Friday, May 6, 2011

New Galaxy

I've had several people ask me how to create the "New Galaxy" effect I used in a recent Photoshop Challenge on the Photography Schoolhouse Forum. I got the idea from Advanced Photoshop Magazine but tweaked it to fit my needs.
1. Choose a picture with a dark background. This one is from stock.xchng.

2. Create a duplicate layer. Draw a shape in the dark area & erase everything else on the top layer.

 3. Click on FX > Outer Glow. Here are the settings I used.

4. Flatten the layers.

5. Filter > Render > Lens Flare > 35mm prime. Move center of lens flare to middle of green glow.

Hope that answers your questions. If you're not already a member, join in the fun at Share your pictures & your photography
questions and answers. You can also contact me at

Friday, February 4, 2011

photo frames, masks & edges

Got the plain photo blues? Want to dress up your pics? Try downloading some frames and edges from Here are some samples from their Ambience collection. We'll start with a plain picture from stock.

  • Open the photo mask
  • Drag the picture on top of it
  • Ctrl T to resize mask to fit, press Enter to finish.
  • Click on the photo layer. Go to Layer > Create Clipping Mask
  • Click on mask layer to adjust fit, move mask around as needed
  • Paint on mask layer with a black brush to remove pattern from faces & skin
  • Flatten layers
Here's a picture of the photo mask that was used to create the picture above. Find more photo frames, masks & templates at

Experiment, have fun & contact me if you need help.

Remember to log onto to talk to other photographers, ask questions, view the latest webinars and post your favorite pictures. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Express yourself

Why limit yourself to just one business card - carry several in different sizes, shapes and designs so that you have one for every occasion.

Have you ever found yourself in a group and needed a conversation starter? Throw out the rules and create a card that's fresh and new. Save your boring old business card for boring business situations.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Photoshop Game

This was my latest entry in a Photoshop before/after game with several photographer friends. Normally we make people younger in Photoshop so today's challenge was to make someone look older.

The before picture is a stock image from Deviant

Stretched picture
Extended dress
Darkened picture
Liquified face, arms, fingers & dress
Smoothed complexion
Cropped & cloned background
Added old book, hotel stamp & flourishes

Good game, everyone!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day - Before & After

Today's post is in honor of my dad, William J. Hansen, who passed away this year at age 92. We miss you & love you!

Here is the before picture -

Here is the same picture after a couple of hours in Photoshop. I cloned out all the dust spots and white marks, cropped the picture, added a touch of Lucis Art to sharpen it and a final run through Portraiture to smooth everything.

Every soldier needs a jeep so here's another Before & After of a military jeep parked at the Florida Carriage Museum during the Civil War Re-enactment and Military Display. The Before picture is SOOC.

The After picture was cropped, put through Lucis Art and had a water color filter added to it to bring out the texture and the details of the winch as well as the rest of the vehicle.

Thanks to all of our soldiers and veterans!!!!
Send your Photoshop/photography questions to

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Decorative Photo Masks

Shirley, a Photoshop user from Arizona, sent an email about how to use photo masks with her pictures -  

"I have a picture with a black background and I can't figure out how to make those artistic edges with the white flowers & swirls."

Shirley, here's a picture of Nikki (a senior model) that I combined with a decorative photo mask from the Ambience Collection at PhotoDuds.

For today's example, create a new white background. File > New > Enter height, width & resolution

Make sure the picture and the decorative photo mask are aprox the same size & resolution as the new white background layer. Drag them onto the white background layer with the picture on the top layer.

Click on the picture layer and change the blending mode to Screen. Adjust the size of the photo mask and move it around by clicking on the second layer and using Ctrl T to make handles for the photo mask. Flatten the layers, add text, resize if needed and use unsharp mask 500/.2/0 to sharpen for the web.

Thanks go out to Shirley, for suggesting this week's Photoshop tutorial on decorative photo masks -

Monday, September 13, 2010

Wedding Albums

You know you're a photographer when you start asking for templates and camera gear on your birthday and at Christmas time. The Ambience design set from Beth Forester at PhotoDuds (aprox $125) has been on my wish list for a couple of months and I finally took advantage of her sale last week to give myself an early birthday gift. The Ambience tool kit consists of floral and watercolor backgrounds, brushes, overlays, textures, frames & templates.

Originally I thought to use this set for seniors or young girls but after experimenting with it realized it would be perfect for wedding albums as well. Today's blog is for all the wedding photographers who have asked for wedding album ideas. You can use these album ideas for engagement books, save the date cards, guest books, wedding albums, thank you cards and even boudoir books.

For marketing purposes, I've named each look. Feel free to use these names or make up your own.

1. Shabby Chic - A cottage style look that works well in the country or the city. This woman loves children, dog & cats. She can fix anything from bumps & scrapes to muddy pawprints.

2. Think Green - for the contemporary romantic woman who balances her quest for the perfect shoes with her desire to save the environment.

3. Handcrafted Vintage - for the woman who wears pearls and collects charm bracelets. She has a weakness for antique stores and vintage shops.


4. Bling - for the party diva who insists on a custom look for herself and her pictures. Don't expect her to be traditional in her color scheme or her music. 

Hope you enjoyed looking at these samples as much as I enjoyed putting them together and naming them. Our bride today came from stock photography - she was very patient and fit surprisingly well into all the looks. Please send your photo questions to: