Freebie: Action | Wowza

I love experimenting and part of that is finding a new workflow that I love. Right now I'm into really sunny hazy whimsical and bright bold and colorful. When I figure out just the right way of doing something new I stick to it for a while, and I recently sat down to make a new action - Wowza!
It adds a ton of color, pops it all, sharpens....pretty much everything you need :)
Works in PS and PSE 

Left image is SOOC (straight out of camera) the right has been edited with my Wowza action.

Want to know how it works?
Here are the step by step instructions of using Wowza to it's full potential.

Adjust the opacity of each layer to your own personal style. I also ran portraiture at the very end to polish off the image.

11 family members | Killeen family photographer

Sneak preview for you, Go Yankees!


Distressing furniture photoprops

This is a tutorial for distressing any type of furniture for photoprops.

A while back ago I bought a vintage doll bed from an antique store and paid a pretty penny for that distressed little number. After the first time I shot that bed I thought to myself, “I would like to have another one in a different color, but not for that price again!” I am an Etsy seller myself and I love to support the handmade community by purchasing via Etsy anytime that I can. So I stumbled across Quietude Quilts on Etsy and fell in love! They have unfinished (and finished as an option) doll beds that work fantastic as props! I bought an unfinished bed and decided to personalize it just to fit my style. This is a tutorial on how to distress your bed, never mind that it was done in my living room. Another disclaimer please excuse the photos these photos were taken in bad light and done quickly as my kids were done with me having mommy time! :P Enjoy.

Supplies you will need:

-Paint of your choosing (you can purchase this at Wal Mart, Michaels, etc.) The bonus is this paint is non-toxic

-Paint brushes (I suggest one for each color of paint you purchase)

-Sand paper (I used a sandpaper block) do not buy a fine grain; get at least a medium if not high grain

-Steel wool (Again buy a medium grain steel wool, nothing fine)

-OPTIONAL- Stain (Can be colored or clear)

I actually forgot to take a picture of the bed before I got started as I was so eager, so Kelsey from Quietude Quilts let me borrow a picture of the bed that she took. Seen here:

Next I painted my base coat on my bed; I do at least 2 coats for a dark paint, 3 for a light paint color. If you are using the brand of paint that I did let dry in between coats about an hour. As seen here:

After that step paint your top coat, you can paint only once if you like I painted my topcoat in 2 layers. However in the end I wished I only painted it once as it took that much longer to break through to the base coat with my steel wool. Top coat seen here:

After you have let your bed dry for about 24 hours you are ready to start the distressing technique. Start by sanding all of the edges of your bed. I recommend you sand down only to the base coat because later when you go over it with your steel wool you may accidentally (or on purpose) sand down to the actual grain and raw layer of the wood. It really is all personal preference.

Next grab your steel wool and get to work! This process will by far take the most patience, strong arms, and work! Here it is pictured after the steel wool process!

OPTIONAL-You can stain your bed with a clear coat by just painting it on, I suggest something that is not high gloss but matte. To give it more of a personal spin and an antique look grab a darker stain and a rag and very lightly dab some stain on your rag. Now wipe your bed with the stain, let sit for about 5 min. then take a dry rag and wipe away the stain. This adds more of a darker vintage look to it. Last optional tidbit grab a ball peen hammer, tie a rag around it so that it makes it a little less blunt and you won’t remove paint and hammer some dents in your bed to give it more depth and that vintage feel. You can even go over the dried stain one more time with your steel wool.

And here is the bed in action!

Kelsey from Quietude Quilts would like everyone to know that they offer milk base organic paint for the beds and you can add that as one of your options before buying. Also when they run out of beds for the week they restock by Sunday at 10pm EST and relist them on Etsy. She also offers custom bedding for these beds as well. Did I mention I love my new bed!

Contact Quiteude Quilts at:

Please do not alter my tutorial in anyway and try to use it as your own or resell it. Feel free to sell any finished items you have made using my tutorial. If you would like to share this tutorial please credit my blog and Morgan's blog for the original posting. Thank you and enjoy!

Guest blogger Amy Jo Wagner, is a stay at home mom, military wife, crafter, student and photographer. As a guest blogger she hopes to teach you all how to craft on a budget for personal use or photography use . Her current eye candy comes from Morgan Kervin, Rita of The CoffeeShop Blog and Pink Paisley Photography.
"My real job is being a stellar mother and wife, my hobbies are crafting and photographing life's special moments"


Photowalk 3-20-11

What is a photowalk: It is when a group of photographers get together with the soul purpose of having fun and getting some fun images. It's a time that you bring photography back into the seat of "hobby" instead of "job" I organize one every now and then, depending on my schedule and the interest expressed from models and photographers. It's about 2 hours on a weekend and so much fun...and did I mention free? It's a great way to learn from others, as we all have different styles and ways to do things.

Here are a few shots from the photowalk today.
Thank you photographers
Thank you models

Bow in above image courtesy of Stacie's Bowtique

Getting to Know Your Camera {Aperture and Depth of Field - People}

If you are just starting to read the "Getting to Know Your Camera" series, each post builds upon the previous posts.  So, before we begin, if you are new to this series, I wanted to post links to the previous tutorials so that you could catch up.  Or, if you aren't new, but want to review before you read this post, you may also find these links helpful.

#1 PASM Settings
#2 Exposure
#3 Aperture and Depth of Field (Macro)

Yesterday was such a beautiful day, so I decided to take the kids in the backyard.  Of course, I had a hidden agenda - I wanted to get some pictures for this post!  All of the pictures I'm using today will be of my 5-year-old, Sean.  Sean cooperates when I say, "Okay, now hold still, I need to change something."  My almost 2-year-old, Ashlynn, isn't to that stage yet.  Although, I have to say, I think there are times when Sean gets tired of seeing my camera.  :)

In the last post, I showed you how simply changing your aperture setting changed how your background looks.  Here's an example of that with Sean - this first shot was taken with my aperture set at f/9 (a smaller opening):

Compare that to this next shot taken with my aperture set at f/2.2 (a much larger opening):

You can see that the blades of grass aren't nearly as clear in the second picture as they are in the first.  I personally like the second shot much better because it isolates Sean as my subject.  I don't seem to notice the grass as much as I do in the first picture. 

In an effort to isolate your subject, it is possible to make your depth of field too narrow.  One time, I took a picture of my daughter, and the tip of her nose was crystal clear...the rest of her face, however, was not.  At the time, I was still in a photography class, so I showed the picture to my instructor to ask what happened.  He said that because I was using a larger aperture, I was too close to her to have all of her face within my depth of field.  He said that my options would be: 1) to leave the aperture the same, but step back and zoom in on her to increase my depth of field, or 2) stay just as close to her, but use a smaller aperture.  So, let me use Sean to illustrate:

In this shot, I set the aperture to f/2.2, and I was standing pretty close to him.  The tip of his nose is very clear.  His eyes aren't as in focus as his nose, and his ears are out of our depth of field.  I have seen and taken pictures similar to this in which this was actually the desired effect.  But, what if you want more of him to be in your depth of field?  If you didn't want to change your settings, you could take a big step back and increase your depth of field that way.  But, let's stay where we are and snap another one at f/4.5:

Okay, his ears aren't crystal clear, but they are more in focus than before.  But, you may also notice that even though the background is out of focus, it is definitely not quite as blurry as it was in the previous shot.   (Can you tell he's getting tired of smiling for me?  lol)  Because the smaller aperture let in less light, I had to adjust my shutter speed.  The first image was shot at 1/4000 (as fast as my camera can go!), while the second was shot at 1/1250.

As I mentioned, there are other ways to make your depth of field more wide or shallow besides simply changing your aperture setting.  One of those ways is to change your position.  The further you are from your subject, the wider your depth of field will be - even if you zoom in.  In the following three pictures, I left my aperture set at f/2.2, but stepped away further for each shot.  (I couldn't zoom in because I wasn't using a zoom lens, so I tried to crop the second and third ones more)

(Sean wanted to make a mean face for these...I figured he'd earned it)  In the first shot, take a look at the shed and the fence behind Sean.  They are pretty blurry.  In the second shot, they are both more clear and even clearer in the third shot.  

This is actually a handy piece of info to have when you are shooting groups.  When you are shooting more than one person, you have to be sure to have a wide enough depth of field to have everyone in it.  Let's say you are in a dark area, and to let in more light, you want to use a larger aperture (or lower f/number).  But, you are shooting 4 people and need a wider depth of field.  Try stepping back and zooming in on them.  You may have to do a few test shots to find the right balance between your settings and your position, but you will find it.  Generally speaking, I am most comfortable shooting groups of 3 or 4 at f/5 or f/6, but for groups larger than that, I like to shoot at f/9.  While reviewing the images on the camera during test shots, I zoom in on each person's face to make sure that everyone is clear.

So, now that we have talked about changing your position, let's change the subject's position.  In the first image, I had Sean stand right up against the house.  In the second, I had him take a few big steps forward, and in the third image, he took a few more than that.  I tried to stay about 6 or 7 feet away from him by moving when he moved.  The aperture was at f/4.5 for all three images.  Here's what we have:

(I'm not sure why the frame in the first image is thicker than the rest....hmmmm...)  Obviously, if you stand a subject up against your background, the background itself will be in your depth of field.  But, in the second image, moving him away blurred our background.  It is even more blurred in the third image.  The settings weren't changed at all, and I stayed the same distance from him, so our depth of field actually stayed the same - we simply moved away from the house so that it was no longer within the range of focus.

Let's say you are shooting a group in a park, so you have to use an aperture setting of f/9.  If you want to get shots of the group where they are clear and the background is really blurry, don't put them in front of a wall.  Try to get more shots of them out in the open.  If you do that, everything else will be so far away from them that it will be out of your depth of field.  Of course, sometimes, you want to get the background in focus as well.  In that case, you position your subject(s), yourself, and your camera settings to get the desired result.

Now that you have read this post, go out and practice this.  Take one of your kids or a pet or a friend and position them in different places to see what you get.  Then try changing your settings.  This is one of those skills you will acquire by doing it and practicing.  If you are not a manual shooter yet, I'd probably try this in the aperture priority mode for now.   

Originally, I was going to make the next post the last one about aperture and depth of field by covering landscape photography.  But, after thinking about it, I want everyone to be ready to shoot in manual mode when we go over that.  So, in our next post, we will begin to cover shutter speed.  Once you are comfortable with that, you can begin practicing the balancing act between shutter speed, aperture, and ISO.  :)

Guest blogger is Corrine Corbett of Timeless Blessings, is a stay at home mom and photographer wielding a Sony Alpha 500. As a guest blogger she hopes to teach you all things that will take the frustration out of photography and leave you more and more satisfied with your art. Her current eye candy comes from Morgan Kervin, Denise McCabe and Isabelle LaFrance
"I have learned so much from other photog bloggers out there.
I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to pay it forward with anything that I learn! :)"


Pitu {family} | Killeen family photographer

One of my favorite clients, they are always so much fun and we always spend the entire session joking and laughing. Happy Anniversary momma and daddy Pitu and may you pass 1/2 a century :) and don't forget the jelly beans!


Exploring {children} | Killeen child photographer

An hour of exploring with my kids-my not as often photographed but just as photogenic son let me get some shots of him. I could look at my kids deep blues all day long :)


Photog friends {family} | Killeen family photographer

I just had a photographer friend move to the area, I am excited!
We took our youngest girls out on a fun adventure recently and here are some of the highlights I captured :)

I am so excited to welcome Amanda Howard Photography to Killeen!

Getting to know your camera {Aperture} macro

This past weekend, we went out of town on a family visit.  During the night, as I tried to sleep (and as I constantly removed my daughter's feet from my ribs), I got to thinking about depth of field and how I was going to write this next part of the series.  And it dawned on me - this is going to have to be a two or three part post.  There are several great ways to show depth of field - macro photography is one of them.  When people say "macro" in the photography world, they are referring to taking a close up picture of something that is relatively small and making it look large.  It is a very detailed image.  One time, I took a macro image of a grasshopper, and you could see it's hairs!  (And that was a pretty amazing task for me since I hate bugs!)  

I looked around this afternoon for something to shoot for this post, and I found something fun and colorful - something many moms of toddlers have handy - Fruit Loops!  I got out a white towel and set up on my love seat.  Here's the set-up:
For whatever reason, depth of field was a tough concept for me to grasp.  I can still remember the light bulb moment as if it happened yesterday - somehow everything just clicked together and it all made sense.  If you are having trouble with this concept as well, I hope my fruit loops can help.

In the left hand picture, the camera was focused on the orange and yellow fruit loops that are crystal clear.  You can see that everything in front of and behind them are blurry.  That shows a shallow depth of field.  The picture on the right was focused a little bit in front of the same point, but you can see that many more fruit loops are clear.  That is a much wider depth of field than the other picture.  Think of whatever object your camera is focused on - however much more space in front of and behind the object that is also in focus is your depth of field.  The things that affect depth of field are your aperture (or f-stop) setting and the distances between you and the subject, you and the background, and the subject and the background.  Shallow depth of fields tend to isolate your subject(s) - in the picture of the left, my eyes are automatically drawn to the two fruit loops that are clear.  I would describe the picture on the right as being more broad because so much more is in focus.  Just one or two fruit loops don't stand out to me - I just see a lot of cereal!

In the above example, the left hand image was taken at f/2.2, which is a much larger lens opening (aperture) than f/8, which is the aperture setting that was used on the right.  As a matter of fact, there is such a difference in the sizes of the opening that I had to use my flash for the one of the right, but not for the one of the left (since aperture also affects your exposure - but, more on that in another post).  This image clearly illustrates that the larger your lens opening is, the more shallow your depth of field is.  Which image looks more interesting to you?  I like the one on the left better.  But, lets say you were shooting these fruit loops for a box of cereal.  Maybe the manufacturer would want all of the loops to be in focus.  In that case, the image on the right would be more desirable.  You, the photographer, would have to have the knowledge of how to make that happen.  

Let's try using the f/8 setting, but moving a subject away from the background:

Here, I have stacked four loops and moved them away from a pile.  You can see that my stack is clearer and more in focus than the pile, and so it is more isolated.  But, let's see what happens if I take the same picture with the f/2.2 setting:

I know it looks like I moved the stack further away, but I didn't!  My depth of field just got so much more shallow that the stack is even more isolated than before.  

Let's go back to the f/8 setting.  This time, I'm going to make another stack of fruit loops, but I'm going to move it even further from the pile:

This is a great example of distance making a difference.  This stack is much further from the pile, and you can see that the pile is much more out of focus than the stack, despite our smaller aperture.  This is a great illustration that if you were in a situation where you had to use a smaller aperture, but you wanted to isolate your subject, it is still possible to do it by moving your subject further away from the background.

Just for kicks, let's see what this image would look like with a f/2.2 setting:

Quite a difference!

In all of these shots, I was about the same distance from the objects that I was focusing on.  I simply adjusted my aperture setting and the distance from the subject and the background.  In my next "Getting to Know Your Camera" post, I will apply what we've discussed here to other types of photography, including people.  We will be able to expand on moving away from the subject and other ways to lengthen or shorten your depth of field.

** If you are practicing along and you have not yet been shooting in manual mode, you may want to change your mode to the aperture priority mode.  This way, you can change your f-setting, but the camera will take care of the shutter speed for you.  When you use the smaller apertures, your camera may adjust your shutter speed much slower to allow more light into the camera.  You will have to compensate this by either using a flash or using a tripod (to avoid motion blur from you holding the camera).  Sometimes with macro photography, pop up flashes are ineffective because the lens is in the way of the light that the flash is putting out.  You will have to play with your camera and see how to overcome these obstacles if they occur.

Guest blogger is Corrine Corbett of Timeless Blessings, is a stay at home mom and photographer wielding a Sony Alpha 500. As a guest blogger she hopes to teach you all things that will take the frustration out of photography and leave you more and more satisfied with your art. Her current eye candy comes from Morgan Kervin, Denise McCabe and Isabelle LaFrance
"I have learned so much from other photog bloggers out there.
I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to pay it forward with anything that I learn! :)"


Freebie: Simple business card-double sided

I have the best fans, seriously!
I wanted to give you all a freebie, a simple double sided business card.
It is customizable :)

Change the information and add your logo.
Change the colors to match your own

Simple and sweet but still has an impact.

Download the simple business card here

A day with Corrine: Getting to Know Your Camera {Exposure}

Simply put, exposure is the amount of light portrayed in a photograph.  (Which is why I chose the above image - it has a lot of light!)  One of the number one goals in any type of photography is getting the perfect, or correct, exposure (or at least an exposure within an acceptable range that can be tweaked in Light Room or Photoshop).  "Over-exposed" images are too bright while "under-exposed" images are too dark.  Exposure can also be a matter of taste; in the above image, I wanted the light coming in the window to be bright.  Looking at this in real life, I could see the cars going by behind her and a house across the street, but I knew that if I over-exposed this image a bit, I wouldn't see those things - I would just see a beautiful bride and beautiful, natural light on one of the best days of her life.  Other photographers may not have over-exposed this image the way that I did.  Beyond being a matter of taste though, you do have images that are too far one way or the other:



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