Thankful for my studio space

As the year comes to an end and I count my blessings, one thing for sure I am thankful for is my studio space.  I work out of my home and although the room is not enormous, only 15 ft x 15 ft, it has met my needs. I was able to black out the windows and the 10 ft ceiling allowed me ample height for studio portraits. I hung a 10 foot seem-less paper dividing the room and allowing for storage of my framed prints and some accessories. I have enough space for a work table on one side and small alcoves on the other side allow shelving of unframed prints, props and equipment.  I have shot thousands of images in this room, used it for shipping and receiving and also made money shooting everything from stock to magazine layout pages, portraits and my creative fine art pieces. I am truly thankful for my studio space.

I am currently looking to move and one thing I know I am going to miss, is my in home studio.

My point is regardless of whether the space where you create is a spare bedroom, a basement space with maybe not quite the ceiling height you want, be thankful. It is a space to store your gear, make art and maybe even some money.

Thanks for reading and more of my work can be found at



Happy Thanksgiving – Kick off the Holiday Season

thanksgiving holiday

Just wanted to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving that along with being a great holiday is also the kick off of the big holiday season. I try hard to take one holiday at a time and of the two, Thanksgiving is quickly becoming more of a favorite. Without all of the Christmas retail hoopla it is easier to take time and appreciate all of the wonderful things I have in my life. This year I will be spending it with my family, which, will make it extra special. Along with giving thanks or as my Mom used to say “count your blessings”, I always love the fabulous smells that come with Thanksgiving. From the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg in the baking pumpkin pies to the spices of the dressing to the roasting turkey it is one great day of sensory overload for our olfactory perception.

So remember to kiss your loved ones, appreciate all that you have and enjoy the day!

More of my work can be viewed on my on line gallery.


Happy Halloween

Boo … Just wanted to say Happy Halloween. I have my costume and psyche ready to move into another dimension this evening. One of my most favorite holidays in the year!  Maybe I will make a visit to the local haunted graveyard this evening and really scare myself.

Happy Halloween

halloween candle photograph

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Image © Susan McAnany – All rights are reserved.

Image of the week

A new resolution this week is to target one new image and call it image of the week. By this I mean I can either shoot something or go back through some of my existing work and take another look at an image I may have passed by and see if anything clicks. I often find after a bit of time lapses from shooting an image I may see it differently. I think the emotional connection to a shoot has somewhat lessened. Often, I think wow … this is pretty good. Also I know that over time my editing skills are improving and I may have some new ideas to post process an image.  The image of the week for this week is one I shot last year at a local garden. This flamingo looked so peaceful and almost in a meditative state.

Image of the Week

Thanks for looking and reading. More of my work can be viewed on my website.



Create a Vignette in Photoshop

Here is a quick and easy way to create a Vignette in Photoshop using the Elliptical Tool. This Photoshop technique is easy and extremely powerful in bringing the viewers attention to the intended subject.

First either copy your background layer by dragging the Layer to the Create A New Layer button on the bottom the Layer Palette or use the Layer drop down menu at the top of your screen. If there are Adjustment Layers in addition to your background layer, I use the “Merge a copy of all visible layers” (CMD+shift+Option+E/CTRL+shift+Alt+E)

Next, grab your Elliptical Marquee Tool. This is the second tool from the top in your side toolbar and is located along with the Rectangular Marquee Tool. Shift/Click and drag the Elliptical tool across the photo where you want the vignette to appear. This does not have to be exact and may take a few times doing it to get it placed where you want. If you don’t like your first try, just Deselect (cmd/d) and try again.

Feather your selection 250 pixels (Select > Modify > Feather or Shift F6). If you are looking for a more gradual subtle Vignette, may need to repeat the Feathering.

Next Inverse your Selection (Select > Inverse or shift/cmd/I).

Final step to creating a Vignette in Photoshop is to add a Curves Adjustment Layer to darken the edges of the selected area. You can either create the Layer by clicking on the Icon on the bottom of your Layers Palette and select Curves or use the toolbar at the top of Photoshop and select Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves. Once the Curves Properties Window is on your screen, in the RGB mode, pull down on the Curve, usually in the center to darken the edges.

Below are sample before and after images so you can see the impact a vignette can make.

Bride's Dream

Create a vignette in Photoshop

 Thanks for reading. More of my work can be viewed at


New Year

2012 went by quick. Looking back, I am thankful for all of the experiences that came my way, photographic and otherwise. I am especially thankful for new inspirations and ideas and some great photographic workshops and seminars I attended. Thanks to the fabulous photographers that put them on. All of it has helped me craft my vision and define my style of photography. And much fun along the way.

Looking to the future and 2013, I already have several exciting trips planned and can see opportunity for my work to grow even more and in different directions. I plan to post more Photoshop hints and tips on the blog, along with samples of new work. So check back often.

I wish you all good health, great treasures and much happiness this year!

Camera Research

I have a little money burning in a hole in my pocket these days due to a possession I sold specifically with the idea of using the proceeds to finance a new camera. Photokina occurred last week and Vendors are announcing new cameras and gadgets. I am definitely looking everything. I grew up shooting Nikon and Fuji and then five or six years ago I made the switch to Canon. Recently I have been looking at the Nikon’s D800E and it’s 36 megapixel capabilities and contemplating a switch back. Of course, as we all know when it comes to great photography the person behind the camera and the vision is really what makes it happen.

More of my work can be viewed at

Dali on My Birthday Weekend

Although I am posting this a few weeks after my birthday, I wanted to tell about my trip to the Dali Museum in St Petersburg, Florida. I had been there once before and was totally inspired and will say this repeat trip did not disappoint.  The museum in St Petersburg, FL is a new building designed specifically to house his work and reflects his vision in many ways, so a visit is a total submersion in Salvador Dali and a truly a delightful experience.

It was a very busy Sunday, so  we walked through the museum opposite the crowds, which allowed me to view his pieces with a different perspective.  I was astounded with the artistic development  in Dali’s work. Although, his initial pieces were perfectly crafted with incredibly detailed, they came across more simplistic in thoughts and concepts. As Dali evolved as an artist his work become massive and complex, with many underlying themes reflecting the social themes of the decade and I am sure his personal experiences. Also evident was the influence of other artist’s and masters of the times, proving even the best need others to craft their vision. Dali even broke out into different modalities, at one time designing jewelry.  This reminded me of celebrities designing a line of clothing, fragrance or jewelry.  Who knows what further notoriety and success Dali would of claimed had the Home Shopping Network had been around.

It was truly an inspirational day. My work can be viewed at Susan McAnany Photography.

Welcome July

July is the month of much celebration during the summer. The obvious holiday of  July 4th and also my birthday occurs during the month of July. I will be away for the first half of the month and plan on bringing back  images to share with you. Although I shot this image a few years back, it is one of my favorite flag images. I have a great giclée print  available if anyone is interested. You can contact me through my website  It is for sale online at my Etsy Store.  Thanks for visiting.


July wall art of folded usa flag
© 2008 Susan McAnany