Our LIfe Photo Project: Week 17

Jumping right in, our prompt for last week was to photograph our children's favourite toy and this is my submission for the week:

F2.0 / 1/800 / ISO320

He has watched the same Tom & Jerry cartoon over and over again this week - "Tennis Chumps". Every time he watches it he wants to go out and play tennis....with an Angry Birds ball, naturally!

And now onto this week's prompt...
"As parents, we probably normally photograph our children's "happy" faces, so this week lets try to capture some different expressions! It's up to you which expression you choose to photograph: it could your children's faces when they are sad or frustrated or perplexed or even angry (if you are feeling brave) or even just thoughtful"

If you are new to the blog are just seeing this for the first time, you can read more about the Project here.  It's never too late to jump in and get started!


One Grey and Overcast Day...

I don't really care what type of light or weather I shoot in generally, but if there is one type of day I dislike for taking photographs, it's those dark, dreary overcast days where the sky is just one large mass of grey.   I'm sure it can look very good with a dark, atmospheric shot, but since I generally prefer something a little cheerier, it's not so good for "fun playing at the park" photos!  At least Callum was wearing a bright red hoody and a big smile to add a little sunshine :)

F2.0/ 1/800 / ISO320


Guide to Fixing White Balance in LR and PS

In both Photoshop / Elements and Lightroom, it is very easy to fix your white balance in post processing - particularly when you have a neutral tone in your image. (If not, it can be a little harder as you need to set the correct white balance by eye)  Checking and fixing your white balance should be the first thing you do an image, so here's how to do it.

Please note that the screen shots are from Lightroom 4, but it is exactly the same as ACR - the free plug in for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements (If you don't yet have this plug-in for any reason, go get it now- makes life much easier) and very similar to earlier and later versions.

Below is an image that I took where I didn't set the correct white balance in camera, and I'll use this today to demonstrate a couple of different ways to set your white balance in processing. You can probably tell just by looking at it that it is too cool, so we need to check and change the white balance.


Project 52 Week 16

Our prompt for last week was to photograph bath time - and here is my submission for the week:

Thank you to everyone sharing their photographs online in the Flickr group- it's great to see everyone else's work too and I'm always happy to see that people have taken the time to share (I know I'm behind a bit just now so I know how much other things can get in the way!)

And now onto our prompt for this week:

"Let's photograph our child with their favourite toy.  It might be the one that have had for a long time, or their current obsession, or the one that they turn to when they need comforting.   Try to capture the emotion involved with that toy if you can - laughter if it is one that makes them giggle, or snuggling if it is the one that they like to have close by at night"

If you are new to the blog, you can find out more about the Project 52 here. You are more than welcome to join in at any time - it's a great way to grow your photography skills and hopefully capture a bit more of your family memories too. If you have any queries or comments, feel free to leave a comment below or on the Live Snap Love Facebook page.  Who knows, maybe we will see some new faces over the next few weeks!


Callum's New Chalkboard Wall

Callum's playroom is a bit on the small side for a true playroom (it's more like a toy storage room to be fair!) so I have wanted to give it a bit of facelift, and try to come up with ways to move toys from the floor space and up onto the walls instead.  I have wanted to do a chalkboard wall for him for ages, and we finally got around to it last week!

The whole room was painted white, with just one wall painted with chalkboard paint.  He was dying to use it as soon as we first had it done, but as you need to "season" the chalk paint before you use it (you need to cover the whole wall with a side of chalk first, otherwise sometimes whatever you draw or write on there first can be seen permanently)  he needed to wait a couple of days, but I think he enjoyed it when I finally got around to doing it!


Some Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts

I love Photoshop, and rarely does an image get by without me doing SOMETHING in there to make an image pop a little. However, I do appreciate speed, and there is a couple of keyboard shortcuts that I find myself using all the time to help speed up my workflow. Rather than share heaps of shortcuts which no-one will ever remember in one go, I thought I'd just share the main ones with you today, and when I would typically use them.

CTRL + / – (CMD on a mac) 

This one allows you to zoom in and out in your image - useful for when you are working on small areas (like portrait retouching) but need to keep zooming out to see how it looks overall, before zooming back in. 

Simply pressing the letter B brings up the brush tool. This is probably the most commonly used tool as it is used a lot to mask off areas or apply edits to certain areas.

X to Switch Between White and Black Foreground Colors 

When using masks, you need to use a brush with the opposite colour. Use X to switch between white and black.

{ and } to  Decrease and Increase Brush Size

When using your brush you are going to want to increase and decrease the brush size so you can more accurately mask on or off areas - use the above keys to make your brush smaller or larger as you are working.

CTRL + J (CMD on a Mac) 

This brings up a new duplicate layer. I don't use duplicate layers much (I try to work on a new layer instead if I can) but I nearly always have one for cloning or patching.

CTRL + Z (CMD on a Mac) 

Always need this one! If you have done something and need to go back, this takes you back one step. If you need to go back more than one step, use CTRL, ALT and Z to keep going back further steps.

Those 6 are the ones that I use all the time, and added up, they do save a bit of time when editing once you get to know them well.

Hope this helps you fellow Photoshop users out there!