Chasing Light Artistic Tools for Creatives


How to minimize "banding" in Images

Tutorials-WorkshopsNikki Harrison

So many times when you use a blur tool from Photoshop to your image and then throw on a gradient or two, you will get "banding" in your image.  There is a way to minimize this, it doesn't always get rid of it completely though. First you have to create your pattern or noise pattern that you want to create.  Lets start with a new document.

Make it about 80x80 pixels in size, in 8-bit RGB colour. Next go to Edit, choose Fill. Then, choose Filter -> noise -> add noise. --->  settings are:   Amount - 5%, Distribution - Uniform You should see a little grey box now. Choose Edit - Define Pattern - Name it Noise, press OK.

After you have finished with your blur tool and gradient tool, add a new fill layer from your layer menu.  Choose pattern. Set your blend mode to "Linear Light" and the Opacity to between 20-25%. Make sure the pattern you are choosing in the next step is the one you just created.  Select OK.

Now paint the noise OFF your subject(s).  Remember the noise is so small you won't think you have to, but if you zoom in, you will see how important it is to do this.

Use this tool if you want to create creamy smooth backgrounds without banding.  It isn't prefect all the time, but will help a lot of the time!

CL- Tips and Tricks

CL- Tips and Tricks

Hand Editing 101

Actions, Tutorials-WorkshopsNikki Harrison

So what is the difference between hand editing, and photoshop actions? The ONLY difference is that an action is recorded, and editing without aid of an action is all free hand.  Or "Hand Editing" which seems to be the new term these days.

Are using actions a weak way out of learning photoshop?

There is no weak way, in a creative process.  There are time savers, and ways to harness other looks you may not have come up with on your own.   If someone says it is wrong or lazy to use an action, chances are, they are just trying to sell you something else...  I can pretty much guarantee at one point or another in every creative's process, they tried, bought, played with, alternative's to "hand editing" as an aid.

On a side note, the image example below shows this image from Adobe Camera Raw and this other one from Capture One.  I am a huge fan of Capture One, and what this software does to your images initially in Raw.  Wow.  Download your free trial today, you will be blown away.

hand edits by chasing light

hand edits by chasing light

Using Alien Skin Exposure 6 in your Workflow

Tutorials-WorkshopsNikki Harrison

I too, am a huge fan of Alien Skin, Exposure 6.  Yes, I create actions so that I can recreate the same processing to my images over and over.  I create them in a way that I can tweak them for optimum results on the specific image I am working on.  (not all actions work on all images, right?)  Well, if you are wanting to add DRAMA and a film look, to your images, Alien Skin is the program for you. In my Facebook photography group, I have had so many requests for a tutorial, that I approached Alien Skin and asked their permission.  They not only gave it to me, but they offered to promote it, if they could use it and post it on their blog as well!  Win - win for everyone.

Here is a before and after of the image that I used for this tutorial.  You can click here to go to the Alien Skin blog and watch this 15 minute tutorial.  Be prepared to purchase though, you will have your mind blown.

Alien Skin Tut

Alien Skin Tut

Save Images You Think are Not Good

Tutorials-WorkshopsNikki Harrison

Because as you grow as a photographer and maybe a digital artist, these files that you may think are lousy this year, may be something you can actually work with later as your photoshop skills improve. Unfortunately, I had a bad accident 3 yrs into my photography journey, and I lost every single image I took prior to that day.  It saddens me greatly, when I think of all the stock images I had and all the images I would be able to work with now.  The external backing up system for our treasured images is SO important, I cannot stress that enough.

Here is a prime example of an image that had lousy lighting and colour balance when I took it a few years ago.  Now it is fun to see it transform in Photoshop.  I used Retouch + "Striped Wallpaper" from the Vintage Texture Set to assist in the edit of this image.

CL Save old Photos

1 on 1 Editing Workshop

Tutorials-WorkshopsNikki HarrisonComment

This is an opportunity to hang out with me on Skype and have a one on one editing tutorial.  You can learn anything you would like from me, and I will show you how I retouch my images.  Here is what my latest student had to say about her 1 on 1 session: "Look what  Nikki taught me to do this morning in our one on one workshop. I swore I would never purchase a workshop, but am so freaking glad I overcame it and got it with her! She is ahhhmazzzzing and she teaches so well. Thanks Nikki. I love you girl!"


Preparing for a Fairy Marathon

Tutorials-WorkshopsNikki HarrisonComment


So once or twice a year I do a Fairy Marathon.  This entails normally about 8 mini sessions back to back with max 2 Fairy Girls per portrait.  It is usually a huge seller and as always, this one sold out in one day.  The cost is very minimal, compared to the usual Fairy Portrait costs.

So For $99 - the client gets

  • Up to 2 people allowed
  • Costumes, wings provided
  • Full Set with backdrop
  • Direction and props
  • 1 edited file printable to 9x12 (180)DPI

The potential for up sales is always huge and normally the average sale on top of the entry level package is over $500 per.

The investment in the Fairy Portraits Workshop of only $350 to learn how to do everything, along with where to buy all props, costumes, etc. is easily earned back with one session.  It also includes the Fairy Portrait Action only available with the workshop.  Invest in your business today.



Examples of products on display for up sales at Sessions.








The set and props for the Fairy Marathon.