Snow Day Photo Fun

This is an image I edited of the frozen Mississippi River from the Illinois side looking over into Missouri.

Mississippi River Lori Peterson Photography

Here is the before image:

2014 frozen Mississippi River St. Louis MO Lori Peterson Photography


Somewhere over the Rainbow

A real rainbow is one of those things that gets a photographer’s attention. Like, really, really quick.
 “Where’s my camera?”
And then they will proceed to take photos of that rainbow from every single place they can. Even if they just have to pull their car over on the side of the road. Oh yes, they will!
Sometimes Mother Nature will grace us with a rainbow and it will be perfect. And sometimes she will be quite stingy and that rainbow will only last for a few minutes. So what’s a photographer to do? Create their own magical effect…that’s what!
This image is one of those moments when a rainbow came out…and then was gone before I could even get outside. But I knew where it was, what it looked like….and more importantly, how to recreate it.
I opened up the Full Rainbow overlay from the Rainbow Overlay Set.

(The background is actually transparent, but it needed a color to display it here…)

Anyhoodle….moving on.
Pull the rainbow on top of your image.
Looks awesome. Looks totally real. Right? Nope. Not quite yet…..let’s keep working!
Move your rainbow where you want it. If you want to change the shape of it just click Ctrl + T and resize it however you need to. Once you get it where you want we will still need to tweak it. 
Change your blend mode to Screen.
Add a layer mask by clicking the little icon circled at the bottom of the above screenshot.
Make sure your brush is set to a soft brush and your foreground is black and then you can start removing the effect where you don’t want it. You can change your brush opacity to a low number. On this I just needed to get rid of the edges, so I used it at 100% , but I could have just as easily done it using a lower opacity and just continued to mask over it.
When I tweaked my opacity of the layer I ended up using a Screen mode at  39% opacity. 
And YES, you can use these on portraits too!

(I made it just a little darker for this portrait so you could see it better! I would decrease the opacity just a tad more before showing it to a client!)

There are 5 rainbows in this set. But that’s all you need. 
There is a half, 2 full, a rainbow circle (like a lightring), and….a double rainbow!
You can download your rainbow set HERE Or HERE.
These are PNG files, not JPG’s. They have a transparent background!
If you download these and want to make sure you are alerted when I put more freebies or tutorials out there, go to MY FACEBOOK PAGE and LIKE it. 
(For more textures/overlays go here!)

Art {Being an artist}

“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: 
I am here to live out loud.” 

I am an art junkie.
I admit it.

I love going to the art museum. I have so many art sites bookmarked on my computer that I am surprised I can still find what I am looking for when I want to show it to people.

When I recently went into the Fine Arts section at the new Central Library, I thought my head might explode right off of my shoulders. It’s soooo good. 

Some people go crazy over shoes or purses. I act like that over art books, photography books….and the HUGE (I mean, crazy massive, takes two people to carry it) book they have about Leonardo da Vinci.

I find art and beauty in the strangest of places sometimes. Sometimes what people find disturbing I find beautiful. (Hence my fascination for taxidermy, mummification, and embalming.).

Sometimes we have to look with our imagination to see the art and the beauty that is around us. This sign for instance was just a plain ol’ sign in a window…but I saw it as more.

Look at the world around you and use your imagination, your creativity, and your soul….you’ll be amazed at the things that you can discover that will bring you joy!

Vintage {But not quite}

I love vintage photographs. I mean I really LOVE them. I have been in antique stores and found boxes of them and bought them just because I wanted to browse through them and revisit those moments that someone wanted to document. 
I have boxes of old family photographs and I continue to accumulate more through various family contacts. I am not sure what it is about the vintage images and whether it’s the beautiful coloring, thoughtful poses, or just the history and everything that comes with that which makes me love the images so very much. Maybe it’s a combination. Maybe it’s all of them. Maybe it’s all of those and reasons I have yet to comprehend. Whatever the case, I am a vintage photograph-a-holic.
I want to learn wet plate photography. I want to own a wet plate camera.
Until then I will create images like this and edit them until I feel they are vintage enough looking.
And yes, this is a fairly recent image I took. 
The costume came from Remember Me Vintage Clothing.

Phone Time

I was on the phone with a fellow photographer the other night and we were chatting. I am the Queen of Multi-Tasking so I can not just sit and do one thing. “Must. Complete. Nine.Tasks.” at least that is what my brain says to me.

(No, I don’t even sit and just watch tv or a movie. Multi-tasking. Always!)

Some people pace while they are on the phone. Some people doodle. Well, here is what I do…..

I go through my straight out of camera images and edit them randomly…just because. If I mess anything up or don’t like it, I don’t have to worry about it. If I edit it and I like it, well, it’s something new I can use in my editing process!

I wish I had a switch to flip that part of my brain off that needs to work and create……especially when I need to sleep! ☺


No, I didn’t have a little too much wine with dinner and accidentally scramble up my post title. This blog is going to talk about what happens after you get your camera and lights and take the image….and editing with actions.

If you don’t know what actions for Photoshop are, I am going to tell you…and show you.

Actions are actually designed to speed up a photographer’s work flow. Instead of manually going through a series of steps, actions are able to make the steps shorter and save a photographer time. Some actions can be used in any version of Photoshop and some can only be used in Elements. (Lightroom has presets which are the same thing, but actions are presets are not interchangeable.). If you are purchasing actions make sure they are compatible with your editing software!

Most actions are grouped so that you can tweak each little piece of it in order to achieve the look you are trying to achieve. Let’s say the photo you are editing needs a little work and there might be about 10 steps you need to do to get it to where you want it and you have about 40 of these images and will have to do it to each of them for a “consistent” look. Can you imagine the time it would take to do that by hand for each one? That time could be better spent doing other business related things!

Now I have heard people grumble that actions are “cheating” and the photographer isn’t really doing their own editing….and I don’t agree with that. I think there is a difference between using them to help your workflow and using them to try to salvage bad work. If the shot is just bad, don’t try to use actions (or even black and white) to try to fix it. Trash it and move on to the good ones.

Here is a photo I edited using actions from Hidden Beauty Photography. See how that really brought out the greens and just made this image POP?

Here is another example of an edit where I used actions. (I also did a little hand editing to tweak the photo just right too….but that’s another blog post!).
The actions I used on this photo are from Wish Photography and My Four Hens Photography. Wish Photography’s Makeup Counter 2 is probably the best actions for skin and portraits that I have ever seen or used. It’s a way to get flawless skin without going overboard!
(The Portrait Pop action is in the Color Pop Pretties from My Four Hens set, FYI.)
There you go, two examples of what actions can do to transform a photo from a good image to a spectacular image! If you want to learn to make your own actions there are several sites that have all the steps. If you edit by hand, just hit the little record button in the Actions menu and you can create your own action in no time. But if you want to try using actions, I have made it easy for you to find some great places for them……..
Some amazing places to find actions are:
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or message me at