Thursday, November 29, 2012

Technique Thursday ... Add Drama to Your Photo's Sky and Reflections with Camera Raw

I don't know about you, but often I take a photo of a gorgeous landscape and when I look at the photo later on my computer, I am underwhelmed. Usually the sky is washed out ... it is just not as blue and bold as I had remembered.

 Unfortunately, your camera and your eye do not see things the exact same way ... but there are tricks and techniques to spruce up your photos. My usual go-to application is Photoshop. But I also love the ease, speed and power of Adobe's Camera Raw software. Let's call it ACR for short.

Here is a snippet of a digital scrapbook layout that I will be sharing with you next week. Imagine this series of photos with the washed out version of my landscape photo in the center frame, instead of this high impact version. It's such a tiny little series of photos, that the original landscape image straight out of camera, would have been lost among the other two bold, colorful photos. 

So, I turned to ACR to fix the image below, and help it better match the mood and feel of the other two images shot that afternoon.

In ACR, you can edit images that are not RAW files. The original image was shot as a .jpg. I use Adobe Bridge, shown below, to view and organize my photos. To open this .jpg image in ACR, I simply highlight my photo(s) in Bridge and press CMD R (CTRL R on a PC), or I can go to File>Open in Camera Raw.

This brings up my ACR window with the image (or images) that were highlighted.

I did some very basic editing and straightening of this photo. I'm not going to go over all the edits I would do in Camera Raw in this mini lesson, but I highly recommend for training, if you are interested in learning more about this program.

The purpose of this tutorial is to focus on how we can quickly and easily add some real drama to our sky and our sky's reflection in the water. To do this, we are going to use the Graduated Filter Tool (G), shown below in red.

Once you click on the Graduated Filter button, your ACR window will change slightly. A new right side panel will be displayed.

For this image, I want to work with the sky (top half of the image) first. Holding down Shift (this will keep your line straight and thus the filter overlay straight), click on the very top of the photo (green circle), or slightly above it, and drag to the area where you want the effect to end (shown with the red circle). I choose the mountains at the horizon line.

Then start to play with the sliders in the right side panel. So, for this image, I know I want to increase my colors and saturation of the sky. I don't want the sky to be so bright and washed out. I moved the Brightness slider to the left to decrease the brightness and darken up the sky. I also increased the saturation and contrast, by moving those sliders to the right. Play around to get the effect you find pleasing.

Below is a random example of the panel, and its sliders, close-up. These are not the settings I used for this image. I just wanted you to be able to see the details.

(The settings I settled on: -84 Brightness, +43 Contrast, +40 Saturation and +6 Clarity. I really wanted to almost "over-do" the effect for this tiny photo. I needed it to better match the intensity of the two other images. If this photo were to be blown up or printed and framed, I would have definitely toned it down!) 

* Remember only the pixels in that red to green zone will be changed, and it is done gradually from green/darkest or strongest effect down to the red/lightest or weakest effect. 

Once you are happy with the sky, click on the New button in the right side panel, to set the sky's graduated filter and begin working on a new filter for the reflection in the water. See image below, the red/green dots have gone white, indicating they are "set" and that you are now ready to create a new graduated filter.

Now, let's create the Graduated filter for the reflection using the same series of steps. Since this is a reflection, we will reverse our starting point (green circle) and place it at the very bottom of the photo or slightly below. This will be the darkest part of the graduated filter's effect. We want it to mirror what we see above in the sky. So, holding down Shift, click near the bottom of the photo (my green circle) and drag to the point where you want the effect to end (my red circle). I choose to end my effect near the horizon, where the water meets the mountains. The end click is the red dot and the lightest of the graduated filter's effects. See my red/green clicks below.

Again, play with the sliders to get the effect you want. For my photo, the tree on the right gives me some valuable information about the lighting in my photo. The tree branches and leaves on top are much lighter and brighter than the ones near the bottom of the photo. So I choose to make the water area even deeper and darker than the sky. I moved my Exposure slider to the left to make the water graduated filter darker than my sky.

(The settings I settled on: - 15 Exposure, -80 Brightness, +43 Contrast, +35 Saturation and +6 Clarity.)

*Note: Your filter lines do not need to be a straight line, up and down. You can drag at angles. You can drag across the photo (ex. left to right). If you do not want a straight line, do no hold down the Shift key. Experiment. Play. You can also use this technique to lighten photos that have been underexposed, by increasing the Brightness (and perhaps the Exposure slightly). 

 My final landscape image using just a few clicks in Camera Raw. Blue, bold and beautiful!

If you decide to give this a try on your own photos, I'd love to see what you create! Feel free to share a link!

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial.
xoxo -jenn

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Workshop Wednesday ... Getting Arty in 2013 and Illustrator

I don't know about you, but I am always on the hunt for creative classes. My interest range is great and I just love sitting down with a good class, a hot beverage and my Mac to learn some new techniques or gain some inspiration. I never know what creative sparks will fly.

If you're a fan of Illustrator, but maybe your Illustrator skills are a little rusty ... or maybe you still need to get a design implemented for this year's Holiday Card ... at, Laura Coyle has put her Holly Shop Illustrator Workshop on sale for just $15.

In this workshop, Laura will guide you through the process of creating three holiday greeting card designs in Illustrator from start to finish. You'll customize the designs with your own photos and messages, and send them to print to share with friends and family. Laura has lots of Illustrator classes to choose from.

After the holidays come and go, and the long winter of sitting around by the fireplace snuggled with a good book starts to get old (actually ... I'm not sure that ever gets old), but perhaps it would be a good time to get out from underneath that warm hand made quilt or wool blanket ... and start getting creative?

If your looking for something artsy to occupy yourself next year, I found these 3 workshops offered by Strathmore. They are free, online courses, each with its own focus. Sign up for one, or sign up for all three ... or maybe pass on to a good friend?

Strathmore Online Workshop Series

Strathmore 2013 FREE Online Workshops – early registration is now open!
Since you participated in our past online workshops, we wanted to let you know that registration is now open for the Strathmore 2013 FREE Online Workshops!

We have inspiring new topics, a new schedule and an improved platform for our virtual classroom. Here’s what we have planned:

Workshop 1: Abstract Fine Art Painting with Mixed Media
Start Date: March 1, 2013

Workshop 2: Sketching & Drawing with Toned Paper
Start Date: May 1, 2013

Workshop 3: Artful Card-Making Techniques
Start Date: September 3, 2013

Learn techniques from experienced artists through online videos and downloadable instructions. Get inspired from other students in our virtual classroom. Keep motivated with ideas and tips from your instructor.

I'm signed up for all three Strathmore workshops? Let me know if you have decided to take any?
Happy creating.
-xo Jenn 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sale, Giveaway winner, and Memory Keeping Monday

Happy Monday everyone.

Today the kids are home from school in observance of Veteran's Day, which officially was yesterday. Thank you to all who have given, and continue to give so much for our country ... my Dad, and so many of his family members were in wars ... special love to you Dad.

So the kids are getting much needed downtime from school/homework/activities ... just being kids & hanging out with their friends, running around outside. It is so, so beautiful today! 

Giveaway ...

The giveaway on Sheri's blog ended last Friday. In case you missed checking out the announcement about who won ... you can see it here. Thank you Sheri for being such an awesome giveaway host!

Sale continues ...

Lots of new goodies in the shop recently. Clearance section has been updated/added to. And will continue to have items added. You also get 25% off clearance items. Use coupon code: Nov2012. Sale ends Sat Nov 17th.  (Sorry for the confusion on the original sale post ... I incorrectly wrote Friday Nov 17th)

And finally ...

Memory Keeping Monday

just have a few layout to share, since I already shared the Project Life 30 Days of Gratitude Nov 1 through Nov7 pages with you. (Look for more as I finish out my month of gratitude!)

True Kinda Love
Splendid Fiins:
eclectic paper pack

Make a Mess - painted photo masks

Make a Mess - splatter overlays v1

love yooo - photo frames

feedsack paper pack

classic album templates-12x12

see above for details -circle stamps

Dani Mogstad

All American Summer Complete Kit

Juliana Kneipp

Berry Sweet Add On Kit (crochet doily)

Gina Miller

Stamped Lace

And I have 2 pages that are also Project Life style (I say style ...  because they are not really true Project Life layouts where I documented 7 photos of the week, but rather this was all taken on the same day ... a special family tradition event ... apple picking that we day every year with the Grandparents.) That's the beauty of Project Life, easy, but can be anything you want it to be. No rules!

I just love how easy it is to add photos, cute elements and the journal cards, to get a lot of photos and story telling quickly onto the pages! Making these style pages is just addicting!

Apple Farm page 1
Pink Paislee: Prairie Hill - coming soon!

Dani Mogstad: Birds of a Feather - coming soon!

Pumpkin Spiced Latte Complete Kit

Becky Higgins:

Clementine Edition Full Collection

Project Life - Template Design A

Cobalt Edition Extra Elements

Splendid Fiins:

3x4 camera love journaling cards

Apple Farm page 2
Dani Mogstad:
Birds of a Feather Complete Kit

Happy Fall Y'all -coming soon!
Softly Falling Complete Kit

Pumpkin Spiced Latte Complete Kit

Becky Higgins:

Clementine Edition Full Collection

Project Life - Template Design A

Cobalt Edition Extra Elements
That's it for now.  Thanks for looking. -Jenn


Friday, November 9, 2012

Holiday HeadStart Sale begins now!

Hey everyone! The Pretty in Posies Holiday HeadStart Sale is on!

It will run through next Friday, Nov 17th. Everything in the shop is 25% off. That includes my Clearance Section, which will be updated through out the week of the sale. Don't miss out on the chance to get some great deals!

Handmade felt accessories are wonderful gifts, stocking stuffers, and gift toppers. If shopping for yourself, get a brooch to dress up your holiday outfit, winter coat or a favorite wool hat. I'm happy to work with you on custom colors if you do not see a color palette that will work for you. You may also browse my SOLD items, and if I have the materials to remake an item, I'd be happy to relist it for you to buy during the sale.

Here are the latest wool brooches, my Tri Cluster Wool Felt Flowers, all are in the shop, ready for purchase.

Here is a peek at what is in the Clearance Section at the moment. Again, this will change and new items will be added through the week. You get to add the 25% off coupon to these items for even greater savings! Don't forget to use code NOV2012 at checkout.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

30 Days Of Gratitude ... November 1 through 7

This year,

- as October turns to November,
- as people all along the East Coast are suffering the aftermath of Sandy,
- as I watch on the news all the lovely, memorable places I frequented, not only as a kid, but continue to frequent as an adult with my own children, lie in ruins
- as I look at the devastation in the shore communities that I lived in year after year, before settling down and getting married, even though the commute into the city was crazy long ... but the beach life made it worth it,

I felt it so necessary to participate in 30 Days of Gratitude.

I have so much to be grateful for. This is just a small glimpse of what I am thankful for ... one week at a time.

Sometimes I wake up and know before feet hit the floor what I am grateful for that day ... other days, it comes to me in small ways, but with big impact, in the later hours of the day.

My 30 Days of Gratitude are things that knock me over ... be it small or large ... powerful and emotional and beautiful things ... or simply little bits and pieces of life that make living grand. Things I want to remember and be mindful of, not just in this month of Gratitude, but always.

I'm doing my 30 days of Gratitude Project Life style. 


This week I am Thankful for this:

November 1: I am grateful for my vacuum cleaner today. I normally do not look forward to cleaning, but today ... after Sandy has hit so many, so hard, I am grateful to have a home to clean and electricity to plug that cord into.

November 2: For a kind, generous daughter, who offers to kiss my hand, mostly to make me laugh, when I burn myself while cooking.

November 3: I am grateful for gas today. Due to Hurricane Sandy, many gas stations were not replenished. People from Long Island and south of us were coming north looking for gas, as their stations were either empty, had 4  hour long lines (or more), or had no power to be able to operate the pumps. We had a few stations out of gas and a few police watching over things, but mostly it was easy enough to get our gas tank filled. So Very Thankful. 

November 4: I am grateful to be with my family, finally celebrating my girl's birthday at The Melting Pot, a restaurant that she has been dying to go to for a long, long time. A perfect way to end the weekend.

November 5: I am grateful to have so many creative outlets that make my heart sing. Creating is my passion, and I am constantly learning, trying new things. It is so me! And I am so thankful to be able to do it everyday!

November 6: I am grateful that we are teaching our children, by leading through example, that is important to exercise one's right to vote.

Novemeber 7: One week Sandy, the next, Athena, a Nor'easter ... the North East is certainly taking a beating from Mother Nature. I am grateful to have a safe home and warm hot cocoa for my kids when they come home from school in the snow.

Here are my Project Life pages up close. 

Product Credits: 

Becky Higgins
Project Life Digital Templates
Clementine Extra Papers
Clementine Journal Cards
Clementine Numbers, Days, & Arrows
Cobalt Extra Elements
Cobalt Horizontal Journal Cards
Cobalt Paper

Dani Mogstad 
Birds of a Feather Kit
Pumkin Spice Latte Kit

CZ Designs
Grateful Heart Word Art Freebie

Glitz Girls
French Kiss Paper Kit

Bella Gypsy
Moody Blues Kit

Juliana Kneipp
Love is a Verb Kit
Berry Sweet Add-On Kit
Turquoise Extra Elements

Lovely Doily Stamps No.2 
Election Flairs

Ali Edwards 
With Gratitude Brushes

Oh, and one more day to enter the Pretty in Posies Giveaway. Read the details HERE

Thank you for stopping by! 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Giveaway Time and a Coupon Code

It's been a long, long time since I had a Pretty in Posies Giveaway! Long overdue, don't you think?

Well, one of my customers, Sheri Horton, recently asked me to do some custom felted wool hair pretties to match her lovely daughters' outfits for an Autumn photo shoot. Sheri is an awesome photographer and a very talented scrapbooker.

(We work together on the Jessica Sprague Creative Team and she also is on Becky Higgins' Project Life Creative Team! So cool.)

Here are some of her lovely photos from that shoot. We worked together to match the felt flowers to the beautiful outfits her girls were wearing. That shoot led to the idea of a giveaway. Woo - hoo!

We decided to team up to offer a Giveaway on Sheri's Blog, so hop on over and show her some Blog Love. Oh and you must check out her amazing Project Life layouts while there.

Here's the Giveaway Package:

This oh so pretty Giveaway includes 5 lovely pieces, which will all go to ONE lucky winner:

- A headband lined with aqua blue pinked wool felt and clusters of turquoise, plum and cranberry felt flowers.
- 3 Hair Clips: A Garden Bloom Felt Flower Hair Clip in teal, tan and pink, a Fabric Slip-Covered Posie Hair Clip in pink & green, and a Wool Felt Flower Layered Hair Clip in Raspberry with a plum herringbone wool and hand stitched accents.
- A Wool Tri Cluster Felt Brooch in Silver Plum made with wine, plum and pale grey herringbone wool. (backing has not been attached, so if you want this piece as a hair clip instead that can be arranged!)

Perfect for Holiday gift giving, stocking stuffers and gift toppers ... or just hoard them for yourself!

The details:

- Giveaway starts now and runs through Friday Nov 9th at 9pm EST.
- Open to those in the US and our International friends
- Visit Sheri's blog to enter giveaway and get your 25% off Pretty in Posies Etsy Shop coupon code
- Coupon will expire Dec 31, 2012.
- Sheri will announce her winner on Nov 10th.
- Go HERE to enter.

If you're looking for new items in my Etsy shop, they have arrived! Lots of new, gorgeous Autumn hues going into the shop this week ... some already listed! Many more coming in the days ahead! Perfect accessories for Sweater Weather!

These Tri Cluster Wool Felt Flowers can be made into a brooch or a hair clip. Many are one of a kind, most are available in quantities of 3 or less.  Hope you'll stop by My Etsy Shop to check them out!

Good Giveaway luck and a happy weekend to you! 


Friday, November 2, 2012

Big Fun ... starts this weekend!

You will not want to miss checking out the blog tomorrow! Sign up for my Newsletter or Follow me on Facebook and you will be the first to hear the news. Here's a Sneek Peak!

Hope to see you back here tomorrow! -jenn


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