Photos copyright 2013-2016 Regina Rickert. All rights reserved.

I'm going to try firing up the blog again for 2016, especially the nature/landscape side of things. It is in desperate need of a redesign so I will be working on that while shooting for KSTV. Unfortunately the slideshows on older posts have been disabled by flickr. You can find all of my work in my gallery.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Kentucky Sunsets

Kentucky has some of the most beautiful sunsets. I thought I would share some of them with you this cold, wintry morning. I can't wait for Spring!

Welcome Neatorama Visitors!

A huge thank you to Alex over at Neatorama for featuring my lunar eclipse collage yesterday. I love that blog. There is a little something for everyone. You just never know what you will find, but it will always be interesting.

Here is the link to my entry:
Neatorama feature

And here is what it did for my blog traffic yesterday... =)

It was an honor to be included in your fascinating finds. Thanks again.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Giant Polaroid Prints & Polaroid Collages

Amanda of Indie Jane Photography
came up with a great idea of adding some giant 20x24" concert polaroids to her workspace. She shared her method for creating these:

Crop your photo to 18x18" at 300dpi.

Under Blending Options use these settings:
- Inner shadow
75% Opacity
120 degrees (uncheck Use Global Light)
Distance: 10px
Choke: 0px
Size: 60px
- Stroke:
Size: 2px
Position: Outside
Blend Mode: Normal
Opacity: 100%
Fill type: Color
Color: Black

Open a new document.
20 in wide
24 in. high
Background: White

Drag the photo onto the white background, leaving 1 in. on the left, top, and right of the photo. Flatten.

Trish from Orange Gecko Designs created a png. file using Amanda's steps. You might be able to pick it up in her post here if the download link hasn't expired:
Polaroid png. file

Since I only have Elements, I used Trish's overlay in the photo I posted at the top.

Amanda printed her polaroids on 2mm styrene with a lustre coating from WHCC.

You can find her examples here:
Concert Polaroids

I have also made a polaroid collage with the Picasa software.

Picasa is free and has a collage option where the photos you select will be shuffled randomly and made into what looks like a pile of polaroid photos.

Here is one I created for Wig Out-a local charity event:

I created this with the Hockneyizer from Big Huge Labs

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Polymer Clay Photo Tile Jewelry Tutorial

I ventured into the world of polymer clay tiles while making Christmas gifts this holiday season. I thought I would share my process here.

1. Prepare your images. I cropped mine to 1x1" since that is the size of the cutter I want to use. I also reversed the images by selecting "rotate" and then "flip horizontal". I printed mine on June Taylor print and press iron-on transfers for inkjet printers (blue package). I bought these from WalMart. You can also add text to your images before flipping.

2. Work with your clay until it is soft and easy to roll. I bought the original Sculpey oven bake clay. I rolled it to 3/16" (or so). I rolled mine on a 6x8 bathroom tile I purchased at Home Depot for .49.

3. Cut your tiles. You can use any shape you want.

4. Here is where a little trial and error comes in. Some people cut out their images and place them on the tiles and then peel off the backing. This proved to be very difficult for me. I opted to peel off the backing to the entire sheet before cutting out my photos. They were a little flimsy to cut, but it worked beautifully. Cut your photos to size.

5. Punch holes in your tiles if you are going to add a jump ring, ribbon, etc. I used the pointed end of a meat thermometer. It worked perfectly. Apply a light layer of Liquid Sculpey (I got mine at Hobby Lobby) with a brush. Allow it to level out.

6. Place your photo with the printed side down onto the liquid sculpey layer. The layer you peeled off is now the top layer.

7. Wipe away any excess liquid sculpey. Bake at 275 degrees for 15-17 minutes. I baked mine right on the bathroom tile.

8. Remove the paper backing. I let them sit for 5-10 minutes after baking before peeling the backing off.

Now you can sand them, cut off the excess clay, paint the edges, seal them. It is up to you.

I chose to make mine into family trees as gifts for the grandparents. This is a fun project to do with the kids. My daughter made one of her own creations with all of my scraps. I made single family ornaments for friends and finished them off with a gingham bow.

Monday, February 25, 2008

I've been featured by Contrariwise!

I just wanted to publicly thank Contrariwise for featuring my Etsy shop and custom portraits on her blog. She has a great section called "Things that amuse me". This is where she included my work along with some nice photoshop links on manipulations.

Here is the link to my feature:
Photoshop Manipulation

You can find the blog here:
Contrariwise Ramblings

Stop by and say hello if you get the chance.

Workflow additions to improve your photos

I often get asked photo quality questions when doing my fantasy portraits. I would like to share a few tips and tricks on how I make sure that I start with the best quality image possible when creating the portraits.

Since most of my clients aren't photographers by nature, the number one problem I see with the average snapshot is the presence of digital noise. Noise appears as a grainy texture or sometimes even tiny dots of color.

One of my first steps in preparing an image is running it through a program designed to eliminate noise. I use Noiseware for my noise reduction. Noise Ninja is another popular program.

The Community Edition of Noiseware is available as a free download here:

My next step is to run a defog.

In Photoshop:
Go to Filters>Sharpen>Unsharp Mask and enter these values:

Sometimes this can be a little too much, so you can half it or run it on a layer and adjust the opacity (slider) until you get the look you want.

I have a defog action from Renee Oakenfull at Vibe Studios that is fantastic. You can find her link in my favorites.

Here is an example of what running the defog does for your photo:

The key is to run it at the beginning of your workflow.

This makes an amazing difference in my nature images.

Next I would make any color corrections, contrast adjustments, etc.

The last step should be sharpening.

Here is a fantastic thread with techniques for sharpening from Jessica Bell:
Sharpening tutorial

For a good year I used this process at the end of my workflow:

In Photoshop:
Go to Filters>Sharpen>Unsharp Mask and enter these values:

It is good for general purposes, but I found my macros needed a little more.

I use the technique outlined in this article from Outdoor Photographer Magazine:
Sharpening Techniques

Jess has created some wonderful sharpening actions that are available on her blog:

These are all I use now. They take the guesswork out of it and make it so quick and easy.

A simple run through Noiseware, a quick defog and a little sharpening go a long way in preparing an image for my portraits. I hope you will give some of these techniques a try.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Lunar Eclipse

Here are a few more images from the lunar eclipse. Thank you for all of your kind words over the past few days. Your support has been wonderful and a real encouragement to me. =)

Friday, February 22, 2008

I've been published!

I woke up this morning to my eclipse collage in the Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper. It was featured in the 1000 words column. The paper has a circulation of around 120,000 people. What a great way to start the day!

Stages of the Eclipse-2/20/08

Here is another collage I put together with the various stages of the eclipse. The view from central Kentucky was spectacular. I can't wait for the next one to roll around. I have made my two collages available in my Etsy store or you can purchase them from me directly using the Paypal button below. This one will be printed in an 8x10 size. The one below is a 4x12 panoramic print.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lunar Eclipse-2/20/08

What a night! We were lucky here in central Kentucky. My toes are still thawing, but the skies couldn't have been any clearer. The clouds did finally roll in just as I was about to get the full moon at the end so I had to fudge the last shot. =)

I will share more tomorrow, but I need to get some sleep. The kids will be up in about 4 hours!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Shooting the Lunar Eclipse

We will have a real treat tonight. There will be a total lunar eclipse on Feb. 20, 2008. You can find more information on the NASA website including diagrams of the moon's path for different time zones:

NASA Eclipse Homepage

I photographed the eclipse last March and plan to be out shooting tonight if the weather cooperates. Here are a few resources for you if you want to give shooting an eclipse a try:


How I shot the lunar eclipse

New York Institute of Photography eclipse tips

And here are a couple of Flickr eclipse groups to get you in the mood:

I would love to see your eclipse attempts. Please leave me a link if you want to share. =)

Monday, February 18, 2008

My New Logo

I am so excited to reveal my new logo! This was designed by a fellow Pea I met on the 2Peas photography board. Her name is Amanda. You can see some of her beautiful photography here:
indie jane photography

I love the fun, fresh look of it and the contemporary flair. I can't wait to give my banner a makeover.

I also plan on making this into a watermark/copyright brush. If you have never made a brush, here are some easy to follow instructions:
Copyright Brush Tutorial

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Through The Viewfinder (TTV)

I have been seeing so many of these Through The Viewfinder (TTV) images lately over on Etsy. Being the Photoshop junkie I am, I knew there had to be a way to fake the look. I found this tutorial on creating your own TTV's in Photoshop:

Fake TTV Tutorial

I used his instructions to create my first fake TTV image:

I used the texture from my previous post and Jessica Bell's retro wash action.

Here are some Holga/TTV style examples from Etsy:

Stoopidgerl has some great examples. My hands-down favorite is her "Rainbow Crackhouse".
Rainbow Crackhouse

Here are some nice ones from HouseofSixCats:
Bill's TTV prints

I also found this and thought it was pretty interesting:

Who would have thought we would spend a fortune on lenses only to try to adapt them to get the look of a toy camera?!

And of course there is a Flickr group for TTV enthusiasts:
Flickr TTV Group

Friday, February 15, 2008

Adorama 100 Photography Tips in 100 Days

The Adorama editors have been releasing 100 photography tips in 100 days. They take you from using your tripod to explaining the difference between RAW vs. JPG. This is a great list with lots of fantastic information. Here is the 100 tips list with links to all 100 days:

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!! Easy homemade valentines.

We made these little heart-shaped mice out of felt, googly eyes and some chenille stems . We fed a Valentine themed pencil through the back. My girls helped me create these for their parties at school. What do you think? Future Etsyians?! =)

Orton Effect

Here is a beautiful storyboard of flowering weeping cherry trees. The center photo was taken at The Lexington Cemetery in Spring 2007. This photo was selected as a Betterphoto First Place winner out of more than 23,000 images. It is featured in the 2008 WTVQ Photo Friday Calendar for the month of April and was chosen for the Arts De' Vine Art Show at Talon Winery and Vineyards.

Many people have asked if I did any enhancements to this photo. While the blossoms were truly spectacular straight out of the camera, I did do a process on this image in Photoshop to give it a more ethereal quality. This process is called the Orton Effect.

While you can find Orton actions out there, I use Photoshop Elements 4 for editing and could not find an action that was compatible. I ran across the following instructions for achieving this look in Elements and it works beautifully:

1. Open the image to be Ortonized.
2. Create 2 new, identical Layers in that image.
3. On New Layer 1, set Blending to Screen, Opacity to 100%.
4. On New Layer 2, set Blending to Multiply, Opacity to 100%.
5. On New Layer 2, apply Gaussian Blur Filter, choosing your settings as appropriate.

(6. Depending on the original image, I sometimes add another duplicated Screen Layer, made from the background Layer, to further lighten up the darker portions.)

I would love to see your before and after attempts with this technique!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Business Card Love

LadyRen has done it again. She has offered up a freebie business card template over on the Paying It Forward site. The template is totally customizable for your needs.

Check it out here:

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Stealing is not nice!

I ran across yet another post regarding stolen images. I have a photo gallery over at Betterphoto. Since they do not allow you to retroactively watermark or change file resolution, I removed my gallery images. I was not happy about it since I have met such a wonderful community of photographers there. I also had many recognition medallions and comments I did not want to lose by re-uploading smaller files. I think I have finally come up with a solution to my problem. I decided to share it here in case others have struggled with the same dilemma.

First I had my gallery page sent to me by email. I then took a screen shot, opened and pasted it into Photoshop, cropped to 5x7 and voila....
I can still read my previous comments, but unfortunately visitors will not be able to see them. They will be able to leave new comments. I did not delete my old photos, just selected "hide" from the edit menu. I am happy that my images are better protected at a much lower resolution. I also like that others can still see my previous work and I didn't have to do much processing like I would have if I had resized and changed the resolution, re-uploaded, etc. on all of these images.


Copyright for these photos belongs solely to Regina Rickert. All rights reserved.