Thursday, December 30, 2010

Getting more out of a new SLR

So you've gotten a new SLR for Christmas? WOO!

Excellent choice!

But now, there are all of those knobs and buttons and dials...not to mention the meters. And everything is labeled with enough photography jargon to make your head spin. But! Do not despair! I have a pretty simple tip that can get you making more creative exposures pretty quickly and painlessly.

But first off, a jargon moment. No, no, not to add to the confusion, but to clear some up.

I remember when I first started wondering about photography. I started Googling and reading and I kept coming across terms like shutter speed, ISO and aperture. Now, I kind of got what ISO was. Because when I bought film (yes, I am old) I chose which ISO I wanted. It was how sensitive the film (and now the sensor) is to light. Ok. Shutter speed seemed pretty self-explanatory. How fast the shutter clicked. I figured the faster it clicked, the less light came into the camera. (There's more to it for both of these than I am getting into, but we can talk about those in another post, right?)

But gosh, what on EARTH was APERTURE??

Well, I am here to clear up that mystery, and then tell you how your newly-acquired knowledge of aperture can immediately help make your photos more WOW!

So inside your lens, there are blades and they can open wide to let more light in, or close down tightly to let less light in. Obviously this will affect how bright or dark your picture will be, right? It is like turning the faucet on full blast and letting a lot of water out, or just nudging it on and letting the water trickle out. Even if you leave the water on the same amount of time, you'll get a lot MORE water from the wide-open, full-blast faucet. And depending on what you're trying to do, both are viable options with pros and cons.

But, wait! There's more! Order now and you too can receive a free helping of DEPTH OF FIELD with your aperture!! Whoa, whoa...depth of WHAT? More jargon.

Have you ever seen a portrait where the subject is in beautiful, crisp focus, but the background is lovely and blurry? (If not,look at some of our stuff, we do it all the time.) It really draws the eye to the subject. But HOW? Well, the wider the opening of the lens (aperture), the smaller the area that will be in focus. So the subject will be in focus, but the background will be all out of focus. That's called Depth of Field.

Focus is sort of like a pane of glass. You set your focus, and you can imagine it makes a pane of glass that touches that area of focus. But the glass extends across the whole picture. Everything that also touches the glass will be in focus. So if you focused on the eye of the subject, but you have ANOTHER person whose eye is on that same plane, it will be in focus too! Or if there's a tree that is close to that person (think next to them, not in front or behind them), then it will be in focus. Bonus! And the wider the aperture, the thinner that glass is. Sometimes it can be RAZOR thin. Maybe the eyes will be in focus, but the ears will not be. And the smaller your aperture, the thicker the glass is. More people, further back and forward can be in focus too! It's better for group shots or landscape or architecture photography. But the background won't be as blurry.

Okey dokey! Sounds simple, right? Ok, here's the LAST tricky thing for this post. How do you know if your aperture is wide open? Or closed down and narrow? What do the numbers on the camera look like? This will sound strange but the WIDER the aperture, the smaller the number that your camera will display (f/1.8, f/2.8, f/3.5, etc.) the NARROWER the aperture, the bigger the number will be. (f/16, f/22, f/32.) I know, I know! I assumed that the WIDER aperture would be a BIGGER number. But here's why it is not. Remember those blades we talked about? They opened and closed to make the opening in the lens larger and smaller? Well, the f/number is measuring how much of THOSE are left! So, if they are dilated all way and the opening is huge, there will be almost nothing left. Maybe 1.8 mm? AHH! And if they are super closed tight and the hole is tiny, then the blades showing will be BIGGER, right? Yeah, maybe even 22 mm! ;) Oooh! We're cooking now!

So, how do we USE this information? Well, let's get your SLR off of the program mode! Change your aperture into AV (Canon) or AP (Nikon) mode. Aperture-priority baby! Now, making sure you have enough light, change your desired aperture. Try it smaller. Maybe even 3.5! Focus on your subject's eye (assuming it's your child or a person) and shoot. Look how blurry the background is! Woo! The camera will decide what to set the shutter to, in order to make a decent exposure. But you'll have taken some of the control in making a good picture. Try it! It's fun. It's also the first step towards taking manual control of your camera, which let's you really get the most out of an SLR purchase.

I know this post was long, but getting into the more creative modes on your camera will be worth it!

Monday, December 6, 2010



I am so so sorry that we had to change the contest location due to the apparent rule change on FB.

Thanks for you support.

Please contact me us at to get your free set!

Friday, December 3, 2010

The contest continues...

Sorry for the abrupt change of venue, but we just learned of the rule change on Facebook regarding contests that they issued on the 1st of this month. Sorry for the switch midstream, but we want to be sure we are abiding by the rules.

I will post the entries below, along with a number. Please vote by posting the number you are voting for. Please, only one vote per person allowed.

Thank you for your understanding. The prize will still be one single set (not an Everything set) of the winner's choice, either for themselves, or to give as a gift.

Enjoy and vote!














Thursday, December 2, 2010

What's YOUR recipe?

Ok, so here's the scoop on the new contest.

Post your before and after photo and in the comments or description post what steps you took to get there using Pure actions. We will select 10 to go on to the next round.

Those 10 will be up for voting. The pic with the most votes by Monday morning will win a free single action set (so anything but the Everything sets) to keep for their own or to give away as a gift.

Ready, set....POST!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pure Action Set 2 WINNER

Oh my GOSH that was SO close. There were a ton of votes ALL around but it came down to a neck and neck race between Nicole Watts Photography and Synethia Rosa Photography. You can tell both ladies are AMAZING photographers.

But Nicole Watts edged ahead and won.


edit 5 web

Here is the winning image and edit.

Check out Set 2, folks.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hey, wanna be our friend?

We love friends. We love chatting.

Our blog is sort of slow, because...I guess we've been doing most of our chatting on Facebook. It's a quick way to have a fairly immediate conversation with our friends and customers. We have tutorials for our YouTube channel that we post there. (Click here for our YouTube channel.) We chat, we tell people about other blogs we are featured on or that are doing giveaways with our actions. And we chat. And chat. And chat. Oh and post pictures. And sometimes flat-out giveaways.

So I just thought I would mention that, so you could come over and check us out on Facebook, because it really is a ton of fun. Or so we think. (Don't burst our bubble if you don't think it is as fun as we do. ;) )

Our FANPAGE of FUN! (Click the know you want to.)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New contest!!!

Ok, we're ready for a new contest! (Doesn't it seem like we have ADD? Yeah, I think we do too.)

Anyone that has the full version of Photoshop is eligible to enter!

Pure Photoshop Actions Set 2 is going to be released soon, and we want to do some before and afters with our fans' SOOC pictures!

You will upload a picture to our fan page and on Saturday we will pick the best 3-5--maybe more if we have a huge turnout--depending on how many entries we have! We will do a before and after with those pictures and then it will be open for voting. The person that gets the most votes will win Set 2! (Set 2 is not elements compatible at this time, so that is why we are only doing this with the full-version of Photoshop.)

So how will people vote for your image? The person with the most comments under their image on our Facebook Fan Page will be the winner! So if your image is selected and edited by us, then you'll want to get your friends and friends of your friends to comment on your pic! (We will select the first round of images to do the edits on personally, not based on comments. The comments will come into play for the finalists who have received the before/after treatment by Crystal and Rachel.)
(The pictures will also be in their own albumn so they are easier to find!)

Upload to our fan page HERE Please, please, please be sure to watermark your images.

Voting will start on Sunday and go until Wed the 24th!!

Ready set UPLOAD!!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

The WINNER is.....

Karina Vaanderin of Goldenview Photography.

Congrats! You win a HUGE prize package worth over $1K! We are contacting you as we speak!

Since she was referred by one of our vendors (Dustin Izatt Photography), we have drawn a second person for the $40 credit to Pure Photoshop Actions and that is Brooke of A Thousand Words Photography. We will be emailing you your code!

Wooo! A BIG thank you to all of our participants! Keep on the look out for our next big giveaway.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The link for our Round and Fill Freebie--free for a limited time.

Nov 12th, 2010: Thank so much for the interest in the freebie! The time has expired, but there will be more in the future! :)

Nov. 11th, 2010: Well, the run on the action maxed out the cart pretty quick.

We've moved them to a free file host for the remainder of the freebie time.

I'd like to thank everyone for being patient.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pure Black and White Action Set

You've been waiting for it, and here it is! Our Black and White action set.

We have not only included 13 different black and white actions, but we also have 3 customizers, so you can really take your black and whites in any direction you want.

Some actions will work best with certain images, while others are more universal. Our "flagship" b/w action is the BW Wonderbaby and we love this action. It is simple, clean and rich. There are brighter black and whites, and moodier ones, even ones with a "film grain" look. Try them out and see which will end up as your "signature."

Here are some examples of different actions and how they work on the same photo.




Faded BW (one of my favorites!)


BW Film Star


Golden Grain


BW Wonderbaby


Sweet Sepia at 100%


BW Mixer


BW Wonderbaby plus Warming


BW Wonderbaby plus Warmingx2


Easy-Peasy Batch BW (simple and perfect for batching)


Easy-Peasy Batch BW plus our BW customizer, darken



There are even other actions, including a few more b/ws, customizers and a vintage halftone.

If you would like to purchase this BW set, click the button on the sidebar that says Buy Pure Actions! For the moment, this set is NOT Elements compatible. A mini-set should be coming soon.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The MOTHER of all giveaways

We love love love alex michéle photography. We are so excited to be doing this giveaway with her and her awesome fans.

Remember our last SUPER ginormous giveaway? We thought it was pretty much the hugest, coolest giveaway ever. I mean we had actions. We had prop hats. We had prop beds. It was made of awesome! (Am I right here? Can I get an amen?)

Well, forget all that.

We have such a HUGE giveaway going on right now that it blows our last one out of the water.

I am sure it goes without saying that we will be giving away our Everything Pure set. Which, yes, that IS super awesome, we agree. But wait, there's more! If you win, you will get:

1) Our actions. Oh yeah. A set of Everything Pure, which is every action we have for sale. A $100 value.

2) A complete online photography course from MLK Studios valued at $495.

I (Rachel) took this course about 2 years ago, and it was AMAZING. Matthew is such a knowledgable, patient, and involved teacher, I was blown away. I felt like I learned years worth of information in just weeks and I felt totally at home with the more advanced technical aspects of photography and light in general. I loved this course and I feel really honored to get to give a course away to a lucky fan. (If you don't feel you need the class, and you win, you can give this to a friend who you think would benefit from this! But really, I am here to say, Matthew's course can be beneficial to even those who feel the understand photography.) Visit Matthew at

3) Jessica Drossin textures, pack 4 valued at $25.

This is the most recent release of her insanely beautiful textures. We love her textures and use them often. Visit Jessica at Jessica Drossin Textures.

4) Dustin Izatt Photography's album templates valued at over $100.

There are both InDesign templates, as well as Photoshop PSD counterparts. There are 6 design sizes and we use these often. They are very clean, simple, and elegant and allow your photographs to take center stage. You can also add your own embellishments to give them a little pizzaz, but they are lovely even without. Visit Dustin at Dustin Izatt Photography.

5) Picture Me Props is giving away one of her adorable new sleigh props valued at $70. Visit Picture Me Props at Picture Me Props.

I would say that newborn prop bed that we gave away last time stole the show. They are darling, but also well-made and sturdy. These props will give your photos that unique look that will set your studio apart.

6) Lil' Bean Designs will be giving away a $20 gift certificate to her store.

We love love love her hats and other crocheted items. She uses the softest yarn, and is a true artist when it comes to making itty-bitty props. We always get complimented on our gorgeous hats and throws. Love them. Visit Lil' Bean Designs at her website.

Now, I'm sure, by this point, you're asking yourself, HOW do I enter this?

That's a great question.

This giveaway will be going until alex's fanpage reaches 11K fans. So it could go for a weekend. It could go for a month. That's up to you. To enter you MUST fan alex michele photography, as well as Pure Photoshop Actions, and EACH of our AMAZING sponsors.

Once she's reached the 11K fans, we will verify that the winner has fanned all the pages. If they have not, we will select another winner.

Then, post to your own fanpage or personal FB page shouting out alex and Pure Photoshop Actions, and each of these AMAZING sponsors (linking them with an @) and inviting people to enter the giveaway. That's another entry.

But wait?? What's in it for YOU, inviting others to join? Well, it benefits you in 2 ways.

1) Make sure your friend say that YOU referred them, because even if they win, you will win a $40 credit from Pure Photoshop Actions. So, if you get 1000 people to refer you, you have an awesome chance of winning something.


2) If people don't fan alex michele's page, then the contest will go on forever! She already has over 8000 fans. So, it should not be long with so many fan pages contributing more fans.

So right click on these links and fan these pages!!! If you right click and hit open in new tab or window then it won't close this window at all ... and should only take you a minute to fan all the pages :)








Now that you have fanned all the pages, just leave a comment on this blog entry. To make it easier for you, you can just copy and past this but make sure you write who you were refered by. If you were not refered by anyone or found the giveaway because you are already a fan of one of the pages above, just put yourself, and you can give the $40 credit to a friend or family for Christmas or just because!!!

"I am a fan of Alex Michele Photography, Pure Photoshop Actions, Dustin Izatt Photography, Lil Bean Designs, Picture Me Props, Jessica Drossin Textures, and MLK studios photography course! I was refered by"

Now that you have done that.... repost this on your fan page and say that you are entered in a massive giveaway... and that you want them to enter, and say that you refereed them for a 2nd chance to win something!!!!

But what happens if you can't contain yourself and HAVE to purchase our awesome actions before the end of the contest and you win??? We will reimburse your purchase made during the contest. So, don't let this dissuade you from buying from us. (Or any of our vendors.)

Ready...... Set.... GO!!!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Purchase your Pure Photoshop Actions!!

Everything Pure for PHOTOSHOP (Templates NOT included) - $360--
Includes all of our actions for Photoshop!!!

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Everything Pure for ELEMENTS (Templates NOT included) - $360
Includes all of our actions that are Elements compatible!

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Pure Tones for PHOTOSHOP - $50

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Pure Tones for ELEMENTS - $50

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Purely Studio for PHOTOSHOP - $50

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Purely Studio for ELEMENTS - $50

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Pure Haze for PHOTOSHOP - $50

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Pure Haze for Elements - $50

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Just a Pinch for PHOTOSHOP - $50

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Just a Pinch for ELEMENTS - $50

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Pure Action Set 1 for PHOTOSHOP - $50

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Pure Action Set 1 for ELEMENTS - $50

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Pure Action Set 2 for PHOTOSHOP - $50

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Pure Action Set 2 for ELEMENTS-$50

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Spring Fever for PHOTOSHOP - $50

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Spring Fever for ELEMENTS - $50

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Pure Black and White Action Set for PHOTOSHOP - $50

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Pure Black and White Action Set for ELEMENTS - $45

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Pure Seasons for PHOTOSHOP - $40

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Pure Seasons for ELEMENTS - $40

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Cross Process that baby NOT elements compatible - $20

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Hazy Days Baby for PHOTOSHOP - $20

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Hazy Days Baby for ELEMENTS - $20

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Tilt Shift Simulation for PHOTOSHOP - $20

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Tilt Shift Simulation for ELEMENTS - $20

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Round and Fill for PHOTOSHOP - $25

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Round and Fill for ELEMENTS - $25

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Deep and Rich for PHOTOSHOP - $20

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Deep and Rich for ELEMENTS - $20

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