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Whether you're just starting out in photography or have been shooting for years, finding a beautiful composition can be a struggle. In a presentation entitled "Crush the Composition", world-famous photographer Scott Kelby shares his advice for capturing images that speak to you. There's a little something for everyone here, from a brief, 4 minute introduction to the traditional basics of composition at the 6 minute mark, to a humorous and unforgettable lesson in the importance of having a great subject at 56 minutes. The video is posted on YouTube at I'd love to hear what you think. What did you find most helpful? Would you recommend this for others in the WyzAnt community? Happy shooting!  

The annual convention of the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) will be held in Atlanta January 10-12, 2016. The speaker list is packed with some of the biggest names in photography, including some of my favorite instructors.    Some of the speakers have prior presentations available on YouTube, including the highly recommended videos below. (Click on the title of this post to open it and reveal the embedded links.)   Jerry Ghionis: Posing Everyone Roberto Valenzuela: 21 Point Posing System   Peter Hurley: It's all about the Jaw!   Lindsay Adler:  Shooting at Noon   For more information on the convention, visit If anyone from the WyzAnt community will be there, please let me know.  It would be great to meet you in person.

Overview For selecting finely detailed images (trees with sky) the select color range tool is the first stop. Once you have that at its best, move to your toolbox and the selection tools available there. Refine edge works well for soft edged selections, hair, and more uniformly shaped objects like the smoother edged trees. When you are compositing an image onto another, it makes sense to copy the mask to the new file and make refinements on the mask so you get a real time look at how your manipulations are working. Select Color Range: Select, Color Range 1) Use the eyedropper to sample the colors you want to select. You can also make a selection and inverse it if it makes sense. 2) You can add to or subtract from your selection with the corresponding eye droppers. Keyboard shortcuts are Alt and Shift. Add or remove certain color ranges. 3) There are many ways to preview your selection, toggle through to the one that makes it easiest for... read more

Time files when you are knee deep in Photoshop, so it’s a good practice to walk away from your monitor every 2 hours or so. Set a timer on your cell to remind you. Look out the window, stretch, take a deep breath, get a drink of water before you go back to all those layers & masks.

So you keep hearing about Photoshop being this and that - the power application for decades ! ~yeah it's been the indusrty leader since the 1980's true, but what other options do you have for photo editing, printing ? Well it's kinda funny, ADOBE makes both Photoshop and Lightroom. Both do things very differnetly and yet both can work seamlessly together.   What one lacks the other makes up for brillantly.   The caveat here is the huge learning curve associated with these two mega applications. Tools on both are similar yet different, the windows are desined differnetly plus the location of items are complety unfamiliar from one to the other. So what is needed is a good grasp on both applications to utilize the awesome power of both combined.   Truly, knowing these two apps together gives you a powerhouse of tools for any photographer on any level. So the answer is USE BOTH !

Working in the creative arts you have to grow with the industry and where ever it might take you.  Technology is always advancing and you don't want to be left behind, so if you can learn the programs while they change you already will stay ahead of the game.  Just try to keep with it.  Take a few hours a week to stay ahead, view tutorials and ask questions.  

Pixel, Bitmap, Raster. These are common terms used in association with photo based imagery. Unlike vector based art (see my Blog on Adobe Illustrator), Photoshop is a raster (pixel/bitmap) based program that allows us make changes to an original image. Photoshop offers a vast toolset to create some truly incredible imagery. Most Photoshop work is in taking an existing image and altering it to the needs of your project. Changing sky color, moving someone’s arm, removing foreground from background, saving as a different file type, transparency, are a just a few ways this program can change images. Photoshop is a core graphic asset generator that is used everywhere. Chances are every image you see in print, advertising, merchandise, the web, etc. has been polished by Photoshop in some way. Selections may be the most important feature this program has at its disposal. With an array of selection tools to fit your needs Photoshop’s ability to distinguish an object from its surroundings... read more

Below are some helpful tips to consider before starting a new document in Adobe Illustrator, InDesign & Photoshop. Customizing a document’s preferences can be done anytime in Illustrator, InDesign, or Photoshop while a document is open. Changes made to preferences while a documents is open will be exclusive to that document. However, if you open the preference window (Edit/Preferences or Ctrl K on Windows) in Illustrator, InDesign, or Photoshop with no open documents in the viewing window, it will change the preference defaults for all future documents. This can be very helpful to eliminate time tweaking all your preferences with each document. EXAMPLE: Adobe Illustrator – With Illustrator on screen and no documents open in your viewing window go to (Edit/Preferences or Ctrl K on Windows). Here you can change your preference settings for all future Illustrator documents. Some things I change are the General/Double Click to Isolate (leave unchecked), Guides &... read more

Earlier this year I started tutoring Graphic Design, Drawing, and Painting on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I have a lovely student who is excelling in her work as an artist both in Drawing and Photoshop. After the end of the 3rd quarter, we will be going into Painting with Acrylics, Gauche, and Oil Paints if there is time. Because I am a full time student at UALR and only have one car to share with my spouse, I have a bit of a strict schedule. So I will have my availability up for those of you seeking a tutor in any area of Graphic Design, Drawing, and Painting. These times are for physical (face-to-face) tutoring. Monday - 1:30PM to 3:00PM Tuesday - 10:00AM to 3:00PM Wednesday - 1:30PM to 3:00PM Thursday - 10:00AM to 3:00PM Friday - 7:00AM to 10:00AM / 1:00PM to 3:00PM / Anytime after 5:00PM Saturday & Sunday - 10:00AM to 4:00PM Schedule is subject to change seeing as life does happen. I am also available for online tutoring over Skype / G+... read more

The left brain is logical, organized, and generally believed to be the domain of science. When math is considered to be "science" along with biology and physics, therein lies a flaw. Though elementary math may seem to be part of the science world, advanced math which I studied in college is better handled by the right brain. This is the brain of imagination, art, and emotion. My enjoyment of photography using Adobe Photoshop is no surprise to me as it provides for a creative outlet with a definite pedigree of mathematics. Algorithms of math in Photoshop generating my artistic results is a match made in heaven. W.L.

Recently I've been finding that many of my students who purchase both Lightroom and Photoshop end up discovering that Lightroom is all they need. With a comfortable learning curve and easy to comprehend basics, Lightroom provides digital beginners (and advanced photographers as well) the perfect opportunity for "developing" digital photos: exposure compensation, color correction, cropping, basic retouching and spotting, creative effects and gradients, rescaling for email and the web and, of course, printing and much more. Lightroom is also an image library that allows you to keep your digital images organized and searchable. Once a student has gotten over the first challenge of Lightroom, which is to understand the protocols and methods of Basic processing, it’s hard for them to stop wanting to improve everything they shoot. The good news is that these changes are always “non-destructive.” Non-destructive, meaning that every change they make (exposure, crop, gradient,... read more

One of the most important things I try and teach students is the difference between white point and white balance. Most believe if you grab your eye dropper and hit the area you believe should be white and click the mouse you will have established your white balance. What you have really done is establish a white point. While the colors might appear to be more "on target and corrected" you actually just through quite a bit of information away. By clicking on what you believe to be white, you have actually created a "white point" A white point is where there is no information at all in the white. If you look at the info palette it will read 255R, 255G, 255B - This is also the same as "paper white" if printed not ink will be seen in this area. White balance is a color neutral point where there is still detail in the white area. Yes you can hold detail in the snow, or the white dress, or the white shirt, but often it is a very delicate area to retain... read more

The concept of image creation often takes many directions that lead the artist into individual choices. We often hear that because of this flexibility there are no rules to the process. We are told to forget all the rules of design and go with the flow of our feelings and just create. But I wonder, how can you forget what you never knew? I think that one must learn the rules first in order to forget them. To make them intuitive to the creative process so they become subconscious to the artist. In this way we can forget the rules and still make good choices. We can trust our gut feelings knowing that they are founded in deep design principles proven over many generations of image making. Keeping this in mind lets look at the blank canvas of the creative mind. Lets start by asking some basic questions. Where to begin? What is the content of the vision? What do you want it to communicate? How will we divide the space? These types of questions provide a direction for the artist, they... read more

I just answered a poll about how often I assign homework for my tutoring sessions and I think my answer is probably a bit different than say a math tutor. I rarely assign projects outside of what we are working on in the traditional sense because, with Photoshop and Lightroom, the student can really get confused if they aren't exactly sure what they are doing and then can't get back to where they started. I prefer to to have my students go online and find samples of what they are exactly looking to accomplish and then go from there...there are some instances where I will show them exactly how to do it, but otherwise I want them to play around with my supervision because it can become very very frustrating when something you've worked on for hours just disappears!

Who is Amanda O.? Just another art teacher in Philadelphia? I am indeed an art teacher in the Philadelphia School District, but am so much more than that. While some students have the misconception that teachers just hatch from an egg as is, we know that's not true. I have many parts to me, as I am sure you have to you. I am a world traveler, who loves exploring new places, but also loves home more than anywhere. I also truly love helping others. During the summers of 2004 and 2005 I was able to combine these two passions by volunteering for a Christian service group called Project Serve. Our Project Serve team went to a small village just outside of San Pedro Sula, Honduras those 2 summers to serve the people of a Christian Youth Camp. My team focused on building a dorm hall and establishing a clean drinking well. While it was incredibly difficult, both physically and emotionally, each time I traveled there shaped who I am today. While we worked 8 of the 10 days we were there, we... read more

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