March 31, 2012

New Pics... Someone is watching over us

Yesterday was quite a day.  In the afternoon, as I was preparing for our afternoon car ride to help Livvy take her nap, she almost locked me out of the house!  The door was about an eighth of an inch away from completely locking.  Surprisingly I caught it just in time!  And I say "surprisingly" because I was super exhausted and sort of shuffling around in slow motion.  I have to give myself a pat on the back though.  I was quick with cat-like reflexes!  Even still, as I was able to avoid what could have been a nightmare, my anxiety had risen.  

March 30, 2012

Old Edits vs. New Edits Part II

This is part two of the Old Edits vs. New Edits post.  I'd like to document my editing style changes.  So let me jump right into it and rip my photograph edits apart!

This first collage contains one of my favorite pictures of Livvy.  You can see from the original that it is a bit dark, but otherwise a good picture.  It has good composition, color, and contrast.  The middle version is my old edit.  I adjusted the exposure to brighten it up.  I also used a blurring tool to blur everything but her face which I felt at the time was just about the coolest action ever.  I've since changed my mind about this action.  Now, looking back, it just seems silly.  The last version is my current edit.  I adjusted the exposure and brightened it up.  Once brightened, it lost some of it's contrast so I boosted the contrast a little.  I used a skin smoothing action from Paint the Moon to smooth out, ever so slightly, some of the lines from under her eyes.  I adjusted the color and saturated some of the yellows as I felt it was a little too warm for my taste.  I also sharpened her face and added a subtle vignette.

Fix-it Friday

Have you participated in Fix-It Friday over at I Heart Faces?  If you haven't, I highly recommend it.  It allows everyone to work on editing the same photograph together.  It's a great opportunity to learn processing styles from others.  The photograph this week was provided by Jennifer Tonetti-Spellman over at JellyBean Pictures.  I read her tutorial on  *I Heart Faces yesterday.  It was a great post and after reading it, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this photograph! 

Since I couldn't choose between these two color edits, I posted them both.  I list the steps I took to fix-it.  All editing was done in PSE.

* The link for I Heart Faces may not be working.  I keep getting an error message.  I'm sure it will be fixed.

March 28, 2012

Edit Me... (boy I've missed you)

Do you know how long it's been since I've participated in one my favorite photo challenges?  Quite simple, it's been TOO long!  The Edit Me photo challenge has, hands down, been the challenge I look forward to most!  I love having the opportunity to edit someone else's photograph.  My favorite ones to edit are of people so I was especially happy to see this weeks photograph.  I love the positioning of the children, the tree trunk, the background, etc.; pretty much everything.  With that being said, I made the following very clean and simple edits in PSE:

1.  Cropped.
2.  Brightened a bit,
3.  Boosted contrast,
4.  Warmed up (boosted the yellow hues a tad),
5.  Lifted the shadows from the girls face,
6.  Sharpened faces,
7.  Added a subtle vignette, and
8.  Resized for web.

Quarterly Top 5 Photos - Quarter 1

This is my first time linking up to the Quarterly Top 5 Photos.  If you'd like to join in, you can link up over at Sarah Halstead, Ramblings and Photos, or Click Pray Love.  This was a challenge for me, trying to choose only 5 favorites from the last three months. 

March 27, 2012

New Pics... Photo Dump!

I almost forgot I had these.  It's a good thing I look through my picture files every now and then.  When I took these pictures, I didn't have any time to post them.  It was overwhelming to think about posting them now since I had to resize each and every one and PSE only allowed me to resize them one at a time, or did it?  After a google search, I found the following.  For those of you that didn't know that PSE was capable of resizing multiple photos at once, feel free to check out this article on About.  Now all I have to do is figure out how to add my watermark, which is in .jpg form, to multiple files at once.  That would be a HUGE time saver! 

March 26, 2012

Hooray to Photo Feedback!

To change things up a bit, I thought I'd link up to Photo Feedback over at Mom tried it. I've been desperate for some feedback on my photos! I'm always looking for ways to improve. I'm also curious to see how someone else would have taken the shot differently (even processed it differently). I could really learn from that!   This picture is one of my absolute favorites of Alivia!  Usually I have no problems ripping my pictures apart and coming up with a million ways that I could have taken it better/differently.  This one, however, really stumped me!  I am very happy with it!  I have a black & white print of it on my wall at the top of my staircase.  This, to me, was the perfect picture to submit.  I'm really curious to see what I could have done differently and don't hold back, let me have it!  I really look forward to hearing your critiques and applying your feedback to the pictures I take next time!

Showing off my Shot!

I haven't participated in this photo challenge in awhile.  I've been a little MIA.  So today, I'm excited to be linking up to SHOW of my SHOT over at And then she snapped.  These are my absolute favorite pictures!  I've been dying to, well, show them off!  I didn't have to do much processing.  I boosted the contrast a bit and had to remove some debris from the screen.  I added a subtle vignette and VOILA!  The second one is a riot with her nose and mouth smashed up against the screen as she was trying to kiss me.  At the time, I wasn't sure whether to melt or to take a picture.  So I took a picture and melted later.  She is such a little love bug!  I'm so lucky!

March 24, 2012

The Paper Mama Photo Challenge - GREEN

Linking up to The Paper Mama Photo Challenge.  The theme this week is GREEN.  I just took this picture last week although you may not be able to tell from what she is wearing.  Last week the weather was incredible having been in the 70's and 80's.  One day however, which I want to say was Tuesday, was cold and raw outside.  I was lucky that Alivia wanted to be outside at all.  In fact, when I was done shooting, I couldn't get her to come inside.  I really love this picture.  The sweater set she is wearing photographed very well.  The colors were spectacular!  Anyhow, I hope you like my version of GREEN.

Old Edits vs. New Edits

This post is to note the difference in my editing.  When I first began, and like many newbies so I've heard, I over-edited my photographs.  I used to think that it wasn't that I didn't like my original photograph it was more because I had such fun with the different editing software/programs.  It allowed me to be creative.  Taking the picture just wasn't enough for me.  Then it donned on me, and I mean only about 10 minutes ago, that I wasn't satisfied with my original (untouched) shots.  When I take a great photograph, I have a difficult time trying to figure out what it needs.  I almost don't want to touch it at all.  While it is exciting to see myself improving, it's a bit frustrating also.  So I stopped thinking about how to change the picture and I started focusing on ways to improve it!   Maybe a little color balance, contrast boost, sharpen around the eyes, etc.?  I just want to enhance what I've already captured so beautifully.  Anyhow, now my edits are clean and simple.  I don't really edit my pictures at all.  I process them. 

So here's the deal.  Below, I've attached some old photographs taken last year.  The first one from each collage is the SOOC/orignal untouched version.  The second one is the edited, in some cases over-edited, version.  The third is my processed version.  Clean & simple.  Okay so I added vignettes.  I have to have a little fun!  Also I tested out my new watermark. 

March 23, 2012

Fix-It Friday over at IHF

I'm excited!  I joined the ihf Community on I Heart Faces and this will be the first time participating in their Fix-It Friday photo challenge.  In a nutshell, they provide a photograph to be fixed/edited.  This week's photograph was provided by Angie Arthur Photography.  It's difficult to fix a photograph that is already gorgeous straight out of the camera.  Gorgeous picture!  Gorgeous girl!  My editing efforts are below.  I hope you like them!

March 22, 2012

New Pics... More Mackenzie

These pictures were taken awhile back but I never had a chance to post them.  I love taking pictures of Mackenzie!  She photographs so well!  I'm really loving the purple too.  It compliments her coloring.  What else can I tell you about Mackenzie?  She is super bright, silly (as you can see), well mannered, spirited, loving, and a great friend to Livvy!  She also has a birthday coming up!  Only 4 more months and she'll be turning the BIG 3!  Did I mention she has the cutest little munchkin voice ever?  And her parents?  What can I say?  They are just about the coolest people you will ever meet.  Her mom and I have been friends for over 30 years, since I was 5!  These are not the first set of pictures I've posted of Mackenzie and they certainly will not be the last!  Hope you enjoy them.

Also, for those of you interested, I used Paint the Moon's vintage frames.  I liked them so much that I decided to update my blog header!

March 19, 2012

New Pics... A little dirt never hurt anyone

Here are pictures from last weekend.  We spent most of it at the park.  As much as Livvy loves to walk, I was having some difficulties trying to get her to walk on anything other than our hardwood floors at home.  She'd walk on pavement, but any imperfection in the road would provoke tears.  Seriously, it was more than reluctance.  We were determined to get her to walk on the grass, mulch, imperfect pavings, etc. so we spent a good portion of our Saturday and Sunday afternoons just walking around.  Her daddy stayed strong through her desperate cries to be picked up and his persistence was exactly what the doctor ordered.  By the end of Saturday, she had walked the entire Benson's park grounds.  By Sunday she was leading the way, and with smiles and giggles to boot!  Although still apprehensive of dirt/mud, at least now she understands she can walk around it. 

March 15, 2012

New Pics... (Week: ?): Long time; No write

I'm embarrassed of how long I've gone between postings.  I haven't picked up a camera in, probably, a good few months so I've had nothing to share.  Lots to say, I guess, but not regarding this blogs topic.   I've been so focused on motherhood that I threw my Canon on the back burner.  I have missed photographing quite a bit and a little embarrassed to admit that I had initially forgotten how to use the settings.  Which setting was going to make my picture brighter, which less noisy, and so on.  Once I began snapping and using the playback feature, I was good to go.  Lower my ISO, up the shutter speed so I can catch Livvy in all of her constant moving splendor! 

With Jake and the Neverland Pirates playing in the background, I'm finding it difficult to write.  If that weren't enough of a distraction, I'm watching Livvy dance in her diaper to the music.  All chubbiness out there in plain view.  Really?  Does she have to be that cute?   Doesn't she know it's distracting me?  Jeesh! 

Anyhow, before photography and before Livvy, there was shopping.  Seriously, though, I had a problem.  Of course I also had a job that supported the habit extremely well.  I used to joke with my mom that we should have joined a support group for our shopping addiction.  I'd laugh while trying to recite the following "Hi, my name is Elena and, I'm a shopaholic".  Never in a million years did I think that I would have to give up designers like Kooba, Michael Kors, Burberry, David Yurman, John Hardy, etc. in exchange for Pampers, Fisher-Price, Vtech, Dr. Brown, Carters, etc.  Surprisingly the transition wasn't that difficult at all.  As long as Livvy had everything she needed, than I was happy.  As happy I was, though, there was still something missing.  I had a craving for something, but what?  Then Livvy outgrew her Fall and Winter clothes and I realized it was time to go clothes shopping again.  Although still a peanut, Livvy was actually in larger sizes.  In my quest for 18 month clothing, I stumbled upon some great baby clothing designers.  Apparently my craving had been for something, ANYTHING, different than the same ol' clothing I kept seeing at Babies 'R Us, Walmart, Target, etc.  Enough of Carters already!  I was so desperate for something different yet some of the prices were a bit hard to swallow.  For the price of one dress, I could have been sporting a new pair of leather boots!  I think, on occasion, it's good to splurge.  For those of you with the "you only live once" mentality, feel free to check out my findings and Enjoy! 

Tips for saving money:
1. Use online searches such as The Find to compare prices.
2. Look up designer coupons.
3. Buy last years designer collections which are usually on sale.
4. Don't foget to check Amazon.  They are almost always cheaper than anywhere else.
5. If you like a specific designer, sign up for their mailings to receive promotions & coupons.
6. Some designers like Hanna Andersson have outlet stores which, as you know, carry discounted items.

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