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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
Happy April! It’s finally starting to FEEL like Spring out there! Crocuses are starting to pop and the leaves of daffodils are poking through!
I purchased some tulips at the grocery last week and spent a little time photographing them this week. These were done at the kitchen table – I use a tri-fold foamcore board for a backdrop, draped an old lace tablecloth over it, and used some props I’ve been collecting. And so many editing possibilities! These are just 2 of the versions I created – opposite extremes! Processing in LR/PS & Topaz.
This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of some rattan seating from old subway cars at the NY Transportation Museum in Brooklyn. I especially like the ‘bokeh’ image – I sat the camera on the seat and got a pretty cool vantage point! These would also be great to turn into B&W and just utilize the texture of the rattan and not the color. Enjoy!
JUST SIX WEEKS AWAY! Don’t miss out on the last New England Conference! May 18-19, 2019
It’s coming up quick! If you want to expand your photographic creativity, then you don’t want to miss this event! Join me and 7 other speakers for a weekend of learning and fun! Seminar topics include: Topaz, textures, creative LR/PS, creative landscapes, LensBaby florals, iPhoneography & apps, multiple exposures, Luminar, creative photo projects, and much more! There will also be photo ops, loaner lenses, and photo walks. And Hunt’s will be here for your shopping pleasure!
Registration includes morning snack, lunch, all Sat./Sun. seminars and other sessions, goody bag, and door prizes!
And added for 2019 – 2 pre-conference workshops and optional dinner buffets on Fri. and/or Sat. nights.
CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT ALL THE DETAILS ON OUR WEBSITE…AND TO REGISTER!
I have extended my discount code meredith25 until April 15th – save $25 on your registration!
The guys & gals at DESIGN CUTS have put together another fabulous bundle of TEXTURES!!! (You know I’m grabbing this one!) “The Exceptional Textures & Patterns Bundle” sells for just $29 (value $3683). This deal expires in 8 DAYS, so don’t wait – grab your copy now!
It contains hundreds of textures, backgrounds, masks, patterns and more!
I think Mother Nature forgot to change the calendar to SPRING! It’s been chilly here in CT this week. Some areas had quite a bit of snow and tragic flooding in the mid-West. Stay safe everyone.
This week’s Sunday Sampler is an assortment of textures – a green grungy cracked wall, wet gravel on a trail, and wood grain door. Enjoy!
NEW TEXTURES – SALE ENDING TONIGHT!
Don’t forget to grab your copy of my 3 new texture sets – Bokeh 2; Galaxies 2; and Grunge 1! Reg. $6 per set – on sale till midnight tonight EDT for $4.50 per set! CLICK HERE to visit the Peacock Studio!
Design Cuts released a new bundle this week, the “All Purpose Creative’s Design Kit”. I started playing around with some of the new fonts and illustrations, and came up with the birthday card below. After I did one with the watercolor splashes in the background, I tried it with an old paper texture that I created – I think I like that one even better!
Check out the bundle HERE! It expires in just 8 days, so don’t miss out! Just $29 for $1510 worth of resources! See below for a preview of all the goodies!
This bundle is also Just $29 (for $1299 worth of products). It expires in 27 days. Check it out HERE!
If you are a studio photographer who also shoots on location, you know what a pain it is to haul around light stands. ThinkTank has come up with a new bag just for you!
Think Tank Photo has just released their Stand Manager 52 rolling case, and it’s an ideal solution for storing and transporting stands of any kind. The case holds up to 4 turtle base C-stands, multiple traditional light stands, or modifiers up to 52” long. It features multiple tie-down straps to secure your stands inside, oversized, shock-absorbing wheels, and rear skid rails which allow you to load in and out of your vehicle with ease.
Happy Sunday! SPRING AHEAD! Hopefully you remembered to set your clocks ahead last night (except for our friends in Arizona)!
This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of rocks! I took a very “grungy” rock (actually almost looks like tree bark) and gave you several versions and colors. Enjoy!
THE EBOOK IS DONE!! It’s heading to the printer tomorrow to have DVD’s made (it’s too big for a CD!).
I will begin emailing links later this week to those who purchased the Electronic Version. The DVD’s should arrive right around the end of March and will be mailed as soon as I get them.
I’ve extended the $5 off Coupon for pre-order of the 2nd eBook till 3/17 (CODE: preorder5), and I’ve added a $5 off Coupon for Book 1 (if you don’t have it yet – CODE: firstbook) which also expires 3/17. You CAN use both of these coupons at checkout if you’d like to order both books.
I’m very excited about this new book – it has twelve projects that take you through various ways of working with textures, overlays, gradients, type and layer styles, brushes and much more. It’s 117 pages chock full of creative inspiration! All images and textures used in the projects are included so you can work along with me. And there are bonus sets of textures and brushes as well as a list of my favorite resources!
And while you’re in the store, be sure to check out my texture selections – I am working on some new sets and plan to have them added in the next week or so.
And while you’re over on the website, be sure to check out the upcoming Creative Photography Conference, May 18-19, 2019 in Southbridge, MA.
I’ve posted bios for each of our speakers as well as the seminars they will be doing and some examples of their fabulous work. Also posted is the Conference Schedule.
This will be the last New England Conference – don’t miss out!
I have several half-day hands-on workshops coming up – here is where we’re at with space availability (they are limited to 6 people per session):
March 24 – Photoshop Beginner – FULL! If you are interested in this workshop please email me your name to be put on a list for the next session. March 31 – Creativity with Topaz – 3 spaces left April 7 – Elements Intermediate – 5 spaces left April 14 – Photoshop Intermediate – 3 spaces left May 5 – Textures & Composites – 4 spaces left
Workshops are hands-on with a laptop (or you may follow along if preferred). I will supply images to work on together as well as notes.
Each session is just $69 and will be held at CT Band Instruments at 1 Church Street, Stratford, CT, 1:00-4:30 pm.
And there are a couple of active promotions for bundles of goodies! If you can’t get enough fonts, check out the GRADIOSE SCRIPT FONTS BUNDLE consisting of 84 script font families with a total of 130 unique fonts – just $29!
And…still an active promotion is the AGELESS VINTAGE BUNDLE This one contains 55 font families; 176 retro designs and much more! Also just $29.
All of their bundles come with a full personal/commercial license.
Happy March! Now that it’s almost Spring we’re actually getting some measurable snow in Southern CT! Luckily with the warmer sunshine, it’s melting quickly. About 4 inches yesterday, 4-8″ coming by tomorrow morning!
This week’s Sunday Sampler is a morning sunrise sky (that I softened with a Gaussian Blur). I then created two other versions with Topaz ReStyle. The B&W version can be used to lighten or darken another photograph. The Multiply Blend Mode will darken; the Screen Blend Mode will lighten; then reduce Opacity as needed.
The new eBook is just about done!!! I promised to deliver the new eBook by April 1st, and we will meet that date! The book is complete and is now being proofread by a few people. Hubby is testing the projects, and my friends Antoinette and Loretta are proofing and checking technical info. It will be going to the printer for DVD’s within the week (this one will be a DVD rather than a CD as there is more info than I can fit on a CD!). This book is 114 pages; 12 projects (including the images, textures and brushes so you can work along with the instructions); and lots of other info including bonus textures and brushes. For those that pre-ordered the electronic version, you will be getting an email from me later this month!
If you haven’t yet pre-ordered a copy, you can grab a copy now for $5 off the list price of $25. Use coupon code preorder5 at checkout – expires midnight 3/9. Click HERE to go to the Peacock Studio store!
I also have some new texture sets in the works that will be released later in March. Check out the current selection while you’re in the store!
Happy Sunday & Daytona 500 Day if you like auto racing as we do! Looks like some Winter weather finally moving into our area this week. In Southern CT we’ve been pretty lucky so far. Most storms were rain or a mixture. Not much snow (which is fine by me!). Stay safe out there.
This week’s Sunday Sampler is some nice bokeh images of morning dew on grasses. I took these a couple of years ago when I was in Florida teaching at the Spacecoast Birding Festival. These were taken near this Great Blue Heron who was fishing for his breakfast! There were some razor sharp teeth on the alligator gar fish he caught! Taken hand-held with my Canon 70D and Sigma 150-500 at just over 400mm. 800 ISO helped as did Topaz AI Clear!
Organizing Design Assets
A comment and question was posted on last week’s blog about using all of the fabulous resources that are available in the bundles that I mention here. Mainly, how to utilize them, and even more importantly, how to organize and find all of the items! It’s definitely something I’ve been trying to work on.
I’ve started some new files by category for all of the Illustrations-Vector Art. These are mostly items I have downloaded from various web sources. This is what I’ve come up with:
I still have many “Zip” files to open up and save in appropriate folders. I add folders as needed.
My textures folder needs some work! Right now I have a main Textures & Backgrounds folder, then some are by the company purchased from (like Design Cuts, 2 Lil Owls, French Kiss, etc.). Other miscellaneous textures are filed by style (Bokeh, Chalboard, Concrete, Metal, Grain, etc.) like this:
My biggest issue right now is I’m not sure if I want to keep, say, Design Cuts all in that folder, or separate the items into easier-to-find folders! I may keep the original folders and copy items into other folders by subject. It is a hugely time consuming project since I have so many assets and have not kept up with sorting as I purchase more. So if you are in the same boat, you’re not alone! It will be an ongoing project for sure.
I’ve been invited to speak at several conferences around the U.S. this year. First up is the CanAm Photo Expo in Buffalo, NY, April 26-28. The event will be held at the Buffalo Grand Hotel, which is completing renovations and will be a beautiful new facility.
They are keeping me very busy that weekend. I will be doing two sessions on “HDR-The Natural Look”, two sessions of “Creativity with Topaz & Textures” plus a Topaz lecture in the Macro Lab on Friday afternoon as well as some hands-on photo ops in the Macro Lab on Sunday morning. Whew!
Goodbye 2018 – Hello 2019! Just one more day till we ring in the new year! Time sure does fly, doesn’t it? I have lots of plans for photography projects this coming year – the 2nd eBook is progressing (release by 4/1 or sooner); some online tutorials (written and videos); more textures, of course; and a few other projects I am contemplating! The Creative Photography Conference will be heading out to new locations – working on something for Fall of 2019. We’re planning on two conferences a year – one in Spring and one in the Fall.
And, of course, you may know that we are planning a move this year to Tennessee near the Great Smoky Mountains! Still looking for our new place – I’m sure we’ll find it when the time is right!
This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of some textures taken from that same trip to Virginia. Rocks, rust and some old barn wood. Enjoy!
AND…I’ve just posted “Sunday Sampler Group 5” for sale in the Peacock Studio! This consists of all of the textures from the Sunday Samplers from Jan – June 2018. Every six months I group the textures and post in the store in case you’re new to the blog and/or missed them previously. There is always AT LEAST six months worth that you can scroll back through the old blog posts and download.
The Sunday Sampler Groups normally sell for $15 each, but I’m doing a SALE on ALL FIVE GROUPS till next Sunday for JUST $10 per group! Each group has at least 70 large textures (4500 px x 3000 px). These can be used for both personal and commercial work, but they cannot be shared, sold or redistributed in any way. CHECK OUT THE SALE HERE!
NOTE: Because these are such large files (300-600MB), I will send you a direct link after purchase. Thanks!
My next Topaz webinar will be Tuesday, January 8th at 5:00 pm Eastern time. Registration will go live later this week.
Join me for some new creative techniques in Topaz Studio, where I’ll use the Pro Adjustments, Impression and, of course, Topaz Texture Effects! I’ll give you some insight on my thought process and why I select the effects that I do, as well as how to modify presets to your taste and layer multiple presets.
PIXELO has been having some great deals lately! This one expires in just 24 Hours (9 am Eastern time on Monday). THE CHRISTMAS & WINTER BUNDLEconsists of:
66 Ready Christmas Photo Overlays
700+ Christmas Lightroom Presets
456 Fog and Rain Photo Overlays
180+ Abstract Snowflakes
130+ Christmas Bokeh Photo Overlays
120+ Christmas Light Leaks Photo Overlays
110+ Christmas Sparks Photo Overlays
100 Professional Lens Flare Overlays
100 Fairy Light Overlays
94 Firefly Photo Overlays
80 Snowflake Photo Overlays
77 Abstract Lines Photo Overlays
60 Galaxy Stars Photo Overlays
60 Confetti Photo Overlays
50 Winter Frames
50 Frozen Photo Overlays
28 Christmas clip art Overlays
15 Glitter Effect Photo Overlays
15 Fireworks Photo Overlays
Lifetime download access
CLICK HERE TO GRAB IT NOW BEFORE IT EXPIRES – JUST $9
AND…check back every day this week for the 7 days of Sizzling Offers!
Here’s a good article on a project for a Winter day when you want to say inside…“How to Photograph Smoke” from PictureCorrect.com.
Happy Sunday! This week’s Sunday Sampler has 4 textures – 2 glittery and 2 mosaic (well, 1 mosaic that was also edited in Topaz Impression – would make a good background for garden shots – you could blur it even more if you wanted!). Enjoy! And don’t forget to share your creations in our Facebook group, “Textures: Turn Ho-Hum Into a Work of Art”.
If you missed my post on Friday, Topaz has their biggest sale of the year now through midnight (CST) December 26th. Click HERE for Friday’s Blog Post and all the details! Also in that post is a great deal on font bundles from Pixelo and some freebies!
More Q&A from October webinar
This question is more about Photoshop than Topaz, but I thought it might be something handy to know!
Q: The question was on the image of the pumpkins that I edited. I mentioned I had copied a pumpkin and added it to the foreground to fill an empty space. Someone asked how I did that, so, here we go!
A: Here are the steps I did.
Above is the original image. The first thing I did was use the Healing Brush to get rid of the little bits of pumpkin along the right edge as well as the dark bit in the very lower right of the image. So now we have a clean image (below).
The second step is to use the Quick Selection Tool and select the pumpkin in the middle foreground (see below). I also selected the shadow. Once you have your selection perfected, click Control+J to copy that pumpkin onto a separate layer. (Command+J on a Mac)
Now we’ll select the layer with the new pumpkin and using the Move tool we can move it into position. I didn’t want it to look exactly like the original pumpkin, so I did a few steps to change it. First, I “flipped” it horizontally – Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal (that will flip just that one layer and not the whole image). Next, with the Move tool active, move the pumpkin into position and using the “handles” (the little squares around the edges) I made it slightly larger and stretched it slightly wider than the original. That’s it – we now have an additional pumpkin filling in that empty space in the original image!
If you are unsure how to make selections or transform the selection, do a quick Google search – there are TONS of tutorials on all things Photoshop!
Get everything we own in one purchase – the Everything We Own Bundle is only $499.99: Our best deal of the year – Plugins, Pro Adjustments, and Standalone Products – all in one bundle all for only $500 during this sale only!
Artistic Bundle (a Holiday Sale Exclusive) for $199.99: Get our top artistic tools including Glow in Studio, the Impression Adjustment, A.I. ReMix, Simplify in Studio and Texture Effects in Studio, in one big bundle for one low price during this sale only.
A.I. Gigapixel at the lowest price of the year – only $69.99: Get our most popular product of the year at the lowest price of the season. That’s $30 off the original price of A.I. Gigapixel!
25% off all individual items storewide: For people who don’t want to take advantage of the massive savings for each of the bundles above, they will still save 25% automatically when they purchase any items during this promotion! (Does not include the Everything Bundle or the Artistic Bundle)
Give a gift and get 15% back in store credit – It’s the time of year to shop for others! With Topaz, you can give incredible, one-of-a-kind gifts. With lifetime free updates and the best savings of the year, it’s the perfect time to give the gift of Topaz! And it’s the gift that keeps on giving – for every gift you buy, get 15% back in store credit to use for yourself!
(And as always, if you already own SOME of the Topaz products, be sure to log in to your account and when you add the bundle to your cart, you will see your specific pricing based on what you already own.)
Pixelo – Buy 1 Get 1 FREE deal!
Act fast on this one! Deal Expires Sunday midnight UK time!
This offer includes their extended license, making it even more valuable for you. You’re able to use these resources in wider, original designs for personal and commercial projects. JUST $29 FOR BOTH BUNDLES!
What’s included in this bundle?
The Modern Fonts Bundle: 94 high-quality font families & 526 unique fonts;
The Decorative Fonts Bundle: 67 high-quality font families & 121 unique fonts;
Commercial License, check out more about the license;