Blogstomp Has Just Made My Blogging Life a Little Bit (or a LOT!) Easier

I had heard of Blogstomp for awhile from fellow photographers in my field, but never ventured out to try it until now.

I had a birthday last month and my family asked me what I wanted as a gift.

You guessed it: BLOGSTOMP!

I love writing and blogging, but shied away from it because of how long it takes to resize and watermark images, let alone put them into cute little collages with borders.

Enter in Blogstomp! It’s a software program that makes the above easy-peasy in only a few steps. I upload my edited photos, select which ones I want collaged together and the system watermarks and resizes them for me.

In the past, this would have taken around an hour for a full set. Now I can finish things in under 10 minutes. Magic!

I am loving Blogstomp and hoping with this newly purchased software that I can get back to blogging, because I really truly do love it so much!

Here’s to seeing more on this blog! Cheers!

–Beba

Photoshop Tip — Removing and Changing a Background

Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced

This blog post is for all you professional and aspiring photographers out there! Sometimes, when you do a photo session, you find yourself wishing you had a different background to work with. If there is a limitation on available location space, you may opt to remove the current background and add in a secondary one.

To do this, you must use Photoshop. In this tutorial, I will be using Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud, which is commonly referred to by photographers as Photoshop CC.

I will break this process down step by step. If you have any questions, please post them in the comments section below. I also offer private, one on one tutorials across the US either in person or via phone if there is a specific skill you are looking to learn. You can contact me at: alicia@BebaPhotography.com for more information.

Let’s get started!

  1. Open the foreground photo you will be working with. In this case, I decided to work with a photo of a family I recently photographed:

Family (61) WITH LOGO

Now, I personally love the background in this image, but decided to use it for this example.

2. Your next step is to turn the flattened background layer into a workable, free layer. To do this, double click on the background layer in your layers panel on the right side of your work space:

step 2

A dialogue box will come up saying that you have a new layer. Hit OK. You now have a free floating layer that is no longer locked. You will see this change when you look at your layers panel. You will see that your background layer has changed from being labeled as “background” to “layer 0.”

step 3

3. The next thing you want to do is select the lasso tool from your toolbar on the left hand side of your work space. Use this tool to quickly grab the areas around your subjects. It doesn’t have to be right up against them and it doesn’t have to be super close. It should just be somewhat near to them. We will clean things up in the next step:

step 4

step 5

The lines around your subjects should connect and they will look like little dancing ants.

4. The next thing you want to do with your mouse is to right-click. This will bring up a drop-down list. You’ll want to select the option that says, “Select Inverse.”

step 6

5. Once you have done this, hit your delete key. This will suddenly make your background disappear and you will be left with what looks like a grey checkerboard. These squares indicate that there is nothing there and you are to treat those areas as “transparent” as shown below:

step 7

6. What about the little bit of background surrounding the subjects? How do you get rid of this? Go to your toolbar on the left side of your work space and select the Quick Selection Tool:

step 8

7. Use the Quick Selection tool to select the background area around your subjects. You can add to your selection by holding down the SHIFT button on a PC and subtract from your selection by holding down the ALT button on a PC.

(Here is a cheat sheet on Microsoft’s support website for equivalent keys if you are a MAC user: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/970299)

When you have selected all of the background areas that you need to, your photo will have lines that look like dancing ants around the areas you will be deleting:

step 9

8. To make the deleting of your background look smoother, you will want to make sure you transition to the regular lasso tool. Without clicking off of your selection you’ve just made, right click with your mouse on the screen until you see a drop-down list. Select the “Feather” option and set the radius to between 1 and 3. After you have done that, hit the delete button and your entire background will be gone:

step 10

9. Your next step will be to open the second file you would like to use as your new background in the photo:

step 11

10. In order to drop your free floating subjects onto the new background, you will need to view the photos so that you see them at the same time. In order to do this, go to the top of your screen. Go to:

Window > Arrange > Select any multiple view option. In this case, I used 2 up vertical.

step 12

11. Click on the Move Tool in the upper left hand corner of your work space in the tool bar and use the tool to move your subjects onto the new background. You can do this by holding down the left side of your mouse and dragging the photo over.

step 13

When you are finished, go back to:

Window > Arrange > Consolidate All To Tabs

This will take you back to a single image view at a time.

12. You will now want to play around with positioning your family on your new background layer. Keep the ratio of their size by holding down the SHIFT key as you scale them smaller or larger.

step 14

13. You may notice that your subjects look a little flat or oddly popped out from your new background and this is something you’ll want to correct so that the new image looks authentic. Use other tools withing Photoshop to match the tones and lighting between the two photos. In some cases, you may want to recolor and crop the photo down as I did to make it appear more believable in regards to aspect ratio and believability:

last step

14. Your last and final steps are to flatten your image once it’s to your liking and to save it.

Again, if you have any questions, please post them in the comments section below.

Enjoy!

For private 1-on-1 tutorials learned at your skill level and pace, contact me at: alicia@BebaPhotography.com or 480.399.3030 for more information.

Vendor Preference – Ashe Design

From time to time, I am going to be reviewing my favorite photography vendors as a resource for other photographers who are looking  for products to use. Today’s vendor review is for Ashe Design, who has created several designs for cards, photo albums, collage layouts and so much more!

Preferred Vendor

ashe

My background is in marketing and before I came to become a professional photographer, I was working with design elements creating bulletins and newsletters, so the graphic design nerd comes out of me when I see new design pieces to work with!

The reason I love Ashe Design so much and consider them a preferred vendor over other design vendors, is that I am free to change up details on their designs to make them a little more customized, which is really important for me as a photographer. I want something that I can modify a bit and that makes it more “Beba” as a product to offer to my photo clients.

Example #1:

Here is an example of a card design they offer, which you can find at the link below:

http://www.ashedesign.com/5×7-flat-card-design-gabriel-matthew.html

This is an example of how I received the file:

as is 1 example

And this is an example of how I was able to customize it for Beba Couture:

bc inside jpeg

Example #2:

Another example is from their Catherine Alise photo book template collection (listed below):

http://www.ashedesign.com/photo-book-design-template-10×10-catherine-alise.html

I was able to take their design elements and put photos into it to create something that shows off my photography as a type of look book online with Issuu that I can now share with my clients:

http://issuu.com/bebaphotography/docs/couture_promo

Try Them Out For Free:

Not sure if you’ll like Ashe Designs or not? No problem! They offer $5 deals each week, as well as free samples to test drive before committing to purchasing:

Use the Code FREEBIE at Checkout

However…I will warn you…once you are on their website and searching through designs, you will find things that you absolutely love and your shopping cart will fast be filling up! I’ve found this to be true each time I visit their website!

But with each of those trips to their website, those little shopping splurges turn into creative tools for me to use to create pieces that my photography clients love and it’s well worth the cost!

Give them a whirl and comment below with your favorite designs that you find and use! I’d love to add to my stock!

Enjoy!

Here is their website one more time in case you missed it:

http://www.ashedesign.com/