Photo Tips with Emilie

I’ve been taking lots and lots of newborn pix the last few months.  I’m excited to share some of my tricks to capturing great images.

Here are the 5 Items I can’t shoot without…

1.  Boppy Pillow – This is my favorite positioner.  I use the Boppy for at least 5-10 different positions.
2.  Binky – Enough said :)
3.  Heating Pad – Heat is a necessity when taking newborn photos.  I use the heating pad to warm up the blanket or prop I will be using next so that I never lay a baby on a cold prop or blanket.
4.  Bag-O-Beans – I use this both under the prop blanket and on top of the babies while I’m positioning them.  Babies love to be nice and toasty warm and the Bag-O-Beans works perfect.
5.  Space Heater – I couldn’t do a newborn session without a space heater.  They are magic to get newborn to be nice and calm!!

Now let’s talk about editing newborn images.
Below is my out of camera image.  Her skin is not as creamy as what I see with my eyes.  These SLR cameras are so sharp that they pick up the tiniest little nicks and scratches.  No good.  Here is how I fix and soften skin in PS.

First, open the image into PS and duplicate the background layer.  The short cut is Command “J”.
Next, add a Gaussian Blur filter found in your
“filter”-”blur”-”Gaussian blur” menu.
When adding the Gaussian Blur make it a little stronger than you think you’ll need.  The reason is that you can brush on the Gaussian Blur at a low opacity, but if you don’t make it strong enough you can not increase the opacity more than 100% of what you originally made the filter.
Then, add a vector mask to the Gaussian Blur layer by clicking the “Add Vector Mask” button at the bottom of your layers palette.
Last step, Invert the Vector Mask (short cut is “Command I”).  This will turn the Gaussian Blur Filter off.  Then, use the “Brush Tool” to brush on the Gaussian Blur effect in the areas you would like to soften.
Final product…
Here are a few more images I took of her
sweet tiny little parts…

I hope this tip helps you on the pursuit
of newborn photo perfection!!

Happy Snapping!!

** I took one of Emilie’s workshops in early Spring and was blown away at how informative and well presented it was! Treat yourself to one her workshops and you know what will happen? You will pay yourself and your family back with dreamy photos!


Birthday Patch Applique!

I loved how my Charlie bugs birthday outfit turned out this year! The hat, still my favorite! The skirt a close second! And lastly the fun and simple Birthday patch that tied it all together!

First you will iron on Heat ‘n Bond adhesive to the back side of your three fabrics. Use a circle pattern or trace lids to get two different sized circles! Mine are 4 and 3 inch circles. Trace a number or free hand one. Be sure to remember to trace your number backwards because you are tracing it on the back side of your fabric.

Remove the paper from the back of your number and center it onto your smaller circle. Iron it on to adhere it!

Next remove the paper from the back of your smaller circle and center it onto your larger circle. Iron it in place to adhere it!

Sew along the edges of your number and the smaller circle using a zig zag stitch!

Now it’s ready to iron onto a birthday shirt! Tips for sewing it on:

  • You’ll need to use a stabilizing fabric on the back side of the shirt. Cut a piece slightly larger then your patch. This will keep the shirt from snagging and gathering in your sewing machine!
  • After you have sewn the patch on feel free to trim the stabilizing fabric on the inside of the shirt for better comfort.

The final touch that makes a fun statement!


I’m seeing BLUE!

People ask me all the time what my favorite crafting tool is and hands down it’s

Fast, affordable and the transformations are always impressive! Take for example this little before and after…

I’ve been holding onto this little spice cabinet for three years! I bought it at a Garage Sale for a whopping $1! If you can look past the scary crackle finish and dried minced onions in the window you too can see the potential I fell in love with!

Now look at her all pretty and ready for the Ball! This Cinderella Blue really makes all the difference now doesn’t it!!

I used Krylon H2O in Blue Danube River! And don’t hate but I picked it up at HONKS Dollar store! Horrible name for a store I know! I about fell over when I saw an entire end cap filled with Spray Paint! JACK POT!!! Worked like a charm!

One coat and a little sanding later to expose a little of the yellow and she was already lookin’ like a post op plastic surgery success story!

Now onto the window dressing! I cut small squares of scrapbook paper and dressed them up with numbers! A little hot glue later and we have a WINNER!!!!

I love how the crackle texture can still be scene! I love everything about her actually!

Hip hip hooray for Garage Sales!!!
Hip hip hooray for $1 Spray Paint!!!
Hip hip hooray for pretty Blue Makeovers!


Photoshop Actions

It’s been a while since I’ve shared any Photoshop How To’s! I recently shot some engagement photos for the cutest couple and it reminded me I needed to get my Photoshop butt in gear and share some nuggets of knowledge with all of you!

Photoshop can be a foreign land for even the best of us! I am far from a pro but have learned a few tricks along the way that are worth passing on to all of you!

When it comes to getting fun color effects in Photoshop it’s important to know that a great photo to begin with is key! It helps to have good lighting, proper subject placement and a cute people in the photo always seems to help too! I’ll show you a few actions that I applied to the same photo so you can see the difference! By the way…an”Action” is a pre made set of adjustments that have been compiled into one click of a button. You can find a huge collection of Free up-loadable actions on line! I’ll add links at the end of this post! Watch how they can totally change each photo…

Original Photo

Cropped and using the “Boost” and “Quick burn edge” actions.
Notice the richer colors and slight effect on the corners and edges.

And this one I’ve used an action called “Seventies”

And here is an example of how you can play within an action. By simply going backwards a few steps with in the “Seventies’ action, I decided I liked this bluer look. Becasue the actions are a compilation of layers and steps you can go back and take layer by layer off until you see what you like! It’s all a simple click of the mouse. Click your “Edit” tab in the upper left hand corner and click “step back.” Continue clicking until you find a look you like.

And lastly I love Pioneer Womans “PW Black and White” action. It has a built in burnt edge effect!

There are endless possibilities. With in each action you can adjust how much of it is applied! You can easily change the tone, depth, color and effects all by playing with the fill level and opacity!

I’ve up-loaded most of my actions from two sites…

Pioneer Woman and Coffee Shop

Search their sites for free down loads and tips along with great examples! Happy Photo editing!

p.s. I’m always asked what camera I shot with! I shoot with a Sony Alpha 200 and use a 50mm lens. The lens makes all the difference! Not sure how I got along without it!!!!

p.s.s I’d love to hear what other photoshop topics you’d like me to cover! I know what I like to do in PS but I’d love to hear what you guys would like me to cover! Let me know and I’ll try my best to cover it!


Photoshop Tutorial: Actions

I love a good Photoshop “how to!” I have learned most of my skills on Photoshop by doing on line searches, watching how to videos and just playing around! I was introduced to “Actions” from a friend. Actions are effects you can add to photographs to change their appearance! Things like Black and White, Sharpening colors and more!

Pioneer Woman has some wonderful Actions you can upload and enjoy.
She has amazing examples!

Also you can find a great collection of actions for uploading over
at Coffee Shop Photography.
She also provides down loads for fun story board templets HeRe!!!!!

Here are some of my favorite Effects…

Original Photo

“Boost”Action from Pioneer Woman

“70′s” Action from Pioneer Woman

“Black and White” Action from Pioneer Woman

“Quick Burnt Edge”Action from Pioneer Woman

You can also stack actions:

” 70′s and Quick Burn Edge” together

This is a story Board effect from Coffee Shop Photography. I had already used the “70′s” effect. This makes for a great template for Birth Announcements…


Check out actions and have a blast playing with your photos! Photoshop has endless possibilities! Be sure to visit my other favorite Photoshop links I have listed on my side bar!!!

Happy Editing!


TTV Photoshop tutorial

Here is a step by step tutorial on how to add a TTV boarder to a photo in Photoshop!

First find and upload a TTV boarder. You can find a wide selection HERE. By the way… TTV stands for “Through the viewfinder!” This effect is trying to replicate a style of photography that you get when you take a photo through the view finder of a specific camera! Thought you might be interested!


Open the photo you would like to work with in Photo shop. Use the crop tool and crop it down to a square size.

Now open a new file and add the TTV that you uploaded.
You should now have two open files on the screen, one cropped photo and one TTV.

Click on the TTV.
Press Ctrl A and then Ctrl C

Now click onto your photo and press Ctrl V. This will now place the TTV onto your photo and it should look like this… Next click your “Move tool” and now you can stretch and adjust the TTV to fit the photo perfectly by stretching the corners. The TTV should now cover your entire photo. Click the move tool once more and click “apply.”

You won’t be able to see the photo behind the TTV until you do one last thing. On the right hand side where you see all your layers and the history you should see a drop down menu that reads “Normal.” Click that open and change it to “Multiply.” And there you have it!

If some of the TTV flex or dust pieces are covering a place you don’t want it to, simply use the “healing brush tool” to correct it.

Have fun people!!! Let Me know if this works for you! I guess more so if it doesn’t. I’m pretty sure I explained it correctly! By the way I use Photo shop 7.0