June 25 – Sunday Sampler – Tutorials – Topaz Corner

Another beautiful day here in CT! Low humidity – bright sunshine! Went to the Elephant’s Trunk Flea Market in New Milford, CT this morning – haven’t been there in years! Looking for some new props and items for Meredith Images as well as props for food photography for hubby’s new blog, “Bare Buttz BarBQ”!

If you like smoking or grilling meats, check him out at http://www.barebuttzbarbq.com/ and sign up for his new blog. He’ll be sharing tips and tricks for cooking your own delicacies as well as reviews of BBQ restaurants we visit. We stopped at one today after the flea market – watch for a review soon!


Some recent finds from vacation included this silver pitcher and some old books and glasses. This was processed with several textures, word brush, and a crop shape frame from my store, the Peacock Studio!




This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of more textures from our recent vacation – these are from several spots in Virginia.


Recently I found this great article on PictureCorrect.com about Polarizer Filters: What are They and When Can They Be Used in Photography? It’s a pretty good overview of what they are and when they should be used – check it out!

And another good one that covers some basics of composition, also from PictureCorrect.com is “Simple Yet Effective Photography Tips”.


New Products from ThinkTank

ThinkTank Photo recently formed a partnership with hard-case manufacturer SKB. ThinkTank has developed dividers, organizers and a backpack specifically designed to fit within 10 SKB hard case configuratios. The result is the best of a hard case with the best of internal organization. Check them out HERE!

AND in other news from ThinkTank, they’ve just added a bunch of their favorite gear to the Outlet Center. Summer Savings of up to 30%. And don’t forget, by using my affiliate link, you get free gear for purchases over $50 plus free shipping! Check it out HERE!



If you haven’t yet downloaded the new Topaz Studio – do it now! They released version 1.0.7 just a few days ago and Studio now has a healing/cloning tool! Woo hoo!! The basic Studio is free to download, and you can add the 14 Pro Adjustments for a special price of $99! This sale ends June 30th!



Just a reminder that the coupons and special deal promos you received at the Creative Photography Conference last month are expiring June 30th! Don’t miss out on all the great deals!

And be sure to mark your calendars for May 19-20, 2018 for the next Creative Photography Conference in Southbridge, MA!


June 18 – Sunday Sampler + Tutorials, Freebies + Sedona!

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s out there! Hope you had a special day with family.


This week’s Sunday Sampler is a few textures from restaurants we visited on vacation and one this past week! Marble and laminate countertops make great textures as well as decorative peeling painted wood!

In this image from Virginia, I used the Marble textures as well as a couple of others from Flypaper Textures and some cool stuff from Topaz Textures!


Tutorials + Freebies from the Web

This article is titled “40+ Beginner Photoshop Tutorials”, but I think they are for more than beginners. Even for those of us who know Photoshop, there are many ways to get a result and there are always new tricks and tips to learn – check it our HERE!

Freebies! A new site I found is Creative Nerds! Check out the Freebies HERE!



Just a reminder of our Sedona Workshop, Oct. 21-24, 2017. We offer something for every type of photography! We’ll cover the natural beauty of Sedona’s red rocks as well as animals at Out of Africa, rust (textures!) and old stuff at Gold King Mine/Ghost Town, private access to the Sedona Heritage Museum (Historical Society), as well as sunrise and sunset!

Workshop fee of $450 per person includes a welcome dinner Sat. night at Javelina Cantina (Yum!), admission fees to the Heritage Museum, Out of Africa and Ghost Town, as well as water/snacks, photographic and post-processing instruction. There is a $50 discount for attendees of last year’s workshop (two are returning so far!). Limit of 8 attendees – 3 spots are filled. Don’t delay! Email me with questions at Hazel@MeredithImages.com.

Sunday Sampler + Tutorials + Freebies

Happy Sunday everyone! Looks like Summer has finally arrived!

Yesterday Dave & I visited our friends at Chevy Supply of Assonet (MA) to see what new beauties John has restored! He had a couple of sweet rides ready to cruise!

Of course, I also visited the “parts yard” in search of some great rust and textures….which is where I got this week’s Sunday Sampler! The one of the red scratched metal was shot at a fairly low f-stop so only the center is in focus. Enjoy!



I came across this cool article from CreativeNerds.co.uk – “80 Amazing Modern Photoshop Text Effect Tutorials”.

Be sure to poke around the site – they have LOTS of great tutorials as well as Freebies (brushes, vectors, textures, actions and more)!


While Lightroom is pretty intuitive to learn and use, have you ever wondered what the real difference is between the Shadows Slider and the Blacks Slider? I found this great article on ImprovePhotography.com – “Shadows vs. Blacks Sliders: How they affect photos differently” that explains the differences in a very clear way with great screen shots to illustrate the points.


Have a great week!


June 4th – Sunday Sampler + Freebies + ThinkTank Bags

Hi everyone,

We’re back from a great vacation with friends. Visited Baltimore, Washington, D.C. (was at Arlington on Sunday and various memorials on Memorial Day – VERY moving and emotional), Shenandoah Mountains/Skyline Drive, and Cass, WV, and the Cass Railroad for a steam train ride! Lots of photos to sort through!

This week’s Sunday Sampler is textures from Baltimore! The boat hull is from a display at a restaurant on the Inner Harbor; the Crackle is a wall in the Ladies’ Room at the Hard Rock Cafe (yes, I took photos in the rest room!); and the Tiffany lampshade was at an “antique” (i.e. junk) store! You can find textures anywhere!



On WebDesignDev.com, I found this tutorial for “10 Best 3D Photoshop Text Effects”. 

Over on Line25.com, there is this article with 20 Free Brick Wall Textures and this one for 25 Unique Pattern & Texture Designs. They also have “20 Fancy Old School Fonts You Can Download for Free”.



The innovative folks over at Think Tank Photo have two new lines of camera bags.

The TurnStyle V2.0 Camera Bags offer greater stability and allow photographers to move and shoot freely. The updated versio of this popular series offers a new stabilizer strap that holds the bag steady while actively shooting or tucks away when not in use. Think Tank’s sling bags’ design promotes easy rotation for rapid access to gear and accessories. They come in 3 sizes to accommodate cameras from a mirrorless to a full size DSLR plus one to three lenses and a 10″ tablet. They come in traditional Charcoal or new Indigo Blue. Check them out HERE!

The other new and updated product line is the StreetWalker Rolling Photo Backpack and upgraded Class Street Walker Series Backpacks. 

Legendary durability and award winning comfort have made Think Tank Photo’s StreetWalker® series one of the most sought-after products in the photographic world. Now Think Tank announces the new StreetWalker Rolling Backpack V2.0, featuring the ability to switch from a backpack to a roller. Also released are upgraded versions of all three classic StreetWalker backpacks. Photographers get the same comfort and quality as the original series but with new features such as increased depth for modern DSLR systems, and dedicated pockets for both tablets and smartphones.

The new StreetWalker Rolling Backpack V2.0 is so spacious, it will fit two DSLR bodies with lenses attached (including a 200-400mm f/4), and a 15” laptop. The StreetWalker HardDrive V2.0 backpack fits two bodies with lenses attached or a gripped body with a 200–400mm f/4 attached, a 15” laptop and a 13” tablet. The StreetWalker Pro V2.0 backpack fits two bodies with lens attached or a 400mm f/2.8 unattached, and a 10” table. And, the StreetWalker V2.0 backpack fits one gripped DSLR with 70-200mm f/2.8 attached, one standard DSLR with 24-70mm f/2.8 attached, a 16-35mm f/2.8, and a 10” tablet.

“With the release of the new StreetWalker Rolling Backpack and the new versions of the three classic StreetWalker backpacks, we made three of the best pro-level backpacks in the photo industry even better,” said Doug Murdoch, Think Tank Photo’s CEO and lead designer. “The one thing we’ve heard over and over since they first launched is how comfortable and durable they are.

Now, with the hybrid rolling backpack and the upgraded core backpacks, we’ve integrated even more photographer feedback to expand their functionality.”

Check them out HERE!


Have a great week!

Topaz Studio is HERE!

Hi everyone,

You all know I love my Topaz – well now there is a cool new way to access all of your Topaz products in one place AND make all your basic adjustments. Topaz Studio is a stand-alone product so you don’t even need to be in Photoshop to fully edit a photo!

“We are excited to announce our latest product Topaz Studio. A photo editor, extensive effect toolbox and powerful creative playground, Topaz Studio gives you fast results with Topaz’s exclusive image processing technology, in an intuitive, affordable, easy-to-use application.

Achieve amazing results with Hundreds of 1-click effects, RAW image support, automated lens correction, and other integrated tools.

Achieve professional results with Topaz’s exclusive image processing technology in compact easy to use effects and adjustments. Each adjustment is a plugin unto itself, from adaptive contrast, to unique color controls, more powerful than Photoshop’s adjustment layers.

Easy to Use
Topaz Studio is built to be flexible. Effortlessly create an endless variety of looks by adding, blending, masking, rearranging, and replacing adjustments to create drastically different effects in an instant.

Want to know more? You can watch an intro video that covers all the major aspects of the new product and gives you insight into the Topaz Studio Workflow: https://youtu.be/ch_z3ieKxXw

You can also checkout the partially completed Topaz Studio website here: http://web.topazlabs.comThere’s even a quote and tutorial from yours truly!

Here are a couple of my before-and-afters:

As always, the creations are only limited by your imagination! So download the Topaz Studio and give a whirl!

Delayed “Sunday” Sampler

Good morning everyone!

As you know, this past weekend was our Creative Photography Conference. Everyone had a fabulous time – the feedback was amazing as were our speakers who did a great job! We’re already looking forward to next year! Stay tuned…..


This week’s Sunday Sampler is 3 textures that Dave photographed during the conference. They are the “swipe” method that Tony Sweet likes to demonstrate. The actual images were rust and peeling paint. Remember, you can always change the colors of textures or even turn them into B&W to get the texture without adding color to an image. Enjoy!

We’re heading out for a little vacation time this weekend, so I won’t do a blog post this coming Sunday. I will, however, be sending you another note on Friday with some news from our friends at Topaz!

Have a happy and safe Memorial Day. We’ll be in Washington, DC then, so it should be quite amazing.

Sunday Sampler – May 14th

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mom’s out there (whether your kids have 2 legs or 4 furry ones!). Hope you had a great day with family.


This week’s blog post will be rather short – been busy getting ready for the Creative Photography Conference next weekend!



Our Sunday Sampler this week consists of 3 beautiful soft background bokeh textures. These are blurred flowers and leaves taken last June at the Elizabeth Park Rose Garden in West Hartford, CT. I used extension tubes and just shot out of focus! These will be great backgrounds for your spring photo shoots.


A “freebie” I found this week – 50 Free Black & White Photoshop Presets from tutsplus.com. Enjoy!


I’ll get back on track next month with the “Topaz Corner” and “I’m Curios” columns. Have a great week!


Sunday Sampler, Conference Final Notes, Tutorials, Hunt’s Sale

Happy May! Now if it would just FEEL like May!


This week’s Sunday Sampler is a mix up of various textures – a cool colored car with a blur; a cork wall; and tree bark done with Topaz Simplify Buz Sim B&W. Enjoy!


We’re heading into the homestretch for our Creative Photography Conference – just 2 weeks away! We still have room if you’d like to join us! Great speakers; LOTS of great door prizes; a goodie bag with freebies and discounts; lunch and snacks both days; seminars and hands-on sessions — all for one low price! The hotel also extended their discounted room rate. Click on over to our website for all the details and to sign up – http://www.meredithimages.com/creative-photography-conference/. The “Buddy Special” is on till 5/14 as well! Sign up with a friend or two and you all save $$!

Here is the schedule:



Here is a cool free tutorial from WebDesignDev on how to create a photo collage.

And from Line25 comes 25 Awesome Movie Effects Photoshop Tutorials!

And mark your calendars for May 12th & 13th for the 16th Annual Hunt’s Photo & Video Digital Demonstration and Sale. At the Melrose, MA store only. Click here for details!

Have a great week!

April 30th Sunday Sampler, Tutorials + Freebies

Another month has flown by – where does the time go these days?

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of textures from our Bethlehem December workshop last year. An old brick/concrete wall, a double exposure I shot in-camera of the threads of a silk loom and the fabric nearby; and the “sun like glow” is actually the inside of a melting pot! Enjoy!


I’m always on the lookout for cool tutorials for you to try. This week I saw some good ones on the website Tutorials411.comThey not only have Photoshop Tutorials, but also for Illustrator and After Effects for those that use the programs. Check it out!

Another good one from WebDesignDev.com shows you how to create a photo collage.

And you can find some cool freebies at BestPSDFreebies.com, including this one of FreeMegaSummerTextures!

Have a great week!

Sunday Sampler, Freebies, Updates

Happy Sunday! It’s been a little rainy and chilly in New England this week! My visit to the Cape was downright COLD on Wednesday with wind whipping off the water. The rain prevented any kind of sunrise photography – bah! But, I managed to “shop my way” across the Cape! Hello Christmas Tree Shops (yes plural)!

So here are a few more textures from past Cape Cod trips that will make some nice backgrounds for you! Enjoy the Sunday Sampler!



One of the things I am often asked about, and that I teach in my Photoshop and Elements workshops, is how to cut out an image from the background so that you can place a new background behind your subject. I found this great tutorial that shows the process step-by-step – check it out at WebDesignDev.com.




Attendees that have registered so far for the Creative Photography Conference range from “locals” who live in New England to those as far away as Michigan, Illinois, Virginia and Texas! I can’t wait to see everyone there!

GREAT NEWS! The guaranteed hotel rate of $129 was set to expire on April 20th — however, the hotel has agreed to extend that for as long as they have rooms available!

SO…..I extended my offer of a “buddy bonus” to the two clubs I visited this past week…..and I’ll extend it to all of my dear readers as well. Register for the Conference with a “buddy” and you each save $50 on your registration fee. To get the special, you must register 2 people together in the cart, and use the code buddy100 to save the $100. Click HERE to go to the sign up page! This offer is good only through midnight May 6th.


Line25.com has a great listing of the 20 Best Free Photo Overlay Brushes for Photoshop. And they also have 20 Decorative Typefaces worth Downloading.

PictureCorrect.com offers 35 Premium Photoshop Tutorials: How to do Photo Manipulation. These cover a wide range of techniques and skill levels – check them out for some inspiration!



In the flyer with preliminary info on this workshop I mention I was working on getting us early access to the Sedona Heritage Museum – Accomplished! We will be visiting from 9-11 a.m. before the museum is open to the public, though we can stay longer as well to see the artisans that are scheduled for the day. Check out the info HERE! The workshop is limited to 8 attendees and two people who were in the group last year are returning, so there are 6 spots open.

Click HERE for more details. And HERE to sign up!