Time for a new MCP Actions Contest: Win a Tracy Joy Camera Bag

THE PRIZE: I took a break from contests for a few weeks.  And I bet you miss them. So here is a super fun contest where you have a chance to win a Tracy Joy’s all NEW “Joey” Camera Bag $72 value.  This bag is her coined “Mamarazzi bag” as it can be used as a diaper bag or camera bag – or for you moms with babies (both).

The winner will get to choose a black or brown bag and pick a fun fabric cover too.

HOW TO ENTER THE CONTEST: In the comment section directly on the blog, please post your favorite photography or photoshop tip or piece of advice.  It can be one you learned hear or elsewhere.  You can summarize – it does not have to be a huge tutorial.  Winner will be drawn at random on Friday, November 14th. Check back daily to read everyone’s tips and advice.

Please only enter once.  I approve blog messages.  So it may not show immediately. Entries must be posted to the blog.  If you subscribe via email – you need to log on to comment. Do not reply directly to me please.

Tracy Joy makes amazing bags. Here are a few details about the camera bag prize.

  • the Joey is convertible! It can be worn as a regular shoulder, or messenger bag, but also easily converts into a backpack!
  • comfortably holds your dslr camera body (with lens attached),and 2 add’l lenses. Or 1-2 Lens plus: flash, light meter, etc.
  • Your choice of one ERIN flap, made with a designer print of your choice (see my fabric selection below)
  • SIZE: 8″W x 8″L x5″D
  • Two (2) interior side, padded pockets. Great for your lenses!.
  • Your SLR camera fits neatly, and snuggly in the center of the bag
  • Interior lined with nylon oxford, giving waterproof protection
  • Here are the fabric options for the flap…

Jodi Friedman, MCP Actions

Jodi Friedman is the founder of MCP Actions. She designs popular Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets that make editing faster, easier and more fun.

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  1. 1
    Christina says:

    In photoshop, there are many different ways of achieving the same thing.

  2. 2
    Heather says:

    My favorite Photoshop tip is to hold down the Shift key, depending on the tool being used, holding down the Shift key offers additional functionality.

  3. 3
    ashpags says:

    The best thing I ever learned was how to change white balance in the camera. I know it’s possible on the computer, but it’s nice to have one less step in the editing process. =)

  4. 4
    Candace S says:

    Before you take a photo – check all your camera settings – AV/TV/Manual mode, ISO, white balance, aperture, shutter speed – everything. Also, always carry an extra battery – major bummer when it dies and you forgot – like I did at the beach last weekend right when the light was perfect :(

  5. 5
    Julia Brown says:

    My favorite piece of photography or Photoshop related advice… I asked my husband this question, because I have so many little tidbits of advice along the way that I’ve received, it’s hard to pick just one.

    He made me laugh when he said (in a not-so-pleasant-tone) “Never move the camera right after taking the shot.” Sometimes he assists me on photo shoots and often he will trip the shutter while moving the camera too quickly to see the shot on the LCD. Arrrgg!! I don’t need to tell you what happens when you do that too quick; you end up with a blur or smearing of your subject. So that’s my favorite mantra when he’s got a camera in his hand.

    As for my favorite Photoshop advice… I learned right here from Jodi’s blog (MCP) and her “Watch me work tutorial” on “Stretching Your Canvas.”

  6. 6
    Stephanie says:

    This is one I just heard. Its simple. As I look at photos (good & bad) I realize is true…

    Don’t crop through joints

  7. 7
    Pam Breese says:

    Last week when you showed how to adjust opacity by simply clicking on the word and sliding. That has changed my worflow so much! How did I miss that one?!

  8. 8
    Carol says:

    Being not a professional photographer, just a happy snapper, my photography tip is to take way more photos than you think necessary. It’s easier to delete rather than to wish you had taken more.

  9. 9
    Haley Warner says:

    I love to use the unsharp mask tool in Photoshop to finish off my photos, especially for the web.. you have to be careful to not over-sharpen, but just the right amount makes any photo pop! :)

  10. 10

    My favorite photoshop tip is to always saved an uncropped version of an edited picture, that way if a client chooses to order a photo in a different crop ratio than what you originally showed them, you don’t have to re-edit your photo.

  11. 11
    Amy says:

    I love the liquify tool. You can open and close eyes and move skin back to where it should be. :o)

  12. 12
    Guera says:

    This blog is a great new discovery to me – I love the actions! And you have giveaways too – how cool!

    My favourite Photoshop tip is a basic one (since I’m fairly new to it) – put every separate brush, adjustment, stroke, whatever on its own layer. It’s much easier to come back and change and move everything around afterwards. :)

  13. 13
    Jill says:

    The best piece of advice that I have learned is to get down to their level. It’s something that I make myself remember every time I shoot now.

  14. 14
    Meggan says:

    My favorite tip is when you want to change the opacity of your brush rather than clicking the number or using the slider I just hit “enter” on the bottom row of my mac and it selects that box and I type in the number — it takes out the need of even using my mouse. I’m a fan of shortcut keys in general – I feel like they cut my processing time in half just because I don’t have to find what I want – I just type it in… shift + apple + n = new layer… I could go on :) I love Tracy’s bag and so hope I win!!

  15. 15
    Jodie says:

    I think my favorite tip and it might be beginner, but that is what I am is, is to use the lowest f-stop to get a great blurry background if that is what you are going for.

  16. 16
    Brandon says:

    The best advice that I got was that cameras are just tools, it is the photographer that makes them magical. After that I never spent time on wondering which camera to buy, but more on what and how to shoot something.

  17. 17
    Stefanie says:

    The best tip I received was to wear white for good catchlights in your subjects. It works great!

  18. 18
    Janene says:

    THe best photoshop tip has been MASKING!! Seriously, I don’t know how I got away with just using the eraser for so long. . . oh yeah, my editing was horrible!! The best photography tip I have learned is how to custom white balance (it has saved my life in studio and outdoors in natural life.

  19. 19 says:

    mcp magic skin rocks!!

  20. 20
    Allison says:

    The best tip I have listened to is: Shoot in Manuel. It makes the biggest difference.

  21. 21

    my best photography tip would have to be,”Shoot from the heart and the images will follow.” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know what clients want to see. They simply want those memories; the smile, the eyes, the moment!

  22. 22
    Beth says:

    I like putting my subject in the shade and making sure that all the background that will be captured in the shot is also in shade. With the white balance on shade setting too, the colors are the richest and the picture is more evenly lit.

  23. 23
    John P says:

    If you’re taking photos that you care about, shoot in RAW. If you’re just snapping for fun, shoot in JPG. RAW is a lot more forgiving if you didn’t get the shot you were initially looking for. For a family trip to the zoo, it probably doesn’t matter. But for the first birthday, you’ll care a lot more and may be thankful that you shot in RAW.

  24. 24

    Always check your histogram and believe in yourself!!

  25. 25
    Sharon says:

    If you hold your mouse over opacity and fill in Photoshop and drag either right or left you can change the percentages without going in and dragging the slider bar.

  26. 26
    Wendy M says:

    My tip would be to be sure to take a snapshot after every major change or running actions. You can’t take too many. That way, if something should go wrong, you can always go back to the last snapshot without losing all your changes. It’s also great to use the snapshot when trying out new actions. You can easily switch between snapshots to see the variations of your actions.

  27. 27
    Wendy says:

    my favorite photoshop that I love the most. . . photoshop is forgiving.

  28. 28
    Ann says:

    LOVE THE BAG – and advice :) If you want to be a hobbiest, act like a hobbiest, BUT if you want to be a professional you need to treat yourself like one and everyone else will too.

  29. 29
    Jenn says:

    My favorite photography tip: focus on the eyes!!!

    Favorite photoshop tip- to zoom in or out just hit command +/command -. It saves all the time of having to use the magnifying glass tool. This is really fast when trying to zoom in to check on sharpening.

  30. 30
    Niki from CA says:

    To never stop learning and progessing and trying something new.

  31. 31
    Jordan says:

    I was also going to commment about my love for short cut keys, but I don’t want to duplicate tips. I will say that the most important things I learned were to, first, be ruthless in your editing before a shot even gets to photoshop. A bad photo is a bad photo, whether or not you photoshop it. Secondly, a little Photoshop goes a long way. I was SO excited when I first got the program, that for about a week my finished shots looked horribly over processed.

  32. 32
    Whitney says:

    As an amateur, I’d have to say my favorite tip in Photoshop is using the unsharp mask with the magnetic lasso on eyes to enhance catchlights – truly works wonders!

  33. 33
    jeneanne says:

    My favorite hint was from here…it was the one where you said that you could use the marquee tool to select part of the picture and then ctrl. T to transform it and stretch it to fill the frame. This has been a huge timesaver when the background has been just slightly too small and then I just stretch it to fit! Love this bag…hope I win!

  34. 34
    Debbie Grammer says:

    Shooting in manual and learning all the setting has been an eye opener for me. The posibility with Photoshop are endless.

  35. 35
    Jami says:

    make each adjustment in a seperate layer, so you can easily undo an edit.

  36. 36
    Shelby A. says:

    The best tip that I heard when I was first starting out with photography is to be aware of your background. Leave out things that are distracting–like houses, poles, other people, etc and make it clear to the viewer what the subject is in your photo. Angling yourself just a little to one side or the other can make a huge difference!

  37. 37
    SandraC says:

    When working in Photoshop, layers layers layers!!

  38. 38
    Lindsay says:

    I love the left and right bracket keys to adjust the size of your brush. I can’t tell you how much I use that little tip!!!!

  39. 39
    Emily says:

    The best advice I’ve received: to get the best shots of kids is to get down on their level and always focus on their eyes.

  40. 40
    Karol says:

    My favorite photoshop tip is to use the [ and ] buttons to change the diameter of the brush you are using. Really helps you get in close to the edges :)

  41. 41
    Mandi says:

    My best advice: white balance adjustments. How I hate fluorescent lighting and all that pee-yellow color. Cool it down, and voila. Much better.

  42. 42
    Heather M says:

    My favorite tip…is when you need lighen a face slightly…just lasso around the face…set the feather to about 150-200 and then use a curves adjustment layer to slightly enhance the exposure of the face.

  43. 43
    Bambi Caldwell says:

    My favorite tip was how to use Touch light/Tough of Darkness! I love this tool and how it can help bring out skin colors and darken things around the person to make them really stand out!! Great tool to go wit ha great camera! I also loved learning about how to use curves because it helps to know how to use it!

  44. 44
  45. 45
    Kyla says:

    My favorite piece of advice is to anticipate the shot. If you have the camera ready and can anticipate the emotional moments, you can sell photos. Clients love when their photos truly capture the feelings of their loved ones.

  46. 46
    elizabeth says:

    what a great giveaway! my bag is old and tired and I need an update.

    I love the selective color tool in photoshop. one of my clients is a lover of the color orange. We photographed her son sitting with a red train caboose the the background. So I went to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Selective color. I chose “Red” from the drop down menu and played with the sliders. I had an orange background in about 10 seconds flat! nothing like making the client happy with a trick in Photoshop. :)

  47. 47
    Jenney says:

    I’m not a huge photoshop user (I just bought PSE7 if that tells you anything) but the biggest thing I’ve learned is that you can combine different actions to get a million different looks. I used to think that you should only use one action per photo but I’ve recently realized (duh!) that if you combine actions, you can get a great look!

  48. 48
    Jessica C says:

    I love to use the shortcut ctrl+alt+N to make a new transparent layer… It’s great and saves time.

  49. 49

    I love this tip.. it works with any version of photoshop (and elements) and great for 99% or your photos….

    1st thing after opening (assuming you are not doing pp in acr) is to duplicate your layer then on the duped background layer filter/unsharp mask with the settings at amount=20% radius=60 and threshold =0.. This is great for getting the saturation/pop and some low level sharpening … here’s a wonderful example from my p&s (a Canon SD800)

    I love blog posts like this.. I always pick up lots of tips… thanks!


  50. 50
    Gina N says:

    Brackets Brackets!! I love using brackets to increase an decrease my brush size!! Thanks for that tip Jodi!

  51. 51
    Stacey J says:

    As a Photographer just starting out I don’t have many tips that I can think of at the moment but, I always find it helpful when I remember to take off the lens cap:)

  52. 52
    Tami Chrostowski says:

    First and most important tip I got was to READ my manual! Next, was to learn to shoot in Manual and be able to understand all the settings and how they relate to each other. Reading and re-reading Understand Exposure caused me more than one Aha moment.
    One of my latest tips that I was able to use was from Phaunt- using the patch tool to get rid of under eye circles, what a difference! Love that bag, by the way.

  53. 53
    robin says:

    Get all the little moments – even those you think are ‘throw-aways’ (the shot where the naked baby pees all over everything, the kid is screaming, etc.) One of my favorite shots of my son is one in which he’s screaming at the top of his lungs with a tear in one eye – it makes us laugh (and thankful) when we remember those early, oh-so-colicky days.

  54. 54
    Claire R says:

    One of the best tips I’ve learned here, is to use ColorInc for my printing. Their turnaround is super fast, and their quality is beautiful. Thanks for turning me on to their website!

  55. 55
    Susan says:

    The thing I’ve been doing so much lately is using your touch of light and touch of darkness. I always wondering how people got the dark edges. Thanks!

  56. 56
    Tori says:

    The best tip I received was to shoot in RAW instead of JPEG. It made such a wonderful difference when it came to processing my photos. I’ll never go back now. And thanks for the giveaway, this bag is on my Christmas list. :-)

  57. 57
    Bettie says:

    Photography & perspective – angles and composition make a difference in a shot. Don’t stand in the same spot everyone else would (or is) standing – move your feet. Get on the ground, stand up higher, shift to the right or left – get a different perspective. I am known to be found on the ground and get lots of stares! LOL

  58. 58
    Kristie says:

    One of my favourite tools in photoshop is using the ‘F’ key. It allows you to see your work in either a window, a grey background canvas, or a black background canvas giving a much better idea of how your work sits without the window border interfering with the look. I use the F key all the time and love it.

  59. 59
    Tina says:

    The best shortcuts ever for me are the simplist shift – to make an image smaller and shift + to make it larger and control T for free transform!

  60. 60
    Crystal says:

    The best piece of advice I’ve gotten comes from a quote:
    “Photography is about depth of feeling; not depth of field”. Learn your craft well enough to shoot without having to think. If you shoot with your heart, your work will always be full of emotion.

  61. 61
    Dana Stone says:

    Space bar- hold to move around without having to zoom out and rezoom.

    And my favorite tip! Learn to create shortcuts. Make one for something you always need (for me it was making a snapshot of where I was) or learn one that is already set.

  62. 62
    andrea says:

    in photoshop, changing color saturation by individual colors not just the master saturation.

  63. 63
    Johanna says:

    I don’t know if it’s exactly a tip, but the biggest time saver in PS I have found is using Eye Doctor (thank you Jodi!). It does everything exactly the way I was taught to do it manually, but in an instant. I use it on 90% of my images and I couldn’t live without it! Go for the timesavers!!

  64. 64
    Kris says:

    Learning correct exposure is the #1 rule!

  65. 65
    Heidi says:

    When I was first starting and struggling with clarity, I read that in order to help eliminate camera shake you should always set your SS to at least twice the length of your lens… I usually try to go a little higher if I have enough light :)

  66. 66
    evie says:

    The best piece of advice I ever got was when I first started. Someone told me to get a prime lens and shoot with that as it would force me to be more creative and active in my picture taking. I have never looked back. TO this day, I still shoot with a prime 90% of the time and for me, I feel like I get more involved with the process!

  67. 67
    Jennifer says:

    My photography advice that I used and learned today actually is when focusing and working with large groups – use MULTIPLE focus points, instead of just one – this helped SOOO much in making sure not just ONE person is in focus but that the group is! :)

  68. 68
    Melissa says:

    Masking is a blessing! Also, just recently switched to shooting Jpeg and Raw and am loving it~

  69. 69
    Hana says:

    I just found some amazing info about the Clarity slider(CS3) in Camera Raw
    that changed all my photo editing today. It comes from an article by Ethan G. Salwen.
    What Clarity Does
    The Clarity control increases or decreases contrast in the midtones
    of an image without significantly affecting the highlights
    and shadows. This, as every photographer knows, is amazing stuff.
    It has also been possible for some time with a bulky Photoshop
    process. But nothing beats the single slider ease of Clarity, and the
    Clarity functionality is actually more robust than the Photoshop
    technique……..Some photographers apply a standard Clarity setting to all
    images—sometimes as much as +10. This can be dangerous. As
    Rinckenberger explains, “The Clarity tool can be the enemy to
    smooth textures, as it can enhance blemishes, bags under eyes and
    unflattering shadows.” What’s more, he points out, there are valuable
    uses for reducing Clarity. “A negative Clarity value can have
    a very pleasing effect not unlike the Photoshop Diffuse filter or
    other smoothing techniques.”
    The lesson is clear. A one-setting, all-image approach to using
    Clarity is potentially problematic and certainly doesn’t take
    full advantage of the tool. While Rinckenberger says that even
    a low Clarity setting can be the enemy, he’s quite comfortable
    using Clarity at +100 for the right image. Clearly, the trick to
    working with Clarity lies in thoughtful evaluation of the subject
    “Be especially careful about applying Clarity to skin, portraits
    or images that require significant smoothness to have the
    most appeal,” Rinckenberger advises. Given this, it might be
    helpful to think of the Clarity control as your “Roughen Filter.”
    It’s usually not a bad idea to roughen up a rock, but you generally
    don’t want to roughen up a bride. Adding punch to an image
    is nice, but punch isn’t worth exaggerating blemishes.
    This made such a difference to how I used it ! (article from aftercapture mag. available online)

  70. 70
    Sharie says:

    The patch tool in Photoshop for under-eye bags! I learned it on the [b] school blog. Duplicate your background layer. Select the patch tool and draw around the bags/dark circles under the eyes, and drag the selection to a clean patch of skin. Then reduce the opacity of the layer by about half so the people don’t look like zombies!

  71. 71
    Casey Cooper says:

    My favorite Photoshop tip is to use the bracket keys to increase/decrease the size of your brush. Major time savor.

    My favorite Photography tip is to lightly run your finger down the bridge of a baby’s nose (and lightly across the eye lids) to get them to close their eyes.

  72. 72
    Melissa says:

    I shoot in RAW every time! I love it and it’s so forgiving if you may have a photo here and there that need some help. Also, if you take the time to get your settings right before the picture you will spend way less time in the post editing process. This is something that has reduced my workflow drastically!

    Quick tip on masking……..if you are draging a photo over to a template and the picture is too big, do ctrl T to transform it, get the size you want and with that layer highlighted choose your marque tool to outline the part of the picture you want to keep. Once you are satisfied with the size of the picture, click the add a new mask tool at the bottom of your menu(be sure the layer the picture is on is highlighted) and there ya go a perfectly outlined picture!

  73. 73
    Angie says:

    Selecting highlights, midtones or shadows separately by using the select – color range – and choosing one of the 3 under the drop down. Love it!

  74. 74
    Laraine Davis says:

    The best advice I’ve received for taking photographs is to “look for the light.” It makes all the difference in the world!

  75. 75
    Alisa Conn says:

    Best tip – use curves and brighten up the face area.

  76. 76
    Adrianne says:

    It’s a simple one but one I use every time. Holding down the ctl and + or – key quickly makes the photos larger or smaller. So handy when you are cloning or masking.

  77. 77
    Aggie says:

    One tip in post-processing, defog!! I have an action called Defog (u can do it manually) that I use in every photo – it makes every picture clearer and sharper!

  78. 78
    Kate in OH says:

    My best of photography advice is to use the rule of thirds while shooting. And to also have the subjects eyes on the intersections. Just makes all images more pleasing to the eye.
    My favorite photoshop advice is to use the brackets to make the brush size larger or smaller. Oh, and how to use the patch tool! Thanks, Jodi!

  79. 79
    Olivia says:

    My best Photoshop tip is to always work with layers and make adjustments on them, rather than your original background.

  80. 80
    Shelia Stone says:

    Best tip on cutting down your time in post processing…Hot keys and batching and batching and more batching!

  81. 81
    tanybug says:

    my tip is to start shooting in RAW format if you do not already. You will see an immediate improvement in your photos, and you will be able to adjust any issues you may have in a shot if the exposure or white balance isn’t quite right, far more easily than if you shoot jpeg. Give it a try, I promise you won’t look back!

  82. 82
    Barb says:

    Oh my… I love using the brackets for making the brushes bigger and smaller – that’s been a lifesaver! But I think my favorite tip is to resize and sharpen your photos for web viewing; it makes such a huge difference in how the photo looks!

  83. 83
    Shana says:

    Besides loving the ease of the MCP magic print it boards, I just learned a neat way to make shaped bokeh from Amy-Rose King with a craft paper punch. I just bought my first DSLR (Canon 50D)and would really like to win this bag. It is beautiful!

  84. 84

    My best tip I recieved in photography was to be aware of the light and try to set the right exposure in camera.

  85. 85
    Allyson says:

    Best thing I learned was from Julie Parker…a little camera tilt goes a LONG way when taking portraits. And I love the editoral look it gives the pictures!

  86. 86
    Allyson says:

    And photoshop tip is how to use your ” TOUCH OF LIGHT_TOUCH OF DARKNESS” and the “how to use info”…I use it in everysingle one of my pictures to brighten eyes, and add a darker edge.

  87. 87
    Laurie says:

    My favorite tip is that we should let the subject “change” us….not the other way around. I want to capture the natural moments not force my clients to sit, smile, pose a certain way.

  88. 88
    LauraM says:

    One of the best things I heard was to take photos that “speak” to you. Rather than taking photos you think other people will enjoy, take photos that YOU enjoy taking.

  89. 89
    Carrie says:

    My best photoshop tip is to use actions to save time. What I do for each session that I am proofing is make a new action for the whole process start to finish. This includes having my action run other actions I have made for myself (like my defog values) all the fab MCP actions that I always use on my images like eye doctor and dentist and my super favorite free MCP action touch of light! I have it make the various layers I know I want etc. I put in stops for when I need to do my retouching and then run it to have it save my psd file then flatten and save as a jpeg and so on. This saves oodles of time when you are retouching a bunch of images!

  90. 90
    Gina says:

    My favorite photography advice is to shoot from different angles…getting above your subject, or on the same eye-level with children. In Photoshop, it’s layers and the “Snapshot” tool in the history pallette! That little tool saves me so much time!

  91. 91
    ~Jen~ says:

    The patch tool can be your best friend! It’s awesome for under-eye circles, but also for cleaning up backgrounds,too!

  92. 92
    jodie says:

    The best thing I’ve learned is to use my 50mm 1.4 lens more often…it gives great crisp photos, perfect for portraits! Thanks for the giveaway!

  93. 93
    apryl says:

    one of my favorite photoshop tips is using the patch tool for removing/decreasing undereye circles (learned it here on the mcp blog) & one of my biggest tips in photography is to learn how to set your white balance correctly to have great images!

  94. 94
    Gail says:

    The best tip I’ve learned in Photoshop is masking! I can’t believe how much erasing I was doing before I finally learned how to properly use a mask.

  95. 95
    Kelly Simpson says:

    I think my favourite was your tip to use the stamp tool set to lighten & reduced opacity to remove undereye circles. Use that ALL the time!

  96. 96
    Nikki Spreen says:

    I just found this site from Tracy Joy…LOVE IT!! I guess my advice would be don’t be afraid to get higher than the kids you are shooting and get them to look up. Makes some awesome closeups.

  97. 97
    Sandie Waters says:

    White reveals : Black conceals
    That is my favourite – I also just learned ctrl + backspace to fill … awesome … I swear I learn something new every day.
    And thank you to all those who commented with their tips/shortcuts as I am learning from you too!

  98. 98
    Susan says:

    Oh wow – so many great tips here!! First off – your tutorials are just great. I’m a seasoned photoshop user, due to web experience, but it’s nice to see your tutorials and learn a trick or two from you and know that I’m still doing things right!!

    My favorite tip I learned when I first started out was from another photographer and we were talking about editing a photo. And she said if I had to spend more then 45 seconds on a picture in editing – then it really wasn’t printable and I should move on. It has made my work flow so much better.

  99. 99
    Michelle says:

    Something I just learned that is helpful in newborn sessions is to use a heating pad to heat up the blanket you’re going to put the naked baby on. The baby will snuggle right into the warmth and stay asleep.

    Great bag!

  100. 100
    Michelle says:

    My favorite tip had to be to search for actions like the MCP ones when I was just starting to use Photoshop.

  101. 101
    Angela says:

    My favorite bit of advice I have been given and can give is to really focus on the eyes (and what they are reflecting!) – sharp eyes will lead you to believe that the entire image is razor sharp and draw you right to the subjects face. The Eye doctor / dentist actions will perk up your entire image every time!
    I must say, many a great image look flat and uninteresting because of the lack of reflection and sharpness in the eyes.

  102. 102
    LaRell says:

    Best tip for becoming a better photographer. Take a picture of something everyday. The more you take the better you get.
    Best action I have found is touch of light/touch of dark followed closely by eye doctor and magic powder on the skin. MCP actions rock!

  103. 103
    anita says:

    what a great giveaway! and love the sharing of tips.
    one general piece of advice i appreciate is to shoot for yourself, and develop your own style. it’s easy to get sucked into shooting how you *think* your clients want you to shoot, or to try to mimic someone else. but if you start with what works for you, then everything else will fall into place, and you’ll have clients choosing you for your own personal style.

  104. 104

    When working with masks in Photoshop – if you click the “” key, it will show you what your brush has actually effected in Red. To turn it off, just hit the “” key again. I use it all the time. It beats blindly using the brush and helps show you spots you might have missed. I just stumbled on this by accident. :)

  105. 105
    gina says:

    photography: fill the frame photoshop: learn to use layers

  106. 106
    Shaila Hardy says:

    I haven’t been at this for very long, so I don’t feel that I have much advise to offer. The only thing I can say is if your new and not shooting in manual mode, do it. You’ll learn fast and have a lot of ‘aha’ moments.

    If you’re new to photoshop, just search this blog, and start learning. I’ve probably gained the most from this site!

  107. 107
    Ro says:

    My favorite photography tip while shooting small children, is ever so tactfully ask the parents to take a walk or leave the room…you will have much better luck with children when parents are MIA. :)

  108. 108
    Melanie says:

    The most important thing I’ve learned is that photography is all about the light – always think about where your light is coming from and how it affects your subject.

  109. 109

    The best advice or tip I have ever been given was to shoot in RAW. That way you can change your white balance (if goofed up) in photoshop as well as your exposure. RAW rocks!

  110. 110
    Bobbi says:

    I’m new to your blog from Tracy Joy, one of the better photography tips I have received is to get down on their level and capture things from their perspective.

  111. 111
    Mellissa says:

    I find that when I photograph kids of any ages, I get on their level and they are always great shots.

  112. 112
    Denise in MN says:

    I am very new to photoshop, but my best piece of advise is to practice, practice, practice and mess around with all the settings and you will be amazed at what photoshop can do!

  113. 113
    Kara says:

    My favorite is for blown spots without damaging pixels by using the burn tool! Use a soft light layer with a 50% neutral gray fill, use white to lighten areas and black to darken, works just like the burn/dodge tool, but you’ve saved your pixels!

  114. 114
    Kristine says:

    LOVE Tracy’s bags and LOVE your stuff, too! :) I have several things that have helped me with my photography: Shoot in RAW, try to get it right in camera, be aware of the light & surroundings while shooting (something that I struggle with because I get so caught up in taking/getting the pic, work and save in layers, use the marquee tool and contol T to stretch the background… I could go on and on! :)

  115. 115
    Kim says:

    My best advice is to always save your original work. Make a copy to do any editing with. Never edit the original. That way you can always come back to it if you need.

  116. 116

    I’m not good with technical terms, but you showed how you could go into the layers palette, make a new layer, and continue on to make a brush to lighten areas of your photograph. It’s saved several of my pictures already! Thank you, thank you, thank you! P.S. Pick me for the bag ;) !

  117. 117
    Shawnee Pedraza says:

    When taking photos of children try talking to them about things their interested in instead of “directing” them too much. Your shots will be more candid!

  118. 118
    Judith says:

    My favorite tip that I’ve learned? “Once you go RAW, you never go back!”

  119. 119
    Shannon says:

    Ctrl Alt Z to step backwards. I was going to edit and choosing step backwards until just a coulple of days ago. This saves me a lot of time :)

  120. 120
    Sarah says:

    In the short nine months of learning to take a better photograph. I think learning patience is so important. For me anyway lol
    As I am a mother of six and sometimes it is hard… Because when I am to busy trying so hard to get that perfect shot I end up not getting it at all.

    My favorite tool would have to be the dodge tool. I have learned that it is great for highlights and catch tones. The eyes say so much.

    I just want to say, as a newbie to photography all these tips that have been posted are quiet helpful.
    I don’t have to much support or advice. I am pretty much teaching myself. This is great, thank you! =)

  121. 121
    Candice says:

    When taking pet photos, always try to be eye level to them. You really do get the best shots this way.

  122. 122

    Wow, LOVE the looks of that camera bag…gorgeous :D! I would have to say my tip for photoshop is that it is nice that you don’t have to be a pro at using it (sure it helps), but you can create things no matter how skilled you are. Which I really like :)!


  123. 123
    crystalyn says:

    photoshop tip…gently color tone using individual color channels in curves.

  124. 124
    Jennifer says:

    A recent tip I learned: non-destructive dogde and burn by adding a 50% grey layer!!!!!!

  125. 125
    Leigh Ann says:

    For me, the best tip I have gotten is White Balance! Do Custom, you won’t regret it!!

  126. 126
    Diane Stewart says:

    I love these tips. As a beginning photographer, these tips are fantastic. The best tip I have learned so far, is to get close up to the subject. I now take pictures from all angles.

  127. 127
    Jenn H. says:

    My favorite photoshop tip is the touch of light touch of darkness action. It’s saved many of my photos that I might not have been able to use otherwise!

  128. 128
    Erin says:

    There are no tips and tricks to the perfect photograph. Photoshop and photography techniques can enhance the beauty or salvage the good. But perfect photographs are created when the stars align, the moment seizes. When life happens and you are there to preserve it. So pick up a camera and live your life!

  129. 129
    Melanie says:

    My fave PS tip: Edit keyboard shortcuts to set up a shortcut for Flatten Image. This saves so much time since I generally have to do this several times on a single image.

  130. 130
    HilaryShir says:

    I am going to learn so much by reading the comments! I was thrilled to learn how to resize and sharpen for the web. Thanks for the giveaway!

  131. 131
    RebeccaE says:

    My favorite tip, especially when I was first starting out, was to remember to consciously frame my subject. One thing I did was ALWAYS center the subject. Now I experiment with the rule of thirds. Another thing I did was leave a lot of space over someone’s head, so their face was directly in the center of the picture. Now I make sure to put the top of their head at the top of the picture.

  132. 132
    Tonya Dreher says:

    Just one of my fave tips for photography is that putting the subject in the center of the photo is NOT always the best place!

  133. 133
    Aimee says:

    My absolute favorite tip (and probably most often used) is using the patch tool to take care of the under eye dark circles. What a life saver and it still looks natural!!!

  134. 134
    Christi Beavers says:

    Deffinatley the unsharp mask. A little goes a long way, but done carefully around the eyes will make a fabulous photo even better. By far, my favorite photoshop process :)

  135. 135
    Melissa Draper says:

    My best ever photography tip is to RELAX! I get so stressed trying to get the perfect pictures that my kids get stressed, too. When I just play with them, it all seems to work a lot better. Not technical advice by any means, but it sure has helped me!

  136. 136
    Maureen says:

    Shoot in manual, take lots of shots, and trust your instincts!

  137. 137
    NIsh says:

    To fix an underexposed image: Hit Ctrl + J (on the background layer) to duplicate the layer. Change the mode of the new layer to screen. Then adjust opacity slider for the level of brightness.

  138. 138
    Kelly Baxter says:

    One of my favorite things I’ve learned is using the sponge tool to get rid of color hues in my whites – especially out of wedding gowns which tend to have a lot of blue to them!!!

  139. 139
    Nicole says:

    Learn the quick keys…this saves you time, and in the end, money when editing a shoot.

  140. 140
    Jennifer N says:

    I am fairly new to photoshop and Jodi has taught me a lot of tips from her one on ones tutorials. One of the things I do all the time is take “snapshots” of my editing in the history palette. It helps me just back to certain steps without having to search and click on every history bar, just snapshots.

  141. 141
    Cindy says:

    Having been working with Holiday Card templates lately, I have found a new love with the free transform tool (ctrl + alt + t). You can use a clipping mask to insert your image into the template, then use the free transform tool for quick resize!

    PS: This thread is so helpful. Love reading everyones little tips!

  142. 142
    Karen says:

    favorite photography tip: watch for the catchlight in the subject’s eyes – makes the image so much more interesting!

  143. 143
    laurel says:

    My favorite photoshop trick is using the unsharp mask to make eyes and mouth stand out.

  144. 144

    My favorite PS tip is to never work on your background! Oh and learn how to do masking. It will save your life, I promise!!!

  145. 145
    Heidi says:

    My photography tip: proper exposure!

  146. 146
    leah says:

    Layer masks definitely!!! love them! I love that you can press CTRL+I and invert the selection as well–and use the layer mask with the white brush if you are only working on a small area…

  147. 147
    Gayle Vehar says:

    The 2 best Photoshop shortcuts I learned were 1) that the bracket keys change the brush size and 2) that ctrl+ or – zoom in and out of a photo.

  148. 148
    Vicki says:

    When masking: Tapping “B” to select the brush, then “D” for default colors (black & white), then “X” to switch between those colors, all while using the bracket keys to change the size of the brush and the little slider thingy to adjust opacity.

  149. 149
    Caitlin says:

    When photographing people always focus on the eyes and remember to look for the catchlights!!

  150. 150
    Tyra says:

    I LOVE the mcp cover model action, it ALWAYS gives the right pop and wow to my portraits. I also LOVE layer masks!

  151. 151
    Catlin Humes says:

    The best tip/how to would be layer masks…how could I ever have lived without layer masks?

  152. 152
    devon says:

    My favourite thing to do in Photoshop is to dodge the whites of the eyes, it always makes the eyes pop and enhances the catchlights! I do it every single time!

  153. 153
    Tracey Skadberg says:

    To make a blurred frame around photo :
    Duplicate background
    Pick the Marquee tool. Draw the rectangle wherever you want it.
    Then do Edit > Stroke. Put in your number and color of stroke. Hit OK.
    Then do Select >Inverse.
    Filter > Blur > Gaussian. Move the slider until it looks how you want it.
    Hit Ok and you are done! .

  154. 154
    Jennifer says:

    One of my favorite tips that I use so much in photographing toddlers is giving room in the picture for them to “move to”. Kindof the rule of thirds concept. I love the bag, and I’ve really enjoyed this website lately!

  155. 155
    elaine Gates says:

    My favorite advice is to try and get it as close to perfect in the camera and just make it that much more amazing, in photoshop. You cant make a bad picture that is out of focus good, even with photoshop. . Love this blog xoxo!

  156. 156
    Susie says:

    My favorite new thing that I have discovered is the batch editing button. File, automate, batch, and choose your options. I love it!

  157. 157
    Alison says:

    Once when I was at a photography seminar, the teacher/photographer told me not to forget to change the direction of my camera (from horizontal to vertical or visa versa). That was years ago, and it changed my work dramatically.

  158. 158

    Really cool looking bag! LOVE the fabric choices!

    My tip is one I learned while attending Creative Photography Retreat – Work with your photos at their full potential:

    -Open your new, unedited image.
    -Choose Save As, and create a copy of your work so you are not working on your original and have a back-up.
    -Open up image size and take note of the resolution number to see how this works. Close that.
    -Crop your photograph filling in width and height to a 5×7 (or 7×5), leaving the resolution blank.
    -Pull the cropping square all the way to the edges.
    -You will notice this will trim just a bit from your photograph as digital photos are sized differently then prints.
    -Now reopen the image size and magically your resolution will most likely be much larger then what it started at.
    -Even though your photo is cropped to a 5×7, you will still be able to print VERY large photos from it. My 13×19 was beautiful that weekend! The teacher told us she prints posters from hers.
    -If you want to crop a smaller area, do so from the 5×7, this way you are working from the best resolution possible.

    Hope this helps!

  159. 159
    Cindy Shaver says:

    NEVER BURN at more than 20%
    NEVER DODGE more than 11%

    Can change the shape and angle of brushes with Brush tip shape (top options bar)

  160. 160
    NiccoleCarol says:

    The tip I resort to the most (well there are two) is the [ ] to change the size of the brush and also the tip that was shares just recently about hoovering next to the opacity and being able to change it by just moving the mouse to the left or right … right now, that is my favorite trick.

  161. 161
    Kelda Adams says:

    The best tip I learned from MCP Actions was getting rid of shine – make a new layer > click the color picker > pick a place on the face that isn’t shiny, an overall skin color > click on the new layer > pick a soft brush > change opacity and fill to about 10% > and paint over the shine on the skin! It’s so easy and makes all the difference!

  162. 162
    Lauren says:

    My favorite photoshop tip is for brightening the eyes. Use the lasso tool to draw around the eyes, create layer via copy, choose screen layer, erase around the eyes, lower opacity so it doesn’t look fake, and flatten. Love the bag! Thanks for the chance to win!

  163. 163

    Finding blogs like yours is my favorite Photoshop trick…I can’t believe how much I’ve learned through all the online teachers who are willing to share their knowledge.

  164. 164
    Andie says:

    You can’t be everyone’s photographer. Choose your specialty and stick to it. Capture what you love and you will be the best that you can be!

  165. 165
    Kim Martin says:

    Shoot your subject from multiple angles… mix it up and think outside your normal. Try a new composition/crop – go extreme just for fun! The results are refreshing and just might push you in a new direction with your photography. :)

  166. 166
    Amanda says:

    This isn’t rocket science – but remember that your shutter speed needs to be 1/the length of zoom you are using. If you are using a 50mm, be at least 1/50 shutter speed. I kept getting blurry pictures, good rule to remember.

  167. 167

    Fav. tip is to learn how to sharpen. I first run an UNM (unsharp mask) at 20/60/0 (numbers can vary) at the very beginning. Then, to end, I run “Smart Sharpen”…I keep the radius at 1.3 and can sharpen as little or as much as I’d like.

  168. 168
    Taryn says:

    wow! it’s so hard to pick a favorite tip! When I first started, I was really trying to learn everything, but it was SO overwhelming! Then a friend of mine introduced me to actions! WHOA! I was in awe! Now I have tons of them ( most of them yours). Thanks to my friend for introducing me to actions, and to Jodi for making awesome ones!

  169. 169
    Caryl says:

    Aww, there are lots of photo tips but one thing that I have read a while ago, which I apply always when taking shots of my family is to dress comfortably. If you feel comfortable and feel like you look good, you will appear more confident, happier, and even look better on the photo. Also part of the tip was to stay away from busy patterns. Try to avoid all black and all white outfits. It makes the color balance difficult for the camera.

  170. 170
    Tory says:

    Everyone has listed such great tricks!! On my last newborn client – her baby was FIGHTING it – for an hour & 1/2 we tried to get her to sleep – and she just would not!! Client bought out a brand new makeup brush & started just brushing her face between her nose & her forehead – and in 2 seconds she was asleep!! Needless to say she let me take that brush home with me!! IT was magic! :)

  171. 171
    Peter S says:

    Learn the technical part of your camera! This isn’t always fun, but important!

  172. 172
    Shannon says:

    When you don’t know what direction you want to take a photo for the more artistic edits, click on the camera to create a snapshot to remember what you did, then start again. The ohter option create a new document and play on that one!

  173. 173

    probably the best photography tips I have learned are: ALWAYS make sure to focus on the eyes, and shoot in manual mode. The best photoshop tip I learned was how to expand my history incase I need to go back :0)

  174. 174
    Michelle says:

    Favorite Photography Tip…focus on eyes, Shoot in the shade when available, White Balance
    Favorite Photoshop Shortcut is the brackets!

  175. 175
    amore says:

    Photoshop Advice:
    I often use the following
    – Control+T to resize the image
    – Control+’ to show the grid line

    Photography Advice:
    -Use tripod when shooting Macro/Love your tripod

  176. 176

    Great tip for any photo – but especially urban setting when you want a bit more of a color pop… Duplicate your layer (Cntrl J) and then change the layer to soft light or hard light – adjust the opacity to your taste and if necessary mask out some of the skin. Easy color pop!

  177. 177
    Natalie says:

    Photoshop actions! Major time saver, and a great photoshop teacher — if you actually watch the action run and review the steps, you can learn a lot.

  178. 178
    Dionne T says:

    I love the eye doctor

  179. 179
    diane says:

    I love taking photos of flowers. It is a nice touch on them if you wet or spray water on them first. It will look like fresh and I love the dew drops effect on them. The result is one beautiful flower photo.

  180. 180
    Lacey says:

    I love to use shortcuts on the keyboard. Even the simplest tricks can save you hours in editing. (bracket keys used to change brush diameter as mentioned last week) The simplest, but yet never over used, X key changing your brush color from black to white would have to be an all time favorite. It is an absolute must for actions and mask application.

  181. 181
    Lori Barrett Photography says:

    I find I using the Crtl C to copy, Crtl V to paste and Crtl A to select all a time saver.

  182. 182
    Tammy says:

    Hard to choose one but another helpful Photoshop tip, normally when you use a brush it paints with the Foreground color, but when you use the same brush with the Clone Stamp tool, you can actually paint with a textured or patterned paper from an entirely different document.

  183. 183
    Bobbie says:

    Just love the bag! My best photoshop tip is by TaylorMade Designs. It’s about blending, “DEFINING the Blending Modes as best we can… what they do to photos on top of photos, photos on top of paper, and paper on top of paper.” I just love the effect you can obtain and she give’s you step by step instructions and pics of what they look like… Here is the link to her site and page

  184. 184
    desi says:

    always carry a little see-through plastic bag in your camera bag, and an elastic band. when you’re shooting in wet weather, cover your whole camera and lens, and leave just a bit open in the front.
    that way you won’t miss a great shot because of the rain.
    (not my best ever tip, but my favourites have already been mentioned)

  185. 185
    Tori says:

    Remember to check your camera settings from your previous adventure before continuing with the next!

  186. 186
    Karen London says:

    One of the best tips I learned is when shooting a session take two pictures with the camera straight and then once you get the shot, tilt the camera slightly. It gives the picture some movement and gives the same shot a totally different feel.

  187. 187
    Jennifer Murphy says:

    My favorite tip is to watch your white balance in the camera. Don’t just use AW. Your photos come out so much richer when your WB is set correctly. I don’t have photoshop, I have to use PaintShopPro8 so I don’t have much freedom in editing like in photoshop.
    I found your blog through the TJblog. This looks like a great blog and look forward to learning more. I absolutely love the TraceyJoy bags and hope to win! I’m taking a trip to NYC and would love to have it for the trip to hold my camera and lenses.

  188. 188
    jen wilson says:

    My favorite tip is to when you are tyrig to *move* a layer (like lining up photos while making a storyboard) use the ARROW keys on your keyboard, this will allow you to move them accurately (unlike how they can *jump* when you are just dragging the layer.

    jen :)

  189. 189
    Colleen Chi-Girl says:

    My favorite tip is to ALWAYS take more than 1 photo no matter what the subject and turn the camera vertically, horizontally and diagonally, and shoot from high, mid range and low — you never know what angle will look better when all is said and done. THanks for this chance! I already have 5 bags picked out – lol!

  190. 190

    My tip is try to capture the moment and not just the “perfect shot”. Otherwise you’ll miss some pretty special moments.

  191. 191
    Valerie M. says:

    This is a great idea. I so desperately nee a bag. I would have to say my best piece of advise would be to make those eyes POP without overdoing it…I love looking at a photo and see the world in a child’s eyes. Here is what I do. I make a separate layer and dodge the eye white a bit and you can adjust the opacity to your liking. Then I make a dup layer from that and then burn the edges of the iris. You can then make another layer and using the magnetic laso tool and grab the whole iris and then filter and unsharp mask. Adjust to your liking. Do this for both eyes obviously. LOL I know so many people have their way of doin geyes and I am always looking for new ways. some ways don’t work for all photos. But this way works for me almost always. Thanks for considering me for this contest. Valerie

  192. 192
    Heather Lynn says:

    My most favorite tip I learned from my photographer aunt, is when taking photographs of children bring a pocket full of candy. When you want them to look right at the camera and have a cute reaction or smile on their face, put the piece of candy on the lens and tell them to tell you when it drops. Do a practice shot and make the candy drop, now they are intrigued. Now this time, put the candy on the lens and tell them the same thing, but instead of making it drop before you snap the picture, snap a picture first and then make it drop. And then of course give them the candy as the prize! haha. Make sure you bring something like smarties or anything white that won’t turn their teeth and clothes rainbow colored!

  193. 193
    Amy Fenner says:

    My all time favorite tip is to apply a USM at 20-60-0 for a defog/color pop! LOVE IT!!!

  194. 194
    Kelly says:

    This may have been said since I haven’t gotten through each comment yet, but my favorite tool is the white balance dropper when using ACR on CS3. :)

  195. 195
    stacy t says:

    my fav tip is when taking pics of kids and i want them to look into the camera, i say “if you look into here, my camera will wink at you”. i got this tip from cheryl muhr, an amazing photographer in austin, tx. and you get the greatest looks from kids and amazing shots.

  196. 196
    Stephanie H says:

    I hope that I am not too late… My favorite tip in Photoshop is set your own shortcut keys! You can create your own shortcuts for the filters you use the most, it certainly does speed up your workflow.

  197. 197
  198. 198
  199. 199
    Tera Gray says:

    Always make sure there are no shadows on your subjects face.I hate it when you look at your pictures and the faces have shadows.

  200. 200
    Alexia says:

    How can I order one of these bags?


  1. Loved the photography & photoshop tips - the winner of the Tracy Joy Camera Bag is… | MCP Actions Blog - [...] Time for a new MCP Actions Contest: Win a Tracy Joy Camera Bag [...]
  2. Loved the photography & photoshop tips - the winner of the Tracy Joy Camera Bag is… | MCP Actions Blog - [...] Time for a new MCP Actions Contest: Win a Tracy Joy Camera Bag [...]

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