Amateur Photoshop Attempt #2

A couple of weeks ago I let you in on the fact that I used the money you all kindly donated to buy a copy of Photoshop.

It was between that and a haircut and highlights.  I haven’t had a haircut and highlights since Easter.  After buying Photoshop, I had enough money left over for a haircut and highlights.  But only enough for a bad haircut and highlights.  So I decided against it.  My hair is still horrid.  But at least I didn’t have to pay for it.

I’m getting off track.  Photoshop!  That’s the focus.

Apparently it’s impossible to run a successful DIY blog if you don’t have beautiful pictures.  My hope is that Photoshop will give my pictures that added zip they need to send this blog into the super-fantastic blogosphere.  You know … where the likes of Design*Sponge, Not Martha, and Centsational Girl live.

So I’ve been practicing away at Photoshop.  I’m sure you remember amateur Photoshop Attempt #1.

I am now ready to reveal amateur Photoshop attempt #2.

This is my original photo.

I had been given the direction by my photography teacher to go out and take a streetscape shot.  Just a picture of a street basically.  There could be people in it, it should be candid, and must be interesting to look at.  It’s a great exercise for anyone wanting to master photography.  It forces you to look at things through a photographer’s eye and also forces you to get over the nervous feeling you get about taking pictures in public.  Especially pictures of people.  Who might chase you down because they don’t necessarily want their picture taken.  It can be quite a dangerous hobby this photography.

Window reflections are a favourite subject for amateur, budding photographers.  Makes us feel artsy and experimental.

The picture was O.K. on its own but I wanted to make it better.  So I cropped it a tiny bit, desaturated it (made it black and white) and Photoshopped out some of the brick reflection in the window.  My goal was to get the bricks to only appear on the woman’s clothing.

Like so …

Granted, it’s not perfect.  I know that.  The goal here wasn’t perfect (which takes a lot of restraint on my part).  It was to get used to using Photoshop.  To fiddle around with it.

I have many hours of learning ahead of me.  Snark.  Who am I kidding?  I have many years of learning ahead of me.  And a lot of swearing I would imagine.  Kind of like the woman in the photo would probably swear if she knew I were sharing her brick covered butt with the world.  As awful as it sounds, I was kind of hoping she would trip, cause that would have been a really great picture.  And funny, because it wasn’t happening to me.  Tripping’s only funny when it happens to someone else.  Ditto for a bad haircut.


  1. OMG my butt looks huge!!!

    Nah just kidding, that’s not me lol. πŸ™‚

  2. mimi says:

    Karen, my 15 y/o is a whizz on photoshop, but I’d say he has spent hundreds/thousands of hours tinkering away at it.
    Looks to me like you’re making quick progress.
    All I can do on photoshop is crap, sorry crOp!

  3. Amy Schmucker says:

    UGH, I hate editing photos. I just don’t have the patience for it. Bless you and hope you love it. I loved your pictures before. Would it be too weird if I told you that I love you too?? Well I do. If we didn’t live 5000 miles from each other I would bring you a snack and pick up a hammer and help you with your next project..except photoshop.
    Keep writing. When my kids go back to school on Monday I hope to start writing again too.

    Amy in Florida

    • Karen says:

      Amy – LOL. Weirdo! πŸ™‚ I don’t plan on using Photoshop very much to change my pictures. Just basic stuff like cropping and rotating and editing them a tiny bit. But I feel the need to get familiar with everything about it. Just in case. πŸ˜‰ ~ karen

  4. susan w says:

    Just Photoshop your hair and highlights

  5. I hope that lady doesn’t recognize herself! πŸ™‚
    I share your Photoshop pain. I have been working with it for a number of years already and still feel I’m only using 1/10th of what it can do. It sure is fun though!

  6. stephanie says:


    • Karen says:

      LOL. Oh this poor woman. I’m starting to feel bad about posting the picture of her. I would probably kill someone for taking my picture when I didn’t know and then posting it on the Internet. I figured it was a back shot so I was O.K. Maybe not, LOL. ~ karen

  7. Karen, look the other way for starters….lol Just kidding, I see your trying to be a photo genious!
    You’ll figure it out if it drives you to be the crazy girl with the camera in her hands 24/7, and hair like Einstein
    Then you’ll need to take donations for your haircut and highlights.


  8. Catherine says:

    Good on you for tackling Photoshop – although I think you have great pictures already.

    I don’t know if you read Wired but they had an article about an online photography course that is
    supposed to be very good (and free).

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Catherine – I’ll bookmark it to take a look when I have time. I don’t plan on altering my pics. too much but Photoshop is just a good program to know for a variety of reasons. Even if I just want to have a burned edge around a picture or create a gallery of photos … I need to get familiar with it. Don’t worry … I won’t be Photoshopping the crap out of my pictures. I’m not a huge fan of that. πŸ™‚ ~ karen

  9. Carol says:

    Hey Karen, this has nothing to do with Photoshop or stalker photos. I just wanted you to know that I found your site when I googled how to get a musty smell out of an old suitcase and kitty litter worked!! Thanks so much and now I love your blog.

    Carol in SC

    • Karen says:

      Hi Carol – Excellent! I’m glad it worked for you! I really try *extremely* hard to make sure everything I say works does. I don’t post anything I haven’t done/don’t do myself. I’m glad you’ve become a fan! ~ karen

  10. Jess says:

    Hi Karen! Sounds like you’re taking to Photoshop like a mastadon to grazing. I just learned a super easy Photoshop trick that I know a lot of blogs use to make their photos pretty through color tones. They’re called Photoshop Actions β€” here are a few links:


    • Karen says:

      Hey Jess – Thanks! I’ll go have a look at them! Yup, I’m familiar with actions. Great for if you’re looking to do something quick. I’ve developed a couple of my own that are completely terrible, but at least it’s giving me practice. πŸ™‚ I have to FORCE myself to do it myself rather than use the premade ones, but I still like to have the premade ones … just in case. πŸ˜‰ ~ karen

  11. Patty says:

    You are going to talk me into Photoshop. Or a bad haircut. But not hi-lights because I am a red head and chicken. But human unlike the red headed/combed chicken you leased for riding lessons.

    Keep up the fantastic writing! Oh. And photo editing!

  12. kelliblue says:

    Well you can always use your killer PhotoShop skills to erase the VPL and ‘pretty up’ the gal in the photo…if you think she needs it (isn’t that what PS is for, after all? Making you and your friends look taller/tanner/thinner?) πŸ™‚ LOL

  13. Charlene says:

    Karen given that trying to teach yourself PS hasn’t made your head explode I’d encourage you to check out CreativeLive(plug that into your search engine of choice). They offer free online courses in all areas of photography. you’d be interested in one coming up in a few weeks- photoshop! There is no “catch” to the free aspect of it- you register and watch it live on your computer. If you are unable to watch live you have the option of then paying for it.
    I’m not affiliated with them in any way other than I’ve watched some of there educational sessions and found them very helpful.

  14. Meg says:

    So I basically have used photoshop forever. OK Not forever, but before undo, before layers, and before computers could actually *run* photoshop. And now I work in VFX in Los Angeles. (Not that I’m currently there, mind you, I’m deciding how to best level a 160-year-old-floor in a house I don’t want. Long story.)

    The only thing you need to know about photoshop is that if you want to do something in it, it can be done. Therefore I’m sure you’ll find a way.

    Tutorials are OK, but a time suck. Make sure you know these things first, they’ll help anything else you do in pshop immensely.

    -Save often.
    -Use MASKING layers, (for example, you could make a mask layer for that woman’s butt, and use it for several different layer edits.)
    -Edit color using curves.
    -Don’t use the flare filter.

    And if you have money left over from something, Wacom tablets are really where it’s at.

  15. Sarah says:

    I know this is kinda old but I’d recommend getting a book by Scott Kelby for photoshop. His books are really easy to read and follow. I used them for Uni πŸ™‚

  16. Maryanne says:


    Where did your pictures go for this post? Did the links get lost during the great blog update πŸ™


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