I purposed, before the birth of my daughter, to be the kind of mom I'd long wanted to be. At all costs. Unbeknownst to her, my daughter had thrown me a challenge. I needed to use my God-given talents and life's passions to be productive while still working around her needs and her schedule. Here are some daily adventures and small successes.


Dirty little secret - Montreal South Shore photographer

Well, it could be considered a dirty little secret. While other photographers edit away using prestigious programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, I use...wait for it...Corel Paint Shop Pro. To some, it's like buying Fruity-O's and hiding it in the Fruit Loops box. Especially since I do use such lingo as "I can Photoshop that out." 
But aren't we all guilty of that sort of thing, really? I mean, do you buy Scotties and then ask for the "Kleenex?" Or buy the generic cotton swabs and call them Q-Tips?
Alright, I am being a little satirical. But fact is, since I started telling the inquisitive which editing software I use, I have started getting requests for help. 
So here's a start to finish edit:

Starting with this image straight out of camera (SOOC)...

I almost always start by adjusting the contrast. (Go to "Adjust", "Brightness and Contrast", "Curves.")

This image needs a bit of sharpening. I use the lasso tool and sharpen just where I need it. (To sharpen, go to "Adjust", "Sharpness", "High Pass Sharpen" to perform this with the most control.)

It's really bothering me that the hot spot on the subject's forehead is melting into the white sky. So I want to add some corn to the background behind her face. I lasso tool one portion of the corn background, and copy-past (as new layer) it over the spot where I want more corn.

Now having a spot of corn over her face, I need to do some erasing. To see what I'm doing, I always adjust the properties of my new layer, taking it to about 40%.


And bring the layer properties back to 100%.

Now that the hot-spot isn't getting on my nerves anymore, I adjust my curves again.

I'm ready to add a bit of interest, and see where this image is taking me. i know many would wait until everything is perfect and then add some effects, but my creative process has its own order. So I duplicate my Background, and adjust the new layer properties, this time to 20%.

Heading over to "Time Machine" (under "Effect", "Photo Effects") I select the Albumen setting. Then I flatten all my layers.

Again with the lasso tool. This time, I select some of the edges of the image, and use curves to darken them. I like to frame out the subject this way.

I apply one of my own actions as a layer, and adjust the layer properties to 25%. The I create a mask layer (going to "Layers", "New Mask Layer", "From Image").

I create the mask from source luminance. (Basically, the software will decide where the bright spots are, and allow the action to do its magic specifically in those spots. Handy dandy.)

Time to clean up the skin on the face. I lasso tool where I want to smooth out the skin, and perform a digital camera noise removal. I even isolate some specific skin imperfections, allowing the program to smooth it out for me.

A little perspective adjustment. If you try to pull this off when you're overtired, it can go so wrong... Once I get it to where I want it, I crop and smudge to get it all to a 4x6 proportion again.

And done. Not to mention there'll be more form his session coming soon. It's just a snippet of one sweet couple celebrating 10 years of marriage by renewing their vows and frolicking in corn fields.

Hope that was helpful to anyone using Corel Paint Shop Pro.

Linking this post up to Show Off Your Shot,  Pixel Perfect: Before and After as well as Ramblings and Photos: Shoot and Edit.


  1. First of all, you could not have had a more gorgeous model! And secondly, you had me until curves. Ok, no, until you started adding corn. But either way, fascinating to see how you do things behind the scenes :)

  2. Corel paint pro, huh? I would have never guessed that! Cool! I know how long it takes to put a tutorial together...so, bravo!! Thanks for posting this!! :)

  3. um wow. The end product is stunning and I love how you laid out all your steps. WOW.

  4. WOW. The edit is gorgeous! Great job.

  5. That looks amazing. See you don't always need the fancy schmancy programs to turn out a great picture.

  6. Gorgeous photo! It was beautiful SOOC, but I love the edit. I am a former Paint Shop user so I know it does a great job. I use Elements now and I even feel like that's a dirty little secret in the photography world. I love this because it just goes to show that actually taking a good picture is more important than what software you use.

  7. Thanks, ladies! I feel like I can really accomplish alot with this program. Having used Photoshop only in the 90's, I'm really just self-taught and really appreciate your encouraging words!

  8. Goodness! So many steps that lead to a gorgeous photo! Great job!

  9. great tutorial although I didn't even know they still made paint shop pro. ; ) just kidding. thanks so much for showing off your shot this week!

  10. ;) Yeah, they just released version 14, though I just started using 13 myself...

  11. Great photo and tutorial. I love all the details. Thanks for sharing, I know writing this kind of step by step tutorial is time consuming but it's so helpful. Thanks!



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