Friday, May 22, 2015

Lightroom Rescue: Saving a Low-Light Snapshot

I hope everyone has fun plans with their friends and family this long weekend!  We are taking a school break for a few weeks and are going to spend time with the family.  It has been a sad couple of weeks and we need a break.

I was going through some of my old photos and I came upon this one of Imp back in 2010.  It was in our old house and the lighting was really bad.  This was before I had my bigger on-camera flash, so I would take photos using the available natural light. Imp is cute but the image is really dark, grainy and red.

I could edit this in Photoshop but it would take several layers and it would be pretty time-consuming. And I am also not terribly impressed with Photoshop's noise reduction options.

Therefore, today I am going to show you how I would fix this in Lightroom.  I use Lightroom for most of my clean, basic edits as it is incredibly fast and easy. This edit took me less than 30 seconds from start to finish.

Here is my starting image.  The cracked tile is authentic and makes me smile so it is staying.  My world is not always pretty.  ;-)

I started the edit with the top panel sliders.

- The image was too dark so I upped the exposure to +1.35.

- I used the eyedropper and clicked on the white of his eye to try to fix the white balance.  It still wasn't great and I had to add a bit more yellow (temp) and a tiny bit of red (tint). I usually play around with the Temp and Tint until the skin looks natural.

-I fine-tuned the exposure by playing with the Highlights, Shadows, Whites, and Blacks until the contrast looked really nice.  Then I upped the Vibrance to add some additional color to his eyes and hair.

After I made these changes I could really see all of the noise in the image due to the low light conditions. Lightroom has an excellent noise reduction panel and this is a simple fix.

I went down to Noise Reduction and moved the Color slider up until the noise didn't have weird colors in it.  Then I moved up the Luminance, Detail, and Contrast until the skin looked pretty and soft yet still retained detail.

I also went back up to the top edit panel and moved the tint down a bit to remove a bit more red.  Now I am finished.  :-)

I could have added a bit of clarity with a brush to make his eyes really pop, but I was too lazy and now I don't want to go back and take more screenshots.  So imagine his piercing eyes staring at you.

This image is not perfect, but it is so much better and will look great in my photo album.  I would prefer to get a perfect image "out-of-camera", but sometimes you have to work with a less than perfect image, and Lightroom always comes to the rescue!

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.

More from Rita:
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Thursday, May 21, 2015

CoffeeShop "Degas" Digital Paper Pack!

Today I have a  really pretty "painted" digital paper set called "Degas".  I created these papers from scratch with brushes and a striped pattern and then ran them through the Topaz Impression Photoshop/PSE plug-in with the "degas" filter. This is such a quick and easy way to design custom painted paper with just a click!

I was going to write more today but a giant storm is about to hit so I need to turn off my computer.  I hope everyone is having a great day!!!!

Download the CoffeeShop "Degas" Digital Paper set. You can also download it here.

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.

More from Rita:
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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

My Review of the Pretty Presets "Luminous Collection: Bokeh, Sun Flare and Haze": I LOVE THEM!!!

I love using Lightroom and the only presets I use besides my own are Pretty Presets. Today I wanted to review the new "Luminous Collection: Bokeh, Sun Flare and Haze" for Lightroom 5, 6, and CC.

Note: If you are a Photoshop/PSE user then check out Luxe Photoshop Action's "Sun Flare Light Overlays". They are on special right now.

I was so excited when Laura of Pretty Presets sent me her newest Lightroom preset collection "Luminous"  to review.  I always want to capture beautiful light straight-out-of-camera, but often I am shooting at less than ideal situations and I want to add some beautiful light during the editing process or I have a beautiful image that can really be enhanced with some subtle or dramatic lighting.  I had no idea you could even do this in Lightroom until I started using these presets.

One of the things I love about the " Luminous Collection" is that unlike light overlays in Photoshop or PSE, the presets are completely adjustable (here is a excellent video tutorial showing you how to customize them for your own images).   When I ran them I I usually loved them as-is, but on some images I wanted to remove some of the light effect from parts of the image (like the face) and it was so easy following the steps in that tutorial. 

Another thing I love about this set is many of them can be layered with some presets to create stunning edits.  This video will walk you through layering presets.  I have some sample images toward the bottom of this post. 

For this review I used two beautiful images from Jill Wellington (Vintage Val with Magnolia and Vintage Val with Hat).  You can read all about Jill's "Vintage Val" photoshoot here, it is such a great post!  I ran the presets from the "Luminous Collection" without any adjustments on the images below.


Creamy Sunflare Left


Golden Glow

Golden Hour


Rose Petals

Sunshine Right 1

Another thing that is remarkable about the "Luminous" collection is that you can layer many of them on top of some presets!  Here is a great video discussing layering presets in Lightroom.  


Bejeweled V1  (from the Fine Arts Film set, not included in "Luminous")

Bejeweled V1 + Creamy Sunflare Right from "Luminous"

So to conclude this review I wanted to let you know that I love the Pretty Presets "Luminous Collection" and personally think it is worth every penny.  In just a few clicks I have gorgeous adjustable light.

Monday, May 18, 2015

CoffeeShop "Buttercream Beauty" Photoshop/PSE Action!

Today I have a beautiful new Photoshop/PSE action called "Buttercream Beauty" and I LOVE this action!  It looks amazing on portraits and is completely adjustable.  

I used this beautiful image from Jill Wellington (Facebook, Blog, Free Photoshop Videos) on this tutorial.  You can download the image here and read about this Vintage Val photoshoot here.

Run the action on your image.  In this example I made no changes to any of the layers, but you can adjust the opacities and/or paint on the layer masks.  I have found this action is usually really nice without adjustments.  I love the golden tones and how beautiful it looks on skin.

Mouse over to see the before.

I would love to see your before and after images on my Facebook page!

Download the  CoffeeShop "Buttercream Beauty" Photoshop/PSE action. You can also download it here.

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop PSE/Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures.

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.

More from Rita:
Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter

Friday, May 15, 2015

Lil Prop Shop, a CoffeeShop Sponsor and a 20% off coupon!

I am really excited to introduce you to Lil Prop Shop, a sponsor on my site.  Lil  Prop Shop is located in Denmark (I have visited Denmark and loved it) and they ship worldwide, so you can order from anywhere including the US! You have to check out her custom maternity gown, it is just gorgeous. And here is helpful video about their popular E-Cloth backdrops.

Make sure you grab the 20% coupon code at the bottom of this post.

Lil Prop Shop
Being a photographer myself, I am always on the hunt for backdrops, floordrops and other various props for my studio. However I always had the small issue of being located in Denmark. This may not seem like a big issue, however anyone who lives in the EU knows these two things:

1. Most prop and backdrop sellers are located in the USA.
2. Paying import taxes and VAT taxes on items purchased outside of the EU can get expensive!

Out of this frustration Lil Prop Shop was born. I decided I wanted to make it easier those in Denmark and Europe to buy backdrops and it sort of evolved from there! Lil Prop Shop now sells backdrops in 5 different materials, including our most popular E-Cloth. E-Cloth is a slightly stretchy cloth fabric that is wrinkle resistent, washable and should it get fold lines in you can quickly iron or steam them out. The colors are vibrant and the print quality great. There is currently over 150 designs in the shop. Can't find what you are looking for? You are always welcome to contact us for a custom order.

But it doesn't stop at backdrops. We are regularly adding new items to the shop to stay try to our name. Currently we also offer merino wool braids, mini blankets, wraps, faux furs and maternity gowns and we will be adding more items later this month. We also hope to be launching our satin line of maternity gowns early this summer. 

Oh and I forgot to mention. We now ship worldwide!

Now for the good part. For the rest of May Lil Prop Shop is offering The CoffeeShop Blog readers a 20% off coupon. Just enter the coupon code COFFEESHOP at checkout and you will automatically get 20% off your purchases.

Also, may is our 1 year anniversary, so be sure to follow us on Facebook for our birthday flash sales throught the month of May.

Thank you so much!

I just wanted to thank all of you who left such lovely comments here and on my Facebook page about the loss of our friend Blackberry.  The boys and I have read every one and they really comforted us. It has been two days since we lost her and we still keep on glancing out the back door, searching for her smiling face.

I was trying to find a decent photo of me with Blackberry but only found a few blurry snapshots. This one was taken by my mom when we went out to my parent's land out in East Texas. They have fifty mostly-wooded acres and we were exploring an old log cabin deep in the woods.  I grew up playing in those woods so it has been such a joy to bring my own family out there to visit. Blackberry went crazy exploring everywhere and swimming in the pond. She had a non-stop doggy grin on her face and it was a day to remember.

My dear son Duke made me cry yesterday.  He mentioned that now we will never get to bring Blackberry to the beach and when he said that I couldn't stop crying.  We had been planning on bringing her on a day trip out to Galveston Island for years. Once we trained her to walk on her e-collar we were so excited because she would finally be able to run free on the beach.  I paid extra for the waterproof collar so she could jump in the surf and swim with us.  Blackberry loved to swim.

A few weeks ago we decided to go to the beach just for the afternoon.  It was sunny and cool and the perfect opportunity to finally bring Blackberry along.  I called the Mexican restaurant on the seawall where we normally eat to make sure they still allowed dogs on their outside patio.  Unfortunately they said no dogs allowed so we decided we would bring her next time.  And now there is no next time...

But you know what, Blackberry didn't care that she never went to the beach. She was happy anywhere, as long as she was with us.

I miss you so much little girl.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

R.I.P. Our Beloved Blackberry

Yesterday we lost our best furry friend in a tragic accident.  We were unloading my car after shopping and Blackberry slipped out of the house, unnoticed, and uncharacteristically chased something out onto the busy road in front of our subdivision and was struck by a car.  She died instantly.

When we adopted Blackberry about five years ago she had been stuck in a small cage at the animal shelter for months and had mange and constant diarrhea.  No one wanted this black mangy mutt.  But for some reason Blackberry caught our eye and we brought her home.  We treated her mange, her digestive issues instantly cleared up, and she became my husband's and my fur daughter and the boys' best friend.

I keep on feeling like I just woke up from a bad dream and she is in her favorite napping spot upstairs on Duke's bed.  I keep on glancing out the back door expecting to see her smiling face and wagging tail, ready to come back in with her family.  She always follows me everywhere and I keep on looking down at my feet, shocked that she is not there.  Last night I told the boys to give her their leftovers.  I keep on hearing sounds of her moving around the house.  I moved her dog bed to our breakfast room this morning so she could join us.  I keep on having flashbacks of her looking at me with her ears up, excited because I told her we were going on a walk and I burst into tears. Or how she would throw herself on her back, wigging around with joy, begging for us to give her a tummy rub.

Duke cried himself to sleep last night and Imp walks around like he is lost. My husband is the first one to see her every morning as he makes the coffee, and today he told me it made him so sad to not see his morning buddy.  And I am eaten up with remorse for not noticing that my beloved Blackberry was not safe inside with her family.  She trusted me to take care of her and I failed.

I loved that dog.

Blackberry had a giant heart and loved us unconditionally. We are heart-broken.

Last night we buried her in the pouring rain on my parent's land where we would often walk her unleashed so she could run free in the woods.  We all wrote her a love note and buried them with her, along with some of her favorite dog treats.

Rest in peace little girl.  We love you so much and it breaks our heart that you are gone.  May you have unlimited cats, rabbits, squirrels, and UPS trucks to chase in heaven.