Contrast and Sharpening – These I Love Most…

I always let my pictures meet Photoshop – just because my pictures love it.

And who am I to say ‘no’ to them.

They totally love the welcoming and friendly attitude of  this wonderful piece of software.

And how it beautifies them.

They hug and kiss together and then I let them dance in a perfect and happy harmony.

Of all the procedures my pictures love and regularly enjoy, there are two that are their most favorite – increasing contrast and sharpening.

This is the original picture.

I took it last weekend when we (me and my boyfriend) visited one wonderful park in our neighborhood.

I was dazzled by the new-born green leaves that had transformed all nature into a huge energizing pool of pure vitality.

I stood under a tree and noticed how the sun shined through the leaves.

And that made me completely happy.

So I took the picture.

Of course, the story continued…

I opened the picture in Photoshop (not under the tree but when we came back home and I cleaned mud off my shoes).

Anyway, I decided to increase the contrast first.

That’s what I always do as the first thing – because that’s the most wonderful change to a picture I know.

If you’ve never increased the contrast on your photos, then please DO…

You’ll be amazed by how the gray, hazy film (that covers all straight-out-of-camera pictures) disappears in an instant.


Then this window appears – there you click OK.

You’ll see two horizontal lines on the right panel now – so go ahead and play with the contrast to achieve the look you like best.

Then click LAYER  >>   FLATTEN IMAGE.

Now to the sharpening.

Things look better sharper – this is the basic truth.

Now you know it.

(Don’t thank me – send eggnog, please.)

To make your images look sharper click ENHANCE >> UNSHARP MASK (yeah, you use unsharp mask for sharpening, isn’t that fun?).

Then again, play with the numbers to reach the result you find most appealing.

I opted for 170 in the amount window and 1.0 in the radius window.

Because I wanted to keep the picture rather dreamy, I felt no need to go overboard with the sharpness.

And that’s it!

So again, this is the picture before…

… and after.

I love how the veins of the leaf stand out now.

Oh, and the bokeh in the background – that always makes a photographer want to jump with joy.

Before and after.

Just try it, it’s easy.

(And if you don’t have Photoshop, don’t you worry for a second. Go and grab GIMP – it’s a freely distributed photo software and it’s gorgeous. And it’s free.  And have I mentioned it’s for free?)

Have a wonderful day.


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The Most Narcissistic Post Ever Posted!

First of all – this is a picture of me… thinking.

Because when I think, I think hard.

And it is such an experience that I usually want to take a picture of myself… just to remember this memorable moment.

So far, I have one.

Anyways, I used this special picture to try out The Pioneer Woman’s Actions – I mean the Photoshop Actions created by The Pioneer Woman.

Pioneer Woman is awesome, her site is awesome, her family is awesome and her actions are nothing less than awesome, indeed.

On the left side, there is the original picture that I took with my camera. Let’s call it the SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera).

And on the right, there is a picture which has undergone certain beautifying process – the result of applying particular Photoshop action.

I used two actions here – Boost and Bring Out The Eyes.

Here I’ve used the Slight Light action. The new picture looks much more positive and fresh then the original one.

I think I will use this action all the time – I need to lighten up my pictures almost always.

And I even dare to think that most of us do.

This is the action called Colorize.

It’s made my skin look more matte.

I like that.

The Heartland action – I love the color tones, especially the color of my lipstick.

Very ‘fairy-tail-ish’.

A dreamy and lovely action called… Lovely!

Very aptly named. Not that I look lovely, the effect is lovely.

Here I used the Beauty Black and White action – originally, it resulted in a black and white picture, but I decreased the opacity and saved some color.

And I love that!

Oooooooh, and here comes my all-time favorite – Seventies, everybody!

I love, love, LOVE that – anything vintage makes my soul happy.

I really don’t know why, but I have always been a granny in my heart – since I can remember… since 3, I guess.

Three years old granny, that’s what I was… in my heart.

This is Slight Light and Seventies, both together.


Yeah, you can combine the actions – use one on top of the other.

You can mix three or four and see what you get.

Isn’t that great?

I think it is more than great – it’s ÜBER-GREAT!

And here I’ve combined the Slight Light and Soft Fade actions.

Using actions is so much fun.

The Pioneer Woman’s action are free to use – so if you have Photoshop (even Elements), just go grab these treasures.

And thank you, Pioneer Woman, you are the best!


Sometimes I find myself in the mood… to put this world into a different angle.

Sometimes I’m in the mood to take vengeance on this world by sucking all color out of it.

There you go…

Sometimes my mood is not so harsh and I give this world a slight ‘vintage’ chance.

And sometimes I get just amazed by how much power I have over this world…

Phew…! New Header Completed!

My head is pounding right now…

That’s probably caused by the state of utter concentration I’ve been in all day – trying to make my new header.

It might sound strange to you – especially after considering the fact that my header is not the finest one – but I am proud!

I am proud because this has been my second day of using Photoshop ever – so there was a lot of learning going on. And also I’ve discovered how magical brushes can be?


Completely magical!

Brushes – some of you might know them as simple strokes, but man, can they be elaborate. Just imagine that the whole butterfly-swirly thing you can see in the header above is just one pretty enlarged brush stamp.


That’s something!

My huge thanks goes out to the guy/guys/girl (not really sure here) from “FrozenStarRo” (you can find their gorgeous work on this site). Where would I be without their outstanding brushes?

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