The Everyday Genius of Your Artistic Voice: Part 7, Post-Processing

Let’s Talk Post-Processing: If You Dare!

Welcome back to The Everyday Genius of Your Artistic Voice! This is Part 7 of an 8-part series, exploring practical ideas (and the thinking behind those ideas) for anchoring your very own soul’s genius and artistic voice more deeply into your photography and life. Ambitious much? heh. Today we broach the touchy topic of post-processing.
Continue reading “The Everyday Genius of Your Artistic Voice: Part 7, Post-Processing”

Finding Your Voice: Day 3. Light.

Welcome to Day 3 of our fun 10-day series: “Finding Your Voice: 10 Days, 10 Concepts To Help You Find Your Photographic Voice.

My friends, it may seem elementary, but fill in the blank on this:

My favorite light is_____.

In an interview recently, violinist Lindsey Stirling put it this way: “When I’m onstage, I feel like I’m exploding with light. I think when you’re doing what you love you actually glow.” Continue reading “Finding Your Voice: Day 3. Light.”

Finding Your Voice: Day 1. Feeling.

Awhile back, I wrote my most personal blog post ever. It was about a huge “AHA!” I had about experiencing my life’s work unfold before my eyes. And it continues! So many cool things in the works right now. I can’t wait to share them! They all relate to what we’re embarking upon right now.

Today, I’m beginning a 10-day series of blog posts about “Finding Your Voice”, something near and dear to my heart and soul. Whether we refer to a photographic voice, your artist’s voice, your actual/physical voice, your writer’s voice… being able to make yourself seen and heard in the way your soul wants to is life-changing. It’s life-affirming. It sets a wave in motion that creates its own gravitational force; drawing to you the things, people and experiences that make your spirit soar and make you so DAMN glad you came to this Earth.  I can’t always explain how it works… only that it does. It’s been a theme throughout my life. It wove itself into the very fabric of everything I’ve ever done… in particular,  teaching for 40 years.

I’ve been asked when I’m going to start teaching again. Well… how about now?

Slipstill Continue reading “Finding Your Voice: Day 1. Feeling.”

Photo Processing, Macphun and Imagination

Photo Processing Questions

I get asked a lot about my photo processing. About whether I have tutorials on how I do it. About whether I offer presets for any of it. I thought I’d aim today’s chat towards a bit of that.

And BTW… I like saying “chat” or “conversation” more than “post”. Truly, I see you all in my mind’s eye when I write – and I honestly never think that I’m posting to you. What does that mean, anyway? I’m talking to you. And I love it when you talk to me too.

OK. Had to get that off my chest.

Back to the question at hand. Typically, I’ve found it difficult to do tutorials on what I do, at least in the overall, since I approach each photo like an original creation and don’t batch-do ANYTHING. I let each image talk to me (sometimes I talk to it too. Don’t judge me!) and then I try to tell our story. How do you teach that?

THAT SAID… what I’m going to share with you today IS something I can wrap my head around well enough to share with you – and perhaps make a difference in the expression of your special view of the world. It involves Macphun Software and their special suite of plugins.

Oh yeah, fair disclosure: I use both Photoshop tools and a variety of plugins in my processing. Some people think you’re cheating or something if you use plugins and aren’t some kind of elite Photoshop master wizard. I beg to differ! Plugins for me have always tickled my imagination into new directions, enticing me into see, think and feel in new ways that I wouldn’t have otherwise. (You know how I love that!) So I’m a fan of using them AND using Photoshop tools all in the same brew… and could use an entire post for each one. But today, I’m focusing on Macphun. I processed this one in Tonality Pro:

GoldOnGranite-TP_Chill-red-yell-channels
Continue reading “Photo Processing, Macphun and Imagination”

Nicolesy, IFTT & Non-Suckydom

Little things drive me nuts. You know, details. Minutae. Figuring out how to do small stuff that should be SO flippin’ easy… even IS easy at the core of it… but is MADE complicated because someone thinks of some way they say will “make it easy”, but which actually complicates things. I feel that way about a lot of our wonderful (and maddening) technology.

I’m not knocking technology.
I mean hey, you can be wonderful and maddening all at the same time without it causing you to be “less than”.
Just ask my husband! Grin.

Friends Who Make Things Easy

On the other hand, things made simple make me do a happy little jig. I have a friend who can do that almost better than anyone I know. Her name is Nicole S. Young. You may know her work; her brand name is “Nicolesy“.  I’ve adored and admired Nicole ever since I met her. Handily and coincidentally, she’s also married to one of my bff’s, Brian Matiash, so it’s always a twofer when I go visit them up in Portland.  She’s a force of nature, that woman; there’s nobody quite like her.
But here’s why all this came up.

Social media is another one of those things that drives me nuts. It’s necessary, it’s done a ton for me, it’s here to stay, I’m grateful for it. It’s wonderful and maddening (trend alert!). Within the social media space, there’s an app called IFTT (If This, Then That). Here’s the simple Wikipedia description: “IFTT… is a web-based service in which users can create chains of simple conditional statements, called “recipes,” that are triggered based upon changes to other web services such as Gmail, Google Reader, Instagram, Craigslist. IFTT is an abbreviation of “If This Then That” and is pronounced like “gift” without the “g.”

Mind you, I had to look this up on Wikipedia (simple) because IFTT can’t actually explain what it does in words on its own website (should be simple, is made complicated). I love Wikipedia. And I love Nicole for making IFTT simple.

Posting to Twitter From Instagram

I’m on Instagram. @karenleehutton. I post photos (natch!).
Instagram will post directly to Twitter for you, saving you a timesaving step.
Problem: when you do that through Instagram, it only posts text and a link to the photo… which links back to Instagram. Argh.

Enter IFTT, which allows you to create a “recipe” that automatically posts your entire posts – with photo – onto Twitter and other social media sites (simple!).

But IFTT can’t even explain itself on its own website, much less how to do this seemingly simple task. (complicated).

Enter Nicole, who makes things easy:

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 12.21.34 PM

Continue reading “Nicolesy, IFTT & Non-Suckydom”

The Big Upcoming Tonality Pro Webinar!

Tonality Pro Webinar

Tomorrow I’m giving a webinar on Macphun’s Tonality Pro.
It’s FREE, FREE… and yes, FREE! You just have to register ahead of time by clicking this link.

Then… you can get 10% off the purchase of any Macphun product by using the code KHUTT.
(You don’t actually have to wait for the webinar for that… it’s good any old time.)

The actual time/date is: September 10, 2014, 10am Pacific Time.

I thought I’d mention all of this right up front, ’cause I don’t do a ton of webinars, so this will be fun. (And free.) I’m excited!

Before… and Two Ever-Afters

So, to get us all in the mood, I thought I’d share one of the photos I’m going to work through. It was taken in The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York City. This is the RAW image, complete with big fat, unsightly ladder and a couple of workmen who didn’t have the good sense to know there was an ARTISTE at work and move their butts!! hahahaha!


Continue reading “The Big Upcoming Tonality Pro Webinar!”

Macphun’s Tonality Pro: 3 Photos, 3 Ways

No More Secrets!

Finally! I get to share something I’ve been working on for weeks, but NOT able to talk about until now!

Macphun Software’s Tonality Pro plugin/app just launched last week. I was lucky enough to get to play with the software during the Beta process … and I’ve fallen in love with it!

Black & White Is My Home

My photography roots are in the darkroom… a looooong, long time ago. Black and white photography taught me the basics at such a deep level that it’s STILL what informs my composition, storytelling and artistry. So, Tonality Pro is a huge full circle experience for me.

The mind-bendy thing is that it doesn’t just do monochrome. It allows you to work selectively with color in ways I’ve never experienced before. It is truly mind-blowing! I don’t usually write reviews… but I’m working on one for this baby!

I have to admit that I’m still learning more and more about what all we can do with Tonality Pro… but I thought I’d start sharing it with you by taking 3 photos, processed 3 simple, quite different ways… just to give you a little flavah-flav of what you can do with this awesome plugin.

OH! And if you do decide to give any of the Macphun products a whirl, use the code KHUTT for 10% your purchase.

 

 

TryMacphun

(at this time, it is only available for Mac users. I’m hoping for a version for Windows users in the future!)

Here’s glimpse of it in action, KHutt style:

Get Creative with Analog Efex Pro 2!

I Love Re-Imagining…

You know what I love?

Ok, I’ll tell ya.

It’s that feeling I get when I manage to re-imagine my own view of the world in my art. Of course, that’s always easier said that done!

Take photo processing for instance.
Personally, I have a set of colors, tones, textures and overall feeling I love to create in my photos. It’s all good – and is part of a “signature” that has evolved and defined itself over time. It’ll probably re-define itself many more times too!

Seeing Things Differently is Good

But sometimes, I’d like to expand my view. Get out of my same-old, same-old. See differently. Try some new tools.

Enter Analog Efex Pro2 by The Nik Collection… a creative kick in the pants if I ever saw one! (and no, I do not get any payment or kickback for saying that.)


Continue reading “Get Creative with Analog Efex Pro 2!”

The Color of a Mood

I Love Color!

It’s no secret that I love color! I know a lot of people feel the same way I do.
As I was processing today’s photo, I was thinking about how color is such an intricate part of our lives that we even use them to describe feelings. What’s more, everyone knows exactly what you’re talking about even if they’re color blind!

Color As Emotion

The speaking of a color is so powerful, in fact, that you only need  few words to be crystal clear:

I was in a blue mood… (sadness, melancholy)
Alt: I feel blue… (sad, off, melancholy)
He was so mad he saw red… (extreme anger)
Everything’s golden… (everything’s terrific)
She was green with envy… (extreme envy, jealousness)
She looked at everything through rose-colored glasses. (she only saw the good in things.)

So when you process a photo and use color grading, cross-processing or color in some way to set the mood you want viewers to feel when they look at your photo – you’re tapping into a powerful, primal mechanism!

Set Your Viewers’ – Or Just Your Own Mood with Color

You can also use color to satisfy your own mood, or the vision you have for a piece.
I did a fairly extreme “processing two ways” combo the other day, which I thought was an interesting way to show you what I mean. Truly, the possibilities are endless!

Here’s where I ended up on the first round of processing:

AKindOfHush
Continue reading “The Color of a Mood”

Free eBook! (Free Stuff Is Awesome!)

Free Like An eBook

I’d like to introduce you to an Awesome Free Thing. So here goes:

Awesome Free Thing meet You. You… Awesome Free Thing.
Did I mention said awesomeness was an eBook? Oh yes, yes it is! It’s called “Visionary Impact: 10 Pro Tips to Instantly Raise The Emotional Impact Of Your Outdoor Photography (Without Spending A Cent)“. I love that last bit in particular. heehee. These compositional tips are the very ones I use in my storytelling style of composition all the time.

You know how I can preamble on and on… so if you want to skip all that, just click on the image below for a BRAND NEW (free) eBook!

For the rest of the story, read on… (then click. :D)

VICover-ns
Continue reading “Free eBook! (Free Stuff Is Awesome!)”

Using a Gradient Fill Layer To Alter Color, Tone or Mood

The Courtyard at Castello di Amorosa

You can use them boldly or subtly, but the using a Gradient Fill Layer in Photoshop (I use CC) is a great tool for finishing touches on a photo. I’ll give you an example of subtle use from a photo I processed recently.

We visited Castello di Amorosa last fall for a photo shoot. A bunch of great images and 3 episodes of The Chat (owner Dario Sattui, photographer Annette Biggers, model Jennifer Freeman) came from that fabulous 2 day visit. I’m still smiling!

As our final evening was winding down, after a lovely glass of wine and noshes (The Castle is a fabulous winery), we wandering back toward our cars. The evening light was gorgeous… and the lights of the castle were on. Of COURSE, we had to shoot just a little bit more! This was a fun one of the courtyard… which I took with everyone tapping their toes, eager to drive down the valley for dinner. I could’ve stayed all night!


Continue reading “Using a Gradient Fill Layer To Alter Color, Tone or Mood”

Color or Monochrome?

Plan A, Hijacked

I was heading elsewhere this day; intending to shoot sunset (if there was one) at another location. But when I looked over and espied this scene, all other plans went out the proverbial window! I love matching reflections… strong cloud formations… and an almost surreal/abstract arrangement of elements when they happen naturally. It’s magic! (and this day, certainly one of my daily miracles. Especially since the west hasn’t even SEEN clouds for months!)

Unbroken
Continue reading “Color or Monochrome?”

Processing "Posted: No Trespassing"

Deciding What, Why & How

I like “old building, new growth” juxtapositions. I especially love it when the old building says “Posted, No Trespassing”. It’s just so quaint and presumptuous. Oh, I know it’s a modern sign meant for modern, rude humans… but as a captured moment, the combination makes me giggle.

In this photo, I also loved the side light. It was the blend of “old building, new growth” and “cool side light” that made me want to play with this photo.
Since I often get asked to show my original photo(s) along with the finished one… here’s how this one came together.

First, here’s the finished version:

Posted8
Continue reading “Processing "Posted: No Trespassing"”

The Limelight: Photo Process & Preset Link

SONY at the Ryman Auditorium

During my recent trip to Nashville, TN for Sony’s DI event, testing the new Sony mirrorless cameras… we visited the famed Ryman Auditorim. Home of the original Grand Old Opry. It’s got quite a history – and an unmistakable vibe when you walk in the door. I could’ve stayed there all day!

We were given super special access, which I’ll talk more about in a future blog post. But today I wanted to go through a process I did on one of the photos from there… and offer you a preset download of one of the filter sets I used. I got this idea from one of the comments on my Google+ page, where a fellow named Matt Kaiser asked if I’d made a preset out of the NIK Analog Efex Pro filter wards the end of my process – and if I’d be willing to offer it for download.  I thought that would be fun… so you can find that at the end of this post, by clicking on the small version of this image. It’ll download straightaway.

But I decided to do a bit more here, since I did a number of things to this image beside Analog Efex Pro and didn’t want to lead anyone astray.
So, first of all, here’s the finished image, taken with the new Sony A7r, with the 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 lens (which will be available only as part of the kit):

TheLimelight-PECSF-Finished Continue reading “The Limelight: Photo Process & Preset Link”

Stop and Smell (also Texturize) the Flowers!


It’s end of summer and also the end of my unplanned bloggity-blog hiatus. You may not have even noticed; I know how busy you are. 😉 But I’m back now, with much I’m about to announce! Stay tuned for that.  But first: I thought I’d ease back into the swing by sharing one of my recent artsichord (like that word? I made it up. heh.) experiments. A triplet of roses, plus a neighbor; with one showing everybody else how it’s done.

My about-to-be-announced project started like they all do: me thinking “Oh, that’ll be a piece of cake!”… and ending up on a steeper learning curve, with more delays and challenges than I ever dreamed possible! But there’s universal intelligence at work for ya. If you knew how hard something was going to be going in, you’d probably not even start! Along the way, I had less time to process photos, less time for everything except total immersion.

Somewhere along the way though, I finally had to just stop, smell the roses and process some photos! Not surprisingly, my creative desires are emerging from my “voyage d’immersion” with cravings for some different flavors. Here, I ended up playing with textures, light and contrasts in an entertainingly (to me, anyway) new way. Figured I’d share the steps. This is ONE of the finished pieces, followed by each step along the way. There are about 10 of them. You might want to get a little coffee, glass of wine, a nosh. Here goes:

1-NIKReflectorGold
Continue reading “Stop and Smell (also Texturize) the Flowers!”

Behind-The-Scenes: Truckee River

Have you ever been on vacation or a road trip and come across a really beautiful spot that you’d LOVE to photograph – but under less than optimal conditions? Maybe the light isn’t right, there are no cool clouds to offer some punch – but the place itself is lovely, you’d love to capture it and you don’t have the option to lie about until everything is perfect? I know it’s happened to me! So as part of my ‘short video tutorial’ series, I made this one to offer some composition tips and post-processing ideas that can help you make the most of “meh” shooting conditions.


Continue reading “Behind-The-Scenes: Truckee River”

Composition: Yuba River Bridge

I’m enjoying creating these short videos about photo composition and such. Since folks seem to like them, I’ll just keep going!

For this one, the hubs Joe Dolister and I spent a weekend wandering about our local area, which is in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. There are so many little scenes like the one in this video, which are incredibly beautiful – but which we tend to simply drive by on our way somewhere else. This day, we stopped at them all!

Continue reading “Composition: Yuba River Bridge”

Behind-The-Scenes at Big Bend with Karen Hutton

I photograph in my area quite often. Even though I might hit the same spots more than once, it’s always a fun challenge to find new ways of seeing them. This day, I decided to bring y’all along with me and share one of my favorite stops. It’s not the easiest kind of shot, with all the deep shadows and bright whites in the snow… but I never care. I just like standing by the water’s edge, listening to the roar of the river and seeing what kind of goodness I can walk away with. In this video I talk through what I did THIS particular day, using multiple exposures and a few different compositions:

Perfect Inspiration: The "Signature" Episode

I was honored and thrilled when Brian Matiash as me to do an episode for his Perfect Inspiration series at OnOne Software. I’ve posted the video tutorial portion below… and of course, you can find the whole thing at the link I just gave. There were a  handful of us he that asked to create episodes. The rest of were weekly episodes he created himself. This year-long series has been positively inspired. Better said, Brian Matiash is positively inspiring! In everything he does, he gives back. He gleefully brings people along for the most wondrous ride of learning all things photography. It’s his deepest passion, the thing he could do 24/7 and never call it work. Brian’s such a great friend and I was just so pleased to contribute to his utterly fantastic project. There is a wealth of inspired information over at Perfect Inspiration… all for free! So go on, what are you waiting for? Get over there and start soaking it all in. 😀 Through the magic of the internet, the video portion also appears here: (backstory below)

Here’s some of the back story about this episode. Continue reading “Perfect Inspiration: The "Signature" Episode”