Thursday, 9 February 2012

PTI 5th Anniversary, Day 5 & a tutorial

As promised, I'm back with a card for today's challenge at the PTI blog.
Today's contest is as follows:
"Pick one of the team members Pinterest inspiration photos from above or select your own piece of Pinterest eye candy to use as a jump-start for your very own creation."

I'm not a Pinterest junkie as big as some (lol), but I do appreciate it tremendously, especially when it comes to storing my favourite ideas for cards and other crafts.
What I find curious about it, is that once I find something that interests me, I can always click "more from the website" or "more from the user", which often leads me to some fabulous, unexpected finds.
As I ventured to find a fresh piece of inspiration this morning, I went from link to link to ultimately find the pins from the Snow & Graham stationery website. Talk about some gorgeous stuff!!
I found many things there that I'd readily pick up and transfer into a card.
I chose this cute desktop calendar for my inspiration.

I love the layout, with the elegant title at the top and another small piece of text to the right. Also, the pop of colour on the flowers and the subtle horizontal dividing line, created by the crease in the holder.
I decided to change the colours and add a couple of pretties (as I would *wink*)...


Supplies: cardstock: SU! (Certainly Celery), PTI (Rustic White), Canson (grey); paper: My Mind's Eye (Lost & Found 2 - Rosy); stamps: Papertrey Ink (Big & Bold Wishes, Year Of Flowers: Morning Glories, Fancy Flourishes); ink: Memento (Tuxedo Black); black pen; buttons

Now, for the tutorial!
I had several requests recently, to explain how I take/edit my photos.
Firstly, let me tell you that I DON'T have the light tent. I take most of my photos in in a dispersed daylight in my bedroom, the card resting on the chest of drawers. I turn the ceiling light on as well, to brighten up the room a little more. Here's the unedited photo of my fancy photo lab *wink* (ceiling light not yet turned on here):

I have a good camera (Canon Power Shot S3 IS), but frankly, I wouldn't know how to use its advanced options ;)
The only thing I always do, is take the photo in a macro mode, and make sure that I have a steady hand. I don't use a tripod, instead I rest my hands on the end of that chest.

I use Corel Photo Paint X4 to edit my photos, and I love it! After having it trimmed, this is what my unedited photo looks like... dark and unappealing, right?

First thing I do is launch the Image Adjustment Lab, and increase Brightness, Contrast and Highlights. The value of Brightness/Contrast differs from photo to photo, I usually apply anything between 20-30 to both. The Highlights slider always goes up to the highest value, as it lightens up further the lightest parts of an image, this usually being the background.

Then I sharpen the image. Do not underestimate the power of that handy-dandy tool. Sharpening (within reason) changes heaps.

If I'm happy with the results, I save the image and upload it to Photobucket. Honestly, I don't know what I would do without it these days. I have a Pro account and use it to store all my photos, family and craft-related.
Apart from the obvious advantages, it also has a very useful built-in photo editor, that I use to further spice up my pictures.
To access it, you need to hover the cursor over your photo and click Edit.
In the Edit window, I add some more Contrast & Brightness if needed (Basic --> Contrast)...

... and some Saturation as well, which makes the colours more vivid (Basic --> Adjust)

I don't recommend Photobucket's sharpener, it makes the photos overstressed.
Sometimes, when the sun shines directly into the bedroom windows, it tends to add a yellowish haze to my photos. In this case, I slide the Hue value a bit, towards the cool side of the spectrum, either in Corel or Photobucket. Be careful with it, though. You don't want to make things green instead ;)

So, there you go. That's how I do it! It looks like a long process, but it takes only a couple of minutes, especially when one works on automation like I do these days, lol
I hope it helped you in some way. As you can see, you don't have to make the light tent your next purchase, if you want to take your photos to the next level :)

Thanks for bearing with me, and sorry for the long post!


  1. GORGEOUS Chupa!!! I love how you added the Fancy Flourishes to your sentiment, it is perfect!!

  2. Chupa, Such a beautiful card! Love the purple! And the sentiment in that bold black really stands out. Thanks so much for the photo tips - I have my table lit up like the sun and use Photoshop and it still doesn't look as good as I would like.

  3. I found this immensely helpful, Chupa! THank you for taking the time to do this for us. :)

  4. Great tips, Chupa! I also don't use a light tent and adjust my photos in GIMP, a free and great program. Thanks for showing this beautiful card too!


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