WPC – Express Yourself

Taken by Bren Ryan

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Express Yourself.”

Taken by Bren Ryan

Taken by Bren Ryan

I was just about to take Dumplings photo and she decided to stick her tongue out… talk about express yourself about my photography. ūüėÄ ūüėÄ


WPC – Rule of Thirds

Taken by Bren Ryan

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Rule of Thirds.”

Taken by Bren Ryan

Taken by Bren Ryan

Frosted New Shoots

How I do my black edge

As many of you may have gathered, lately I have been doing a lot of photographs of flowers we have taken and added a black background to them. ¬†Yes you could use Photoshop, create a black background and then mask out the flower… But what if you don’t have Photoshop of Photoshop Elements and only have Lightroom, how do you do it?

Well here is a quick tutorial of how I have created my photographs.

I don’t do any adjustments to the flower/subject until I have got the black background surrounding the flowers/subject ¬†This is simply because when you change the background and you have already done your adjustments your flower/subject¬†just may not look how you envisaged. ¬†So I do my black background first.local-adjustment-brush-black-edge-157x300

I have a Local Adjustment preset that I use constantly, using the settings in this photograph on the right.

Making sure I have the auto-mask box ticked I then go around the edge of the flower/subject. If I accidentally go over the flower/subject, then I just use the erase brush to remove that part of the mask.

Sometimes I find that the black edge can be speckled so what I do then is duplicate the brush by right clicking on the pin and selecting duplicate.

In fact I like my backgrounds to be jet black so I do have the tendency to duplicate this brush a good three or maybe 4 times.  But of course that is your own personal preference.

Once I have got the black edging that I need, then it is down to local adjustments…. and time for me to do my normal processing in Lightroom.

If when I am using the brush I have difficulty in seeing where I have painted and where I haven’t I click on the check box ‘Show Selected Mask Overlay’ and that will show me exactly where I have painted and where I haven’t.


Lightroom is brilliant at times at being accurate for the edge, but sometimes, it just can’t seem to make a clear edge and there is a little bit of bleeding on the flower. But don’t fear that is not a problem.. what I do in those instances is simply add a radial filter, using the Black Edge preset and then lower the amount of the preset.

radial-filter-black-edge-decreasing-amountIf you look closely at the above adjustment brush image by the Preset Name is a little black arrow that is pointing downwards, if you click on that arrow, this box will appear and then you can fade the effect of that preset.

That tip is a handy little tip I picked up from Lightroom Killer Tips Blog. ¬†And believe me I use it hell of a lot now that I know it is there. ūüėÄ ūüėÄ ¬†Especially when I am doing radial filters for my flowers… What I have been doing lately, which I like the effect of, is still using the Black Edge Preset, draw the radial filter and then lower the amount to give the effect I want.

You can do so much with this Local Adjustment Preset and I hope you find this tip very helpful.  Now for the instructions on how to install the Local Adjustment Preset.

  1. Download the file and unzip it. 
  2. Open Lightroom
  3. Go to Edit and then Preferences
  4. Click on the Presets tab and click ‘Show Lightroom Presets Folder’
  5. Click on the folder named Lightroom and open it.
  6. Then click on the folder named ‘Local Adjustment Presets’ and open it
  7. Place the file named (Blackedge.lrtemplate) into this folder.
  8. And finally restart Lightroom and your preset will appear under the local adjustment presets.




Adding layers of dimension..

You can read the full tutorial about Using the Lightroom Adjustment Brush to add Dimension to a Landscape Photo by clicking here

Reverse Processing

Taken by Bren Ryan

I had read a post about reverse processing on another blog…. and thought I would give it another go.

Taken by Bren Ryan

Taken by Bren Ryan

The reverse processing image came out pretty good except for the sky… It was dismal and had no drama to it..

Taken by Bren Ryan

Taken by Bren Ryan

The only bit of drama in the sky was the blue showing up on the right hand side.. so I thought I would try Leanne Cole’s trick and replace the sky. I have been taking pictures of the sky when out to use as overlays but never have got around to using them.

Well today I did and here is the final image and yes Leanne the trees are a flaming pain ūüėÄ ūüėÄ ūüėÄ

Taken by Bren Ryan

The Ruins

It’s arrived….

Stewie the Golden Retriever

I love my Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II lens and my Canon EF-S 18-55mm standard kit lens… but I wanted something that would be in between those ranges, so that I didn’t have to keep changing lenses…. So I ordered myself the¬†Canon EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens and it arrived today.

The 18-55mm is fine for taking photographs of flowers and buildings providing they are near.. but you are very limited to what you can take… and the 55-250mm is great for distance work but it is a bug-bare to keep having to change lenses, for shots that you want between 55-135mm.

I have thought about it, decided against it, and thought about it and then eventually opted to buy it from Amazon.

This picture is straight out of the camera.. no editing whatsoever.

Taken by Bren Ryan

Taken by Bren Ryan

And you can see the sharpness of the lens and it feels a sturdy lens… and it also has a locking button on it, to stop the lens creep, when the camera is not in use.

Naturally I have been snapping anything and everything, including the dogs who were trying to get some sleep…. and I just can’t wait to go out weekend and photograph some beautiful scenery with my new lens.


Cooling Castle – The Home of Jools Holland

I have lived in this area, the vast majority of my life… and I have driven by Cooling Castle without even seeing it.  But on Saturday we decided to have a wonder out to Cooling and photograph the Gate House. Read More


In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Twinkle.”

Working with smart previews

Now I don’t know about you, but I have to keep¬†my¬†original photos¬†on an external drive, due to the size of my photograph library… ¬†Lightroom is great for this because you can build smart previews of your original images and Lightroom¬†allows you to work on a particular photo via their smart preview feature, without having to have¬†your hard-drive¬†plugged in. ¬†But that, unfortunately¬†comes at a price.

You can’t edit¬†any smart previews by sending them to Photoshop or Photomatix for instance, ¬†via the Edit In function… ¬†Drat, damn blast… ¬†especially if you use Photoshop to add your watermark like I do.

Take this image for instance


Lightroom will add the watermark to the photograph no problems, but it won’t add a solid band¬†at the bottom with your watermark… Like I like to use


The¬†way I was processing my photos was by, doing the Export to my chosen folder, then right clicking the photo and then selecting Open With Photoshop… ¬†Time consuming and a lot of clicking… ¬†I am all for cutting down on keystrokes in order to get things done.

But this seemed like the only way of doing it.. until by accident I found a nifty little setting¬†sitting at the bottom of the Export box, called¬†Post Processing. So now I select an option of what I want to do after processing… and normally I choose¬†Open in Adobe Photoshop. ¬†

export post-processing options

And hey presto, when my export to my folder is complete, my image automatically opens in Photoshop and I can do my watermarking. ¬†So now I don’t have to find the photo and then get it to open in Photoshop… its automatic… and a whole lot easier.

And the nice thing is I don’t have to have my hard-drive where all my original photos are stored, plugged in. This feature¬†allows me to work easily just using¬†smart previews and Photoshop.

It’s snowing… again

Yesterday I produced a photograph of a snowy landscape and added an effect to the photograph to make it look like it was snowing

Today I wondered if there was a way I could take a photograph I took ages ago of Scotney Castle and turn it into a winter scene.

IMG_2532_HDR-EditI love this picture and thought it would be great if I could turn it into a winter scene…

The first thing I did was create a new ‘Channel Mixer’ adjustment layer…Channel mixerthen I changed the levels to this

Channel Mixer - Snow picture

This gave me an effect of fallen snow… but there were areas… like the sky and on the grass where it didn’t quite look realistic, so to compensate for this I added a layer mask and masked out the areas where I didn’t want the effect to appear and where I wanted to tone down the effect.. ¬†By using various flows and opacity settings to the brush I could achieve this effect… ¬†This is the final layer mask…

Layer Mask - Snow Picture

Then to add the falling snow texture layer and changed the blending mode to SCREEN… again I used a snow effect from FlorabellaCollection.com and changed the opacity and fill levels of the layer until I got the effect I wanted. ¬†Here is the final image.


I hope you enjoy…

Weekly Photo Challenge – Silhouette

For this Week’s Photo Challenge¬†– Silhouette, I thought I would enter a photograph we took back in July when we visited the New Forest. We sat on a hillside and watched the sun go down and as we were about to leave, this photograph was taken as the sunset set behind the trees.





Weekly Photo Challenge – Texture


Wall flowers

As part of the Weekly Photo Challenge: Texture, I have used the above picture as the texture of the brickwork gives a nice backdrop to this sole yellow flower amongst a mass of purple flowers.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Containers

Entered as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge: Containers РTaken at Upnor Castle, Near Rochester in Kent.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Relic


Entered as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge – Relic

Graduated Filter Tip…

Another tool in Lightroom I use regularly is the graduated filter… again you have many options with this tool, including exposure, contrast, tint, temperature and you can even add colour.

But one thing I found with the graduated filter tool is that if you decrease the exposure, say to make the sky go darker…. and you have trees or mountains in the picture… the tops of the trees or mountains get darkened and lose their detail.

For instance take this image…


I wanted to add a graduated filter to the sky but it made the tops of the trees lose their detail and go slightly darker… which is not what I wanted.

gradulated-filter-darkens-treesHowever, by increasing the shadows I managed to get some of the detail back…

gradulated-filter-increasing-shadowsHere is the final image..


So if you start to lose detail with the graduated filter….. then increase the shadows and that will bring some of the detail back.

Lets have some orb fun…


Photography isn’t just about going out and snapping photographs and posting them on a blog… photography has to be about fun… enjoyment and experimentation. Now experimentation doesn’t just to have to be achieved with holding a camera in your hand. ¬†It can be about using Photoshop to have some fun.

Take this image for instance…

img_8775How can I make an orb…

Firstly I open up the image in Photoshop. ¬†Using the crop tool and selecting the 1:1 (Square) ratio, I select the part of the image I want…

initial-imageThen I click on Filter, select Distort and then Polar Coordinates, which will then bring up another window.  I then select Polar to Rectangular and OK and that gives me this image.


Then I Select Image and Image Rotation and Select Flip Canvas Vertical, which gives me this.


Then I go back to Filter, select Distort again and Polar Coordinates which brings up another window where I change the setting to Rectangular to Polar and select OK.

And that gives me the final orb….


Here are the instructions.

  • Crop image to 1:1 (square) Ratio
  • Filter ‚Ėļ Distort ‚Ėļ Polar Coordinates‚Ķ. ‚Ėļ Polar to Rectangular ‚Ėļ OK
  • Image ‚Ėļ Image Rotation ‚Ėļ Flip Canvas Vertical
  • Filter ‚Ėļ Distort ‚Ėļ Polar Coordinates‚Ķ. ‚Ėļ Rectangular to Polar ‚Ėļ OK

Here are a few Orbs I have just created using the above instructions.

From this

img_9150-editTo this…


From this


To this


From this


Vase of Flowers

To this


From this


To this


And what would happen if you didn’t keep the 1:1 ratio and used a portrait ratio? I tried it with the yellow flower and got this effect.



And for a landscape ratio I got this effect..


My favourite Lightroom tool….

Has to be the Radial Filter

The radial filter wasn’t introduced into Lightroom until Adobe released their Version 5 of Lightroom. ¬†And how I am glad they did bring us this feature. ¬†I use it regularly… in fact I think with every photo I do somewhere in that photo is an adjustment created by the radial filter.

For instance if you want to show up some brightness around a light… you can do that easily by making your selection, inverting the mask and then increasing the exposure..

One of the things I mainly use it for is to add a Vignette to a photo. ¬†Yes Lightroom does have an effects panel in the develop module for you to add a vignette but it works mainly from the centre of the picture… which is absolutely no good if you want to draw the viewers eye into a particular spot in a photograph.

For instance take this photo…..


Just a piece of an old tree on the ground….

But in the centre of that tree is the cotton wool larvae of an insect… which I want the reader to see. ¬†So what I did was do my adjustments as necessary, then add a radial filter to the picture and decreased the exposure.


Which left me with this picture…

img_4987-4Then I cropped the picture, following the thirds rule and ended up with this final image


So if you want to add a Vignette to a picture you can easily achieve this by using the Radial Filter… you can feather the effect to your own liking and you can add more than one radial filter to a picture…

colour-vignetteLove this tool and wouldn’t be without it now… ūüėÄ ¬†You have all the options available to you in the panel, you can change, tint, temperature, exposure, highlights, shadows, black, whites, sharpness etc.. ¬†As well as the ability of may adding a colour to that vignette.

And not forgetting if you invert the mask you can make changes to the centre of your radial filter… It is definitely worth playing around with as there are so many options available to you.

This is same picture with the added colour..


Layers in Photoshop for Beginners – PLP #127 – YouTube

Layers in Photoshop for Beginners – PLP #127 – YouTube.



How to Retouch Monuments in Lightroom & Photoshop – PLP #126 by Serge Ramelli – YouTube

How to Retouch Monuments in Lightroom & Photoshop – PLP #126 by Serge Ramelli – YouTube.



Graduated Filter – Matt’s tip


Graduated Filter – Matt’s tip

One of the blogs I follow religiously is Lightroomkillertips, and I would recommend following this blog if you use Lightroom..  Apart from Matt giving you free presets to work with, he also gives some great tips..

Today I popped over to his blog and he has given an excellent tip about using the Graduated Filter in Lightroom if you want to add drama or intensify your skies in landscape photography.. and believe me.. I had never thought of doing this, so I have learnt something new today.

I hope Matt doesn’t mind me bringing his video over to this blog.. and I want to thank Matt for hosting such a wonderful blog and for his hard work, along with his tips and trick.. and above all for making Lightroom a lot easier to use for us novices..