A Favorite Lightroom Tool: Graduated Filter

Lightroom has many amazing time saving tools. The Graduated Filter is one of these tools that frequently saves me time and eliminates my need to take an image into Photoshop at all.

Example 1: Sky

Lightroom allows you to easily adjust exposure, contrast, white balance, saturation etc on the entire image. These same adjustments are available in the Graduated Filter as well. The Graduated Filter is a wonderful tool when you have a sky that is too bright and you want to tone it down while still maintaining a realistic look. The image below is an image in Norway of a winding roadway called Trollstigen. Back in the days of film, professionals would use a tool such as a “graduated neutral density filter.” That is the technical term for a piece of glass that you put in front of the lens that has a gradient in it. It goes from light to dark and you could position it so that the sky would be darker than the ground. Especially if you are shooting RAW, the need for a neutral density filter is almost non-existent these days because of the Graduated Filter in Lightroom. This tool is so fast to use. The adjustments I am demonstrating below can be done in a matter of seconds.


We’re on Brickyard Buffalo This Week!

Brickyard Buffalo Sale April 2014

First off, we want to apologize for the radio silence last week. We’ve been pouring all our time and effort into making our brand new relaunched Illustrator 101 and Photoshop 101 classes the best they can be!

And on that note, both of those classes and our Lightroom 101 classes are on Brickyard Buffalo for the next 3 days!

Click here to see our Illustrator 101 deal!
Click here to our Photoshop 101 deal!
Click here to see our Lightroom 101 deal!

The deals are on through Thursday, May 1st at 11:59pm MST. So mosey on over to Brickyard Buffalo and grab your spot before the deals expire!

Marathon Monday Inspirational Quote Download

It’s Marathon Monday! What an inspirational day this always is, but especially this year. It’s moving to see athletes and non-athletes alike push themselves as far as they can go and then some. And it’s moving to see so many people both in Boston and across America cheer them on!

We’ve put together this simple download for you with one of our favorite T.S. Eliot quotes that really embodies what this day is all about.  Click “Download it!” below your favorite color choice, print it, and hang it wherever you’re in need of a little inspiration!

Marathon Monday Quote


Marathon Monday Quote


How to Focus on a Moving Subject

How To Focus on a Moving Subject

We all know that focus can either make or break a photo. The big question is how to get it just right when the subject is moving and you don’t want to rely on manual focus to do it?


Well, Hey There — Did You See the News Yesterday?


Well, hey there Nicole’s Classes readers! We wanted to double, triple check that you heard all of our exciting announcements yesterday. In case you missed it:

Meet our New Illustrator and Photoshop Teacher Holly!
More Extended Access and More Start Dates!

And we have a 30% off discount code good now through 4/30 on any online class purchase — just use the code ALLNEW30 at checkout to save!

We have lots of big, exciting things in the works for Nicole’s Classes this year. A big thanks to all of our loyal students and readers for your excitement yesterday,  and stay tuned via our newsletter for more announcements as they come!

You Talked, We Listened — More Access and More Start Dates!


We have more exciting news to share with you today… we’re extending access to classes and starting classes more often!

Starting in May, our Illustrator 101, Photoshop 101 and all photography classes will be starting every 2 weeks! Now you won’t have to wait a full month to join a class if you miss one, one will just start in another week or so.

And also starting for all classes in May and beyond, we’ll be extending access to our classes for as long as you need! While only the first 4 or 2 weeks will still be instructor led, if you don’t finish in time, don’t sweat it! You can access your classes after those 4 or 2 weeks indefinitely, for as long as you need! Stay tuned for more details on this in a coming blog post.

Thanks for all your feedback and for encouraging us to make these exciting new changes! These are just 2 more reasons Nicole’s Classes gives you the best online education around!

Introducing Our Newest Teacher!

I am so thrilled to introduce our wickedly talented (and professional teacher), Holly Hucklesby! We feel really lucky to have her at Nicole’s Classes and we know you’ll love her teaching style and you’ll learn so much from all of her experience. Read more about Holly below (don’t miss the discount code either!) and check out her brand spanking new Illustrator class here!


Spring Floral Arranging Student Work

The skies are clearing and the flowers are finally starting to bloom, so we thought it was the perfect time to share some of our recent Floral Arranging 101 student work. Read on to see some of their amazing pieces!

Our first arrangement is from Linnette Lau. We love the romantic color and feel of the bouquet and she chose so many great accompaniments to her main floral. Great job!

Floral Arranging Student Work

Next we have a floral headwreath from student Ashly Laker. We love her choice of delicate florals and it looks so great on. Way to go!

Floral Arranging Student Work

Floral Arranging Student Work

And our last piece is from McKenzie O’Grady. Her arrangement is so beautifully wild and fun and she styled her photo so nicely as well. Awesome work!
Floral Arranging Student Work

Thanks to all our students for their amazing work this session! Do we want to create your own florals? Let Chelsea teach you how in our next Floral Arranging 101 class!

Photoshop Book Closeout Sale!

Photoshop Textbook Sale

They’re going, going… almost gone! Our Photoshop 101 book inventory is running low, so we wanted to let you know that this is your last chance to get one before they’re sold out forever. And for a limited time, they’re only $10!

This little 7″x7″ book is packed full of information on how to use Photoshop to edit and enhance your images, and will be a great addition to your bookshelf. So don’t miss out, grab your copy of the Photoshop 101 book today!

Floral Arranging 101: How to Care for Peonies

how to care for peonies

Peony season is just around the corner! Here are some shopping/harvesting tips for getting the most out of your peony stems.

  • If harvesting from your own garden, clip them early in the morning or late in the evening when they are the most hydrated.
  • Clip as the buds are still closed but just beginning to loosen up, you might start to see color from the petals.
  • If shopping, look for stems that are in bud, but beginning to open. The buds should be firm and the leaves should be firm and green.
  • Re-cut stems when you get them inside.
  • Put into a bucket of cool water and let them soak for a few hours.
  • Re-cut stems at a 45 degree angle. This allows the stems to absorb as much water as possible.
  • Arrange as you wish!
  • Keep out of bright sun light and away from heaters, vents, and air-conditioners.
  • Peonies dry beautifully! Hang upside down as soon as they’ve opened, if you wish to dry them.


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