Sunday Sampler July 21

Whew, it’s HOT out there! Here in the Northeast the heat index yesterday and today is over 110! Stay indoors in AC if possible and stay hydrated. I’m staying inside and doing some packing!

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of some wallpaper images! When I travel I love to check around the hotel for unusual patterns in wallpaper, rugs, fabrics, etc. There are three textures and two of them have two versions for a total of 5. I think the twig one will be great to overlay in a background!

Info on the newest Topaz product is supposed to be under wraps until release day this coming week. However, you may have seen some info posted on social media – but I’ll just say, “stay tuned this week”! I’ll be doing a special blog post when it’s official! I’ve been involved with the pre-beta and beta testing and I think you will all be very happy (I know I am!).

Don’t Miss Out on my July Specials!

Just 10 days left to grab these deals!

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


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!

Photo Competition!

I came across this photo competition being held at the Pennsylvania Center for Photography, and I thought some of you might be interested too (I will be entering). The theme for this is “Transformations”, so it’s right up our alley with creative photography! Entry is open now through Sept. 25th. If you are not nearby to enter prints, they also have a digital division.

Check out the Prospectus HERE. With some competitions you need to be careful as to what rights you are giving away. With this one, you retain all copyrights – you only give them permission to use your image (with credit) for advertising future competitions. Good luck!

Free Watercolor Action from Adobe Create Magazine

Actions are a great way to save time when batch editing photos. They can also be a fun way to get creative with your images with minimal work. I found this action on creating a Watercolor look from Adobe – CLICK HERE

I haven’t tried this one myself yet, but I did play around with one I got from Graphic River call Architectural Sketch – I like the way this image came out:

Graphic River – and many other great artists – sell a wide variety of actions on Creative Market.

One thing to pay attention to with actions – in some cases you need to “do” something before running the action. In the example above, I had to create a new blank layer and name it “ga”, then use a round brush to brush where I wanted the effect to be (over the lighthouse). THEN hit the “run” button for the action. It’s not difficult, you just need to be sure to read the instructions for each action to be sure it runs properly.

Also – if you are an Elements user, be sure that the action says it will run on Elements. Some will and some won’t, depending on the steps required to complete it.

Another quick way to create a watercolor look is with this Watercolor Creator from DealJumbo. Here you just add your image to the file – no action needed! This deal expires in 10 DAYS – and it’s just $7. Save another 30% with the code PUP30 (expires 07/22/2019 23:59:59 CET – central europe time), so use it quick!

Also be sure to check out their FREEBIES page HERE!

Have a great week – and don’t forget to watch for the Topaz News this week (due to release on Thursday). I’ll be traveling to Michigan this week for the SWMCCC Conference, but I’ll get the info out to you! Next Sunday’s blog post may be delayed a day or two as I won’t be back home till late Monday.

March 31 – Sunday Sampler

The end of March already – just WHERE does the time go these days?! Don’t get fooled tomorrow! Happy April Fool’s Day!

For this week’s Sunday Sampler, I took a slightly blurred wooden plank shot and gave it four other treatments – so a total of 5 textures this week! Enjoy!

This week Topaz Labs released an update to Gigapixel AI. If you already own the product, the update is free. If you don’t already own it, you can save $20 on the price of $99.99 until April 5th – CLICK HERE!

“Gigapixel AI allows you to enlarge images up to 600%! You can create beautiful 80 x 60 inch prints from a simple iPhone photo. Or transform your DSLR photos into sharp and ultra-detailed 100MP images.

After being training with millions of sample images, Gigapixel can now enlarge your images with a surprising level of quality.

Gigapixel performs around 2 million operations per pixel to get you results with as much detail and sharpness as possible.

No matter why you’re enlarging your photos, you always want the best possibly quality for your results. Gigapixel AI is currently the only photo enlargement product available that can actually add detail back to your upscaled photo.”

Check out more samples and grab your copy HERE on the Topaz site!

If you have a smartphone and want to learn more about apps and how to use them, check out The App Whisperer for some great info!

Jane Driscoll does some great tutorials in some of the iPhone Facebook groups…AND…she’ll be one of 8 presenters at our Creative Photography Conference! Check out info on Jane and our other speakers on the website and join us May 18-19, 2019 in Southbridge, MA for our 3rd Conference!

And join me and a great line-up of speakers at the CanAm Photo Expo, April 26-28, 2019 in Buffalo, NY. I’ll be doing multiple sessions on “HDR – The Natural Look” and “Creativity with Topaz & Textures” along with sessions in the Macro Lab helping you create some textures of your own!

Oct. 21 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Sunday! Holidays are fast approaching!! Yikes! Quite blustery today in CT after a nice Fall day yesterday.

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of cracked paint on old train cars at the New England Railway Museum where we did a night shoot last weekend. Enjoy!


Registration is under way for our 2019 Conference! We have an awesome line up of speakers for you this year. I’ll be featuring them here on the blog as well as on the website.

Our first featured speaker is John Barclay, an amazing photographer, fellow Topaz speaker (John recommended me to Topaz as a webinar presenter), inspiring and a nice guy!

“John is an award winning freelance photographer based in Bucks County PA. He is a passionate photographer and enthusiastic workshop leader. John is also an inspirational speaker sharing his program ‘Dream – Believe – Create’ to audiences around the Country.

John was personally selected by Dewitt Jones to participate in his project. John’s work has been published in a number of magazines and books and has been used by Nik Software, Topaz Labs and Lensbaby in their advertising campaigns.

Recently, John was the recipient of an excellence award from B&W Magazine.”

John will be presenting his “Dream-Believe-Create” program at the Creative Photography Conference, as well as doing a session on creating with Topaz. He will also be one of the two Pre-Conference presenters with a hands-on Topaz class.

Check out all the details at

And don’t miss out on the “Early Bird” registration – now through Nov. 30th!



Exciting – although unexpected – as of Friday I no longer have my full-time job! Layoffs throughout the company (I’d been there almost 17 years!). Sad to miss my co-workers, but relieved as well. I won’t miss being micro-managed!

So…this gives me more time to pursue more photography projects for my own business! Stay tuned…I WILL be finishing my second textures eBook (that I’ve been trying to do for over a year); I will be offering more training – in-person and by webinars; adding some new products to the Peacock Studio; and some other things as well! I’ll probably be even busier than when I was working full-time.

I will be heading to Cape Cod on Thursday to judge as the Cape Cod Art Center Camera Club, then spending some time Friday photographing with Betty Wiley (who will also be a speaker at our Creative Photography Conference).

Next up will be my 11th Topaz Webinar on Tuesday, Oct. 30th at 5:00 Eastern Time. Sign ups should start soon on the Topaz site – keep an eye on THIS PAGE.

Check out my list of upcoming seminars and webinars HERE.

And if you missed the webinar this past week with StudioMagic, catch it here:

And you can still get in on the webinar specials (ending in 48 hours). Get 90% off in this special Webinar special deal, you also receive the Framing actions and the Portrait/Wedding actions.

REVIEW the Epic Location sets and StudioMagic plugins below

Get the location sets and StudioMagic plugins for only $125.00 here:

OR…You can purchase ONLY the 1,200 location sets for only $99.00 (80%) off here:



The folks at Design Cuts have another great font bundle now available – the Supreme Quality Font Bundle. Sixteen font families with 271 individual fonts! Full commercial use license. Value $1174 for just $29. Check it out – click here and then go to “Current Bundle”

And, more new from Topaz – expecting an update to AI Clear this week. Stay tuned! I’ll send a post when it’s available.


Have a good Sunday!



July 8 – Sunday Sampler

Happy Sunday! Luckily the heat wave here in the Northeast broke late Friday and it’s been a beautiful weekend – without the need for air conditioning! Hope you all had a relaxing Independence Day!

This week’s Sunday Sampler is one of my favorite subjects – RUST! From subtle grunge to cracked and splotchy! Enjoy!

And remember, you can always desaturate to get a black & white for just the texture without the color, or use hue/saturation or Topaz ReStyle to change the color palette of the textures.



I confirmed our 2nd speaker for the May 18-19, 2019 Creative Photography Conference. In addition to the return of Anne Belmont, Lenbaby specialist, the fabulous John Barclay will be joining the line-up of talented, creative speakers! John is an excellent instructor and workshop leader, a Topaz webinar presenter (he just did his 27th webinar this past week), and an all-around nice guy!

And…new for 2019 will be hands-on sessions on Friday! Bring your laptop and learn along with one of our speakers! Session will be from 1:00-4:00 (additional fee). More details to come!

Be sure to mark you calendar for May 18-19 to join us for the 3rd Creative Photography Conference in Southbridge, MA. There will be early bird pricing offered beginning September 1 through Black Friday (the only discount that will be offered) – don’t miss out! This year will be even bigger and better.

And stay tuned for details on a FALL 2019 Conference in the Chicago area!

Bookmark the web page HERE!


On I found a few cool items for you!

20 Outstanding Free Photoshop Text Effects

25 Rust Textures (you KNOW I’ll be downloading these!)

25 Best Free Fonts for Commercial Use (one can never have too many fonts!)

And from – Photography Composition Tips: How to Tell A More Compelling Story



Thursday, July 26th, 2 pm Eastern/11 am Pacific

And if you haven’t yet, don’t forget to register for my webinar with Gavin & Alan of StudioMagic! Even if you can’t watch live, sign up and you’ll get an email link of the recording AND you’ll get a set of Elegance Photoshop Actions ($47 value) for FREE!

Click HERE to register!


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 25 – Sunday Sampler

Spring has “sort of” sprung! We had another NorEaster this week, but it turned out to be nothing for CT – about an inch of snow where we are on the coast. But across Long Island Sound on Long Island, they got 16″+! Go figure! This week is supposed to get closet to 60, so maybe Spring will actually be here soon!


This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of textures taken yesterday at Automotive Restorations here in Stratford. They had an open house to show off some beautiful machines – some completed, and some in-process. Enjoy!


Join me this Tuesday, March 27th, 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, for a Topaz webinar. Sign up here: will be working in Topaz Studio and demonstrating ways to layer two or more images to create a composite, among some other creative techniques using ReMix and the new Digital Frames! Sign up even if you’re not available at that time and you’ll get a link emailed after the webinar to watch the replay.


This week’s featured speaker is ME! Most of you know my background, but here’s a brief bio:

Hazel Meredith, APSA, MNEC
Meredith Images

Hazel is involved with the photographic community on local, regional and national levels. She is currently a Vice President on the board of the New England Camera Club Council (NECCC), secretary of the Connecticut Association of Photographers; and a member of the Greater Bridgeport Camera Club. She is also active in the Photographic Society of America (PSA).

Her photos have won many awards and competitions in both local club competitions and international salons and she has had several public showings of her work. In 2008 she received an honors distinction of Master Member of the New England Camera Club Council (MNEC) during its annual conference and in 2012 received the PSA Service Award. In September, 2013, she was awarded the distinction of APSA from the Photographic Society of America at their annual conference.

Hazel teaches at many New England camera clubs as well as photographic conferences and events throughout the U.S. She offers workshops and travel photo trips through her company, Meredith Images, and is a regular webinar presenter for Topaz Labs. She released her first eBook, “Working with Textures & Overlays: Turn Ho-Hum into a Work of Art” in October 2015, and is currently working on the sequel!

Hazel enjoys being active in the photographic community and helping others find the joy and satisfaction in taking and perfecting beautiful images.


Conference Programs

I will be doing two hands-on sessions this Conference: “Creating Art with Topaz” and “Processing with Photomatix, Smart Photo Editor and more”. So bring your laptops – or just follow along – and see how I utilize various software to “Turn Ho-Hum into a Work of Art”!

DON’T MISS THE CHANCE TO SAVE $$ on Conference Registration! Individual and Group Discounts ALL END MARCH 31st!

Individuals – use the coupon code Courtesy25 at checkout to save $25. Groups – info is on the website (contact me if you have a group of a different quantity). Click HERE for all the details and to sign up. 

The latest schedule (still tentative but close to finished):


A couple of new sites where I found some great freebies! (As always, check the terms of use before using in commercial work.) – Fonts, brushes, textures and more! – Brushes, textures, vector art and more!


Sept. 3 – Sunday Sampler + Exhibit + Seminars + Tuts

Happy September! Where did the summer go?? Every month flies by these days and Sept. & Oct. are exceptionally busy for me this year!

Yesterday we headed to Scranton, PA to Steamtown National Historic Site for “Railfest 2017”. We weren’t going to go this year, but when they added a Night Shoot, well, we were IN!

Unfortunately we had some rain to contend with, but got some cool shots. Here’s one of my faves – those white dots are not stars, but raindrops!

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of – what else?  – but rusty textures from some of the old trains in the rail yard. Next to the steam engines, my favorite part! Enjoy!



The columnist for the PSA book review column had asked for my eBook to review about a year ago. It takes a while for reviews to be scheduled into the Journal, and I was surprised to see my eBook in this month’s column – and in a nicely accented boxed format! Thanks Marie!

I am planning to have the “sequel” done by Spring!



Yesterday morning before heading to Steamtown, we hung 20 of my “creative” images at the Bethel Public Library, 189 Greenwood Ave., Bethel, CT.  I’m having an artist’s reception on Sat., Sept. 23rd from 2-4 p.m. I will also have cards, bookmarks and my eBook for sale at the reception. Please stop in and say “hi”!



I have several camera club seminars scheduled for Sept., Oct. & Nov. If you are in the area, please stop by! Even if you are not a member of the club, guests are welcome!

Sept. 6 – Greater Bridgeport Camera Club, Stratford, CT – “Getting Started with ProShow Gold”

Sept. 18 – Island Photo Group, Farmingdale, Long Island, NY – “HDR/Topaz/Textures”

Sept. 27 – Merrimack Valley Camera Club,k Andover, MA – “Calibrating Your Monitor”

Oct. 17 – Castle Craig Camera Club, Meriden, CT – “Photoshop Elements Basics”

Oct. 21-24 – SEDONA, AZ – Our Workshop! See for more info!

Nov. 18 – Bronx Photographic Society, Bronx, NY – “Textures & Topaz”



Some cool techniques – 20 Double Exposure Tutorials

And on Light Stalking, 30 Photography Tutorials and Links that You Will Love


Have a great week!

Feb. 26th – Sunday Sampler, Conference Speaker & “I’m Curious”

Happy Sunday! Another week has flown by! This week’s SUNDAY SAMPLER consists of more textures from our upcoming Creative Photography Conference location at the Southbridge Hotel & Conference Center! There are SO many cool things to photograph here for textures!

And speaking of the Conference, I made a “flip book” so you can see just how cool this place really is! Click HERE to view the book and get more details on the Conference.

This week we’re featuring another of our Conference speakers – Gerri Jones from Western New York.

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 and iPhoneography.  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 reviews 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 the Twin Cities Camera Club.

Gerri resides in Wilson, NY with her husband Phil, son, and Basset Hound, Thurman.  Instagram: gerri.gjones

Come see how Gerri creates her own works of art!







A popular subject for nature photographers is photographing birds in flight. While exciting to capture that “perfect” image, it is a type of photography that results in more imperfect shots than perfect ones!

Here’s a tutorial I compiled on “10 Tips for Photographing Birds” that can help you get the desired results.







Spring is coming! New vibes and sunny deals await you. Be ready for all your upcoming projects with an extra 50% Off on everything you see on our website!

There is plenty to choose from. Big bundles, courses, fonts, WordPress themes, you name it, they have it. And even better, they are all up for grabs at half price!

All you have to do is CLICK HERE and use the following code at checkout: 50SPRING (can be used up to 3 times). Offer ends March 1st at 10 AM CST.

April 10th Sunday Sampler + more

Happy Sunday! Here are this week’s textures – consisting of marble, rust and stone! Grab them here!


If you’d like to photograph some great “rust” for your own texture library, join us next Sat., April 16th for a workshop in Assonet, Mass. I will be showing you how to bracket for HDR and also what I look for when photographing for textures. Just $40 per person – sign up HERE!


And if you haven’t grabbed the cool new Design Cuts bundle, it expires Monday evening! Just $29 for over $2000 worth of products!



Many of you grabbed some of the textures being retired over at 2 Lil’ Owls! There are more goodies on sale right now (sales change on Tuesday, so grab them by tomorrow!) Click: 2 Lil’Owls


Have a great week!

March 28th Sunday “Monday” Sampler + Q&A’s

Sorry for being a day late with this week’s Sunday Sampler! Got busy with Easter festivities yesterday!

On Saturday Dave & I took a trip to Vermont (3 hrs. away) to “VINS”, the Vermont Institute of Natural Science. They take care of many injured birds and raptors, with those that cannot be released back into the wild now residents of the institute. Bald eagles, golden eagles, owls, kestrels, hawks and more now call VINS home.

This week’s textures all come from VINS! Barn wood, a birch tree, and owl feathers make up our selection.

Here is one of the VINS residents – a beautiful red tail hawk. She has been with them for many years. One of her wings does not fully extend so she can’t fly long distances any more.

Red Tail Hawk - web

10 Tips for Photographing Birds in Flight

By Hazel Meredith, APSA, MNEC, Meredith Images

 Birds and wildlife are probably the most challenging subjects we can photograph. They move in various directions – especially wildlife when they are running – however there are some things you can do to improve your chances of in-focus bird photos.

  1. Choose your camera settings wisely. You will most definitely want to use continuous focus (AI Servo on a Canon; AF-C on a Nikon), select a center focus point, and use a fast shutter speed of at least 1/1000th of a second.
  2. This means you will be using Shutter Priority mode, so you will need to be sure that when using a fast shutter speed, your f-stop will be in the range of the lens you are using. If not, you will need to increase your ISO setting. Ideally, you want at least an f-stop of f-8 or f-11 to get enough depth-of-field on your bird.
  3. ISO should be at least 400, and possibly higher if lighting conditions are not bright. Most cameras today can easily handle 1600 ISO without a lot of “grain” or digital noise.
  4. Tripod or no tripod. Most times a tripod is useless when photographing birds in flight! Their erratic movements can make it nearly impossible to get a good shot on a tripod. The exception would be if you have a Wimberly or similar type ballhead that allows movement in all directions.
  5. When hand holding a long lens be sure to keep your supporting hand as far out towards the end of the lens barrel as possible. This will reduce camera shake. Also, keep your elbows tucked in and spread your legs should-width apart for stability and ease of panning.
  6. Ideally you will be shooting when you can get front lighting (sun behind your back) with the bird coming at you. Of course, perfect positioning is not always possible!
  7. As with any type of photography, composition is important. When photographing birds keep a large amount of negative space in front of the bird so he has somewhere to travel into the frame of your image. If you focus your center point on the eye of the bird, his body will be behind that point leaving more space in front of the bird.
  8. It is also ideal to be on the same level as the bird. This can be difficult. However, if you can capture the bird when it is swooping low or position yourself on a hill or an elevated bird stand, you can get better images.
  9. Learn the signals to what a bird will do or when they will take off. I learned with the sandhill cranes in New Mexico that they lean forward prior to take off – sometimes for a minute or more! The bird that is leaning the farthest forward will be the one that takes off first. Other birds (as Roman K. says), “lighten the load” before takeoff! Learn the signals of the birds you are trying to photograph. Birds pretty much always take off and land into whatever wind or breeze that there is. Put yourself in the right position with the wind at your back so the bird will be coming towards you when landing or taking off.
  10. Panning technique. It is easier to focus on a bird that is a little farther away than one that is “in your face”. Get an approaching bird aligned in your viewfinder and track it as it moves closer. Once it is in a position you like, fire away. Shooting in short bursts of two or three shots will give you a better chance of getting the wings in a good position. When you are panning with a bird in flight, be sure to continue the panning motion even after you take the shots. Follow through will keep the last shot in focus better than abruptly stopping your movement.


Q & A

During my Topaz webinar earlier this month, attendees asked many questions. While I cannot see that part of the screen while I’m teaching, other attendees can and my hubby, Dave, did some screen shots of questions asked. We did have time to answer a few at the end of the webinar, but there are many more than we can get to in 15 or 20 minutes, and not all of you were on the webinar. So here are a couple of them – I’ll include more in future posts. And feel free to email me YOUR questions too on textures or photography in general.

Q. What format should the files be for adding your own textures (pixels, resolution, etc.)?

A. The textures included in Topaz Texture Effects are 5000×5000 pixels. I usually save my own files at 4500 pixels on the longest side, and always at 300 dpi. Most purchased textures are 3000 pixels minimum – most are more. I also size my images to 15 inches (4500 pixels) on the longest side, so my textures will be pretty closed to my image size. You can stretch or shrink to fit exactly, but you don’t want to have to stretch it too much or it will get very pixelated. Most textures are jpeg files. You can bring these in to your active Photoshop file. I always save first as a PSD file with layers, then as my jpeg file.

Q. Does she print most on canvas, watercolor paper or other paper?

A. I do a lot of canvas prints lately! I don’t do my own paper prints any more, so if I need prints I use one of the pro labs. For canvas I love Canvas on Demand. Great quality and pricing – check Groupon for discounts and sign up for their emails. They have a special today and tomorrow till midnight – $28.29 for a 16 x 20 gallery wrap canvas! Use the code 16X20DEAL. I have to go order one for a gift!

Have a good week everyone!!