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Sunday, January 30, 2011

{ Local Logos } -- New Branch Added To Beba Photography!

{ Local Logos }

I've opened up a new branch of Beba Photography called, "Local Logos."
Please take a minute to check out my newly added blog:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Free Textures For Photographers

Happy Thursday!
Here are 2 free textures for all you photographers out there.

{ Enjoy! }

(Click on it for a larger size)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

{ January 26th, 2011 -- 26/365 } -- No, I'm Not a Bootlegger

{ January 26th, 2011 }


I almost got myself in trouble today. No, this is NOT a bottle of hooch--it's not even alcohol! It's a bottle of Vanilla coffee syrup that I got from Starbuck's this weekend.

But you couldn't convince that people I passed at work today! When I carried the bottle in, people asked, "Whiskey? At work?"

Leaving for the day, I got stares like I was a crazy person and "Alcohol? At work?"


I think that Starbucks might need to change their bottle design or else I might get myself into trouble, Ha!

I actually thought twice and hid it underneath my purse while I was driving this morning, "just in case" a cop happened to see it and mistook it for an open bottle of alcohol too.

I promise I'm not a bootlegger. ; )

{ January 25, 2011 -- 25/365 } -- What I'm Reading

{ January 25th, 2011 }


I can almost never sit through reading just one book. I've always got at least two going at one time, reading little bits of each one here and there.

I'm currently reading John C. Maxwell's, "Make Today Count--The Secret of Your Success Is Determined By Your Daily Agenda" and Donna Partow's, "Making Money From Home--How to Run a Successful Home-Based Business."

One of my favorite sections from Maxwell's book says:

"The greatest handicap a person has is not realizing his potential. What dreams do you have that are just waiting to be fulfilled? What gifts and talents are insdie you that are dying to be drawn out and developed? The gap between your vision and your present reality can only be filled through a commitment to maximize your potential."

One of my favorites from Partow's book says:

"The level of success you can hope to achieve is proportional to the amount of risk you are willing to handle."

Both books have dog-eared pages and are full of highlighting and notes written down in the margins. One has potential ideas scribbled at the front as they come to mind.

Are there any favorite books that YOU have that you'd like to share?

{ January 24th, 2011 } -- 24/365

{ January 24, 2011 }


When life hands you lemons, make lemonade....or at least a really good lemon meringue pie. ; )

I've been guilty of doing it--lamenting over troublesome circumstances when they come my way. I just did that this weekend. But how much more sweet to turn a bad situation around and make it into something good.

I had to stop and refocus myself this weekend and tell myself that it's often not the circumstance in my life that needs changed, but my attitude towards it.

So, when life hands you those puckery little handfuls of sour, find a way to glean something good from it and turn the negative into something positive.

Or you could eat the lemon if you wanted to....but I don't recommend it. ; )

Here's to creating a positive outcome in the midst of a bad one!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Are You Ready? Photoshop & Lightroom Tutoring

{ Are You Ready? }

{ January 23rd, 2011 -- 23/365 } -- Beauty All Around Me

{ January 23rd, 2011  }


So basic and simple and yet so beautiful and full of detail and wonder.

I was busy rushing about my day as I'm accustomed to doing day in and day out, when the sound of something stopped me dead in my tracks.

It was the sound of a little tiny sparrow belting out a hearty melody of chirp-filled music. I didn't dare open the wooden blinds on the windows so as not to stir him, but I stopped what I was doing and leaned over to hear him singing.

I've been so busy lately that I haven't been stopping to notice the little things like that in nature. Things so tiny, seemingly insignificant and yet so powerful in their repose.

I haven't noticed for a long time.

But, today I did.

I made sure that I did.

And I loved the beauty of detail that I saw around me. I felt the warmth of the sun on my neck. I saw the textures in a tree's sturdy trunk. My eyes delighted in seeing the whimsical little tendrils of a simple bush.

Today, I saw beauty all around me.

{ January 22nd, 2011 -- 22/365 } -- Sweet Hearts

{ January 22nd, 2011 }

When I was younger, I always played with my food. I saw art everywhere I went, including my food. My mashed potatoes were suddenly transformed into a snowy hill and broccoli became the trees. If I had an almost empty plate, the remnants would surely become a smiley face or some other artsy blend of creativity.

Well, I guess that some things don't change. I got a bag of Sweethearts while I was out yesterday because I hadn't had them in a very long time and wanted to revist the taste of them again.

It wasn't long before I started seeing how these sugary little hearts could become little pieces of art. Flowers. Butterflies. I was going to make a sun too but didn't think I'd have enough yellows to work with.

I see art in a lot of stuff. My mind is always busy creating things from ordinary things or nothingness. One's man's junk is another man's treasure. One artist's stuff is another artist's masterpiece. ♥ ♥ ♥

PS: This is a great craft for all you Mommies out there! Take the little hearts and put some glue on the back and have your kiddos make all sorts of creative shapes: Fish, hearts, smiley faces, castles, etc. Imagination is the key! : )!! Well, that and a steady hand....and a tummy that isn't tempted to gobble up all those little pink pills of sugar. ; )

{ Luv My Bling } -- Girlie Store -- Local Business -- Gilbert, AZ

{ Luv My Bling! }

There is a new store in town at the San Tan Mall in Gilbert, Arizona and it is absolutely


It's right up the alley of all the girls who love to get their bling on!

Owner Tammy Freeman has created a paradise of rhinestones galore and every girl who loves sparkle is going to love this place!

The team of women working at the store hosted their grand opening last week at San Tan Village in Gilbert, AZ and offered all sorts of goodies to their first time guests--tasty treats, Glitter Toes, and Body Glow spray tanning.

This store specializes in rhinestone studded jeans and t-shirts and lots of bling-ly bracelets, rhinestone hats, rhinestone-studded hair flowers and several incredibly detailed designs.

They also had an array of chunky metal jewelry that just seemed to scream, "Wear me!"

One of their specialties is in creating customized items for cheer, sports and dance teams.

There are also little novelties around the shop including these whimsical picture frames which I absolutely LOVE!

I loved these frames so much that I'm hoping to have the designer custom-create some for my Beba Photography display at the Ultimate Women's EXPO this year! : )

Something really awesome about this store? It's ultra-affordable!

The store itself is cheerful, bright and cute and very inviting. I especially loved this one corner of the store because it had a vintage-y flair to it...and you know how I love anything vintage!!

Want a place that can "put a little BLING on it?"

Then Luv My Bling is your place to be!

{ Visit Luv My Bling }

San Tan Village
2162 East Williams Field Road, #101
Gilbert, AZ  85296


Owner: Tammy Freeman

{ Photoshop Technique -- Softening & Lightening Skin }

{ How To Soften & Lighten Skin in Photoshop }

Softening and lightening skin is a technique in Photoshop that is a nice touch to making a portrait of a person look flawless and beautiful. Thankfully, it's also pretty easy to do, especially once you get the hang of it!


1. Open your picture in Photoshop.
For this example, I'm going to use little SJ:

She is a precious little girl and I love the innocence in this photo of her. There is a sweet expression on her face and the bringing of flowers makes her extra sugery sweet.

There are some shadows on her skin though, that I'm not liking and would like to bring her beautiful face out of the shadows.

2. To do that, I'll first add a curves adjustment layer.
You can locate the curves adjustment layer in CS4 on the right hand of your screen. See the little half black and half white circle? Click on it and it will bring this menu up. Click on "curves" to add a curves adjustment layer to your photo.

This is what you should see:

3. Leaving the adjustment on the RGB selection, locate the little adjustment tool in the curves adjustment box. It looks like a little finger. Click on it to select it:

4. It shows up and down arrows with it. Click on an area in your photo that you'd like to see brightened and while holding the left button of your mouse, move the little finger upwards. You'll start to see your picture lighten.



I'm still not happy with some of those shadows though and I'd like to target specific areas to bring out the lightness in her face.

5. Select your photo in the layers panel again
(so that it's highlighted and not on the adjustment layer you were just working on).

6. Next, click on your lasso tool (upper left of your computer in the tools bar):

7. Lasso around one area of the face by holding down the left button on your mouse. Then, while still holding down the left mouse button, also hold down the SHIFT button and continue to lasso around more areas of the face until you've selected multiple areas that you'd like to brighten:

For this demonstration, I've also lassoed onto areas of her arms and hair that I'd like to lighten as well.

8. With your mouse, right click anywhere in your working space and select "Feather" from the drop down menu. I'm working in RAW, so my picture is really large. For larger pictures, you usually want to set the feather radius to between 100-250 or so, depending on the picture's size. For this demonstration, however, I want a more targeted brightness added, so I'll choose 75 for the feather radius.

9. Go to Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast
(I've created a shortcut on my keyboard to make things quicker--you can too, just ask me how) : )

10. Drag the brightness and contrast sliders to the right so that they lighten your photo and bring depth to it. Slide them as far to the right as you'd like to make your photo brighter, but DON'T OVERDO IT. You can toggle to see the before and after by clicking on the "Preview" box in the box you're working in if you'd like to see your changes made before committing it by pressing OK.

Here is my original:

And here is my after:

See how it's targeted areas on her face where the light should be falling? I didn't make it super noticeable--I want things to look natural--but see how it brought some of those dark areas out?


1. The next step is to add a soft glow to her skin. I can do this by first duplicating my picture layer.

2. On the duplicate layer, open up the Gaussian Blur tool:

Filter  > Blur > Gaussian Blur

Set the blur slider almost all the way to the right and select OK. Your duplicate layer will seem to be a blurry mess! That's good--you want it to look that way.

3. Next, pay attention to the skin and set the opacity of that layer down by sliding it to the left. Don't pay attention to the rest of the picture, just focus on the skin as you're doing this. Set it as far to the left as you'd like until the skin looks whispy soft:

Well, great, but now her eyes and hair and everything else with it is whispy too and I don't want that. There's a way to correct that though.

4. Click on the little grey square with a white circle in it on the bottom right hand side of your layers panel. This will create a mask over the adjustment you've just made. Click on the brush tool, make sure that you're using a drop shadow brush, make sure that the color you're set to is black and make sure that the opacity is set to about 80% or so:

5. Using the brush (with the specifications above), start brushing over key areas that AREN'T skin:

-Bottom of the nose (where the nostrils are)

You may have to run over those areas a few times and/or play with the opacity settings for the brush to make the change from soft skin to non-soft eyes, teeth, etc. more realistic. You definitely want to avoid having soft skin and then BAM! Sharp eyes! Make sure that you play with the brush's opacity setting to make sure that the transition between soft and not soft is a gradual one.

This is how my picture looks after removing those too-soft areas:


(I also set the opacity on the blur down just a little bit more because I didn't like how unnatural it was looking). This is the result:


In this case, I just wanted to add a few soft touches to this little girl's skin.

In other cases, you might vamp up the lightnening and softness techniques.

Here's a more dramatic example of the technique I've described here (with some contrasting, textures and photo filters thrown in):



And some more lightening and softening examples. A good majority of my photos get this application because it brings faces out of the shadows and I like that:

That lassoing and lighting is also how I achieved the difference between this in-camera photo and post-processed image:

The key is circling around, feathering and lighting the areas that you'd like to pull light back to.
Play and experiment with it--each photo is different and each one can be adjusted to suit it's own light/softness needs.

Happy Photoshop-ing!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

2 Blogs Coming Up

2 Blog posts coming up this weekend!

{ 1. Photoshop : How to soften and brighten skin }
{ 2. Luv My Bling's Grand Opening }

Stay tuned for both!

{ January 21st, 2011 -- 21/365 } -- When Time Stood Still

{ January 21st, 2011 }

This evening I saw the most glorious sunset across an open field. I love how the sun dances golden streams of light through the leaves and almost seems to fill the air itself with hues of gold and amber.

Something about it is so rich in remenisence and memories. Something about sunsets like this reminds me of the echoes of my past of people who were very close to me and stirs my heart within me.

These golden rays whisper contentment and peace to me. It quiets the inside of me, makes me take a moment and pause...and be grateful for all that I am blessed with. ♥ : )

PS: Here is another picture from yesterday. It's not part of my 365, but it was too pretty to resist posting!

{ January 20th, 2011 -- 20/365 } -- Every Girl Loves a Pair of Cute Shoes

{ January 20th, 2011 }

I am a total girly-girl. { Sorry for all you guys reading this--this is probably going to be reaaally boring--but for all of you girls with a shoe fetish, you'll understand my post and love me for it, ha! }

I'm also a girl that loves a good bargain. I found these adorable black wedges (they're a good 3" tall) with cork bottoms at Payless! They have been carrying American Eagle for awhile now and I love buying their shoes because they last for a long time (at least for Payless shoes).

Right now Payless is having their BOGO special--buy 1 get 1 free and I was in terrible need of new shoes (not just wistful buying, which it often is) and I found these cute springy wedges.

Anyone else like buying shoes too? ; )

{ January 19th, 2011 -- 19/365 } -- Luv My Bling!

{ January 19th, 2011 }

Today I saw "MY" store at the San Tan Mall.

Filled with rhinestones galore and amazing sparkly designs, this place was my dream store. There are custom shirts and jeans, blingly jewelry and watches, decorative picture frames and everything a girlie-girl could ever want...and the prices are AMAZING! ♥ ♥ ♥ Quickly falling in love with this store!

I will be writing a blog about their grand opening sometime this week, so STAY POSTED! : )