Nov. 4 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Sunday and a warm welcome to all of the new subscribers! Thank you for watching my Topaz webinar this past week. It was fun doing some Halloween-themed images! We had lots of great questions as well. I printed out the chat so I can answer more of the questions here in the Topaz Corner (see below). We try to cover a LOT of information during the webinars – I know for some people it seemed to go too fast – but that’s why they record the webinars so you can go back and watch again!

The “edited” webinar is not posted yet, but you can get to the unedited copy by clicking HERE. And if you haven’t gotten them yet, I have the notes for this webinar for sale in my online store for just $5! This gives you all of the images that I worked on during the webinar, the notes with the settings that I used, AND a bonus set of textures (these textures are not available anywhere else – they will be part of some upcoming sets in the store). Click HERE to go to the web store and then select “Topaz Notes” (the notes for my last webinar are also still available).


This week’s Sunday Sampler started with a shot of tree bark that I took on my jaunt this week to Southford Falls State Park in Southford, CT. I then did a couple of variations using AI ReMix in Studio.

The recent rains and pretty fall color made for some nice images:

After editing these leaves, I added a preset in Topaz Studio to give them some added “punch”.

I’ve been totally amazed with the quality of AI Clear. It really makes my images look great! I did mask it off of the water a little so that they wouldn’t be overly sharp.


If you’d like to see some more of “What’s New with Topaz Labs”, I will be doing a webinar tonight at 7:00 pm Eastern Time, for NPEG (the National Photography Enthusiasts Group). They have allowed me to open up registration to you as well! Click HERE to sign up! I’ll be covering Topaz Studio and some of the Pro Adjustments that have been added since the Summer when I did my last webinar for them.


So as I mentioned above, I printed the chat log from Tuesday’s webinar so that I could answer questions we couldn’t get to during the presentation. I love reading all the “hello’s” when people log on and seeing where everyone is from (all over the world!).

A couple questions from the first project, the “haunted” house and graffiti overlay.

Q. How did she unlock the ratio?

A. After adding the 2nd image layer, you will see a “Lock Aspect Ratio  Yes  No” under the image – click on NO and you will be able to resize the image without maintaining the original aspect (see screen shot below)


Q. Where did she get the clip art? Where did she get the lightning?

A. The graffiti shot I used was from Layer Cake’s “Epic Location Sets” (Urban Chic set) and the lightning was from their Studio Magic plug-in program.

I recently did a webinar for them utilizing these new Location Sets. They are also the makers of Studio Magic, an awesome plug-in to Photoshop (I have done a webinar on this as well). You can save 90% and get Studio Magic, free sky overlays and the 1200 Epic Location Sets for just $125 HERE. Or just the 1200 Location Sets and Skies for $99 HERE.

The other clip art I showed (spider web, pumpkin, ghost), I downloaded from They have TONS of free brushes, clip art and more (also for graphics).

Also watch the blog for “Around the Web” links to other great resources.

Q. How do I import textures into Studio?

A. I put together a tutorial sheet on how to do this with screen shots. Click – How to Add Textures to get the pdf file!

Q. How did she get two different textures to apply? When I do that, the second will override the first!

A. Once you have applied your first texture, you need to then click on Adjustment again and select texture to open a 2nd dialogue box and add a 2nd texture without deleting the first one. So you’re pallette will look like this:


I will answer some more questions next week!


Just a reminder…the Early Bird pricing for our 3rd Creative Photography Conference ends on November 30th!

Join us May 18-19, 2019 at the Southbridge Hotel & Conference Center in Southbridge, MA, and unleash your creative side!

Our fabulous speakers: John Barclay, Anne Belmont, Mark Bowie, Betty Wiley, Jane Driscoll, Loretta Paul-Goldin, Jan Doyle and me, will show you techniques including Topaz, textures, LensBaby, landscapes, Lightroom, Photoshop, Luminar, iPhoneography, creative projects with your photos, YouTube publicity and creating your own textures in PS and with alcohol inks. We’ll also have a photo ops room with set ups to photograph, and much, much more!

Go to our website at: for all the details and to register!

Have a great week!

9-2 Sunday Sampler

Happy September!! This summer was exceptionally hot and humid here in CT (as this coming week will be too). Can’t say I like that kind of weather – Fall is definitely my favorite along with Spring – nice to be outside when you can breathe and enjoy nature!


This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of some subtle wallpaper textures. These are wallpaper from a place we had breakfast while on Cape Cod last year. I must confess – they were taken in the ladies room!!! Your cellphone is your friend when you need a camera! I liked the way these looked like coffee stains – very subtle! Enjoy!




MAY 18-19, 2019

Click HERE to go to our website for all the details!


From – 20 Free Texture Tutorials! I see some cool ideas I have to try myself! Create some of your own textures, see how to utilize them in your work…lots of good stuff!

And from – 19 Free Brick TexturesOne can never have too many textures!!

And from JixiPix – a free app for iPhone users -Panographic Photo – quite cool! Check it out HERE!

Inky Deals has some great specials for the holiday weekend. Click HERE to visit the site, then use the code LABOR30 to save 30% on all deals! (Affiliate)  Also check out the Freebies!

If you’ve every thought about printing your photos on canvas, I highly recommend “Canvas on Demand”. I’ve used them for MANY canvas printings – their quality is fabulous, turn-time is quick, and the one time I had a problem (was mounted crooked), they reshipped immediately and I didn’t have to return the old one. I’m not an affiliate – I just love their products! They OFTEN have sales – I got an email this morning for 85% off Premium Gallery Wraps – CLICK HERE to check it out! Most of mine are the 16×20 size, but the prices are great on all sizes with the sale.


Have a great week!

July 29 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Sunday! Hope you had a great week!

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of some floral images that you can use for backgrounds. To soften the effect you can blur them (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur > amount you desire). Enjoy!


On Thursday, I did a seminar for StudioMagic (by LayerCake), demonstrating how I’ve used some of the functions of the program. If you didn’t sign up and missed the webinar, here is a link to the recording:

You can also still take advantage of the special pricing – they’ve let me extend the offer until Monday evening – check it out here:’ll save 85% on the deal of StudioMagic I & II, plus 500 skies and cloud overlays – for just $95!

Here’s one of the projects I did in the webinar:


And another great deal just released this week – Lightroom Presets & Brushes package – contains 200 LR Presets and 30 LR Brushes – Save 80%, just $59! BUT…at checkout use the code HAZEL35 and save another 35% making the package total price just $38.35!

Check it out here:

Here’s a couple of before-and-after examples:


Free Textures & Brushes! Shadowhouse Creations is one I had come across in the past. It appears the blog hasn’t been active in a few years, however, there are a TON of textures and brushes you can still download. Check it out HEREAnd, you can use them for personal or commercial use with no attribution.

From Pixel Surplus – a great deal on their “Summertime Font Bundle” (affiliate link) – Just $29 for 29 high quality full license fonts. Check it out HERE!

And they also have some great freebies on their site – check em out!

From Picture Correct – Still Life Photography Tips & Tricks and Sunrise Photography Tips for Beginners.


Have a great week as we welcome August!!




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


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

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


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!


June 10 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Sunday! Finally had a non-rainy Saturday and actually went out to photograph! My hubby, Dave, loves trains, cars – anything transportation related (I do too) and yesterday those were combined at “Steel & Wheels” in Danbury, CT at the Danbury Railway Museum, where they had a classic car show!

Growing up my Dad like auto racing, and we used to spend many Saturday nights at the old Danbury Racearena – there was one of the old racecars there too – brought back lots of memories.

Taken on iPhone 8+. Edited in Snapseed and DistressedFX.


This week’s Sunday Sampler is a variety of textures from different places. The striped rust is from a train car yesterday – the Gray Brick is from Baltimore and the Waves is part of a statue! Enjoy!

I’m always on the lookout for cool things to share – freebies, tutorials, etc. Here’s a couple of good ones!!

From FreeWebTutorials, “101 Best Photoshop Tutorials for Beginner to Advanced”. There are some very creative tutorials for compositing and much more – check ’em out!

From PSD-Dude, “70 Amazing Free Textures for Commercial Use”. Some really nice textures. It is important to be sure you check the “Terms of Use” before using textures (or fonts, etc.) in a project you plan to sell. These state in the headline that they are approved for commercial use.


Last call to take our Survey! We’re looking at heading to Chicago in early Oct. 2019. Where else would you like to see us visit? While we can’t be everywhere, we are definitely going to be moving around the U.S. Suggestions welcomed!


Have a great week!

April 29 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Sunday! We’re back from our jaunt to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee! Such beautiful country. Spent some time looking for property while we were there. Haven’t found “the one” yet, but we’ll keep looking!


Since I didn’t do a “Sunday Sampler” of textures last week, this week’s Sampler has six textures for you – of course, from our TN trip!

In addition to beautiful scenery, we were graced with the presence of several bears and their cubs – such beautiful creatures.


New Online Workshop

KJ DeWaal, one of our Creative Photography Conference speakers, has a new online workshop available, “Artistically Digital”!

Artistically Digital is a digital art workshop presented by artist/photographer KJ DeWaal. If you have always wanted to learn how to create digital art, but didn’t know where to start, then this is the course for you.

This workshop is jam-packed with 3 complete projects, 1 bonus project, and a unique creativity challenge that includes a 100 piece collection of downloadable digital resources. There are 42 lessons, 30+ fully downloadable videos, project recipe pdf’s, project files, demo videos for all 12 apps used, lifetime access, and a private Facebook group.

Learn the skills necessary to take your creativity to the next level. Learn to take the ordinary to the extraordinary. Leave the fear behind and begin your digital art journey today!

Enroll today to take advantage of the Early Bird pricing special. Use coupon code: digitalart60 to receive a $60 discount off of the regular price.

And speaking of the Creative Photography Conference…we have a few spots left! Don’t miss out on this creativity-filled weekend! Check out the details and info on our speakers and seminars over on our website at


From Envato Tuts+ – “20 Cool Photoshop Effects to Add Style & Wow” – includes actions, presets, and cool techniques!


Have a great week!


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!

March 18 – Sunday Sampler

Happy day after St. Patrick’s Day! Hope you all celebrated appropriately! We stayed home all day – been working on some images for my next Topaz Webinar – March 27th 5 p.m. EDT. Sign ups should be open shortly!

This is one of the images I will demonstrate:

I’ll be showing you how to do composites and manipulate your textures in Topaz Studio, including how to apply two presets to different parts of an image! Come join us!


This week’s Sunday Sampler was inspired by my hubby, Dave. He was editing an image from Tucson in Topaz Studio. I said, “hmmm…..that would be a cool texture”! So I applied the preset he created to one of my similar images, cropped smaller selections and applied a slight Gausian blur. Enjoy!


DON’T MISS OUT ON YOUR CHANCE TO SAVE $25 ON CONFERENCE REGISTRATION! All discounts and group rates expire on March 31st! Use the code Courtesy25 at checkout or see the website for group rates and save even more!


This week’s featured speakers are husband and wife duo, Suz & Michael Karchmer from Cape Cod, MA. I met them several years ago when I first judged at their camera club, and we’ve become good friends since. They are awesome photographers and quite creative with their iPhones.

Come join them for two fabulous sessions and learn how they utilize their iPhones with some very creative apps – including ones that let you create RAW files on your phone! Check out all of the details and their bios on the website at:


I’m always looking for cool tutorials and freebies to share with all of you! This week, from comes an article with “80 Best Photo Effects Photoshop Tutorials”

One of the best sources for Photoshop Brushes to create some awesome artwork is Nicolai spends a lot of time creating his beautiful brushes that help you create digital paintings – or like I do, use them to create awesome textures! Grut Brushes is also a sponsor of our Creative Photography Conference and will give each attendee a set of free brushes as well as a discount on the rest of the site. He also has some new textured papers that I’ve had a chance to try out – amazing! With most digital papers, the color is hovering over the paper. With these, you can actually see the texture of the paper through the color for true digital painting. Try them out! His prices are very reasonable and he also does have some Freebies at:

March 4 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Sunday! Hopefully you have power and are reading our post today!

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of some cool images from one of our workshops to an old Chevy “parts yard” (another word for “junk yard”)! A little different than the rusty ones I’ve done in the past. Enjoy!

Two upcoming events to tell you about — not really formal “workshops”, but interesting none-the-less!

My hubby, Dave, is heading to Cass, WV, to the Cass Railroad over Memorial Day weekend. This is not an instructional workshop, but a gathering of some like-minded photogs! Join the fun.

Here’s the details:

What we’ll do
Leave on Thursday for Friday arrival at Cass Railroad. We’ll be staying in a “company house” on the property (5 bedrooms/2 bathrooms). We will check out on the 28th to head home. We will take a ride on the steam train to the top of Bald Knob as well as photograph other things in the area.

What to bring
Cameras (accessories, etc.), tripods, rain gear, food (we will be able to cook at the house – not much in the area to eat out at).

Important to know
Tickets for train ride approx. $59 (2017 price). Cost for house will be split by number of people attending. There is no fee for the event itself – not a formal photography workshop, just a group heading to a great location!



And a flyer with the details too:

Contact him at if you are interested. He needs to have enough people by March 15th for the trip to run.


And on Saturday, May 5th, the Connecticut Association of Photographers is having a dinner meeting/program featuring Ron Rosenstock, “Photography as a Spiritual Experience”. See flyer below for details. You do not need to be a CAP member to attend.


Our Conference is filling nicely! Don’t miss out on this fabulous weekend of Creativity!!

This week’s featured speaker is Gerri Jones.

Gerri became interested in digital photography in 2000 as a creative outlet. She soon discovered that Buffalo/Niagara was a great area to photograph any subject throughout the year with seasonal interest. She enjoys photographing all subjects and the challenge of new ways to see through the creative use of Lensbaby lenses. This past year she has concentrated her work indoors due to a foot injury and discovered the joy of still life and food photography setting up a small studio indoors. She also enjoys using her photographs and Photoshop to create new works of art with the application of textures.

Gerri’s images have been featured in several publications including, Nature’s Best Magazine, Erie Canal Statewide Photo Calendars, tourism guides, The Discover-Buffalo Niagara Calendars and several local commercial proposals. Her image of Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse on Lake Ontario, won a national grand prize for the Great Lakes Photo Contest and her work is used to promote the lighthouse through “Friends of Thirty Mile Point”. In addition, Gerri participates in several online photo contests and has won numerous awards including “Photographer of the Year”.

Besides macro photography, she enjoys photographing local architecture, landscapes and occasionally small wedding venues. She also has reviewed several photography books for development by Focal Press Publications. Gerri has served as assistant organizer of the Buffalo Photography Meet-up Group to lead many members on photography tours as well as a member and presenter Niagara Frontier Regional Camera Clubs.
Gerri resides near Buffalo, NY with her husband Phil and Basset Hound, Thurman. Instagram: gerri.gjones

See more of Gerri’s work on the Conference page of our website at:


From – 25 Brilliant Sci-Fi/Space Photoshop Tutorials. Create some “out of this world” effects!

Not a freebie, but a great deal! From Inky Deals – 330 Photoshop Brushes for $22! (This is an affiliate link.) They have tons of great deal bundles – check ’em out!


Have you checked out Topaz Studio AI ReMix yet?? Wow! At first look the effects seem “over the top”, but as with any preset, you can adjust to your taste. Here’s a before and after I did this week. And it’s still on sale 20% off till March 10th!

A blah pic of a hanging lantern:

Edited in Lightroom/Photoshop, then in Studio with AI ReMix (and a couple of other adjustments in Studio):

The radiating lines in the background is a leaf that I processed with Topaz during my last webinar! Here is that image:

Have a great week!