Friday, February 25, 2011

Why Not?

Why Not?  I love this one...the picture too! :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

MCP Actions Contest for The New Tamron 18-270mm Di II VC PZD Lens for Nikon, Canon or Sony dSLR Cameras

My oldest who was kind enough to let me take some picture of her on the patio.

Okay, you must head on over to MCP Actions blog to enter in this AMAZING contest!  She is giving away the new Tamron 18-270mm Di II VC PZD Lens for Nikon, Canon or Sony dSLR Cameras.  Yes!  Be sure to go check it out...what are you waiting it now! :) 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Web Sharpening for Photoshop CS5 and Saving for the Web

Jamie Solorio Photography is now up and running!  Please stop by and see my latest work.

Okay, I have been having issues since I got CS5 with my web files.  In the past when I upload to the web I notice that I lose a lot of color and contrast from what I actually saw while editing my image in either Camera Raw or Photoshop.  Well, I came across a tutorial on I Heart Faces this has really helped my images.  I will just document what I have learned and how I sharpen my images for the web below:

1. Edit my image the way I want in Photoshop/Camera Raw

2. Re-size my image for the net by pressing (Alt + Control + i) and where it says 300 pixels/inch, change it to 72 pixels/inch.  This will make your image a lot smaller.

3. Next go to "Filter" and scroll down until you see "Sharpen" and click that, which brings a fly out that says "unsharp mask" click "unsharp mask".

4. In the dialog box type in these values Amount:200%, Radius:0.3, Threshold:0.  Now, per Scott Kelby of The Adobe Photoshop CS5 Book, which is where these values came from, the Amount slider can be pushed up all the way to 400% if you need more sharpening.

5. Now go to "File" and click on "Save for Web and Devices".  This brings up a dialog box and there you need to make sure that you have the tab clicked above your picture to either "Optimized" for the modified picture or to "2 UP" which is what I have mine set for.  I like to see the comparison of the original verses the web file.

6. In that same dialog box as step five, go to the right where it says "Presets" and you will be able to click down on "GIF" drop down box and select "JPEG".

7. Now click on the drop box below "JPEG" and click on "Maximum".

8. Now save your image to where you would like it for good.

I couldn't believe the difference between the old way I was doing this and the new way.  As I was doing some of my research for this web/sharpening issue of mine...I saw tons of other ways to do it.  This was the most simple, and for now that is what I am looking for.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Free Mini Fusion Action Giveaway from MCP Actions Blog

Go grab yours now! Click HERE to get your FREE action from MCP Actions blog!  You will not be disappointed. :)

Today's 365 Picture - Lighter Uploads on Flickr and How I Darkened the Image.

Well, really it was yesterdays 365 picture, but just got to loading it this afternoon.  I have noticed when I load things onto the Internet (Flickr) that they come out a little bit lighter then when I processed them in Adobe Camera Raw.  As a quick fix in CS5 Photoshop I duplicated my layer (control + J) and then added a blending mode of  "Multiply" at 100% opacity  to darken it, make it closer to what I saw while editing.

OR I just did some research and found this to be more effective.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Back Button Focus Using a Nikon D90 and my Cutie Pie Little Girl and her Dog

My daughter reading books on the floor and the dog taking a little snooze.

Jamie Solorio Photography is now live, take a peak for my latest work.

So, today I got an email from Clickin Moms about a class they were offering called RYC 101 : The Basics for members only.  Anyhow, I was reading through what the class taught you and was familiar with most everything.  However, I hadn't heard of "back button focus" in the past.  Oh goodie!  Something new for me to spend some time on researching.  Well, come to find out I already did know about back button focus, but now will make more of an effort to use it.  The reason I want to utilize this little button is to save me from the hassle of having to refocus when I am composing a photograph, when not changing the distance between me and my subject.

This is how I plan on utilizing my "Back Button Focus" which is not how Nikon refers to this handy dandy little button located on the back of my camera.  The reason for this is Canon has the patent on "Back Button Focus", so Nikon, as far as I understand, has the "AE-L/AF-L" button.  On my Nikon D90 this button is located to the right of the view finder.  Since I only shoot in manual mode I will not need the "AE-L" portion of this button, which is the Exposure Lock button.  I will be playing with the "AF-L" button, the Focus Lock.

To begin, I like to shoot in Auto-Focus mode Single Point.  This way I have the control, and my camera isn't searching around finding what it thinks is important to focus on.  With that said and knowing that I meter for light myself in manual mode, this "Back Button Focus" is really going to be great.  When I compose a portrait, I first meter my light by holding down the shutter half way and then adjusting my exposure.  Next, I focus on the subjects eye and now I can either depress the shutter all the way down and take my picture OR hold it half way down to focus on the eye, and hold down the "AF-F" button to lock focus.  I still can take the original picture by pressing the shutter all the way down, and as long as I hold the "AF-L" button I can now reposition my camera and take a different picture without having to refocus.  This will only work if I do not change the distance between me and the subject, in that case I would have to refocus again by pushing the shutter half way down.

The only thing is getting my fingers to get used to finding the "AE-L/AF-L" button automatically.  Practice. Practice. practice.

2nd Saturday ArtHop of Redding, California - February 12th, 2011

This last Saturday night was a ton of fun for me.  I was able to go explore downtown at night along with discover some very talented people during the 2nd Saturday ArtHop of Redding, California.  To start, I was able to buy myself a pair of cute silver earrings from the first artist I met, Joi Borchers of Joitime Jewelry.  Then, I was lucky enough to go see what this Carnegie's place that my husband is always talking about.  Tapa's was my next stop which was really inspirational for me.  Their featured artist Naci Sackett was so great to talk to, somebody who really appreciates all the beauty around us.  Then a great end to the night was getting my face painted by Brianna Scott of Fox Tail Face Painting.

 To begin, I went to Small Shots Gallery located at 2536 Old Eureka Way.  The gallery was kind enough to let Joi Borchers of Joitime Jewelry display all of her beautiful works of art there.  Joi specializes in precious, semi-precious, crystal, czech glass, silver, gold, brass, and beads when creating her custom jewelry.  I was seriously amazed by her vast inventory from fine jewelry to a lotto scratcher necklace with a moose head. 

After speaking with Joi for a bit I discovered that she keeps lots of stock on hand due to the fact that she often comes up with ideas in the middle of the night, quickly jotting them down to not forget.  Then spending the next day(s) creating these custom works.  She can easily create 20 pieces in one day when she gets inspired.  She loves to purchase her supplies from all around, but her favorites are from indian reservations.  So, each piece she creates has a story of her travels and experiences.

If you would like to get in touch with Joi Borchers please contact her at (530)949-9535.  Her business is nestled in the beautiful Shingletown, CA at 9240 Mt. Meadow Rd.

Next on my list was stopping by Carnegie's located at 1600 Oregon Street in Redding, CA.  This restaurant really make me miss Chico, CA.  There was something really special that just makes you want to hang out there with your laptop and eat a sandwich or drink a beer.  Carnegie's was kind enough to host Makin Glass and Pottery along with 14 of their own artists, from first time students to the seasoned crafters.  Be sure to check their site out HERE.

Makin Glass and Pottery teaches home schooled children and many others the different mediums such as stained glass, mosaic art glass, fusing, pottery, lightweight concrete sculpture, art clay silver, lamp working, bead making, batik, print making, paper making, and the always fun tye dye.  With many years experience crafting, you can not go wrong if you are looking to gain a new skill or improve on your existing crafting skills. 

Speaking to one of the owners, she has just recently excepted herself as an "artist", even though she has been crafting all of her life.  She and her Mom own Making Glass and Pottery together and both seemed like very happy people who loved art.  I was really impressed by the display they had set up, not only all the beautiful works presented by themselves and their students, but they also had a demo area.  This demo area had a display showing how to crimp the glass and apply it to lightweight concrete.

The next stop was Tapa's located at 1257 Oregon Street of Redding, CA.  I love this place!  One of the best Mojito's I have ever had was here, along with some AWESOME sweet potato french fries.  You have to go check them out!  Oh, guess I should get back to their featured artist this month...

Nanci Sackett, wow... I just loved speaking with her.  She was so enthusiastic about the beauty that surrounds us each and every day.  How she can look at any mundane item and if the light is hitting it just right, she enjoys its aesthetic qualities.  I couldn't agree more!  Nanci is inspired by the allure of nature and light.  She at times will simply bring her canvas and paints with her and create masterpieces on location.  Nanci has been an artist for as long as she can remember and has been in fine art for 25 years.  You will have to check out her site to see all of her amazing works of art HERE

Her favorite piece that was displayed on Saturday was a painting of a church displayed below.  She likes this painting since it is not her normal niche, she typically paints landscapes not architecture.  Nanci appreciated the old church and its magnificent form, along with the composition of her painting.  She is even considering painting a larger scaled version of this particular painting.

Last on my journey Downtown Redding was to stop by Viva Downtown located at 1725 Market Street next door to the Cascade Theater.  Viva Downtown hosted the very talented and beautiful Brianna Scott.  I have to say that I absolutely loved her whimsical artwork.  I could see many of her works hanging on the walls of my daughters' bedrooms.

Brianna has already been published as the artist for a children's pirate book  "The Three Pirate Brothers".  I flipped through this book as I was waiting to speak to her, she had so many people around her wanting to discuss her art and ask her questions.  Her drawings were so adorable and full of such life.  Some of her  works of art were displayed on the walls within Viva Downtown, and they too were so fun and playful.

Another fun thing that happened to me at this ArtHop was the face painting by the featured artist.  She painted a gorgeous flower along side of my face...sorta wish now that I had a picture of it to show you.  Just take my word for it...super pretty, glittery, and perfect.  Brianna has a business called Fox Tail Face Painting which would be perfect for any birthday party or event.  You can contact her at (541)913-5687 to have your face painted too!

Sorry about the little circles of light on the glass of the bird pulling the little girl, this was just the reflection of hanging lights.

What a fun night and I am looking forward to checking out the 2nd Saturday ArtHop for March of 2011!


Here are a few night street photographs that I captured while walking around downtown that night.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Goals for the Rest of the Week....Maybe. Time to Get Busy!!!

Okay, I seem to find myself with a lot to do and then not doing it.  Here are a couple of things I for sure want to do this week.

1.  Take a picture a 1/20th of a second, why?  Well...over at DPS I read THIS and it just sounded like fun.

2.  Create a few new headers for my blog, and learn how to make them switch.

3.  Finish the Arthop post, pictures are done...just need to write it up.

4. Order some prints from the new professional lab I decided to go through.

5. Think of how I want my new logo and all around image to be for my professional photography...not that I am there yet, just getting things figured out.

6. Post my favorte pictures from all my shoots so far under my Sessions tab under the header of my blog.

I think that is it photography related for now...besides the ongoing research, that I so LOVE to do! :)

Time to get busy!  Just thought I would share this image from the other night...thought it was fitting for me getting some of the things on my list finished in a "timely manner"!  Yes, you know it...I am a huge dork!

Shooting Some Street Scenes in Redding, California

Not too sure why I like this dirty street photograph so much, but I do.

Stopped at a red light and thought how pretty all the lights looked down the street, especially in bokeh!  This action is from MCP's Blog and it was FREE!  So, go check out her site to download your free action for either CS2 and up or Photoshop Elements.  You will be glad you did! :)


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Making Your Own Brush/Watermark and Saving it as an .abr File in Photoshop

Why oh why do I always forget how to save my brushes that I create as abr. files?  Well, after tonight...I doubt I will!  I spent 20 minutes or so trying to find a good tutorial on how to do this, and thought I would just write my writing my own will hopefully help me NEVER forget how to save a brush file(abr. file) again!  Maybe somebody else might benefit from this too!

If you can't see the screen shots, try double clicking on them to make them bigger. :)

1. Control + Alt + N to open a new document

2. Select the "Type" tool, it looks like a capital "T" and choose your font and size of font that you would like.  Be sure to type in black, you can click "D" to make sure that black is selected.  I have read that it is good to make you image as big as possible.  I am just making a watermark, so I am okay with the size that I have selected here.  However, you can do anything you like here, you can splatter paint, use text, anything.  I am just doing a simple watermark for demonstration purposes.

3. Now choose the "Rectangular Marquee" tool by clicking "m" or clicking on the dotted rectangular box in the tools.  Once you have this tool selected, draw a selection around the brush you are trying to create.

4. Once you have selected your image you would like to create a brush out of, go to the "Edit" menu at the top left of your screen, then find "Define Brush Preset" it. :)

5. Name your brush, I called mine "Blog Watermark" and then clicked "OK".

6. Go back to the "Edit" Menu at the top left of your screen and find the "Preset Manager", click it.

7. This is how you save the brush you just created as an .abr file in your brush folder.  If you do not yet have a brush folder that contains all your .abr files, you should create one.  Then within that folder create sub folders for each type of brush that you want to save.  For example, the brush I created will go under my "Logo Photography" sub folder in my "Brushes" folder that happens to be located in my "Documents" on my computer.

Now that you are in the "Preset Manager" you need to click on the last image in that dialog box.  Now, if you decided to create several brushes, you would need to "control and right click" on each brush that you want in your .abr file.  After you have done this click the "Done" button at the top circled in red with the number 2 next to it. 

8. Now you just need to save that new .abr file (brush file) into the correct location.  For me, that would be in my "documents" in the "brush" folder, under the subfolder of "logo photography".  Oh, don't forget to name your brush before you do all of that, I have mine named "logo for blogger".

That is it!  So, if you want to use your brush now, you can just click on your brush tool...the paint brush or "b". Then click on the little down arrow, I have it circled in red at the top of the screen.  When you click that arrow a little drop menu comes down with all of your brushes.  Go to the bottom of the list and click on your brush.  Select your color you want to stamp in and stamp away!

9. Later if you need your logo/brush/stamp again.  Just go to that same little arrow that is highlighted above when you are in the "brush" tool (1.) then go to the little tinier side arrow (2.) and click it.  Then go down to where you see "Load Brushes" (3.) and select that.

10. You will then be brought to where you store your brushes.  Just select the brush you want and stamp away!  Here is my new brush on a picture I took at Bumpass Hell of Lassen Park in California.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

One of the Pictures from My Mid Day Portrait Practice Session

Check out my latest work on my brand new website Jamie Solorio Photography!

Here are a couple of shots from my mid day practice shoot with my youngest.  I noticed that I have some blown highlights, but they really don't bother me so much.  Though, next time I practice...I think I will change the exposure a bit or better yet, bracket my shots by -1.0 to under expose a bit to compensate for those blown highlights.  I also noticed that on the bottom picture her skin looks a little flat to me, so I might try and fix that later. 

 Currently I am working on using the Curves Adjustment layer to work on skin tones.  The top picture I used the Curves and noticed a much improved skin tone.  I will have to print it to really see though.  Planning to still edit several more pictures of her from this parking lot, is actually a parking lot that we are in.  There was this tiny grove of oaks right next to us and the light was so pretty inside that we decided to give it a go.  Who woulda thought that a parking lot could be so pretty! :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

ISO Settings on the Nikon D90

ISO is super important when making a correct exposure in photography.  Yesterday I was exploring a little with Mid Day Portraits and realized that I need to adjust the way I am shooting to get better exposure when there is way more light available.  Like the picture above, even though it was late morning sunlight shining is really bright and a lot of the details have been blown.  Blown highlights are neat in pictures, but also can be distracting if there are too many.  This shot I still love, since it is telling a story about my daughter one morning watching the street sweeper drive by our house.  Isa and the dog ran full speed to the window to get a better look, and I was just lucky enough to catch them!

I know that shooting during mid day light that the lower the ISO the better, but I thought my camera only went down to ISO 200.  I had noticed in the past I could set the ISO to L 0.3, L 0.7, or L 1.0...which were all below the ISO of 200 on my camera menu.  Since I didn't take the time in the past to look it up in my manual, I never played with them.  Well, tonight I looked them up!  The L 1.0 is equivalent to ISO 100, the L 0.7 is the same as ISO 125 and L 0.3 is ISO 160.  So, for this shot I should of tried using a lower ISO to make my camera less sensitive to the light.  I think that I used an ISO of 200 or 400 for this shot, I can't remember and am too lazy to look it up right now. :)

I have also noticed in the past when I have my lens open wide (f 1.8)  that I am sometimes unable to meter for the correct exposure, since there was too much light.  So, I am thinking that if I had tried my L 1.0 setting I might of had gotten a better exposure, not over exposed or having to change my depth of field by making my aperture smaller...a bigger f-number.

Thought I would share what I learned today! :)  Hope you already knew that, and if not...glad to of shared.

Portraits in the Mid Day Sun on a Very Bright and Cloudless Afternoon

Jamie Solorio Photography is now live, check it out for my latest work.

Today was all about experimentation!  My husband was giving me a bad time about only taking pictures during sunset and to maybe try something new.  He was so right!  So, I did some quick research online to see what I could find about shooting in the mid day harsh sun.  Today was crazy bright...not a cloud in the sky and these pictures were taken at 1pm.  To top it off, my youngest is one of those children who can not look at a camera without jacking her face all up...just like her mother! :)

Here is what I can recall from my Internet search today...and there will be more to come as I learn more.

  1. Fill Flash is very useful during the day to help with those harsh shadows on the face
  2. Using reflectors either white, gold, or silver.  I actually took a car seat box that was in our garage and tore it up into sections.  One section I sprayed gold, the other white, and the last silver.  Cheap and fast!
  3. Embrace the harsh shadows, look for interesting lines or details that would not be present any other time of the day
  4. Have the subject look up so their face is being evenly hit with that direct bright light
  5. Underexpose your images to help with blown highlights
  6. Use an umbrella to create shade, it was suggested to use a white one
  7. Find shade and position your subject near the shade edge to get nice light, and those beautiful catch lights
  8. Fancy flash equipment...I don't have any, so I just skimmed through any info on that subject
  9. I personally love my subjects to be back lit, like this picture or side lit.  I took a couple of shots with her facing the sun and they were AWFUL...very flat or totally blown, due to the fact I didn't underexpose.
  10. Practice and keep reading all the literature I can find on the subject
Did I do any of these things with this particular picture?  Nope, just exposed for her skin and tried to hide the sun a tad by her head.  I like sunburst like this, so I wanted a little sun peaking out.  I suppose if I had a perfect scenario and many arms, I would of held my gold reflector under her face to bring a little more light onto her face, but I am very pleased with the results today.  In photoshop I bumped up the blacks a bunch since this image was so filled with lots of light and warmed the white balance, the shot was too blue for my taste.  I think I read somewhere that mid day sunlight was blue...

More pictures to come and more experimentation is on the way!  Thanks for taking a look! :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Color Profiles Tutorial

What can I say about color profiles in CS5?  Well, they totally get me mad to start!!!!  I had my profile set to SRGB straight across the my camera, in Adobe Camera Raw, and in Photoshop CS5.  Then my photoshop crashed and it took several hours of my hubby's work to get the stinking thing back up and running.  Thank you my AWESOME husband!

After it was all fixed up, I set some special things that I like that I have learned from Scott Kelby's CS5 book and thought I was ready to start editing images.  Hmmmm....good thing I noticed late last night as I was finishing the edits that my Camera Raw was set to Adobe 1998 instead of SRGB.  I thought I better do a test print before I burned my images on a disc for this sweet family I took pictures of a couple of weeks ago.  I printed at Costco and the prints came out nice, but I wasn't so sure if they could come out better or not.

So, tonight I spent some time and am up late...yet again...and switched everything back to SRGB, the way it was before it crashed.  I then took the images that I had edited in Adobe Camera RAW in Adobe 1998, then in photoshop in SRGB and converted them straight across as SRGB.  Then uploaded  a few pictures to Costco to see if there was any difference at all.  I have not yet gotten the prints, but I could see a big difference right on my screen on Costco's upload page.  Here are the screen shots, not sure if you will be able to see the big difference...but I sure can.

This one is Adobe 1998

This one is SRGB

So, how in the world do you switch your setting to SRGB...if they are not already?  This is what I did, not that it is the best way...but it made a big difference alone in the screen shots.  (which in the past do dictate the color I generally get from Costco)

ANYHOW, most cameras have a "color profile" menu that you can manipulate.  So, lets start there...first go find "color profile" and switch it to SRGB.  Now, if you are shooting in RAW, then it won't make a difference, since you later decide which profiles to use when shooting RAW.  I shoot RAW and still have my "color profile" set to SRGB.

Next, when you launch Adobe Camera Raw and select a picture from bridge to upload there...check out that blue little highlighted line at the very bottom of your image.  CLICK  IT.  A dialog bog will pop up with different choices for color profiles...pick SRGB.

Now, bring that image into photoshop and click on "Edit" in the menu bar.  If you go almost all the way to the bottom you will see "Color Settings, Assign Profile, and Convert to Profile".  Set them ALL to SRGB.

I mentioned earlier there might be a better way to do this...but this gets really nice looking prints for me right now from Costco.  I am currently checking out professional labs for my prints and I might have to change this, but I really don't think I will have to.  I have heard from several professionals that SRGB is the way to go.  Lets hope so!!!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Here Are Some of My Favorites From My Last Shoot at the Monolith of Redding, California

Thank you guys so very much for letting me build my portfolio and getting to work with such a sweet family!  I loved meeting your family and look forward to another photo shoot one day.  It was fun to try something new at the Monolith here in Redding, California.  Also, thank you so much for the gift cards and crazy nice things you have written me about my photography...seriously made my day!

If anybody who happens upon this little blog of mine is interested in a FREE session with me, please email me at  As a thank you for letting me practice and build my portfolio I am offering 5 full resolution edited images on a disc for you to print. Then around 20 edited web sized proofs for you to share via email, facebook, or however you like on the Internet.  Out of those 20 edited images, if you see any that you would like to have printed, I will be able to do so via a professional lab service for a discounted rate.  I am in the mist of creating a price sheet for prints currently, but will soon hopefully have them posted under my "sessions" tab at the top of the blog.  I am selling the prints at a discounted price at the time so that I can become familiar with the different professional labs and learn the print side of the photography business.

Thanks for taking the time to look at some of my photography and this ADORABLE family who was so fun to hang around one sunny late afternoon.   :)