Technique

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography Creating a Faded and Streaked Border in Photoshop.

Creating a Faded & Streaked Border for Your Prints in Photoshop

When I decided to test Bay Photo Labs for the quality of their metal prints, I wanted something different than the regular 8x10s or 20x30s.

In addition, I wanted a theme and not just pick a few photos for the wall. I decided on 3 images with 3 different colors. After all, what’s the point of getting test prints made and all the colors are the same?

So I chose three different images to represent the three primary colors of Photography: Red, Green, and Blue. AND, I did not want the prints to be just normal prints. So as I was sitting there pondering what I wanted, I was examining the canvas prints on my wall. They have “fade to black” sides which make them appear to float off the wall. A light bulb went off over my head.

Here’s the set and the result of that inspiration:

This technique is rather easy and you can get some great looking wall prints with it.

It uses a technique called “pixel stretching” and uses the gradient tool to bade the stretched pixels to black.

It took me about half an hour to decide on the theme and final print size. I wanted square metal prints to they look better from a distance and you didn’t have to worry about trying to get the arrangement to look nice on the wall.

Square prints make this easy for two reasons: The image is relatively big and the prints are small enough to hang in a narrow wall space.

So Let’s Begin:

***To make things a bit easier, I’ve also incorporated a video after the main blog to help you better understands the steps.

First choose the image you’d like to use. Second, choose your image size. The beauty of this technique is you can make your final print a 20×30 then have the main image float as a 16×24.

For an example, I’ll use an image of the Locust Beach pilings in Bellingham, Wash., I shot a few days ago.

Storm clouds and raging surf at Locust Beach along Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash. (photo © Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

It’s a nice image and my wife and I want a nice print to hang on our wall. We’re thinking of a nice 20×30 canvas.

I want a nice image to float inside a 20×30. Doing some quick math, to get a 2″ faded boarder my main image should be about a 16×24.

1. Make the image a 16×24. I use 300 dpi to keep good detail in the image and a high enough resolution to make a high quality print. The 16×24 stay with the 3:2 ratio of the sensor and gives an even border.

2. Take the image and using the “Layers” panel in Photoshop, duplicate the “Background” layer twice so you have a total of three layers. To make it easier, I re-name the layers as follow: Top is called Main Image, and the middle is “Faded Border.”

3. Click on the “Background” layer to highlight it. Using the Canvas Size command, make your canvas the size you need, in this case it’s20x30, with a black background. You can choose any backround color you like. I just prefer black.

4. Highlight the upper layer and click on the “eye” to hid it. This makes it easier to work in the next few steps.

5. Highlight the middle layer. Don’t forget this part or you’ll be doing all the pixel stretching on the wrong layer. Yes, I did this a few times and it is very frustrating.

This is the “pixel stretching” tutorial:

6. Using the “Single Column”  or “Single Row” marquee tool, select a pixel about halfway along the length of the side. As a note, this tool selects all the pixel in that row (horizontal) or column (vertical) and looks like a single dotted line.

7.  Select the Free Transform tool. It’s under the Edit drop down menu up top, or use the “command-T” key combination. Click and hold the middle square and the drag it slightly past the edge of the canvas. Be sure to go just a touch past the edge of the canvas. Hit enter to complete the transformation.

8.  Complete for all four sides.

This is the “gradient tool” fade-to-black tutorial

9. To create the fade to black, I use the Gradient Tool. The option I have is “Black to Transparent” and check the “Reverse” box in the options panel. How much you want the fade to black depends on where you start and stop the gradient tool. I keep it simple and just start at the edge of the main photo and end at the edge of the canvas. ***You can create your own gradient by clicking on the gradient pattern in the options bar. A window comes up with all the options.

10. Now, go to the layers panel and click on the eye on the Main Image layer. Make it visible.

11. On the bottom of the layers panel, or in the Layers Properties in the Layers drop-down menu (Layer > Layer Properties > Stroke), select Stroke. A panel open with all the option. You can have a thin or thick line, choose which color you would like, have the line inside, centered, or outside. Choice is yours. Play with

For the color you’d like, click on the small color box and another window opens. This is your color Picker. To pick the color you’d like from your image, use the magnifying glass. Click on it and hover over the part of the photo with the color you’d like to make your border. Click on that and then the OK button. Your border color is now chosen.

12. Your image is complete. Use the “Save As” command to save the file to keep the changes. In Fact, at the beginning of the process, I like to use the “Save As” command at the beginning and then “command-s” along the way. I save the file as a layered PSD file so I can make changes if needed.

The process only takes about 5 minutes per image.

Here are a few tips to make the workflow smoother and save time:

  • Learn your menus
  • Learn the quick key combinations
  • Work on one photo at a time. Saves RAM and CPU time.
  • Have your colors already chosen. Having a goal at what the final image will help you zero in on the final colors quicker.
  • Play around with the application. Don’t be intimidated by Photoshop. Yes there is a lot to the program, but it is a powerful tool and using a powerful tool just takes a little practice.
  • Be flexible. While working the image, you might decide on a completely different approach.

Below is a video of the process in action. I hope it clarifies the above steps.

title=”© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography Storm clouds and raging surf at Locust Beach along Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash.”

BTW, the metal prints from Bay Photo Lab turned out absolutely gorgeous. The colors are deep and rich, the detail is phenomenal, and mounting on the wall was super easy.

But the best way to make your images the best they can be:

  • Have a goal of what your final image should look like
  • Create a plan and then execute it
  • Ask questions if you don’t have the knowledge.

Feel free to comment or ask questions.

Have a great day and thank you for stopping by and reading. All comments are appreciated.

Paul “pablo” Conrad

Pablo Conrad Photography

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Blazing Glory!! Sunsets in Bellingham, Wash.

The past few weeks have offered some blazing and glorious sunsets here in Bellingham, Wash. One of the things I like to shoot during sunsets are something different than what everyone else shoots: the sunset. It’s nice to get something better. During one particular evening, the sight of the setting Sun was too much to bear. I just had to shoot it.

Bellingham Waterfront

Sunset over the Georgia Pacific Paper Mill - Steam from the Puget Sound Energy Encogen power plant is lit by the Sun as it sets behind the old Georgia Pacific paper mill on Tuesday afternoon Feb. 7, 2017, in Bellingham, Wash. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

Sunset over the old Georgia Pacific Paper Mill – Steam from the Puget Sound Energy Encogen power plant is lit by the Sun as it sets behind the old Georgia Pacific paper mill in Bellingham, Wash. Prints are available for purchase. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

 

Click for more Bellingham Sunset Photos

An Afternoon at Mt. Baker Ski Area: It’s Black & White

Went up on Friday to #OptOutside to the Mt. Baker Ski Area east of Bellingham. Fact is, I needed to feel the crisp cold air in my lungs, view the snow-capped peaks, and hear the crunching of ice and snow underfoot.

Plus, I wanted to get the alpenglow on Mt. Shuksan. It was a beautiful clear day so no clouds in the west could block the light from the setting Sun. A LOT of people were up in the area. I would say most of them weren’t there for the skiing.

Last Rays

Sunset from Picture Lake with a view of Mount Shuksan on Friday afternoon Nov. 27, 2015, at the Mount Baker Ski Area in western Whatcom County, Wash. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

The last rays of the Sun ignite Mount Shuksan on Friday afternoon Nov. 27, 2015, at the Mount Baker Ski Area in western Whatcom County, Wash. (© Paul Conrad/Paul Conrad Photography)

In fact, many people were just enjoying the view with some sledding on the slopes of Picture Lake. Just a fun post-Thanksgiving romp in the Pacific Northwest Winter Wonderland.

Click Here for more & to Learn an Easy Way to Convert to B&W

#Supermoon over #Bellingham

It was the Supermoon on the horizon that had me rushing all over. This year’s “Supermoon” was actually one of the largest. 14% larger than the Moon when full at apogee.

The so-called Supermoon is technically a full moon when it is at perigee. Or the point closest to Earth in its orbit. On top of that, the Moon was full less than 30 minutes before it reached perigee.

First Shot – Moon Over Museum:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The super perigee Moon rises over the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Wash., on Sunday evening August 10, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – The super perigee Moon rises over the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Wash., on Sunday evening August 10, 2014. If it weren’t for the power lines, this would’ve been the shot. I think they’re incredibly distracting.

Using both The Photographer’s ephemeris and Sun Surveyor by Adam Ratana. I use both apps on my smart phone. The ephemeris is used to help me find a spot during the day time to line up a foreground subject. Then I use Sun Surveyor to find the near exact spot I should be. The big advantage SS has over TPE is that it shows the real path of the Sun or Moon as it transits the sky. TPE is a good general tool and not much else.

Second Shot – Moon Over Museum:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The super perigee Moon rising over Bellingham, Wash., on Sunday evening August 10, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – Although very similar to a photo I shot last year of a supermoon, I like this better because there are no distracting power lines.

My subject was the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Wash. It was built-in 1892 and is a beautiful red brick building with white trim. It was formerly the Whatcom County Courthouse, but a new courthouse was built and so the old one became a museum and local landmark.

One problem: getting a clear view of the museum and moon. Because of all the power lines, it’s difficult to get a good shot of the museum and moon in a line-free photo.

So as I set out looking, I came across a great view of the courthouse and I could see a touch of the moon. ONLY problem was all the power lines in the way. I was on a hill just east of Squalicum Harbor watching the Moon rise over the distant ridge line just behind the museum. I stay and shot some frames anyway for posterity. I like it at it shows the size of the moon, but the power lines are annoying.

Just One More:

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography - The super perigee Moon rising over Bellingham, Wash., on Sunday evening August 10, 2014.

© Paul Conrad/Pablo Conrad Photography – I like the glow from the Moon on the haze behind the museum. Adds a sense of mystery.

I then drove to the one spot I planned to shoot from. Clear shot of the museum and the moon. But it’s also very similar to another Supermoon shot from last year. But the big difference in this is that the moon rise was just before sunset. So the exposure was more workable. Plus, I imported into Lightroom which made the post-processing of the image even easier. I was able to get the Moon to look more natural against the tower of the museum.

Not like they’re actually rare events, I’m hoping on the next one to find a better spot. Perhaps the Twin Sisters would be a great shot with the Moon rising over them?

Prints of this image and many others available for purchase on my website Supermoon Over Museum.

View more of my images from the Bellingham area at Urban Scenes: Bellingham, Wash.

Which photo is your favorite? And why? Let me know in the comments below.

Thank you for stopping by to read and view my work. Feel free to comment, critique, or just ask questions.

Also, feel free to share and reblog, link to, and add your site in the comment section.

Paul “pablo” Conrad

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Anchor’s Aweigh: The Bellingham Youth Regatta

Saturday was a fun day. I hit the road for a shoot down in Lake Samish south of Bellingham, Wash. The 34th annual Lake Samish Swim. It’s not a big crowd draw but it was fun to shoot. Challenging, yet fun. I’ll post something Thursday about it.

Then after that, I headed to Squalicum Harbor to meet with the organizers of the 2014 Bellingham Youth Regatta. I called on Friday to secure a place on a boat. This was so I didn’t shoot from shore and get a lot of relatively lame, distant photos. Both assignments for The Bellingham Herald.

Forgive me if I get the sailing nomenclature wrong. I was in the Navy, but my ship was huge and we used different terms. I was also an electrician, not a boatswain’s mate.

Every Other One:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Racers in the FJ class turn towards the second marker after completing their turn from the first during the annual Bellingham Youth Regatta on Saturday afternoon August 9, 2014, on Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash. Dozens of youth from ages 6 and up raced in 5 categories.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Racers in the FJ class turn towards the second marker after completing their turn from the first during the annual Bellingham Youth Regatta on Saturday afternoon August 9, 2014, on Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash.

From the shore, I wouldn’t have been able to get any good images. Especially close-ups showing the faces of the competitors. The regatta was held pretty much in the middle of Bellingham Bay. I would’ve needed a super-telephoto lens to even get close. I’m glad I took the initiative.

Ahead of the Pack:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Will Beckman and Cale Simms lead the course toward the last marker in the second race of the FJ division of the annual Bellingham Youth Regatta on Saturday afternoon August 9, 2014, on Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash. Dozens of youth from ages 6 and up raced in 5 categories.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Will Beckman and Cale Simms lead the course toward the last marker in the second race of the FJ division of the annual Bellingham Youth Regatta on Saturday afternoon August 9, 2014, on Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash.

Another fortunate thing: I was placed on a boat with “The Two Bruces.” They were hilarious and gave me a few laughs. Their camaraderie was refreshing. The pilot Bruce made sure I was in the spot to get the shots I needed. Because of this I was able to get those tacking shots where the sailors really leaned over the side to make sure they didn’t tip over.

Really Leaning:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Eliza Dawson of Port Townsend leans hard while tacking during the second race of the Laser class during the annual Bellingham Youth Regatta on Saturday afternoon August 9, 2014, on Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash. Dozens of youth from ages 6 and up raced in 5 categories.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Eliza Dawson of Port Townsend leans hard while tacking during the second race of the Laser class during the annual Bellingham Youth Regatta on Saturday afternoon August 9, 2014, on Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash.

During the races, I noticed on sailer on a Laser Radial really able to complete a rolling tack by flopping to the other side of his boat. I paid close attention to him as he tacked his way towards the finish line.

Sailor Drew Bennett really pushed hard to turn his boat. He went from one side to the other like a rabbit being chased by a fox. His technique was flawless. At one point, we all thought he may go a bit too far and end up over the side.

Really Leaning Two:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Drew Bennett leans hard while tacking as he competes in the second race in the laser category of the annual Bellingham Youth Regatta on Saturday afternoon August 9, 2014, on Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash. Dozens of youth from ages 6 and up raced in 5 categories.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Drew Bennett leans hard while tacking as he competes in the second race in the laser class of the annual Bellingham Youth Regatta on Saturday afternoon August 9, 2014, on Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash.

It wasn’t until I downloaded my images back at the herald that I noticed some shots I hadn’t before. I didn’t feel comfortable chimping through my images in a small rocking boat. My mind was more focused on shooting frames and staying steady. Plus the glare off the water made it impossible.

Finding His Spot:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Casey Pickett looks for an open spot as he finishes a rolling tack during the annual Bellingham Youth Regatta on Saturday afternoon August 9, 2014, on Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash. Dozens of youth from ages 6 and up raced in 5 categories.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Casey Pickett looks for an open spot as he finishes a rolling tack during the annual Bellingham Youth Regatta on Saturday afternoon August 9, 2014, on Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash.

I think the hardest thing to do was not only get in a spot, but also get a good exposure. It is the main reason in general why I shoot in RAW. I know the old, tired argument, but the reality is, RAW gives you more latitude and for all intents and purposes, you just get a more workable file.

Against the Harbor:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Youth in the Opti racing division begin their approach to the finish line during the first race of the annual Bellingham Youth Regatta on Saturday afternoon August 9, 2014, on Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash. Dozens of youth from ages 6 and up raced in 5 categories.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – Youth in the Opti racing division begin their approach to the finish line during the first race of the annual Bellingham Youth Regatta on Saturday afternoon August 9, 2014, on Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash.

Case in point: the ability of the camera to record detail is greater than what it will write in a jpg format. This shoot made it necessary as the Sun glinting off the waves would trick the meter.  And for me to combat the tricky light, I shot on manual using the good ol’ Sunny 16 and underexposed by one stop.

For the images, I used my 80-200 exclusively. There was no need for me to bring my 17-35, but I had it in case. I really should have shot a few photos of The Two Bruces for this blog at least. Without their help, the shoot would’ve been impossible.

Full On Racing:

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald - Will Beckman and Cale Simms lead the course in the second race of the FJ division of the annual Bellingham Youth Regatta on Saturday afternoon August 9, 2014, on Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash. Dozens of youth from ages 6 and up raced in 5 categories.

© Paul Conrad/The Bellingham Herald – A plane takes off from Bellingham Airports as Will Beckman and Cale Simms (hid by sail) lead the course in the second race of the FJ division of the annual Bellingham Youth Regatta on Saturday afternoon August 9, 2014, on Bellingham Bay in Bellingham, Wash.

More images can be found on The Bellingham Herald’s website at 2014 Bellingham Youth Regatta.

Thank you for stopping by to read and view my work. Feel free to comment, critique, or just ask questions.

Also, feel free to share and reblog, link to, and add your site in the comment section.

Paul “pablo” Conrad

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