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8 Types Of Natural Light That Will Add Drama To Your Photographs


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Converting a color photo to black and white using the channel mixer method

Some people asked me to repost this to make it easier to find on my blog, so I am adding this post to the "Photography" and "Tutorials/projects" categories on the left so that you can refer to it as needed.

This is the "Channel Mixer" method of changing a photo from color to Black/White in Photoshop:

Open your picture in photoshop and then open a new Channel Mixer adjustment layer.

Next, check the box that says "Monochrome" (on the bottom left corner of the box) to make the picture black and white. Don't click on "ok" just yet - there are more adjustments to make!

3. Next, you are going to adjust the brightness percentages to alter the colors in the photograph. With the channel mixer controls you can accent the brightness of the different colors in the photo by adjusting their percentages. To adjust the balance of colors, click on the sliders for each color and drag them to the right or left.

For example, if you increase the blue percentage, anything in the picture that is blue  will get brighter. 

Experiment and play around with the color adjustments until you get a vivid image that you like. The big secret is to make sure that no matter what adjustments you make, all three channels should always numerically add up to 100%. This will create the best results for the photograph.

It is really easy and a fun way to convert the image! Try it and see how it goes!


I love Clark Color prints!

I guess I lied.

I really do have one resolution that I made, thanks to my dear friend Melody Ross at Chatterbox. Last February, when all the Chatterbox designers went to the Chatterbox retreat in Idaho, Melody really inspired me with her discussion about digital pictures. Many of us who are strictly digital (myself included) can probably identify with this, but she really hit home with me. She spoke about how it doesn't do us any good to have all these archives of photos sitting on our hard drive unless we get prints of them so that our kids can look through them. Now don't get me wrong, I realize that some of you may be superwomen and can scrap all of your photos, therefore eliminating the need to just have prints made, but I am not a fast scrapbooker, so I have literally thousands of digital images sitting on my hard drive, with no way for my family to really view them. So Melody inspired me to resolve to get prints of my images (even all the less than stellar ones!) and put them into simple acid-free photo albums so that I can leave them out for my kids to look through whenever they want to.

ClarkcolorThat being said, Clark Color online had a great sale last week on digital prints (and they send great sale offers periodically to their customers!) so I took advantage of the deal. I had several hundred photos printed (just of Christmas and New Year's alone!) and they came in yesterday. The quality of the prints is outstanding! I knew it was worth it when my kiddos came into my office and saw the stack of photos; immediately asking me if they could look at them! I saw smiles on their faces as they remembered the events from the photos. Priceless to me, to say the least!

So get some digital prints made and don't keep those pictures stashed away on your hard drive! To get you started, try Clark Color! Click here to register - New customers get 20 free prints! Shipping was fast and inexpensive, plus my photos came carefully enclosed in a sturdy box mailer to keep them safe during transit.

Thank you, Melody! You have changed my life in so many ways!


A lot going on!

Hey everybody! I have a lot going on this weekend, so I may not be able to update as much as I would like, but I wanted you to know that I haven't forgotten you!

A huge congratulations to my friend Andie who took some incredible photos to accompany my upcoming article in BHG! I wish I lived closer to her so I could get her to photograph my family! Amazing work, I tell you!

Chatterbox has a new blog! If you haven't seen it, you gotta check it out! Some really inspiring posts, there.

Now hopefully these two sites will give you something to look at in case I don't update until tomorrow or Sunday. HAHAHA!!  ;)

Thanks again for all the wonderful posts, comments, and e-mails. You are all so inspiring! I love to hear your thoughts and stories!

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

    • Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you represents determinism; the way you play it is free will.
      Jawaharal Nehru

Have a great Friday!


What a day.

I got a ticket today! I can't believe it! I have a perfect driving record, but I got pulled over right down the street from our house because we still have Mississippi tags. Yes, I know, I need to get Texas tags, but they are so expensive and I just haven't had the extra funds to make it a priority. Not trying to make an excuse, but I am trying to get everything in order in our life, and that was on the list, but I just haven't got it done yet. The officer wasn't amused, and even though I tried to explain my circumstances to him, he still handed me a big, FAT ticket. *sigh* I came home and cried. Sometimes I feel like it is one step forward and two steps back, no matter how hard we work.

HeartsI love these chipboard hearts and can't wait to order some! I am really loving some of the chipboard items by Pressed Petals. The new letters are really cool, too!

This is to help you learn how to turn regular color photos into professional black and white photos. There are many other techniques of doing this but this one is surprisingly simple and is very effective.

Ok, I promised to post the "Channel Mixer" method of changing a photo from color to Black/White in Photoshop:

Open your picture in photoshop and then open a new Channel Mixer adjustment layer.

Next, check the box that says "Monochrome" (on the bottom left corner of the box) to make the picture black and white. Don't click on "ok" just yet - there are more adjustments to make!

3. Next, you are going to adjust the brightness percentages to alter the colors in the photograph. With the channel mixer controls you can accent the brightness of the different colors in the photo by adjusting their percentages. To adjust the balance of colors, click on the sliders for each color and drag them to the right or left.

For example, if you increase the blue percentage, anything in the picture that is blue  will get brighter. 

Experiment and play around with the color adjustments until you get a vivid image that you like. The big secret is to make sure that no matter what adjustments you make, all three channels should always numerically add up to 100%. This will create the best results for the photograph.

It is really easy and a fun way to convert the image! Try it and see how it goes!


An altered Bazzill coaster for your viewing (pleasure I hope?) - LOL!

MattandlindseyalwaysI made this for Matthew's best friend, Lindsey, who he had to leave behind in Biloxi after Hurricane Katrina. I had made her a layout of the two of them about a year or so ago, but it was ruined by water so this is just a little replacement for her.  :) I am going to mail it to her tomorrow; hope she likes it! I am addicted to these 5" Bazzill coasters. They make the perfect sized little layouts! You can purchase a tiny plate easel at Michael's or Joann's, etc. for around a dollar or two, and they display nicely on them! Of course, I got the Bazzill coasters at Scrappers Bliss!

Ok, I had a ton of e-mails today from people on Two Peas wanting to know how my layouts always look so crisp and sharp. Well, my big huge secret (LOL!) is simply to always sharpen the image AFTER resizing for posting on the web. I resize my images to around 650 x 650 pixels (for a 12 x 12" layout) then I sharpen after I am finished making any other necessary corrections to the image. Adding the final "sharpen" makes the image look crisp and clear.  :)

Another tip: if you have black paper/cardstock on your layouts but they don't scan a rick black, you can go to curves in Photoshop, Elements, or whatever image editing software you are using and bump either side of the curve until the blacks look rich and deep. I usually bump it darker first, then bump the opposite side to brighten. Just experiment with it and you will get better black colors on your pages.  :)

So I got this really cool e-mail from one of the editors at Creating Keepsakes after I had submitted a page this morning, and she told me that my son had grown up fast and that I did a good job on the page! The compliment made my day, but I wish they would just PICK UP A PAGE ALREADY!! LOL! I haven't submitted to CK in a long time because they stopped picking up my work. So, this morning I decided to submit another page and then received that e-mail. It was a nice compliment, anyhow, even if they don't ask for the layout.  :)

Thanks for reading! I am off to scrap!


Messing around with pictures today!

Domonique2bw_april10th_2006I love this picture of Domonique. She is growing up so fast! I took the color version of this picture from a few days ago and I converted it to black and white using the channel mixer method and I love the results! If you would like to know how to do this and create a great black and white conversion, let me know and I will post the steps! If you click on the picture of her, it will pull up larger so you can see more detail.

How was your Easter? Here we got up at 7 AM, the kids found their Easter baskets and goodies, then hunted eggs for the next hour. They played with the fun things that the bunny left behind while I prepared to cook the ham. Matthew and Domonique peeled the eggs (too many of them!) so that I could make up deviled eggs, and we ate our dinner around 3:30 PM. Of course, after all that Easter candy, they didn't have a whole lot of room for food, but we always snack on it all evening. After that, they spent the day relaxing and lounging around the house. Domonique went swimming yesterday at her friend's house and got a pretty bad sunburn on her face, despite all the preaching I had given her about sunblock, so she hasn't felt real well since. They are out of school tomorrow, then they go back Tuesday.

I get asked alot about giving tips for taking good pictures. I will start sharing some of my favorite tips for those who are interested. One of the biggest things I have done to change the quality of my picture-taking is to change the angle of which I compose the shot. Instead of holding the camera normally and creating a horizontal photo, I try to take well-composed vertical shots to better capture more of my subject. Try moving in closer - MUCH closer - to what you are photographing. It is ok to cut off the top part of hair to get a great face shot with less distracting background elements! You can capture so much more expression by moving in very close to your subjects (assuming they are people - not sure how much expression you can get out of a flower, bird, etc.! LOL!). Try using a diagonal angle for your shots. Some of my best photos have been taken by using this method!

Ok, more on another post! Hope your Easter was fantastic!