Posts Tagged ‘photo editing’

Clipping Mask Basics

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

I’ve received a few emails about how I created shapes around images of products featured in the Holiday Gift Guide and in some subsequent posts since then. The answer is by use of a basic process of layering shapes and images with the clipping mask option found in Photoshop Elements. (For those that don’t have this software, Adobe is having a sale, you can purchase it for $70 before Dec 28th.)

This doesn’t take any advanced skills just a basic familiarity with the tools in Photoshop Elements. Follow these seven steps and you’ll be on your way to framing any image inside a shape of your choice or creating patterned or textured lettering. Both are helpful for blogging or scrapbooking or card making, or simply for having fun with photo editing or getting creative with fonts.

clipping mask basics

For demonstration, I’ll use this pretty Cambria Dinnerware image from Pottery Barn. Open the image you wish to frame inside a shape in Photoshop Elements.

open image in pe

 

1) Double click on the image thumbnail that is visible in the sidebar Layers window to unlock it (it’s automatically named “Background” by PE). Rename it anything, I usually use the default name of “Layer 0″

change background to layer 0

2) Select the Shapes tool and pick whatever shape you want to use to frame your image, from an ellipse to rounded rectangle to hexagon. In this example I’ll use the ellipse (or oval).

select shapes tool

 

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Photo Editing Trick: Fixing Blown Out Windows

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Last week a crew from BH&G came to photograph both my kids’ rooms for an online story and I had the chance to work again with a stylist and professional photographer for a day and watch them create their magic in front of and behind the lens. Several shots included windows and I watched as the photographer took two different exposures of the window view in both dark and light settings.

For any one of you who photograph interiors with window scenes, you know that when you’ve got your camera set with a wide aperture and/or slow shutter speed to pull more light into the lens and brighten the room, often you end up with a window that is all white, or “blown out”, meaning the interior looks great but you cannot see the garden or scenery beyond, or any of the architecture of the window.

You can minimize this by waiting until the absolute perfect time of day when there is no direct sunlight coming through the window but that requires excellent timing, and there is an alternative. The photographer showed me this simple way he eliminates the problem by taking two different exposures and combining them with a Layer Mask.

Here’s an example of how it works using Pixlr – that free online photo editing software I’ve mentioned before with same tools as Photoshop. (If you have Photoshop or PE, the technique uses the same tools and similar steps.)  Here is the picture of our dining room table with plenty of light coming into the lens to show the details of the table and chair.

dining room bright

 

The problem?  You can barely see the detail of the doors or that there is a garden beyond because the French doors are blown out from the light entering through them. Quicken the shutter speed and the interior falls flat and the room gets dark but you can see the divided light panels of the door and the garden beyond.

dark dining room

 

In the real world, you can see both the room in bright natural light and the outside view, but the camera has limitations in these light conditions and can have difficulty capturing both, which is where clever photo editing comes in.

layer mask combined exposures

You can combine the two and reveal the outside view while maintaining the brightness of the interior (seen above). Here’s how with a handy photo editing trick to combines the two exposures in a few simple steps.

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