A blast from the past from Samantha on...

I'm a day late...(and definitely a dollar short!)...but here is this weeks hump day happiness to get you through the week from my daughter's flickrstream...
By word of honor.

Her most current and personal photograph brought me back to a photoshoot she created with her sister years ago.  Samantha is very serious about her photography but her modeling days go way back.  Who knew that an afternoon of rainy day fun would lead to her career behind the camera?  (...or her creativity with self portraits.)
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...so 2010 was a year of learning important stuff!

My grandson Dominic...taken manually, tritone processed in Photoshop
I finally learned how to use my camera manually!  This was a huge step for me.  I am embarassed to say that I took a weeklong photography workshop in Aspen, Colorado 31 years ago where I learned how to use my SLR manually as well as how to develop black and white film.  Those lessons were forgotten over the years as my camera gathered dust because it was either diapers or developing film...4 kids later, the diapers always came first.

I feel like I am starting my creative life all over, overcoming some of life's big obstacles so that now I can focus on my photography along with my family.  I used the beginning of 2010 to research equipment, techniques, start my blog and joined some fun groups.  One of the groups I joined was Clickin' Moms where I could learn and ask questions of other mom photographers, although I love flickr...the alpha male photographers could get a little overbearing in the discussion groups.  I took a paid workshop called "Rock Your Camera 101" for 4 weeks and I learned so much about using my camera manually! 

I learned a great technique for black and white conversions that I love!  I was researching how to create sepia images but the technique works even better for black and white.  I think it is an old way of refining black and white images from film days.  Here is the link for the tutorial, I have had lots of fun playing around with it...the image I have posted of my grandson uses this technique.

Another fun group I joined was Iheartfaces.  They have challenges every week with different themes.  It gives me something to work on regularly to improve my skills.  I also joined the group for a fun Photo Walk (along with a close friend) at the Dana Point Harbour in Southern California.  I was the old lady of the group but most of the young women were helpful and supportive.  I learned about using a loupe that hangs around your neck to look at my screen in the back of my camera to quickly preview my images.  That has been very helpful.  They also have a group you can join where you can ask questions, post images and find support.  

There you have it, the biggest things I have learned and all summed up in the image I have posted...there have been so many other little things.  I am determined to keep up with my blogging and share them with you (did you notice the redesign?).  I look forward to portfolio building in the next few months and setting up my studio along with my talented daughter.  I hope you join me along the way and share your ideas, links and photography with me as well.  We can all learn from each other!

I have added links to my free copyrighted textures for you to use!  Please use them as you please, just don't redistribute them...it would be a bonus if you shared your creations under the texture images and gave vintagedesignsmith credit.  :)

Learn from some others in the Iheart faces group...


A little something from Samantha I call...

Inspired by the many bloggers who weekly share a little something to brighten your  day, I am going to give you a little happy on Wednesdays featuring the work of my talented little pup...Samantha Smith.  She recently did an engagement shoot for a friend as part of her portfolio building and she did an amazing job.  I was her styist, grunt labourer and scarf waver.


soooooooo excited for this new texture set!

You will be too and you MUST get them and use them...but not yet.  I have posted my love for textures in still lifes and composite images.  But they are also wonderful to add dimension to portraits as well as to brighten the colors, darken the edges and create a mood.

I just downloaded the lastest offering from one of my favorite blogs http://www.thecoffeeshopblog.com  It is an amazing FREE set of textures that Rita is generously sharing with her blog readers.  It is the set I have been meaning to make and haven't (lots of time and work there!).  I also love that they are called these wonderful, yummy "Baking with Mom" names like "favorite apron", "pie pan", "old whisk" and my favorite (at least right now and it's not just the name)..."foamy chocolate milk".  It makes me happy to play with these just like baking with mom would have if she could cook.

Here is a photograph I took of my grandson who just passed his 1 year old milestone SOOC (straight out of the camera)...
Straight out of the camera
Here is the "foamy chocolate milk texture"
Now here is the image with the texture pasted on an overlay layer in Photoshop...that's all.
If you just desaturate the color in the original image somewhat, you get this...
This one I cropped and turned into black and white using grayscale...I was going to do my usual tritone processing but the texture overlay brightened up the areas I would have in tritone perfectly.
dominic wants abi to stop
I also like my images to tell a story (less scrapbooking that way).  I took a snapshot of our "Meet the Family" dinner to introduce my sister's new boyfriend (she became a widow last year so this is a big deal).  I just did the "spray and pray" method of taking pictures while everyone is eating because no one would look at me, you would think that they hadn't eaten in years (well, the food was amazing...I'll have to blog the recipes)...  When people are eating they make all kinds of goofy faces and it makes for interesting photographs.  I chose this one because it really shows the family dynamics.  The guy is nervous and looking around not knowing what to do, my sister is looking at him twitterpated and the rest of us don't really care, he's a nice guy and we'll see how it goes.  The point of the texture in this image is help tell the story by brightening up the key players and emphasize the family laissez faire attitude by darkening around the edges.  I think it does that quite well.  I think I used another texture but I have forgotten already (what with my rambling on)...  I also had to play with the color a little because I forgot to set the white balance in the camera and the color was a little too yellow.
latin norman rockwell "meet the family"
By the way, who really knows what anyone is thinking...but doesn't the texture help with what's imagined?  So now it's time to get yourself over to this page on The Coffeeshop Blog to get your own FREE set of "Baking with Mom" Ethereal Textures.

I have added links to my free copyrighted textures for you to use!  Please use them as you please, just don't redistribute them...it would be a bonus if you shared your creations under the texture images and gave vintagedesignsmith credit.  :)


...so the self portrait is required for "le artiste"

...and how can I be take seriously as a fine portrait photographer of I won't even take a photo of myself right?  I've been meaning to do this and then I read in a blog about how photographers don't often take self portraits...  http://blog.heygirlniceshot.com/2010/11/the photographer has no shoes  In her blog she mentions a contest you can enter WITH PRIZES on another site, go4pro!  Then lo and behold, my favorite site for photography challenges had the theme of self portraits for this week.  http://www.iheartfaces.com  Well, I figured I better get to work.  I needed inspiration for just the right shot (you know, one that would minimize my over the hill, er, um...faded beauty and wisdom of advancing years). 
I did a search for "older woman self portrait".  That was scary!  First of all mostly self portraits of pretty young things came up, did NOT do much for the ego.  Then there were the smattering of older people self portraits...NAKED!  ugh, I thought I was going to lose my lunch.  I don't know what kind of statement these people are making but seriously, try it with clothes on!  Thankfully, images of paintings, artist self portraits came up in the search and I found those the most inspiring.  I like the idea of the feel of a classic painter's self portrait, usually kind of dark and shadowy with light coming in through a window and the usual tools of an artist at hand.  I like the feeling of musty age that textures add to a photography so I added one to my portrait (click on the photo for the credits).  What do you think?

Don't forget to check out Iheartfaces.com to see more self portraits...click on the button below!