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A Great New Online Tool for Creating Mood Boards

Ever wanted to create an inspiration board but didn’t know how to do it and create it quickly? Well Niice.com is a new website that can help you create your own mood boards, which you can print to hang up in your office or email to clients. I love using this tool, and it’s a major time saver when you don’t have the time or need to create a more elaborate board in Photoshop. Here’s an example of a mood board I just created:

Mood Board Creation

Enjoy playing with Niice (but beware, it can be addicting)!

Paint, Paint & Paint Again!

Hello Nicole’s Classes readers and watercolor enthusiasts! I have a little secret tip to share with you today: the key to making your watercolors appear effortless.

Watercolor 101: Paint, Paint & Paint Again!

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How to Get Better Summer Photos

Lightroom 101: Summer Photos

With summer upon us, we thought it would be helpful to share some tips for getting great photos outside. As photographers, sometimes we find ourselves in less than ideal lighting conditions, such as the sun being too harsh and right overhead, or maybe a there is a rainstorm during your beach vacation. Regardless of the circumstances, you should definitely keep taking pictures. I have put together a number of example images below from a variety of outdoor summer lighting conditions and will suggest both what you can do with your camera to mitigate the situation as well as how Lightroom can help you in post.

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5 Tips for Harvesting & Arranging Summer Flowers

5 Tips for Harvesting & Arranging Summer Flowers

If you are lucky enough to have your own garden, or access to one, during the summer, it’s the perfect time to make your own arrangements at home! Here are a few tips for you as you gather and design your garden arrangements this summer:

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A Guide to File Formats

File Format Guide

We recently had a reader ask us to clear up the confusion associated with file formats. And we totally understand, there are so many different extensions to choose from when saving your files and it’s hard to know which file format to choose for what! Below are my quick and easy explanations on when to use each one:

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4 Free Fonts!

4 Free Fonts

I am excited to share with you 4 free fonts that are some of my favorites! You can add them to your font collection and they will help make your designs even more fabulous! I have selected these particular fonts because they are all clean, modern and not too stylized so they will complement all of your designs.
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Shadows and Highlights with RAW Files

Shadows & Highlights

One of the main benefits of shooting RAW is you can take full advantage of the adjustments in Lightroom. The basic Exposure adjustment slider is fairly self explanatory and quite intuitive as you experiment with Lightroom. If you make it brighter, the entire image will be brighter, and if you make it darker, the entire image will be darker. The Shadow and Highlight adjustment sliders can be incredibly helpful and I want to share how I like to use them.

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5 Must Read Floral Books

5 Must Read Floral Books

I often get asked to recommend flower books. Here are a few of my favorites. Many are very old favorites while others are new publications by up and coming designers. I hope you enjoy!

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4 Inspirational Sites

4 Inspirational Sites

For my first blog post (and my first month as instructor of the Illustrator 101 class), I wanted to share a bit about where I find design inspiration. The internet is a fantastic resource for inspiration when you are starting a project or just want to get some design stimulation.

The 4 sites that I regularly visit are:

designspiration.net  This is a great place to discover design of all kinds, I love that you can search the website for anything and everything and you can also sign up for an account to save everything that you love.

siteinspire.com  This website is fantastic for web and interactive design inspiration. I often find there aren’t many places to source inspiring digital design so I go straight to this site!

lovelypackage.com  This is quite easily one of my favorite sites of all time! This is a curation of some of the best packaging design ever created and what I really enjoy is that there are write-ups on each project. Even if you are not doing a packaging project of your own, you should still visit this site as there are great ideas for logos, pattern creation and more inspiring designs.

hypefortype.com  This is a one stop shop for some of the best fonts created in the industry. You can try them all for free and I really would encourage you to buy some fonts and build up your own collection. I could spend hours on this site exploring all the different and wonderful fonts they showcase!

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.

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