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I took a photo of the boys on our way out to swim lessons tonight.  We’re still at swim lessons, as a matter of fact.  (Apparently, there’s a wireless connection here.  Who knew?)

I have Betty, my Netbook, with me.  She doesn’t have Photoshop installed.  What to do if I want to share a cute, if not perfect-SOOC, shot?

I’ve heard of Picnik before, but never tried it.  I have Photoshop, after all, and I love it.  (Read: I’m comfortable with it.)


You can’t argue with results like these:


I don’t see myself replacing Photoshop with Picnik.  After all, it doesn’t have nearly the functionality.  But for editing-on-the-go?  Absotively.

Sweet Shot Day

I couldn’t resist this little boy when I saw him on today’s I Heart Faces Fix-It Friday post.

See what I mean?  Look at those eyes!

(All work done in PSE 7.0.)  I tilted it very slightly to the left and ran two actions, both from CoffeeShop.  First, I had fun with Cross Processing, then I added the Perfect Portrait action.  I was careful, I hope, to make the eyes look pretty, but not fake.  I think I achieved frameability*.

*New word.  A photo worthy of printing, framing, and displaying!

I decided today to take some time to participate in I Heart Faces’s Fix-It Friday challenge, so here goes!



I used Photoshop Elements 7.0 and did the following:

  • Cropped for a closer view and to eliminate the signage & pink flag
  • Adjusted the levels for higher contrast
  • Added a sepia filter layer set to Overlay
  • Decreased saturation and masked out the subject
  • Added a deep red filter set to Soft Light
  • Masked out the yellow signs in both filter layers
  • Created another desaturation layer, masking out everything except the yellow signs
  • Added two textures: subtlegrunge7 and subtlegrunge4 from Lost and Taken, decreasing opacity & masking out the subject’s face and neck
  • Added the border/flourishes by Amy Teets (Panache kit)
  • Added the monogram

I noticed the majority of people are cloning out the yellow and black signs.  I made a conscious decision to keep them, because they really fit the grungy look I went with for the photo.  I also quite like how the muted yellow constrasts against the aubergine of her dress.

This was fun!  Every time I play with a photo like this, I learn more about what I can accomplish in post-processing.


  • The Olympics are over.  It’s always the biggest let-down to turn on The Today Show and see Matt, Meredith, Al & Ann back in New York.  Ho-hum.
  • Over the past two days, I’ve done about seven loads of laundry…and haven’t folded one piece of it.  I have a date for coffee and On Demand with Mount Foldme in a few minutes.
  • Happily, one of those loads is a queen-sized quilt.
  • Mom sent me a photo of her great-grandparents that she was recently given.  (Hooray for!)  It was in sad shape.  I am completely surprised by what I was able to do with it.

  • Thank goodness for old, textured photos.  I could never make something smooth look so good.
  • Ooh, and I learned how to do animations in Photoshop, too!  …Before-After-Before-After…
  • That’s their 60th Wedding Anniversary photo.  I know she was married very young, but holy crap, I hope I look that good when I’ve been married 60 years!  Heck, 50 years…or 40…
  • I think choir is growing on Nicolas.  He took his music out this morning and was serenading Kalen and me while we got ready for school.  A nine-year-old singing Ode to Joy?  Pretty darned cool.
  • Said nine-year-old has a book report due in a couple of weeks.  He chose a Star Wars book.  Was it wrong of me to “encourage” him to report on one of the classics he’s read recently instead?  He decided to go with The BFG after very little “encouragement.”  Should I have let him stick with Star Wars?  I’m over thinking this, aren’t I?

The tips and tricks have been flying in the Jessica Sprague class I’m taking!  Over the past week, I’ve been more and more excited by learning the little things I’ve missed out on by self-teaching.

Kalen helped with this one – titling and colors.  (Hint: photo fun, whether with a digital camera or in Photoshop, is a great way to distract a cranky kid!  They love seeing photos of themselves!)

Believe it or not, Jason snapped this shot with his camera phone.  These were my Mother’s Day flowers from him.

Selective coloring – I’ve done this before, many times, but this technique is much easier.  Well, by easier, I mean it allows me to mess up more often, with less frustration.  How could I not love that?

And now, my favorite…


This one just may get printed and framed.  What do you think?  Office?  Guest room?  Living room?  Although we tend to have browns in our living room…I guess I could change the tone.  Thoughts?

We’re coming to the end of the first week of the Photo Editing course I’m taking at  (This was the free one I mentioned a couple of weeks ago.)  Verdict?  Oh my wow.

Short review: If you want more photoshop skills, take a class from Jessica.

I’ve been using Photoshop Elements for digital scrapbooking for about three-and-a-half years now, and I think I do okay.  The problem is, I’m self-taught, through trial and error, so I’ve missed a lot along the way.  This class, which is called “Frame-Ups and Special Effects” is backfilling a few things I missed, and introducing me to new ways to use some products I’ve skimmed over in the past.

Some of the things I’ve done for class this week:

Wyoming-WEBThis is really simple, just adding some word art and a frame to a photo I took in Wyoming, when Jason and I were driving across country.  However, I’ll admit that putting the elements on the photo hasn’t really occurred to me before.  Lesson 1: Thinking outside the box (or frame, as it were).

This next assignment is the one that had me bouncing in my seat when I completed it yesterday.  This is a photo taken on the same drive across country, in the little town of Collyer, Kansas.  This is the town my grandfather was born in.  His grandparents settled there after the civil war.  Unfortunately, it isn’t a particularly thriving community anymore, but a number of my ancestors are buried in the town cemetery, so when I noticed that we’d be driving right by on our way across Kansas (I mean literally – the freeway is practically adjacent to the cemetary), I begged Jason to stop.  This is the Catholic school house:


Yesterday’s lesson involved applying textures over photographs.  I’ve used textures – on paper.  Again, putting them over photos hadn’t entered my brain.


Such fun!  One of the ladies in the class was doing great things with textures over her wedding photos.  I can’t wait to get going on that one of these days…

Today, Jessica showed us TTV (Through The Viewfinder) textures, which are supposed to give the feel of photographs taken with antique cameras.  In honor of Kalen’s birthday yesterday, I decided to play around with a photo of him when he was teensy.  (He was only a day or two old here.)


The texture is by Steffen Jakob, and I only altered it by using the Dodge Tool a bit over Kalen’s face, to reduce the graininess a bit.

Obviously, I’m having fun with this.  I can’t see making many of my pictures look antique for the scrapping I’ll be doing, but the wheels are beginning to turn as to how I can apply some of these techniques subtly for effect.

My boys

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