_4010070rainIMG_3629_3310399_4030357 edit_moody 074OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIMG_3621I have been using SmartPhotoEditor for about a month now. This software can be used as a standalone for $29.99 or a Photoshop plugin for a higher fee. The program is built on special effects from normal processing features to vignettes and textures to really far out stuff. It also has watercolor, oils and other painterly options. It has about 7,000 effects and contributors add to this all the time.

The interface offers category breakdowns that help find what you are looking for and the ability to save any effect as a favorite so you don’t have to look for it each time. You can also create your own effects in the Effects Editor for others to use.

As a digital photo artist I am really excited with this software and encourage you to use the 30 day free trial. (cannot save images until you buy the program)

For greeting cards the vignettes are amazing.. leaving nice white edges that help with printers that leave 1/4″ edge.

Go have some fun!!!

(except for the iris image all were from a recent trip to Charleston, SC)


Tulip Painting


Main elements – Studio shot of artificial flowers with white tulle over my Lensbaby Velvet lens. Topaz Impression Oil Painting II Jim LaSala and 2LO Artist 81 texture BW in Soft Light blend mode 76%.




Many photographers and photo instructors say that there are too many flower photographs and they are overdone. I disagree!  Whenever around flowers I feel such a joy inside. Each one is a little miracle and they all have individual characteristics.

I love learning about flowers and trying to capture them in different moods such as this daylily sticking through a fence. I added a texture and some text to use as a greeting card.


Texture Tip

Belle Fleur Textures has beautiful collections of textures but also a couple of very nice tutorials. She offers a great way of reducing the texture on your main subject but still leaving the color tint so the image goes together nicely.  Check it out!

Go to and click on FREE Tutorials – The Blur Method. Check out all Cheryl’s textures too… love the Fairy Garden collection!

New Greeting Card

_1030425. edgejpgPHOTO

I took this image into OnOne Effects 10 – Spring.  The edging is done by using a brush in Photoshop… preferable an irregular brush, not a hard or soft circular. At 56% opacity, I painted with white around the sides which gives a soft edge. This is actually a watercolor brush. You can add to the default brushes by searching on the web for specialty brushes. There are many free ones. I often look at


I have kept adding to a file of quotes for many years.  Some are my own thoughts… others are from additional sources.

Then I added the text in Photoshop using the text tool.  You can find many free fonts online too. One site I like is:

I love the creative process with cards… but even more the joy to share with others!




Slow Shutter


Circular motion, handheld.


There are so many ways to use a slow shutter speed for creative effects. Today  I set up a white piece of foamcore behind some flowers held by a plamp.


Up and down, texture overlay


Then I moved the camera handheld up, down, around… all different motions.

You get all different effects. Since I enjoy creating greeting cards, I did some where I had plenty of white space too.


I also put the camera on a tripod and moved the flower with my hand in some of the images.  Generally I’m shooting at 100 ISO with 1/3 second and f/8. My lighting was from an overhead tungsten bulb and two softboxes’ modeling lights… no flash.


Square Greeting Cards

Double ScrollIrisSquare cards

Red River Paper has greeting card stock of 10.5 x5.25 that is 5.25 x 5.25 folded. The square format gives you extra possibilities in cropping and adding corner flourishes (see example).

My greeting card online class shows you many ways to take photographs especially for cards, how to work with text, and Photoshop techniques. for details

When sending a square card, I use the 5.25 x 7.25 envelope which is normal postage. If you use square envelopes, there is a 20 cent surcharge as they do not go through the USPS machine.  At least that is my understanding of the surcharge.