June 9 – Sunday Sampler

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

Sunday Sampler header

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

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

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

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

And the final image:

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

Survey – New Logo Design!

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

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

NUMBER 1

NUMBER 2

NUMBER 3

NUMBER 4

NUMBER 5

NUMBER 6

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

THANKS FOR YOUR HELP!

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great week!

Jan. 13 – Sunday Sampler

This week’s Sunday Sampler are some “grassy” shots to make us thing of Spring! The original image was taken in Savannah, GA, as we walked around Fort Pulaski. I suppose it could have been taken anywhere, but this was where I happened to take this shot! I modified it three ways in Topaz Impression. These will make great backdrops to other images. Enjoy!

Thank you to everyone who watched my Topaz webinar on Tuesday. I appreciate the kind words through email and Facebook. If you missed the webinar, the recording is posted on the Topaz YouTube channel HERE. You can also find it on the TopazLabs.com site under the “Learn” tab > Webinars. Just scroll down to the recordings.

And, if you’d like my notes from the webinar PLUS all the images I used, PLUS some bonus textures, you can find them for just $5 in the Peacock Studio store HERE.

Topaz also has a 20% discount code for the webinar – hazelweb14 – good until midnight tomorrow, Monday, on anything in the Topaz store. I also have a code on my eBooks and textures (also in the Peacock Studio) for 25% off until midnight Tuesday 1/15 EST.

We always have so many questions during a webinar that we can’t get to answer all of them, so I’ll be answering some here in the “Topaz Corner” over the next few weeks. If you have a question on Topaz that you’d like answered, email me at Hazel@MeredithImages.com and I will try to include it.

Q: In several of my projects I used a border texture rather than a regular vignette and someone asked why.

A: It’s truly a matter of personal preference, however, I often use the borders instead of a vignette if I want a more subtle edge-darkening. The borders also tend to be “irregular” shaped, and I often like that look.

Q: Do you always work in jpg when editing in Topaz?

A: No, usually I’m importing a RAW or tiff file. I use jpgs for the webinars because they are smaller and process faster.

Q: Where can I find more of Hazel’s work with tutorials and how long has she been working with layers and textures and creating such amazing works?

A: Thank you for your kind words! I’ve been working with textures and such for about 9 years. I’m not positive how I really started – I’m sure I saw something online or at a camera club and just started playing around! You can find more of my images on my website http://www.MeredithImages.com or on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MeredithImages/

I’ll be answering a few more questions next week.

A few items I found this week:

From Light Stalking, “The Coolest Photography Links of the Week”.

Design Cuts has a FABULOUS Vintage Bundle (I’m going to be getting this one myself)! $1780 worth of delicious vintage goodies for just $29! Check it out HERE! Retro fonts, beautifully preserved illustrations, vintage papers, effects, textures and so much more!

Ending with some sad news…

Some of you may know Joe LeFevre, a fabulous photographer, gifted teacher and gentle, sweet man, who taught at many camera clubs and conferences around the country. Sadly, Joe passed away this week. He will be missed by so many in our photographic circle. Godspeed, dear Joe.

The Adirondack Photography Institute, where he taught many workshops, posted this on Facebook yesterday.

It is with deep sorrow that we relay the news of API instructor Joe LeFevre’s passing, on Thursday, January 10th. Joe was a beloved and gifted photographer, consummate teacher, public speaker, and our great friend. He was a devoted family man and a man of great faith. We will miss him dearly. Joe is survived by his immediate family, wife Linda, sons Robert and David, and daughter Joanna. We offer them our continued love and prayers.

As a photographer, Joe was renowned for his compositional skills, and for readily incorporating cutting-edge digital technologies in his imagery. He had a special affinity for creating panoramas, and shooting time-lapse sequences and video. He created instructional DVD’s on numerous photographic topics and a DVD showcasing the Adirondacks.

Joe also cherished sharing his love and knowledge of nature photography through workshops. We know he felt blessed by the many friendships he made through them, and the wonderful experiences shared. To all those he touched, our sincere condolences. One aspect of his enduring legacy will be that he not only made us better photographers, but better people.

We love you Joe.

Aug. 5 – Sunday Sampler

Happy August! Hard to believe we’re heading in the waning months of Summer – though I won’t mind when this humidity goes away! It’s been an exceptionally muggy Summer in CT. And sending our prayers to those in California and the West affected by the awful fires. One of my school friends lives very near the Carr fire. He’s been ready to evacuate for over a week.

 

This week’s Sunday Sampler consists of rocks from the caverns under Lookout Mountain in GA. We visited there a few years ago to see Ruby Falls – an underground waterfall as well a Rock City, a beautiful garden at the top of the mountain. Worth a visit if you are in the area.

 

A friend of mine (that I’ve known since grammar school!) is opening a shop in town – Connecticut Band Instrument Services – and I’ve created some digital pieces that have been printed on canvas and will hang in the store. There are some music quotes, and photos. And one of the pieces (shown below) can be customized with the instrument, school colors and name, etc. I’ve set up a page in my Peacock Studio online store. If you or someone you know someone who is musically inclined, check it out HERE! Click on Digital Art.

 

Over on inSight Designs, Free Texture Grabs LOTS of different items! As always, check Terms of Use before using in commercial pieces.

From PictureCorrect.com, “5 Easy Ways to Start Photo Editing in Lightroom”

From ImprovePhotography.com, “11 Ways Landscape Photographers Can Monetize their Portfolios”

And a couple more great font bundles from Pixel Surplus (affiliate link)

The REFINED FONT BUNDLE – 29 fonts for $29

And the HAND DRAWN FONT BUNDLE – 29 fonts for $29

Save even more if you purchase both bundles for $54!

 

Have a great week!

 

 

 

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!

 

 

July 1 – Sunday Sampler

Wow – July! Half way through 2018 already! Time sure does fly these days!

 

Since this coming week is Independence Day, I though fireworks would make a great Sunday Sampler! You can combine these or apply them to another image – just use the “Lighten” blending mode in PS or Elements. This image is all 3 shots combined:

 

 

I am very excited to be a
webinar presenter for this new software
StudioMagic
Photoshop Plugins!

This software lets you quickly and easily create some awesome effects including changing seasons, creating sunset looks, lighting effects, reflections, and rainbows as well as compositing, reflections, and much more!

Check it out here – there is a short video that demonstrates some of these cool effects!
https://store.layercakeelements.com/gav/webinar.html

StudioMagic helps you create dramatic effects quickly and easily. Join me, Gavin Phillips and software creator, Alan Mayer, for an informative and fun webinar.

Join us on 
Thursday, July 26th at 11 am Pacific/2 pm Eastern time. Sign up even if you can’t make it at that time and you’ll receive a link to be able to watch the recorded webinar any time afterwards. 

And…just for signing up for the webinar, you will receive a Free Set of Elegance PS Actions as well as a movie of how to create a double exposure in Photoshop! (A $47 value) 

 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!

 

Thanks again to the 1,000 people that tuned in to my Topaz webinar a couple weeks ago!! There were over 2,000 registered – GoToWebinar maxes out at 1,000! It’s SO cool to see the “hello’s” in the chat box from all over the world as well as the kind comments.

If you missed the webinar, or want to watch again, the unedited replay can be found here: TOPAZ WEBINAR. The edited version will be on their YouTube channel soon.

I am also offering copies of my Notes from the Webinar – along with some bonus textures – for just $5 in my web store. With these, you get the images I used in the webinar and my detailed instructions so you can follow along and see how I created the final product. Find them in the Peacock Studio HEREJust click on Topaz Notes in the store.

I saved all the questions and comments from the Chat Box so that I can answer a few questions here on the Blog. Let’s get to a couple.

Q: How far do you go in LR before going to Studio?

A: Most of the time, I do my basic editing in Lightroom, then open the file in Photoshop. From there I open Studio – or if I know I want to work in a particular Topaz module (like Texture Effects or Impression) I may open that module from Photoshop. Other times, however, I do open right into Studio if I really want to play with various Topaz modules.

Workflow is one of those very personal things – there’s really no right or wrong, it’s what works best for you!

Q: How do I add my own textures to Studio?

A: You can easily add your own (or other textures you have purchased or downloaded) to Studio.

Open Studio > open any image >

Go to “Adjustments” on the right toolbar > Textures.

Next to “Category” click on the little icon (square with the turned corner).

This will open the “Texture Manager”. If you want to create a separate folder for your own textures, click on “+ Add Category” > Name the Folder and click OK.

Make sure the new folder is highlighted in the left column > then click “Import” > scroll to where you have the textures saved, highlight the textures then click “Open” > they will now be imported to your folder.

To access them back in Textures, click the drop down for Category and select the folder you just created.

I will answer more questions in the coming weeks.

 

FREEBIES!

From Creative GraphicaFree FontsThey also have free Graphics and Crafts (word art) – click the tabs at the top.

From Pixel Surplus – various freebies – fonts, textures, graphics and more – Freebie Roundup

And from Deal Jumbo – free textures/photos; fonts; graphics; mock-ups – click the Freebies link to get to all of the various categories. Photo Freebies

 

Have a happy and safe 4th of July!

A composite of 4 fireworks shot taken at this location!

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!

 

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 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.

 

NEW ONLINE CLASS COMING SOON!

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 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!

HOWEVER, IN ORDER TO SECURE A SPOT FOR THE ROOM, YOU WILL NEED TO PROVIDE A $150 DEPOSIT TO US BY EITHER CHECK OR CREDIT CARD. Email Dave@MeredithImages.com for further instructions.

LINK TO COMPANY HOUSE WE’LL BE STAYING AT:

http://www.inntopia.travel/aspnet/09/product.aspx?supplierid=7817024&productid=13&salesid=7816916&language=EN 

And a flyer with the details too:

Contact him at Dave@MeredithImages.com 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. http://www.GerriJonesPhotography.com Instagram: gerri.gjones

See more of Gerri’s work on the Conference page of our website at: http://www.meredithimages.com/creative-photography-conference/

 

From Line25.com – 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!

Feb. 26 – NEW FROM TOPAZ – “AI ReMix”!

Wow! I can’t wait to get this downloaded and start playing! The folks at Topaz keep outdoing themselves with all the creative options they are releasing.

This newest part of Topaz Studio – Artistic Intelligence ReMix is the first desktop application that uses the power of Artificial Intelligence to transform your image’s style to recreate contemporary and classic artistic styles with the click of a button.
More than the typical use of AI, it’s the first of Topaz Studio’s ‘Artistic Intelligence’ adjustments.

Dozens of Unique Styles.
Over 30 unique artistic styles created to mimic realistic works of Classic and Contemporary artwork, trained to produce a huge variety of inspired dramatic styles personalized for each image you apply them to.

With even more styles coming soon!

The Only Desktop Application for AI Styles.
AI ReMix is the first and only desktop application that uses a custom AI model to quickly reproduce a wide variety of creative classic and contemporary styles customized to match the contours and content of your images.

Enhanced with the Power of Topaz Studio.
Take AI ReMix even further with the full range of free tools, features, and adjustments available in Topaz Studio. With features like integrated masking, over 20 blending modes and opacity controls, toning and color controls, unlimited undo/redo, and much more.

AI ReMix will normally be $49.99 – save 20% and get it now at the special price of $39.99 till March 10th (no coupon code needed). CLICK HERE TO GRAB THE SAVINGS!

You can even try it for FREE for 30 days – just install Topaz Studio (if you don’t have it yet – it’s free too!) or update your Topaz Studio to the latest version – 1.8.