Blurring the Background and splitting the screen

A lot of photos that really stand out to us have a burred background.

Some of the best wildlife photography and also flower photos, shows a crystal-clear animal or flower against a blurry background. This is done by using just the right combination of lens, aperture, and shutter speed, and really helps to make the subject stand out. If a background of branches and leaves were as sharply focused as the bird in the foreground, it would be very easy to lose the bird in the background “noise.”

zebra orchid sign

australian terrestial orchid

You can use photo editing techniques to achieve the same effect.These are two images which show different amounts of blurring.

rusty spider orchid 407mm x 610mm mounted print

Rusty terestial orchid

Load your picture into your favourite photo editing program. Using a selection tool like a “Lasso,” select the foreground image, the “animal” that has to be set off from the “leaves and branches.” Once it’s selected, “Invert” the selection. Most photo editing programs have this option. In effect, it means “swap the selected areas for the unselected ones.” By inverting, you’ll select only the background of your image. If your program has the feature, you might also consider Feathering your selection. This helps to break up the outline of the selection, so that it doesn’t have such a sharp edge to it.

Once the background is highlighted, use a tool called Gaussian Blur. This is a specific type of blurring routine designed to imitate the blurring that happens in traditional photography. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the settings, but remember that a little bit of blur–leaving the background out of focus, but recognizable–is better than a lot.

A great tool for doing this if you have Photoshop is to have dual screen working so you can see what the changes look like in a live view. You go to the Menu that says “Window”, click on arrange, then go to the bottom where is says “New Window (Name of image)” Click on this. Nothing seems to happen, but it you now go to the top menu to the arrange documents ( a square with other squares in it) and chooses the two up screen (two rectangles side by side) and click on this and the image will appear. Then as you work on one image it also happens in the other window. So you can zoom in and work on small spots but still look see the overall effect

A related photo technique is called Panning. Focus on a moving object, like a race car, and keep the camera pointed at that object as it goes by. Done properly, the race car will be in focus, while the crowd behind it will be blurred. This kind of blur is called Motion blur, or sometimes Radial blur. Using Radial instead of Gaussian will make your subject appear to be racing past the background.

Best Apps for Photography mostly Free

We all love the apps that make life easier for us.

These are some must have apps, to help you as a photographer.

Dropbox is a great way to transfer large files and it’s free! http://db.tt/gfttpAZJ Works on your computer as well. I use this to send all my large files to clients, As it’s free to download it works exceptionally well.

The Photographers Ephemeris this is a cost app, between $5 and $9 but well worth it for any serious photographer. Helps you plan your outdoor shots, shows sunrise and sunset directions wherever you are. Available for Apple or Android.

Easy Release is another cost app, it is $9.99 for both Apple and Android, but worth it if you take photos that need a model release. There are quite a few apps available, this is the one I use.

Pocket Light meter is a free app for Apple, it’s fine, but if you want a bit fancier one try FotometerPro ro $0.99
For Android users beeCam Light Meter is a freebie.

Camera Professional Effects by Fresh touch. -Free-
As a pro photographer are you always frustrated to not have manual settings when using your iPhone for quick images. Well this one gives you some of those, slow shutter, burst, freeze the moment, countdown timer and more. Great addition.

My Shot List -$0.99 is another great one, it has categories for each type of shoot and then a list of must have shots, to make sure you don’t miss any, check box beside each one. Also helps you think outside the box.

Field Tools -Free- A free Focal length calculator, very quick and easy, you can get more in depth ones, but this one is free.

Now with phones having such good cameras you can use them to take pictures and these apps will help.

Photography 101 (free tutorials) -Free- Great for beginners.

Adobe Photoshop -Free- a great way to edit photos taken with mobile device and then share direct to fb, twitter, G+ or email.

Photo Editor by Aviary is Free for Android users.

Transphotos -Free- this is for those of you who love to display their photos in scrapbook format, now your iPhone or ipad can be your scrapbook

PicsArt Photo Studio -Free_ available for Apple and Android. Editing app.

Secret Photo and Video Manager Lite: My Private Picture App for iPhone -Free- this saves you scrolling through all your photos to find the one you want, you can sort them into categories.

There are lots of fun apps for you to play around with, so check out the free ones and see which ones you like the best.

Have some fun putting these apps through their places and then give me some feedback on your favourites.

Canvas Printing

How many of you have looked at getting a Canvas print and then gone, oh wow, that is so expensive? If you could afford a canvas for your wall today, what type of image would you like, scenery, family, trees, ocean, abstract, an art piece or maybe something particular that interests you?

Mostly we get what we pay for, however I have some great news. I have found a great Canvas Printer who is not only reasonably priced but also great value.

Let me add here, this company doesn’t have an affiliate programme, so I don’t get paid anything if you buy from them.

As a photographer, my images are my reputation, so when I have a canvas done for a client I have to be confident of a great product and fantastic materials.

As an extra bonus, you get 70% off the recommended retail price, that is right 70%!!!!

If there are any of my images that you like and would like on a canvas let me know and I can organize it for you.

Okay here’s the site for the canvases,http://bit.ly/YKA0cs go and have a look for yourself.

My images start at $50 for most regular size canvases and go up to $100 if you want the largest size. So it would be the cost of the image plus the cost of the canvas which for a 1.3m x0.9m it would be $246.70 + about $20 Postage. Not bad for a canvas that would normally cost over $1000!!!

Waves at Yeagerup

A beautiful clear healing green to bring peace and calm to your room

For some of my images go to http://juliakharwood.redbubble.com or if there is something in particular you want contact me via the contact form and I will let you know if I can help.

River Of Life

Water flows from the earth swirling to create us, the soft colors representing a gentle transition.

Everyone has issues from time to time and this company is no different in that regards, we are all human, but they operate on the Internet and they have a live chat function on their site and so if you have a problem they are there to fix it.

The problem I have had so often on the Internet, especially with vouchers or coupons, if you have a problem you can’t find out who to speak to or their only form of contact is via email. To me that’s not good enough, I need to be able to talk to someone to sort things out.

I will give you an example, I ordered a large 1.3meters x 0.9meter canvas and it hadn’t showed up in the normal time. I spoke to someone on live chat, they looked into it while I was there and they had just received news that it had been damaged in transit. They did not deliver me a damaged product for me to follow up, they dealt with it and said another would be sent straight away.

They must have paid express postage for me to get it as quick as I did. When it arrived it had a slight crease in the canvas. I wan’t happy, my reputation was on the line. I took photos and went back to live chat. I showed them the photos and they agreed it wasn’t good enough and so are redoing it for me free of charge. Obviously this company will be losing money on this sale, but they were more interested in my being happy than what it would cost. This is someone I can work with.

I have used them for over twelve months and this is the first time I have ever had something go wrong and I order every month. I have shared this because service is something that seems sadly missing in a lot of companies these days.

Sunset Busselton

The Goose Restraunt in Busselton WA with a firey sunset behind it.