Fun with Photoshop! Not actually using a photo!

Just because Photoshop is designed for editing photos doesn’t mean it’s just for photos!

The following images are just the simple gradient shapes that have been warped.

All you have to do is start with a new image in Photoshop.


These instructions assume you know basic Photoshop.

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1. File/new make the image 1400×1200 pixels.

2. Add a rectangle the size of the image and fill with black

3. Duplicate the background and double click the background and select the style gradient layer.

4. Click on the gradient editor and choose your preset or make a new one. Change the type to noise

5. Change the angle to your own preference.

6. Flatten the Image and then select the whole thing

7. Go to Edit/Transform and then Warp.

8. Start warping – I usually shrink the view by hitting CTRL and Minus to see the canvas and so I can stretch the colors.

9. The select the entire image and cut it.

10. Open us a new file and make some type of “cool” background…a gradient b&w works great.

11. Paste your file on top and see what you get!

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Understanding Depth of Field

I have found the greatest tool to understand depth of field and even shutter speed.

This company called CameraSim has a wonderful tool for showing you the differences between different apertures and different shutter speeds.

It works on not only your computer…but your iPad, iPhone and more.

Not only is it free to try….it really works. is the website or just click on the links below!



How do I print photo from my iPhone….

Read on…it’s simple.

Just get the Creve Coeur Camera Prints app at the App Store! Search either Creve Coeur or CCC Prints.

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We all have hundreds of images just sitting on our phone….remember those images can’t be replaced. They are a moment in time and when your phone brakes, gets lost or falls in the river…your photos are lost. Yes, many of us have them saved on the cloud, but that’s costly.

Our app is simple to use just upload your images with our app and then choose the images your want printed. Everything from a wallet to a poster size print and everything in-between! Plus our app saves your images for later usage.


ONE HOUR prints come in two sizes….4×6 inch and 8×10 inch. So when you need it fast…CCC DELIVERS!

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Take the best family photos this holiday season!

Here are several tips that will make your family photo the best it can be.

1. Plan, Plan, Plan – Let everyone know you are going to do this way in advance so your kids can get mentally prepared….or even your spouse!

2. Set up the room – sometimes moving the couch in front of the fire place or in the middle of the room will really add to the depth of the image. Many times you see interviews on 60 minutes where they put 2 chairs opposite each other, but notice they are in the middle of the room…no one will notice. It will help you produce a slightly out of focus background and probably no shadows too! And this means…don’t shoot against the wall.

3. Simple clothes – I generally suggest either everyone wears a different color solid shirt or have everyone wear the same color. Make sure it’s not the same as the walls!

4. Either use natural light, a couple of soft boxes or get a Gary Fong or Rogue flash attachment – these will all make your images look much better…don’t use direct flash!!! And if your camera is relatively new, for natural light, up the ISO.

5. Either get close so you show the faces or pose everyone so the photo is balanced. Look online for great family poses!

This is a good source:

6. Relax – I always suggest using the family pet…they can really liven up the photo.

7. Take lots of photos – So you get the very best one. Use a remote so you are not running back and forth.

8. Sometimes an imperfect image is the best. It may just be the one of everyone laughing at Dad!

9. Check your camera, batteries, and memory card before starting – Don’t run out in the middle!

10. If you’re still confused…ask the professionals at Creve Coeur Camera for help!


How to store your photos for the long haul? Try this…

As a long time photographer I have the same issue as most photographers. Years ago I stored my photos on CD’s then DVD’s…and finally on my hard drives.

As hard drives got cheaper and many companies offered large USB portable drives I copied all of my images from my hard drive on to these slow…but easy to use drives and took them off site. They were very portable but it generally took overnight to back up my over 200,000 current images. So what was next?

Then I purchased a removable single hard drive that ran at 7200 rpm’s and it seemed to work fine. But again I had to do the back up and it took over 12 hours. Again…I would take this drive off site and replace it with another blank drive.

Recently, I discovered the RAID drive cost has come way down. This form of “duplication” has been around for years…but in the past it was very costly.

So about a month ago I purchased a StarTech Four bay RAID enclosure. The setup was simple and the device has worked fine since then.


It is a 4 bay enclosure. I purchased 3 drives for this unit. Two drives are installed at all times and set to RAID 1. As I bring images and data into the computer they are set to store on this external device. Everything is duplicated on the drives. So about every 10 days I remove one of the drives and put the 3rd drive in place. Immediately the device then duplicated whatever in on the drive that was left in the machine.

I take the removed device off site. The device runs until everything is duplicated on both devices….I have to do nothing.

The advantage of this unit is it works with Fire wire, USB 3.0 and before or eSATA.

The unit is about $225 and the drives were about $125 each. Your price may very based on the size of the drives you purchase.

Here are the product details for the one I purchased….by the way…there tech support people are really nice!

PRODUCT DETAILS Four-Bay External SATA RAID Enclosure – Flexible Data Storage Solution

Designed for convenience, the enclosure features front panel LED indicators that provide RAID information and simple hard drive status and activity monitoring. The enclosure also features a built-in 3-speed 80mm fan with automatic or manual controls.

  • 4 TB
  • USB 2.0, eSATA, Firewire/i.LINK 400, Firewire/i.LINK 800
  • Power adapter included
  • Number of drives: 4
  • Transfer rate: 480Mbps USB 2.0, SATA II (3GB/s)
  • Form factor: External
  • Color: Black
  • Voltage rating: 115 – 230 VAC input, 12 VDC output
  • Dimensions: 6.7″(H) x 5″(W) x 8 1/2″(L)
  • Operating temperature: – 20 – 60 deg C
  • Number of total expansion bays: 4, fan bearing type: ball bearing
  • Drive connectors: 4 – SATA (7 pin, data) receptacle, 4 – SATA power (15 pin) receptacle, Host connectors: 1 – eSATA (7 pin, data) plug, 1 – Firewire 400 (6 pin, IEEE 1394a) female, 1 – USB B (4 pin) female, 2 – Firewire 800 (9 pin, IEEE 1394b) female
  • Supported RAID modes: 0 (stripe), 1 (mirror), 3 (parity disk), 5 (striped parity), 10 (1+0), span/concatenation
  • 80 mm cooling fan with 4 selectable speeds: low, med, high, auto
  • OS compatibility: Windows 2000/ XP(32/64 bit)/ Server 2003(32/64 bit)/ Server 2008 R2/ vista(32/64 bit)/ 7(32/64 bit)/ 8 (32/64 bit), Mac OS 10.4/ 10.5/ 10.6/ 10.7/ 10.8, Linux
  • Package contents: 1 x four drive HDD enclosure, 1 x 6 pin Firewire cable, 1 x 9 pin Firewire cable, 1 x eSATA cable, 1 x USB cable, 1 x screw driver and screw kit, 3 x power cord (NA/ UK/ EU), 1 x universal power adapter, 1 x instruction manual
  • Certification and standards: ROHS, CE, FCC
  • Weight: 4 lbs.
  • Warranty: 2 years



Take the Perfect Halloween Pic of Your Children

Written by School of Imaging Instructor, Tom Tussey

iStock_000017545140XSmallHalloween is always a slightly tough time to get great photographs.  Why?….most of our shots are outside with no background and it just turns black.

If you have a DSLR camera with removable lenses, choose a wider focal length to include more background (18 to 35mm length).  This will allow your camera to light the trees and other items in the image.

Or if there is a lot going on in the picture a longer focal length to help you blur your background (50 to 85mm). This will isolate your subject and make them stand out from the background for a more professional look.

A DSLR camera or a Point and Shoot camera will do this best if you shoot in Portrait Mode. Use Sports Mode for taking photos of the kids in action as they act out their characters in the backyard. This will set your camera to take multiple shots quickly as you hold down the shutter. This mode will give you a greater chance of capturing that decisive moment. Use your flash to add some light to your child’s face, especially if you are in a backlit situation where the background is brighter than the subject. Usually you need to be in “P” Program Mode to force the flash to fire regardless of the background brightness. Most cameras have a flash compensation control, so you can perfectly light your child and have the background the perfect brightness as well.

You can also shoot in a scene mode called “Night Portrait” Mode. With this setting and a tripod(a must), you can add brightness to the background when you take photos after dark so that the lit pumpkins in the background glow and your flash lights up your child normally. In a mode like Auto or Program, you would not get the “glow” from the pumpkins and lights in the background. REMEMBER; Your pop up built in flash will not travel more than about ten feet, so keep your child within that distance so they are exposed properly. Have fun experimenting with some or all of these techniques as you capture those ‘priceless’ Halloween images this year! (1956)

Places Series: London

Article and photos by Kelley Moulton, Sales Associate at our Crestwood Store

We see many customers come in to ask advice on their future trips to Europe — London in particular. Here are some hotspots to photograph and what you will need to take with you to make sure you get the best shot.

big_benParliament Square/Big Ben/Thames River/Westminster Abbey:
This is tourist central for photographs. All in one small area of London, you can see a handful of the most popular tourist attractions. A wide angle lens would be beneficial for the many opportunities you will have for architecture and landscape shots.

With plenty of unique shopping markets, you are sure to capture some interesting photos of passersby and get a feel for the local hustle and bustle. They also lend themselves to some fantastic food photography and candid shots of the local market-goers. The Borough Market and Portobello Road Market are each diverse in the items they sell and the variety of subjects that you can photograph. Come to the markets with an empty stomach and several pounds in your wallet — you will not be able to hold yourself back from the excellent food being served and the interesting trinkets and antiques you will find. A versatile lens to take along with you would be a mid-range lens. This will allow you to capture wide-angle shots of the whole market, detailed shots of the food and products, and everything in between. You may also consider a macro lens due to the abundance of vibrant colors and textures.

roman_bathsStonehenge and Bath:
If you are feeling adventurous and want to get breathtaking views of the English countryside, a trip to Stonehenge and Bath is in order. You can find several sightseeing tour bus companies that will run trips to Stonehenge and then to the town of Bath. Plan on spending the majority of your day with these trips, as it will take a few hours to get there from London. Stonehenge is a popular tourist attraction and lends itself to both wide-angle and telephoto shots. With either a polarizer or neutral density filter, you can capture stunning photos of the structures accompanied by the greenery and sky. With bracketing and editing, you can achieve some interesting HDR images as well.
Bath is a quaint town a little further through the countryside from Stonehenge. It houses the Roman Baths, which you can tour for an admittance fee. A wide-angle to middle-range lens would be perfect for wandering through the Bath complex, as well as the city. There are street vendors selling fresh produce and flowers out of carts, cobblestone streets, and cute cafe’s throughout the town. The old architecture is very photogenic as well.

While in London, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for interesting passersby, street performers, and street life. Like any large city, there is an eclectic gathering of people from all over the world. Our last advice is to keep your camera equipment near you at all times, bring a rain sleeve to protect your gear from the famous London rains, and most importantly… enjoy yourself!

Want help improving your photos?
Check out our School of Imaging Classes! (353)

Why is a good tripod important?

Article written by Brian Copeland, Assistant Manager at our Creve Coeur Location


Often people ask “Why do I need a good tripod”?  The better question is “Who doesn’t need a good tripod”? A tripod is an essential accessory for every photographer from beginner to expert. There are so many uses for a tripod, Here are a few of them:

  1. If you want to be in the photo, a tripod is a must! You may use the camera’s self timer or a remote shutter release to get a great group photo or even a self portrait.
  2. Nighttime/Sunset/Sunrise shots are all greatly improved with the use of a tripod. When you adjust the exposure settings, the camera requires a lower shutter speed, which can magnify any vibration in the camera or lens. A tripod steadies your shot, greatly improving image quality.
  3. When you are trying to capture action, often panning is required to get the best shot. A tripod can make your life easier as you pan & steady for that perfect shot.
  4. Taking macro or close up shots often requires very precise small adjustments to camera position. Tripods make this simple by keeping your camera in the exact position it is placed, and removing guesswork.
  5. Tripods will eliminate or reduce the blur when using a telephoto(zoom) lens. The longer focal length of a telephoto lens magnifies vibration, which leads to a blurry image.

As if those reasons were not enough, tripods allow for creativity and flexibility in your photography. Most tripods are adjustable to allow a photo inches from the ground or even above your head. Tripods hold more than just a camera too. They can also hold camcorders, flashes and be used as a support for a reflector or umbrella. There are many models available and the choice of a tripod is an important one. Feel free to stop by and ask any of our sales associates to assist you in selecting a tripod that will perfectly fit your needs.

Click Here to check out our selection of tripods! (1055)

Photo Walks – Photo Workshops – Learn Photography with us!!

Why you should join us at one of our Creve Coeur Camera workshops?


  1. You get hands-on training and practice with professional photographers.
  2. We teach you at your own pace – Beginners through Advanced Shooters
  3. You will learn how to use your cameras settings for great images
  4. Our three instructors have been shooting for over 100 years combined!
  5. Small groups – Generally it’s 8 students per teacher for 2 to 3 hours
  6. You are free to move around within the groups
  7. Share your passion with others
  8. We visit some wonderful spots, Herman, Old St. Charles, Downtown and more
  9. You get instant feedback
  10. It’s FUN!


The Creve Coeur Camera School of imaging was started over 8 years ago by Stephen Weiss, with the understanding that digital cameras and printing were becoming a huge part of the camera business. Customers needed to understand how to choose the right digital camera and then learn how to use it. Currently we teach classes as simple as DSLR Basics, all the way up to Adobe Lightroom. Plus we offer One-on-one instruction.

Today the School continues. We have a full time instructor (Tom Tussey) with over 40 years of commercial/professional experience. Tom has the ability to teach anyone the simplest photography technique as well as show the advanced shooter how to obtain wonderful professional techniques.

Additionally, Scott Rovak (the Photographer for the St. Louis Cardinals) is one of our instructors. Scott continues daily to shoot all of the major sports teams in St. Louis and also has extensive skills in Fine Art and people photography.

And Stephen Weiss, the President of CCC is one of our instructors. Stephen has extensive experience in several other areas, including product photography, and commercial photography. Stephen currently serves as a track photographer for Nascar and NHRA at the Gateway Motorsport Park.

No matter which workshop, class or event you choose, with the CCC School of Imaging, you will learn a lot. You WILL advance your skills as a photographer and obtain better images. Thousands of folks have already joined us. You should too.

Visit to download our current class schedule.