Happy Friday! Happy 5 for $5.00! Happy Spring! Tomorrow is the official start to Spring! I'll say it a day early though because I am hoping to spend the day with my sweet little girl doing having some Springy Spring fun. Today we have 5 Actions to get you started: Spring Clean Base, Spring Dreams, Pastel-erator, Sweet Cream Haze, and Color Pop Brush. Our goal this season (until June 21) is to release a Spring related set of Actions, Overlays, or Textures every week so that by the end of Spring you have a really comprehensive set of tools.
P. S. these are still perfect for summer!
P.P.S. these are perfect all year!
By the way...did you notice we got a nice little Spring facelift on the website? Yay. I am in love with it! Soon, we will be bringing you a whole page on the website dedicated to resources. This will be a page where you can browse our favorite fonts and other products to use in your business and on your website!
Let's go ahead and take a look at this brand new 5 for $5.00 product. Don't forget to stop by on Fridays to see what's new!
Step 2: Choose Your Font & Size
My two new favorite fonts!
Step 3: Start Applying Text
Step 4: Customize The Color Of The Text
More Photoshop Tutorials
Two Free New Effects for St. Patricks Day!
Limerick Action and Rainbow Overlay!
Available for Adobe® Photoshop® & Elements® 11-13
We have two effects for you. One is an Action named Limerick. This Action is amazing and complex with 7 fully editable, masked layers. It is smooth and almost vintage.
We recommend using it on Screen, Soft Light, or Overlay blending modes and then using the Move Tool to adjust it and manipulate it around your image.
This awesome little set is available for both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements 11-13.
Here is a quick note about some changes at MLC: We are moving away from Facebook. In the past, we have released free products to Facebook users. We don't like what Facebook has done recently to businesses (find out more here) and we are moving away from their service.
Instead, we are offering our free products to subscribers of our mailing list. This is a better way for you to get news and more free products from MLC.
FREE St. Patricks Day Action and Overlay!
Here at MLC, we are gearing up for Spring and you know what that means! Beautiful, light, airy, Spring Actions and Overlays. Sweet Skies will be retiring in the next two weeks and it's replacement is nothing short of BEAUTIFULLY AMAZING! It has taken over a year to complete this new collection! For now, Sweet Skies is value priced for retirement!
This spring, we will have amazing real butterflies, clouds, word overlays, and so more to help you create magic for your clients. We are so excited to be bringing these new products to the MLC customers. We are so happy and proud to be a resource for photographers all over the world.
Let the countdown to Spring begin! -Amy, Founder
Take a moment, in the middle of the week to drink in the silence of dawn and be mesmerized by the worlds beauty.
Happy Tuesday! -Amy, Founder Magic & Light Collection
Step 1: Open the image you want to work with.
Step 2: Extend The Canvas Size
Choose Image>Canvas Size from the Menu at the top of the screen.
For my purposes, I want to extend my canvas to the right, I click on the left side of the Anchor box to push the canvas extension to the right. Make sure you click on the opposite of what you want to do. If you want to extend down, click the top of the box. If you want to extend left, make sure you click the right side of the box.
I want to change my dimensions to be double the original width. I multiplied the existing pixels by two, and typed the numbers in the box. Click Ok, and the canvas will expand.
This is the original size of my image. It is displayed in inches, but I want to see the dimensions in pixels.
Change your dimensions to pixels by clicking the box to the right of the height and width field and selecting pixels.
Step 3: Blend The Color Of The New Canvas Size
On a side note, I thought I would remind everyone that the 5 Tones Of Winter Action Set and 5 Winter Overlays will only be available until March 21st! That's only a few days away, so grab them up before their gone!
I don't do portraits anymore or take on commercial jobs and so I have been struggling to find my photo groove for the last year or so. I think I have finally found it in food photography and styling. I love it. Do you know what I love the most? There are no people involved. No skin tones to get right, no...people...to deal with. It's peaceful.
Here at MLC, we released Essential Food Photography (Action Set) about a month ago. This set is amazing. Editing food photography has truly never been easier or faster. In working with it everyday, I am always excited and amazed at how quickly I can process images.
"Editing food photography has never been easier or faster"
Notice that the shadows on the right side of the first plate are gone. That is thanks to the "Fill Flash Brush" included with the set. You simply brush on areas that need to be brightened! It is not simply a Light Brush, but rather a brush that brightens the shadows in the areas where you may have needed a reflector or...a fill flash (but don't ever use flash on your food photography)
A detailed list of all 33 Actions and 3 storyboards included is provided on the Essential Food Photography page, it is available for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements 11-13.
On this image, I also used the 5 for $5, Magic Finish© Actions to get that great color bar on the left of the image.
If you are interested in the food blog, head over to FoodieFoodster.com
Love the font? It is called Country Chic and you can find it at Creative Market!
I will tell you a little secret that I learned when I stopped taking portraits and started doing commercial.
"There are a million portrait photographers"
The opportunities for photographers that want to build their businesses and branch outside of portrait photography are endless!
Step 1: Open Your Image
Step 2: Select The Area You Want To Keep
Pictured, Quick Selection Tool
Using the Quick Selection Tool (pictured left) with the + selected at the top of the screen, begin to select the area you would like to keep by clicking the area and dragging the mouse. If you have gone too far, select the - at the top of the screen and repeat the same clicking and dragging motion. Continue to use the + and - until the area you have selected is correct.
Step 3: Remove The Background In One Click!
Two Brand new Mini Action Sets for Adobe Photoshop & Elements
Last night, we released two new products, Magic Smile and Magic Eyes. Both are derivatives of the larger Portrait Magic Action Set. Incidentally, both of these Magic Mini Sets are very easy to use. All you need to know is how to use layer masks. If you aren't sure what that means or how to use layer masks, we have provided tutorials here that work for both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.
As promised...an iPhone pic of ME!
I used Magic Eyes and Magic Smile. I even used the lash definer on my hair. I needed a last minute picture for one of my blogs and these two Magic Mini's really helped me take a quick pic and get it done.
Now stop laughing. I'm thinking it's time for a real headshot. -Amy
Before & After
For an in depth tutorial on how to use overlays visit the Video Library installation page.
5 Chilly Winter Overlays
AVAILABLE FOR PHOTOSHOP & ELEMENTS ALL VERSIONS
offer ends March 21, 2015
In post processing, I would shoot with my kit lens (18-55mm f5.6) and then use a blur filter to try to achieve the same results. In time, I learned that the beautiful out of focus backgrounds I was looking for were actually called Bokeh and simply blurring in post processing would never achieve the same results.
What is Bokeh?
What Is Blur?
The visual difference between Bokeh and Blur?
This is an example of one of my images taken using Manual Focus and is complete Bokeh. In comparing to the image on the right, you can see that the qualities are much different. When you look closely, you can see the points of light of rendered in much different way.
This image was taken in focus with a Gaussian Blur filter applied in Adobe Photoshop. The beautiful points of light achieved in the image to left are non-existent in this image.
How Do I Achieve Bokeh In My Images?
There are few ways to achieve beautiful bokeh in your image. My greatest advice is not to use your kit lens. Bokeh is achieved by narrowing your field of focus and opening up your aperture. The widest aperture on a kit lens is typically somewhere around 5.6. Unless you are getting very close to your subject with a kit lens, it isn't going to happen. You should instead, be on the lookout for a lens with a wide aperture. Keywords to look for would be f 1.4, f 1.2, f 1.8. Even at a reasonable distance you will achieve a beautiful bokeh and bring the focus to your subject. I have laid out some product recommendations at the end of this post.
My Own Out-Of-Focus Photography
Wide Aperture Lens Recommendations
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INTRODUCING THE ESSENTIAL VINTAGE ACTION SET
Classic Vintage | Sweet Vintage | Flower Child | Soft Lomo Effect | Vintage Color | Vintage Black & White
Sweet Vintage: A subtle sweet vintage effect.
Flower Child: A high contrast beautiful vintage film effect.
Soft Lomo Effect: A quintessential Lomo effect but softened to fit your image perfectly.
Vintage Color: Soft desaturated vintage color.
Vintage Black & White: The perfect vintage film black and white complete with film grain.
1967 | 1969 | 1975 | Nostalgia
1969: A high contrast colorful film effect
1975: True 1975 washed out effect with contrast.
Nostalgia: Gorgeous stand-alone or finishing effect to give the perfect note of nostalgia.
Vintage A La Carte:
Afternoon Sun | Vintage Sunlight | Reduced Dynamic Range | Vintage Matte Finish | Warm Vignette | Cream Vintage Vignette
Vintage Sunlight: One click adds a vintage sunlight effect.
Reduced Dynamic Range: Create true film style by reducing the dynamic range.
Vintage Matte Finish: Add a quick vintage matte finish.
Cream Vintage Vignette: Lighten the edges in one click.
Color Boost | Light & Dark Brush | Dodge | Burn | Sharpen | Selective Sharpening
Light & Dark Brush: Brush on light and dark where needed.
Dodge: Give a pop of light where needed.
Burn: Burn where needed drawing attention to your subject.
Sharpen: Sharpen the entire image.
Selective Sharpening: Sharpen only where needed.
5 Light Leak Overlays:
Classic | Magenta | Rainbow | Pink | Teal
Essential Vintage Action Set
$29- special introductory pricing!
FOR USE WITH ADOBE® PHOTOSHOP® CS4-6 & CREATIVE CLOUD®
FOR USE WITH ADOBE PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS 11-13
Pin Your Favorite Image, Pretty Please!
6 Points To Consider When Buying A Dedicated Macro Lens
I am considering six points in my search for a dedicated Macro lens:
1. Does it have a 1:1 or greater magnification ratio?
2. Is it a Canon (insert your camera brand here)?
3. What is the minimum focusing distance?
4. Is it a prime lens or zoom lens?
5. Can I realistically achieve my goal images with this lens?
6. Is it autofocus or manual focus?
Let me just say this: While I do have a working knowledge of Macro photography along with the techniques and equipment needed, I am not an expert in things like...um....light refractory mechanisms, ring cupalators, and other things that I am literally just making up right now. I am not a nitty gritty techie, just an artist who loves photography.
And what I do know is that I want to take pictures like this. Seriously. How amazing. This would be my goal image as mentioned above.
Point 1: Does the lens have 1:1 or greater magnification
Point 2: Is it a Canon? (insert your camera brand here)
Point 3: What is the minimum focusing distance?
Point 4: Is it a prime or zoom lens?
Point 5: Will this lens help me achieve my goal image?
Point 6: Is the focus auto or manual?
LENSES THAT FIT MY CRITERIA
I have been trying to make this choice now for 2 weeks. What would you do? Let me know, I need help deciding!!!
Magic Light© Overlays
COMPATIBLE WITH ADOBE® PHOTOSHOP® & ELEMENTS®, ALL VERSIONS
Available For Instant Download
Magic Light© 5 Light Overlays
Warm Light | Heavens Light | Amberlight | Evening Shade | Light Flare
Heavens Light: A translucent soft hued, subtle light overlay perfect for every scene.
Amberlight: A translucent, amber colored light overlay that moves softly over your image.
Evening Shade: A translucent light overlay meant to perfectly evoke the tones of evening.
Light Flare: The perfect quintessential light flare, it can be manipulated for just about any flare effect.
Notes From Amy:
Tips On Using This Set:
Use a variety of blending modes. The best to use with this set are: Screen, Soft Light, & Multiply.
Other MLC products you might like:
How To Install Actions In
Adobe® Photoshop® Elements® 11, 12, & 13
Step 1: Make Sure You Are Working In Expert Mode.
Step 2: Open The Actions Panel
Step 3: Load Actions
Note: At MLC, we are always happy to help with lost Actions but we always recommend backing them up in a safe place.
Step 4: Open The Folder To See Your Actions
I usually do video tutorials for you guys, but this week I have been looking for some information myself on the internet and just didn't have time to sit through video tutorials. I needed the information quickly. It occurred to me that I should probably put some instructions into print for quick viewing. If you want to see this information in action (pun intended) head over to our Video Library and watch this video.
Step 1: Add A Layer
Step 2: Decide If Your Layer Is Black or White
A Black Layer Mask conceals the effect.
A White Layer Mask reveals the effect.
STEP 3: Select The Brush Tool & Set Your Foreground Color
If your layer mask is white, you will need to use a black brush on it. If your layer mask is black, you will need to use a white brush on it. Think opposites. The picture to the left shows the brush tool highlighted. If you look at the bottom of the picture, you can see two squares, one is blue, one is white.
This is known as the foreground and background colors. The square on top is the foreground color, and the square at the back is the background color. When you are working with layer masks your foreground and background colors should be set to the default provided by Photoshop. Black and white. If yours is a different color, as pictured below click the little squares at the top right just above the big squares. This will set it back to the default.
Step 4: Brush Off On The White Layer Mask
In the image above you can see that the white layer mask is not selected. You will need to select the white layer mask by clicking on it. When it is selected, it will look like the image to the left.
Make sure that you set your brush opacity by using the slider to move the percentage between 0 and 100 percent. The lower the brush opacity, the less of the effect you will remove.
Brush On, On The Black Layer Mask
But what if there is no layer mask?
Happy Macro Monday! Don't forget to post your Macro Images on our Facebook page or Twitter (@MLCActions) to win prizes and get featured tomorrow on the blog!
We are hoping to take some of the mystery out of Macro.
By definition, Macro photography is photography that produces photographs of small items, larger than life size. This means that in order to capture a close-up Macro image your magnification ratio must be at least 1:1.
What does 1:1 magnification mean? Do I have to get close?
One of the greatest challenges in Macro Photography is magnification and one of the greatest technical issues is minimum focusing distance. You might ask "why can't I just use my 50mm 1.8 and get really close"? The answer is that your 50mm 1.8 (generally) has a minimum focusing distance of around 18 inches. This means that you have to stand 18 inches away from your subject in order to focus your lens.
For Macro purposes, the lens does not allow you to get close enough to your subject.
You can however, stack Macro Extension tubes on your 50mm lens to change the minimum focusing distance and achieve 1:1 magnification.
Achieve 1:1 Magnification With A Macro Extension Tube!
Where Can I Find Macro Extension Tubes that will achieve 1:1 Magnification?
We have handpicked three options for you.
Let me just tell you a secret.
I was so upset that I didn't take my camera out for nearly 6 months. Since I take at least 100 pictures a day, that is profound.
As I started going darker and darker with my exposure, it changed my photography and it changed how I saw and ultimately captured the light. I made it a point to really see the light. Where is it coming from?Where is it landing? Where is it concentrated?
Here are some images I took around that time.
What I learned through this process is that there is power in under exposure.
If you slightly under expose or even greatly underexpose your image, you will see where the ambient light is coming from and where it is landing. There can be power in underexposure. It can make the seer look closer, pay more attention, and it can draw the focus toward your subject.
I usually snap away and then deal with exposure issues in post processing but I knew this time I really wanted to go dark and "find the light". This is a dramatically haunting location. I followed my husband and my daughter down the ramp and into the chamber. They walked through and left. I hung behind because I knew there was something poignant to capture.
While in the past, I have specialized in commercial photography, my photography has evolved into something that is not commercial. I'm okay with that.
Are you wondering how to under expose your images to find the light?
Look through the viewfinder of your DSLR that is set on "evaluative metering". Do you see this:
This is your in camera light meter. The center (in theory) should represent correct exposure. The numbers to the right of the center represent a brighter exposure, and the numbers to the left of the center represent a darker exposure. Depending on how your DSLR is set up, you will use a dial to move the exposure up and down. Moving the exposure even slightly to the left will help you get a feel for how your camera responds to under exposure. I recommend playing with it to see the results that you get. I should note that I don't believe in this as rule but rather as a technique used to achieve a specific outcome.
Ready to take the next step in post processing?
This MLC product is perfect for dramatically dark exposures.
Absence Black & White Actions for Adobe® Photoshop® & Elements®
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