Welcome to Photo Punk - where you can ask basic photography questions as well as search out answers to things that may have been asked before. Take a few mins to look around. At the top right, you'll see a "category" drop down menu that may be able to help you find your answers quicker! A little about me - My name is Amanda and I own Gingersnap Photographs in the Dallas area and also own a photography message board called Broken Lenses. if you ever have any questions or ideas for posts - please email me: amandaskelte@gmail.com

logolargeslim BL header

a bit of fun.

this contest is for everyone :) i dont usually post these, but for a friend... ;)


how easy, right? a vintage pic that you just take a pic OF and enter it!!

have fun! and i hope to see your entries floating around!!

bluebonnet before and afters.

somethings you barely have to edit. the light can be perfect and you just need to warm it up (or possibly cool it down, but i tend to shoot cooler bc editing warmer is easier for me than vice versa), crop, etc.

i shoot RAW so things will always have to be adjusted later. a little oopmf is necessary :)

these of my daughters didnt need much editing. just a little white balance adjustment and some fill light.

in these next 2 examples, all of my settings were set for backlighting :) so when i ran up and took a shot *down* at them, i just had to adjust it later :)


this little cutie ran off to the left through the flowers :) as you can see the light was behind her but to the RIGHT more - so, again, quick fix.

this session was done on a cloudy day. which, surprisingly, can be super "bright" since clouds reflect. so after a few quick adjustments, you can make it look warm and inviting.

I think its fun to show before and afters for a few reasons -- 1. that almost perfect shots can be made in camera. 2. that not so perfect shots can be fixed later no problem (especially when shoot in RAW). A bump here, some warmth there... and you have a photo that you truly love :)

I can blog some before and afters of your photos if you'd like - just email them to amandaskelte@gmail.com

copyright or wrong.

Last night, someone graciously messaged me through my business page that they had seen my daughter's photo somewhere else facebook - where it didnt belong. I went to the page and sure enough! there it was.

It was a silly photo of my oldest daughter, making a hilarious face, that is probably about a year old or so. She pasted it with some quote she made up and it had been *shared* dozens of times. It had been shared by those pages who shared the original... dozens of times. And onward and onward.

After asking my friends on facebook to report her, it seemed to blow up a bit. I have a lot of photographers on my personal FB page and they were angry simply thinking about easily this could happen to them or their children. Or their clients. After that, it was shared - several people came on both sides to debate about a few things -- copyright and fair use.

Some of the (ridiculous and totally wrong) things I read last night and this morning were:

1. if you dont want people to steal your images - dont post them on the internet. 
 This is so ridiculous, I can't stand it. There are LAWS for a reason. Some people choose to follow them and some don't. This is the age of the internet -- of showing family members far away photos of your kids via your blog, where facebook has become a verb - and something you do every day, etc. There are laws for internet usage for this reason. People should not have to worry that someone is right clicking their images and using them how they see fit (positively or negatively). You take the risk of posting in hopes that the benefit of showing those images outweighs the "it could happen" of someone's theft. You don't sit at home to make sure you don't get hit by a car running a red light, right?

2. "but it was on Google images!"
Ok one thing that seems to confuse people is that Google has crawlers for those images -- people do not submit them there. When you Google "wedding cakes" and click on images, those arent there for you to take - they are there because Google decided that they matched your search when crawling the web. So you can look at those photos as per your search requests. Google also makes it very clear where it says "IMAGES MAY BE SUBJECT TO COPYRIGHT" on the right hand side after you click on a photo to enlarge it.

That warning doesn't mean "so disregard if you'd like". It means "so be careful on what images you choose".

3. you cant own a photo that you take.
Yes. You can.

From www.copyright.gov

"When is my work protected?
Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.

Do I have to register with your office to be protected?
No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work.”

So, while I do have the copyright on the image - I would need to register it to bring a lawsuit against someone. That does NOT MEAN that until its registered that it's up for the snatching.

4. "you should be happy she used your photo for good quotes!"
No. I would have been happy if it had not happened. No one should have to see their daughter's face where the photographer did not put it. End of story.

5. if you get the photo off another site that ripped your photo then you dont have to worry about copyright.
This comes down to the main point - that YOU SPECIFICALLY need permission to use images. Unless you get them from a stock image website (those are for the taking! have fun!), then you need to figure out who the image belongs to, ask them if you can use it, or find a new image. I could give everyone else permission to use my image, but *you* still need that a-okay.

In the end, though, it's all about fair use.

Now that we can't argue whether that is my photo or not for her to post - we need to talk about whether is public domain for her to use how she wants.

Apply the 4 part test to this case:
1. Purpose and character - Is it derivative or transformative? I don't think any reasonable person could claim the "creations" does anything for "enrichment of the general public". Seems clearly derivative to me. Yes, she has added text but the value of this addition is humor, not education or really even parody, arguably. Fail.

2. Nature of the copied work - It was published online, in several places (by myself, not talking about other sites that lifted it, too.) It's not harming me in that it's a picture nobody has seen yet that this woman is depriving me of the means to control the first (or any) public revelation. Pass.

3. Amount and substantiality - She used most (basically all) of my photo. Big Fail.

4. Effect upon the work's value - The market value of the original work is arguably in its ability to draw more customers to my business. The new "creation" is crude. It's in stark contrast to the beauty of the original photograph, depicting an innocent girl, and not the kind of way I'd promote it for my business. However, courts have said this isn't really the kind of harm fair use seeks to prevent (see Fisher v. Dees, 794 F.2d 432 (9th Cir. 1986).  On the other hand, even though I might have not planned to make these sort of  "creations", the market existed - that this woman now deprived me of.  *see Rogers v. Koons, 960 F.2d 301 (2d Cir. 1992)*. (refs from here fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyright_and_Fair_Use_Overview/chapter9/9-b.html). Fail.

here are a few more links if you want to read more about Fair Use:

But how can we protect ourselves? Over and over people defending this woman kept saying "you should have watermarked it, then". But the problem is that I did. This woman said she got my images from another site that had already cropped and editing my watermark out of the photo. Regardless of who did it, the point is that it was done. The watermark didn't help. It was simply removed so they could use it without guilt. The woman who took my photo also put her own watermark on the quote/photo storyboard she made - which made it look as if she took the photo. On a similar post on her page, she actually put her own watermark OVER a photographer's. She misled her fans by saying everything was original work. Simply put - she lied.

But a watermark didn't/doesn't fix things. Getting rid of it is just one more step that someone has to do to use your photo - and unless you mark up the face, a close crop can fix that in 2 seconds.

What we can do is be aware, help each other out, and keep our eyes open for things that look suspicious on certain pages, websites, etc. I am very grateful to the girl who originally messaged me. She noticed that I may have not given this page permission and alerted me of its use - something we all should do if we see something like this. I am also grateful to my photographer friends for getting just as riled up as myself ;)

As a client, you may have noticed that you received "print rights" from your photographer, but *not* copyrights -- they may have also written usage "how-to's" down for you (aka do not crop, do not edit, do not alter in any way) because even though you are receiving a digital file - its not yours to do what you want from it :) but yours to print!

Just because this isn't some sort of hurtful or violet crime doesn't make it right. I am not naive. I know that these kinds of things happen all the time, but without educating people about it -- how will anyone ever learn? We have to stand up for the small stuff, too.

PSE editing: clean and what not to do.

as requested -- here is an editing "how to" in PSE by using florabella actions :)

thanks so much to Catherine Jeter Photography for this!!! (dont forget to go *like* her page!)

again... this is not MY work! this is from the person above :)

While most photographers would love to be able to move photos off their cameras and give them right to their clients, the reality is that even the most expensive camera can use the help of a little editing software.

Personally, I use Photoshop Elements. I would love to invest in something like CS5, but I don’t really see the need. I’m not a graphic designer, and I don’t have the need for much beyond what Elements is able to do for me.

As a beginner, it is very, very easy to get roped in to “editing” your photos.

What do I mean by this?

Let me explain.

Here is my SOOC (straight out of camera) image, compared to my EDIT. As you can see, I am a fan of clean, warm processing. This process did not come to me overnight – it has been a long 4-year battle of trying to discover my “style.”
In the past (as in 2008...please don't hold it against me), my style might have consisted of this:

Heavy vignette. This is one of the most common problems with people who don’t have a lot of editing experience. However, you can see that such a drastic black ring around my photo really takes away from the gorgeous subject herself.

When using vignette, you want to use it as more of a tool, instead of a hindrance. In other words, allow it to bring out the darks at the edge of your photo so that it gives more depth.

Here is another common mistake:

Over-use of actions.  Personally, I have invested a lot of money into Florabella actions. She does beautiful work. Does this mean you need to run out and do the same so you can have nice photos? Of course not. There are a lot of photographers who don’t use actions at all, and there are also a lot of photographers who download free actions from the Internet. Whatever works for you is best; again, however, actions must not be taken lightly. They are a tool.

You want the action to help your photo to stand out, but you don’t want your photo to look fake. In the instance above, I ran Florabella’s Ruby action at 100%. I took a gorgeous photo and destroyed any sense of reality. Instead, try reducing the opacity of the action to, say, 35%. Your photo would then look more like this:
And, finally, the porcelain doll:

Some photographers – even well-known professionals – like the look of really, really, really, reallyreallyreally smooth skin. The problem with this is the same problem with the action photos above – you start to lose the “reality” of the photo when you make your subject look like one giant ball of cream.

I like to use Portraiture for photos, but reduced to 8%, feathered very lightly. This helps me to cover blemishes, and reduce the size of pores, but I can still keep the overall skin tone looking normal and true to form.

Alright, so here is a step-by-step for how I achieved my clean edit of my subject, Myla.

Again, here is the SOOC:

First, I cropped to 11x15 (a common size for cropping, as it enables the client to print without running into any problems).

Then, I added some warmth. Here, I used Florabella’s Soft Warmth at 50%.

After that, I ran Coffee Shop’s Eye Bright action at 100%. I brushed over her eyes, her lips, and her hair. See how each of those dark elements stand out a bit more?

I also ran Portraiture, making sure to erase back in any lines on her skin, her eyes, her hair, and her coat (otherwise you start to lose details that you don’t want to lose).

One of my favorite Florabella actions is April. Here, I used it at 35%. I then added some contrast by filling in the center of the photo with some light, and upping my levels to 8.

Finally, I used Florabella’s Deep Blue Sky – intended for the sky, just like the name suggests – on the trees in the background. Don’t be afraid to get creative! I love the way it makes such a bleak background stand out so much more. (Don’t forget to reduce the opacity! Here, it is reduced to 65%).

Once I added a little more contrast, I sharpened the photo.

Voila! The final image:

And again, in case you were wondering what we started with:

Good luck!

flash me.

um. this topic is hard for me. not bc i dont know how to use it, but because, really, its not as hard as anyone wants to make it.

and if its supposed to be harder - dont tell me. bc, well, im doing fine my way ;) haha

you should probably remember, for many indoor scenarios, i like flat lighting. i am not a fan of many shadows for my studio stuff. so. yeah. my CC on so many studio set ups is the shadows - i dont *always* like them. so if thats your style, then you may have to adjust this tut for you.

here's what i mean by flat lighting --
leighton 14mo-15 copy

see how there arent harsh shadows on her face? just an even *brightness* to the photo overall? thats how i, personally, define flat. consistent.

i always bounce. or at least just toss it behind me. i dont care that often about color casts because i shoot RAW and i''ll fix it later.

i also would rather use a SL then up my ISO and get grain. so there's that, too.

i do not drag my shutter. its not my style.

this tutorial is also not about fill flash.


i mainly use it for extra light. to make the room look as if there's some sort of lighting there that is not.

lets say im at a house shooting a newborn - and there arent windows or light for me to use to my advantage.

so here's how the SL works. turn it on.

mode - M
hold down the (sel/set) button til your numbers are blinking. then play.

itll start at 1/1. thatll be super bright. maybe start test shots at 1/8 or something.

in my opinion, the idea is to set your settings how you want them and then adjust the SL.

*oh and dont forget that the meter on your camera is basically useless when a SL is on ;) also, your SL will have a sync speed with your camera's shutter speed. so you may not be able to go "faster" than 1/200. and youll have to adjust the SL's power, instead.*

so, for the pic below, i was at 1/32 + 0.3 on the SL. so you just need to start moving the arrow down to see what you need. test shoot. whatever. but you want just enough light to make it editable - without leaving flash spots.

i had already set settings for this where i was comfortable. i metered and still needed to use the SL so i just had to play.
bed all1
it still has some depth, isnt totally "flat" but still gave me the lighting i need without the other problems.

i'll say the hardest part of using a SL is when youre shoot in portrait. horizontal is easy bc it just bounces behind you. but in portrait, you have to turn the SL so its still bouncing where you want it to. this can be useful if you want to MAKE shadows, but on seamless, it can be super hard.

like on this one, you can see that my SL is still the same position it would have been in landscape and that i just turned my camera to the left - bc the left side of her face is brighter. but it works out nicely and gives a bit of a natural light look.

new seamless paper11

some places in your home may REQUIRE a SL for good photos during the evening/night. or maybe your house is really dark? not all cameras have the ISO capability to not bring grain, not all lenses have a low enough f/stop, and not all kids are slow enough to use a slow SS. so, a SL can help.

couch relaxing SB

sometimes, even when you have the gear, you still need a SL indoors bc of your house... at night, my living room is *ugh* to shoot in. but that doesnt mean i want to miss a moment ;)

i have a bajillion examples if you'd like to see more SL v non-SL. :) just let me know

equipment matters.

it took me a while to decide on whether i wanted to write this post or not - bc i want it to "come off" the right way.

so here goes...

when we get our first dslr cameras - or even a nice p&s - we are told that we can emulate professional looking photos if we just try hard enough... just learn all the settings... just practice. and i want to start out by saying that its not necessarily *untrue*, but i feel like realistic expectations need to hold a place in our minds as well.

having been on several message boards, FB groups, etc for photography (or just for moms), ive seen people get super frustrated trying to do things that their cameras simply... can't. for instance, when everyone wanted to do twinkle lights for the holiday season, not many people realized that their p&s or kit lens couldnt do the job as well. i am not saying this to make people feel discouraged -- i am the #1 person to tell people to learn their gear and that they'll be happy in the results. but there is a reason people spend $2500 on a camera and another $1500+ on each lens --- bc they do make better photos.

***i am going to throw in the obvious disclaimer. it is also, entirely possible, to have $5000 worth of gear and still take a shizzy photo, still not know how to use your camera, and still have it come out looking like a p&s. so please - before this becomes misconstrued, the camera does NOT make the photographer. but its naive to say that it doesnt.... help. it helps someone who already knows what they are doing. who already can maneuver around manual, who already knows how to nail focus and exposure, etc.

i just see a lot of disappointed MWACs. who want their photos to like their favorite photo blogger. but that photog has spent a long time and invested a lot of money in what they have built behind their name.

there are few simple things that i think help any mom, trying to take pics of their kids at home, get better photos (besides, of course, being 100% on the technical end, of course lol)

1. getting rid of the flash. either by having it off completely, using a lightscoop, or getting an external flash.

2. buying a sharp prime. a 30/35mm, 50mm, or 85mm for nikon, canon, and sigma have low f/stops that let in a lot of light (of course, nailing that focus would be first, right?) and your kit lens is not going to cut it. ever. lol

3. editing correctly. meaning clean. meaning without being crazy, buying actions that you dont know how to lower, adding layers of "vintage" or horrible vignette that you think "adds something!!" but really ruins your photos. as a sidenote, hobbyists and pros buy actions all the time --- expensive actions, sometimes, that can make or break that photographer's style -- but they learned how to use them correctly, adjust them for who THEY are, etc. they also pay $$$ for editing programs. picnik and iphoto isnt gonna cut it lol bc, well, equipment matters, right? and remember, pros have monitor calibration software for their computers so that their photos are true to color/print all of the time. that also costs...

this is the time to start taking photos for you. to start comparing yesterday's with today's. and last year's with this year's. to improve for yourself. dont compare yourself to everyone around you -- this goes for all of you pros, too.

for 2012, i want to be *me*.

quick storyboard with color banner

ok here's a quick tut on the color band story boards :)

the pics might be too small, but you can click on THIS LINK and make them bigger :)

first we need to resize the photo.
screenshot 10

screenshot 9

for horizontal pics, im going to do 750px. that makes it 500px high.
screenshot 8

i then open a new blank file. i know i want it 500px high, but i want the width to be bigger.
screenshot 7

since FB looks better at certain sizes, i chose 950px as my width.
screenshot 6

drag your photo from the bottom tray onto your new blank spot
screenshot 5

place it where you want to.

then click the color squares on your tool bar to open the palette. you can use the dropper to click a color from your photo.
screenshot 4

make sure your "layer 1/background/etc" is highlighted on your layers tray to the right. then use the paint bucket to fill in the color
screenshot 3

add text by clicking T in your tools bar and making a text box.
screenshot 2

merge all layers and then save as jpg
screenshot 1