Intro by Skip Cohen
The Internet has made the world a smaller place, and with it have come some terrific cyberspace friendships.
Meet Steven Gotz. Based in California, I first "met" Steven when he joined us for lunch with the f64 Lunch Bunch. During one of those webinar gatherings, he shared an idea for converting images to coloring book pages. Well, that led to a phone conversation and the start of a great little friendship.
I made the offer to help share his coloring book idea with my readers, and Steven was kind enough to do a guest post. Now, think about the power of this for any family with young children who are hunkered down trying to find things to keep the kids busy.
Even more valuable is the concept for those of you who are children and family photographers. Here's a way for you to share something with your clients - coloring book pages of their own family portraits!
A BIG thanks to Steven for sharing the idea and writing the post. He's a perfect reminder that we're all in this together! More of Steven's work with his FREE Shelter-in-Place coloring books and Wordsearch puzzles is just a click away below, as well as his KelbyOne Class, "The Art of Zootography."
by Steven Gotz
By way of introduction, I am a Headshot Photographer, as well as a Zootographer and Docent at the Oakland Zoo in Northern California.
With most of us forced to stay home due to shelter-in-place orders, and with most zoos being closed, in order to continue to give back to my community I have been keeping busy making coloring books of my animal images for the Oakland Zoo web site.
My takeaway from a lot of the Zoom sessions, chats and tutorials I have been watching lately is that photographers are looking for constructive ways to stay in touch with their clients. And, at the same time, many of them are looking for ways to keep their own children constructively occupied. Or, at least, quietly occupied.
It occurred to me that while children are enjoying coloring my photographs of animals, they might also enjoy coloring photos of themselves and their families.
If a photographer who shoots family or pet photos could keep in touch with clients by sending them a PDF with one or more coloring pages of the family, the children, the family pet, etc, then that photographer might well be remembered when we come out the other side of this crisis.
How about if the client were to take a smartphone photo of their children in their favorite superhero shirt, or their favorite sports team’s jersey, then send that photograph to the photographer? It only takes a few minutes to turn that photo into a coloring page and send it back. Now there is truly a two-way communication with clients.
While photos of families with younger children would most likely be more useful, for the purpose of this post, I chose to use a family with older children to respect privacy issues.
To create your own coloring pages, start by opening your photo in Photoshop. You can use a raw file, an edited PSD or TIF, or even a JPG. However, if you are using anything other than a raw file, please remember to edit a copy, not the original.
Duplicate the background layer.
With the background copy selected,
Image / Adjustments / Desaturate
Duplicate the desaturated background copy
With Background copy 2 selected
Image / Adjustments / Invert
With Background copy 2 still selected change the blend mode from normal to Color Dodge. This will likely make the layer almost completely white. No worries, that will change in the next step.
Apply a Gaussian Blur to taste.
In the tiger image I chose 9 pixels. I used 6 for the family photo.
You might find that using a levels adjustment on the black and white top level provides a bit better result. Each photo is different.
I use the Lightroom Print Module to organize the pages, and then I simply print to a PDF.
It is my hope that you find making coloring pages out of your photographs a constructive use of your time while staying home, and staying safe.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.