Photography Photoshop Software Workflow

Photoshop CS4 for Beginners: General Retouching Techniques using Brushes, Red Eye, Layer Masks

The primary focus for this section is general retouching of images.

Cloning vs. Healing Brush: the very basic difference is that cloning creates an edge to the cloned area which is visible while the healing brush depends on an alogorithm that tries to blend the corrected area.

The rest of this section deals with red eye correction and then, layer masks.

Adobe Photoshop CS4: An Introduction by Dr. Michael N. Roach is now for sale as a PDF

Price: $4.99

Sample Pages:

There are still a lot of people using Photoshop CS4 even though Photoshop CS5, and now Photoshop CS5.5, has been out for some time. We were contacted by a few students who are still in need of this information so, in the spirit of sharing, this series of downloadable lecture notes for CS4 has been made available.Originally, these notes were part of the material given out with the demonstrations and lectures during Dr. Roach’s Photoshop workshops. Much of the basics remain unchanged between CS3 and CS5, though the tools may have moved around.

Some of The Topics Covered Include:

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Books Reviews Workflow

Review- Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 3: A Photographer’s Handbook

I recently received a review copy of Rocky Nook’s Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 3: A Photographer’s Handbook by Stephen Laskevitch. I always enjoy receiving a book from Rocky Nook to review because they print their books on acid-free paper and the reproduction quality is as outstanding as the content.

As a workshop teacher I am always interested in another teacher’s approach and quite admire the methodical, logical, and easily-understood approach that Stephen Laskevitch uses in Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 3: A Photographer’s Handbook.

Steven Laskevitch is an Adobe Certified Instructor who uses his comprehensive knowledge of Photoshop and Lightroom to introduce the two as a working pair rather than use the more usual approach of dealing with each application seperately. This approach caused me to rearrange my computer room while reviewing this book (more on that in a moment).

ArtWorks Featured

Marketing Monday: four important easy things


mm logo w sign Marketing Monday: four important easy things

Instead of a big long thing today I’m going to share a collection of small things…things I’ve learned, thought about, stumbled over, avoided and always had a kernal of an article in them. And trust me they all fit together….

No! I won’t do it…

One of my children was particularly stubborn about what she would or would not eat and frequentlyvegie2 Marketing Monday: four important easy things would pick something to call “nasty” and promptly refuse to eat it. After trying everything one particularly cranky  day I hit on an idea…. I simply said “you don’t have to eat this and I don’t want to hear anymore “nasty”. She soon realized the reverse logic I was applying and decided she would rather eat the “nasty stuff” and continue to call it nasty than not eat it and not be able to call it “nasty”.

Over the last several decades I have worked with many many small businesses around the country  and almost universally heard ” I don’t have time to market” and yet would continue to complain about having no buyers…my answer to them was the same as to my children “Fine don’t take the time to put yourself out there and don’t come complaining to me about no buyers”. See their real issue was fear about something or other around actually promoting themselves, a fear I might add that is pretty universal and one that drives small business owners into hiding out doing “real work”.

At one point, I had a couple of clients who were “really ready” to “jump in and do what it takes” to get their businesses to the  “next level”. Something I might ad I was pretty excited about, however, as soon as we got to the nitty gritty of things they suddenly started becoming “to busy”. Turns out being busy was a detraction because it gave them the feeling of “doing something productive” which means that they didn’t see doing things that would actually bring in more customers as being “productive”. Don’t worry I’m not going to get all Psyche 101 here…the point is they preferred to stay where they were and just complain.

So the next time you find yourself saying I don’t have time to waste on Facebook, or twitter, or blogging step back and take a long look at what you ARE spending time on and just how much it is contributing to your biz. You see, we have a strange definition of what productive actually means, for most it means “nose to the grind stone” sufferingly “hard” work, especially if that “hard work” is something we “know” how to do.

So….go ahead and keep up the “hard work” but don’t complain when those who do the
“easy stuff” start leaving you behind. The real “hard work” is stepping up and letting yourself learn and succeed.

eyes Marketing Monday: four important easy thingsDude! Don’t make my eyes hurt…

One of the things I used to do as an Urban Designer was work with communities, neighborhoods and cities on issues around aesthetics, visual decision making, and human scale. A key point of focus was always a perceptive clash between businesses “need” to advertise their presence, their need to be found and the greater need for visual continuity within the community. If you have ever driven down a strip in anywhere USA you know what I’m talking about…that is called “visual clutter” which in turn virtually eliminates the very thing it is trying to accomplish…give you a chance to see what you are looking for.

What you were experiencing was the result of the business community feeling that they had to display everything at one time in the hopes that a few moving at 40mph could discover where they were headed. In essence they were ignoring one of the cardinal rules of visual decision making…”Don’t make my eyes hurt” so because they wanted to make sure you saw everything they ended up not letting you see what you indeed wanted to see.

This same principle applies especially to folks one would least expect….artists. I visit lots of artist web sites and go to lots of art fairs and I am continually shocked, yes shocked by all the noise. If you are in the art business and have lots of blinking lights and buttons and badges running up and down your blog/website over a bright pink background, with big yellow swirlies and flowers you might want to step back and re-think about the business you are in.

If you are in the business of art as in making my eyes feel good about what you have and giving my eyes the chance to find what it is I may be looking for then please, please, please don’t make my eyes hurt. Instead, get down to the basics of what you are about and soothingly invite my eyes in to explore the beauty of your creation. This applies to all those places you have your stuff whether on the web or at an art fair be kind to my eyes so they can see what you have.

Are you for real…

Really?….are you an accidental artist, or one who has a passion for creating and wants to do everything possible to sell your work? So what are you doing to be taken seriously? And by seriously, I mean not being seen as a “flea market ” vendor but rather someone who has something of great value to offer to us. Because, in my travels on and off-line, I see very few, who actually give the impression that they will be around for the duration… as in not just dabbling.

This is not a criticism, but rather an observation, if you are going to be an artist… then be one!  Think of it this way…would you let a surgeon who was not passionately dedicated to your welfare cut you open? I thought so…now answer this: Why are you cheating your buyers out your value? And…it really doesn’t matter if you do it part time as long as you do it with heart and passion and show me the value. I could give a rip how much or hard you work, all I want is that good stuff that comes out of you.

So, how does this passion show up? Well, to start with especially you art fair artists, in the way you present your work to a jury. This goes back a little, to the not making my eyes hurt thing above, I have sat on many juries for many different creative things and I have to say no one got my votes if they made my eyes hurt or my lips curl. Jurors want to, not only see your work, they also want to see if you care about your work so much that they as jurors should to.

So please, please, don’t use that dirty old blanket as a backdrop, clean you camera lens and especially make sure those slides don’t have an goobers on them. Also, don’t show me a 1970’s Kodachrome slide that has aged well.

Showing me you care about your stuff shows me as a buyer you care about me, it shows me you will be around for a while.  If you’re going to be around for a while, I might be more inclined to buy something now and next time bring my friends. But if your booth looks like it belongs in Afghanistan or upper Kurzacstan I doubt I’ll

  • buy now and/or
  • come back to buy more since I don’t get the message that you’ll be around.

Oh and one more thing don’t give me one of those inkjet printed cards ’cause they are just so cheezy, and cheezy is not what I’m looking for in an artist.

artist2 Marketing Monday: four important easy thingsPull your head out of your art…

Ok…I get it your work is special and you want me to really know how special it is. In fact you want me to think it is so special that you don’t let me touch it or at least you make it hard for me to feel its realness. And when I ask about it you stand there all stiff and start talking about your glaze ingredients, or your mark making, or all the various things you do to or on your work to make it art. But ya know what? I don’t care! I don’t care that you stuck that little pot in the far lower corner of your reverse gas combined wood fire kiln and reductio fired it till the flame was pink then threw in some magic dust. I just don’t care.

What I do care about is what drove you to do all that… where did it come from, why did you make it. Because that is the core of its origin, that thing came from you not your kiln, your paint mixture or whatever magic formula you mixed up. It came from some place deep inside you, a voice that told you to mix up that magic dust the way only you can. That my friend, is what I want to know because that makes your stuff the real deal, and that is something I can collect, because no one else can mix up that magic dust like you do. Kinda like Michalangelo or DaVinci despite a lack of trying nobody has been bee able to  really copy them.

Finally, like I’ve said before many times don’t make your stuff hard for me to access, tell me or better let me discover how it will give value to me and everyday life. Will it make me laugh? Make me remember? Make me cry? Help me heal or any combination there of? How will it fit in my life and make some part better than it is now? That’s it that’s all I want to know… more than anything else.

Can you guess what the common thread was? Let me know in a comment…

pixy Marketing Monday: four important easy things

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ArtWorks Featured

MacHeist Bundle 3…is it for artists?


ner herd2 MacHeist Bundle it for artists?Last week I talked breifly about the MacHeist bundle something I generally take part in. Since then, I’ve received a few questions asking about the literacy level of the apps. So first, they are pretty basic but more importantly the question you should be asking yourself is whether the apps will help you do what you do.

I generally buy the bundle for two reasons: 1. It’s a good cause and 2. It is a really good way to get some higher priced software at a much discounted rate. Every bundle I have purchased has included at least one app that was well worth the purchase price of the whole bundle. However, and this is a BIG HOWEVER I work on my computer all day and use lots of different apps to do what I do, so I know my needs. This bundle offered several apps that are promising for making my life easier…so I snatched it up.

Since I am focused on helping artists and one of the things that seems to be hanging many folks up, is the whole Zapplication process as in resizing images, I have been on the lookout for simple inexpensive graphic programs that help artists.

So..with artists and the uses of the applications in mind I have put together a little guide here to help you decide.

Graphics/Image manipulation


This app is great for creating quick and easy presentation formats for images, but not much more. You can use it to create those funky perspectivezed images that are part of OSX Leopard.

picturesque MacHeist Bundle it for artists?


This app is really like a very tiny version of some of Photohop’s best tricks, you can apply layers, add text, apply some cool filter effects that Photoshop doesn’t do easily and as with Picturesque you can do all of these likety-split. BUT you can’t do the canvas resize, make square, with black ground thing demanded by Zapp….Bummer!


Wire Tap Studio

This is an audio program that has had pretty good reviews, I’ve been looking for one that is easy to use, so the price was right anything is better than  Garage Band. I haven’t had a chance to really jump in to it but it does look promising so far and a lot less counter intuitive tha either Garage Band or Audacity.



This a 3D animation software and once you figure out how to use it you’ll be able to create some pretty cool stuff. The learning curve on this one looks to be pretty high even for a geek like me. Once you learn it though you’ll be able to pretty easily make some slick effects for videos especially if you want to use them on your blog.

kinemac MacHeist Bundle it for artists?


If you always wanted to have your own TV show this is the way to go. Say you want to record a video cast for your blog or site that shows you doing your thing, just connect your cameras, find somebody to man the keyboard and mouse and off you go. It is really designed for Podcasters and on-line video production that is done live and be edited in real time. Seriously…this could be fun to use and definitely add a touch to your blog that few other artists will have.

boinx MacHeist Bundle it for artists?



This a very basic web site builder and editor, and it is made by the same folks as CSSedit a great app for editing CSS on or off line. Espresso will be a good fit for someone who knows just enough to be dangerous and wants to know more about web development. By focusing on crisp workflow that makes sense it looks promising both as a regular tool and a learning device.

Odds & Sods

Little Snapper

a screen grab app but to be honest it kept crashing, anyway for what I do I prefer Skitch which is FREE!!

Hit List

a basic task manager (todo list manager) I use the Omni-Outliner which comes with most Macs.


Now… don’t get me wrong these are all outstanding apps …just make sure you need what they have to offer, If so then put your money down and hit the download button!!

pixy MacHeist Bundle it for artists?

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Digital Lifestyles Photography

Photographing Live Concerts

I have a spent a great deal of my life attending hundreds of of concerts and I regret not photographing each and every one of them. The reason being Baby Boomers are revisiting their youth collecting photographs of their favorite Rock Stars while many say they have a whole room or wall collection of Rock n Roll images .

Many of the images from my "So you Want to be a Rock n Roll Star" collection were shot live at the legendary Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin. Others were taken at concerts around the country while I was on assignment for either the artist or record company, or for my own personal collection. In most cases, I have been lucky enough to be able to photograph some of my favorite musicians. Legendary artists like The Grateful Dead, The Byrds, Kinks, Van Morrison, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Leon Russell and the Who.

The keys to shooting a live performance are: the right location, the right equipment and patience. Securing the prime spot, whether on stage or right up front close to the stage requires planning and a well trained eye. I usually arrange for a Press and Backstage Pass, but I also make sure I’m in the front row with the audience during at least some of the performance.

A lot of thought goes behind the equipment choices. At the very least, plan on either two fast prime lenses, like a 50 1.4 and a 135 F2, or a fast medium telephoto zoom such as a 28-105 2.8 or a little longer 70-200 2.8 .

Shooting concerts with todays digital professional SLRs such as a Nikon D3 or a similar Canon etc. is really nice as there is very little noise at ISO 1600 and higher.

If you visit my website,, I have posted some of my collection. The older Black and White images were shot on Tri-X pushed to ASA 1600 and processed in Diafine developer. Older color images were shot on Ektachrome 400 and if needed, pushed 1 or 2 stops. These images were then scanned, cleaned up and in some cases enhanced using Adobe Photoshop.

Van Redin’s Rock ‘n Roll prints are for sale.
Prints sizes are available from 8×10" to 16×20" and larger on some images.
Canvas prints stretched on a frame are very popular also.
See all the images at . Leave a comment or contact the author through his website for more information.

Books Photography Workflow

Seven Key Techniques For Taking Your Images From Flat To Fantastic

I used the sub-title as the title because I think it makes the subject clearer. I think that describes why Scott Kelby’s book is not just another Photoshop book even if you don’t know who Scott Kelby actually is. If you don’t know, then I suggest you crank up GOOGLE and pick a couple of dozen of the 999,000 entries it says it pinged up for your perusal when you punch in his name. I’ll give you the summation—he knows Photoshop. He knows it very well!

I secretly think he is at least a sextuple version of Superman in disguise. How else could he produce more than 40 books and be editor and publisher of Photoshop User and Layers magazines as well as be president and co-founder of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) with its 75,000 plus members? (If you are not aware of NAAP and you are at all interested in Photoshop, then you should be a member. Check it out). He’s also president of the Kelby Media Group, which is a software training, education, and publishing firm. Oh, he does video too.

He even does a lot more than that and keep a family as well, but I’ll let you go read up on his varied life and interests elsewhere, and we’ll talk about the he’s offered to us currently.

His premise is that no matter what picture you are trying to correct, the odds are that there are only seven (or less) real steps that are involved in that correction. He breaks the steps down for you to follow in twenty-one lessons (you shouldn’t call them chapters) that you are supposed to follow through as he solves a varied series of problems. That way you understand how to use the seven steps (and their variations) in the best order for the nature of the problem you face. Do this often enough and the rote practice should brand itself into your consciousness until the procedures are a second-nature process.

Should you have a short-term memory problem and come back to your need for corrections after a lay-off of several weeks, there is a refresher lesson to bring back the tricks and procedures. In the review he goes back to lengthier explanations of the procedures again so that you will have your memory refreshed.

In order to follow along with his lessons, all the images that are needed may be downloaded from his website http:// HYPERLINK "http://www.kelbytraining" www.kelbytraining com/7pointphotos.

Here’s the workflow order as Scott Kelby sees it:

Adobe Camera Raw Processing
Curves Adjustments
Shadow/Highlight Adjustments
Painting with Light
Channels Adjustments
Layer Blend Modes & Layer Masks
Sharpening Techniques

On page 255 there is an elaboration that tells you what you should do in each of those steps through a thorough paragraph of WHAT to do, but not including the HOW to do it; for those you will have to work through each of the lessons.

I like to think that I am a very competent photographer and am equally good at post-processing my photography, but I can honesty say I am now better at both for having done the lessons. I either learned alternate ways to do things I had previously been doing, or else learned better ways. Also quite honestly, there were a couple of moments of pure epiphany when my inner self exclaimed "would you look at that!" where I had to erase old procedures in my mind and accept the much better way of solving a problem I thought I already knew how to do.

I did the twenty-one lessons over a four day period of doing other things as well and can tell you it is a bit like going to school on a Monday through Thursday schedule of two or three hour-long classes. Each lesson introduces you to a new problem and takes you through it step-by-step introducing new ideas and new sets of key commands each lesson. The idea is that through repetition you will learn the location of the particular menus and the key commands that activate them. Each lesson is intended to present a different kind of retouch problem and train the user into recognizing the best way to solve each type of problem.

As the lessons progress Scott Kelby tells you less and less HOW to do something only that you SHOULD do a specific thing. The intent is that you learn the key commands and menu positions and procedures as you go along. My only complaint or comment is that because I did the lessons over several days that I would liked to have had a summary of the menus, procedures, and key commands for the end of each lesson to be able to refresh my memory as I "came back to class" so to speak. Several times I simply had to go back a lesson or two and refresh my memory of how to do something that I knew needed doing but couldn’t remember the precise steps of how to do it.

The twenty-first lesson is a review lesson intended to use as many of the steps you have previously learned as possible.

In addition to the summary I already wished each lesson had, I also wish that there were a page or comprehensive list of all key commands or shortcuts that were introduced in the lessons because there were a number presented that I had never previously encountered in any Photoshop book and I have quite a large bookshelf of Photoshop books collected over the past few years, and yes, a large number of them are on Photoshop CS3 (version 10).

I can easily and happily recommend this volume to anyone interested in Photoshop CS3—but particularly to digital photographers—who want an excellent workflow to guide them in their post processing of images. It made me better at what I do, and it will make any user who diligently follows the lessons much better at their own digital image post processing.

Books Digital Lifestyles Photography Workflow

Exposure & Lighting for Digital Photographers Only

I recently encountered a relatively new book by Michael Meadhra and Charlotte K. Lowrie entitled Exposure and Lighting for Digital Photographers Only published by Wiley Press in 2007.