Time for a new MCP Actions Contest: Win a Tracy Joy Camera Bag

THE PRIZE: I took a break from contests for a few weeks.  And I bet you miss them. So here is a super fun contest where you have a chance to win a Tracy Joy’s all NEW “Joey” Camera Bag $72 value.  This bag is her coined “Mamarazzi bag” as it can be used as a diaper bag or camera bag – or for you moms with babies (both).

The winner will get to choose a black or brown bag and pick a fun fabric cover too.

HOW TO ENTER THE CONTEST: In the comment section directly on the blog, please post your favorite photography or photoshop tip or piece of advice.  It can be one you learned hear or elsewhere.  You can summarize – it does not have to be a huge tutorial.  Winner will be drawn at random on Friday, November 14th. Check back daily to read everyone’s tips and advice.

Please only enter once.  I approve blog messages.  So it may not show immediately. Entries must be posted to the blog.  If you subscribe via email – you need to log on to comment. Do not reply directly to me please.

Tracy Joy makes amazing bags. Here are a few details about the camera bag prize.

  • the Joey is convertible! It can be worn as a regular shoulder, or messenger bag, but also easily converts into a backpack!
  • comfortably holds your dslr camera body (with lens attached),and 2 add’l lenses. Or 1-2 Lens plus: flash, light meter, etc.
  • Your choice of one ERIN flap, made with a designer print of your choice (see my fabric selection below)
  • SIZE: 8″W x 8″L x5″D
  • Two (2) interior side, padded pockets. Great for your lenses!.
  • Your SLR camera fits neatly, and snuggly in the center of the bag
  • Interior lined with nylon oxford, giving waterproof protection
  • Here are the fabric options for the flap…

 Time for a new MCP Actions Contest: Win a Tracy Joy Camera Bag

Jodi Friedman, MCP Actions

Jodi Friedman is the founder of MCP Actions. She designs popular Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets that make editing faster, easier and more fun.

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199 Comments and 0 Replies

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  1. 101
    Angela says:

    My favorite bit of advice I have been given and can give is to really focus on the eyes (and what they are reflecting!) – sharp eyes will lead you to believe that the entire image is razor sharp and draw you right to the subjects face. The Eye doctor / dentist actions will perk up your entire image every time!
    I must say, many a great image look flat and uninteresting because of the lack of reflection and sharpness in the eyes.

  2. 102
    LaRell says:

    Best tip for becoming a better photographer. Take a picture of something everyday. The more you take the better you get.
    Best action I have found is touch of light/touch of dark followed closely by eye doctor and magic powder on the skin. MCP actions rock!

  3. 103
    anita says:

    what a great giveaway! and love the sharing of tips.
    one general piece of advice i appreciate is to shoot for yourself, and develop your own style. it’s easy to get sucked into shooting how you *think* your clients want you to shoot, or to try to mimic someone else. but if you start with what works for you, then everything else will fall into place, and you’ll have clients choosing you for your own personal style.

  4. 104

    When working with masks in Photoshop – if you click the “\” key, it will show you what your brush has actually effected in Red. To turn it off, just hit the “\” key again. I use it all the time. It beats blindly using the brush and helps show you spots you might have missed. I just stumbled on this by accident. :)

  5. 105
    gina says:

    photography: fill the frame photoshop: learn to use layers

  6. 106
    Shaila Hardy says:

    I haven’t been at this for very long, so I don’t feel that I have much advise to offer. The only thing I can say is if your new and not shooting in manual mode, do it. You’ll learn fast and have a lot of ‘aha’ moments.

    If you’re new to photoshop, just search this blog, and start learning. I’ve probably gained the most from this site!

  7. 107
    Ro says:

    My favorite photography tip while shooting small children, is ever so tactfully ask the parents to take a walk or leave the room…you will have much better luck with children when parents are MIA. :)

  8. 108
    Melanie says:

    The most important thing I’ve learned is that photography is all about the light – always think about where your light is coming from and how it affects your subject.

  9. 109

    The best advice or tip I have ever been given was to shoot in RAW. That way you can change your white balance (if goofed up) in photoshop as well as your exposure. RAW rocks!

  10. 110
    Bobbi says:

    I’m new to your blog from Tracy Joy, one of the better photography tips I have received is to get down on their level and capture things from their perspective.

  11. 111
    Mellissa says:

    I find that when I photograph kids of any ages, I get on their level and they are always great shots.

  12. 112
    Denise in MN says:

    I am very new to photoshop, but my best piece of advise is to practice, practice, practice and mess around with all the settings and you will be amazed at what photoshop can do!

  13. 113
    Kara says:

    My favorite is for blown spots without damaging pixels by using the burn tool! Use a soft light layer with a 50% neutral gray fill, use white to lighten areas and black to darken, works just like the burn/dodge tool, but you’ve saved your pixels!

  14. 114
    Kristine says:

    LOVE Tracy’s bags and LOVE your stuff, too! :) I have several things that have helped me with my photography: Shoot in RAW, try to get it right in camera, be aware of the light & surroundings while shooting (something that I struggle with because I get so caught up in taking/getting the pic, work and save in layers, use the marquee tool and contol T to stretch the background… I could go on and on! :)

  15. 115
    Kim says:

    My best advice is to always save your original work. Make a copy to do any editing with. Never edit the original. That way you can always come back to it if you need.

  16. 116

    I’m not good with technical terms, but you showed how you could go into the layers palette, make a new layer, and continue on to make a brush to lighten areas of your photograph. It’s saved several of my pictures already! Thank you, thank you, thank you! P.S. Pick me for the bag ;) !

  17. 117
    Shawnee Pedraza says:

    When taking photos of children try talking to them about things their interested in instead of “directing” them too much. Your shots will be more candid!

  18. 118
    Judith says:

    My favorite tip that I’ve learned? “Once you go RAW, you never go back!”

  19. 119
    Shannon says:

    Ctrl Alt Z to step backwards. I was going to edit and choosing step backwards until just a coulple of days ago. This saves me a lot of time :)

  20. 120
    Sarah says:

    In the short nine months of learning to take a better photograph. I think learning patience is so important. For me anyway lol
    As I am a mother of six and sometimes it is hard… Because when I am to busy trying so hard to get that perfect shot I end up not getting it at all.

    My favorite tool would have to be the dodge tool. I have learned that it is great for highlights and catch tones. The eyes say so much.

    I just want to say, as a newbie to photography all these tips that have been posted are quiet helpful.
    I don’t have to much support or advice. I am pretty much teaching myself. This is great, thank you! =)

  21. 121
    Candice says:

    When taking pet photos, always try to be eye level to them. You really do get the best shots this way.

  22. 122

    Wow, LOVE the looks of that camera bag…gorgeous :D! I would have to say my tip for photoshop is that it is nice that you don’t have to be a pro at using it (sure it helps), but you can create things no matter how skilled you are. Which I really like :)!


  23. 123
    crystalyn says:

    photoshop tip…gently color tone using individual color channels in curves.

  24. 124
    Jennifer says:

    A recent tip I learned: non-destructive dogde and burn by adding a 50% grey layer!!!!!!

  25. 125
    Leigh Ann says:

    For me, the best tip I have gotten is White Balance! Do Custom, you won’t regret it!!

  26. 126
    Diane Stewart says:

    I love these tips. As a beginning photographer, these tips are fantastic. The best tip I have learned so far, is to get close up to the subject. I now take pictures from all angles.

  27. 127
    Jenn H. says:

    My favorite photoshop tip is the touch of light touch of darkness action. It’s saved many of my photos that I might not have been able to use otherwise!

  28. 128
    Erin says:

    There are no tips and tricks to the perfect photograph. Photoshop and photography techniques can enhance the beauty or salvage the good. But perfect photographs are created when the stars align, the moment seizes. When life happens and you are there to preserve it. So pick up a camera and live your life!

  29. 129
    Melanie says:

    My fave PS tip: Edit keyboard shortcuts to set up a shortcut for Flatten Image. This saves so much time since I generally have to do this several times on a single image.

  30. 130
    HilaryShir says:

    I am going to learn so much by reading the comments! I was thrilled to learn how to resize and sharpen for the web. Thanks for the giveaway!

  31. 131
    RebeccaE says:

    My favorite tip, especially when I was first starting out, was to remember to consciously frame my subject. One thing I did was ALWAYS center the subject. Now I experiment with the rule of thirds. Another thing I did was leave a lot of space over someone’s head, so their face was directly in the center of the picture. Now I make sure to put the top of their head at the top of the picture.

  32. 132
    Tonya Dreher says:

    Just one of my fave tips for photography is that putting the subject in the center of the photo is NOT always the best place!

  33. 133
    Aimee says:

    My absolute favorite tip (and probably most often used) is using the patch tool to take care of the under eye dark circles. What a life saver and it still looks natural!!!

  34. 134
    Christi Beavers says:

    Deffinatley the unsharp mask. A little goes a long way, but done carefully around the eyes will make a fabulous photo even better. By far, my favorite photoshop process :)

  35. 135
    Melissa Draper says:

    My best ever photography tip is to RELAX! I get so stressed trying to get the perfect pictures that my kids get stressed, too. When I just play with them, it all seems to work a lot better. Not technical advice by any means, but it sure has helped me!

  36. 136
    Maureen says:

    Shoot in manual, take lots of shots, and trust your instincts!

  37. 137
    NIsh says:

    To fix an underexposed image: Hit Ctrl + J (on the background layer) to duplicate the layer. Change the mode of the new layer to screen. Then adjust opacity slider for the level of brightness.

  38. 138
    Kelly Baxter says:

    One of my favorite things I’ve learned is using the sponge tool to get rid of color hues in my whites – especially out of wedding gowns which tend to have a lot of blue to them!!!

  39. 139
    Nicole says:

    Learn the quick keys…this saves you time, and in the end, money when editing a shoot.

  40. 140
    Jennifer N says:

    I am fairly new to photoshop and Jodi has taught me a lot of tips from her one on ones tutorials. One of the things I do all the time is take “snapshots” of my editing in the history palette. It helps me just back to certain steps without having to search and click on every history bar, just snapshots.

  41. 141
    Cindy says:

    Having been working with Holiday Card templates lately, I have found a new love with the free transform tool (ctrl + alt + t). You can use a clipping mask to insert your image into the template, then use the free transform tool for quick resize!

    PS: This thread is so helpful. Love reading everyones little tips!

  42. 142
    Karen says:

    favorite photography tip: watch for the catchlight in the subject’s eyes – makes the image so much more interesting!

  43. 143
    laurel says:

    My favorite photoshop trick is using the unsharp mask to make eyes and mouth stand out.

  44. 144

    My favorite PS tip is to never work on your background! Oh and learn how to do masking. It will save your life, I promise!!!

  45. 145
    Heidi says:

    My photography tip: proper exposure!

  46. 146
    leah says:

    Layer masks definitely!!! love them! I love that you can press CTRL+I and invert the selection as well–and use the layer mask with the white brush if you are only working on a small area…

  47. 147
    Gayle Vehar says:

    The 2 best Photoshop shortcuts I learned were 1) that the bracket keys change the brush size and 2) that ctrl+ or – zoom in and out of a photo.

  48. 148
    Vicki says:

    When masking: Tapping “B” to select the brush, then “D” for default colors (black & white), then “X” to switch between those colors, all while using the bracket keys to change the size of the brush and the little slider thingy to adjust opacity.

  49. 149
    Caitlin says:

    When photographing people always focus on the eyes and remember to look for the catchlights!!

  50. 150
    Tyra says:

    I LOVE the mcp cover model action, it ALWAYS gives the right pop and wow to my portraits. I also LOVE layer masks!

  51. 151
    Catlin Humes says:

    The best tip/how to would be layer masks…how could I ever have lived without layer masks?

  52. 152
    devon says:

    My favourite thing to do in Photoshop is to dodge the whites of the eyes, it always makes the eyes pop and enhances the catchlights! I do it every single time!

  53. 153
    Tracey Skadberg says:

    To make a blurred frame around photo :
    Duplicate background
    Pick the Marquee tool. Draw the rectangle wherever you want it.
    Then do Edit > Stroke. Put in your number and color of stroke. Hit OK.
    Then do Select >Inverse.
    Filter > Blur > Gaussian. Move the slider until it looks how you want it.
    Hit Ok and you are done! .

  54. 154
    Jennifer says:

    One of my favorite tips that I use so much in photographing toddlers is giving room in the picture for them to “move to”. Kindof the rule of thirds concept. I love the bag, and I’ve really enjoyed this website lately!

  55. 155
    elaine Gates says:

    My favorite advice is to try and get it as close to perfect in the camera and just make it that much more amazing, in photoshop. You cant make a bad picture that is out of focus good, even with photoshop. . Love this blog xoxo!

  56. 156
    Susie says:

    My favorite new thing that I have discovered is the batch editing button. File, automate, batch, and choose your options. I love it!

  57. 157
    Alison says:

    Once when I was at a photography seminar, the teacher/photographer told me not to forget to change the direction of my camera (from horizontal to vertical or visa versa). That was years ago, and it changed my work dramatically.

  58. 158

    Really cool looking bag! LOVE the fabric choices!

    My tip is one I learned while attending Creative Photography Retreat – Work with your photos at their full potential:

    -Open your new, unedited image.
    -Choose Save As, and create a copy of your work so you are not working on your original and have a back-up.
    -Open up image size and take note of the resolution number to see how this works. Close that.
    -Crop your photograph filling in width and height to a 5×7 (or 7×5), leaving the resolution blank.
    -Pull the cropping square all the way to the edges.
    -You will notice this will trim just a bit from your photograph as digital photos are sized differently then prints.
    -Now reopen the image size and magically your resolution will most likely be much larger then what it started at.
    -Even though your photo is cropped to a 5×7, you will still be able to print VERY large photos from it. My 13×19 was beautiful that weekend! The teacher told us she prints posters from hers.
    -If you want to crop a smaller area, do so from the 5×7, this way you are working from the best resolution possible.

    Hope this helps!

  59. 159
    Cindy Shaver says:

    NEVER BURN at more than 20%
    NEVER DODGE more than 11%

    Can change the shape and angle of brushes with Brush tip shape (top options bar)

  60. 160
    NiccoleCarol says:

    The tip I resort to the most (well there are two) is the [ ] to change the size of the brush and also the tip that was shares just recently about hoovering next to the opacity and being able to change it by just moving the mouse to the left or right … right now, that is my favorite trick.

  61. 161
    Kelda Adams says:

    The best tip I learned from MCP Actions was getting rid of shine – make a new layer > click the color picker > pick a place on the face that isn’t shiny, an overall skin color > click on the new layer > pick a soft brush > change opacity and fill to about 10% > and paint over the shine on the skin! It’s so easy and makes all the difference!

  62. 162
    Lauren says:

    My favorite photoshop tip is for brightening the eyes. Use the lasso tool to draw around the eyes, create layer via copy, choose screen layer, erase around the eyes, lower opacity so it doesn’t look fake, and flatten. Love the bag! Thanks for the chance to win!

  63. 163

    Finding blogs like yours is my favorite Photoshop trick…I can’t believe how much I’ve learned through all the online teachers who are willing to share their knowledge.

  64. 164
    Andie says:

    You can’t be everyone’s photographer. Choose your specialty and stick to it. Capture what you love and you will be the best that you can be!

  65. 165
    Kim Martin says:

    Shoot your subject from multiple angles… mix it up and think outside your normal. Try a new composition/crop – go extreme just for fun! The results are refreshing and just might push you in a new direction with your photography. :)

  66. 166
    Amanda says:

    This isn’t rocket science – but remember that your shutter speed needs to be 1/the length of zoom you are using. If you are using a 50mm, be at least 1/50 shutter speed. I kept getting blurry pictures, good rule to remember.

  67. 167

    Fav. tip is to learn how to sharpen. I first run an UNM (unsharp mask) at 20/60/0 (numbers can vary) at the very beginning. Then, to end, I run “Smart Sharpen”…I keep the radius at 1.3 and can sharpen as little or as much as I’d like.

  68. 168
    Taryn says:

    wow! it’s so hard to pick a favorite tip! When I first started, I was really trying to learn everything, but it was SO overwhelming! Then a friend of mine introduced me to actions! WHOA! I was in awe! Now I have tons of them ( most of them yours). Thanks to my friend for introducing me to actions, and to Jodi for making awesome ones!

  69. 169
    Caryl says:

    Aww, there are lots of photo tips but one thing that I have read a while ago, which I apply always when taking shots of my family is to dress comfortably. If you feel comfortable and feel like you look good, you will appear more confident, happier, and even look better on the photo. Also part of the tip was to stay away from busy patterns. Try to avoid all black and all white outfits. It makes the color balance difficult for the camera.

  70. 170
    Tory says:

    Everyone has listed such great tricks!! On my last newborn client – her baby was FIGHTING it – for an hour & 1/2 we tried to get her to sleep – and she just would not!! Client bought out a brand new makeup brush & started just brushing her face between her nose & her forehead – and in 2 seconds she was asleep!! Needless to say she let me take that brush home with me!! IT was magic! :)

  71. 171
    Peter S says:

    Learn the technical part of your camera! This isn’t always fun, but important!

  72. 172
    Shannon says:

    When you don’t know what direction you want to take a photo for the more artistic edits, click on the camera to create a snapshot to remember what you did, then start again. The ohter option create a new document and play on that one!

  73. 173

    probably the best photography tips I have learned are: ALWAYS make sure to focus on the eyes, and shoot in manual mode. The best photoshop tip I learned was how to expand my history incase I need to go back :0)

  74. 174
    Michelle says:

    Favorite Photography Tip…focus on eyes, Shoot in the shade when available, White Balance
    Favorite Photoshop Shortcut is the brackets!

  75. 175
    amore says:

    Photoshop Advice:
    I often use the following
    - Control+T to resize the image
    - Control+’ to show the grid line

    Photography Advice:
    -Use tripod when shooting Macro/Love your tripod

  76. 176

    Great tip for any photo – but especially urban setting when you want a bit more of a color pop… Duplicate your layer (Cntrl J) and then change the layer to soft light or hard light – adjust the opacity to your taste and if necessary mask out some of the skin. Easy color pop!

  77. 177
    Natalie says:

    Photoshop actions! Major time saver, and a great photoshop teacher — if you actually watch the action run and review the steps, you can learn a lot.

  78. 178
    Dionne T says:

    I love the eye doctor

  79. 179
    diane says:

    I love taking photos of flowers. It is a nice touch on them if you wet or spray water on them first. It will look like fresh and I love the dew drops effect on them. The result is one beautiful flower photo.

  80. 180
    Lacey says:

    I love to use shortcuts on the keyboard. Even the simplest tricks can save you hours in editing. (bracket keys used to change brush diameter as mentioned last week) The simplest, but yet never over used, X key changing your brush color from black to white would have to be an all time favorite. It is an absolute must for actions and mask application.

  81. 181
    Lori Barrett Photography says:

    I find I using the Crtl C to copy, Crtl V to paste and Crtl A to select all a time saver.

  82. 182
    Tammy says:

    Hard to choose one but another helpful Photoshop tip, normally when you use a brush it paints with the Foreground color, but when you use the same brush with the Clone Stamp tool, you can actually paint with a textured or patterned paper from an entirely different document.

  83. 183
    Bobbie says:

    Just love the bag! My best photoshop tip is by TaylorMade Designs. It’s about blending, “DEFINING the Blending Modes as best we can… what they do to photos on top of photos, photos on top of paper, and paper on top of paper.” I just love the effect you can obtain and she give’s you step by step instructions and pics of what they look like… Here is the link to her site and page

  84. 184
    desi says:

    always carry a little see-through plastic bag in your camera bag, and an elastic band. when you’re shooting in wet weather, cover your whole camera and lens, and leave just a bit open in the front.
    that way you won’t miss a great shot because of the rain.
    (not my best ever tip, but my favourites have already been mentioned)

  85. 185
    Tori says:

    Remember to check your camera settings from your previous adventure before continuing with the next!

  86. 186
    Karen London says:

    One of the best tips I learned is when shooting a session take two pictures with the camera straight and then once you get the shot, tilt the camera slightly. It gives the picture some movement and gives the same shot a totally different feel.

  87. 187
    Jennifer Murphy says:

    My favorite tip is to watch your white balance in the camera. Don’t just use AW. Your photos come out so much richer when your WB is set correctly. I don’t have photoshop, I have to use PaintShopPro8 so I don’t have much freedom in editing like in photoshop.
    I found your blog through the TJblog. This looks like a great blog and look forward to learning more. I absolutely love the TraceyJoy bags and hope to win! I’m taking a trip to NYC and would love to have it for the trip to hold my camera and lenses.

  88. 188
    jen wilson says:

    My favorite tip is to when you are tyrig to *move* a layer (like lining up photos while making a storyboard) use the ARROW keys on your keyboard, this will allow you to move them accurately (unlike how they can *jump* when you are just dragging the layer.

    jen :)

  89. 189
    Colleen Chi-Girl says:

    My favorite tip is to ALWAYS take more than 1 photo no matter what the subject and turn the camera vertically, horizontally and diagonally, and shoot from high, mid range and low — you never know what angle will look better when all is said and done. THanks for this chance! I already have 5 bags picked out – lol!

  90. 190

    My tip is try to capture the moment and not just the “perfect shot”. Otherwise you’ll miss some pretty special moments.

  91. 191
    Valerie M. says:

    This is a great idea. I so desperately nee a bag. I would have to say my best piece of advise would be to make those eyes POP without overdoing it…I love looking at a photo and see the world in a child’s eyes. Here is what I do. I make a separate layer and dodge the eye white a bit and you can adjust the opacity to your liking. Then I make a dup layer from that and then burn the edges of the iris. You can then make another layer and using the magnetic laso tool and grab the whole iris and then filter and unsharp mask. Adjust to your liking. Do this for both eyes obviously. LOL I know so many people have their way of doin geyes and I am always looking for new ways. some ways don’t work for all photos. But this way works for me almost always. Thanks for considering me for this contest. Valerie

  92. 192
    Heather Lynn says:

    My most favorite tip I learned from my photographer aunt, is when taking photographs of children bring a pocket full of candy. When you want them to look right at the camera and have a cute reaction or smile on their face, put the piece of candy on the lens and tell them to tell you when it drops. Do a practice shot and make the candy drop, now they are intrigued. Now this time, put the candy on the lens and tell them the same thing, but instead of making it drop before you snap the picture, snap a picture first and then make it drop. And then of course give them the candy as the prize! haha. Make sure you bring something like smarties or anything white that won’t turn their teeth and clothes rainbow colored!

  93. 193
    Amy Fenner says:

    My all time favorite tip is to apply a USM at 20-60-0 for a defog/color pop! LOVE IT!!!

  94. 194
    Kelly says:

    This may have been said since I haven’t gotten through each comment yet, but my favorite tool is the white balance dropper when using ACR on CS3. :)

  95. 195
    stacy t says:

    my fav tip is when taking pics of kids and i want them to look into the camera, i say “if you look into here, my camera will wink at you”. i got this tip from cheryl muhr, an amazing photographer in austin, tx. and you get the greatest looks from kids and amazing shots.

  96. 196
    Stephanie H says:

    I hope that I am not too late… My favorite tip in Photoshop is set your own shortcut keys! You can create your own shortcuts for the filters you use the most, it certainly does speed up your workflow.

  97. 197
  98. 198
    Tera Gray says:

    Always make sure there are no shadows on your subjects face.I hate it when you look at your pictures and the faces have shadows.

  99. 199
    Alexia says:

    How can I order one of these bags?

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