Digital Art – One Step Further


Digital art created using various overlays and textures in Photoshop.

For ages, I have wanted to take my Photoshop Skills to a new level.. and today I decided it was time to venture into the world of digital art.  I have created some forms of art in the past but they have been primarily based on photographs we have taken.

Today was the day when I would start from scratch.. Julie Powell gave me my inspiration.. after I watched a video of hers on Vimeo called ‘Shoot for the Moon’.

And as we have just had a super-moon, I thought I would create some digital art using a super-moon.  On the internet I found a couple of free sites where you can download vectors and use free of charge.  I already had some textures in my library which I started out with… but please don’t ask me how I achieved the final result because believe me it was all trial and error.. but I am pleased with my very first attempt.

Once I imported my image back into Lightroom I added some Presets which I regularly use.. the first one being a Sepia Tone Preset


Digital art created using various overlays and textures in Photoshop.

My next Preset that I used was a deep midnight effect sort of Preset…


Digital art created using various overlays and textures in Photoshop.

My final image created in Lightroom was one using a Preset I created called Golden Tones.


Digital art created using various overlays and textures in Photoshop.

It is nowhere near as good as what Julie Powell produces.. but I would like to thank her for giving me the inspiration to try something new.  You can find Julie Powell’s work on her Portfolio Website and on her WordPress Blog.

This is something I have never tried before.. and believe me I thoroughly enjoyed it… And I practiced a lot of Photoshop techniques… Drop Shadows, Blending Modes, Clipping Masks to name but a few..

But I think out of all those images, my favourite two, are the midnight toned image and the golden toned image..  And if I were to do this sort of work again.. I think I would just lower the opacity of text layer.



WordPress Photo Challenge – Tiny

A photograph of a tiny little flower taken at Great Comp Gardens, near Sevenoaks in Kent.


It has been ages since I have entered the WordPress Photo Challenge… so I decided to enter this tiny little flower into this weeks theme called Tiny.

Mixing Filters and Styles on your image

For me Lightroom is my first port of call when processing an image.  I like its simplicity, its versatility and for me the easiest post processing software to use. My main aim of using Photoshop is to remove elements that you can’t remove in Lightroom.


The above photograph was created by using Lightroom’s HDR feature.  Once the HDR image was created I immediately sent the image to Photoshop to remove some of the distractions, mainly the people standing just above the water cascade.

This was done easily in Photoshop using the Spot Healing Tool.. I could have sent the photograph back into Lightroom but I wanted to use some filters I have the first Filter I used was Nik Collection Color Efex Pro. Read More

Photographic Style and a Landscaped Garden


Landscaped Gardens

A photograph of the landscape gardens at Great Comp Garden in Kent.

When you think of a panoramic photograph you think of a landscape orientated photograph looking from left to right.. but sometimes you need to go the other way… and Lightroom will easily merge a panoramic going from top to bottom.

The above photograph was taken at Great Comp Gardens near Sevenoaks in Kent and was of the landscaped gardens looking back towards the house.  I couldn’t believe how tall that tree was… it dwarfed the little bench… so for that shot I decided to take a panoramic from top to bottom and then merge them in Lightroom.



As you can see from the SOOC shots… the sky was dismal.. no clouds, no sun and to be honest I knew I had to do something to that sky..  As you many have gathered I love textures so I used Topaz Texture Effects 2 to create a texture for the sky.. then I finished editing in Lightroom to get my final image.

Photographic Style

I don’t know about you… but I do love the coffee/cream/deep and moody style of photography… especially when I am processing a photograph… I suppose that is becoming my favourite style of editing.

Each photographer has a specific way of editing photographs.. and each photographer has their own style… We can draw inspiration from each other’s work… and try new techniques..  so I was wondering this… if we copy an idea is it plagiarism or inspiration?  Where do you draw the line?

I can understand why some people don’t want to go through the steps they use in their workflow in creating an image, especially if someone else copied that work-flow and decided to profit from it… but then I think where would I be today if every photographer felt like that.

I couldn’t have afforded to keep paying for online courses.. and the photographers that run blogs, and YouTube channels where they do tutorials for free have been a great starting point and asset for me in my learning of post-processing an image.  I have learnt so much from these photographers.  And I will be eternally grateful to them for providing hours upon hours of free tuition.

Through their hard work and generosity… I have learnt Lightroom, Photoshop (well enough to get me by 😀 ), Topaz Labs, On1, Photomatix and Nik.  I have learnt shortcuts, how to mask, how to tone and so much more.

I learnt by using someone else’s style and making it my own.

If someone wants to copy my style of editing a photograph.. I truly believe that I would feel humbled.. that they liked my style?  Would you feel the same?  Or would you be annoyed at being copied and would you want them to take their image down if they copied your idea or style of editing?

Is it cheating to use Photographic Apps?

Woodland Walks

Yesterday I wrote about photographic manipulation.. and when an image changes from being a photograph of … to digital art and the great debate we had in our household over it.

Today I want to explore what do people think about Photographic Apps?… Let us be honest here.. if use shoot in RAW you do need some form of photographic software to enhance your image… simply put if you shoot in jpeg your camera does a certain amount of processing before you even get to see your image.  And to enhance a RAW photograph most people use Lightroom or Photoshop.

But.. what about using Apps to enhance your photograph on your phone or tablet?…  Is it cheating? Or is it being creative?

Woodland Walks

Shorne Country Park

I have seen various comments and posts on the internet where people condemn the use of Apps and to a certain extent over-processing in Photoshop or Lightroom.  But I am a firm believer that it is your image do what you like with it..  As long as you like it.. does it really matter if someone thinks it is over processed? Or if someone thinks you have used way too many software programs or Android/IOS apps to create your final image?

Each and every one of us have different tastes with regards to appreciating  art and photographic images.  Take two dresses in a shop window for instance… a flowery printed dress and a plain dress each having the exact same style, some people will buy the flowery dress because they don’t like plain-looking clothes and others will buy the plain dress.. because they don’t like flowery printed clothes.

The same applies to images… some will like an image that is more natural looking whilst others like an image that has enhancements made to it.. But neither opinions are wrong… it is down to personal taste.. and in my opinion it is wrong to condemn people because you don’t like their personal taste.

Dusky pink

A photograph of a flower taken at Marle Place in Kent

Both of the images above have been processed using the ToolWiz Photo App on an Android tablet.  Each image has had a texture applied to it..  And each image has had various blending modes applied to each texture.  Yes the app did all the work.. I just clicked a few buttons and hey presto my image had the effect I liked.  So is it cheating to use an app?

Personally the answer to me is… a plain outright categorical NO.  Apps are designed to make your life easier… just like calculators are designed to make mathematical questions easier to answer.

Software and Apps are produced and used to make your life a whole lot easier when processing a photograph… it is as simple as that.. and I don’t think it is cheating to use either.. you are creating art… and it is wrong to condemn any person who using any form of software to enhance their image.  And just because you don’t like what they did to that image… it doesn’t stop that image from being a photograph or a piece of art.

The same as if you don’t like flowery dresses… that flowery dress in the shop just because you don’t like it, doesn’t stop it from being a dress… the same applies to photographs.. just because you don’t like what a photographer has done to that image, doesn’t mean it is no longer a photograph.

Would it be fair to label your image to let the viewer know that it has been enhanced?  I am afraid the jury is out on that one… as with yesterday’s post I clearly can see why at times you need to let the viewer know your image has had a subject added to it…

Ashenbank Woods - Digital Art

Ashenbank Woods in Cobham, Kent, processed using ToolWiz Photo App

Because someone might think your image is beautiful and would love to visit that place and when they get there find that there isn’t a lake, or any form of water..  and that place doesn’t even exist at that place.  Like with the above image… there is no water to be found at Ashenbank woods and yes it would be wrong to give a viewer the impression that there is water at Ashenbank Woods.

Just like it would be wrong  to give a person a rum and coke and call it rum and coke, when I have used Pepsi instead of Coke… that in law is ‘passing something off’ as something it isn’t.  And I can understand why people would be annoyed at a photographer passing off a photograph off as something that it isn’t.

But I can’t see any reason as to why it would be wrong to use any form of software or any app to enhance your image.  I think most people can tell that you have processed your image with some form of app or software.. and personally I think it should be a simple case of you  like or dislike the image due to personal taste…  There is no right or wrong answer?  Just like the dresses it is down to personal taste.

I use software and apps all the time for my images… does it make it a lesser photograph?  Most certainly not… can it make it an untrue reflection of the original image? … Yes it can.  Does it make me feel I am cheating with my processing skills? … Most definitely NOT!

So is it so wrong to use apps or software on any image?  What do you think?  And should a photographer tell you how and why they’ve enhanced their image?

Over to you…


The great debate… Photograph or Digital Art?

Oh yes, the great debate of whether an image is a photograph or digital art erupted in our house last night.. Well it started by me reading a blog post by Glen Hannah about the Toolwiz Pic App and me downloading it and trying it on some of our photographs. After I processed a couple of photographs and showed him… he came up with a comment, along the lines… “That is no longer a photograph but digital art.”


And after he explained his reasoning… I could not falter his logic, especially with this photograph, after I added a water reflection..

Ashenbank Woods - Digital Art

Ashenbank Woods in Cobham, Kent, processed using ToolWiz Photo App


He said… “Even though the original image was taken with a camera.. you have altered the image by putting in water.. so it now becomes digital art because there are no lakes or water features like you have created in the photograph above, at Ashenbank Woods.”

So his logic is simply this… if you add something that changes the whole dimension of the photograph i.e a water reflection when there was no water in the original image.. then you can’t call it a photograph of such and such place… because people will never find  the exact location of where that photograph shot because you are giving a false illusion of there being water at the location…  Yep I agree with that.

Adding a texture etc. is still a photograph in his opinion because you are not altering the concept of the photograph… you are enhancing it.  Enhancing the image by altering, exposure, contrast, colours and white balance still makes it a photograph, simply because, people can easily locate the place at where that particular photograph was taken.

So I processed this photograph taken at Doddington Place near Sittingbourne, Kent.. and asked, “Is it a Photograph or Digital Art?”


Daffodils at Doddington


To which he replied, “Photograph.”

So I thought I would test his logic on this photograph…


A photograph of an orange flower, processed using ToolWiz Photo App


“Digital Art,”… he proclaimed.  Again simply because the flower was not laid in water to create that reflection…

To be honest.. I have never thought about his logical concept of photography before.. when processing images… and yes I suppose if you add something to a photograph – ie a water reflection, when no water is present – then you really can’t say it is a natural photograph of that particular place.

So I have altered my profile.. and added Digital Artist… because Digital Art is something that I do create with our images..  But I am still a photographer, albeit an amateur one, because I am the one that takes the initial image… I am the one that works out the settings for my camera and I am the one that finds the composition aspect for that particular photo.  So by doing digital art, with my images, does not take away the fact that I am an amateur photographer.

What do you think?  Is he right?  Or is his logic flawed?

Now on another note… that app is absolutely fantastic and it is available on both Android and IOS.

From pink to blue…


A photograph of a group of dainty flowers taken at Great Comp Garden in Kent.

On our visit to Great Comp Garden.. within the gardens was these pretty pink flowers… with petals that looked so delicate.  Anyway I processed the photograph in Lightroom and then decided to do another edit.. only this time I lowered the Vibrance, Clarity and Saturation and added a Deep Blue and Gold split tone…  Which in turn gave the photograph a soft blue tint to those petals

Floral Photography

A photograph of a group of dainty flowers taken at Great Comp Garden in Kent.

One Photo Focus – November

Photography by Julie Powell edited by RyanPhotography

Already it is that time of month where we participate in a Photo Challenge hosted by Stacy Fischer of Visual Venturing.  Lately I have been working a lot with textures and as soon as I saw this photograph I thought ‘texture’.  And for this challenge I wanted to try something new… I wanted to see if I could do a reasonable edit with only using Lightroom Mobile and Apps on my Tablet.

My processing method was as follows:

  • Import Image into Lightroom Mobile and playing around with the settings.
  • Crop image
  • Save work to ‘Gallery’ on my Tablet
  • Using an app called ‘Photo-Layers’ I first off all added a texture as the background layer…
  • Then I added the Photo as a new layer and lowered the opacity so that the texture came through.
  • After saving and using the ‘Gallery Editing Features’ on my tablet I added a creative preset.
  • Before saving I added a small vignette.

Now I found the process rather time consuming.. and Lightroom Mobile on Android is rather Limited… because you can’t add radial filters or graduated filters… But I am rather pleased with the final image.. even though it has had no local adjustments made to it.

Photoshop Mix for Tablet


Ashenbank Woods near Cobham Kent.

Finally it is here.. Photoshop Mix for Android Tablet.. for many weeks and months I have been moaning that Photoshop Mix was only available for your phone.. now it’s available for tablet use and I have created the image above using Lightroom Mobile and Photoshop Mix.  Now let’s hope that Adobe adds all features of Lightroom Mobile which are available to iPad and iPhone users, to their android app.

Here’s hoping 😀

Floral Photography


52 Weeks Photo Challenge: Week 12 – Face

Stewie the Golden Retriever
Stewie the Golden Retriever


This is my first entry into this particular photo challenge.. hosted by ‘The Girl That Dreams Awake’.. and the theme for this week is ‘Face’.  As I am very wary of putting children’s faces on the internet… and I would have loved to share photos of my grand children… but for safety’s sake I have opted for the next safest bet.. my dogs..

Golden Retriever



And my last picture is of Stewie looking at what his little sis is getting up to.

Stewie the Golden Retriever


Monochrome Madness 3:29 – Travel Theme

A photograph taken from British Airways A380 plane

My god this was a hard monochrome theme this week, especially for me as we are both primarily a landscape and flower photographers, but I was determined to enter Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness 3:29 – Travel Theme photo challenge.

So I had to look in our archive and I came across this photograph which I took when we were travelling on an A380 plane back in April 2015, as we flew over the snow-caps of Greenland heading towards San Francisco.

A huge thanks goes out to Leanne for hosting this challenge.. and I am sure I can speak for everyone that enters.. we greatly appreciate the work and effort you put in to making this challenge such a success…. Thank you Leanne xx

The power of texture

Nyman Walk

A photograph of one of the paths that winds through the estate at Nymans in West Sussex

It was cold, it was murky and the sky was absolutely dreadful.. it was dismal and there wasn’t any clouds that gave drama to the sky… but even with the sky as dismal as it was.. I still liked the photo… so what do I do with it?  Of course, at a texture and use Topaz Texture Effects 2 to create the sky I wanted.  Here is my processing technique for this photograph..

  • Opened image in Lightroom,
  • Exported Image to Photoshop
  • Removed lone twig in sky with spot removal
  • Removed object in the middle of the path
  • Tided up image with spot removal tool
  • Filled in the path so it was all shingle looking.
  • Duplicated Layer and changed blending mode Overlay 50% Opacity
  • Added a Colour Lookup Adjustment Layer
  • Added a Hue and Saturation Layer and played around with the colours to enhance the fall colours.
  • Edited the Photo in Topaz Texture Effects and added a texture to the sky.
  • Saved image back into Lightroom
  • Added a Preset which added many little lights created by radial filters, to the photograph
  • Deleted the radial filters I did not want
  • Used the Local Adjustment Brush to add adjustments to the trees and add a blue tint to the sky.
  • Auto straightened the photo
  • Played around with basic settings
  • Added gradient filters to the top and sides, which decreased the brightness and added a coloured tone to them.
  • Added gradient filter to lighten the bottom of the photograph.
  • Exported to hard drive.

Here is the image SOOC




Photoshop – Layer Blending Modes

Floral Photography

Apricot Roses

One of the things that frightened the death out of me in Photoshop was blending modes… and how to use them… For ages I couldn’t get to grips with what they did until I read this blog post called Photoshop Blend Modes Explained, which gives a very detailed look into blending modes…

As you can see from the image on the right Adobe has divided them into six different groups..  Normal which includes Normal and Dissolve, Darken which includes Dark, Multiply, Color Burn, Linear Burn and Darker Color, Lighten which includes Lighten, Screen Color Dodge, Linear Dodge (Add) and Lighter Color, Contrast which includes Overlay, Soft Light, Hard Light, Vivid Light, Linear Light, Pin Light and Hard Mix, Inversion which includes Difference and Exclusion, Cancellation which includes Subtract and Divide and the final group being Component which includes Hue, Saturation, Color and Luminosity.

The key to blending modes is experimentation..

When you select a difference blending mode for that particular layer you will get a different effect to your image.. to show you what these effects look like… I have created a Black and White Adjustment Layer to the above photograph and then selected the different blend modes for that particular adjustment layer.

Here is my Black and White Adjustment with Normal Blending Mode Selected


Normal Group of Modes


Darken Group of Modes


Lighten Group of Modes


Contrast Group of Modes


Inversion Group of Modes


Cancellation Group of Modes


Component Group of Modes


And remember you can always lower the Opacity and Fill of each blending mode to get the effect you wish…  I hope this helps you a little to understand blending modes and bookmark these links for future reference..

Photoshop Blending Modes Explained

Adobe – Photoshop Blending Modes Explained

Have a good weekend everyone..

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Looking Through a Window

A sepia toned photograph of a window taken at Bateman’s House

I just can’t believe it has been a whole week since Cee’s last black and white photo challenge.. my god where does the time go? Anyway, Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Looking Through a Window is the theme for this week’s challenge.

For this challenge I decided to do two photographs.. the photograph above is looking through a window at Bateman’s House in East Sussex  looking out towards the gardens.

A photograph of one of the old windows at Old Scotney Castle

And the second photograph is one of a window that is now part of the old ruins of the Old Castle, at Scotney Castle, near Lamberhurst in Kent. I just love how the outside is now creeping in embracing the wooden frame of the old window.

Many thanks to Cee for hosting these challenges it is greatly appreciated.

Bland sky… Use Topaz Texture Effects 2..

Then no worries.. just use a texture


Sheffield Park Gardens

Do you have a photograph, with excellent fall colours, or stunning architecture but the sky lets you down?  Well no fear.. by using Topaz Texture Effects 2 you can give your sky the boost it needs… to take it from a bland boring sky.. to a sky with texture and colour… To see my tutorial for this photograph just head on over to Topaz Labs Blog where I give a full tutorial on how to rectify a bland, dull sky.

Monochrome Madness – MM:3-28

Twirl Effect
Twirl Effect

A photograph of a little pond at Leeds Castle, near Maidstone in Kent.

It is time once again for Monochrome Madness hosted by Leanne Cole Photography, and for the life of me I couldn’t pick a picture for love nor money … I kept processing one… and then resetting and then picked another photograph and reset it.  Whatever it was causing this non-artistic moment,  somehow I just couldn’t find the perfect photograph.  And of course I wanted to enter this week’s MM… so I thought I would try an abstract piece of artwork created using my Duck Pond Photograph and the twirling method using Photoshop with final edits in Lightroom.

Many thanks to Leanne for hosting this weekly challenge.

And what is the betting once the deadline for submitting a photograph has expired I will find that perfect photography 😀 😀 😀 .. I think they call it sod’s law. 😀 😀

Bateman House – Rework


A photography of Bateman house in East Sussex.

Today in my email inbox came an email from the curator of the A.C.M.C Flickr Group inviting me to join the group and post one of my photos taken of Bateman House the home of the late Rudyard Kipling taken way, way back when we first started out on our photography journey back in 2012 (photo above).

It was taken with a Panasonic Lumix FZ-48 bridge camera.. and shot in jpeg.. and was created by merging two different exposures together.

Looking back on the Photograph on our Flickr Page there were a couple of small distractions which I removed in Photoshop.. one being a red holder on the bench on the far right-hand side and a green trash bin located by one of the trees.  Other than removing these items and adding a couple of radial filters.. I did nothing else to the photograph other than some small minor adjustments to the highlights, shadows, contrast and exposure.


A photography of Bateman house in East Sussex.

I then decided to have a look at what a coloured image would look like.. so I then added a Preset which I have created using the different settings from two presets.  One Preset which I created myself and the other was a free Preset from Serge Ramelli, which gave me the western looking tones..

Batemans House

A photograph of the rear of Bateman’s House in East Sussex, processed using GREYCstoration.

I wanted to create an oil paint effect with this photograph but unfortunately on this desktop I can’t get the filter to work.. no matter what I try… anyway I downloaded a plug-in called GREYCstoration and used that… it is not as good as oil paint… but I suppose I will have to live with that.. until I find the cause of the filter not working on this PC.

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: It’s All About Nature

Floral Photography
Floral Photography

White flowers

First of all I want to thank Cee for nominating me as one of the featured bloggers of last week’s challenge called Rocks.. I am truly humbled. Thank you Cee xx

The challenge this week for Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge is called It’s all about nature and that cluster of flowers has been sitting on my hard drive for ages.. and I thought they would be ideal for this week’s challenge of nature.


Monochrome Madness – MM3-27

A monochrome photograph of the main house at Great Comp Gardens, near Sevenoaks in Kent.

Well time this week has been on my side and with a spare few minutes and a mind that has remembered to get the photo in before Tuesday, I thought I would do a photograph for Leanne Coles Monochrome Madness Photo Challenge. The above photograph was taken at the weekend at Great Comp Gardens, near Sevenoaks in Kent and processed with Topaz Texture Effects 2 and Lightroom.  Many thanks to Leanne for hosting this wonderful challenge.

On The Loch

On the loch

A photograph of boats on Loch Leven in Scotland.

Just over a week ago, I received an email from Jodi Robbins of Topaz Labs, who had seen my Duck Pond photograph; and she asked if I would be prepared to write an article for the Topaz Labs.. First of all I was gobsmacked… I couldn’t believe that I was being contacted by a renowned company who thought my photographs were worthy of publishing, yet alone asking me to write for their blog…  I felt truly humbled and felt like I was on cloud 9 for days.  To be honest, I don’t think I’ve come down yet. 😀 😀

You can read the full article with accompanies this above photograph on the link below:

Bren Ryan’s Texture Effects 2 WorkFlow

Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge – Rocks

Rock Hugger

A photograph of one of the rocks at High Rocks, encased in the roots of a tree.

First of all my sincere apologies to Cee for not taking part in her photo challenges lately, time has been of the essence and life got in the way.  Anyway, her challenge this week is about Rocks and I just had the perfect photograph for this.

It is my rock hugger photograph.. it is one of the rocks at High Rocks in Royal Tunbridge Wells which has been encased by the roots of a tree.

If you like photo challenges may I suggest you check out Cee’s Photography Blog, apart from many challenges there are tutorials and in-depth articles about photography.

Have a good weekend everyone and happy snapping. xx

Topaz Texture Effects – Preinstalled Presets


A photograph of Leeds Castle with basic Lightroom Edits before Processing in Topaz Texture Effects 2

For day 7 of my ‘test before you buy’ of Topaz Texture Effects 2 I thought I would take an image of Leeds Castle, with Lightroom Basic Edits and distractions (people) removed in Photoshop and apply 5 preinstalled Presets of Topaz Texture Effects 2.  No further edits were carried out and none of the presets were altered in any form.

Basic Black and White


A photograph of Leeds Castle with Topaz Texture Effect – Basic Black and White


Black Hole


A photograph of Leeds Castle with Topaz Texture Effect – Black Hole




A photograph of Leeds Castle with Topaz Texture Effect – Careless


Fading Canvas


A photograph of Leeds Castle with Topaz Texture Effect – Fading Canvas


Seeing Red


A photograph of Leeds Castle with Topaz Texture Effect – Seeing Red


I have to say each of these presets are a good starting point and I love the various Presets that are pre-installed with the software.  And the added bonus is, you can create your own Presets and that you have the ability to Favourite any of the presets already installed or the presets you have created.

Topaz Texture Effects Comparison – SOOC -vs – Lightroom Basic Adjustments

Well today is day 6 of my Topaz Texture Effects ‘trial before buy’ challenge.  So for this challenge I thought I would do a complete comparison of using Lightroom and Topaz Effects and just using Topaz Effects.

This is the image I started out with… which was taken at Inveruglas on the edge of Loch Lomond in Scotland.


Topaz Texture Effects 2 Processing Technique

 Step 1 – Basic Adjustment Layer
  • Open image in Lightroom and Edited In Topaz Texture Effects without any Lightroom Adjustments using the SOOC image.
  • Add Basic Adjustment Layer – adjusted sliders.


Step 2 – Added Texture Adjustment
  • Using one of my own textures I added a brown/cream tinted texture


  • Enabled Masking and used the luminosity masking option


Step 3 – Added Blue Texture to Water
  • Added blue texture


  • Enabled masking and used luminosity masking


Step 3 – Added Vignette
  • Added a vignette using these settings


Step 4 Added a Basic Adjustment
  • Added a basic adjustment for Toning with these settings


Step 5 – Added a Basic Adjustment for Dodging
  • Added a basic adjustment for dodging using these settings


  • Enabled masking and inverted mask  and used the brush tool and altered the settings as I made my brush strokes.
Step 6 – Added Basic Adjustment for Burning
  • Added a basic adjustment for burning using these settings


Step 7 – Added Split Toning Adjustment
  • Added split toning using these settings


Step 8 – Dust and Scratches Adjustment
  • Added a dust and scratches layer to the whole image


  • Enabled Luminosity masking using these settings.


Step 9 – Created my own Preset.

  • I created my own preset for these settings by clicking Save so that I could use this preset again.

SOOC/Topaz Effects -vs- Lightroom Basic Adjustments/Topaz Texture Effects 2

I wanted to try the same processing technique using the same image but doing basic Lightroom adjustments  before editing in Topaz Effects.  And here is the result.


SOOC/Topaz Texture Effects 2 and Lightroom Basic Adjustments/Topaz Texture Effects  – Final Lightroom Edits

I wanted to also do a comparison of both images (SOOC and Lightroom basic edits) with added Lightroom Adjustments after Processing in Topaz Texture Effects 2 using the same Topaz Texture Effects 2 processing method as above.



On a personal note I love Topaz Texture Effects 2 for adding a texture to your photographs .. it is easy, fast and a versatile piece of software.  Excellent results can be achieved by either SOOC images or images that have had basic Lightroom/Photoshop/Camera Raw edits.  For me I do prefer to do some initial adjustments in Lightroom, before editing in Topaz Texture Effects 2.   And irrespective of whether I am in Lightroom or Photoshop… for adding textures to my photographs in the future, I will definitely be using Topaz Texture Effects 2 as I find this software achieves great results with ease of use.

I do hope this appraisal has helped you in some way and I think Topaz Texture Effects is a great addition to your software bundle.


Duck Pond

Leeds Castle

A little pond at Leeds Castle, near Maidstone in Kent.

I really can’t believe how much I am liking this Topaz Texture Effects. The above photograph heading its way to the trash bin; I didn’t like it at all. I didn’t like the sky. I didn’t like the texture of the photograph, so for experimentation purposes, I wanted to see if this photograph which was heading towards that recycle bin could be transformed using Topaz Texture Effects 2.  And all I can say is WOW.

My processing method for this photograph was:

  • Original edits in Lightroom, which included exposure, contrast, highlights and shadows, blacks, whites and clarity.


  • Using the Edit in Feature I selected ‘Edit in Topaz Texture Effects’ (which I had already set up via Topaz Labs easy instructions on how to use this piece of software with Lightroom).


  • A dust and scratches adjustment was added to top left hand corner, in a diagonal shape to add texture to sky to the sky. Again I could add my own dust and scratch textures should I wish.  But for this photograph I used one of the pre-installed dust and scratch textures.


  • I wanted a light leak within the main tree where there was a hole in the branches, so I used the Light Leak Adjustment, increased the size and lowered the opacity so that it was so prominent.  I just wanted that glimmer and the sliders with the Light Leaks adjustment gave me the exact adjustments I wanted.


  • One of the many things I like about Topaz Texture Effects 2, is the ability to add your own textures.. so all those textures you have saved over the months and years on your computer, are easily imported into this software for you to be able to use at the click of a few buttons.  So for this particular image, I used one of my own textures which I uploaded to Topaz Texture Effects 2 and then used the luminosity masking to keep this texture mainly in the areas where I wanted it to be more prominent. In fact you can add your own textures, light leaks, photos for double exposures.. easily and each panel gives you the ability to categorise your textures into groups.


  • I wanted to make the darks and contrast of the trees, pond and bushes more prominent and I found I could do this easily by adding a Basic Adjustment to the picture. And because I didn’t want the sky  affected as I had already achieved the desired look I wanted, I then add a luminosity mask to this adjustment so that it only affected the trees and pond.


  • When I was happy I saved my photo by clicking OK and Topaz Texture Effects automatically added my textured image back into Lightroom. From there I just added a graduated filter and did some dodging and burning.

This photograph was basically one of the first few I did in Topaz Texture Effects 2 and I have to say, you don’t need to be an artist to be able to create stunning work. The software is easy to use and very powerful.  The only thing that holds you back is your imagination.  If you can imagine it… Topaz Texture Effects 2 can do it, easier and a lot quicker than using Photoshop alone.

Topaz Texture Effects 2 is also a standalone application, so you don’t have to have Lightroom or Photoshop to use it, which is an added bonus within itself.

I have now been using this software for a few days and as each day passes, I am finding that you can do some of the basic things that you do in Lightroom. Yes there are some limitations with Topaz Texture Effects… one being not able to Watermark your photograph… And my earlier little gripe about not being able to dodge and burn has now been smoothed away.. you see  I have found a way to dodge and burn in Topaz Texture Effects 2… You just do the following:Create a Basic Adjustment


  • Enable Masking


  • Invert the Masking Layer to Black


  • Select the Brush option, and lower the strength and hardness and paint in white at various strengths to do your dodging by altering the sliders within the Basic Adjustment Panel and then repeat the process to do your burning.

For me this software is exactly what I was looking for.. yes it does have its teething problems about stripping the lens profile from the metadata even after experimented to see whether the lens profile would still be there if I made sure that the Lens Profile was selected in Lightroom’s Lens Profile Panel in the Develop Module; but these are features that Topaz Labs could work on..

One other thing I have found, is this, if you want to do a post and show the enhancements you made.. or you want to create your work as a Preset make sure you do your screen captures as you go along and save the Preset before clicking OK.  Because once you click OK, the photograph is automatically imported back into Lightroom and the Topaz Texture Effects 2 software is closed immediately.

Again minor things, but enhancements that would make this particular software just perfect.


Trying something new…yet again



I just love experimenting.. and when you experiment you learn to do new things in Photoshop and Lightroom.  Now on this PC I have a problem the Oil Paint filter refuses to work in Photoshop.  I don’t know what the problem is but no way will it play ball.  And today I wanted to create a painted effect photo.

So to create a painted effect photo, without having to revert to using my laptop, I used the Artistic Filters within Photoshop.  To use this filters I had to turn my original into an 8 bit photo, which was simple enough using the Image ► Mode ► 8 bits/channel.  This gave me the option to use the Artistic Filters.

Now here is the problem, I know I used a texturiser, a brush and a sponge.. but I didn’t write down the exact uses of them.. and neither did I create an action so I could use them again.  And when I went back to my history panel it didn’t tell me exactly what I did and what settings I used.


A photograph of daffodils taken at Hole Park in Kent

I know I could have processed it further in Photoshop using Camera Raw.. but to be perfectly honest, I prefer using Lightroom for that task.. so I wasn’t bother about the darkness before importing it back into Lightroom.

I then added split-toning, radial filters and played around with the sliders in the Basic Panel of Lightroom, until I achieved a much lighter and more golden-toned image.


A photograph of daffodils taken at Hole Park in Kent

I still wasn’t that happy with the image.. but didn’t know why.  What was it that I didn’t like?  And it wasn’t until I put the image into a photo frame using Lightroom’s Print Module did the image turn into something like I was trying to achieve; a textured golden toned photography of Daffodils.  I will work on this photograph even more at a later date as to me it still isn’t right, but what I am pleased about is that you can create an artistic piece of work, without using the Oil Paint Filter in Photoshop.

Leeds Castle in Monochrome

Leeds Castle
Leeds Castle

Monochrome photograph of Leeds Castle near Maidstone in Kent.

This photograph was processed using the same method I used yesterday for my Canary Wharf at night photograph.  And the method being this process was as follows:

  • Within Lightroom I took three photographs of different exposure times and opened them as layers in Photoshop.
  • I then aligned the layers using the auto-align feature
  • I then converted these layers to Smart Objects
  • Finally I then stacked these Smart Objects using the Median setting.

Once my photograph was done I then imported it back to Lightroom where I processed it.  Originally it started out as colour and ended up monochrome, then it went to a monochrome photograph with a tint.. and finally ended up with a tint and split-toning.

As I had originally started out with a colour photograph I then wanted to see what it would look like if I just hit the Colour button in the HSL/Color/B&W Panel in Lightroom.

Leeds Castle

A monochrome photograph of Leeds Castle near Maidstone in Kent.


I like what the reverse processing did.. but for me the saturation was way too much, so I just lowered the saturation a little.

Anyway that is all for this Friday and I hope you all have a good weekend… happy snapping xx

Canary Wharf at Night

Canary wharf at night

A photograph of Canary Wharf taken from North Greenwich riverside

The above image was created by stacking 5 different exposed shots and then aligning the images and by using stack mode of median, before processing in Lightroom.


Crimson ShineI was playing around today with an image I took at Merriments Gardens in East Sussex.  As soon as I saw the image I knew I wanted to create a monochrome image of this tulip… I loved the shine on the petals.

Anyway after processing the image I thought about playing around with the Split Toning Panel in Lightroom. Originally the tulip was a red colour so I kept my image to crimson shades.

Crimson Shine

A photograph of a tulip taken at Merriments Gardens in East Sussex, processed in B&W with Crimson Split Toning

I love how the split-toning gave a shine to the photograph, so I decided to take it one step further and thought about a purple tulip.  So I altered the values of the split-toning to create a purple tulip

Crimson Shine

A photograph of a tulip taken at Merriments Gardens in East Sussex, processed in B&W with Crimson Split Toning


And then I thought about a gold looking tulip… so again I just played around with the colours in the split-toning panel

Crimson Shine

A photograph of a tulip taken at Merriments Gardens in East Sussex, processed in B&W with Crimson Split Toning

It is surprising how playing around with split-toning can turn a monochrome photograph into a toned colour photo.  Below are the values I used for each photograph.



Apricot Roses



One of the things I love about photography is post-processing… and taking photos to a whole new dimension.  Lately I have been experimenting using Photoshop… which I am slowly becoming conversant with.

The above image started out… being rather bland and lacking colour.


And I wanted to make those roses more apricot in colour… so below is my processing techniques.

Lightroom Part 1

Spot Removal Tool

  • Spot removal on some blemishes of the roses..

Camera Calibration

  • Camera profile set to Camera Landscape

Basic Panel

  • Exposure lowered to -0.71
  • Contrast increased to +24
  • Highlights lowered to -52
  • Shadows increased to +38
  • Whites increased to +29
  • Blacks lowered to -38
  • Clarity set to +31

Details Panel

  • Sharpening set to 102
  • Edge Masking set to 76
  • Luminance Smoothing set to 12

Edited in Photoshop as a smart object





  • Added a gradient Fill Layer black to white – Soft Light blending mode and opacity set at 30%.
  • Created new layer, filled with white and added a cloud difference filter – Soft light blending mode and opacity set at 37% – layer mask created and using a soft brush (black) set at 82% opacity brushed over the roses – to remove the cloud difference from the roses.
  • Created a Colour Adjustment Layer and used an orange colour  – Colour blending mode used and an opacity of 53%
  • Saved image – which resulted in image being re-imported back into Lightroom.

Apricot Roses


Lightroom Part 2

Radial Filter

  • Added a radial filter and to create a vignette played around with the sliders until I achieved what I wanted.

Crop Tool

  • Cropped image so that the two roses were the subject of the photograph

Hue/Saturation/Luminance Panel

  • Red hue shift increased to +7
  • Red saturation shift lowered to -2
  • Orange hue shift lowered to -2

Radial Filters

  • Added several radial filters just to highlight the petals on the roses are various exposures.

Brush Tool

  • Added a couple of brush strokes as certain parts were of a pink shade… so I changed the temperature/tint so that these parts became more orange.

Spot Removal Tool

  • There was a small branch on the right-hand side of the photograph half way up… used the spot healing brush set to clone to remove the branch.

Details Panel

  • Sharpening set to 73
  • Edge masking set to 74
  • Luminance Smoothing set to 13

Effects Panel

  • Post-crop Vignette lowered to -55

Apricot Roses


A special thanks has to go to Paul Barson, who gave me the inspiration and the tip of how to use a Cloud Difference Filter and colour adjustment layers in your photograph … You can see more of Paul’s beautiful flower photography on his  Facebook Page.

One Photo Focus – September – Balclutha


Well it is that time of the month again when we get the chance to edit a photograph in the One Photo Focus Challenge hosted by Stacy Fischer. A challenge that I love doing… especially when you see the other entries and how other people have edited the photograph.

This week I have two edits – one with a mermaid and one without.  The processing for both photographs was exactly the same… the mermaid was added at the end.  And here is how I edited the photograph:-

  • I started in Lightroom and added my Deep and Moody Preset
  • I played around with the radial filters
  • I then edited the image in Photoshop
  • Duplicated the layer and removed the guide ropes and buoy from the tall ship.
  • Added a Photo filter and applied a low density mask to the filter
  • I added an exposure adjustment layer and a graduated layer mask
  • I then played around with the hue and saturation
  • I then applied a texture to the whole photograph
  • My next task was to add a solid colour to the photograph and change the blending mode to colour and lowered the opacity of the mask
  • I then saved the photograph and when back in Lightroom did a few minimal adjustments and added a couple of radial filters.

RyanPhotography – One Photo Focus – September – Photo by Stacy P Fischer edited by RyanPhotography


For the mermaid Photo

  • I added a mermaid PNG found on Google…
  • I added a clipping adjustment layer to the mermaid to change the brightness and contrast
  • I then played around with the exposure of the mermaid using another clipping adjustment layer.

I have decided to submit the first photograph… the mermaid one was just for fun….