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Bubble Bum Joy. [& understanding layer masks]

I am continually thankful for the kind & thoughtful people in my life. I have had a very introspective week and have learned that when you move a lot, your friends become your family and I am so thankful for the women who help me feel like I can call this place home. & that I am not alone. Physically or emotionally. I drove home last night near tears just thinking about how truly blessed I am. I have never felt more connected to so many wonderful people.

My evening was just the loveliest gathering of my MOPS friends (full of the best desserts I have had in a LONG TIME–thank you, Ashley!!) & my friend Rhonda shared her heart-wrenching story of recurrent loss. So much of what she spoke about resonated with me, for obvious reasons. She helped me through my miscarriage in so many ways. But something she said just tugged at my heart.

She touched on how experiencing a miscarriage somehow intensifies both the grief and the joy. & it is so true. My time with my daughter has never been more important to me. I hold her tighter. Hug her longer. Kiss her more often. (as if this was even possible.) Somehow, my loss has made me love her even more.

I have made the choice not to let the sadness overtake the joy that surrounds me every hour of every day. I’ve got her. & if she is the only child I ever have, I will consider myself abundantly blessed. Because she is amazing.

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Now…some of you have noticed that my dear doggy, Rusty, is missing in images that he was once in. TRUE. I do love my dog. I do not love his butt. & his butt ended up in every good image! SO…easy fix using a photoshop tool called layer masks. For me, half the battle of learning photoshop was learning the terminology. I knew what I wanted to do but I had no idea what it was called in photoshop speak. Hopefully this will help! I am not going to do a tutorial at length, so read this blog post on How to Use Layer Masks.

I had enough images that were shot from the same location (as in, I clicked two or three times for each image you see above) so I had a lot of “extra” junk shots. Obviously, my dog does not stay put, so he was all over the place. Because I had images of the same landscape, some with him in them & some without him, I was able to create a “hybrid image.” Here are my two “before” images:

So you can see what area was of concern above. I layered the image on the left over the image on the right. I added a layer mask to the TOP image, the one with the cutest caroline. I then painted out Rusty using the soft black brush. I played with the top layer’s opacity as I lined up the bricks & flower bed, so I could see what I was doing behind it.

This takes a LOT of practice. It takes patience. It takes time. But once you get the hang of it, it’s a piece of cake. This is how photographers do the dreaded “head swap” garbage. I haven’t ever done one…but I am not a family photographer. ;) Unless you count my babe & my dog. Then I’m a family photographer…’cause they are never far apart!

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  • meghan - We did the “dreaded head swap” in one of our wedding photos because one picture had me, Jeff, and his mom looking great and his dad just had a face, whereas the other one was all of us hysterically laughing our faces off, while Jeff’s dad looked really happy… head swap and we have a perfect wedding picture. YAY. But OMG the details that must have went into that. I know our wedding photographer had what he called an “eye bank” full of different color and shape eyes for those who close them in pictures.ReplyCancel

  • Abby - I love reading your blog! I especially love how authentic you are about your happiness, fears, sadness, etc! Thanks for being vulnerable with us!

    I am actually about to start a MOPS group this Fall and was wondering what your favorite thing was about your MOPS meetings?ReplyCancel

  • Chelsea McCown - LOVE this post! Not only because of the beautiful little girl and the fact that it’s spring there…. but also because I am exactly in the same place you are! In fact, I wrote a similar post this week :)

  • Beth McDonough - Shawna, I couldn’t agree with you more … loosing a child certainly reminds you of what a miracle they are!

    On another note, I can truly appreciate your appreciate your Rusty situation. Can’t help but(t) share a link:

  • Tori @ - LOVE! Are you going to put any of those up in the house?! And, thanks for the tutorial! Definitely not even close to scratching the surface of my PS!ReplyCancel

  • Emily - Thanks for sharing Shawna! It is so true how loss really makes you appreciate what you have! I still sometimes get sad I always think of how I wouldn’t have my Ellie if i hadn’t had my miscarriage first… and I cannot picture life without my perfect baby girl!ReplyCancel

  • Shannon - LUV THIS TO PIECES!ReplyCancel

  • Rhonda Huffman - I’m so glad you were able to come, Shawna! I would love to hear my story through your words…you are very well spoken! :) We are all in this together – there’s no point in experiencing any of it if you can’t learn from it and pass your insight along to someone else. Full circle, baby ;)ReplyCancel

  • Lori - I have a 6 month old little girl and I want to get some pictures taken of her. Do you offer this service? Thanks! :)


  • Bree - that is so smart! I would have just cloned him out, why didn’t I think to use a layer mask for that task?ReplyCancel

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