Week 24

Settings: Stock photo

Set up. Following a tutorial in “Photoshop Creative” issue 127

Opinion. I’ve come to realise that not only are many of the tutorials in this publication not possible on Photoshop Elements but even the ones which supposedly are or, have Element alternative procedures, are frequently not that simple to follow. I often find myself resorting to demonstrations on “You Tube” of how to obtain similar results. Fortunately I’m spoilt for choice more often than not, many with easy to understand explanations. So it was with this week’s project. However, as with previous attempts at following tutorials, a consequence of not getting it exactly right was I learnt new, cool effects.

For example, when adding the sparkles to the image I found if I added a layer with a mid to low opacity & then an additional layer with a higher degree of opacity on top, it created a more realistic effect as the sparkles appeared to now have depth. I also blurred the sparkles more on the lower layer (filter>blur>Gaussian blur) to help this effect.

The middle picture of the three shown here was the one I was initially attempting. However, I thought it looked quite good in black & white. I also discovered the image on the right by messing around with the “hue” slider while trying to boost the colours on the original picture. In the end there was nothing left for it but to create a triptych.


Week 16

Settings: f/2.2, 1/500 second, ISO 400, 50mm prime

Set up. For the photos. Try to find an area where the light isn’t going to change between your shots (eg. open shade or in this case, indoors). Pick an area where the background isn’t going to be too busy either (you can always place your subject further from the background in order to blur it out). Start in AV mode with a wide aperture. Set the ISO to allow a fast shutter speed (faster than 1/100 preferably) & use spot metering. Look at the view finder as well as the histogram to check the exposure & if you’re happy, transfer these settings into “manual” mode (this will help ensure the exposure remains constant throughout the shoot). Don’t be afraid to move in closer or further away for different parts of the image.

Creating the triptych. Select all three images & make sure the white balance is consistent with all three (if not, you can always adjust it provided you took RAW images). Go to Image>Crop & in the width & height boxes enter sizes (in cm) to provide a 2:1 ratio. You can then further adjust the crop (pressing “shift” first will allow you to resize the crop without distorting the image). On the torso image, double-click on the “Background” in the layers palette & click “OK” to unlock the layer. Now go to the head image Select>All & then Edit>Copy. Back on the torso layer Edit>Paste. Repeat for the feet image. Activate the feet image in the layers palette & while holding down “shift” use the “Move tool” to drag this layer down. Move the head layer upwards in a similar fashion. Image>Reveal All & all three layers will be visible. Adjust the alignments as required. If the images aren’t the exact same width you can select all three layers simultaneously & crop the entire triptych.

Create a border. Select the “Move tool” & with the head layer active, hold down the “shift” key & tap the “up arrow”. Count how many taps & repeat this step for the feet layer. For the external border, select the “Crop” tool & draw a line around the whole triptych. Now drag the crop outwards to create a gap around the three pictures before pressing “Enter”. Layer>New Fill Layer>Solid Colour choose white & click “OK”. Drag this layer to the bottom of the layers palette.

Opinion. After reading an article in “Digital SLR Photography” magazine (May 2015 edition) & checking out the work of Adde Adesokan (“Triptychs of Strangers” on Flickr, see below) https://www.flickr.com/photos/theblackstar/sets/72157626117942754/ I couldn’t wait to try creating a triptych of my own. I call this one “The Home Baker”. It was really fun to do & I can see myself creating a small collection of them over time.