The MCP InFusion and MCP Illuminate Lightroom Preset Packages are now available!
Yep, you read that right: We’re launching TWO brand-new products to simplify your workflow and take your Lightroom edits to a whole new level!
Are you a longtime MCP Fusion actions fanatic, but wish you could have the same versatility in Lightroom? Have you had Fusion on your wish list for ages, but just haven’t made the leap?
Then get ready to fall in love with MCP InFusion! We stripped our favorite Fusion looks down to the essentials and created one-click Lightroom presets to speed up your workflow. You’ll find easy exposure fixes, color overlays, finishing effects, and stunning B&W conversions. Best of all, these bold looks are easy on your wallet!
This revolutionary set of sunshine presets will give you complete control over the direction, style, and hue of your light source — so you can literally brighten up the darkest days and infuse your images with a glow that looks pure and unprocessed.
Can’t decide between the two? Here’s the best part – through March 7th, 2014, we’re offering a special introductory bundle rate when you purchase both! Our InFused Light Combo Package is available for $119.98 for the next week only. That’s a savings of $30 off their separate prices!
To see these Lightroom presets in action and hear what photographers are saying about them, click here for InFusion or click here for Illuminate! Or to save money, make sure to check out the Infused Light Combo Package to get both for $30 0ff – for a very limited time!
To learn more about these new presets and see what makes them unlike any preset package you’ve used before, visit:
MCP InFusion Presets – $99.99
MCP Illuminate Presets – $49.99
MCP Infused Light Combo Package -Retail $149.98. Yours for $119.98 (through March 7th, 2014)
Sometimes its a great idea to step away from traditional photo editing and create something completely different just for fun. For the last two weeks my daughter was visiting me from California and I asked her to tag along with me to help with a large family session. This girl never ceases to make me laugh and today was no exception. While we were waiting for my clients to show up she asked if I would take a photo of her on the rocks of a waterfall. After the first shot, I asked her to climb around and I would get some more in different positions. She is such a crazy girl I knew these would be fun poses.
Here is the result:If we had been planning ahead I would have had her wear something more vivid to stand out from the rocks, but again, it was spur of the moment.
Creating a multiplicity image is surprisingly simple. It’s also a great way for beginners to learn how to use layer masks effectively. Layer mask fundamentals are essential to working in Photoshop and getting a custom look from Photoshop actions.
Step 1. Use a tripod, when possible, to make your life easier once you get to the editing steps. This will keep all of your images lined up making the blending easier. I did not use a tripod but I will show you how I compensated for this in Photoshop.
Step 2. Ideally, shoot in manual in evenly lit location with consistent lighting. Make sure the only thing moving is your subject. Have your subject move around in the frame striking various poses to create more interest. Snap pictures in each location. Get creative with the posing like jumping in the air, doing a handstand, etc. You can even have them pretending to look at themselves. Kids love doing this! I would recommend at least 3 – 10 poses. We did 8.
TIP: When you are shooting, try to position the subject so that each pose is not overlapping another pose. This can be tricky but it will make editing a little easier when you are first becoming familiar with this technique and working with layers.
Step 3. Once you have all of your images loaded onto your computer, open Photoshop. Select FILE>Scripts>Load Files into Stack. This step will bring up a window where you can browse for your images. Select all the images you just created. If you did not use a tripod like me, then check the box that says “Attempt to Auto Align.” Photoshop executes a bit of magic here and usually does a great job lining up all the images for you. But again, you should use a tripod if possible. Depending on how many images you have this step will take a few seconds. When it is completed, all of your images are stacked as layers in one document.
Step 4. Next click on each layer one at a time and add a layer mask to each layer (the layer mask button is the rectangle with a circle in it at the bottom of the layers panel). When you have finished adding them to each layer all of your layers should now look like this.
Step 5. Now select the mask of the top layer in the layers palette. Make sure you are on the white box, not the thumbnail of the image. Once selected it will have a box around it. Using a black soft-edged brush, loosely “erase” the subject. This sounds backwards but trust me it will work. After the subject is completely erased, with the mask selected, use the keyboard shortcut Control + I (PC) or Command + I (Mac) to invert the mask. This last step should reveal the subject you just “erased” and then reveal the subject on the layer just below.
Step 6. Go to the next layer and repeat Step 5. Then, repeat again for each additional layer until all of the different positions are showing. Make sure to look for any possible areas that are not lined up, and if needed use the clone tool to blend them.
Step 7. When you are happy with the result, save a layered .PSD Photoshop file (in case you notice any areas you need to fix later). Then flatten the image and edit with MCP’s Photoshop actions. Get ready to amaze your friends and family. They will think you are a genius!
Leigh Williams is a portrait and product photographer in South Florida and has been shooting a little under 3 years. Her favorite subjects are high school seniors and families. You can find her at her website and Facebook Page.
We’ve all had that moment of scrolling through our images and finding “the one” but then realize there is a ugly, distracting object in the background! Most of the time we grab our clone tool and quickly clone it out, but that’s not always the case. I’m going to show you my all time favorite method of how to remove unwanted objects using the mirror effect.
Mirror The Background In Photoshop To Remove Unwanted Objects
In this image the unwanted object is directly behind my subject. Using the clone tool would take way to long, especially trying to remove it around my subject.
1) Open the image in photoshop and create a copy of the background layer by pressing CMD-J (Mac) or CTRL-J (PC).
2) Go to Edit/Transform/Flip Horizontal.
Now you will be looking at a copy of your image that has been flipped.
3) Rename that layer to Background Copy. Lower the opacity of the background copy to around 50% opacity and use the Move tool to place your new background over the original background. By lowering your opacity of the background copy you’ll be able to see where to place your new background. Then raise the opacity back up to 100%. Make sure you always raise the opacity back up to 100%!
5) Add a mask by clicking on the camera icon in the layers palette (notice I have it circled in red). Click CMD-I (Mac) or CTRL-I (PC) to invert the mask. Your mask will turn black and now the image will look like what you started with, but don’t worry.
6) Use a white soft brush to paint in the new background over the distracting objects. If your painting close to your subject raise the hardness of your brush to around 30% and lower the opacity of the brush to around 60%. Gradually paint around the subject until everything is blended.
7) Now go to Layer/Flatten Image. Grab your Clone tool and use it to clean the rest of the image up. In this image I still had part of the bed remaining and a line from the layer I flipped horizontally, so I used the clone tool to quickly clean it up.
Now that your background is cleaned up, you can go on to edit your image. Here is the before and after. I used MCP’s Free Facebook Fix photoshop action to create the before and after template. You can click here to get it for free!
Amanda Johnson, the photographer of this image and guest writer of this blog post, is the owner of Amanda Johnson Photography out of Knoxville, TN. She’s a full time photographer and mentor that specializes in Baby’s First Year, children and family portraits. To see more of her work, check out her website and like her on Facebook Page.
Until about two years ago, the only photographs that you can find me in are ones taken by someone else and they tended to be for the requisite family photos. When a friend challenged a group of photographers to step out from behind the camera and get in pictures, it changed my photography. The challenge was to take a photo of yourself – It didn’t matter if the camera was part of the image, like a mirror self portrait, or if you held the camera at arm’s length and snapped. You had to take a photograph of yourself.
At that point, I became intrigued. This was a new type of photography for me: self portrait photography. It was exciting to try something completely outside of my comfort zone and see what I could do with it. I took the obligatory mirror shot with the camera up to my eyeball, you know, the one that just about every photographer has taken of themselves at least once.
Intrigued by Self Portrait Photography
Two weeks later, this friend issued the same challenge. This time, I tried to hold the camera at arms’ length. Do you know how hard it is to get the focus right when you can’t see through the lens? It was tough and took several tries to get it just right. Every two weeks, this group of photographers was given the same challenge. More and more photographers joined. About this time, Halloween was around the corner and I tried channeling my inner Audrey Hepburn. I was hooked on this “new” photography.
365 Project: All Self-Portraits
This past January (2013), I decided to really put myself into self-portraiture and take on a 365 project. For one year, I took a photograph of myself every day. I did this for several reasons.
I could learn how to love myself more by seeing what others, namely my husband, saw in me.
I could learn how to pose myself, and by extension, pose anyone in flattering positions and light.
I could expand my creativity and try things out on a model that is always available and willing to do whatever the photographer wanted.
About half of my selfies are planned, meaning I get my inspiration by looking through boards on Pinterest or I hear a song or I even read something that hits me and I want to show how it makes me feel. From there, I picture in my head how I want it to look, and then I deconstruct into the parts that I need – background, lighting, my clothing, props, etc. I will practice my “look” in the mirror so that I get a feel for how I want my face to look. From there, I set up my camera and my “space” and then do a couple of practice shots. I have a remote that I use most of the time, either I am holding it or I have it on the 2-second release and I toss it aside so it isn’t in the photo.
I keep an ongoing list of ideas on my phone and on my iPad so that if I get stuck one day, I can go through the list and get re-inspired. I highly recommend this system if you try out a 365 or a 52 weeks project. There will be days that you don’t feel inspired at all and you can’t think of anything, while other days, the ideas are pouring out. This way, you can always get a bit of inspiration.
Not only do I have an idea list, but I also have several “mini” projects incorporated into my 365, such as Portraits Of A Modern Housewife, Ghost In The Machine (inspired by someone else’s 365 project), Demon Inside, Thirteen Nights Of Halloween and my latest, the Mini-Me’s. Those mini projects also help keep me going.
This is a behind the scenes look at one of my Ghost In The Machine photos, with the finished shot below.
Plan, Shoot, Repeat, Feedback: The art of the selfie
There are times where you will get the focus, the lighting, the look – just everything – absolutely perfect in the first 3 shots. The flip side is that there have been times where I have taken 100 shots and have only come up with 3 to choose from, and I may not even adore all three of them.
The one thing I have learned, is that if you post publicly on social media, be prepared for unsolicited attention, whether it is ‘creepers’ or criticism or just jerks in general. For me, I tend to ignore them and brush them off. They aren’t worth my time and in the end, I am doing this project for myself alone. I am doing this as a visual diary of how my year has gone. My self portraits are a way for me to express myself and if you think of your self portraits like that, then they become much easier to do.
Because this is my visual diary of the year, I put a small piece of my heart/soul into every single shot. I have found that when I do that, I stay true to whatever message I want to send and the photographs have a much bigger impact. The downside of putting yourself into images, whether it is self portraits, landscapes, nature, even portrait work, is that you become tied into your work. It can be emotionally exhausting and you can get burned out. I try to cope with this by doing “silly” every now again. Not every image can be soul-searching or heart-rending.
I was once asked if my comfort levels shift depending on the photo. They do. It isn’t so much how much skin I am showing, it is more about what emotions and what side of me I am willing to show. Am I willing to show the giddy, goofball side? How about the emotionally-wrecked side? Do I stay private about the losses I have had in the last year or do I show them through the photographs and gain some closure? For me, this 365 project started out as a way to show someone that I really could finish it and I wouldn’t get bored and quit. It has ended up being a way to remember my year and really push open my creativity.
Below is an image from the Mini-Me series:
Tamara Pruessner is a nature photographer in Marana, Arizona who specializes in storm, landscape and macro photography. She started out on a manual Minolta film camera 13 years ago, while learning how to develop film. Eventually, she wants to chase storms throughout the Midwest. You can find her self-portrait photography at her website or on Facebook.
How far is too far when it comes to slimming, smoothing, and altering your subjects in Photoshop? As photographers we decide how far to go every time we edit photos.
My personal Photoshop retouching philosophy is to edit temporary things if a customer wants, such as reducing acne and smoothing out skin, but to leave the permanent ones like freckles, scars, and overall appearance.
To me, liquifying a shirt where the fabric bulges or an arm where a wedding dress dents in because of the angle is acceptable. Changing a person’s facial structure or taking 50 pounds off a person by liquifying the weight into Photoshop oblivion is wrong — it indicates you feel they are imperfect and look better thinner or different. We should not make people look super human. Most of us are not cover models (and even most models get lots of editing help to look how they do on the cover of a magazine).
It is not our job to change people’s appearances. Everyone is beautiful in their own way. Scars, freckles, thin or thick hair, our curves and even our weight define our character. As photographers, we should aim to document life and preserve moments and memories. While we want people to look their best, we should not do it at the expense of their identity.
Here’s a short You Tube clip by BuzzFeed that really helps this hit home. Women were given physical and then digital makeovers. And in the end, they preferred their own imperfect realities (who they actually are) to the “perfect” versions that the photographers and editors created.
Remember this next time time you edit photos. What do you think?