Feb. 18 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Daytona 500 Day! Yes, I’m a race fan! Grew up going to races with my parents at Riverside Park, MA & Danbury Racearena, CT. Hubby & I spent 13+ years covering local/regional/NASCAR racing for newspapers and websites – him writing articles and me taking photos (though we did switch sometimes). This is one of my favorite racing images from the Waterford Speedbowl as Wendell Dailey’s modified went airborne as they approached the finish line. Luckily, no one was hurt. My image was on the cover of the program the following week.

It was fun to stand in the infield of a racetrack – usually not too scary! We got to meet lots of famous NASCAR drivers over the years including Dale Earnhardt Sr. & Jr., Jeff Gordon and many more. Was very happy last year when Martin Truex Jr. won the championship. He hails from New Jersey and his dad was a driver on the then Busch North Series which we sometimes covered. Nice family and a great champion! Go Marty!

 

This week’s Sunday Sampler is images of rusty metal and peeling wood – from the Danbury Railway Museum in CT.

 

A couple more questions answered from the Jan. 30th webinar.

Q: “Can Studio be used as a plug-in to Photoshop?”

A: Yes! You can access Studio through the filter menu in Photoshop (Filter > Topaz Studio > Topaz Studio) , or it can also be used as a stand-alone program.

Q: “Can you take away the texture from the main subject (masking)?

A: Yes! You can mask any part of a texture off any part of an image. In this example I brought in an image I already edited, then went to (A) Adjustments > Texture. I selected the (B) texture I wanted, changed the blending mode and opacity (C), then I wanted to “erase” the texture from the flower. In this case, click on the layer icon to open the masking box(D):

You can then mask like in Photoshop (E):

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR MARCH 27TH FOR MY NEXT TOPAZ WEBINAR! I will be showing you how to do composites in Studio!

 

Reminder…the Topaz DeHaze Promotion ends tonight at midnight (CST).

The DeHaze adjustment in Topaz Studio is on sale through Feb. 18th. Save 20% (Reg. $14.99/on sale for $11.99).

Use THIS LINK and the code DEHAZE20 to save 20%.

 

From CreativeBloq.com, “95 Top Photoshop Tutorials”This is one of the best round-ups of tutorials I have seen. Not only are there 95 of them, they break them down into 3 pages – Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.

 

 

Topaz – New Promotion 2/12-2/18 – Dehaze

The next Topaz promotion starts TODAY!

The DeHaze adjustment in Topaz Studio is on sale through Feb. 18th. Save 20% (Reg. $14.99/on sale for $11.99).

DeHaze analyzes images and creates a new blending layer tailored specifically to the image to reverse the effect of haze.

Unlike the competition, DeHaze has the ability to recover contrast and saturation without the addition of artifacts and color fringing.

DeHaze reverses the effect that atmospheric light reflection has on images. The result is natural, clear images that boast rejuvenated contrast and color saturation.

Use THIS LINK and the code DEHAZE20 to save 20%.

 

 

Feb. 11 – Sunday Sampler

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of some images that will make nice backgrounds. I took grasses and flowers and blurred them a bit (you can always blur more with a Gaussian Blur adjustment). The third image is silhouetted branches against a pale sunset. Enjoy!

 

This week we are featuring speaker, Anne Belmont, who hails from the Chicago area.

As a nature photographer specializing in flower photography, Anne’s greatest passion lies in seeing and capturing the beauty of flowers and other botanical subjects up-close. It is the small, often unnoticed details that draw Anne to her subjects. It is her belief that if we slow down and look at nature in a more contemplative way, we will find subjects that convey impact and emotion, causing the eye to linger a little longer. A life-long involvement in the arts and a first career as an art therapist have shaped the way that she views art and the creative process and have reinforced her belief in the healing power of both art and nature in our lives.

On any given day you will find her in her favorite place to photograph, the Chicago Botanic Garden, a place with bountiful subjects and an ever-changing palette of color and light. She was commissioned by the Garden to do a solo exhibition of her orchid photography, displayed in 20 larger-than-life panels during the 2015 – 2017 Orchid Shows. Anne is a staff member and presenter for Out of Chicago Photography (outofchicago.com) and partners with Lensbaby to spread the love and creativity of their lenses.

Anne’s Conference Programs

Unleash Your Creative Spirit: Creating Beautiful Flower Portraits with Lensbaby

Learn to see and photograph flowers in a whole new artistic way. We will explore ways to unleash the creative spirit, find a vision and style in photography, and follow your heart in shooting in a way that brings joy. Anne will share her unique way of looking at flowers, helping you to see and isolate beautiful, interesting and often unnoticed details. Along with learning some tips and tricks for capturing flowers, we will also explore ways to create more artistic images through the magic of Lensbaby lenses, creating evocative and beautiful portraits of flowers.

Hands-On Sessions – Shooting with Lensbaby

Bring your Lensbaby and learn from a pro how to get the creative effects you desire! I’m trying to get some loaner lenses from Lensbaby as well – stay tuned!

Lensbaby has donated a “Composer Pro II with Sweet 50” as a door prize!

 

If you don’t already own Topaz Adjust (one of my favorites), it is on sale through tomorrow, Monday, Feb. 12th. Save 20% (Reg. $49.99, on sale for $39.99).

This is NOT a Studio addition – at this point – but a chance to grab this great program on sale. And when it does move to Studio, you will be able to get that upgrade for free.

“With Topaz Adjust you can give your images the soul and character you envisioned in the field! Unlike our eyes, a camera lens can’t compensate for all the tonal values we see right in front of us. If you shoot something bright, you’ll lose all the details in the shadows. If you shoot something dark, the highlights will be blown out. You can try to correct contrast, details, and vibrancy yourself, but it’s difficult to make images pop like you want.

“Topaz Adjust is designed to enhance three characteristics: contrast, detail, and color. Specializing in producing vivid images, Adjust uses Topaz’s adaptive exposure, adaptive saturation, and even includes our cutting-edge detail enhancement algorithms to give you the secret “oomph” ingredients that make your images stand out.”

CLICK HERE TO GRAB ADJUST AT 20% OFF!

And watch for a post on Tuesday about the next Topaz deal!

Next week I will answer a few more questions from the webinar!

And…if you missed the webinar a couple of weeks ago or want to watch it again, it is now posted on the Topaz YouTube Channel:

We’ve scheduled my next webinar for Tuesday, March 27th. I’ll be showing more advanced techniques with masking and compositing multiple images in Studio! Stay tuned for sign ups!

 

There is SO much great info on the web! I’m always stumbling across awesome tutorials!

From SmashingMagazine.com – a post from 2008 had “50 Excellent Digital Photography Photoshop Tutorials”. While they may be older, I think they still have great info. There are LOTS of links on the site to many other tutorials – take a look around!

Have a great week!

 

Special Post – Topaz Adjust – Update & Sale!

Hi there! I don’t normally send posts during the week, but I wanted to be sure you got the news on the latest from Topaz as it’s a very short time frame sale!

Beginning today through Monday, Feb. 12th, you can save 20% on the latest version of Topaz Adjust (if you don’t already own it) or grab the upgrade for free if you do!

This is NOT a Studio addition – at this point – but an upgrade to the very first Topaz product and still one of my favorites.

“With Topaz Adjust you can give your images the soul and character you envisioned in the field! Unlike our eyes, a camera lens can’t compensate for all the tonal values we see right in front of us. If you shoot something bright, you’ll lose all the details in the shadows. If you shoot something dark, the highlights will be blown out. You can try to correct contrast, details, and vibrancy yourself, but it’s difficult to make images pop like you want.

Topaz Adjust is designed to enhance three characteristics: contrast, detail, and color. Specializing in producing vivid images, Adjust uses Topaz’s adaptive exposure, adaptive saturation, and even includes our cutting-edge detail enhancement algorithms to give you the secret “oomph” ingredients that make your images stand out.

Major features introduced in the latest version of Adjust include:

High DPI Display Support for Windows.
High DPI monitors now display Adjust and Simplify properly. The application GUI has been updated to display correctly on 4k monitors.

Preserve Image Metadata.
Adjust and Simplify now preserve all image metadata.

Separation of User Data and Program Files.
Computer user accounts now store saved effects separately for each computer user. User-created presets are now saved in user specific data locations, in their own separate folder. Once you log off your computer user account, your custom effects stay private!

Import Your Custom Topaz Effects Easily.
Adjust and Simplify automatically imports all of your saved effects from previous versions!

CLICK HERE TO SAVE 20% ON TOPAZ ADJUST TODAY THROUGH FEB. 12TH! Reg. $49.99/Now $39.99

And to find out how to utilize Adjust to its fullest, click the link below for a PDF Users Guide!

Adjust5UsersGuide

Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks for some additional promotions on Topaz products!

One of my favorite photos processed with Topaz Adjust:

BEFORE:

AFTER:

Feb. 4 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Super Bowl Sunday! I live in New England, but I’m not rooting for the Patriots – I’d like to see someone new win – Go Eagles!

 

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of some mossy rocks! Remember – you can blend more than one texture and change the color or desaturate to add only texture and no color. Enjoy!

 

THANK YOU to everyone who watched my webinar on Tuesday! We maxed out at 1,000 people – over 2,100 signed up – WOW! If you were not able to join on Tuesday, you should have received an email with the link to the recording. And if you didn’t sign up, you’ll be able to watch the recording soon on youtube.com/topazlabs, and scroll down to the recordings.

There were so many great questions being asked in the chat box that we just don’t have time to answer them all during the webinar. Heath Robinson of Topaz sent me the dialogue of the chat box so I can answer some of the questions here in the “Topaz Corner”.

Here we go…

In this webinar I was featuring Texture Effects in Studio, the latest of the presets to be added to Topaz Studio.

A couple of people asked, “Is Texture Effects stand-alone and Texture Effects in Studio the same thing?”

Answer – Yes, but the Studio version offers even more presets than TTE2. And there are more functions coming in upcoming releases – like 20 more textures from yours truly; Digital Frames (which I was able to demo in the beta version during the webinar); and a few other goodies! f you already own the Topaz Texture Effects Plugin, you get the upgrade to Texture Effects in Studio for free, just follow the steps here: https://web.topazlabs.com/2017/11/updating-plugins-to-studio/.  If you don’t yet own Texture Effects, you can save 20% on that or any other Topaz product or upgrade through Feb. 5th with my webinar code Hazelweb8.  Shop here: https://www.topazlabs.com/store

Question – “What is the difference between the textures on the left panel and the texture function under Adjustments on the right panel?”

Answer – The “textures” you see on the left in Texture Effects are presets which contain multiple adjustments and/or textures. The texture adjustment on the right lets you add a single texture of your choosing. You must own Texture Effects to see the texture adjustment on the right as well as the presets on the left.”

Stay tuned to future “Topaz Corners” for answers to more questions!

We’re just over 3 months away from our 2nd Creative Photography Conference! Our speakers are lined up and we’re getting the details of their presentations and hands-on sessions dialed in. I’m going to being featuring our speakers in the Sunday Sampler, and we’re going to start with the amazing macro photographer, Tamron Image Master, Mike Moats.

“Mike Moats is an award-winning, professional macro photographer from Sterling Heights, Michigan. Mike’s love of photography, which started out as a hobby in 2001, has since evolved into a full-time business. In addition to creating his own images, Mike added Macro Boot Camps into the mix in 2006, and he now also makes speaking appearances at photo conferences nationwide, and now has an online Macro Photo Club to assist photographers with their macro goals.

“Recruited as a member of the Fuji Pro Talent Team in 2006, Mike is also honored to be a Tamron Image Master, and a Vanguard Pro. He has won numerous local, national, and international awards. Mike’s first book, Tiny Landscapes, was released in 2008, and his images and how-to articles have been published in various magazines, including Outdoor Photographer, Nature’s Best Photography, Shutterbug, PC Photo, Nature Photographer, Photo Life, Whisper in the Woods, and Michigan Fish and Game Finder; in photography collections such as the North American Nature Photography Association’s (NANPA’s) Expressions book and the Pure Michigan tourism companion; and in various corporate collateral, including on the Tamron USA blog and in Fujifilm newsletters.”

Mike will be doing a lecture-style seminar and several hands-on sessions. His lecture will be “Creating an Award-Winning Macro Image”. With Mike’s successes as listed above, he has analyzed what makes his images successful and will teach you how to take your photography to the next level, and how to create your own personal style.

Mike will show you how to creatively look at your macro photography and finish off the images with a little bit of post-processing.

His hands-on sessions will be, “The Properly Equipped Macro Photographer” where you will learn what are the best cameras, lenses, tripod/head, accessories, and camera functions for the beginner/intermediate macro photographer. Also covered, working with depth of field. And he will have a “Macro Shooting Gallery” set up for some photo ops – bring your camera, macro (or short) lens, tripod, and join the fun!

Don’t miss out on our “group specials” on registration! Go to our website at http://www.meredithimages.com/creative-photography-conference/.

And if you attended the 2017 Conference, you can save $25 on registration! Email me at Hazel@MeredithImages.com for the secret code!

A great round up of articles over on LightStalking.com – “The Coolest Photography Links of the Week”

And on WebDesignDev.com, “20 Amazing Free Photoshop Text Effects with Tutorials”

 

Jan. 28 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Sunday! As we head to the end of the first month of 2018, I hope you’ve had time to spend photographing and/or processing your images! I’ve been preparing for my next Topaz webinar (see below) and working on end-of-year accounting/taxes (not as fun as editing pics!).

So, if you haven’t signed up yet, CLICK HERE to join me for my next Topaz webinar this Tuesday, Jan. 30th at 5:00 p.m. EST. I’ll be working with Studio and Texture Effects – the latest module to be added to Studio!

If you already own the Texture Effects module, the update to Studio is FREE (just run the update to Studio and you’ll now have Texture Effects in Studio). If you don’t already have this awesome program, it’s on sale now at $20 off – just $49.97. CLICK HERE to get the discount!

 

This week’s Sunday Sampler is some more grungy textures from Eastern States Penitentiary – cracked paint and rock walls. Enjoy!

 

I have a fellow photographer who has a new studio space in Hartford, CT, and he wants to schedule photo sessions and workshops. I haven’t done a half-day hands-on workshop in a while so I’m looking to schedule something for late March/early April on a Saturday from 9 am-1 pm. Price would be $89 per person.

What topic would you like to see? Photoshop, Elements, Lightroom, Topaz, Textures, Camera Basics 101, or something else? Give me your feedback HERE!

 

PictureCorrect.com has lots of great articles on photographing just about anything – and tips to photograph them well! This week learn “Frost & Ice Photography Tips” , “10 DSLR Camera Features You Should Know” and “How to Emphasize Your Main Subject”.

On Line25.com find “25 Free Watercolor Brush Sets for Skilled Digital Artists”. While these are geared towards digital painting, I love using brushes like this to create my own textures!

And on PhotoshopTutorials.ws, learn to “Create this Stylistic Mixed-Media Artwork in Photoshop”.

 

 

Jan 21 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Sunday! Glad it’s a little warmer this weekend – 40’s & 50’s instead of single digits!

I had a new hard drive installed on my laptop, so that means reinstalling all of my software (always a fun project). When I went to the site to download Nik (now owned by DxO), I saw this note: “We at DxO are very proud to add the Nik Collection to our renowned photo editing solutions. Our teams are actively working to release a new Collection in mid-2018.” Not sure exactly what that means, but it’s something to watch for. And since the collection is still free, you should download it if you haven’t yet!

Go here to enter your email address to get the download link and notifications when the changes happen: https://nikcollection.dxo.com/

 

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of some “natural” textures – marble and stone. The marble is from Our Lady of Victory Basilica in Lackawanna, NY, and the stone is from Eastern States Prison in Philadelphia. The 2nd stone wall is a variation on the first with Topaz Impression giving it a softer look. Enjoy!

 

Come join us May 19-20, 2018 for the 2nd Creative Photography Conference! Tamron Image Master, Mike Moats, and Lensbaby specialist, Anne Belmont, will be joining our lineup this year. Our speakers are working on their programs and I will begin featuring each of our speakers very soon!

New this year – 2 programs during every session! There will be a program and a hands-on session happening during each hourly session, so you’ll always have something fun and educational to choose from.

Come join the fun! We have people signed up from around New England as well as Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Virginia and Tennessee! Don’t miss out!

Visit our website at: http://www.meredithimages.com/creative-photography-conference/ for details and to register!

 

TOPAZ WEBINAR

My next Topaz webinar is Tuesday, Jan. 30th at 5:00 pm Eastern time/4:00 Central – sign-ups on the Topaz website: http://blog.topazlabs.com/webinars/.

 

 

Quick note on downloads – Someone last week mentioned that a few of the brush downloads went to pages that no longer existed. These compilations may include items that the creator took out of an online shop, so you may have a few that don’t go to an active link. The compilations may be newer or older – but mostly you’ll find some great resources. Also, be sure to click around on the websites that share these sources – often they have a “freebies” tab or other great info and tutorials available.

From PSD Vault: Dramatic Cloud Painting Effect Photoshop Tutorial

From Filtergrade: 127+ Free Vintage Grunge Textures for Photographers

Over on Tutorials 411: How to Create Snow in Photoshop

 

Have a great week!

Jan. 14 – Sunday Sampler

This week’s SUNDAY SAMPLER consists of some natural moss textures and one of blurred trees. Remember, you can always change the colors of textures and use plug-ins like Topaz to change the whole look (I love Impression for creating painterly effects from textures!).

And don’t forget….if you are new to the blog or didn’t download textures from when the Sunday Sampler started 2 years ago, I’ve made 3 bundles of 78 textures each! Just $15 per bundle on sale till Jan. 31st for a mere $10 per bundle! Click HERE to go to the online store and check ’em out – as well as our other textures available! I’m looking to add some new products shortly!

 

DREAM BUTTERFLY PROJECT

Last week I mentioned that I would share the steps involved in creating the above project. The project utilizes several textures and brushes – which I cannot share as they are not my own – the instructions will give you an idea of the process to create such a piece. It is a LOT of trial and error – testing various textures to get the combination you like. Click this link for the Instructions: Dream Butterfly Instructions

I keep a board on Pinterest called “Inspirations”. This image below was the “inspiration” for my version of Dream Butterfly. Follow me on Pinterest at: https://www.pinterest.com/meredithimages/

I’m going to try to do a video of the process on this one as well – stay tuned!!

 

From Free Web Tutorials, a compilation of 40 Awesome Grunge Effect Photoshop Tutorials.

From FontBundles.net – Freebies! Check out their site at: https://fontbundles.net/free-fonts

From Line 25: 20 Free Thin Fonts for Elegant Designs. One can never have too many fonts! Speaking of which – I’m looking for a better way to organize fonts and brushes – do any of you have a good method or a good brush plug-in? I’m looking at a couple, but suggestions are welcome! Shoot me an email at Hazel@MeredithImages.com! Thanks!

And if you have an iPhone (I recently joined the Apple bandwagon), I found this good article on 24 Hidden iPhone Settings You Should Know About.

 

Have a great week!

Jan. 6 – Sunday Sampler +

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year! It’s VERY cold this weekend in Connecticut and New England – way below our “normal” after the big storm on Thursday. Hope you are all safe and warm indoors!

It’s always exciting to head into a new year with a clean calendar, though I do have a few camera club seminars scheduled – I’ll be at the North Haven Camera Club on Jan. 23rd doing a seminar on my favorite topics, “Textures & Topaz”.

On Jan. 30th I’m scheduled to do my next Topaz Webinar. I will be featuring Texture Effects in Studio (yep, that’s the next module to be added to the Studio platform). Can’t wait to try it out!

My project this Winter is to put together the sequel to my eBook, “Working with Textures & Overlays: Turn Ho-Hum into a Work of Art”. There are so many different ways to work with textures – and create them – that I couldn’t possibly fit them all into one book. Stay tuned for release by late April/early May.

 

And speaking of May, our 2nd Creative Photography Conference is coming up on the 19th & 20th. Over the next few weeks and months I will be posting bios on our speakers, as well as details on the seminars and hands-on classes they will be doing. We will be offering many more opportunities to do some hands-on photographing and editing throughout the weekend. I plan to have at least two things going on every session so you’ll have even more choices this year.

We have our Registration Group Specials still going on – sign up with a group of 4 or 6 and save everyone some $$$ on your registrations. Go to the website page HERE for all the details. And if you attended the 2017 Conference, you can get a $25 discount on registration – email me for the code. (Sorry, offers cannot be combined.)

 

It’s the beginning of the 3rd year of the “Sunday Sampler” free textures. Click HERE for this week’s Sampler. These images are from our Sedona Workshop and our visit to the Sedona Historical Society.

If you are a newer subscriber to the blog, I’ve made it easier to get all of the “old” textures. I put together 3 bundles with 78 textures each for just $15 a bundle — AND they are on sale till the end of January for just $10 a bundle! It will save you a ton of time so you don’t have to go back through every old blog post to download them. Click HERE to go to the Peacock Studio and pick up your bundles!

PLEASE NOTE: Because these are HUGE folders of full-sized images (600+ MB of data), I could not load them directly to the website. So I will send you a direct link to download from Dropbox within 24 hours or less of receiving your order. Thanks!

Textures from July 2017 till now are still available to download through the blog posts if you’ve missed any of those.

 

 

RESULTS OF THE DECEMBER SURVEY

A big THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to answer my survey questions! I truly appreciate all of the feedback, and I must say it was very positive and encouraging. It’s nice to know that you like most of what I’m doing here on the blog.

Everyone likes getting the textures (90% Yes – 10% Kind of) and the subjects most requested for tutorials are Textures & Topaz! I’m putting together a step-by-step tutorial of how I did the “Dream Butterfly” image below – I will have it posted in next week’s blog.

 

There are SO many great resources on the world-wide-web. I like to share some of my finds, especially when they are FREE!

Here is a post from Photoshop Website with links to 700 Musical Photoshop Brushes. If you have seen any of my recent Facebook posts, you’ll know I’ll be adding some of these to my collection too.

From Web Design Dev, an article with 20 Brilliant Photoshop Video Tutorials to Improve Your Skills. Be sure to check out the “freebies” section of this website as well for more goodies.

And from Slodive.com, their freebies section has lots of good links to tutorials, fonts and much more.

 

Thanks for taking the time to share part of your day with me. I sincerely appreciate every one of you. If you have any questions, ideas or things you’d like to see featured in the blog, please email me at Hazel@MeredithImages.com. I love to hear from you!

Have a great week!

TOPAZ UPDATE – Glow in Studio + End of year 35% OFF Sale!

If you watched my Topaz webinar last week you know I mentioned that VERY SOON Glow would be available in the Topaz Studio – It’s here!!!

The latest update to Topaz Studio (version 1.6.8) now includes the new “Glow in Studio” update. That also means Topaz Glow is now exclusively available through the Topaz Studio store.

Glow in Studio harnesses the power of Topaz Glow by combining 3 powerful Pro adjustments.

1. The Glow adjustment – Create subtle ethereal light, or striking neon effects with ease, use glow to reveal as much or as little of the hidden light in your images that you want, from brilliant incandescent sparks, to light luminous luster .
2. The HSL Color Tuning Adjustment – Naturally enhance and change image hues, saturation levels, and lightness. With the HSL Color Tuning adjustment you can also sharpen or soften image details, suppress color artifacts, and change the sensitivity of the color range within your image.
3. The Smudge adjustment – Create smooth edges and fluid linear paths with an easy to use adjustment that uses an advanced technological algorithm to flow your images lines together organically.

Combined, these three Pro adjustments have the power to to push the limits of your creativity with vivid lighting effects, supercharged color, and smooth soft lines to give your images just the spark of life you’re looking for.
If you already own the Glow Plug-In, the update to Glow in Studio is FREE! If not, you can add it to your Studio Suite HERE! Regular $69.97, on sale 30% off ($48.98). Sale ends 12/25, so don’t delay!

 

END OF YEAR SALE – DEC. 21st – JAN. 1st

Topaz is also kicking off their end-of-year sale – 35% off storewide, including plug-ins, the collection, collection upgrades, studio adjustments, the Go Pro Pack and Go Pro Pack Upgrades (the Go Pro Packs and Collection are already 50% off – you can use this coupon code to save even more!).

For Studio Go Pro Packs or Pro Pack Upgrades, CLICK HERE!

For Plug-Ins, Collection or Collection upgrades, CLICK HERE!

AND USE COUPON CODE HOHOHO TO SAVE 35% 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!