Tag Archives: processing techniques

A Reason to Convert to Monochrome

Just because we can doesn’t mean we should convert our color images to black and white. Not every picture works as a straight conversiosn, that’s for sure. With my ages-old training and development as a photographer being in black-and-white, I learned to to see what might make a strong monochromatic image while looking at a color scene. In this image on right, the tonal contrast is sure there – which can make a black and white image ‘pop’ – but there are too many colors and distractions of color in this image – the red shirt on the man in background, the green tree, the brown pigeon, (there always has to be one different bird, right?!) – these all subtly pull the eye to other areas of the picture, away from the moment of the man feeding the birds with the crumbs dropping from his hand.  By converting it to black and white – I was able to eliminate those other distractions, and tonally the picture just worked so much better for me. I haven’t completely worked this black and white image.
















Posted in Black-and-White, Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, Insights, photography, Street Photography Also tagged , , |

The power of photographs



(Back story: When I get busy traveling a lot for workshops and tours, I simply get lost in the sea of images that create! Typically the phone pictures get left in the dust as I focus more on my ‘big girl’ camera pictures. So today I was cleaning up my iPhone folder in Lightroom and having a blast revisiting not only some fun trips and places, but also events. Harp Dog Brown Trio played a mean blues at CAPA’s annual conference I was speaking at in August in Vancouver.)

When I view these images, I can hear the music in my head, I can feel the experience of having been there. Now that’s  the power of a photograph, to ignite the memories of many senses. How many times have you seen a picture and relived a sound, a smell, a feeling? And that’s why I remain passionate about photography. To capture those moments for myself, but to hopefully have my picture transcend the personal memory and just perhaps, trigger one in you, the viewer.



Enjoy, and share with your friends!




P.S. These were shot with my iPhone using Hipstamatic John S lens and BlackKeys B+W Film settings.

Posted in general photography, iphone Apps, photography, Special Effects Also tagged , , |

New – Topaz Texture Effects Program


Quiet Day, Portmagee, Ireland


My friends over at Topaz have done it again! This stand-alone and plug-in program has an incredible selection of texture effects, and everything in the library is modifiable ‘to taste’. I love programs that give you a place to start with your creativity and then let you take it over from there to create your own look. And you can save those special looks to recall them later to keep your style. Very cool. You can also download effects from the internet, from the Topaz community, when you find ones that others have created that you like. Even better.

I made this image using the Summer Haze preset, and then after exiting the program, blended the results with my original file in Photoshop just a teensy bit. The options are limitless with this program.

This program is on sale from today through November 20th, you can save $20 off the regular price. If you are interested, please use this affiliate link, Topaz Labs Store, and type in the code TEXTUREFX at checkout. You will LOVE this program if you love to apply textures to your images for a fine-art, painterly look.





Posted in Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, creative ideas, Plug-ins, Processing Techniques Also tagged , |

With a little help from my friends


I love it when the muse ‘strikes’ while I’m editing my pictures! I finally imported my latest iPhone pics – from January forward, and found this fun picture. I had originally used Hipstamatic>Jane Lens>Dream Canvas ‘film’, and liked the results, but as often is the case, I like to mess around a bit more to make the look my own. So from Photoshop, I made two layers of the original file, and opened Topaz Simplify, a great plug-in by my friends there. I used a watercolor preset, then made a few tweaks to that, and saved it. I then blended that layer with the original, but then put another original layer in the mix, with a different blending style, and got what I wanted. The Dream Canvas film in Hipstamatic was always a bit heavy on the canvas texture, so this softened that a bit and blended the photo to make it a photorealistic watercolor.

Is there such a term? No matter, it’s all about making art, and having fun, so I thought I’d share this with you today. The iPhone doesn’t get as much use in my bag as it probably should these days; it’s easy to get stuck in the rut of your ‘go to camera’ and then forget to use other tools available to you – yes, even Pro’s do that, but I love the freedom of play that the iPhone encourages!

Enjoy, and thanks for visiting!


Posted in Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog Also tagged , , , , |