Before & After
Happy 5 for $5.00 Friday y'all! This week we have 5 chilly winter overlays designed to give you superior color depth. Our overlays are simple to use, and do not have to be installed. They are simply placed on your image and voila! This kind of color depth is not achievable with Actions alone.
For an in depth tutorial on how to use overlays visit the Video Library installation page.
5 Chilly Winter Overlays
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®
This week we have great set of Actions for Photoshop & Photoshop Elements. The Vintage Romance© Action Set includes 5 complex Actions designed to evoke the timeless tones of romance. These are the perfect tool to use in editing your Valentines sessions.
5 Stunning Actions
Soft And Sweet: This Action will instantly give your image a soft, sweet, romantic finish. It includes 5 fully editable layers that include layer masking capabilities.
Romance: This Action evokes a romantically warm vintage effect. It includes 5 fully editable layers that include layer masking capabilities.
Vintage Black And White: This Action mimics the quintessential Vintage Black and White Film effect. It includes 4 fully editable layers that include layer masking capabilities.
Soft Blur Brush: Instantly brush on a soft romantic blur anywhere in your image.
Both images edited in one click!
For Use With Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 +
For Use With Adobe Photoshop CS4-6 & Creative Cloud
Check Out The Other 5 for $5.00 Products!
Let Macro Photography Inspire You To Get Outside This Winter.
In the dirt.
Flailing in the sand.
To get a picture.
How is that for a little photography faux haiku. That's me though. Studio = nightmare to me. Does anyone else reading this feel this way? In December, I climbed straight up a mountain in Germany with two cameras around my neck, one being a Mark III with a wide angle lens. It was heavy. I was sweating on the edge of hypothermia by the time I got to the the top and I was loving every minute of it.
Purple Flower | Leaf | Winter Flower | Spider Web | Fly | Flowers in field
"We're bringing Macro back!"
Next week we will be posting on the best equipment to use for Macro Photography and trying to take a little bit of the mystery out of Macro. Make sure you subscribe or follow us on social media to find out when we post.
Right now, I have to go...so I can order a new dedicated Macro lens! I'm so inspired! Whoop! I'll let you know on Monday which lens I decide to go with.
Not on Facebook? Join us on Twitter. Post your Macro photography and mention us @MLCActions, to join in!
Any suggestions? Do you love your Macro lens? Please let me know!
If you are still working in Adobe Photoshop Elements 7-10, you need to read this right away. It's time for you to make the switch to version 11 or higher!
Here at MLC, this is how we feel about the jump from Photoshop Elements 10-11.
Jaw dropping-ly exciting.
If you used to have versions 7-10 made the switch to Elements 11 in 2012, you know what I'm sayin'.
I would think that people have upgraded over the years, but my Moms' comments on Elements 7 have prompted me to think that maybe some of our customers here at MLC haven't made the switch. If you haven't then now is the time.
I have to point out that the Elements software itself as far as what it offers hasn't changed that much. However, there are two major changes.
Major noteworthy changes from a developers and ultimately a customers perspective:
1. Layer-Masking Capability
2. Improved Action Installation
Photoshop Elements 11-13 Layer Masking
Does that sound complicated?
Well, it is.
For a developer like me, this process has been plagued with problems. Clipping masks don't always translate well between the full version of Photoshop and Elements and often (very often) over the years Actions have failed in testing because of this.
Beginning with Elements 11, Adobe gives full layer masking capability that matches up with the layer masking capability of the full version of Photoshop.
No more clipping masks!
For us here at MLC, this means many less failed Actions, and many more Actions that we are able to offer to Elements users.
Photoshop Elements 11-13 Improved Action Installation
In other words, it was hard y'all.
There were media databases to rename...which always scared me for some reason. There were twice as many files to install as each action had to have a corresponding thumbnail. There were missing Actions, missing photo effects folders...it was just a lot.
Now it is simple, and translates well across all software versions and operating systems. You simply install the Actions nearly exactly the same way as the full version of Photoshop. See our video on how to install Actions in Elements 11-13. In 2013, Adobe released Elements 12 and a year later version 13. Photoshop Elements version 14 is in the works now and should be released in the next year. I doubt it will be earth-shattering as the jump from Elements 10-11 was.
In short, for these reasons you should switch from versions prior to Elements 11 to one of the versions after 11. Elements 13 is currently available for instant download for both PC and MAC on Amazon here.
Here at MLC, we have made the difficult decision to no longer support Photoshop Elements versions 7-10 as we have for the last 4 years. We truly believe that our customers are better supported in Elements 11-13 and beyond.
We will start this transition with existing products on March 1, 2015. We are confident that this will serve our customer base much better in the future.
Do you have questions? Do you love the newer versions of Photoshop Elements like we do? Let us know! Leave a comment!
MLC Products that are currently compatible with Adobe Photoshop Elements 11-13:
I may or may not be writing this post so that I can send my husband the link to it.
That's the truth of this post. I hearty heart love all of this stuff! I want it, and so will the photographer that you love. If you have been scratching your head for ideas this year, look no further.
As a photographer, those things are really exciting to me and ultimately inspire me to work harder.
This post is for two kinds of people. Those who are looking for ideas for the photographer they love, and those who are in love with photography and need to drop some hints.
I'll be using this to drop some hints.
6 Last Minute Gift Ideas For The Photographer You Love.
This cute mug from Click & Blossom. I love the colors, typography, &
A vintage camera to display (or even use) has to be one of the cutest gifts. They are readily available from many different sources online as well as thrift stores. I recommend starting your search on Etsy. Convo the seller and ask for speedy shipping, this is last minute!
This camera bag from Jo Totes.
A cute custom camera strap is at the top of my list. I imagine just about every other photographer and mamarazzi out there wants one too. If nothing else, a great colorful camera strap will remind you to have a great time. That is what it is all about. Having a matching camera strap and bag wouldn't hurt either...just sayin'.
These options really run the gamut as far as price goes. There is something for every budget. Photographers live and breathe photography. Get something to acknowledge how hard they work. They will appreciate that. I know I would. Winkity-wink-wink.
Our brand new Essential Food Photography Action Set is designed for Food Photographers, Food Bloggers and all around Foodies!
In total, there are 33 Actions and 3 storyboard templates available.
It is also the same for Elements® 11-13.
How To Achieve A Clean Edit
In this video, we show you how to use Image Cleaner. This Action mimics the Camera RAW Filter. Even if you have a version of Adobe® Photoshop® that predates Creative Cloud® or if you are using Elements® you can still pull this Action up at any time (with fully layer masking capability)
and achieve perfect Camera RAW results!
How To Achieve A Brighter & More Balanced Image
In this video, we show you how to brighten the shadows, pop the highlights, & boost the orange tones.
3 Storyboards Included:
These 3 storyboards make it easy to display your work on Facebook, your blog, or website. They come to you in easy to use .psd files. The options allow you to display four images, seven images, or one image with a headshot. Two of the options have a customizable color bar that allows you to choose a complimentary color from your image.
ESSENTIAL FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY
33 ESSENTIAL ACTIONS & 3 STORYBOARDS
FOR ADOBE PHOTOSHOP CS4-6 & CREATIVE CLOUD
FOR ADOBE PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS 11-13
How To Install Actions In Adobe® Photoshop® Elements® 13
There are no more thumbnails.
No more media database files to rename.
None of that nonsense.
Look at the image below. Easy Peasy.
For a developer like me, this is amazing. Compatibility and testing in Elements has always been pretty difficult, but now everything changes.
Can I get an Amen.
If you have a version of Elements®, that is prior to 11 and you are someone that works with Actions a lot, I recommend switching to Elements 13. I was able to download it from Amazon for $69.99. That is a GREAT price for any Adobe® Photoshop® product. Amazon offers direct software downloads so there is no need to wait for boxed software to arrive or deal with CD's, etc. It is quite a long download, at least on my iMAC so be sure to set aside some time to be sure that your internet has a continuous connection. This process is the same as with Elements 11 and 12. We are working to come up with a video to support those two versions specifically but this should work perfectly for you.
Let's take a look at how easy it is to install Actions in Adobe® Photoshop® Elements® 13.
We have a special new deal this week for 5 for $5.00 Friday! It actually 13 for $5.00 Friday!
This week, we have 5 Actions from the upcoming Magic Finish© Action Set,
and 8 BONUS Valentines Day Digital Papers.
Color Bar Bottom: Play the Action and create a custom color bar at the bottom of the image. You can choose a custom color from your image, or place a digital paper in the space provided. This Action is perfect for displaying your watermark below the image.
Color Bar Left: Add a splash of color or digital design to the left side of your image. This is the perfect Action to display your watermark or comments.
Color Block Left: Add a big block of color to the left side of your image, perfect for comments or your watermark. Choose a custom color from your image or add a digital paper.
Color Block Right: Add a big block of color to the right side of your image, perfect for comments or your watermark. Choose a custom color from your image or add digital paper.
8 Bonus Digital Papers
Pink Polka Dot | Pink Damask | Pink Hearts | Teal Polka Dot | Teal Damask
Red Polka Dot | Red Damask | Red Hearts
Show Off Your Work On Your Blog Or Website
but not distract from the image itself.
5 Actions & 8 Digital Papers
FOR USE WITH ADOBE® PHOTOSHOP® CS3-6, CREATIVE CLOUD®
FOR USE WITH ADOBE® PHOTOSHOP® ELEMENTS® 7-13
Did You Sleep Through The New Facebook Changes For Business Pages?
The letter starts by saying that the goal of Facebooks "News Feed" has been to show people what they want to see. They surveyed users and asked how they feel about what they see in their News Feed, and those users overwhelmingly wanted to see less promotional content. Promotional content = how we keep in touch with customers on Facebook.
They go on to say that they are applying more controls to promotional posts, so people see more of what they want from our Pages. They outline three key traits that make posts feel too promotional.
- Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
- Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
- Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads
Facebook goes on to say that in January 2015, people will see less of the above mentioned type of content. They acknowledge that this new approach might raise questions about pages and their role within Facebook and they reassure us that "pages still matter". Which leaves them sounding slightly like they are breaking up with us.
They do offer us a little bit of advice in saying that businesses should think of their Facebook page as the cornerstone of their business rather than a publishing service. The cornerstone of most businesses is advertising and what this letter doesn't come out and say is that we can still reach our customers by paying for them to see each post.
In short, I still believe in Facebook for business. I have made connections and formed relationships with many of my customers this way.
If you are following MLC on Facebook, then you want to make sure you are getting the news about 5 For $5.00 Fridays, giveaways, promotional events, discounts, and more.
Like and Follow us. By clicking the follow button at the top of our page you will be sure to continue to get our updates in your News Feed.
If you are still confused and think you should look into what you can do differently this year, you can review Facebook's Page publishing tips and best practices.
I came across a great blog post by Pam Dyer at Pamorama. She gives us some insight into how we can raise our engagement rate.
Im pretty sure with the new strategy Facebook has rolled out, we can all use some great advice.
How To Raise Your Engagement Rate
In this video tutorial, I will show you how to easily get white, bright, polished teeth in Adobe® Photoshop®. Our dynamic Portrait Magic Action Set includes everything you need to successfully edit your portrait photography. This set includes Magic Smile which is the focus of this video tutorial.
This is an incredibly easy set to use and will save you a ton of clicks. If you are a beginner, there is no need to worry about learning all of the steps it takes. You simply press play and brush on the effects. Pro-photographers will appreciate how much this set shortens their workflow. The Portrait Magic Action Set is available for Instant Download.
Before & After Magic Smile
AVAILABLE FOR ADOBE PHOTOSHOP CS4-6 & CREATIVE CLOUD
Free Printable Valentine Photo Cards for Photoshop® & Elements®
These are so cute to send your kids to school with this Valentines Day, and nothing beats the price. The two 5"x5" cards are designed to hold portrait sized images and the 4"x6" cards are designed to hold landscape sized images.
All of the cards come together as .psd files and can be used by Adobe® Photoshop® users as well as Adobe® Photoshop® Elements® users. The file you will receive is quite large (46.2MB), so be sure that you have enough available memory before you download.
Please post your pictures on our Facebook page and/or mention us on Twitter (@MLCActions) and show us your cards! We really love seeing what everyone comes up with!
NOT SURE HOW TO USE THE PHOTO CARD TEMPLATES?
Don't worry, we have you covered!
Do You Love The Digital Papers?
Visit Our FREE ACTIONS page to find out how!
a former commercial photographer turned Mom-tographer. I started Magic And Light Collection 8 years ago and have loved watching it grow over the years! I am currently working hard on raising those littles, and sharing all the Photoshop shortcuts that help me work smarter, and not harder!
5 For $5.00 Fridays
Free Photoshop Actions
Fun For Photography
My Photography Insight
Photo Editing Software
Watch Me Edit