July 14 – Sunday Sampler

Just back from the 74th Annual NECCC (New England Camera Club Council) Conference! Always a busy weekend full of learning, friendship and exhaustion!! My brain is on overload, so this week’s Sampler is a little “short”!

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of “old” things – a stacked stone wall, wicker basket, and old barn board. Enjoy!

FREEBIE! High Resolution Photoshop Splatter Brushes.

And this week I have an exclusive coupon code from Pixelo just for my readers! They have a new bundle, the “Ultimate Photoshop Add-Ons Bundle” with 72 Artistic Photoshop Scripts (actions).

It has a value of $195 – regular bundle price is $29 – SAVE 25% with the code meredith25 at checkout!

This bundle is only available for two weeks, so don’t miss out! CLICK HERE to check it out! See the photo below for some of the effects.

What’s included in this bundle?
– 60 Pencil and Mood Effects for Photoshop;
– 12 Artistic Color Caricature & Rough Drawings Photoshop Scripts;
– Sketches and Moods Styles;
– Pencil and Illustrate Styles;
– Commercial license;

Features & Tech Specs for 12 Caricature Photoshop Scripts
– Applicable to Photoshop (versions: CS5 through Creative Cloud 2019) and Adobe Elements (versions: Versions 13 and 14)
– Operating systems: Mac OS X and Windows
– Can be used with different image types
– Compatible with Mac OS and Windows

Grab your special deal HERE!

July 7 – Sunday Sampler

I hope you all had a happy Independence Day! I know I will be seeing some of you this coming week at the NECCC Conference at UMASS (New England Camera Club Council)!

This week’s Sunday Sampler is an assortment of textures from another recent hotel stay! Enjoy!

Last week I mentioned I would show you how to combine several firework bursts into one shot – it’s really a very simple process!

I typically edit each shot first – upping the saturation; doing any healing or cloning to remove spots, etc. You can also use the Hue/Saturation tool to change the color of your fireworks if desired!

Let’s take image #1. I have not cropped this at all yet, and won’t until I get all of my images put together so I can see where the best crop will be. I also want to be sure that there is room to add the other bursts.

IMAGE #1:

Now we will “drag” in Image #2 just as if it were a texture. Have both images open and use the Move Tool to drag Image #2 over Image #1 so they are in the same file on separate layers (like this):

To make the images work together, we’ll change the Blending Mode of Image #2 (the top layer) to Lighten. We can then position the second firework burst like this:

The Lighten Blend Mode makes the background “disappear” and keeps the brighter area of the image. If needed, you can also add a layer mask to get rid of any other distracting areas around the burst.

Now we’ll bring in the third burst the same way, with the Move Tool. Change the Blending Mode to Lighten and move it into position. I also reduced the size of this burst to better fit with the other two:

Now we can crop the image.

I typically save my images first as a TIFF or PSD file to keep the layers, then flatten and save as a JPEG.

Finished Image:

Hopefully you got some great fireworks images this week – go ahead and play!

I was pleased to be interviewed by Haley Salyer of Topaz for their blog post this past week. I contributed a preset (Painterly) that was included with the recent release of the new Adjust AI.

If you didn’t read it, check it out HERE!

And, if you haven’t grabbed your copy of Adjust AI yet, it’s still on sale for $59.99 HERE! Sale ends Monday midnight Central time, so don’t wait!

Also announced on their Facebook pages this week (it hasn’t been “officially released on the website yet), there is now a version of Gigapixel AI that is WEB-based! So if you were/are having issues with the download of the software, now you don’t need to download it! You can upload your image to the site, submit, and within a couple minutes get a link to your enlarged image that you can then download to your computer. I tried it a few times – works great – very fast! Works just like the software installed on your computer. So, if you have Gigapixel AI, try it out HERE!

To save 15% on any Topaz product, use THIS LINK and the code MeredithImages at checkout.

July Sales from Meredith Images

Don’t miss out! One-on-one training special pricing until July 31st (sessions do not have to be completed in July, just purchased prior to the 31st).

Sign up in the Peacock Studio HERE!

AND…

Don’t miss out on the sale on Sunday Sampler Groups. These bundle the older Sunday Samplers into groups ranging from 75-90 textures each! Or, you can grab all six at an extra special discount – 468 Textures for just $60!

No coupon code needed! On sale until July 31st in the Peacock Studio HERE!

June 30 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Sunday! Half the year is over already – Yikes! Our Tennessee plans are shaping up – we have closed on both pieces of land – just about ready to order our modular – land work to start soon! Can’t wait till we head South to stay!

This week’s Sunday Sampler has six textures (since we didn’t post last week). I started with an image of wallpaper that had a nice texture to it, and created five more variations with adjustments in Topaz. Enjoy!

At then end of every six months, I create a new bundle of Sunday Sampler Textures (you can still download Jan. 2019 to current). I posted the new bundle in the Peacock Studio today! This bundle of 88 textures originally appeared in blog posts from July-Dec. 2018.

The Sunday Sampler Bundles are Regularly $15. But you can grab Bundle 6 – or any of the other five bundles – on sale for 25% off ($12 each) until July 31st.

AND if you are new to the blog and wish to get all six bundles (a total of 468 Textures & Overlays), there is an extra special discount – Reg. $80 for the 6 bundles, now on sale for just $60 until July 31st! SAVE 33% off the price of individual bundles!

CLICK HERE to go to the Peacock Studio and check them out!

My friends at Pixelo have set up a special discount just for my readers! You can save an extra 10% off the already hugely discounted bundles with the code meredith10 at checkout.

Their current bundle is the beautiful “Incredible Watercolor Designs Bundle” that contains 100+ design sets with over 2500 unique elements – watercolor illustrations, clip-arts, patterns, textures, brushes & more!

These are great for business cards and invitations, scrapbooking, web design and so much more. Check it out HERE – Value $2655 – now just $29 – and don’t forget to use the discount code meredith10 to save an extra 10%!

Just in time for July 4th fireworks shows, is an article on PictureCorrect.com on “How to Photograph Fireworks”.

This is a photo of 3 individual bursts combined in Photoshop. These 3 images were also part of the Sunday Sampler last July. Next weekend I will do an “Inside the Peacock Studio” tutorial on how I merged these in PS.

This is another merged shot of mine:

The folks at ThinkTank Photo have released a new holster bag – the Digital Holster 150.

This bag can handle your BIG lenses. It’s designed to offer quick access and transport for your super telephoto zoom lenses. With the versatility of a 150–600mm, you don’t need a backpack full of lenses to shoot wildlife or sports photography. Instead, a camera holster dedicated to a single DSLR body with a 150–600mm attached is an ideal solution.

The Digital Holster 150 is a top-loading solution that minimizes the weight and bulk of bigger bags so you can focus on the action. Wear the holster comfortably on a belt or over the shoulder, so you’re ready to shoot at a moment’s notice.

Visit their website HERE! AND, get free gear and free shipping (on orders over $50) when you use my code 141200.b44092 in the Affiliate Box at checkout!

June 16 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there! Enjoy your day.

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of textures from Buffalo, NY! An old window that I did a Topaz technique on, plus some cool old brick and stucco walls. Enjoy!

Survey Results!

Thank you to all who voted on my new logo design. It was very close between two of them (the ones that were my choices too!).

And the winner is #6! While I really liked the script font of the other one too, I thought this one was more of a “casual” script and less frilly! The peacock feather ties in the logo with the Peacock Studio (no the peacock is not going away!).

I will begin using this soon – I’m creating a vector version – and will be using with the new website design as well. Thanks for your input!

UPCOMING EVENTS

This coming week I will be teaching at the Photographic Society of Chattanooga (“Alternative Visual Artistry: Topaz Plug-Ins & Textures”) on Thursday evening, and then also doing a half-day hands-on workshop on “Topaz” next Saturday, June 22nd. There are a couple spots available for the workshop if you’re in the area! You can sign up on my website HERE.

In July I will head to Michigan for the SWMCCC (Southwestern Michigan Council of Camera Clubs) Weekend of Photography & Digital Imaging. I will be doing two seminars: “HDR – the Natural Look” and “Creativity with Topaz & Textures”. It’s a very fun weekend with many speakers, sessions, hands-on photo-ops and more. Check it out at: SWMCCC.org

And speaking of the peacock, read Pete’s latest adventure “Tour of Buffalo”, on the blog, The Traveling Peacock. Sign up to get the latest posts! And follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Design Cuts has released another fabulous new font bundle – “The Eclectic Font Collection”. I had a chance to play around with it this week, and I created this word art with the beautiful script font included:

The bundle includes all of the following font families:

Available now for just $29! CLICK HERE to check out all the details!

AND…If you’re like me and just can’t get enough fonts, Pixelo also has a new bundle – “Fontastic Bundle” with 99 fonts for $29! CLICK HERE to check it all out!

There won’t be a Sunday Sampler next Sunday – I’ll catch up on Monday or Tuesday when I get back from Chattanooga! But…there may be another post this week on some other news…Stay tuned!

June 9 – Sunday Sampler

Our Tennessee journey continues! Purchasing 2nd piece of property attached to the first for a total of 2.1 acres! Put a deposit on a modular yesterday – great deal on one that someone ordered with lots of upgrades then didn’t like the outside color! Good for us! Will be heading back down in a couple weeks on the way to Chattanooga where I will be presenting on Thursday, June 20th at the Photographic Society of Chattanooga. On Saturday the 22nd I will then do a half-day hands-on workshop for them on Topaz. Just a few spots left if you are in the area!

Sunday Sampler header

Some soft floral bokeh images are this week’s Sunday Sampler. I didn’t blur these TOO much – you can use a Gaussian Blur to soften them even more. Great for replacing the background behind a nice flower shot!

Here’s how I used one of these in a quick edit. I had this rose shot with a fairly plain green background (which isn’t a bad thing, but I want to show you how to use the bokeh backgrounds!).

I selected the rose and feathered the edges 3 pixels. Delete the old background. Save the rose with the transparent background as a PNG file.

Open Floral Bokeh 3 and drag the rose into the background (just as you would drag in a texture). I used Neutral Density gradients to darken the background, and a Hue/Saturation Adjustment to make the flowers a little more pink. I also used a Layer Style to add a slight drop shadow to the rose (very subtle). Here’s the final screen shot:

And the final image:

Needs a stem of some type so that it doesn’t look like it’s floating on the background, but you get the idea!

Survey – New Logo Design!

I am beginning an update of the Meredith Images website and decided it was time for a new logo to tie in with the “Peacock” theme. I’ve come up with a few versions – I need you to vote for your favorite!

Here are the versions numbered. The link to vote is at the end of this article! Thanks for your feedback!

NUMBER 1

NUMBER 2

NUMBER 3

NUMBER 4

NUMBER 5

NUMBER 6

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QZ79DH9

THANKS FOR YOUR HELP!

If you like to create the look of pencil sketches and other art from your images, you’ll love this bundle from Pixelo – “The Ultimate Photoshop Add-Ons Bundle”!

It contains 72 Artistic Scripts to create a world of effects with just a click! Check it out HERE! Just $29!

And if you didn’t grab the Design Cuts “Totally Vibrant Textures & Patterns Collection” yet, it expires Monday midnight UK time! Don’t miss this huge collection for just $29! Click HERE to check it out!

And from WeGraphics, a cool little tutorial on how to make a “soundwave” in Photoshop! I followed the tutorial and did this less than 5 minutes!

And finally, from Light Stalking, an article of “The Coolest Photography Links of the Week” including tutorials and some great photographs!

Have a great week!

May 21 – Sunday Sampler (2 weeks combined!)

Our 3rd Creative Photography Conference is in the books! What a great weekend of inspiration, creativity, learning, friends, food and fun! Here are a couple of comments from our attendees:

“The Conference was “Over The Top Good”! You two (and helpers) made it the Best. Met many fine people, learned from Best In The Business, Great Meals & Fantastic Discounts… (Hunts came through for me)…..Best To You Both for doing so much for so many.” ~ P.M.

“Thank you, it was a wonderful workshop, well organized, great lecturers and photographers.   I learned a lot and was inspired by the Creative theme. Being there with like minded folks was so much fun.” ~ E.S.

“Just wanted to say thank you for a great conference! I really enjoyed the Friday workshop and all of the presenters. Having known nothing about textures, I finally have a good starting point after your class.” ~ K.C.

Due to the Conference last weekend and a trip to TN this coming weekend (yes, we finally found some property that we are purchasing!!), I’m doing a combined blog post with six textures!

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of textures from hotel rooms!! Five of them were taken this past weekend at the Southbridge during our Conference stay. The “Geometric” is the lampshade; “Marble Simplified” is the bathroom counter; “Rug Geometric B&W” is the rug; “Swirls with Spatter” is the drapery; and “Wallpaper leaf print B&W” is the wallpaper in the bathroom!! The “Abstract Circle” was modified from a framed print in another hotel. Textures are EVERYWHERE!! Enjoy!

From PSD-Dude.com, a free tutorial “How to Make a Photo Look Old and Scratched in Photoshop”

Grab “50 New Adobe Photoshop Tutorials from 2019” over on Graphic Design Junction.

From Pixelo – the “Spring Font Bundle”. 100 Font Families with 200+ Unique Fonts. Check it out HERE!

Have a great Memorial Day weekend! Please also remember the meaning of the day and give thanks to those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

We should be back on schedule with the June 2nd “Sunday Sampler” and the debut of our new feature column, “Inside the Peacock Studio”!

May 12 – Sunday Sampler

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all the Moms, Step-Moms, Grandmoms, or any kind of Mom! Whether you have children or fur-babies, have a great day!

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of some scrapbook papers I photographed. These are great as backgrounds or overlays! Enjoy!

Less than one week till our 3rd Creative Photography Conference! It’s crunch time preparing all the info, badges, goody bags and more for our attendees!

It’s not too late – join us for a wonderful weekend of friendship, creativity, learning and fun!

Visit the website for details, schedule and sign up info!
https://www.meredithimages.com/creative-photography-conference/

The new “Inside the Peacock Studio” column will begin soon (after I’m done with Conference craziness!). Watch for tutorials/videos on “how I did it”! The teacups & lilacs image above will be one I will be demonstrating.

Freebie! From WebDesignDev.com – 20+ Free High Quality Photoshop Brush Packs

May 5 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Cinco de Mayo! If the rain would ever stop it might actually feel like Spring! Pretty flowers are in bloom, however. Hope you have time to get out and do some photography!

Last weekend I was teaching at the CanAm Photo Expo in Buffalo. While we were driving to Buffalo the Wed. before, an inspection was being done on a house we were hoping to purchase in TN. Unfortunately, there were some structural issues and we decided not to proceed.

So…we decided to make a bonsai run to TN when we left Buffalo on Sunday! We got to Charleston, WV Sunday night. Then drove to Greeneville, TN on Monday morning arriving just before noon to meet up with our realtor. Spent about 3 hours looking at 3 properties, then hit the road to start home! Stayed in VA and got home early afternoon Tuesday! LOTS of driving for sure! We thought we had a property and then found out they don’t have access to high-speed internet — which, of course, is critical for me!

Sigh…the search continues!

Since there wasn’t a blog post or Sunday Sampler last week, this week we have six textures included – various types of surfaces I’ve been photographing over the past few weeks. Enjoy!

Thank You!

To all those who completed my survey! The results were clear on topics that you want covered – Topaz was a resounding first, with Textures & Overlays a close second. Photoshop techniques – compositing, layers & masks and using brushes were all pretty much tied for third.

The types of photography that you want to learn more about – Flowers/Gardens and Landscape/Nature were almost tied for first; Still Lifes and Abandoned Places 2nd and 3rd respectively.

The majority chose extended videos (10-30 minutes) as the preferred format, with live webinars a close 2nd.

So…stay tuned for some upcoming tutorials! I’ve decided to add a new column to the blog – “How I Did That” (or similar name) – starting in a week or two. I’ll take an image I’ve posted on social media and give you the details of how I did it!

I am also planning some upcoming videos, so you’ve all helped with the direction that those will take.

Just 2 Weeks Away!

May 18-19 is our 3rd Creative Photography Conference! Don’t miss out! Check out all the details on our website at:
https://www.meredithimages.com/creative-photography-conference/

LOTS of great info for you this week. There are some Freebies and tutorials as well as some great bundle deals and new products.

1. From WebDesignDev.com – two articles. While there are tons of apps available for iPhones, it’s harder to find good editing apps for Androids. “20 Best Photography Android Apps to Create Awesome Photo Effects” gives you some good ideas. And “Create Awesome Photo Effects with these 20 Amazing Photoshop Tutorials” will get your creative juices flowing! Don’t forget to check out their “Freebies” tab as well!

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2. From PhotoshopSupply.com – a free “Photo to Line Art” conversion action.

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3. An awesome new bundle from Design Cuts – tailored to photographers! “The Totally Eclectic Photography Bundle” contains TONS of presets, overlays, textures, styles and more! A $900 value for just $29!

CLICK HERE to check out this great deal.
Expires in 8 days!

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4. And from my friends at ThinkTank/MindShift, a couple of new products.

The BackLight Elite 45L joins the BackLight line up as a larger backpack for those longer hikes into the back country.

Get deeper into the backcountry with the BackLight® Elite 45L backpack. 45 liters of available space provides ample room for both camera gear and adventure equipment, such as a length of rope, ice axe, snowboard/skis, laptop, tablet, and of course, a tripod.

Weather-resistant zippers and materials protect your gear when trekking in the elements. And like the other BackLight backpacks, rear-panel access adds security when traveling since your camera gear is protected behind your back.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Storm proof construction with YKK® AquaGuard® zippers and waterproof/tearproof Sailcloth
  • Superior Fit: Robust lumbar padding, hip-hugging waist belt, quick-dry back panel, and foam ridges for increased ventilation
  • Back and top panel access to all of your camera gear, allowing you to work out of your bag without getting your harness dirty or wet

CLICK HERE to check out this bag and the full line of BackLight products.

And for a smaller bag, the Stash Master 13L. A travel cube that enables you to expand the photo gear capacity of any large backpack/roller/duffel, or increase personal gear space in the MindShift® Backlight Elite 45L for multi-day excursions.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Padded insert allows you to use your own bag or increase personal gear space in the MindShift Backlight Elite 45L
  • Water resistant fabric and DWR coating keeps your gear protected
  • Sized to fit pro gear including a gripped body attached to a 70–200mm f/2.8

CLICK HERE to check out the Stash Master!

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5. And one more bundle offer! From Pixelo, “Mega Illustrator Brushes Bundle”.

NOTE: This bundle is ONLY for ILLUSTRATOR, NOT PHOTOSHOP!

But if you’re an Illustrator user, you can grab over 3200 brushes to help with your design work. Value $600 – for just $29!

CLICK HERE for this awesome bundle!

April 21 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Passover and Happy Easter to all those who celebrate. Today is also our 35th wedding anniversary! Spring is finally springing here in southern CT – the leaves are popping open on the trees and some of the flowering trees are blooming. Lots of rain this past week, so everything has that pretty bright green color!

In honor of Spring and Easter, this week’s Sunday Sampler consists of five pretty pastel textures for you. It started with the Pink-Blue Concrete and then I started modifying from there with Topaz and Smart Photo Editor. Enjoy!

This week, Topaz Labs introduced their newest AI product, DeNoise AI. They have also now discontinued selling AI Clear as a Studio Pro Adjustment. At first I was very confused as to why they would get rid of AI Clear! It was my favorite adjustment and I’ve been using it on EVERY image at the beginning of my processing. However, after reading an article by Dr. Partha Acharjee, I now understand the why, and what is better about DeNoise AI. CLICK HERE for “The Story Behind DeNoise AI.” Another advantage of DeNoise AI is that it is not just a Studio Adjustment – you can access it as a stand-alone or as a plug-in.

If you own the old DeNoise or AI Clear, you should have received an email from Topaz Labs offering you a free copy of DeNoise AI. If you did not receive that email, contact Topaz by opening a help ticket and they will get you hooked up!

If you wish to purchase DeNoise AI, it is on sale until May 3rd for $59.99 (reg. $79.99). Click HERE to go to the store page. You can try it first with a 30-day trial.

If you do not own any of the four AI products, you can purchase a bundle of DeNoise AI, Sharpen AI, Gigapixel AI and JPEG to RAW for $199.99 (reg. $359.96). This sale also ends May 3rd. Click HERE to go to the bundle offer.

And…if you have questions about any of the AI products, there is a helpful Q&A page HERE! This page also gives you the system requirements for the powerful AI products.

Here is an image I processed with DeNoise AI. There is a LOT of noise in this shadowy image at Longwood Gardens:

BEFORE

Topaz DeNoise AI did a great job in getting rid of noise as well as sharpening the image:

AFTER

Opinions Please!

Thank you to all those who already took my brief survey! If you haven’t yet, I would greatly appreciate 2 minutes of your time (it’s just 3 questions)! I’m looking for input as to what you would like to see in upcoming tutorials – and the formats preferred. Click HERE FOR SURVEY. Thanks!

LESS THAN A MONTH AWAY!

Don’t miss out on the last New England Conference! The 3rd Creative Photography Conference, May 18-19, 2019 at the Southbridge Hotel & Conference Center, Southbridge, MA.

CLICK HERE for all the details, speaker info, and schedule!

A great article by Toad Hollow Photography over on Light Stalking – “31 Photography Links to get you Inspired”

From the folks at Design Cuts, “The Essential, Versatile Font Collection” for just $29 (exp. 4/28).

  • 16 versatile and professional font families (featuring a total of 253 individual fonts), perfect for adding exceptional typography to your design work.
  • Many fonts include extra weights, styles and stylistic alternates.
  • Many fonts also include bonus/extras packs, containing additional creative resources.
  • Fonts are organised into carefully labelled folders, including desktop and web versions for all fonts.

CLICK HERE for all the details!

SALE! Save 25% on any bundle over on Pixelo – EXPIRES 4/23, so don’t wait! CLICK HERE, then use the code EASTER25 at checkout!

I’m not sure if I will get a blog post out on Sunday next weekend – I’ll be teaching at the CanAm Photo Expo Friday-Sunday and getting home very late Sunday night. If there’s lots of news to share, I’ll post on Monday, otherwise, I’ll include more info in the following week’s post. Enjoy!

April 14 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Sunday! It’s finally starting to feel like Spring – and the Spring showers have been falling. There were some nasty storms in areas this past week – hope you are OK.

Sunday Sampler header and link to textures

This week’s Sunday Sampler will surely make it feel like Spring! A couple of years ago I was at Elizabeth Park Rose Garden and it was a breezy day – not ideal for photographing flowers. So I decided to make lemons out of the windy day and shoot some intentionally blurred florals to use as backgrounds. Enjoy!

Opinions Please!

I sent a newsletter the beginning of the week with updates on the Creative Photography Conference and other upcoming events. I also linked a short survey to see what topics are needed/desired for some upcoming tutorials.

Please take 2 minutes to complete this survey (if you haven’t yet). It’s only three quick questions! Click HERE FOR SURVEY. Thanks!

FREEBIE ALERT! The site DesignerCandies.com has some great Freebies and Tutorials. Check ’em out HERE!

Have a great week!