February 11, 2013

day two::photography this and that.....

today is day two of answering your questions regarding photography. again, i'll start with a little disclaimer reminding you that what i'll be sharing here is based on what works for me, is what someone has told me, or is what i have found while searching for answers myself.

susan asked me what lens and what camera setting is best for shooting groups of people and making sure everyone is in focus. to be honest, i have never given much thought to any of my group photos and somehow they've always turned out...but here is a helpful link, and i like this link, too. after reading these, i actually learned a few things that i should have already known. oops.

roban asked me how to take indoor volleyball shots, and to be honest with you i cringed a little bit as this is something i tried once a few years ago with my nephew {while he was playing basketball} and failed miserably at.
i do know {or at least believe} you should shoot on continuous mode and use a zoom lens. oh, and don't stay in your seat. get closer to the court where the action is. the worst thing that can happen is that someone asks you to move and by the time they do, you've already gotten some shots.
so with all that being said, the best i can do is to ask you is to google this question. unfortunately, when i did, there were so many links that answered this question and too many of them were camera specific, making it unfair of me to send you to just one link.

daryl asked me about layering/blending photos together and how to add textures to photos. obviously for all of you who love photoshop, you already know how to do this. for those of you who don't have or don't like photoshop, you have two options. pixlr.com is one option, but it's too much like photoshop for me, so i use picmonkey. many of you know that picmonkey is the new picnik and i love everything they have offered on their new site and feel that the 4.99 a month upgrade is well worth the money. so set up your account now, as i promise you will be playing with this editing program all the time once you get started.

real quick, since we're talking about picmonkey, let me get another question answered. frau asked if you have to know/have photoshop to do your photo editing or if picmonkey is enough. to be honest with all of you, i could not live without lightroom for my photo editing, but i am happily living without using photoshop, and with the little extras i can play with in picmonkey, my simple answer is no, you don't have to know/have photoshop, but you should take the time to learn lightroom.

okay, so back to daryl's question...go ahead and open up picmonkey, hit "edit a photo" and choose the photo of yours that you want to edit. now, if you are only layering, go to the seventh icon down on the left {it looks like a piece of screen} and instantly you have multiple layer options at your fingertips...BUT if you have your own layer, texture or another photo that you want to now lay/blend on top of the photo you just uploaded, at the top of the textures page is a box that says, "your own" and this is where you can upload anything of your own to use with the original photo you uploaded first. wha-la...now you can you start blending, fading and playing.

the photos below are my original {untouched/sooc on the left} and then the same photo with the green square under "smudge" option added to it. then i scrolled down to" hardlight" and "faded" it to 50%. you have to admit that was super easy, right?...but i can never stop with just one effect.

the photo below was edited using one of my own textures {you can find them free on flickr} i used the "multiply" mode and faded it to 50% after making it black and white and then i framed it with the daguerreotype  option and chose "brady" at 50%. after that i just played with film grain, exposure and gritty in order to make an older looking photo with visible crusting/water damaged edges.
in the second photo, i started with the original photo, used my same texture and then chose "dusk" at 50% and played just a tiny bit with exposure.

i didn't think for a minute that today's post would end up covering so much about picmonkey, but sometimes you just have to follow where your path all of a sudden leads you. remember, all you have to know about picmonkey, especially if you're just starting, is to play with all of the icons on the left and get to know them. they're fun and you can cancel anything you don't like. i have printed large photos {up to 11x14} after editing them in picmonkey and have never had any problems with the quality of them. 
if i get enough of a response, i will show you how to edit faces in picmonkey, but only if you scream loud enough at me...okay fine, i mean beg me, as it can be hugely time consuming, but so much fun. also, i make all of my banners in picmonkey. oh yes i do, but sometimes i have to keep a few secrets to myself and that's one of them. sorry.


  1. I have been thinking about layering but don't want to go back to PS, even though I took one of Kim Klassen's classes. The one thing I wish Lightroom had for me is an erase tool for power lines and such. Have you found something that works?

  2. Love the links to group photos. Alot of good suggestions in both links. Still hanging back on Photoshop, layering, etc. But I know I must head in that direction. Thanks for all you share.

  3. I'D LOVE TO KNOW HOW TO EDIT FACES IN PIC MONKEY. Did I shout loud enough??? *snort*!!! I love pic monkey even more than I liked picnik and I know we all thought we were going to lose so much when it closed up shop. I don't know much about lightroom so I do need to check that out.

  4. What can I say Beth? Thank you. I just spent about 15 minutes on picmonkey and can't believe the difference it makes in the editing of a photo. And I have only spent 15 minutes! I am excited to continue to explore it. One question: when uploading photos to the computer, can you just have them automatically uploaded to picmonkey? so that you don't have to go from one file to transfer to picmonkey? Why have I not been using this all along? I do appreciate you taking the time to give us these tips. They are great!

  5. Beth, I had no idea you could work with layers in picmonkey! I'll have to go play with it and it does sound like the upgrade is worth it. That's a relief to know it doesn't affect the resolution too much.

  6. Thanks Beth, again, a learning experience.

  7. Picmonkey sounds like a wonderful, inexpensive editing tool. I import all my photos into Lightroom then export the files to Photoshop where I've got my standard tweaks down to less than 2 minutes per photo. Love how well LR plays with PS. Lots of good info on here, Beth. I can tell you spent a lot of time on this.

  8. I LOVE TO KNOW HOW TO EDIT FACES IN PICK MONKEY ;-) Sorry I did not mean to shout so loud but you kinda asked for it...right?

    Thank you so much Beth for sharing all you knowledge with us, Each time I find myself coming back to read your post again and again, so I can really learn what you are sharing :-)

  9. I like the many ways you edited the fence post. Thanks for sharing. xo Jenny

  10. I've fallen in love with picmonkey too. I started using it just as a cropping tool to manage our social media at work and thought "well, as long as I'm here..." Danger zone! It's hard to leave! Your explanation is very good and since most of my discoveries there have been by guess and by golly, this post is very helpful! Thanks!

  11. i make my banners in picmonkey too .. now where do i find those free layers?

  12. Thanks for the links, Beth. Lots of family birthdays in February and March so will give these tips a try.

    If you change your mind about banner tips, I'd love to know!

  13. What a fun post packed full of wonderful info.. I love picmonkey as well. I just got a 30 day free trial of lightroom. I can already tell I am going to have to purchase it. I also play a little bit with PS. So much to do so little time. HEE HEE...

    BTW - I just love your photo. It's so fun to see it edited in so many different ways.


  14. Thanks for all the great and helpful answers! Love the different version of your picture.....gorgeous!


**I love reading the comments you leave, as they make me feel like we're sitting in my kitchen, having a cup of tea, discussing life and wondering where all the time has gone ...beth