Monday, February 28, 2011

i heart faces Challenge - Anything But A Face

“Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes...
Anything But A Face!”

I choose....

Hands!




Can I tell you how much I love taking photos of hands?

I love it a lot.

More than anything.

I especially love taking photos of Matt's hands.

Thank you, i♥faces, for giving us this theme.



This photo is from last May, when Matt's health was suddenly deteriorating and we had no idea why. during one of our trips to the hospital, in between all the blood draws and the tests, the doctors and the waiting, we would slip outside for some fresh air and sunshine. My long-time followers will remember how scared I was. When I go back and reread my posts from that time, pleading for prayers and unable to express my true feelings, those feelings come back.

It is a truly a blessing that we were his doctor was able to determine what had caused his systems to go haywire.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Color Splash Sunday - A Cup and A Tutorial




Welcome to Color Splash Sunday!

Color splash photos are those that have been converted to black and white, but one object has been left colored. Sometimes, it's easy to just isolate your colored object and you're done. Other times, more editing is required, such as adjusting color levels/light/shadow/etc.

This is an open themed link-up, so there won't be any specific themes for your photos. Any photo is fine, as long it has selective color and you haven't posted it before. You can read more about CSS guidelines by clicking here.


My 3 favorites from last week:

(These photos are all copyright of their original photographers.)



And the winner is...

Rebecca over at From Mommy to Calm Insanity! This was an easy pick this week. I am utterly in love with Disney and all things Princess-y, especially Cinderella's castle. (CLICK HERE to see it full size.)


Congrats, Rebecca!
Feel free to snag this button
and display it on your blog!



A few people have asked me how I do my color splash photos, so I decided to post a selective coloring tutorial. I had written one up last year, but I decided to redo it with some screenshots.

This tutorial uses Adobe Photoshop Elements 8. I've used pse 5, and from what I remember of it, it's pretty much the same thing. The full version of Photoshop would also be mostly the same. The names of certain tools vary a bit.

Step 1: Open your photo. Adjust levels, saturation, contrast as you see fit. I'm not going to tell you how to do this because I believe that these must all be adjusted to taste. One photo might need to be brightened, while another might be overexposured. It depends on your photo that you are processing and your own style of editing.

Step 2: Add a gradient map using the adjustment button (it looks like a black and white circle). When you click on the adjustment button, a little menu will pop up. This menu is what I use to tweak my levels, saturation, and brightness/contrast. Make sure you click Gradient Map, NOT Gradient, as shown in the screenshot below.



Step 3: Adjust the gradient map to be 'black to white'. When you click on Gradient Map, the gradient will automatically be foreground color to background color. If you were working with any other colors, then your photo will look funky. Click on the gradient (1 on the screenshot below) and then click on the 'black to white' box (2 on the screenshot below). Make sure your Gradient Type is Solid and your Smoothness is 100%.



Step 4: Using a soft black brush set at 100% opacity, brush away the part of the photo that you want to keep colored. When you added the gradient map, you added a layer mask to the photo. Make sure that you brush over the white layer mask, not over the photo itself. You can make the size of the brush smaller or larger depending on the size of the piece that you are coloring.



Now, if you look at the screenshot above, the edges of my colored spot are fuzzy from the soft brush. When you end up with fuzzy edges like these, you'll want to switch your brush to a hard black one, zoom in closer, switch your brush color to white, and carefully clean up the edges. This is why a layer mask is always preferred over erasing a layer; you can brush the effect of the layer on or off and easily fix mistakes.



At this point, your selective coloring process is pretty much done. I usually right-click on the layer mask, select "Merge Visible," add a quick vignette around the edges, add my watermark, resize for web, and save. Most of the time, I save my photo hi-res without a watermark first, followed by resizing for web and saving it again. Either way, you'll want to save your photo as a jpeg (or png), but never as a gif.

And here is my final product!



Your turn to link up! Please remember to use the permalink to your blog post with a selective coloring photo, NOT the main link to your blog. Thanks!



Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday 6, 5, 1

So, the smart thing to do today (and for future Saturday posts) would have been to plan out which challenges & memes that I wanted to link up with, and use just 1 or 2 photos to enter all of them... Like I tried to do last week.

Apparently, I used up all of my mad condensing skillz last week.

Welcome to "6 photos, 5 challenges, 1 collage," aka "Amy is uncoordinated."



I used a textured frame from Shadowhouse Creations.


_______________________________________




Come back tomorrow to see
my edit of this SOOC photo!


SOOC Saturday
_______________________________________




The theme for Tara's LEM challenge this week is blue.


_______________________________________


iPhoneography

I am going to start featuring a different app
each week when I post my iPhone photos.



This week, I am going to tell you about Project 365,
which is my favorite iPhone photography app.




I love this app because it organizes of all of my daily photos. It also stores the photos so that I can delete them from my photo album. When I open the app and click on a date, I have the option to either add a photo from my album or take a photo with the in-app camera. If you import a photo from this app to your computer, the size it comes out is very small - 320x318. (Why the extra 2 pixels? I have no idea.)

My iPhone photo for today is one of Jon knocking icicles off our gutter/roofline. (Don't get scared, he wasn't hitting them violently with the shovel. No one's eyes were poked and no ice was flung in any direction.)

(I am also entering this into
Faith's Simplicity Photography Challenge
because the theme is weather.)


Here is the comparison with the SOOP (straight out of phone) photo
and the edited (with pse8) photo:




Friday, February 25, 2011

Macro Friday #40

Remember my macro man from last week?

Here's another one!




____________________________________________



i♥faces
Disclaimer: This is not my photo. I did not take it.
Copyright belongs to iheartfaces and the original photographer.


Honestly, I don't care if anyone thinks that this photo has things that are 'technically' wrong with it. I think it's gorgeous! I wish all photographers could appreciate the things that are gorgeous and beautiful in their captures, and try not to nitpick the little things.

Original:


My favorite color edit:


My b&w desaturated edit:


Some more color edits for fun,
with the original photo in the background:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Twisted Fate Photo Challenge - Heroes

Everyone who knows me just a little, knows that my younger brother is my hero. He is kind and loving, funny, courageous. He has endured much more physical pain and suffering than most people I know, but he stays strong throughout all of it. It makes me cry to see him cry, and it makes me happy to see him happy.

Bowling is one of his favorite activities. He goes twice a week, every week - once with his classmates and once with his Challenger League team. All of his teammates are my heroes. They are innocent angels, blessings sent from God to teach their families how to be better parents/sisters/brothers.

Taken with my iPhone and edited using the instagram app.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happy Monday - Yellow... And some interior decorating!



I took this in a hotel bathroom. Entering it into Allie's Happy Monday photo challenge because the theme is Yellow.



Here's another photo from this shoot:



I absolutely love when hotels put 2 mirrors across from each other! So much fun! See my head in the corner? It makes me laugh.

Speaking of bathrooms, I've finally finished decorating the guest bathroom in our condo. (I actually finished it a couple of weeks ago, but I never got around to posting photos.) It's all blue and green and bright.

Ta-Da!



The curtain is from BB&B, but it's a few years old and I think it's been discontinued. The frames are all from Target, as is the bath mat, and the photos are my own. The white shelf is also from Target, and I have another smaller one that was going to go about 6 inches above it, but I didn't like how it looked. I'm considering putting it about 12 inches above the toilet, and putting a tissue box on it.

There is a lot of white space above the shower that I was okay with at first, but I don't like it anymore. I am going to go get 3 square frames, probably white and probably from Target, and put some blue & green scrapbook paper in them.




Next up is the bedroom. I finally found and bought a bedding set (on sale 60% off at Macy's!) with the colors that I want, and I am researching making some vinyl wall art. I found some designs that I like, but I want to be able to customize it. The colors I want are basically blue (kinda periwinkle) and brown (one light shade and one dark shade). This is all based on a framed quote that my aunt gave me for Christmas.

After that will be the dining room. I have a collage wall all planned out with black and white photos, and I am going to use gold accents. We don't have a table and chairs yet, but we know what type of wood we want. We are not planning to invest in furniture until after the wedding (which is suddenly less than 6 months away).

The living room connects directly to the dining room without any wall dividers, but we've arranged our furniture in a way that separates the 2 areas. I haven't quite narrowed down what I want to do in the living room yet, but I have some ideas. My loose design is based around a wall hanging that my friend gave me for Christmas.

The second bedroom is our guest bedroom/computer room (neither one of us really needs a home office). I'm hoping it will be a nursery in the next few years, so I have no plans to really decorate. Same with the master bath, no plans to decorate, reason being that no one sees it except for me and Jon.

And last but not least, the kitchen! It gets very little natural light because it's kinda long and narrow, and the only window faces out onto our entrance way, so we keep the blinds only slightly open. Combined with the dark cabinets and plain white wall, it is a very dreary room. I am going to try to brighten it up by adding yellow curtains and accents. I don't foresee doing much in there until after the wedding.

I've been doing all of this slowly. I don't want to settle for any random decorations; I want to make this little condo into a home that I love.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

CSS - Ice Cream Cone




Welcome to Color Splash Sunday!

Color splash photos are those that have been converted to black and white, but one object has been left colored. Sometimes, it's easy to just isolate your colored object and you're done. Other times, more editing is required, such as adjusting color levels/light/shadow/etc.

This is an open themed link-up, so there won't be any specific themes for your photos. Any photo is fine, as long it has selective color and you haven't posted it before. You can read more about CSS guidelines by clicking here.


My 3 favorites from last week:

(These photos are all copyright of their original photographers.)



And the winner is...

Jessica over at Mommy to a Lil Ladybug! It was really hard this week; I even had to ask Jon's opinion. After some debate, we both agreed that Jessica's photo was the winner. (CLICK HERE to see it full size.)


Congrats, Jessica!
Feel free to snag this button
and display it on your blog!



Here is my photo for this week, taken at Honeydukes in Hogsmeade!



Your turn to link up! Please remember to use the permalink to your blog post with a selective coloring photo, NOT the main link to your blog. Thanks!



Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday Link-ups

How many photography memes and challenges can I link up to in one post... using one photo?

Well, one photo in 2 versions.

Let's see!


SOOC + watermark + resize for web:
Yes, I used the pop-up flash. Deal with it.


Edited photo:



SOOC for Marvelous Mommy's SOOC Saturday.
Black and white for Tara's LEM Photo Challenge.
Added texture for Kristy's new meme, Texture Twist.
(I used the Silent Night texture from Kim Klassen.)

SOOC Saturday



Okay, so 3 link-ups is not a lot. I'm just proud of myself for configuring this photo to fit all 3 challenges without complicated processing or wordy explanations.

Oh wait, I forgot iPhoneography!

Here's a random sky shot that I love. It was processed using the instagram app. (I know I said that I would write about my favorite apps, but I didn't have a chance to do do that yet. Next week!)



It's so colorful that I am going to enter it into Faith's Simplicity Photography Challenge, since Colorful is the theme.

Okay, now I'm done.