July 22 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Sunday! Hope you are enjoying your Summer!

This week’s Sunday Sampler gives you some blurred background photos – trees and a spider web! Use hue/saturation adjustments to change the colors or desaturate the images. Enjoy!


If you haven’t signed up for the StudioMagic webinar this coming Thursday, July 26th (2 pm Eastern; 11 am Pacific), it’s not too late! Even if you can’t watch live (though I hope you can), sign up and get a set of Elegance Photoshop Actions (worth $47), and you will receive a link to watch the webinar later (link sent after live webinar). Sign up at http://bit.ly/web825.


One of the questions I often get in my Topaz webinars, is how to add your own textures to Studio or Texture Effects. So I put together a tutorial – it’s really a simple process. Click on this link: Topaz – Add Textures to Studio or Texture Effects Enjoy!


A few tidbits I found this week:

From Digital Camera World – 55 Free Photoshop Brushes for Photographers (these are 55 SETS of brushes!)

From Photoshop Star – How to Create a Watercolor Text Effect in Photoshop


Have a great week!



June 17 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Father’s Day to all of the Dads, Step-Dads, and Father-in-Laws – those still with us and those we have lost.


This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of brick and stone from last year’s trip that included Baltimore Harbor. The water taxis are a great way to get around the harbor!


My 10th Topaz webinar is THIS TUESDAY, June 19th at 5:00 Eastern time! Join me as I demonstrate how I use Topaz Studio and plug-ins in my workflow. Everything from a simple vignette, to a more complicated “out of bounds” effect! Sign up HERE! Even if you can’t watch live, sign up and you’ll get a link to the recording.


And more big new from Topaz Labs – a new Pro Adjustment to add to Studio — AI Clear! This fabulous adjustment Removes Noise; Sharpens Subjects; Reduces Artifacts; and Enhances Details. I’ve been testing it and it’s pretty cool! It lets you make all of these adjustments in one place – quick and easy and a great job!

This will be released on Tuesday, June 19th, and will be available at the sale price of $59.99 until June 30th. CLICK HERE to check out the amazing Pro Adjustment!


Learn how to create “Creative Spotlights with Radial Gradients” in this article by Blake Rudis on iso1200.com.

And find “80+ Best Photo Manipulation Tutorials in Photoshop”over on Pixel2PixelDesign.com. 


AND…stay tuned next week for details on some other cool software I’ve been playing with — I will be doing a webinar for them on July 26th! A great way to create composites, special effects and more — quick and easy!


April 8 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Sunday! Mother Nature is still playing games with us here in the Northeast! Had some snow on Friday (which then turned to rain). But it’s quite chilly for this time in April!

This week’s Sunday Sampler has some pretty marble textures and a beautiful window with a nice design. These are from Our Lady of Victory in Lackawanna, NY.


If you watched my last Topaz webinar, you know we had some technical difficulties. Yesterday I recorded a short video on the “Rooster Project” that I didn’t finish in the webinar. It shows you how to use two AI ReMix presets on one image. Check it out on my YouTube channel HERE.



I’m working on my first Skillshare class! It will be the first in a series titled “Photoshop: Creative Enhancements with Textures”. I will take you step-by-step in creating the project shown above and provide the images and textures needed to follow along with the “You are my Sunshine” project. You can check out the outline HERE.


I love sharing cool resources that I find – there is SO much great info out there! Here are some freebies that you may like – enjoy!

From Inspiration Feed – 4000+ Free PS Brushes! They have links to lots of great brush resources. As always, check the terms of usage on items (especially if you plan to use for commercial work).

From Creative Pro – Oodles of Free PS Brushes! There is also good instructions at the beginning of this article on how to install brushes in PS.

Have a great week!

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.”


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!


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!



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!



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!

Dec. 17 – Sunday Sampler + Final Holiday Shopping

Yesterday Dave & I had the honor of participating in “Wreaths Across America” which lays a wreath on the grave of all of our veterans at Arlington and at Veteran’s Cemeteries across the U.S. We were at the CT State Veteran’s Cemetery in Middletown, CT where 10,000 wreaths were laid. There was a 45 minute ceremony before the wreath laying began. Quite moving including bagpipes playing Amazing Grace, taps, 21-gun salute, and an Air National Guard flyover. Next year we hope to go to the event at Arlington. Thank you to all who have served.



It’s 2 years this weekend that I’ve been doing the Sunday Sampler – WOW! How time flies! This will be the final Sunday Sampler for 2017 – I’m taking the next 2 weekends off to relax a little (yeah right!), celebrate Christmas and New Year’s with family and friends, and get ready for 2018! Look for some new changes and features in the weekly blog!



Thank you to all those who completed my survey and for the nice comments. It closes later tonight, so there’s still time if you’d like to complete it – just 10 quick questions! CLICK HERE!

The favorite topics for more tutorials are textures & Topaz! I am planning to do more on those in my own work as well as some tutorials for all of you! Stay tuned!!



Our friends at Think Tank Photo and MindShift Gear just let me know that they are offering free 2nd Day delivery through next Tuesday, December 19th, so that your gear arrives in time for Christmas. And, as my friend, you will be able to add a free gift to your order! Don’t hesitate to order the best rollers, backpacks, shoulder bags, and accessories for pro/serious photographers and outdoor photographers.

Click here for Think Tank Photo

Click here for MindShift Gear



People are getting frustrated with Adobe and the way they have been updating programs (i.e., Lightroom) lately. I still haven’t loaded the latest version of Lightroom (2018) – don’t trust it yet! There was an interesting article on Peta Pixel  – “I Tested 10+ Photoshop Alternatives to See How They Stack Up”. Quite a good read! And might I add – Topaz Studio is another great alternative to Photoshop!

And if you missed my Dec. 12th webinar – and registered – you will have received the link to the recorded program! Enjoy!

I also gave webinar attendees a discount code to save 25% off all of my Textures and eBooks in the Peacock Studio through 12/23! Use the code TOPAZ25 at checkout and catch the deal!

From Spoon Graphics – 5 Dust & Scratches Textures for Photoshop & Illustrator

Tons of freebies on Free Creatives!

And on Line 25, 20 Brilliant Sci-Fy/Space Photoshop Tutorials.



Have a beautiful holiday season enjoying whatever holiday you celebrate. Wishing you success and good health in 2018!

Thanks for supporting me and the Sunday Sampler!



Aug. 27 – Sunday Sampler, ThinkTank New Release, Tutorials

After a stunningly beautiful weekend here in CT, we send our thoughts and prayers to those in Texas who are inundated with flood waters and still a long way to go till it ends.

This week’s Sunday Sampler begins with an image of red and black rust that I then took into Topaz Impression and then changed up the color palette in Topaz ReStyle. Enjoy!


Our friends at ThinkTank Photo have released the new Spectral Shoulder Bags featuring one-handed gear access and increased protection from theft and the elements.

“With Think Tank Photo’s new Spectral shoulder bags, photographers can remain inconspicuous while shooting, knowing their valuable cameras and lenses are safer from theft and the elements. A magnetic Fidlock clasp enables quiet, one-handed access to gear — and then locks automatically when closing the flap. An additional zippered closure gives peace of mind while traveling and can be tucked away when actively shooting. Constructed with durable yet stylish materials, the Spectral Shoulder Bag offers Think Tank quality and ingenuity at a reasonable price.

The Spectral 8 fits one standard size DSLR body with a wide or short zoom, a 24–70mm f/2.8 detached, plus one to two small extra lens, and an eight-inch tablet. Or, it fits a Mirrorless kit with three to four lenses, including the 50–140mm. The Spectral 10 fits one standard size DSLR body with 24–70mm attached, a 70–200mm detached, one to three extra lenses, and a 10” tablet. The Spectral 15 fits one standard size DSLR body with 24–70mm attached, a 70–200mm detached, two to four extra lenses, flash, a 10” tablet, and a 15” laptop.

“For pro and serious amateur photographers who want to upgrade their camera bodies and lenses, selecting an appropriate shoulder bag is not a light decision. While they may be taking their first forays into professional-level glass, they also are monitoring their funds,” said Doug Murdoch, Think Tank Photo’s CEO and lead designer. “We designed the Spectral series with them in mind. It integrates our history of innovation and dedication to sourcing the highest quality materials, while being sensitive to a photographer’s budget.”

• 15” Laptop compartment (Spectral 15 only)
• Tablet pocket (Spectral 8: 8”, Spectral 10 & 15: 10”)
• Phone pocket sized for today’s large phones
• Tripod attachment points and straps
• Highest quality materials (metal hardware, YKK RC Fuse zippers, 420D velocity nylon) and the highest quality construction
• Luggage handle pass-through
• Comfortably padded non-slip shoulder strap for all day comfort
• Customizable divider layout with dividers for stacking short lenses
• Internal pockets to hold batteries, card wallets and other accessories
• Water bottle pocket
• Seam-sealed rain cover included

While maintaining our commitment to using the highest-quality materials available, we were able to bring the Spectral 8 in for under $100!


Exterior: All fabric exterior treated with durable water resistant coating while fabric underside is coated with polyurethane for superior water resistance. The bag also has YKK® RC Fuse (abrasion resistant) zippers, 420D velocity nylon, double PU coated P600D, heavy-duty nylon tarpaulin, UltraMesh pockets, antique plated metal hardware, Fidlock® mangetic buckle, 350G 3D air mesh, 3-ply bonded nylon thread.

Interior: PE board reinforced removable closed cell foam dividers, 200D liner, PU backed nylex liner, 2x PU coated nylon 210T seam-sealed taffeta rain cover, 3-ply bonded nylon thread.


Topaz Studio 1.1 has been released! Download HERETopaz continues to make upgrades and fix issues. Studio is a great way to use all of your Topaz Products in one handy place in addition to doing all of your basic editing (no Photoshop needed!).

Check out the webinar I did for the National Photography Enthusiasts Group (NPEG) a couple of weeks ago on Topaz Studio: Click HERE. And if you’d like more info on NPEG, go to their website at: http://www.npegroupusa.org/


80 Free Photoshop Typography Tutorials

I love type (I used to be a typesetter in the pre-desktop days). And I love to see what creative designers come up with for cool text effects. Some of these are simple – some more complex. But articles like this are also a good source of inspiration to come up with other ideas of your own.

Also be sure to check out the links to the right of the webpage – there are free fonts, brushes, textures and more! Enjoy!


July 9 – Sunday Sampler + Topaz Corner + More!

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope to see some of you next weekend at the New England Camera Club Council Conference at UMASS Amherst, MA! It’s always a fun weekend to live, eat, & breathe photography and to catch up with old friends and make some new ones! If you’re there, be sure to say “hi”!



This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of a few more scrapbook papers – the blue scratches is a multiple shot on an iPhone! Enjoy!


Topaz just released another update to the new Topaz Studio software (1.0.8). Here’s a great video by Jodi Robbins of Topaz on all of the cool features: WATCH HERE

And be sure to check out their Facebook page – there are tutorials on many different tools available in the Studio – FACEBOOK

I’ve had a few people ask how to find the Webinars I’ve done for Topaz. Here is a link that will sort out all of mine — though the last one from March is not on the website yet — the folks at Topaz have been quite busy with the Studio release and are a little behind in editing the webinars! Click HERE and enjoy!



Find some awesomely creative Photoshop Tutorials from Digital Arts — “86 Best Photoshop Tutorials”

And from Tutorials 411, a cool video on “How to Add Fog & Light in Photoshop”

I read an interesting article online today that I thought I would share. It’s titled, “The Darker Side of Wildlife Photography: Understanding Ethical Practices.” Something we all need to think about.

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!