Florabella

Florabella's Photoshop Actions and Textures

It's Friiiiday! Hope you all have some lovely weekend plans - we've got some friends visiting, so are going to swap the DIY for some much needed fresh sea air - hurrah!

Today I thought I'd share one of my photo editing secrets. I often hear comments like "my photos never look like that!" - well, neither do mine until I edit them. Sure it's good to get as much right as possible in camera, but in my humble opinion, every photo can be improved with some editing. For images taken on my Canon DSLR (I have the Canon 6D and I love it!) I use Lightroom to organise my images and do the majority of my editing, and Photoshop for more selective, creative edits.

In Photoshop, you can use Actions to speed up the editing process and get a more consistent look and feel across a bunch of images. An Action is a bit like a Macro in Microsoft Word or Excel - it's essentially a pre-recorded series of edits, and when you press play on the Action, it whizzes through and completes every edit in turn. Once it's finished, you can then usually adjust each of the individual edits, giving you plenty of control. My absolute favourite Actions are designed by Florabella, who also takes the most divine, dreamy images.

Below are some before and afters of my images. The before shows the RAW image, straight out of camera, and the after, with all my Lightroom and Photoshop edits, using Florabella's Classic Workflow Actions (plus the odd texture or too). RAW files are like undeveloped negatives and always need some work; I prefer shooting RAW rather than JPEG as the files allow you to make more adjustments. I often do some basic editing in Lightroom to get the exposure correct and apply lens profile corrections before I take the image into Photoshop (I usually do this by applying a Preset I have created in Lightroom as I import my photos - but more of this another time).

My favourite Actions of Florabella's are her Classic Workflow - I come back to them time and time again. I think they work especially well with skin tones (or plastic doll tones in my case!!). Florabella also provides some video tutorials showing how to use her Actions - well worth a look.

As well as Photoshop Actions, Florabella also creates a beautiful range of textures. Textures are an additional image that you overlay to create some creative effects - often with scratches for an aged look, vignetting, different tones, light flares, the list goes on and on. I often like to add a texture or two to my floral images for some added interest and a more painterly feel (you can layer as many as you like, and adjust the opacity and blending mode of each - you can easily lose hours experimenting and adjusting!). You can be as subtle or as bold as you like. One of my favourites has to be 'Cream Canvas" from the Florabella Textures III Collection. See below for some examples of my photos I've applied textures to. You can see more photos in my Textured Album on Flickr.

Another favourite set of Actions that Florabella offers are her Color Matte Actions. These allow you to add bars of colour to the left, right, above or below your images, and to optionally overlay some patterns and textures. I love them! They come in handy for making a portrait image square, which works better on a blog. And I love the colour picker that allows you to choose a colour for the bar from your image for complete co-ordination. See below for some examples of how I have used them - you can tell I'm rather fond of the damask pattern! You can view a greater selection in my Florabella Color Matte Actions Album on Flickr. And of course, see more in Florabella's beautiful gallery.

I hope this has been helpful. NB this isn't a sponsored post - I'm just sharing some of the things I love and have found helpful. Florabella does regular giveaways via her Facebook page, so worth following along if you are interested.

In search of pretty things

I long for the weather to get better, and the flowers to start blooming.... I miss not being able to get out and about with my camera. So I ransacked the house instead, in search of pretty things to photograph to brighten up my photostream.

I suddenly had a brain wave and dug out my satin wedding shoes - they've seen better days, but they're still really pretty. And I ventured to the shops to get some fresh flowers to add some interest. I popped a vintage crystal decanter and some Royal Albert china into the mix - and voila!

I've layered these shots with a vintage linen texture from Florabella - I rather like the effect - but love the pure and simple versions as well.

My wedding shoes
Vintage rose pink

Next up was the white vintage cup and saucer I thrifted last weekend - I just love it's pretty scalloped edges. I tried some simple white on white shots first of all, but ended up going for some vintage bambis. Everyone loves bambi, right? And of course some vintage textures for extra authenticity :)

Mother and daughter
Vintage bambi

And last, but not least, some more vintage Royal Albert china with some pretty Lizzyanthus flowers in a complemntary shade - and of course, bambi!

Vintage purple
Vintage Lizzy

January Blythe photoshoot and a rainbow

So, January has been a pretty tough, long month - anyone else fed up with weeks of bitter cold, snow and ice? I feel like I've been living underground for weeks...But this weekend it's all change - the sun has come out and the rain has washed away all the dirty leftover snow and we can see the grass again. Today we were even treated to a rainbow!

So, forced to keep my photography inside (roll on spring!) I've enjoyed setting up some shots of my Blythe dolls. They are so much fun to style and are very well behaved and compliant models :)

On the editing front, I'm still rather obsessed with Florabella's Color Matte Actions and Design Kit. It includes actions for Photoshop that allow you to add colour bars to your images and make them square (works especially well with portait images). The colour picker allows you to pick up a colour from within your image so it all looks very complementary; you can also overlay textures and other prints for added interest.

Pink clouds

I've also recently bought some more digital papers and labels from Aesthetic Addiction on Etsy- the coloured doilies you see on the left hand side of these images are some examples. So much fun!

60s plummy glitter

Florabella's other Photoshop Actions are also a staple of mine. I use the Classic Workflow set all the time. My usual recipe is Perfect Color, followed by a touch of Rosy Cream and a dash of 1968. Go check them out - they're rather wonderful!

Alice rocks a 60s vibe
A little dose of sunshine

A little bit obsessed...with Florabella's Color Matte Actions

Anyone who's been following my Flickr stream of late will have noticed lots of square images pop up with pretty colour blocks, textures and patterns. Since I bought Florabella's delicious Color Matte Actions and Design Kit, I can't help myself - everything has to be square and pretty! If you like what you see, do go and check out the Florabella Collection - her Classic Workflow Photoshop Actions are truly fabulous and a staple of mine (great for producing dreamy, soft, pastel, vintage effects) and she has lots and lots of pretty textures and frames. I thought the square format would be perfect for blogging! So here are a few recent favourites:

Purple linen
Possible exhibition photo *6*
Sofia explores the Botanic Garden
Sofia in the Botanic Garden
Bunny girl
Charlie girl
Miss Sally Rice
60s twins with a damask twist