build a background for my brush, I placed overlay 4 from FotoBlendz Overlays No. 10 below the brush. I clipped two more copies of artsy paper 1 to the fotoblendz mask. The top paper layer is on color burn at 50%.

Next, I placed the psd layers of a frame from ArtPlay Palette Wayfaring. I enlarged the frame 25% and then clipped my photo to the mask. I had changed the photo to black and white in Lightroom before importing.

To build a cluster to focus on my framed photo, I added the foliage and a button from ArtPlay Palette Quaintville, thread 5 from ButtonThreadz No. 2, a word label from ArtPlay Palette Hearth and the psd layers of file 3 from MultiMedia Homes No 1.

Finally, to finish my page, I added a wood word from Hearth WordArt Mix No. 1 and journaling.

Mostly I love that I continue to learn and grow as a digital artist. Ongoing learning is important to me!!

Budding Photographer

Logan, one of my grandsons, asked to use my camera on our trip to the Henry Doorly Zoo on Thursday. I handed it to him with instructions on how to move the focus point with the joystick and then press the shutter button half way down to verify focus before taking the picture. Later, after I sent him copies of the pictures he made, he told me he’s going to take up photography as a hobby. I’m delighted of course because I love making photographs and telling stories. I want my grandchildren to enjoy this hobby too.

This page will be part of a two page spread about our trip to the zoo. This side will focus on Logan’s story while the other side will tell a different story about my photography that day at the zoo.

Below is the photo I captured with my iPhone while Logan took photos in the Desert Dome with my camera. It was just a snapshot attempting to capture a story, but I didn’t think it was clear enough as is. I decided that I could use it to create a brush that I would then stamp on my two page spread. To get the photo ready, I exported it from Lightroom and adjusted the levels before applying another black and white preset. Note: I could also have done this in Lightroom.

Once I had the layers on a new 12×12 inch document, I used a layer mask to clean up the edges around my grandson. Then I used the Marquee Tool to outline him and defined just that portion as a brush. I stamped my brush in black on a new layer and again over the original in a lighter neutral to lighten the tone. I duplicated the copy and changed the blend mode to linear burn at 100%. I masked out a portion of the original brush layer so that it would not be too dark.

Below my brush layers, I placed transfer 3 from ArtPlay Palette Anaphora as well as brush 19 from ArtsyStains No. 1 to contain and anchor the stamped image. I erased parts of the transfer and brush directly on the layers.

I dragged the frames from template 15 in Project Template Album No. 2 onto my document and clipped my photos to the frames, adjusting as needed.

Next, I placed most of the layers from psd transfer 4 of Artsy Transfers Anaphora on the right edge to fill in the background behind the framed photos.

For a title foundation, I stamped brush 5 from eAVintage Cameras No. 1 on a new blank layer. I lined it up with transfer 1 from ArtPlay Palette Anaphora before stamping. I used two different stains on layers above to add color to the camera brush. I gave the transfer a color overlay at 48% in the styles panel to give it some color.

Finally, I placed transfer 7 just above solid paper 1, both part of ArtPlay Palette Anaphora. By the time I complete the other side for this two page spread, I will change that transfer. Think of it as a placeholder for the moment while I decide which brushes to use in order to fill in the area across the gutter for a two page spread. The color is right, but I need to adjust the shape.

I still can’t get the dual brush to work with two colors. That is why I simply added color by stamping on individual layers. The Advanced Brushes class has changed the way I’m working with brushes. As Anna put it, my art is evolving!

You Can Take My Picture Here

Although the outside temperature was 36° at the zoo, inside the Desert Dome it was perfect for a few photos of my grandchildren. These four little people are my most difficult subjects to capture, so I’ve been trying to develop strategies to induce them to corporate. I might have found a new one today.

“Stop Grandma,” said Corbin, “you can take my picture here.”

This is Corbin, my youngest grandson. He set the precedent for photographs today by stopping at various points along our walk in the Desert Dome to pose and tell me I could take his photo.

Logan, my second grandson, was interested in learning how to take photographs. So I handed him my camera and watched him hang it on his wrist the way I do.

I showed him how to move the joystick to set his focus point, press halfway down and then take the picture. I promised to send him this bird shot that he made so he can share it with his classmates.

I actually have quite a few shots of Corbin as he wanted to stop frequently for his picture. I see my dad in this boy.

Once Kate saw what Corbin was doing, she decided she wanted her picture taken. I hope you notice that she’s given the lizard her pink beads to wear for this photograph.

Kate’s looking a lot more like her mother now.

In the lower level of the dome, Corbin wanted more photographs. I explained to Corbin that without light, I couldn’t make any photographs. However, I did find enough light from an enclosure to capture Logan again.

I have to be a bit creative to capture Owen, my oldest grandson who is twelve. He will do odd things, like cover his face or turn around, which make photographing him difficult. I’m patiently hoping that he outgrows his current quirk.

Yes, I made some casual snapshots while my grandchildren were interacting with one another. In this shot as we were leaving the zoo, Kate couldn’t get down from the polar bear without help. She wasn’t at all certain that Owen or Corbin would get her down safely. It was Logan who finally helped her down.

For the most part, I shot in manual mode today. Auto ISO wasn’t working for me the way I wanted, so I estimated what I could use for the ISO and then adjusted the shutter speed in 1/3 stops with a dial on my camera when I needed to adjust the exposure. I think the technical aspects of photography are getting easier. I’m looking forward to encouraging Logan’s interest in photography.

I enjoyed my photography most today when my grandchildren told me exactly where I could make their photographs. However, the real question is, will this strategy work on our next outing together.

Less Is Enough

With Christmas in the recent past, I am again focused on finishing a book for 2016. As you can see in this screen shot from the book module in Lightroom that I posted below, I have about sixty pages already completed. Having taken over 14,000 photos this year, there is no way that I’ll be able to include them all in a book. I’ve also accepted the fact that I will finish a smaller book this year rather than thinking that a book for 2016 isn’t worth the effort to finish if I don’t create as many pages as I did in 2015.

After looking at the collections of photos for possible 2016 layouts, I have decided to complete just five more double page spreads. I’ve placed the photos for each layout on new 24×12 inch blank documents. Next, I will begin selecting templates from either Travel Template Album No. 2 or Project Template Album No. 2 to finish the pages.

As I finish up these pages, I am thinking about what I want to do next year, what I want to create with the photos that I make. I am considering focusing more on making the photos and displaying them on simpler pages with journaling. I have some thoughts about my priorities and direction based on my experiences creating books over the last few years that I will share in January.

Combining Templates

One of the nice things about working with a 24×12 inch document for a two page spread rather than trying to piece together two 12×12 pages, is the possibility for easily placing a photo across the two pages. That is what I wanted to do with this photo of Kate 2016-10-07-114112that I captured just before we left the pumpkin patch last Friday. Another useful technique, especially when I have a lot of journaling, is to place  journaling over the background of a photo. After adjusting the light in this photo with adjustment layers and glows, I was able to place my journaling over the background of my photo and to ensure my granddaughter stood out on my layout. I think the title and text box on the left page balances the extraction on the right side.

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To mask the background for my extraction, I placed the mask layers from template 4 of Autumn Album Template No. 2. I clipped copies of my photo to the layers. Then I added leaves and stains from other templates from the same album. To each leaf or stain, I clipped a copy of my photo.

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I then extracted Kate from the photo and gave her a custom shadow. You may not have noticed that in the original photo, her toes were cut off by the mat. So I extracted her right foot from another photo and rotated it into position. To simulate the sunlight behind Kate, I placed several glows, reduced their opacity and changed the blend modes.

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To accommodate all the photos I wanted to include on these pages, I simply dragged over the frames and masks from templates 15 and 19 in Travel Template Album No. 2. It was quicker for me to drag over a set of frames rather than recreating/duplicating/positioning frames so that I would have enough spaces for photos.

After clipping my photos to the masks, I added the layers of file 3 from MultiMedia Pumpkins No. 1 on the left. Then to mimic the look of the multimedia pumpkin, I created masks for the sections of the stitching file 4 from UrbanStitchez Pumpkin No. 1. To each of those masks, I clipped the transfers from the multimedia pumpkin file.

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After clipping all of the photos to the frames, I added more leaves from the Autumn Template Album No. 2 below the frames and clipped additional copies of my background photo. I added a black and white adjustment layer to two photos to create a visual triangle with my title. Finally I added a few more elements and finishing my journaling. I created a composite of my two page spread which I then placed on two 12×12 pages. I imported those pages into Lightroom and added them to the book section.

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Combining frames and masks from Anna’s templates is an easy way to pull together a two page spread.

Two Page Design

Kate celebrated her fourth birthday this past weekend. As she gets older, more of her personality comes through in her photographs. I actually try to make photos that convey her personality and show her different expressions, photos that express her pleasure with a gift, the way she licks the frosting off a cupcake, the way she laughs and smiles. Those expressions are what I wanted on this two page spread which I will add to this year’s book.

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One of my favorite photos from her birthday party was this one of her delight upon receiving a pink car. No, it isn’t a perfect photo. 2016-08-27 145446It’s grainy because I had set the ISO high to give me the shutter speed I needed. It’s also much darker on one side. Before exporting the photo from Lightroom, I adjusted the white balance and increased the exposure and clarity.

After placing the photo on a new 24×12 inch document in Photoshop, I ran it through Topaz Detail module to smooth the grain. Then I added two levels layers, one on screen and another on hard light. Rather than extract Kate from the scene, I added an inverted layer mask and blended in just the parts that I wanted with a soft round brush.

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My next step was to figure out how to include the other nine photos I had exported from Lightroom and placed with their visibility turned off on my new blank document. Not many templates have spaces for more than five or six photos. In addition, I needed to balance the weight of the large blended photo on the left side of my two page spread. I found Anna’s MonthReview Template No. 34B in my stash, a template I bought several years ago but hadn’t ever used.

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After deleting a couple of textures, I duplicated one frame, reduced it’s size and moved it into the blank space on the template. Although there are nine photos on the right side, the light background and simple white frames do not overwhelm the large blended photo on the left.

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I added or stamped on blank layers additional stains, recolored them pink and changed the blend mode to linear burn.

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Next, I began building the background for my title. I opened three different psd files from WatercolorBalloons No. 1. I recolored the individual balloons to coordinate with Kate’s tutu. Below the balloons, I placed a light leak from LightLeaks No. 3, changed the blend mode to linear burn and reduced the opacity.

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To finish my page, I added a title just above the watercolor balloons and gave it a sticker effect. Next, I placed balloons from ArtPlay Palette Happy Birthday and recolored them with a style layer. I tacked them down with button threads from ButtonThreadz No. 2. On the balloon on the right, I added text and warped it with the warp text tool. With a few splatters, buttons and additional threads my page was finished.

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Combining templates with a little blending made it easy to create this artsy two page spread. I think these MonthReview templates are especially effective to scrap an event with all the white space and multiple masks with simple white frames. In a way, this two page spread looks similar to the design I used in last year’s book. For many of those pages, I combined a one photo artsy page with multiple photos on one of Anna’s FotoInspired Double Templates to create my two page spreads. This year I am looking for simple, informal artsy templates that accommodate more photos to create a book. I need to remember that just because a template is titled Month Review doesn’t mean that’s it only use, not when I want more spaces for photos from a party, trip or event.

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Lightroom, Templates and Artsy Transfers

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This two page spread about our morning at Wisconsin Deer Park may look complicated, but it isn’t. I began with a 24×12 inch blank document in Photoshop and what I call the basic layers of template 16 on the left and template 17 on the right. Both templates are part of Anna’s new template collection, WaterColor Template Album No. 3. I find it easier to make adjustments for my photos on a template by working with just the frames, masks and text boxes. I turn off all the other layers. With my favorite photos already “picked” in Lightroom and some thoughts about our adventure already in the caption field ready to paste into the text boxes, the process goes quickly, even if I change my mind and substitute one photo for another.

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On this page, I wanted the large mask on the right side to go across the page gutter. I adjusted the mask’s size and moved it towards the left. I moved the fotoblendz mask on the left side toward the top of the page. I also adjusted the position of the frames, moving them toward the center on both the left and right so that I would have a larger margin on the sides. On each side of my layout, I clipped a copy of the photos to a stain included in the templates in order to extend the size of each fotoblendz mask. By turning off the background layers, I can see much more easily what adjustments I need to make on a template. Although I added a bit of a cartoon effect to each photo and adjusted both fotoblendz masks, it was an easy process.

Once, I had all my photos in position, then I began to work on the background. I first looked for artplay palettes with colors that coordinate with my photos. Some of Anna’s transfers are designed with straight edges and corners. Those work well to fill the background of a template. For this page, I chose transfers from ArtPlay Palette Explore, ArtPlay Palette Mountain High and ArtPlay Palette Heartland to place below the frames on the right side of my page.

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However, my favorite products to use for template backgrounds are Anna’s Artsy Transfers. As indicated in the layer’s panel below, for Artsy Transfer Mountain High 1, which I placed in the left top corner, I added a layer mask to one layer to blend out part. I also lowered the opacity on one layer and deleted another. Sometimes, I need to adjust the color, as I did to another layer of an artsy transfer set on the right side. There are two other artsy transfer sets on this page.

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Once I finished my page, I created a composite. I used that composite to create two separate 12×12 pages to insert into the book module of Lightroom. I have learned that initially working on a 24×12 inch document and then dividing that page in half is far easier than trying to put two 12×12 pages together. The faint lines around the edges of the pages below indicate the margins where I wouldn’t want to place anything important. If necessary, I go back to my original document to make corrections and create another composite. This screenshot provides a realistic picture of what these pages would look like in a book once it is published.

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As I explained in the previous two posts, Blurry Photos Tell Stories and Organizing with Lightroom, Lightroom is an integral part of my creative process.

 

Organizing with Lightroom

In the future, my family will look at these photos from our trip and want to know the what, when, where and why of their pictures. My grandchildren are young; they will forget much about the memories we made together.

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One morning we bought containers of corn and seeds to feed the deer as we walked along paths with open fences allowing deer to freely roam among people walking the paths.

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Owen and Logan shook their closed containers of seeds to attract the deer and fed them just a few seeds at a time. Owen, almost twelve, placed seeds on the backs of the deer trying to get them to eat off one another. He and Logan weren’t afraid they would lose a finger by feeding the deer one piece at a time.

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However, Corbin and Kate had a little more trouble keeping a secure grasp on their containers. We had some tears as the deer gobbled up the corn spilled on the ground.

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2016-06-14 091803Kate wanted to feed the deer, but she wasn’t sure that she really liked them licking seeds off her hand. Kate smiled when her mom put some in Kate’s lap. Yet, she did not like that her dress got wet when the deer lapped up the corn and seeds!

Helping my grandchildren remember our time together is the reason why I make photos and take the time to create scrapbook pages as well as add metadata to my photos with Lightroom. With five years experience using Lightroom, I have found which options work for me and are worth my time.

One of the most important options in Lightroom is the ability to add keywords and captions to the metadata of my photos. My keyword list includes words clarifying who, what and where. I have categories for family and friends, foods, garden words, holidays, indoor activities, outdoor activities, places, weather and technology.

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As I went through my vacation photos, I first deleted those photos that I knew I wouldn’t use, photos with blurry faces and sharp backgrounds, photos obscured when someone walked into the view just as I was snapping the shot, photos that were poorly cropped. At the same time, I picked my favorites by pressing the “p” key which attaches a white flag. That indicates the photo is a keeper, a photo that speaks to me, a photo that I want to use on a page. I have given up attaching a numeric rating to photos. I found it wasn’t worth my time since I don’t choose photos based on a rating.

As I shared in a previous post, I also add captions to photos so that my thoughts about the photos become part of the metadata. Once I had those “picked” photos, I created a collection for them so that they are easily available for creating scrapbook pages.

Taking the time to organize photos by adding keywords and a few thoughts about the morning together before creating a collection of my favorites in Lightroom makes it much easier when I begin to create scrapbook pages for this year’s book.

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