Tag Archives: tutorials

Jumping Selfie Saturdays (On Sunday)

I have a tendency to scheme about various things – whether it be recipes, food or plans to do something. Yesterday, while Mr. Bean and I were attending a wedding, I was scheming about doing a “painting with light” inspired jump shot for this week’s Selfie Saturdays.

I guess these aren’t true selfies as I got Mr. Bean to flash my speed light flash when I jumped so that jumping me would show up in the photo. This is basically how I did it: I set up my tripod, set my camera lens to the widest it can go (35mm in this case), got Mr. Bean to stand in so I could focus the camera properly and set the self timer. I would jump three times, with the flash going off with each jump – so the resulting shot has clones without photoshop! :)

You may be wondering why you can’t see me as I move from jump to jump and why you can only see ghosts of Mr. Bean and the flash in the shots. This is because when it is dark with a low ISO, moving objects are only recorded if they stay in one spot for a period of time or if extra light is added. Using the flash allows the action to be captured in that moment of time and there is not enough light otherwise for the camera to record my other movements.

The settings I used were: 15 second exposure,  f/9 and ISO 320. I think if I were to do it again, I would do 10 seconds (so that I would show up better for the latter jumps), up the ISO to 400 or so and maybe increase the aperture to f/8. I would also choose a location that didn’t have as many lights in the background or at least not in the same spot as me so I would appear less translucent. If you compare the left and right jumps, I appear less solid in the right one because there is a light source behind me, so the camera records that light as well as the light from the flash, so I’m not “filling in” a dark spot like I am on the left.

Have you ever tried taking photos of yourself at night?

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Edit and Shoot: Flowers

Welcome back for some photoshop flower editing fun! If you’d like to see the tutorial the lovely Ashley Sisk wrote about editing flowers and everyone else’s edits – here’s the link up!

Just for reference, here is the original shot of this crazy looking tropical flower:

So, without further ado, here are my edits:

  1. In Lightroom, I cropped the photo to follow rule of thirds better.
  2. Increased vibrance to +30, contrast to +50 and black clipping to +7.
  3. Added more red by changing tint from -10 to -5.
  4. Using the adjustment brush, I painted the flower (make sure auto mask is on!) added a slight pink colour and upped the saturation to +15.

For the following edit, I used both lightroom and photoshop. I used masks for the specific selection of the flower – you can copy and paste the selection to a new layer, but you can’t edit the edges much further if you do that. Whereas if you use a mask you can paint on the mask to cover or show things that you want!

  1. In lightroom, reduce the saturation, increase vibrance, clarify, contrast and exposure until you reach something you like.
  2. Open this photo and the previously edited photo in photoshop.
  3. Put both pictures as layers in one file, with the brighter layer on top.
  4. Using your quick selection tool, select the part of the flower you want to make “pop.” Zoom in, start with a fairly large brush and reduce the brush size by pressing “[” for more finiky parts. Use alt+click to take away selections.
  5. Click refine edges button at the top to edit the edges of the selection.
  6. Create a mask around the selection by pressing the button at the bottom of the layers menu that looks like a circle in a rectangle. You can now edit the mask by selecting the mask in the layers menu and using a brush to paint black (to hide) or white (to show) what parts of the photo are affected by your edits.
  7. Adjust flower to get desired look.

I really wanted to try using the artistic filter on this flower, but for some reason photoshop wouldn’t let me do that. Any suggestions as to why? I know way more than I used to about photoshop, but in many aspects I’m still pretty clueless!

How is your Thursday coming along?

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Shoot and Edit: Yellow

As I promised, here are the edited versions of my yellow and portrait shots:

Just so you know, I haven’t had to use my anti-cold arsenal yet – I think I did use the lemon in last night’s dinner though…

Edit 1 - Sun Kissed

Edit 2 - Dated Yellow

What I did:

Sun Kissed: I followed the methodology Ashley used to create her sun-kissed photo for week 10 in the Shoot and Edit minus the sun flare.

Dated Yellow: I played around in lightroom for this one: I decreased the vibrance to -100 and increased the saturation to +100. I then upped the contrast and the black clipping. I then played around with split toning: I set the highlights to be an off yellow and the shadows to be a purple-y blue.

And now onto my assignment for my Photoshop Course: the cute Mr. A.

I edited this photo in Adobe Camera Raw for my assignment. They can also be easily done in Lightroom and most likely other photo retouching software. These are the recommended steps for quick portrait retouching:

  1. Adjust exposure and white balance as necessary.
  2. Use the spot remover to heal any spots/zits/dust/etc. Poor A was sick when I took this picture, so I did my best to remove some of the blotches and snot (sorry).
  3. Brighten up the eyes. Using the adjustment brush, use a very feathered brush with a small increase in brightness (brightness can be adjusted later) paint over and around the eye. Start a new adjustment and decrease your brush size to lighten up just the irises.
  4. Soften and smooth the skin. Using a very feathered brush, reduce the clarity and paint over the entire face. Adjust the clarity depending on gender and age. DO NOT soften lips or eyes.
  5. Sharpen important features. Using a feathered brush, sharpen the eyes and eyelashes, eyebrows, tip of nose and mouth.
  6. You’re done!

What are the most useful Photoshop tutorials you’ve found?

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The Night Sky: The Moon

Ever tried to take photos of the moon over a skyline only to have it not turn out? Or any moon photos just end up being a bright orb in the sky with no detail? Yeah, me too. The question remains: how do you expose the moon properly? You’d think that like other night photography situations you’d be using a longer shutter speed with a low ISO, but that’s incorrect.

As most of you know, the moon is incredibly bright but its brightness depends on what phase it’s in. Therefore, it makes sense that you’d have a shorter shutter speed for the full moon as compared to when it is a sliver. So how exactly do you know which settings to use? I don’t know any rules, but there are exposure tables that can tell you. I’ll also tell you what settings I used or recommended to me so you can experiment from there. I’m not promising that these settings will give you the best exposure as that depends on personal preference, but it gives you a good starting point. :)

Note: All of these settings assume an ISO 200. If you want to use ISO 100, go up one f-stop in either the shutter speed or aperture. (i.e. 1/125s to 1/60s or f/11 to f/8.)

Full Moon: 1/125s, f/11 (equivalent exposure: 1/30s, f/32)
Gibbous Moon: 1/125s, f/8 (equivalent exposure: 1/30s, f/22)
Crescent Moon: 1/125s, f/6.3 (equivalent exposure: 1/30s, f/16)
Sliver Moon: 1/125s, f/4 (equivalent exposure: 1/30s, f/8)

Now that we know approximate settings, how to actually take photos? If you are using a fast shutter speed, you could shoot it hand-held but I recommend using a tripod for the best results, especially if you’re doing multiple exposures. It’s best to shoot on a clear night as any clouds will make the moon have a fuzzy halo. As tempting as it is, try not to use auto focus as it won’t guarantee that the picture will be sharp.

I find taking photos of the not full moon to be more interesting as the shadows do a better job of accentuating the craters and mountains.

Settings used: Moon: 300mm lens, 1/125s, f/6.3, ISO 200; Skyline: 70mm lens,  30s, f/11, ISO 200.

If you want to have the moon in landscape photos, you can either do multiple exposures (newer cameras are capable of doing this) or photoshop the moon in. If you have multiple exposures on your camera, you have the capability of exposing both the moon and skyline appropriately as well as controlling the size and location of the moon in your shot. If you want it to look natural, make sure that the moon’s orientation remains the same and you don’t use a lens longer than 300mm. But if you want, don’t be afraid to play around – I’m not going to stop you. :)

What are your experiences photographing the moon?

If you have any moon photos, please leave a link in the comments as I would love to see them!

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Making Fondant Roses

For the last cake for the Wilton 3 course requires 40 fondant flowers. Since I’m making so many, I thought I would show you all how I’ve been making them. Tips on my techniques would be appreciated.

To start, add colour and 1 tsp. of gum tex to 8 oz. of fondant.

Making The Base

Take a small amount and roll it into a ball.

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Using the heel of your hand, roll part of the ball until it makes a cone shape and place it on a toothpick.

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Allow to dry for at least a day.

Making the Rosebud

Take a small amount of fondant and roll it out thinly enough to see the lines beneath it, about a millimetre.

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Using your flower cutter (as shown), cut out as many flowers as will fit.

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Place one flower cut out on a thin piece of foam and the rest underneath the plastic flap of your practise board (or under a piece of plastic wrap.

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Using a knife, cut 1/2″ slits between “petals”.

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Using a ball molding tool, press out the edges of the petals until thin.

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Using a paint brush, paint a bit of water into the middle of the flower.

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Take the base and press the tooth pick into the middle of the flower.

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Picture the flower like a body – a head, two arms and two legs. Paint a bit of water on the head and fold it around the base.

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Paint one “arm” and opposite leg with water and wrap them around the base.

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Paint the remaining two petals and wrap around.You should get a rosebud looking thing like this:

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Adding the Second Layer of Petals

Take another flower cut out and cut it and roll it out like before.

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Paint a bit of water on the centre and press the toothpick through the middle like before:

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Take two “arms,” paint bottom and edges with water and wrap them around the rosebud where the last layer of petals overlapped.

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Paint and wrap the remaining three petals, arranging so petals are somewhat evenly spaced.

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Adding the Third Layer of Petals

Cut and “flatten” out a third flower cut out. Paint the centre with water and press the toothpick through it.

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Paint petals with water, turn over rose and let petals flomp.

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Press petals into to place and voila, a fondant rose!

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Now you can make fondant roses yourself! I hope this was helpful!

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