Project 52: “For Hire”

Two-year-old photoshootWay back in early February, I hosted a baby shower for my friend Johannah (she was due March 28th! Still no baby…). While I was there, I took pictures of the cake that her sister-in-law had made. I later sent them to her. She seemed impressed with my pictures, because she asked me to take pictures of her little girl for her 2nd birthday! And she wanted to pay me. Whoa.

two-year-old photoshootMy immediate reaction was to say no. Having someone hire me to take pictures for them seemed like wayyyyy too much pressure. When I’m just taking pictures for fun, it’s just that. Fun. What if someone paid me and hated the pictures? Or what if I couldn’t take one decent picture? I thought of all the reasons why I shouldn’t and almost wrote her a message to say no. But then I thought of the biggest reason why I should: because it’s a challenge and I wanted to push my boundaries this year.

ForHire-4So I said yes. I told her that she could come here, since it was in the dead of winter and we certainly were not going outside. I charged her for the cost of the materials to make the backdrop. I built a little studio in my dining area. I Pinned a bunch of ideas on Pinterest. The day arrived and I had butterflies! I was so nervous, mostly because I realized I had prepared everything to the last detail except for one important thing: the child! Everything can be controlled, except for the beautifully unique and unpredictable little person who will be coming over.

two-year-old photoshootTaking pictures of someone else’s child was indeed the greatest challenge of this “shoot”. A two year old does not “get it” when it comes to creating Pinterest-worthy pictures. They are squirmy, fidgety, and want to run around. They definitely do not want to sit still and smile in sweetly premeditated poses. There is a lot of bribery that happens 🙂

two-year-old photoshootBut I am so happy I did this! I think I ended up with some lovely pictures of her, and it definitely helped to create more confidence in my abilities. Not to mention I got to meet two lovely individuals. It was actually a lot of fun getting to know Julia and figuring out how to make her laugh and smile. I hope I get to see them again!two-year-old photoshoot

Project 52: Creating Snow in Photoshop Elements

Creating Snow with Photoshop ElementsWhile not a record breaking year for snow fall in Nova Scotia, it certainly feels that way. Up until January, we had little to no snow. Since then, we have had about 5 big snow storms that have accumulated roughly 240 cm…thats almost 2.5 meters of snow! Needless to say, we are buried.

But funny enough, I actually love snow. This amount is quite excessive, but I just love when it is actually snowing.  It is so beautiful. I especially love how the world is so silent and bright right after a snowfall. You can’t go anywhere (safely) so it means snuggling in close and enjoying time inside together.

After a recent snowfall, I decided to go outside and snap some pictures. When I got them home and started to edit them, I thought they would be perfect candidates for adding in snow post-production.Creating Snow in Photoshop Elements

Here are some of the steps I followed using Photoshop Elements that I followed from the book 52 Weekend Digital Photo Projects:

1. Open your snow image in Photoshop Elements (or if you have Photoshop that works as well!).

2. Go to Layer>New Layer. Name it “Snow1”. Next, click Edit>Fill Layer, change contents to black. Next, go to Filter>Noise>Add Noise, use an amount of 15% and set options to Gaussian and Monochromatic. Click Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and use 0.3px.

3. Go to Layer>New Layer. Select “Screen” from the Mode menu. Name this layer “Snow2”. Go to Edit>Fill Layer, change contents to white. Go to Filter>Pixelate>Pointilize, use a cell of 5. Press Cmd+U to desaturate layer. Cmd+I to invert.

4. Go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and this time use 1px. Click OK then press Cmd+L to open the layers palette. Set black point slider to 0, midtones to 0.2, and white to 40.

5. Create new layer, naming it “Snow3”, and changing mode to screen. Go to Edit>Fill Layer and set contents to black. Apply pointilize filter again, using cell size of 10. Desaturate this new layer, invert color as before, apply same levels, Gaussian blur, and blending mode.

6. Press Cmd+J to make a new layer, naming it “Snow 4”. Press Cmd+T and increase height and width to 500%.

Creating Snow in Photoshop Elements

You might have to adjust the opacity of the levels to make the background level visible. I also used the eraser tool to selectively erase some patches of snow.

And there you have it! A cool new way to spice up a photo that might otherwise be pretty flat. Let me know if you try it and it works out!