Rising Spirit Photography

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Dazzling Eyes Tutorial

Have you been wondering how to make eyes pop in your photos? This effect is really great for portraiture and portrait photography. I’ll walk you step by step in this easy tutorial on how to give your photos that natural dazzling eyes look. This photo is of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and was not taken by me.

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The first thing to know is, if you’re a photographer, use a reflector during your photo shoots. Reflectors redirect the light back toward the subject, which in case of eyes, will make them sparkle more.

Ok, get your photo picked out and opened in photoshop. I’m going to teach you this trick for natural looking dazzling eyes using the dodge and burn tools.

First, make a duplicate layer of your photo. Then select the Dodge Tool in the tool bar on the left.

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When you click on the Dodge Tool, a tool menu appears at the top of the screen below the File, Edit, Image etc. navigation. It will allow you to choose options for this tool. Change the size of the Dodge brush to a circle smaller than the iris of the eye in the photo. You may want to zoom into the eyes so that they are easier to work with.

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Next, next to the brush size, change the Range to ‘Midtones’.

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Next, change the exposure to something like 15%. The idea is for the eyes to remain looking natural. With that said, look at where the light hits the eyes in your photo. Where’s the light reflecting in the iris? For my photo, it’s like here:

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So, using your Dodge Tool, you want to use a higher exposure (15%) (brighter) on and around where the light hits, and a lower exposure (about 6%) (darker) under the area where the light hits. You’re trying to mimic natural light. I used a red brush to show and guide you approximately where you should use the Dodge Tool to paint with the higher exposure (darker red) and where to paint with the lower exposure (lighter red).

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After using the Dodge Tool for Midtones correctly, change the Midtones range to Highlights. Repeat the last step, using the Dodge Tool for Highlights just as you did for Midtones. Your eyes should be looking nice and sparkly! :) Here is what my image looks like vs. the original:

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You can change the opacity of the duplicated layer that we’ve been working with to lessen the effect if you so desire. It’s easier than going back and redoing all the steps. Other than that, you’re all done! *Blink blink* :)

Jane

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How To: Customize Downloaded Photoshop Actions Tutorial

There are plenty of free Photoshop CS5 actions for download online, but not all if them come with a customizable setup. Like my actions, some actions just run right through without allowing you to select the options that work best for your photos. There are ways around that. In this tutorial, I’m going to walk you through how to use my actions and how to change up the setting to fit your photos.

Once you have your file open and flattened, you are ready to use an action. I’ll start with this image of Emma Stone. This is not my image and I do not own the rights to this photo. We’ll simply use it as an example.

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If, for the sake of this example, we use my Magic photoshop action, and you run it all the way through normally, you’ll end up with something like this image here:

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Though the effect did what it was supposed to, the result is not exactly what we were hoping for this particular image. This doesn’t mean that the actions is useless for this photo, however, The trick is to edit a few of the steps so that the effect can work better with the particular lighting and color palate of this image. So, to start, go back to your original image in ‘History’. For this tutorial, we will need to work with the History and Actions tabs, so make sure to have those open. When you are back at your original image, go back into the Actions tab and find the action you are working with. In ‘Magic’, or whatever other action you are using, click the little arrow to the left of the title to open the list of actions. Under that, my actions have a ‘Play’ action right underneath it that will also need to be ‘unfolded’, so click the arrow next to Play. If you are using another photoshop action, click on the arrow next to whatever isdirectly underneath the action name. Basically, you just want to unfold the list of actions so that we can look at them step-by-step. If you are using Magic, your Actions list should look like this:

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One thing to remember is that every new line is a new ‘mini action’, as I call it, (part of a large downloadable action), even if it does not have an arrow next to it. Alright, great. So, now you want to look at the list of actions and see where you may need some customization. Do you see the checkmark to left of every step of the action? Some of those checkmarks have an empty box to the right of them. You want to go down the list and select every one. It should look like this:

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Make sure you go down the entire list for that specific action. This will prompt Photoshop to ask you what preferences you would like to choose when it comes to specific options of the action. Select ‘Play’ and let the action play out. When Photoshop promps whether or not you’d like to create a new layer or duplicate a layer, just click ‘Ok’. The only things you want to modify are color selections and things like Levels, Hue/Saturation, etc.

For the image I’m using for this tutorial, when prompted, I selected the following options:

Levels 39 1.38 249
Hue/Saturation (only) Reds 31, Lightness (for reds) -20
Blending Options, Lighten Opacity 67
Blending Options, Pin Light Opacity 69
Brightness/Contrast, Contrast 24
Pin Light, Opacity 49
Brightness/Contrast, Contrast 7
Brightness/Contrast, Brightness 3

In the end, I ended up with something like this:

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After tweaking the eyes a bit with the dodge/burn tools, I ended up with the following result:

Before                                       After

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And that’s how it’s done! Easy enough. If any of you have any trouble with anything, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll help you out. My Magic Photoshop CS5 action can be found in my previous blog post, and more to come! Thanks for checking out this tutorial, hope it helps! :)

You can find my other tutorials and free photoshop actions on my site here.

Jane

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MAGIC Photoshop Action

I’ve spent a good part of the day (photoshop has been set on driving me crazy!) making some new actions that I can post here. They are absolutely free to download and use! I’d love some feedback. Keep in mind, I did not take these photos, and have no rights to them. I simply used them to display the actions I created. I do have CS5, though, so I’m not sure if it will work in earlier versions.

If there are any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to leave a comment and let me know! Otherwise, enjoy!

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Both of the actions (and others)  are free for use and download, and you can get them on my site here.

Jane

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How To Prepare For A Fabulous Photoshoot!

Hi, I’m Jane! I’m the owner of Rising Spirit Photography.

So you have a lovely photoshoot coming up and you want to be prepared. That’s great! You’ll have a better and more unique shoot and you’ll save your photographer a bit of time :) So here are some great ideas on how you can prepare for your next shoot, be it for family photography, child photography, or other portrait photography session.

1. Plan your outfit!

If you know what you are wearing ahead of time, this will save you time and grief on the day of the shoot. The best thing for you to wear is something that screams “this is me!” and something that you are comfortable in. There’s nothing worse than being uncomfortable for an hour, or however long your shoot is. You want your smiles to be genuine, not fabricated. With that said, try on some clothes beforehand, and have a few outfits picked out. Decide whether you want to be bright and colorful, or whether you want to go more neutral. If you want to be creative, try some fun ideas like matching colors with hubby/kids, jerseys or shirts with names on them, or, wear something in common like, for example, you can all wear rain boots! This idea brings me to my next oh so important point..

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Coordinated outfits. (Rebekah Westover Photography)

2. Props, props, and props!

If it’s one thing, or ten, props make for lovely photos! Mirrors, pictures, frames, shoes, toys, rings, oh my! Just about anything can be a prop as long as it is special to you. Some of the most creative photos include something that make your photos stand out. If you’re doing an engagement shot, a great idea fora prop would be something sentimental; a photo from your first date, or rings, or something you saved from when you first met. Any of those things could work. For children’s photography, there are tons of new and cute props to use such as blankets, headbands, baskets, footprints, big shoes, etc. There are tons of options, but these are the things that make portrait photography more unique and more ‘you’!

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Great example of prop usage! (Kristen Caldwell Photography)

3. Timing

Timing is essential to photography. Once you decide what kind of photoshoot you’d like, you can talk to your photographer about what the best time of day would be for your shoot. If you’re looking for something more romantic, perhaps you’d like a sunset. If you want something more casual, morning tends to be the best time to shoot here in Houston, because the heat hasn’t set in yet and there’s plenty of day to work with! Not to mention, the position of the sun, though manageable at any time of day really, is best in the morning for me personally because there is plenty of sunlight coming from the perfect angle. Oh, and as far as timing goes, don’t forget to check in with your photographer the week of or day before a shoot if you scheduled early to make sure of your appointment and to be courteous!

Those are the things that I’d like for YOU to know when you schedule a photoshoot with me, but of course every photographer has their preferences. Most of all and most importantly, don’t forget your smiles and personalities! :) :)

Jane