Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Black and White Edit

Pretty Puppy Carissa Panting on Thanksgiving. Edited and in black and white. My favorite things!

IMG_4668 edit

Go check out these challenges, and vote for me if you are able and want to. ;)

The Paper Mama

Shasta Betty

Scenic Black and White

I shot this with a Hasselblad on Kodak Tri-X 400 film (that I developed myself in a darkroom and everything. I developed prints too, but this isn’t one of those) and scanned it with my fancy new film scanner.

I think it’s rather scenic for a close portrait shot. It just goes to show that sometimes you have to lay in the grass with your (well, technically borrowed) Carl Zeiss glass and enjoy the hills.

I’m accepting donations now for the Kelly-needs-this-Hasselblad-to-expand-her-artistic-endeavors Charity (dis)Organization. Or something like that… onto the photo!


I think it’s rather moody and introspective and laid back at the same time. I loved this whole photo shoot in the parks of Yreka with that Hasselblad.

This is also an entry for the I Heart Faces weekly photo challenges, which I’m starting to enjoy on many levels. If you blog, enter photos; and if you enter photos, leave a link in the comments. I am interested to see what my readers do, and I don’t want to miss any of your entries.

Another thought… How do you feel about seeing some kind of linky-photography-contest here? I’d love to add another one of these contests to everyone’s weekly blog activities. Would you participate? Let me know!!

For now, go here to enter this contest from I heart Faces:

Love ya'all,

Shasta Betty

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Upside to photo challenges, you readers get to see mini photo posts more often.

Here’s one for eyes.  Chloe has the best puppy eyes.


The Paper Mama

I promise a tutorial soon.  By the end of the week, at least.  Most likely tomorrow, but don’t hold me to it!

Shasta Betty

Shutter Love Tuesday

Mmmm, fall.

edit 2


Monday, November 22, 2010

I Heart Faces

I’ve entered once before, but I’m hoping to make this a weekly thing, so look forward to (hopefully) weekly photo posts that are short and sweet and feature a pretty photo. :)

Theme: Paper


Friday, November 19, 2010

Photoshop Action Sets

One thing I’ve really loved lately has been finding and playing with Photoshop action sets that others have created.  It inspired me to create a few of my own, automating things I use fairly frequently.

Here’s a sneak peak at a couple of the actions I’ve finished so far, which I’ve put to use on my work.  I’m also looking for a few Beta testers who will get the actions for free.  Email me at for more details.

Onto the actions:

Action Set 1 – Glamourize
This is a nice set with actions to optimize skin, teeth, eyes and overall photo look.  It gives everything a little “bling.”

Before (this particular photo was shot by Melanie, the woman in the photo.  She just gave me permission to play with it.)




This set smoothes the skin, brightens teeth and eyes and boosts eye color as well as overall color of the image.

Another one, before




I actually love the eye action so so so much, I don’t think I’ll edit another portrait without using it again.  It’s magical.

Action Number 2, I call Try-Ex and it replicates the look of one of my favorite films.





This is one of my favorite films because it really sucks up imperfections and gives everything a vintage look.

Another Before




Action 3 – Great for sky and cloud landscapes.  I call it Roman







Action 4 - Finally, a nice vintage action.

Before.  I also used some of the glamourize actions on this before using the Vintage action.





IMG_7182 - Copy



So, that’s what I’ve been working on over the past week or so.  I’ll post more actions as I come up with them.  In the meantime, if you’d like to test these nice actions out for free as a beta tester, get in touch.  Thanks!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Camera Presets

As much as I love Photoshop, I also try to produce photos that look great straight out of the camera.  It’s nice to be able to upload photos right away and skip the whole post processing rigmarole.

One of my favorite in camera enhancers is using the picture style presets.  While I stick to Standard presets during most things, if I know I want colors to pop, or really sharp pictures, or photos with a lot of contrast, I can change this all in the picture style presets.  To find these, I recommend looking in your manual.  I’d love to throw in a menu tutorial, but my 50D varies so much from a Rebel and even more so from a Nikon, so I’ll leave this up to you.

First, some photos with the Sharpness and Saturation bumped all the way up.  Fun.  Bright.  Yummy colors.

 IMG_3866 IMG_3872 IMG_3888

Then, these have the sharpness and contrast boosted, but in black and white.  I love sharpness when shooting animals.  It really brings out the fur.

IMG_3918IMG_3946 IMG_3947

Zero time spent in Photoshop…


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Custom White Balance

I know it sounds intimidating, but custom white balance is something that will drastically improve your photos, especially if you are shooting a set where the lighting is steady during your whole shoot (or even just a good chunk of it).

I’ll break this down step by step using my Canon DSLR, my Mr’s Nikon DSLR and my Canon point and shoot.  Hopefully that will serve as a good jumping off point for most cameras, but feel free to email me if you need help.  I’ve been known to delve into in depth photography lessons when people need help.  Leave a comment, email me at or contact me through my website.

First, here’s an example of why you should use Custom WB (both shots are straight out of the camera):

On auto mode at the Brewery in Weed, which has horrific lighting.  I mean, it’s really really bad.


After spending 30 seconds setting my WB using a napkin of all things.


That’s a huge difference.  Sometimes Auto mode just doesn’t cut it.

How to set it:

Step 1 for most DSLRs is to take a close up picture of something white with minimal texture to it.  A plain piece of printer paper works.  Make sure the picture comes out completely “white,” however it will have a tint from the lighting where you are.  Hints: turn off autofocus (if your camera allows it) and try exposing for a stop or two over what the camera recommends (try manual mode, or go to the exposure compensation in your menu.)


Step 2 (Canon DSLR) – Press menu.  Go to WB and set it to Custom.  You can do this after to, but eventually you have to set it to this or you’ll be creating a custom WB for nothing.


Now go down to the Custom WB item.


This will bring up all the images on your CF card. 


Scroll through until you find the white sample image you just shot.


Hit the select button.


And confirm.  Now your white balance is set.  If you want a little more technical information, I’ll go into it at the end, but for now I’ll spare the people who aren’t strange and inquisitive like me.

Step 2 (Nikon DSLR)  This setting is a little more compact, it’s all in one menu.


With Mr’s Nikon, I press the right button to go into a menu.  So go right and scroll down to “preset."


Go right again and choose “Use Photo”


Hit the right button a couple more times to choose which folder the image you’re using is in, then you’ll bring up a menu of pictures. 


Find your sample shot and hit Enter.


All done!

Finally, Canon point and shoot.  I happen to have a 10D Waterproof camera.  No sample shot required, just go into a normal screen in Program mode and hit the middle button to bring up settings.  Note: Custom WB doesn’t work in all shooting modes.  Some modes, such as underwater, have preset the white balance for you.


Scroll down to the white balance icon, then go left until you bring up the custom symbol.  My camera asks that you point at something white and press Disp to set the custom WB.  It’s pretty similar to using the color select feature.

Simple enough, you should be taking white photos now.

Warning: Technical Stuff!!

Okay, it’s not actually that technical.  Setting your custom white balance is all a matter of telling the camera “This is White” – a decision it makes on its own in Auto WB mode.  Much like in Photoshop’s camera raw, it reads what should be a white object and then adds or subtracts tints until white things are truly white. 

There are other more complicated ways of setting white balance based on light temperature and Kelvins, which is what sets the white balance when you use other settings such as Tungsten, Florescent or Cloudy.  This is more of a studio photography thing, and not something I want to learn at this point in my career.  I’m pretty happy with custom and auto white balances.

Well, hope you learned something.  Feel free to ask if you want to know more.

Thank you and Love you for sticking through that whole post.

Betty West aka KLS Photography

Scanning Film

I got this little toy for my birthday, so I’m working on digitizing all my film.  It’s going to take… forever.  And ever.


Nice upside down shot.  I assume you get it.  Ha, I just have to stop and laugh at myself a little.  Ha.  Okay, I’m good now.

So far, I’ve only done a couple frames, all of which were from film of my Grandpa’s sometime during or after WWII.  The scanner comes with software that restores photos and removes scratches.  I opted not to use it because I like that this looks old, but I might apply it in the future.  Enjoy!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Photoshop, a before and after

I’m getting more and more into using Photoshop actions, as well as adding textures.  Layer masks and I have become good, good friends…  Here’s a couple quick before and afters of things I’ve been playing with.



After playing with levels and adding a couple textures.  Very important: using layer masks or the healing tool with textures.  Not all textures look good on skin.

IMG_1378 texture

Before… flat.


I rendered spotlight to brighten the center of this photo and then amped up the saturation of the reds.

IMG_2161 edit

Most of my work is still straight out of the camera, but I’m starting to like Photoshop more and more.  I’ve also been working on creating some of my own actions (In part because I can’t afford to buy some of the great sets out there, but also because I can achieve the effect on my own, but it’s nice to automate it).

Looking ahead:  I got a film scanner for my birthday, so I’ll be working on digitizing my film work.  :)