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Photos, Stories and Scrapbooking

Tag: Topaz Studio

Christmas Colors?


It’s a tradition for me to hand my camera off and to sit with grandchildren on the fireplace for a quick snapshot at Christmas. This is my present to myself. Our Christmas isn’t fancy, just a meal together and watching the kids open gifts. From my perspective nothing more is needed to celebrate the birth of Christ than everyone being together again.

Having both Jeff and Jen together for Christmas this year brought back sweet memories of them as little kids. Hard to believe the black and white photo on the layout above was taken forty years ago. I miss those moments; maybe that’s why this Christmas with them both was so precious.

However, I struggled with this layout, specifically the colors. To begin, I moved two templates from Project Template Album No. 3 on to a new blank 24×12 document, I had already selected the photos I wanted to include on the page. I switched out the frames on the bottom left to accommodate the orientation of those photos.

Then I clipped my photos to the masks and frames. I wondered how I would create a Christmas page with the intense colors in our clothes. I tried changing the photos to black and white to help calm the page, but that didn’t look right either.

I finally settled on desaturating the color in each photo to soften the look a little. However, I was frustrated and walked away from this page for two days.

Returning to my page, I began experimenting with brushes to try to bring in more Christmas colors in an effort to tie the page together. I stamped a brush from Christmas Trees No. 1 on a new layer in a muted green in the gutter of the layout.

However, it wasn’t until a friend sent me a wreath that I knew how to solve my color problem. A bow from ArtPlay Palette Gentle Morning had been recolored a rusty red. That helped pull in the salmon pink of Kate’s outfit.

I sampled that color with the color picker and stamped brushes from ArtsyPaint No. 7 and ArtsyPaint No. 8 to fill in the background behind the photos. I adjusted the opacity and blend modes. I also added a button from ArtPlay Palette Merry Tree (color adjusted with hue and saturation layer) and ArtPlay Palette Joyeux and tacked them down with two threads from ButtonThreadz No. 2.

As much as I love these snapshots, the color scheme proved especially difficult for creating a Christmas layout. I have to admit that part of me wondered whether I should have reminded them to wear Christmas colors when I saw what I uploaded to Lightroom. I mean, it would have made for a prettier page if the colors were more harmonious. In the end, I can tell the snapshots on this layout were taken at Christmas. That’s enough for the individuals in my family!

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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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