Friday, October 31, 2014

Ghost Story Tutorial

In this post I'll show you how I made 'GHOST' STORY, which was my last post.  (Incidentally, there are many creative ways to make ghosted images and you can find tutorials on YouTube and other photo websites.)

The process I used was easy and quick, but will seem complicated if you are unfamiliar with PS and layers.  Here we go:

First I set the scene by dragging a chair and candles in front of the fireplace in my living room.  I turned on several lamps nearby for low lights.  I put my camera on a tripod, (very important), and put the settings to Aperture Priority at f/11, but many different settings would have worked as well.  I experimented by taking several images and dialing the exposure up and down until I got a dark but not too dark image.  The above shot is the one I ended up with.  As you can see, I wasn't very particular about the composition because I knew I would crop way in and straighten in post processing.

I then asked Jeff to sit down carefully, without disturbing or moving the spider.  I kept my camera position and settings the same, except that I turned the timer on, and ran to take my place in the composition for the next image.  It is very important that the settings stay the same and your camera does not move during both shots.  (Side note:  You might wonder why I didn't center us in the frame.  Because I was sitting closer to the camera, I would appear bigger than Jeff, and I didn't want that(!), so I knew in the final image the viewer would only get a glimpse of me and not the full butt/thigh view!)  Now I have two identical shots except that one is with us included and one is without.

After uploading to the computer, I opened both photos in Photoshop.
Working on the photo with the people, I clicked Select, then All

Then I clicked Edit, then Copy, after which I switched to the image without Jeff and I and made it active.

Now I clicked Edit, and Paste.  You will notice that my two images are now shown in the right panel with the people image on top.  Working on that top image, I lowered the Opacity slider, which is on the right side of panel just above the image thumbnails.  


I experimented with varied degrees of opacity until I got just the right amount of ghosting for my taste.  Remember I am only reducing the opacity of the top layer/image with the people. The bottom layer/image without the people stays at 100% opacity or transparency and does not change, so only the people will appear 'ghosted'.  When I was pleased with the effect, I flattened or combined both images, straightened and cropped.  Now comes the fun part.

I experimented with a variety of special effects, presets, editing programs, etc., and finally settled on a stylized B&W preset in Silver Efex Pro 2.  I finished it off with a dark vignette around the edge of the frame.

After uploading my two photos to the computer, the editing/post processing time was quick and easy, just a few minutes.  The hardest part was getting Jeff to pose for me!  HaHa  If anyone experiments with this effect, I'd love to see the magic you create!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Happy Halloween!

GHOST Story
I'll show you how I made this image in my next post!  In the meantime, have a fun Halloween.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Lake Powell, Utah Sunset

Lake Powell Sunset
We returned about a week ago from our annual Lake Powell vacation.  We had a fabulous time, and a bonus for me were the beautiful sunsets we enjoyed most evenings.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Salt Lake Temple

Salt Lake Temple - Beautiful Fall Afternoon

This photo was taken the same time as the last post.  It was a beautiful autumn day and I wanted to take some photos on Temple Square during the fall season, which I rarely do.  Almost every year I am eager to photograph the riot of beautiful flowers during spring, and at Christmas time I enjoy photographing the gazillion twinkling lights that adorn the trees and frame the temple. 

 This fall day, the weather was delightful and the mood seemed mellow, calm, and peaceful.   People strolled slowly by, enjoying the beauty of the moment.  A bridal party and their photographer were creating memories.  Families were admiring the still beautiful flowers that will soon be gone.  It seemed to be a transition time between the busy, hot summer months of vacation and tourists, and the preparation and anticipation for the upcoming holiday season filled with Temple Square concerts, lights and decorations, and our focus on the birth of our Savior.  Taking pictures here was a great way to spend a beautiful fall afternoon!

Saturday, October 18, 2014