Friday, December 31, 2010

Worn 80s Ad Tutorial

Sandra asked me to use her photo (check it out here) to create a tutorial for an old 80s advertisement look, so of course I hopped on the chance. I promise you, this looks a lot longer and more complicated than it actually is. Just stick with it! :) It's meant for novices, hence the wordiness.

Open your file (of course).

Copy this photo and paste it over the photo. If it is smaller than your photo, just resize it until it is much larger.

Move the newspaper layer until the words are in a desirable position.

Double-click this layer, and under "Blend Mode:", change Normal to Multiply. Then, lower the Fill Opacity (NOT the Opacity) to a very low number. I used 6%. Press OK.

Under the Layer section, scroll down to Layer Mask and click Reveal All. This layer mask will allow you to "erase" parts of the layer without permanently losing it. Instead of using the erase tool, you use the brush tool on black to erase. If you wish to replace the erased information, just paint back over that area with a white brush.

Using a large soft, round brush, paint over your subject to remove disturbing areas of the texture. If you mess up a little, don't worry! Remember, you can paint white to put it back.

Next, click Layer -> New Fill Layer -> Solid Color...  and click OK on the pop-up. Now choose a grey color that you'd like to be your hue. I used d0d0cc.

Again, double-click the new layer and set the Blend Mode to Multiply. This time, leave the Fill Opacity alone.

Create another Solid Color fill layer, click OK, and choose a more reddish dark color. This is going to be the color of shadows in your photo, so make sure it's not too light. If you do make it too light, you can always fix it. In my case, I used 150f0f.

Double-click the new color and set it to Screen.

Now we get to the fun part: Brushes and textures. I personally look for these all over the place, but for this, I have used the "Paper Works" brush from 500ml. You can use any wrinkled paper brush you want for this effect.

First we're going to create a new layer. You can do this however you want. I simply type ctrl+alt+shift+N. Then, with your brush color set to black and your size larger than or the same size as your image, click over the photo.

Set the brush layer to Overlay.

Just to give the picture a tiny bit more texture, push ctrl+alt+shift+N again and ctrl+alt+shift+E. This will create a new layer that looks exactly like everything under it. It's called a stamp.

Under Filter, click Artistic and Plastic Wrap... Make your Highlight Strength very low (2 or 3), your Detail high (I used 11), and Smoothness very low (1-3). Don't worry about what this is doing to your subject. If it doesn't look alright, you can mask away the new highlights over the subject. Press OK.

Make another stamp and burn the edges of the photo however you want to make a vignette.

[OPTIONALClick on the Background layer and press ctrl+J or Duplicate Layer. Drag that layer to the top.

Making sure that your background color is set to white, go to Filter -> Distort -> Diffuse Glow. Graininess should be 0, Glow Amount medium (11 in my case), and Clear Amount medium (8 for me). It'll be different for every photo. You just want enough glow to make the edges of your subject fuzzy and white . Press OK.

Set that layer to Linear Dodge at Fill Opacity 10% or lower.]

Lastly, make a stamp of the finished product, double click it, and under Blending Options, click Gradient Overlay. Make the gradient diagonal with a gray on one side and white on the other. Set the Blend Mode of the Gradient Overlay to Color at around 58%. Press OK.

[OPTIONAL: Add text in a sans-serif bold font such as Eras Bold ITC and change the color to a midtone from the photo.]

Flatten your image and save it. You're finally finished!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Down with the sickness

I'm sick today so I'm just going to keep it short and simple. The challenge was rule of thirds, and this was on my back porch. lol


I was in a great mood today. Unfortunately, the camera says otherwise. This is what I ended up with for the soft light challenge:

Kind of dreary and moody. Hmm.

Anyhow, goodnight! :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Why So Serious?

How was your day? Mine was great. My friend Renee is visiting for the week! I decided to photograph her today. The challenge was to illustrate coldness, but I didn't exactly go for that. On the other hand, it actually sort of works despite the warming filter I used. What do you think?

On another note, Sandra has requested that I revisit my cruddy image from a couple of days ago, so I used all her suggestions about it and this is what I came out with:

I do like the edit better-- the texture is a metal one I downloaded years ago-- but I'm still none too thrilled with this photo. I guess I'll have to try again someday!

I Feel Pretty

Today's challenge was supposed to be to emphasize the horizon, but... well, I just plain don't go outside during acceptable hours, SO instead I decided to photograph some shoes and my adorable new dress. :D I hope this is acceptable.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Inspiration was a no-show

:( Sorry. I spent today cleaning and sleeping my pain away. Wasn't doing a very good job on my photography. Maybe tomorrow?

The view from my window.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Heavenly Peeeeace

Merry Christmas, y'all! I hope it was a great one. :)

Today's challenge was to illustrate peace and harmony (or just plain peace and quiet!) so I went outside once it began to snow. Here's my shot.

And a few more for the road. :)

Mother Nature loves you.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Seeing Red

Today's challenge was-- you guessed it-- red. Since most of my photos have been Christmas-related, I didn't want to go that route, so I looked around and found a faded fake flower on my back porch.

Shockingly enough, I barely edited this thing at all. Cropped it, adjusted the contrast slightly, and added the pinline frame and signature. I didn't even add that glowy effect, though I'm rather curious as to where it came from. It's not one of my best photos, but I'm happy with it for now. :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Still Tired, But More Inspired!

I'm posting now in case I don't get to it later since I'm going out with some friends tonight. It doesn't apply to today's challenge (Make a photograph of something metal or metallic today with an emphasis on how light interacts with the surface.) but I'm hoping to actually do today's challenge as well. If so, this post will be edited. :)

Anyhow, on to the photo!

Used RAW's split toning to make the blue cast and added the stroke (the pinline frame) as an afterthought. I hope it's satisfactory.

Too Tired to be Inspired

:( I'm not very good at this daily challenge thing. Hopefully, things will get better once I'm no longer running around all day like a madwoman. Until then, here is the horrid, uninspired photo for the day's challenge of "circular or round objects." Processed with this action.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Excuses Excuses

I spent part of the afternoon and the entire evening wrapping Christmas gifts today. I am pooped. Far too pooped to take pictures...

So naturally, I took pictures.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tis the Season to be Silly

Well, I really didn't feel like following today's challenge, SO I decided to be silly and head to the Christmas tree. I'm hoping tomorrow brings me a little more inspiration. Until then, enjoy!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Warm It Up!

Today's challenge was to illustrate one of the meanings of warmth.

Battery-operated candles make ME feel all warm n fuzzy inside. I don't know about you! :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Well... today I was feeling pretty down and moody, so I decided to use my creepy little doll, Annabelle. She always seems to be in a mood... which is strange considering she's just a doll.

Anyhow, this is what I did for today's challenge, which was a repeat of a few days ago-- small f-stop. I know it's pretty blown out, but it's exactly what I intended. I'm testing out portraiture of different types since my grandparents keep drumming up business for me.

Do you think I'm on the right track?

Friday, December 17, 2010


Today's challenge: 
"Focus in on some squares today and make a photograph."

I found squares EVERYWHERE today, but no one would allow me to take photographs (darn legal issues lol), so eventually I gave up and went to my room for some help. This is what I got.

I decided to go with that generic senior photo look with my high school yearbook (the metallic grid that the dog is on), a gift my baby cousin gave me on my graduation day, and my actual grad gown (the white background). 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Jingle All the Way

Greetings! Today, the challenge was to find a repeating pattern and make a photograph of it. Unfortunately, I was not feeling all too creative, so I grabbed my belly dancing belts (or my "jingle belts," as I like to call them) and snapped away.

Here are the more generic photos.

Hmm. There's something wrong with the color after uploading. Meh! And here are the other two.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

No Nanners Today

Today's challenge was to shoot something yellow, but as it turns out, the only yellow items in and around my house are a wooden duck that I'd like to save for later, a bunch of bananas (ew), and a yellow FiestaWare pot with some little glass balls in it, so guess which one I picked.

Whoops, didn't mean to frame this so tightly. I'll add it to the list of things to pay attention to!

Personal fave for the day.
To go along with the theme (and yet somehow not matching at all), I'll toss in one more.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Today's challenge was to use a shallow depth of field, which I do pretty much always, so I decided to use today to experiment with RAW. I've only been using it for a few weeks now, so it's still pretty new to me.

First up, we have an abstract photo. I used my 3 close-up filters to get right on my (fairly obvious) subject and used the on-camera flash. In editing the photo, all I did was tweak the levels and add a vignette. Somehow, it ended up being my favorite for the day.

Next, we have the cake photos. I'm not too fond of them, but I took the time to edit them, so here they are.

Lastly, the more experimental photos.

With flash.

Without flash and color manipulated with RAW
I hope today's post isn't too disappointing. :-/

Monday, December 13, 2010

In the spirit

Today's challenge was as follows:
"Make a photo of a pair of subjects today. People or inanimate objects are both fair game!"

I thought I would stick with the holiday theme for another day and add in the New Year Mickey Mouse antenna topper to make my pair. They're not great photos considering I only used the natural light in my dark house, but I'm satisfied with the results for the time being.

Here are a few other photos I took today from the same decorations.

With flash.

With flash.

Hope you like them!

Happy Holidays!

Mickey Mouse antenna topper, with a texture of clothing I photographed last week. I obviously do not know how to properly use my on-camera flash yet.

My name is Alexis, and I am an addict. Since the day my grandparents bought me my very first DSLR, I have been crazy about photography. I've been attempting to learn as much as possible in these past 9 months, but it never ends- the one thing I love most about art!

Unfortunately, there is always a need for more or different equipment, new subjects, and sometimes just the energy to get out there and search for beauty, so I don't always take as many photographs as I'd like. That is why Sandra Marek, the mother of my best friend (and a dear friend in her own right), decided to challenge me to take a photo a day. She is an amazing photographer, so I am constantly bugging her for tips. Now it's time to figure it out for myself!

Right. As if I'll ever stop bugging her. LOL

Anyhow, thanks for visiting! My first challenge photo will come later today.