Archive for August, 2011

Top 12 Reasons I Love Adobe Lightroom!

This is for all of you who use Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.  It may be time to try Lightroom.  It’s also for those of you who have considered buying Adobe Lightroom, but are not convinced it’s worth it.  Or, for those of you who are looking for great photo editing software.

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Warning:  It’s a long post.

To be clear, I am not being paid for this in any capacity.  I know it may sound like a commercial, but I feel compelled to share as I’m super excited about Lightroom, officially called Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.  Trust me, this isn’t the case with software often.

I tossed around the idea of buying Lightroom for several months, but I kept thinking that since I have Photoshop (PS), why would I need Lightroom (LR)?  Can’t PS do anything that LR can do?  After purchasing LR, I will say that it truly makes processing images so much easier. I was shocked by how much.

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Let’s start by defining the three software programs that I’m going to mention here.  I don’t want to assume that you know what I am talking about.  Adobe is the brand or maker while the second name is the name of the actual software.

Adobe Photoshop – PS is the world’s leading pixel (as opposed to vector) editing software available.  It costs around $1000.  It can do much more than free programs Picasa, Picnik or really, than any software you can dream up.  However, to many, it’s difficult to learn and not as intuitive as the lesser versions.

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Adobe Photoshop Elements – PS Elements (PSE) is a very watered down version of PS primarily aimed at basic graphic processing required by amateur users.   However, still a little more robust than Picasa or Picnik.  It costs around $100.

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Note:  All of these programs are much cheaper with a student discount, though. Like up to 80%. Paying for school has some perks.

And, Adobe Lightroom?

Adobe Lightroom is for processing and managing image files from camera to end usage, such as printing, displaying on the web or sending in an email.  Really, there is nothing as far as processing images goes that LR can do that can’t also be accomplished in PS. However, when it comes to photographic usage, LR does it MUCH quicker and with MUCH more ease than Photoshop (PS).  In addition, LR is able to allow you to edit your images in a non destructive way.   LR costs around $300.

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Non destructive?  What does that even mean?  With most graphic software, each edit causes destruction that you see in the form of graininess and loss of quality to the original.  LR always keeps the original so you can revert back.

What can Lightroom NOT do?

Lightroom is NOT an alternative to PS (the full version or PSE).  They are not competitors.  Why?   Because LR has no ability to edit in multiple layers or apply filters.   If you are creating an image from scratch, adding text, or doing very fine editing on one image at a time, Photoshop is much better for that task.  Basically anything that is from scratch or requires layers, PS is your go-to program.   However, if you need to quickly edit or watermark photography, LR is amazing!

What CAN Lightroom do?  What makes it so great?  The top 12 reasons I love LR.

1. Email straight from LR. Highlight the photos you want to email, click Export to email and it will automatically resize, add watermarks, and prepare an email with the photos attached. Talking about saving time!

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2.  It is very good at viewing thumbnails and organizing images from your drives and discs without making multiple copies.  This means you can organize by adding keywords, ratings, colored tags and even by putting them into collections.  It’s all searchable and makes finding your favorite images fast and easy.

3.  It is a nondestructive RAW Editor.  This means that as you work on editing images it does not cause damage to the original.

4.  You can still see the history of what has been done to the image after closing it and reopening it, unlike in PS.  This means, you can easily revert back to any stage in the editing process or even back to the original.

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5.  Add watermarks with ease to batches of photos at a time.  This helps to insure that others do not try to get credit for your images.  And, it helps them to find their way back to the source.

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6.  Before Facebook, which I am no longer on (just the business is on FB), I uploaded images to Shutterfly in order to share them with family.   Well, with LR, you can create your own similar type of slideshow as on Shutterfly.  And, upload it directly to your website.  It’s very professional looking and can display your images for clients quite nicely.

It looks something like this.

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However, if you still prefer FB, you can use the Web module to upload there.

7.  Make quick changes like noise reduction and sharpening, and even touch up only certain areas through the use of a mask easily in LR.  It’s all on one panel, whereas in PS it would take a lot more time.

8.  Sync images.  Make changes to one and have those same changes take to a whole batch that you select.

9.  My favorite feature is the before and after.   This makes for easy comparisons.

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You can choose to see them next to each other (like above) or the image split in half (as seen below).   By the way, this is my sister-in-law at last Christmas in Sedona.  The bike photo is taken at Del Coronado in California.   Both corrections took ten minutes or less in LR.

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10. LR integrates with PS in that you can right click and choose to edit images in Photoshop and then return back to LR.

11.  Easily edit your Metadata (information embedded into file that you can view when you right click and go to properties) to include your contact information.  Should your photo get reposted in cyberspace, they will know how to find you.

12.  Histogram that highlights areas of photo that are over or underexposed. Below, in the photo of my dad, everything in red is overexposed, so that helps me know that I should turn the exposure down.

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And, if I were to do the opposite and underexpose it, you’d see blue.

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These are just features that I’ve discovered in the past week of owning this product.  I am sure there are many more impressive features!

Here’s what you can adjust without ever leaving Lightroom:

Below is an image of the “Develop” module.  The concept is that you are developing your images.

  • Cropping – including rotation and leveling of horizons.image
  • Local adjustments via the Adjustment Brush.
  • Add a gradient filter.
  • Red-eye removal.
  • Curves and levels via the Tone Curve panel.
  • White balance.
  • Contrast.
  • Exposure.
  • Color – adjust overall saturation and vibrance or saturation, luminance and hue of individual colors.
  • Convert to black-and-white with full control over the color mix to alter dark and light areas.
  • Split toning – apply one color to shadows and another to highlights for a duotone effect.
  • Sharpening.
  • Noise reduction.
  • Correct lens distortions.
  • Vignettes – correct lens vignettes or add it for creative effect.
  • Add film grain.

In the end, I learned it saves a ton of time once you learn how to use it!

Why not try all of these Adobe products?

All are available as free 30-day trials on the Adobe website.  PS and LR both have a learning curve so give it the 30 days and do a few tutorials to help get oriented.   However, LR is much more intuitive than PS.  Most users don’t turn back.  Tutorials are key, though!

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See what you think.  If you only have the money for LR, then that will still rock your world, even without PS or PSE.

Do you use any of these software products?  Do you use something else?

kristysig

Guest Post by Hope, Longing and Life

As soon as I saw Jennifer’s baby’s nursery, I knew I wanted her to share it with my readers.  My favorite is the wall with all the letters!  Take it away, Jennifer!

Hello Everyone! My name is Jennifer and I blog over at Hope, Longing, and Life . I am a stay at home Mom with two wonderful children on earth and one angel in heaven. When I am not playing with the kiddos, I love to dabble in home decor. I am an absolute amateur, but it is a fun hobby! Needless to say, I was thrilled when Kristy asked me to give you a tour of Tripp’s room, our baby boy.

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Little girls and all things girly are my comfort zone, so when we found out we were having a boy, I had to really look for inspiration. Since their toys are primary colors, I decided to embrace it and go with a bright room with punches of red.  We wanted to create a fun masculine room that Tripp could grow into. The idea was to keep most of it crisp and clean while having fun with some whimsy too.

Biggest challenges for this room: 
- Furniture placement
- Window is not centered in the room.

The first thing I found was the Glenna Jean Dot Fabric. I loved the polka dot, masculine colors, and the bright red. My favorite part of the room is the Alphabet wall. It was the "splurge" in this budget friendly nursery and it was worth it.

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Below is a view from the front door looking in. We did floor to ceiling faux panels in indoor/outdoor fabric. Perfect for little boy durability! The glider has been recycled from all of our kids and worked great in here too. It is accented with homemade organic quilt and a furry pillow from Homegoods. Wall color is misty gray from Sherwin Williams.

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The dresser is from Ikea, but has been dressed up with vintage faucet valves for hardware.

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Then there is the red painted crib! It was our daughters old sleigh crib from Pottery Barn. We painted it with a sprayer. It received a light sanding and a few coats of tinted primer. It then took 9 coats of red paint to get it just right! The crib skirt is Glenna Jean Cooper fabric. The red paint is STOP from Sherwin Williams.

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Above the crib are embroidery hoops filled with fabrics from the room and as well as some that Tripp’s Dad picked out, including baseball, underdog, and camouflage.

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Below are the letters!!! They are my favorite part. I would love to say that I made them, but I can’t take credit. If you have a lot of time and don’t have a toddler or a huge pregnant belly, these could be a fun DIY project. I ordered mine from "A work in Progress" on Etsy.

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Next, you can see the daybed and Letter wall. I have put a daybed in all of the nurseries and it works out so well. It is a great place to sleep on those rougher nights or an extra place for guests. My favorite part about it is that the room is ready to go once the child outgrows the nursery and needs it to be toddler friendly. Just remove the crib and glider, bring in an art table, and VOILA…room converted! The daybed is an old army issue bed from Craigslist also painted the same red of the crib. The back pillows are from Ikea. The rest are custom made by Richard’s Mom.

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The book shelf and zigzag shelves, and red rug are from Ikea. The plaque is from a craft mall that I just happened upon. It could also be a DIY project with wood and stencils. Mr Tripp already loves his paci, so I am glad to have a whole jar ready to go for him!

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Thanks so much for sharing your baby’s nursery with us.  It’s gorgeous. 

kristysig

Stencil Giveaway Winner!

And, the winner is…

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I had 102 entrants. So, I went to random.org and put in 1-102 then hit Generate. #14 came up!

The winner is the entry from Kate and she happens to have a blog called “It’s The Small Things.”

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Yep, that’s her and her perfect hair.  But don’t worry, she gives lots of amazing tips on her blog!  She makes me feel like I could get my hair to look that good.   But, seriously, Kate, it’d be so much easier if you could just come over and “show” me.

Kate wrote:
“ Hi! I LOVE the parsley blooms stencil! Lovely!”

Congrats!  Cutting Edge Stencils will be contacting you soon!

The next giveaway is Monday (house numbers).

kristysig

Meet My Family Room

My family room has been done for about a year.  I’m always tweaking it and I change the furniture layout for Christmas, but here is how it is currently.  Since it is a room I have not yet blogged about, I thought I’d introduce you!  I’ve been a little nervous about posting it as it’s sort of a love it or hate it room.  A bit controversial or so it seems.  Hope you like it!

These photos are taken with my new camera!  I hope you can see an improvement in image quality. I’ve been adding new images to the tour page.  I still have my master bedroom to go.

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We took a chance with the bold zebra rug, but it does add a certain whimsical touch and additional pattern.  The hubs doesn’t like it, but we can easily change it out in a year or two when we tire of this design.  Good thing is, it was just from Wal-Mart, so not too pricey.

The sofa is custom from Bassett Furniture.
The chairs are outdoor chairs from Lowe’s.
The old chest in the corner is a Craigslist find.
The mirror hanging on the wall is from IKEA.
The painting is from Pier 1, but I altered it by painting over the original colors.

What did it look like just before we moved in?

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And now.

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Hope you enjoyed the tour!   These images are now added to my Home Tour page.

This is your last chance to enter the stencil giveaway, so if you haven’t entered, please take a few minutes to do it now.  Drawing is tonight at 6pm PST.

Next week will be a RamSign giveaway for house numbers!

kristysig

DecoYellow – Pillows You Must Check Out!

I want to share with you one of my favorite Etsy sources for pillows.  If you are not familiar with Etsy, it is a commerce website focused on handmade or vintage items as well as art and craft supplies.   In other words, many shops come together and sell under the Etsy hub.  It’s worth checking out if you haven’t ever.

Many times it seems like all of these shops have the same pillows, but not so with DecoYellow.

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I “met” Amy at DecoYellow when I ordered three pillows for my master bedroom.  I have since ordered more from her.  You may remember this navy chevron pillow that I purchased from her.

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It’s handmade and well crafted.  Amy is a young mom who also owns an etsy shop where she designs and makes pillows.

She also made me this pillow.  It wasn’t at her shop.  I saw it at another and asked her if she could make it, but with a custom font.  And, of course she could!  So, never hesitate to ask for custom pillows.

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Amy says the shop balances her practical and artistic sides well.  She sews her contemporary designs on her 1960’s vintage sewing machine.  She loves crisp lines and bold colors.  So do I!   It’s why I am so drawn to her designs.  Every one of them.  And, I love the soul and story behind her sewing.  She sews to be like her mom, who she lost when she was 18 years old.  And, she donates a dollar of every order to cancer research for her mother.

And, I’m not sure if this is weird, but I’m always drawn to those who live or have lived a place that I’ve lived.  Amy lives in Lehi, Utah.  I lived in Salt Lake City for 3-4 years.  So, I feel a strange connection, just because I’ve seen and enjoyed some of the same sites she sees and enjoys.  Okay, now that I’ve confessed that quirk, does that make me a weirdo?   There is a reality show, called Downsized, that plays on the WE channel that I love watching because it’s shot just up the street, 30 minutes away or less.  I’ve been to all of the places they go to on the show.  That totally slipped out of my mouth.  Another confession.  Total creeper?  Love me anyway, please.

Back on topic…  I want to share with you some of her fabulous pillow designs.  She didn’t ask me to, she’s not paying me to and she doesn’t even know I’m planning to do it.  But, seriously, you guys need to know about her and her pillows!

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Oh, and did I mention, she’s fantastic to work with?  After I ordered my navy chevron pillows, I noticed Kirsten Krason has one just like it behind her in her latest profile pic.  Copy cat.  Just playing.  I am glad she noticed these as well, though!

Be sure to visit Amy’s Etsy shop, DecoYellow to check out her designs.  It’s all reasonably priced, too!

And, be sure to enter the stencil giveaway from Cutting Edge Stencils!

kristysig

A Painted Sofa?

My painted chairs have gotten a little bit of attention, but how about this painted sofa!

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Okay, this painted sofa AND this fabulous photo.  So cute.  I love how it was taken outside…   These two friends painted this sofa to use as a prop for a birthday party!  That’s what it looked like THREE gallons of primer and ONE gallon of paint later!

Obviously, they went about it differently than I did with my two painted chairs.  And, I should clarify, there is no indication that their inspiration came from either of my chairs.  I haven’t been able to get in touch with them, though.

Since they weren’t too concerned about texture afterward, they could literally just paint it with no worries.  So, they threw on Kilz oil based primer and then pink paint!  They describe it as feeling like plastic.

It started out like this.

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Amazing, though, right?  Very fun.  Very creative for a party!

kristysig

Rustic Walls – Trend Alert

Lately, I’ve been really drawn to rooms with rustic wood planks that were used to create beautiful focal walls or ceilings.  Personally, I especially love when these rustic, masculine elements are juxtaposed with feminine elements, such as in the form of a chandelier.  (If sources are not cited, click on images for links to sources.)

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But, even if the feminine elements aren’t quite as apparent, I still like the look.

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I also love seeing these rustic walls in little boy’s rooms.

This nursery is Jewel’s baby’s nursery and was featured in the latest issue of People Magazine.  I saw this on Emily A Clark’s blog yesterday.  She happened to be blogging about a similar topic.  I guess we planned it almost on the same day!

I’ve seen Jewel interviewed before and apparently her whole family makes all of their gifts for Christmas and all each year.  She seems pretty crafty!

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I love this little boy’s room.  It has been floating around for a bit and every time i see it, I look for a while…   My sister actually did something very similar in her son’s bedroom years ago!  I wish I had a photo…

Do you like this “new” trend?

Be sure not to leave without entering the stencil giveaway from Cutting Edge Stencils!

kristysig

Laundry Room and Stencil Giveaway!

Thank you for your votes via the blog and email.   We’ve decided to go with…. this design (#4)!

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This design got the most votes and it happens to be the one we like best as well.  We loved each of them for different reasons.  For instance, the gray was so elegant.  But, in the end, this made the most sense as we don’t have to repaint the whole room, it’s still cheerful , coat hooks are high enough to hang longer things, and so on.

Stencils can add so much to a design!

Don’t you love the stencils from Cutting Edge Stencils?   Does this make you want to use one in your home?

Good news!  Cutting Edge Stencils is hosting a giveaway for Hyphen Interiors readers.  You have a chance to win a stencil (of your choice) valued up to $50, plus free shipping.

Remember, they can also be used for curtains, pillows, and furniture!  Not just walls.

TO ENTER THE STENCIL GIVEAWAY:
1. You don’t even have to be a follower of this blog!  But, I’d love it if you do choose to follow.

2. Simply visit Cutting Edge Stencils and come back and leave a comment on this post letting me know which stencil was your favorite.  Which would you use in your home?   That’s it!

3. Extra entry if you also tweet about it, blog about it or share it on Facebook.   Simply add a second (separate) comment telling where you shared it.

This giveaway ends Monday, August 29th at 6pm PST. The winner will be drawn at random and announced on Tuesday, August 31st.

Check out some of their stencils below. But, be sure to go to the shop because there is a lot more!

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If stenciling seems intimidating AT ALL, just watch one of their how-to videos.   They are very helpful.

I have to say – they have been so amazing to work with!  A truly great company.   Do not miss out entering to win this awesome giveaway.

Good luck readers!