Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Step 10 Simple Photo-editing workflow – Fixing redeye

Redeye is caused by the camera’s flash and is often difficult to avoid. Some photographers, and I count myself in that group, would prefer to have to deal with redeye if that means we get good photos. Often the redeye reduction feature on a camera signals to your subject that the image has been taken before it has – they relax and start moving and you get unwanted movement in the shot. When there is a balance to be struck between redeye and movement – I’ll take redeye everytime.

If your photograph has a subject with redeye you can fix it using the redeye tool in Photoshop Elements.

Click the Zoom Tool and click and drag over the eyes in the image to make them large enough that you see them clearly.

Click the Redeye removal tool and click on the red part of the eye. If necessary, adjust the Darken amount and the Pupil Size on the toolbar to get a good result. Fix each eye and then save the image.

Helen Bradley

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Step 11 Photo-editing workflow – Getting to black and white

Some images look much better in black and white than they do in colour.

Increasingly photo editing programs are shipping with very good tools for converting to black and white. These allow you to select which portions of an image become black and which become white which is necessary when you want to differentiate between colours which have the same intensity such as green and red values which would, otherwise, be converted to the same shade of gray.

In Photoshop Elements, choose Enhance > Convert to Black and White and select a style from the list at the left of the dialog. These include Infrared, Newspaper, Urban Snapshots, Scenic Landscape, Vivid Landscape and Portraits. While the names suggest the type of image they are well suited to it is a matter of personal preference as to which you use.

Once you have chosen the image type you can select from options at the bottom of the image to adjust the various colours to darker or lighter shades of grey. You can also select the more or less contrast options to adjust the image contrast.

When you have a result that you like, click Ok.

Helen Bradley

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Word 2010 opens in compatibility mode

New version of Word 2010 – same old WordArt. Yep, if you’ve previously altered your Normal.dotm file for Word 2007, chances are it is affecting your brand new 2010 version and all you can see is documents created in Compatibility mode.

To solve the problem search for Normal.dotm and either delete it or rename it. Then restart Word 2010 – nice huh? No more compatibility mode and all the cool features of word are available to you.

Helen Bradley

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Worth the price of admission – CS5

There’s been a lot of excitement over the Content Aware Fill feature in Photoshop CS5 (Edit > Fill > Content Aware). It’s a big new feature but it’s often the little day to day changes that really make a difference. For me there are two big “little” changes that I love.

One is the ability to stop Photoshop wanting to save files to where they came from. So, now, when you choose Save As, Photoshop doesn’t have to default to where the file came from and it can be made to point to the last place you saved a file into. This could mean the difference between using Photoshop for day to day screenshots and not.

Until now I’ve used PaintShop Pro and I’ve done so for around 10 years because it defaults to the last save location which works best for me. Now, at last Photoshop can be configured to behave the way I want it to behave. You will find this setting in Edit > Preferences > File Handling – disable the Save As to Original Folder checkbox.

The other big plus is that the Ruler tool now includes a rotate feature. In the past you’d choose the Ruler tool, mark the horizontal line then go to Image > Image Rotation > Arbitrary to make the rotation. Now there’s a Straighten option on the tool options bar when you select the Ruler tool.

Still on my wishlist is a one step paste to new image option. I’d love to be able to have something on the clipboard and choose Paste to New Image and have a new image the size of the clipboard object automatically created for me. Shouldn’t be too difficult – really! For now I have an action which does it but it would be nicer to have a menu item.

Helen Bradley

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Harajuku and Yoyogi Park

On Sunday I spent the day in Harajuku and walking with hundreds of Tokyo residents in the beautiful Yoyogi Park. The park is slap bang in one of the busiest areas of Tokyo within spitting distance of Shibuya and Harajuku and around 10 minutes walk from Shinjuku a major shopping area and with the largest railway station you ever want to get lost in. Yet this park is a peaceful oasis where kids run and play, people walk, sit and throw frisbies and laughter fills the air. The Japanese laugh a lot – and the sound of laughter is something that I really noticed here.

Harajuku didn’t offer up quite the wealth of photo opportunities I had hoped for but I still got some great images. Click here to view the final Tokyo 2010 gallery.

Helen Bradley

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

Neon and street art in Tokyo

Yesterday I spent a few hours in Sekaido, a 7 storey art supply store in Shinjuku then headed out to Ginza as I hadn’t been there before. There are some seriously funky things here – it was Saturday so they close some of the main streets and put tables and chairs out for people to sit at. The neon is pretty amazing the shops – well let’s just say expensive and big name. In the Sony building the stairs play music as you climb them! All in all – fun and well worth a visit but it’s far from being my favourite place in Tokyo.

For my money, Shinjuku is far more interesting and colourful and there are way fewer tourists there. I’ve found some cool graffiti and sticker art around Shinjuku too which is an unusual find in Toyko.

But today is Sunday so I’m headed to Harajuku with high hopes of some amazing shots – it’s the centre of youth culture and dress up is the name of the game.

For now, click here to view a gallery of Ginza and Shinjuku street art images.

Helen Bradley

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Ameyoko and the Tsukiji Fish Market

I visited Ameyoko last night to get some Japanese crackers that are hard to find and cost a fortune at the duty free store at Narita. This is an old market – used to be a black market in WWII and it runs along the Yamamoto railway line between two stations. In the evenings it’s busy with commuters stopping by to purchase food for dinner or to shop for clothes – new and second hand. It’s a fun and vibrant place to visit.

This morning – early – it was fish market time. I’ve missed  this the last two times in Tokyo once because it was closed to tourists and the other because it was closed for New Years. Today I got to see what all the excitement is about. It’s packed, noisy, smelly and so much fun. You really have to be on your guard as the market workers are there to work which means moving fish around at a blindingly fast pace and tourists aren’t given any priority at all!

Click here to view the first of my Tokyo galleries.

Helen Bradley

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Ohayou gozaimasu

Good morning! I’m in Tokyo for a few days and lucked into the best hotel I’ve stayed at here – ever. While I loved the Park Hyatt last time I was here, its location sucks big time. It’s a hike to Shinjuku station and then a total nightmare trying to find your metro  line – I’ve asked station attendants and all I’ve got is shrugs saying “I don’t know” when asking the whereabouts of lines I know stop in that station! So, I bypassed the horrors of Shinjuku and headed out to Shidome – what a blast. Lots of great hotels here so lots of people and great places to eat and right on two lines – just enough metro access without having to deal with the confusion of trying to find your  line.

This morning was breakfast at the neighbouring Conrad Hotel at Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Brasserie – on the 28th floor with great views and a breakfast to match this great location – and they had french press coffee – what is there not to like about this place!

Helen Bradley

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Custom bullet layouts in Microsoft Word 2007

I don’t like Word’s basic bullet design and generally I’ll want bullets of my own liking. For example I’ll use bullet lists to create checkbox lists for things I need to do.

Bullet style

To get a checkbox list working in Word 2007 requires a little bit of list knowhow.If you’ve created your list items you can simply select the list and, from the Home tab, select the Multilevel list button and choose Define new list style.

You need to use this rather than the Bullet Lists > Define new bullet options because otherwise you don’t get control over the tabs and Word’s tab settings for bullets don’t always make good sense.

The Define New List Style option gives you the ability to control all of this. Start by typing a name for your list so that you can find it easily again later on. The select Bullets which is a small button to switch from numbers to bullet style. Click Insert symbol and select Wingdings as your font.

You can then select a bullet style such as a shadowed box, select it and click Ok.This is applied as the bullet style.


To adjust the spacing between the edge of the page and the bullet and the bullet and the text, click the Format button and choose Numbering. Set the Aligned at value to the distance that you want between the left edge of the page and the bullet itself. I set this to 0 inches.

Set the text indent at a value to the distance you want between the bullet and the text. This is a hanging indent so it ensures that all lines of text are wrapped automatically to the value you set. I like to set this to .75 inches if I’m using large bullets. Click Ok. You can then click Ok again to set this as your bullet style.

You can ignore the rest of the numbering if you’re simply using a one level bullet. Click Ok.

To apply this bullet style to your document click the multilevel list and select the list style from the list styles area of the dialog. If you hold your mouse over it, you’ll see the list style appear in a small dialog with the name that you gave it showing. Click it to apply it to your list.

Helen Bradley

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Cropping in Lightroom

Ok, so it’s pretty easy to crop an image in Lightroom- just click the Develop module and click crop. But try to crop to 6 x 4 – there’s a 4 x 6 size but that’s not the same as 6 x 4 as you’ll soon find out.

Here is a link to a video tutorial that shows how to crop in Lightroom, including how to crop to that 6 x 4 and how to display handy crop overlays.

Watch the Video – how to crop in Lightroom.

Helen Bradley