Lady with Umbrella at the Flea Market, Paris France – after-before forum

lady with umbrella at the flea market; Paris France; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014
lady with umbrella at the flea market; Paris France; after;  copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

if you have been ready the blog for a while you will know that we love to visit the different street markets. while we were in Paris the weather was a little drizzly and cold. Our lady with the umbrella was all set for the weather.

What started out as an exercise in street photography quick became an exercise in photo editing, and I thought it would be another good post for the after-before forum.  While there were many things about the original image that I like there was much I didn’t like, here is the original image.

lady with umbrella at the flea market; Paris France; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014
lady with umbrella at the flea market; Paris France; before; copyright jmeyersforeman 2014

Mostly it was the cluttered distracting background that I wanted to minimize. The photo editing was all done in Photoshop, I am sure there are many ways to do the same thing, Photoshop is the software I am most familiar with.

My first step is to duplicate the background layer, working on a duplicate layers allows means I am saving the original as it was, if I don’t like what I have done I can delete the layer or simply go back and start again. Working on a duplicate of the background and using a combination of the healing brush and patch tool I eliminated the tree branches and buildings in the background as well as the tag on her umbrella.

Once I had cleaned up the “sky” or top portion of the picture I duplicated the cleaned up layer, and using the tilt-shift blur tool blur the background.

Screenshot 2015-01-11 10.28.27

once this is done I press okay and the blurred image is on a separate layer in Photoshop. Using a mask on the layer I can mask over the areas of the umbrella and lady’s jacket eliminating the blur layer and allowing the layer below to show through. For those of you who want to learn more about layers and masks check out YouTube or Adobe Help

Next I added a cloud layer over entire image, with the layer blend mode set to Darken at 64% opacity, this created some depth and texture through the image. I did mask off the lady on the umbrella and I wanted this part of the image to be bright and clear.  Next I created a black and white adjustment layer, to create a black and white image. Locking the layers together I brought the image into Nik Software Color Efex Pro 4 and using the Darken/Lighten Centre adjustment layer, placing the center on the lady’s face to lighten the area under her umbrella and place a small vignette around the edge of the image. This draws attention to the lady’s face.

Screenshot 2015-01-11 11.29.48

Above you can see the Nik Software and adjustments that I made. I wasn’t happy with the “glow’ around the umbrella so once back in Photoshop I selected the sky area, duplicated it to a separate levels adjustment layer I brightened the sky finally getting to the final image you see above.

I have learned a lot doing this, writing it all done, keeping track of the steps, writing the blog post.  In most cases I have an idea of just what the final image will look like, and I sort of know how to achieve the outcome.  It is still a lot of experimenting with the software, a little like doing a Rumba with Photoshop. One step forward, back, circle around, step forward again, and after a few minutes we have something we like. I am sure there are other ways to achieve the same image, this was my process using the software I am familiar with.

If you like this post and you are interested in learning more about processing images hop on over to Stacy’s After-Before Forum where several photographers have submitted images and discuss their process. Much to learn, so little time!

If you have any suggestions let me know, I am always happy to learn.


Beauty and the Butterfly

beautiy and the butterfly
beauty and the butterfly 

Working in Photoshop with layers and textures has always been fascinating to me. Starting with a simple portrait and layering graphics, textures and words creates a one of a kind portrait; an art piece for people. I am looking for people in the Calgary area who are interesting in collaborating on this very personal project.

Learning from people like Kate Klassen who has textures and tutorials, and who creates lovely vignettes of everyday life


Jillian in Black and White

Jillian, Black and White Portrait

It has been an incredibly busy summer, and posting to the blog has dropped down on the list of priorities! that may not be a bad thing, it means I am too busy “doing” than talking!

I have one more image of Jillian to share with you. I had not planned on posting any more images from this session, but after sharing the images with her last week I received a beautiful facebook message from Jillian and thought I would share it with you.


I cannot get over how beautiful these pictures are! I think I sent them to everyone I know last night. The one of me looking back in the yellow dress (and the black and white) is the most stunning picture I have of myself. Thank you so much I truly apprecate it,


I love giving people portraits they are happy with, and when they are this happy, it is a great day!

Saturday, and Jillian in the Garden

Jillian in the garden, Saturaday portraits, Calgary Alberta

More portraits from my session with Jillian a couple of weeks ago.  The photos taken in the garden a couple of weeks ago. I use the term “garden” for my backyard loosely, those of you who have been to the house will understand.  We have the back deck which is rather small, the arbour acts as a gate, as you step down off the deck you are in the yard, really the green space for our area, and it is open to the street.  There are some mature trees, but once you leave the deck there is no pretty flowers, and while the area works great for portraits, there is no real garden.

Jillian was wearing a beautiful red dress, that in black and white contrasts nicely with the green arbour. The sun to her left just peaking through the arbour was beautiful, a small fill light was added to brighten her eyes. She is the perfect girl next door!

Jillian: high-key black and white portrait

Jillian: high-key black and white portrait
Jillian: high-key black and white portrait, Calgary Portraits

Jillian was at the studio a couple of weeks ago now, I am slowly getting caught up on processing the images taken over the month of July! I recently purchased Nik Software, and while it is reasonably intuitive to use, and came with a a book by Tony Corbell and Joshua Haftel.  I have to admit that this has probably slowed me down a little, as I experiment and play, and I am not sure I am using the programs to their fullest advantage, that will come with time.

Jililan in the sunshine


One of the best parts of doing a portraits session is chatting with people, Jillian is a great example, we spent a couple of hours together, chatting about her move to the city, a little about her work and her life in between shots, and during clothing and set changes!  It seems everyone I meet has some fascinating stories.

For a short time Jillian lived in New York City and work/studied at the United Nations. I think that would have been an amazing experience, I love visiting NYC, I can only image what it would be like to live and work there for a while….

Figure and form; an experiment with light, shape and texture

I have been experimenting with figure and form, shape and light; here my lady is standing in front of a sheet of thin white paper, with the light behind her. during processing I added a textured rock layer.

Where ever I go I will shoot small detail pictures of stone walls, bricks, stucco, anything that could be an interesting texured layer and can be added to photos.

I am interested in your thoughts on my experiment, your comments would be appreciated.

this and other photos are available at jmeyersforeman photography.

Submitted for the UE’s Weekend photochallenge “brick”  Not sure how it will be interpreted, or accepted as brick work, what do you think?

Lady of Minter Garden, Chilliwack BC

Minter Garden, Chilliwack BC,  this beautiful statue was standing among the flowers. it was a slightly overcast day, perfect for outdoor photography.

Taleeta, waiting to smile……..

She’s a pretty girl;                                                                                                                                                                                                              her eyes smile just like she does:                                                                                                                                                                                     softly and often,

haiku by Ociel Guadalupe.

While Taleeta was not smiling in this picture she did smile often and easily during our photo session, and the haiku by Ociel seemed appropriate. Poetry can be an inspiration for photography, or a photo can be an inspiration for a poem,  either way there does seem to be a complementary aspect.

Keri and the Hat

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.
— Dr. Seuss

Keri helped us out on Sunday with our portrait workshop, one of the other photographers brought a couple of hats! It was a little big but it was a great prop!  Of course the hat is enough to trigger thoughts of Dr. Suess, his books are not only full of great entertainment they are full of life lessons for kids of all ages. Best of all, they are fun to read out loud!