Family Pictures – Outtakes

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Remember when I said our family picture time was frustrating, cold and difficult?  I bet you didn’t believe me when you saw those pictures of my sweet, smiling family.  Well, I wasn’t tricking.  One of the best and worst things that comes from a photo session is the outtakes.  The pictures are hilarious…a few days later.  See for yourself… First, there’s Shiloh.  He loves to photo bomb us with silly faces.  I didn’t even realize he was doing it in some of them until I edited the pictures.   And it helps when I can actually get all the way … Continue reading 

Family Pictures – Shiloh

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My little guy is so much fun to photograph.  I think that’s because he still likes to ham it up for me.  He was cold, but had such a great attitude.  And he knew that right after we finished we were going to get some hot cocoa.  It’s amazing how hot cocoa can get kids to have fun.                       I told him to jump on that last one.  Who knew he had such amazing hops?

Family Pictures – Payton

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Payton reminds me so much of his dad that it’s astounding.  Especially in the way they smile for pictures.  You see, for these guys there are two smiles.  The one you show when you are laughing and happy and carefree…and the one you give to the camera when you have to.  The second one is more of a smirk, and it takes all my supreme funniness to move them from a smirk to a smile. I think I got two real smiles out of Payton {he was feeling less like laughing since his face was about to freeze off}. You … Continue reading 

Family Pictures – Ellie

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Ellie is so much fun to photograph because she’s a girl and loves to pose.  However, she did not make it easy this year.  It was cold {very cold} outside and she took every moment she could to tell me.  And she’s my blinker.  I have more pictures with her eyes closed – or half closed – than with her eyes open.  Lucky she’s so beautiful or photographing her would be difficult.                       I just love this girl and her spunky individuality.  When I see her smile or be silly … Continue reading 

Family Pictures – A Lesson in Patience

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I know when I insist on taking our own family pictures I am playing with fire.  It is destined to not go well.  This year was no exception.  It was cold.  Very cold.  Hurt your fingers and make your nose red cold.  And my kids coats are not photo worthy. So I layered them up as much as they would let me and we headed to The Pearl District in Downtown Portland.  The Pearl is one of our very favorite places to hang out together on our Sunday Fundays {our family sabbath} so it just fit to go there.  I … Continue reading 

Five Favorite Friday – Family Photo Tips

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Every year around this time I take my family photos.  I love photography and actually studied it for a while.  While my friends are booking sittings with professional photographers, I am thinking through how/where/when I’m going to photograph my own family.  Over the years I’ve learned a few tips and tricks for family portraits that I want to share with you.  These are useful if you take your own family pics, or if you are headed out to meet with a professional.   Tip #1 – Do not wear the same thing. Especially if it’s a while shirt and blue … Continue reading 

New Etsy Store Items

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It’s official!  Aged copper is here! Recently I had a customer in my etsy store inquire about aged copper wire for my bird nest necklaces.  I had never thought of changing the metal up, but when I made her custom necklace I loved it so much I had to make more. I am proud to introduce the newest addition to the My Beautiful Mess Store…Aged Copper Bird Nest Necklaces! These necklaces are the perfect gift for the mama in your life (even if that mama is your wife, sister, daughter or friend!).  Include one bead for each child, and this … Continue reading 

Layering Texture With Photoshop

I’ve been playing around with different patterns and textures lately, trying hard to figure out how to properly add texture to an image in Photoshop and make it actually look good.  I think sometimes I use the wrong image (pictures taken of your kids as they sit in a mess of toys in your living room won’t work) and sometimes I use the wrong texture (chevron, anyone?).  But most of the time I just don’t have the patience to try and try again.  And, like all of you who use Photoshop already know, that’s what it takes to figure Adobe programs out.

However, I’m getting better at it so I thought I’d run you through it so you can learn this super cool trick too.  It makes your images look professionally edited and enhanced.  Not useful for all images, but great for some.

Here’s what I did.

Let’s start at the beginning.  I opened up this image in Photoshop:

Then I opened up this image:

I noticed the first image (of the kids) was much larger.  So I selected that image and clicked on the “Image” menu, then selected “Image Size”.  I reduced the image width to 1000 pixels (making sure the height and width were locked so it would properly scale).

Next I selected the pattern image. I didn’t want a blue hue in my picture, so I selected “Layer” went down to “New Adjustment Layer” and selected “Color Balance”.  I adjusted the balance until I got a hue that more matched the background trees in the kid image.  I moved the arrows closer to “Red”, “Magenta” and “Yellow” until I was satisfied with the hue – and I clicked “OK”.

I ended up with this:

Once my pattern was the correct hue I clicked on the arrow in the toolbar.  Using the arrow I drag and dropped the pattern onto my kid image.

It was still smaller than my kid image and looked like this:

So I used the arrow tool again to grab the corners of my pattern image and drag them to the corners of my kid image, effectively covering up the kid image completely.  Once covered I clicked on the arrow again to apply the transformation.  Then, with the pattern layer selected in the work flow bar on the right, I clicked on the drop down menu that currently said “Normal” and selected “Overlay” instead.

That made my pattern much more opaque, turning my image into this:

I didn’t, however, want my kids to look like they has a flesh eating virus, so I had to erase the layer from their faces and bodies.  First, with “Layer 1″ selected, I went down to the bottom of the right sidebar and clicked on the button that looks like a rectangle with a circle inside to “Add Layer Mask” (this preserves your texture layer).  Then I selected the eraser tool from the toolbar.  I then zoomed in on them (“View” then “Zoom In”) so I could be more accurate.  I selected a brush that was feathered so my edges would blend better (the 17 px brush, if you must know).  I then slowly began erasing the layer over their faces, bodies and clothes – making sure to be as exact as I could at the edges.

When I finished it looked like this:

I felt like the texture was too strong and made them look like they were superimposed and floating, so I needed to lighten it up.  With “Layer 1″ still selected I changed the “Opacity” to 64% and ended up with my final product.

Exactly the amount of texture I wanted.  Makes the forest look kind of grungy and vintage.  Love me some vintage forests!

Well, there you have it for my first Photoshop tutorial.  Whew!!  I hope I didn’t bore you or scare you off.  Photoshop is a bit confusing – especially for a person like me who doesn’t know the program language (I’m sure I used some lame-o amateur verbage up top…feel free to make fun of me).

And please know, the first time I did this it didn’t work out so well.  Take your time.  Play with it.  The best way to gain Photoshop confidence and expertise is experimentation.  Trial and error will teach you so much.  So don’t let the “error” part of it frustrate you too much.

Warning: Soapbox Ahead!…By the way, that texture pattern was found at a blog featuring free backgrounds, patterns and textures.  If you’re looking for some, search “free blog backgrounds” or “free patterns”.  Please don’t just copy any image you find on the internet that you like and want to use.  People work hard to create great texture and pattern images and we should honor their work and copyrights.  Soapbox finished.

Let me know if you try this.  I’d love to see what other people can do with texture.

Mosier Photo Shoot – Our Family

After taking pics of Ellie, Payton, Shiloh and then the three of them together, we needed to eat, play and sleep.  We had smiled enough.  So the next morning, as we watched the beautiful sunrise over the hill we got ready for some more pictures in the morning sun.  Sunday morning brought more sun, less clouds and some pretty cold temperatures.  But it was a beautiful day.  A clear and crisp northwest autumn morning.

Now, most people get others to take pictures of their family.  I am too frugal for that.  So I set up the tripod, set up my family and set the timer.  Then I run into the shot, try to position myself to look normal and have good hair and catch my breath – all in ten seconds.  What makes it difficult is that most of the time my hair is wild from running, I’m sweating in the sun and I am in a weird or awkward position (which I don’t know at the time because I don’t see myself in the viewfinder when I position everyone else).  I think I frustrate myself more than anyone else does when we take family pictures.  I just want to scream at myself, “Take a good picture!!!!”  But I try to have patience, do retakes quickly and fix things with Photoshop.  It’s also hard to get everyone looking at the camera when I’m running towards them, giving them last minute directions and when there is no one at the camera calling for their attention.  So, these would probably be better if taken by someone else, but it’s what I can afford.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This weekend was fun, crazy, restful, and wonderful.  We had meltdowns.  We had frustrating moments.  But we were together.  And we are always our best when we are together.  I feel rejuvenated when we go away together, just the five of us.  It’s as if we are a team and we seem to have more grace, more patience and more understanding when we are experiencing life that way.  These faces, these hands and feet and messy heads of hair, they are my greatest blessings.  My reasons to be thankful.  My grace received.  My eucharisteo.

Mosier Photo Shoot – The Kids

If you are just joining us, we’re taking a look at my weekend photo shoot.  Of my own family.  And if you know anything about capturing images of your own family, it is not easy.  Sometimes it’s downright torturous.

After I took pics of all my kids individually and just as I was on the verge of losing my light I gathered them together for “Oh how I just love my siblings” pictures.  Shiloh had gotten a long turn on his very special rope swing so he was much happier than before, although he was still a bit of a pill.  Oh, two year olds!!  He was a bit apprehensive at first because I placed them in great light…right on top of barbed wire that was hidden under the fallen leaves.  After that he was worried that everywhere I told him to move was going to make him get stuck in the barbed wire.  Maybe I should have scouted better.  But in the end they were great and their personalities really started to shine through.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those last pictures are my favorite.  The one of the boys kissing Ellie’s cheeks…with Shiloh’s fish face kiss where he sucks his cheeks in…LOVE!  You can tell she loves it too.  And the last two where they are holding hands – it gives me the “We’re-gonna-stick-together-through-anything-it’s-us-against-the-world-and-I’m-here-for-you” feeling of a childrens book where the siblings go on amazing adventures together.  Maybe someday they will.

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