Coney Island California



“I can’t go back to yesterday…

because I was a different person then.”

- Lewis Carroll

It’s so true and so easy to forget.  As the new year draws closer and I fall further into my fascination with photography, I want to explore just how much I change day-to-day. That being said, I have decided to embark on a 365 Pieces of Me project.  I plan on posting the pictures on my Flickr account, though occasionally may also post them here on my blog.  The end goal is to create a photo book, maybe a photojournal, while improving my photography skills.  I have a feeling this next year is going to be one of substantial change, so I think it’s a great time to take note of the small differences that make up the larger transformations in my life.

Inspired Genius Landing Image

Free Photoshop Action – Black and White Photoshop Action – Inspired Genius Photoshop Action

Inspired Genius is a free black and white Photoshop action that turns any colored image into a warm, bright black and white. It adds a range of light red-greys and deep browns to give your image a glow of illuminated warmth.

Download Inspired Genius, free black and white Photoshop action. 


When compared to Photoshop’s grayscale**, Inspired Genius adds light, airy, warmth.

**The right image uses Photoshop’s grayscale.


Positively Bonkers Free Photoshop Action Download

Photoshop Action Positively Bonkers – Free Photoshop Action – Color Pop Photoshop Action

Positively Bonkers is a free Photoshop action that brightens colors and allows you to add paint-on vibrant pops of color.  For more whimsical photos, or those that have dull colors, this action is perfection.

 Download Positively Bonkers, Free Photoshop Action


Directions to adjust Positively Bonkers

  • To adjust the sharpness, adjust the opacity of the Tighten My Perception layer.
  • To adjust bright white lighting, adjust the opacity of the Hollywood layer.
  • To improve contrast, increase the opacity on the Turn Up the Bass layer.
  • To maintain brightness, decrease the opacity of the Crayola layer.
  • To add extra bright, vivid color, use a white brush to paint over the parts that you want colorful on the Color Blast layer.

Remember, subtle changes create beautiful modifications. It doesn’t take a lot. This free action works well on all types of photos, though I would not recommend using the Color Blast layer over skin.  Leave those areas unpainted.  And I’m always willing to help! Feel free to comment and ask questions if you get stuck.


Work of Fiction Post

Photoshop Action Work of Fiction – Free Photoshop Action – Brightening Photoshop Action

Work of Fiction is a free Photoshop action that adds brightness and extra warmth. On shoots where I don’t bring a reflector, there are occasionally areas of the image I want to remove shadows from and illuminate in post-production. This free photoshop action does just the trick!

Free Photoshop Action

Download Work of Fiction, Free Photoshop Action 


Directions for adjusting Work of Fiction

  • To adjust image sharpness, reduce or increase opacity of “Looking Glass” layer
  • To adjust brightness, first try adjusting the “Dodge Ball” layer.  If brightness still needs tweaking, play with the opacities on the “Wham Bam” and “Positively Glowing” layers.
  • The “Halo” layer adds a bit of light towards the upper portion of the image, much like a reflector would.  If you dislike the extra light, or want to lessen it, decrease the opacity or turn the layer off.
  • “Pretty in Pink” adds a very subtle warm glow.  To increase or decrease the tint, raise or lower the opacity.


Remember, subtle changes create beautiful modifications.  It doesn’t take a lot.  And I’m always willing to help!  Feel free to comment and ask questions if you get stuck.



THe Truth About Love Post

Photoshop Action The Truth About Love – Free Photoshop Action – Add Warmth Photoshop Action

The Truth About Love is a free Photoshop action that adds color and brightness with extra warmth.  I decided to make this action after doing a shoot last winter, and all of my images ended up too blue.  With all the leaves and brush it didn’t give the warm glow that I had loved during the Indian summer months, so I was really underwhelmed when I looked at my camera roll.  For anyone having similar issues this winter, simply run The Truth About Love and instantly feel picked-up in a warm wind.

Photoshop Action Freebie - Warm Color Boost

Download The Truth About Love, free Photoshop Action.


Directions for Adjusting The Truth About Love

  • To adjust sharpness, decrease the opacity of the Fresh to Death layer.
  • Additionally, if you wish to keep certain areas softer, like skin, use a large black brush and paint over those areas within the Fresh to Death layer to make them exempt from sharpening.
  • To make the photo more bright, turn the Make Me Rich layer up; to make it less bright, turn it down.
  • The Celebrity layer adds a very subtle sunshine-esque haze (you like that made up word?)… The layer mask is permanently locked because adjusting it at all would either be too much or too little.  If you hate the haze, just turn the layer off.  No hard feelings J
  • The Heat Lamp layer provides the Indian summer warmth.  Adjust this layer depending on how cold your original image is.  Some photos will need more, others will need less.


Remember, don’t overdo it.  The most subtle changes can create beautiful modifications.  It doesn’t take a lot.  And I’m always willing to help!  Feel free to comment and ask questions if you get stuck


While Dreams Last Post

Photoshop Action While Dreams Last – Free Photoshop Action – Black and White Photoshop Action

So I know I’ve been MIA for the past few weeks and I’ve kind of sucked - here’s why; I’ve been busy working on a new set of playful, FREE Photoshop actions that add a whimsical touch to your photos. Over the next few weeks, I will upload these new actions which you can download – for FREE. Actions range from rich, creamy black and whites, to crisp and colorful HDR-esque actions. Each post will feature the original image SOOC (straight out of the camera) and the image with the action applied. For black and white actions I will also feature my action compared Photoshop’s black and white action, so you can compare the difference.

As with any action, be sure to adjust the layers to suit your taste. Not every action will work beautifully on the first go, so play around with opacities and adjust layers to best accent your photograph… For those of you who are new to this, I will provide tips on how to adjust the layers to suit your needs.

While Dreams Last is a free black and white Photoshop action that turns a color image into a warm, vintage black and white.  It adds a range of warm greys and deep blacks coupled with an antique haze to give your photograph a truly lush feel.

 Download While Dreams Last, free black and white Photoshop Action.


Directions for Adjusting While Dreams Last

  • To make your image warmer, turn up the opacity on the Warm Clouds layer.
  • To make it less warm, turn the opacity on the Warm Clouds layer down.
  • To get rid of the antique look, lessen the opacity of the Vintage Film layer.
  • To increase the antique look, duplicate the Vintage Film layer and adjust the opacity as needed.
  •  To decrease contrast or brightness, lower the opacity of the Knock-Out Punch layer.
  • To increase contrast or brightness, turn up the opacity on the Knock-Out Punch layer.


When compared to Photoshop’s standard black and white action, While Dreams Last adds more depth, warmth, and luxuriousness.  It makes the image look as if it were shot with film and makes your editing process that much easier!



Free Illustrator Banner | Free Banner Download | Banner Graphic Free

Slacker! and New Blog Freebies

AAaaahhhhhh!  So I’ve been a slacker lately and have been pursuing other creative outlets, which resulted in me neglecting the blog… shame on me!  To assure you all hope is not lost, I have provided a download for these awesome free banners.  They’re Illustrator files so they won’t lose resolution as you tweak them around in Photoshop.  In addition to this Photoshop freebie, I plan on having a new DIY project uploaded this weekend so be on the lookout!

Grammar - What You Oughta Know

I Communicate For a Living

As a writer, my communication skills (written and verbal) are critical. My entire career depends on my ability to shape words and how people interpret them, like an algebra problem where X+Y=Z, and X is what I say, Y is how people interpret it, and Z is the meaning I’m want to convey. It’s a constant battle to get the right formula. What I dont understand is how I managed to pick up this basic knowledge of grammar and usage during my primary schooling that, somehow, more than half of the population missed. Maybe they were sick that day? or maybe they were busy flirting with the cute boy in class? Whatever their excuse for being grammartards is, I found this video by “What You Oughta Know” hilarious. Enjoy!


FINALLY!!! Back to Blogging After Rafting on the Salmon River

When I first started blogging I thought I was gonna the next Brook Busey… writing some scathingly raw crap that drew readers so far into the web vortex that they’d spend hours reading shit they didn’t even know they wanted to… so how did I end up so far from that?  I often ask myself the same question. Well, obviously, I’m not an ex-stripper and my life just isn’t that interesting… and two, I took the cowards way out and was too afraid to get real.  I thought nobody would read it and saw how popular Photoshop blogs were and blogs that gave shit away so I rode that wagon.


With the insulting nature of my 9 to 5 and the slow realization that I am worth so much more than I give myself credit for, a vacation was much needed.  My husband and I ended up going on a 6 day, white water rafting trip on the Main Fork of the Salmon River near Boise, Idaho.  We took the trip with Mackay Wilderness, an amazing tour company.  The tour guides were phenomenal, setting up our camps, cooking three course (fine-dining quality) meals.  I’m more of a foo-foo girl, but this vacation was just beautiful, regardless of my non-camper ways.


When you set up your wilderness trip, you end up camping and rafting with a group of other vacationers, so you get to spend entire days and nights getting to know a group of people living lives completely foreign to yours, and it really helps you put your life in perspective.  Having spent all this time learning about other people, other careers, other relationships, you learn how beautiful people are, how kind and caring.  You learn that every relationship has bumps.  Every now and then there is still a creep or two.  You learn that some of the most elementary inventions were created by some of the most talented, fascinating (yet down-to-earth) people.  And, some of the biggest Hollywood names, leave some of the greatest legacies in their children (thank you Miguel Ferrer).  Without all the technological distractions, you get to see people really interact and really live.  It still blows my mind that we now pay thousands of dollars to be entertained “on vacation” by the basic way that our predecessors used to live.  A river used to be a means of transportation, food, and vitality.  It was free.


After a long week + of relaxing and enjoying good company, I’m ready to blog again… and share more of myself throughout.  While it may not be interesting to all, it’s time to find my way back to the path I originally intended.



Free Instagram Photoshop Actions | Free Instagram Frames | Plus, Print Your Instagram Photos!

There’s so much going on in this post I don’t even know where to begin… so let’s just dive in. Honestly, I love the quality of Postagram, but feel their prints are way over-priced; and as an Android user, I’m tired of waiting for app developers from other print companies (*cough* PostalPics) to catch up. I love the convenience of being able to order prints from my phone – no doubt – but having to pay $1/photo when I can get 10 photos printed for that price is ridiculous.

Complaining complete, I decided to make a few Instagram Photoshop actions that resize an Instagram photo so it fits standard printing sizes of 4×6, 5×7, or 8×10. After running the action on your image, you can take your photos to any photo printing service and have them printed in those sizes, or you can print the photos on your home printer. Being that I’m a huge fan of WalMart’s matte photo finish, this has been a game-changer.

And, if you’re sitting there thinking, well that’s great Brooke but the whole reason you use PostalPix or Postagram is for the freaking greeting message they print – relax. I’ve included a tutorial on how to use Photoshop to add your own custom message to create invitations, greeting cards, holiday cards – whatever you wish. Or, if you want the classic 1:1 ratio Instagram print, just cut off the excess* part of the print so you’re left with a perfect, square photo.

*If you cut off the excess from the print you should end up with a 4×4 square if you printed a 4×6 print; a 5×5 square if you printed a 5×7 print; and an 8×8 square if you printed an 8×10 print.

Also, if you like your photos printed on that thicker cardstock the photo printing apps use, purchase a pack of cardstock in bulk at JoAnn’s, Michael’s, or Hobby Lobby (using a 40% off coupon of course). Glue the Instagram photo print to the cardstock with acid-free adhesive, or acid-free adhesive tape (acid-free won’t discolor or damage your photo) and trim the excess cardstock. Sandwich it between two heavy books while the adhesive flattens and dries (not necessary if you used adhesive tape). Now, you have an Instagram print on cardstock!

Download Instagram Photoshop Actions

Download Instagram Photoshop Actions for PS Elements

After installing and running the actions you’ll notice there is a white box at the bottom of the Instagram photo.  This is where the 1:1 ratio of the square print becomes the ratio of a 4×6, 5×7, or 8×10.  This white box portion fills in that gap between the image being a perfect square and the image being a standard print size.  With this tutorial, we’re going to utilize that excess to turn the print from a perfect square to the perfect invitation.


How to Create an Invitation Using the Instagram Photoshop Actions:

Step 1: Set the foreground color.  This is going to be the main color of your invitation or greeting card, so choose a color that coordinates to your liking.  I used the “Color Picker” tool to find a dark grey color within my actual Instagram photo, but you can use any method that works for you.

Step 2: Select the “Shape” tool, making sure the “Rectangle” is the shape selected.  

Step 3: Cover the open white space with a rectangle, but be sure not to cover up any border/frame that your original Instagram photo had.

Step 4: Select the “Type” tool and type your greeting or invite within the newly colored area.  Don’t forget to include any information your guests might need to know if you’re making an invitation (address, time, date, R.S.V.P. contact).  Use fun fonts, cute embellishments, anything goes.

SAVE YOUR FINAL PRODUCT as a .JPEG and you’re ready to have it printed at any print location…. then mail your invites!

Free Instagram Frames


If you follow Coney Island CA regularly, you know I love to draw and paint, so while I was borrowing a friend’s Wacom tablet (to see if I wanted to purchase one for myself) I drew a few Instagram frames.  I’ve polished them up, painted them, and made turned them in to free Instagram photo frame downloads as a bonus to this Instant Love post. When I created the Instagram frames, my intention was to be able to create that Instagram photo look for my non-Instagram pics.  I thought, “Oh I’ll just slap this hipstamic frame on there and it’ll look schweet.” But then I liked the hand-drawn look (go figure, right?) and I started using them all the time.  You’ll notice the polaroid and hipstamic frames show up on my blog quite frequently, so now I’m making them available to yous.  Enjoy!

Download Free Polaroid Instagram Frame

Download Free Hipstamic Instagram Frame

Download Free Photobooth Instagram Frame