Quick Photoshop Technique – Brightening Images using Blend Modes

Hello and welcome from a snowy London! What the heck is going on with the weather?  I cannot remember a March like this before where it has snowed!

Here is a very quick tutorial for you for you to give your images brightness using the levels adjustment layer and the Screen blend mode.

This is a very basic technique but I have used it on a number of occasions, now.

Step 1
Open the image that you are looking to edit in Photoshop.

Step 2
Click the Levels Adjustment Layer


Step 3
Change the blend mode to Screen


Step 4
Press Command/Control I to invert the white adjustment layer to black and cover the whole image.


Step 5
Select a soft brush and change your foreground colour to white and paint over the areas you wish to lighten.  Should the area you painted over be too bright then just adjust the opacity of the layer until it looks correct.  In this image the left hand side of the image has been adjusted to show you the difference in shade and brightness.


Thanks for stopping by.  I propose to upload a quick video of this tutorial in the next couple of weeks.

This technique can be used for a number of different purposes, especially when whitening the whites of the eyes.  It involves the same steps as this one.

If you would like to leave your comments you are more than welcome in the section below,

My Website


Some family pictures I would like to share…

Recently a friend of mine, and a very talented photographer whom I can say is a master craftsman on both film and digital [click here], placed a comment on his Facebook page saying that he should be shooting more of his kids.  This is something that I have been guilty of, too.  Not enough pictures of the kids…  So I have been taking every opportunity to take pictures of the boys.  Here are a couple that I would like to share with you…

All images taken on my trusted Nikon D700 and 50mm 1.4 lens which may as well be welded onto that body!

Thanks for taking the time to drop by.

Please feel free to leave your comments.



This week’s round-up

My week has been very busy going through my stock portfolio I have been building over the last year, as I was doing my resubmission to Shutterstock.  About one year ago I made an initial submission to them that was rejected, and although I had one month before I could submit again, I decided that I was going to do a little more research on what Shutterstock’s editors were looking for and then when I was confident that I had a strong enough set of images I was going to resubimt them.

Having made my submission of my ten images, I received my confirmation e-mail the following mornign saying that I had been accepted.  Not only has this given me a boost in confidence, it has also inspired me to get out there and shoot more stock!

If you would like to contribute to shutterstock then please click here to register!

Thanks for reading!


Promo Shoot : Karmen Pirh

I hope that you are all enjoying the start to 2012?  I have to say that time feels like a rug that has been pulled from under my feet!

This is an image taken from a shoot for a pilates teacher by the name of Karmen Pirh.

Karmen is a “First Pilates Body” certificated Instructor based in the UK. She has been coaching clients to reach their personal best in the fields of fitness, nutrition and lifestyle for over 6 years. She has been trained by the founder of Pilates Body Technique, thus her knowledge is genuine and her work professional.

She was initially based in Slovenia as a Pilates Body Instructor in one of the top Pilates studios and as Personal Trainer along coastal region and Italy. She came to the UK in 2010 and for the first time introduced London, Pilates Body Technique.  She added Power Plate and Pilates Reformer to her qualifications and experience. In 2010 she gained REPs Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training.

Karmen works as a Personal Trainer & Pilates Instructor in Holiday Inn Hotel Bloomsbury, Urban King’s Gym, Fitness for Everybody and Bootcamp Pilates and privately within client’s homes and offices in Kensington and Chelsea, City of London, Southwark, Islington, Camden, Fulham, Greenwich and Tower Hamlets.

Should you wish to go to one of Karmen’s classes, here are a few links which you may find of use :

www: K Body Studio

Thanks for reading!




Urban Portrait Shoot

I was recently asked by my long time friend, Natalie, whether I would like to photograph her boyfriend, Jason, and help him build up his modelling portfolio.  Naturally, I said yes and that I would be more than happy to do it.

The plan was to keep local and use some of the local backgrounds that I have recently discovered – in this case I was going to use the front of a disused cash and carry as well as the shutters of a local deli!

The kit that I used was my canon 5d2, 24-70mm lens, softbox, speedlight, and trusted pocket wizards.

We started off using the old cash and carry as the first setting.  Here, I used the softbox.  My camera settings were 1/160th, f4.0, ISO100.  The speedlight was set to 1/8th power.  When taking the shots next to the brick wall I just removed the softbox, and used the bare speedlight firing it into the side of Jason’s head so that some spilled to the side and onto the wall.

**Top Tip** When going for the flash fired from the back of the subject look, always remember not to fire it direct at his/her ears! As you will get red ears, and will not be able to get rid of it, even in post production.  Always get your subject to turn their head to the side slightly (thanks to Glyn Dewis for this piece of advice).

The other setting I used was the green shutters to my local deli (the softbox was replaced). I used the same settings as above and just adjusted the flash-to-subject distance.  As we were loosing light, I was adjusting the shutter speed in order to get more ambient light in.  On a couple fo the shots I had the shutter speed at 1/200, and aperture at f9/11 so that the cloud detail was captured.  However, to compensate I increased thh flash output by 2 stops, to 1/2.

I am really enjoying using off camera flash and lighting techniques.  It gives you the opportunity to try new things and, for me, it adds another dimension to your images. I hope you like the images, and please feel free to add your comments. Also, I have attached the animoto slideshow I did from the shoot – click here.


Portrait Shoot – Family

Over the half term I had the pleasure of photographing Stala and her two very gorgeous children, Mateo and Ariana – Stala is my cousin and is always willing to assist by allowing me to shoot her Ariana and Mateo.

I have photographed them before, but that was when I started getting serious about photography.  I could see a clear difference between these shots and the first time I took them out.  On this occassion I was more structured with the session, I shot in RAW, and I did not machine gun the session in the park.

We went Queens Park and the intention was to take pictures of the children playing, and some limited posed shots, too.  Although I knew my cousin and her children, I had not seen them for a few months, so I still spent some time rapport building with everyone.  This would ensure that her children would not shy away from me when they saw me aiming a 70-200mm lens at them!  The weather was your standard overcast October’s day, however, it did mean that there was no harsh lighting from the sun causing any unsightly shadowing.

The kit that I used was my 50D, 70-200mm lens, or my 5D 2 with the 24-70mm lens (which has become my new best mate)! They were processed using LR3.

I hope you enjoy the pictures I have added below, but to see all of them, please click here for a video that I created using animoto.

As always, please feel free to add your comments.