Thrilling and Inspiring Fantasy Art Photoshop Tutorials

I must admit that fantasy art tutorials are perhaps my best and most beloved choice of photoshop lessons.

This teaches not only the techniques and how to apply particular filters to a certain layer but also inspires and gives the artist, even if he is still a beginner — a lot of inspiration, ideas, and a new way of looking at the same standard photoshop tools that are available to all of us. I believe we all have a little artist living inside us, and whether will we unleash it or not, depends entirely on us.

However, it’s no sin to draw inspiration from other sources and learn from other’s experiences, so here we gathered a list of all the best, all-time-favorite fantasy art tutorials that will help to turn your photoshop into an art-making machine…

These are all very magical and very mystic artwork. If you ask, what is esotericism, this might be the right answer..

Surreal Photoshop Composition – Fallen Angel’s Dream Flight

magical and fantasy effects

Combine Photo Elements to Create a Surreal Scene

magical and fantasy effects

Predators of Heaven Photo Montage

Sinking Moon Eclipse Photoshop Tutorial

magical and fantasy effects

Mystical Moonlight Effect

magical and fantasy effects

How to Design a Dramatic Winged Dragon in Photoshop

magical and fantasy effects

Creating Your Own Fairytale Scene

magical and fantasy effects

Create a Fantasy Illustration in Photoshop

magical and fantasy effects

Dark Surreal Illustration in Photoshop

magical and fantasy effects

Create an Out of Bounds Fantasy Illustration

magical and fantasy effects

Creating a Touching Story Scene in Photoshop

magical and fantasy effects

Creating a Fantasy Scene

magical and fantasy effects

Create an Underwater Room Scene

magical and fantasy effects

Galaxy Angel

magical and fantasy effects

Create a Magic Crystal Ball

magical and fantasy effects

Surreal Fantasy Art

magical and fantasy effects

Surreal Floating Eiffel Tower Scene

magical and fantasy effects

Surreal Landscape Photo Manipulation

magical and fantasy effects

Mysterious Lightning

magical and fantasy effects

Fantasy Night Sky

magical and fantasy effects

Fable of the Night Matte Painting

magical and fantasy effects

The White Tree

magical and fantasy effects

Surreal Orange Sky Scene

magical and fantasy effects

Create a Fantasy Tree


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If you are looking for some creative effects for your new design projects then you are at the right place because here you will get a great collection of text effects! So just add some cool styles to your texts in seconds. This massive library of Photoshop layers can open all your projects up in a quick and easy way. With just one click you will be able to change the overall look of your design. If you create posters, flyers then this set is for you because you will get different Photoshop styles for almost any situation

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Today we have partnered with our friends to bring our Photoshop-loving readers a fantastic collection of Photoshop actions, tools, brushes, PSD smart tools and many other very handy tools, which are all designed to enhance your creativity. With this awesome package of digital goods from Ivan Gromov, you can save tons of time and increase your creativity. You will find all you need to create artworks: from vintage looking photos to beautiful watercolor paintings, from grunge old posters to colorful backgrounds.

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Bring Mobile Pics to Life – Photoshop Actions Set Vol.3

After the success of the previous set, we have decided to continue and create sets of 10 Photoshop actions that are designed to enhance  the ordinary photos that come out of your mobile Phone. Now you can use these professional one click Photoshop actions to instantly enhance any shot. All these actions are compatible with CS4+ and leave the initial image intact, so if you change your mind, you can always just delete the folder with the action effects and start allover, with a different action.


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Things To Cut Out On Now To Save Money During the COVID-19 Crisis

Many of us are experiencing job failure and decreased working hours as companies close their gates in compliance with rules to prevent COVID-19 from spreading further. St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard predicts that lay-off rates could reach 30% — higher than in the Great Depression and 3x more than during the 2007-09 crisis, Reuters reported. With so many people earning less cash and thousands more on the brink of being fired, it’s crucial now more than ever to concentrate on saving money and decrease spending.

If you are in the affiliate marketing business or use affiliate marketing software to manage your income, you probably have a better life than most of us, who need to save money.


You’re presumably using your Netflix, Hulu and Disney+ subscriptions a lot now, but review your bank records to see if there are other subscriptions you’re being automatically charged for that you are lo longer using.

Make a list of any subscription services that you no longer use and cancel your monthly payments.

Bank Fees

Evaluate your account fees quickly, at better times, we usually put off evaluating where we might be acquiring cryptic costs. Change your banking to a “free” account, if possible.

Your Gym Membership

Many gyms are shut down, and if yours is not, it’s still best to avoid going. While you’re home, there are many online exercises you can obtain for free. Even if you intend to hold onto your membership for the greater term, put a hold on your membership if you haven’t already done so. 

Services You Can DIY

Don’t waste cash on any services you can do yourself — like garden work or maintenance.

Cable Bundles You Don’t Need

Cancel special cable packages. I know this seems counterintuitive during social distancing, but cutting expenses is essential until this Coronavirus crisis is over.

This is particularly true if you’re spending extra for sports channels, with most professional sports now on hold. If the main purpose you have cable is to watch sports, consider cutting the cord completely and relying on streaming services for now.

Nonessential Food Spending

Making food at home can be time-consuming, but it’s a huge money saver.

Having meals delivered and driving to the drive-thru can get you out of the apartment, but the price of feeding your household can suddenly add up. If you often order takeaways, a household of 4 can fork out at least $70 each time they order in. If you cook at home instead, an ordinary may meal costs around $30 to make. Even if you get takeout once a week, you’ll save about $200 just by cooking at home.

On-Demand Movies

Renting on-demand videos can look like a great concept until your cable bill arrives, so review all the free collections of movies instead

Retail Therapy

Shopping is one of the several activities you can do from the luxury of your home, but it’s not a clever use of your cash. Retailers are seeking to minimize their damages by throwing frequent online sales, so ask yourself if you really need the piece in your shopping cart before checking out. If you find yourself window-shopping sales and buying items simply because they’re a ‘real deal,’ consider unsubscribing from the shop’s email list and reduce your hours of surfing out of boredom.


Many people are saving gas money by not having to drive. Put that cash into your savings instead of burning through gasoline needlessly.

“Driving around just to get out of the house can add up a lot in fuel expenses. If the weather is nice, walk around your area instead, and save cash while running or walking and keeping your mind engaged.

Premium Apps

Decide whether you need that premium version of some apps. You may want to provisionally downgrade some of the apps you use (or even don’t use) prior to the next billing cycle.

Seasonal Memberships

Analyze your credit card statements from the past 3 months and find any recurring payments you have that you no longer need. Do you have seasonal tickets to games or theater shows? Don’t think the auto-billing will stop only because there’s been an event cancellation. Some charges may be charged quarterly, which is why analyzing three months’ worth of credit card records is a better idea. Many performances have been canceled or are on hold, so you’re better off placing the funds you would have wasted on presents for friends and family toward needs or savings.

There are no bridal showers or birthday parties to attend to for now — you can bring gifts later to rescheduled events.

Bottled Water

Yes, the endless debate. The average American spends approximately $17.50 a month on bottled water, according to a 2019 survey by Ladder found. While that doesn’t appear to be a lot, it can add up over time. Purchase a refillable pitcher to reduce this needless expense.

Why It’s So Important To Cut Out These Expenses?

You may feel like since you’re wasting less money by not going out as much, you don’t need to mind what you do spend on. Nonetheless, tracking how much you pay and cutting out payments that you don’t need — like the 13 listed above — is crucial.

We’re living in a time of economic insecurity, where businesses are at risk and employees are unsure of their future. By cutting on costs of the non-essential items and services, you can double the amount you save, to guarantee you’re still able to handle your bills or have some cash in savings if you or a loved one gets fired. Interest rates quickly add up, and the last thing you want to do in an economic circumstance like this is to bury yourself even further into debt.

What You Should Be Spending Money On

Prioritize keeping up with your fixed costs. The most reliable way to know fixed expenses is to think, if you don’t pay them, something critical is going to happen. For example, rent or mortgage payments, car payments, utilities, and other loan fees. In addition to these expenses, continue to cover any insurance coverage you have. During these times people have a knee-jerk reaction to look at their insurance premiums as a way to cut costs. Be very mindful of this department. You do not want to change the existing policy to save funds and have disadvantageous effects if a claim is ever made.

Keep Contributing To Emergency Savings

Use any savings you get from cutting out superfluous spending and contribute them to an emergency savings fund. About 40% of Americans can’t handle an emergency requiring more than $400, according to a Federal Reserve study, so right now is the time to cut down expenses and put that extra money in savings. Saving is about tradeoffs. Find the things that bring you less value or are added luxuries. Trade those in for savings and more assurance to plan for what the tomorrow may hold.


How to Declutter Your Place Like A Responsible Person during COVID-19 Lockdown

How to declutter your place like a responsible person during lockdown?

While coronavirus lockdown has left many folks with more free time on our hands, plenty of attention has turned to get our homes into shape by tackling an awfully common household job – decluttering.

But now that several waste management services and tips are temporarily out of action, it is often tricky to really get eliminate your clutter after you’ve had a clear-out. Winston Scott, from waste management services provider, shares his tips for decluttering your home and getting eliminate old junk during the lockdown. Here’s a way to declutter your place a responsible way:

Check before you declutter — and do not fly-tip

The lockdown has closed nearly the foremost essential services, meaning that the majority of recycling centers and tips across the state have finished off. Charity shops and other donation points also are out of action, meaning that there are not many places you’ll safely and responsibly get eliminate your unwanted items.

As a result, fly-tipping offenses are on the increase. Some areas have even seen a 300 percent increase in fly-tipping offenses since the lockdown came into force. Not only does this create an unsightly mess in your local area, but it also puts even more strain on key waste management workers. So, if you are doing want to reorganize your home during the lockdown, you’ll have to create sure that you are going about it during a responsible way, which you’ve got a method of getting eliminate any unwanted stuff.

Even though most local authorities have made the choice to shut tips and recycling centers, some still remain open in some areas. If you have some stuff you would like to drop off, check whether any in your local area is still running. Remember to undertake to limit the number of trips you create and bear in mind that you simply will have to follow social distancing measures while you’re there.Keep on top of bin collections and household recycling

While plenty of recycling centers across the country are out of action, the govt. has been keen to emphasize that the majority of household waste and recycling collections are going ahead as normal within the majority of places. But, if you’re going to throw some extra stuff out, it is important to test along with your local council to work out if there are any changes to services in your area. You certainly don’t desire to fill your wheelie bin to the brim with old stuff only to search out out that collections are delayed every week.

The government has also issued a press release asking people to stay to their normal recycling habits, saying that we are able to all do our part to assist local waste collectors by continuing to cut back, re-use, and recycle the maximum amount of our waste as possible. It’s also important to be extra vigilant about sorting your rubbish properly, as this can help to cut back the number of labor for key workers in recycling centers.

Stash your unwanted items and eliminate them later

While the pandemic may need to make it plenty tougher to eliminate unwanted items, you’ll still have a decent declutter, as long as you’ve got an area to store your old possessions for the duration of the lockdown. This way, you’ll get your home looking beautifully organized, without putting extra strain on roadside collections or resorting to irresponsible ways of throwing out your rubbish.

First, you’ll have to search out an out-of-the-way spot in your home where you’ve got a small amount of free space for storing, just like the attic, the cabinet under the steps, or maybe a garden shed. Then, once you’ve had a decent clear-out, just bag or confine anything that might have gone to the tip or charity shop, label it clearly, and stow it somewhere out of the way until normal services resume.

Give old items a replacement lease of life with upcycling

If you can’t throw away your old stuff, why not try giving it a replacement lease of life? plenty of home items you do not need or want are often re-used or upcycled to form something new, and there is really never been a more robust time to begin a replacement project.

There are such a lot of ways to try and do this — all you wish could be a little bit of creativity. Old buckets, bowls, and other containers are often repurposed into planters for the garden, while old books, calendars, and magazines can all be used for arts and crafts projects to stay the youngsters entertained, like “papier-mâché” or collages. Unwanted clothing or sheets are often wont to make rags for cleaning, or split into scraps and used for stitching projects. If you wish to allow your home a makeover and declutter at the identical time, you’ll even create some patchwork cushion covers using scraps of old clothing. Almost everything is often upcycled in how, so take a glance at Pinterest for a few inspiration and begin getting crafty.

Weight Loss

12 Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Weight On Intermittent Fasting

There’s nothing buzzier than intermittent fasting (IF) with regards to current weight loss patterns. Huge numbers of celebs tout it as their go-to eating way to deal with getting or remain fit as a fiddle—including Halle Berry, Jenna Jameson, Jennifer Garner, Stassi Schroeder, and Vanessa Hudgens, to give some examples.

What’s more, the advantages of intermittent fasting aren’t restricted to weight reduction. The research suggests intermittent fasting may help bring down your cholesterol, improve your focus, and even assist you with dozing better.

In any case, on the off chance that you are utilizing IF for weight reduction purposes, realize that it’s in reality entirely simple to do it inaccurately, and slow down your weight reduction, consequently. You need to nail your eating window to procure the wellbeing and weight reduction benefits, down to the planning and the nourishments you eat when you do break your quick.

So on the off chance that you’ve been trying and attempting to get in shape with intermittent fasting and your body isn’t changing, continue perusing for the greatest errors individuals make on IF consumes less calories that may hinder weight reduction, as per enlisted dietitians—and how to address each issue.

So how does intermittent fasting work for weight reduction, precisely?

“Intermittent fasting is about when you eat,” says Charlotte Martin, MS, RDN, CPT, proprietor of Shaped by Charlotte, LLC. “Contingent upon the IF approach, you’re either shortening the eating window every day, or participating in around 24-hour fasts at least one times each week.” One of the most well known methodologies is the 16:8 technique, which is the point at which you quick for an eight-hour window, as from 8 p.m. to 12 p.m. the following day.

The Ultimate Guide to Intermittent Fasting

Basically, by confining your nourishment admission to an abbreviated time window, you normally decline your caloric admission and, thus, can get thinner. (Keep in mind, weight reduction, at the most essential level, happens when you devour less calories than you exhaust every day.) “In addition to the fact that you are taking in less calories, but at the same time you’re hindering your insulin siphon, which may help fat consume,” clarifies Martin.

To what extent does it take to begin getting more fit when you’re doing intermittent fasting?

There are a ton of components that can add to what extent it might take for the weight to begin falling off.

“The pace of weight reduction will fluctuate incredibly from individual to individual contingent upon a few variables, including: beginning weight, the intermittent fasting approach utilized, the sorts of (and how much) nourishment expended during the eating windows, and the sky is the limit from there,”


In the event that you wind up lessening your general caloric admission immediately and you reliably eat less calories than you use, at that point you should begin getting in shape right away. “In any case, you likely won’t notice any weight reduction results for at any rate two or three weeks,” notes Martin, including that some weight reduction first and foremost will “probably be water weight.”

“Contingent upon the calorie sum you devour while intermittent fasting, you could encounter an estimated one-to two-pound weight reduction every week, which would mean it could take as much as eight to 10 weeks to see huge weight reduction,”

says Kristen Smith, MS, RD, representative for Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

In case you’re losing more than that? It could be a warning. “On the off chance that you notice yourself losing a recognizable measure of weight during the initial not many long stretches of following an intermittent fasting plan, you should likely rethink your calorie admission to guarantee you are devouring sufficient nourishment to address your body’s issues,” says Smith.

So if I’m not shedding pounds with intermittent fasting, what’s the catch?

There could be a couple of reasons. Here are 12 intermittent fasting botches that you may be making, and how to fix them.

  • You’re eating a lot during your eating window.

As referenced, as a rule, “Weight reduction basically comes down to calories in versus calories out,” reminds Martin. “On the off chance that you wind up devouring a similar number of calories (or more) during your eating windows as before you began intermittent fasting, at that point you won’t get thinner.” at the end of the day, on the off chance that you simply pack the entirety of the calories you’d regularly eat into your eating window, you’re not so much changing your eating regimen.

Step by step directions to fix it:

Try a calorie-checking application.

“In spite of the fact that I don’t normally suggest calorie tallying, it might assist with following your caloric admission for a couple of days utilizing a calorie-following application. These applications will, for the most part, reveal to you the estimated day by day calorie sum you should be at so as to get more fit. Despite the fact that these estimations are for the most part off, they can be utilized as a decent beginning stage.”

The application can, likewise, uncover dinners or explicit nourishments that have a greater number of calories than you’d expect, and you can change your eating regimen appropriately.

  • You are not expending enough calories on non-fasting days.

“At the point when you don’t expend a satisfactory measure of calories on non-fasting days, your body may save the vitality you devour, as opposed to consuming it,” .


The most effective method to fix it:

Make a feast plan for yourself for non-fasting days. “Make a reasonable feast plan for non-fasting periods that incorporates adjusted suppers comprising of at any rate 300 to 500 calories for each dinner.” This way, you take out the mystery and can guarantee that you don’t hold back on calories for yourself.

  • You’re eating less-nutritious nourishments.

“In spite of the fact that the focal point of intermittent fasting is on when you eat as opposed to what you eat, that doesn’t mean you can eat anything you desire during your eating windows and still get in shape,” Martin calls attention to. “On the off chance that your eating routine comprises of for the most part calorically thick nourishments, similar to cheap food, you presumably won’t get more fit.”

The most effective method to fix it:

Focus on eating supplement thick nourishments.

“Eating nourishments wealthy in lean protein, fiber-rich carbs, and sound fats will help top you off and normally lessen your general caloric admission,” she says. Try not to stress: “You can at present appreciate a portion of your less-sound top picks, similar to pizza and dessert, with some restraint!” she includes.

  • You’re not fasting sufficiently long.

“On the off chance that you choose a period confined taking care of approach and you just abbreviate your eating window by an hour or so a day, you likely won’t see a lot, assuming any, weight reduction,”


You’re simply not changing enough from your typical eating schedule, tbh.

Step by step instructions to fix it:

“Most ladies discover accomplishment with around a 10-hour eating window, which means a 14-hour quick,” says Martin. “You can generally begin with a more extended eating window and work your way down if your standard eating window is any longer than this,”

  • You’re skipping dinners during your eating window.

“Skipping dinners and not eating enough during your eating windows can make you be incredibly eager during fasting periods, making it more probable that you’ll wind up breaking your fasts,” says Martin. “Limiting yourself a lot during one eating window can likewise lead you to gorge and indulging during your next eating window, which can likewise build by and large calorie admission.”

Step by step instructions to fix it:

“Ensure you’re eating until you’re full and fulfilled, yet not overstuffed, during your eating windows,” she says. Martin additionally recommends doing some feast prep on the ends of the week for the week ahead to guarantee you don’t skip dinners when you get going or lost your timetable.

  • You picked an inappropriate kind of fasting plan.

“There are a few sorts of intermittent fasting plans. Not all plans may accommodate your way of life or help support your particular metabolic rate,”


For example, in the event that you are preparing for a continuance challenge and picked an arrangement that keeps you from eating in the first part of the day when you need fuel for exercises, you may tumble off the intermittent fasting wagon all the while. (and furthermore hurt your body and execution).

Step by step directions to fix it:

“Consider picking an intermittent fasting plan that best matches your way of life and can be kept up for the long stretch,” says Smith. You should counsel an enrolled dietitian to assist you with settling on this choice and evaluate your way of life and dietary needs.

  • You aren’t resting enough.

“Scarcely any investigations have taken a gander at the immediate relationship with weight reduction and rest while following an intermittent fasting plan, anyway in general,several considers have indicated an association between satisfactory rest and positive weight reduction results,”

How to fix it:

You’ve heard it previously, in any case, “Put forth an attempt to rest in any situation for at least 7 hours of the night,” says Smith.

  • You’re working out a ton.

“Periodically individuals will begin another eating routine, similar to a fasting diet, at precisely the same time they choose to begin another activity plan or lift the present exercise plan they’re on,” says Martin. “Over-practicing or turning out too seriously, particularly while endeavoring to diminish nourishment consumption, can cause vitality levels to drop and craving levels to soar.” subsequently, you may wind up eating a greater number of calories during your eating windows than you’re consuming, even with the extraordinary exercise, she notes.

Step by step guide to fix it:

If rehearsing entire day fasts (like with the 5:2 strategy, for instance), make certain to keep practice light on fasting days. “When all is said in done, ensure your activity routine is testing yet at the same time possible and agreeable. In the event that you notice you feel avaricious when you work out, it might mean you’re propelling yourself excessively hard,” says Martin.

  • You’re not hydrated enough.

Not drinking enough water during your quick may leave you dried out, yet by not drinking enough, you’re likewise passing up water’s advantages with regards to suppressing hunger.

How to fix it:

Drink up! Furthermore, you can get extravagant with your water. Intermittent fasting-affirmed drinks including hot tea, dark espresso, seltzer water, frosted tea, tea or espresso with Stevia.

  • You’re not following your method as instructed.

“Following an intermittent fasting plan can be hard for certain calorie counters as they aren’t accustomed to going significant stretches of time without eating,”

So in the event that you continue tricking your arrangement week to week or compromising, it likely won’t yield the weight reduction benefits you were trusting. Thus, you might need to reexamine whether IF is directly for you and your way of life.

The most effective method to fix it: “Pick an intermittent fasting plan that best matches your way of life and can be followed for longer timeframes,” says Smith.

  • You don’t prepare.

“Preparing is a significant part of keeping up a solid mediation,” says Smith.

How to fix it:

“Attempt to design every one of your suppers and snacks in any event daily ahead of time. Having an arrangement of what you will plan, remembering pressing dinners and snacks for advance, or investigating eatery menus to choose what you will arrange,” says Smith.

  • You feel frustrated because you didn’t keep up

On the off chance that takes practice and persistence. “Most people who attempt IF, paying little heed to the methodology they pick, will wind up breaking a quick in front of calendar sooner or later,” says Martin. “In case you’re not kidding about proceeding IF, it’s significant not to feel remorseful, embarrassed, or frantic at yourself for doing as such and to return to a usual show as quickly as time permits.”

Step by step instructions to fix it:

It’s essential to give yourself some beauty and to proceed onward! “Advise yourself that IF takes some experimentation—it’s inescapable that your IF plan won’t generally work out as expected,” says Martin.

Weight Loss

Why You’re Not Losing Weight From Intermittent Fasting?

VIPs like Terry Crews have introduced intermittent fasting—not eating for a certain period of time—like a weight-loss strategy.

The training doesn’t ensure you’ll drop pounds, however, it can assist you with devouring fewer calories—which assistants in weight reduction.

As a boost, there are various approaches to quick, yet individuals by and large follow three regular calendars: interchange day fasting, entire day fasting, or time-limited fasting. Melanie Boehmer, R.D. at Lenox Hill Hospital, prescribes beginning with time-limited fasting. The 16:8 arrangement, which means you just eat for eight hours in a day, is famous for this strategy.

It’s continually disappointing when the scale is stuck on a similar number—regardless of your earnest attempts. On the off chance that you’ve been fasting and haven’t gotten results, it’s a decent time to break down your procedure.

Here are some basic reasons that clarify why you’re not getting more fit from intermittent fasting.

You’re eating an excessive number of calories

You need to begin a nourishment diary before leaving on any sort of diet, says Melanie Boehmer, R.D. at Lenox Hill Hospital.

“It is useful to screen your admission to in any event comprehend what your benchmark is,” Boehmer discloses to Men’s Health.

Track all that you eat in a given week utilizing FitDay.com, Lose It!, or MyFitnessPal.

At that point, decide what number of calories your body needs to keep up its present weight. This should be possible utilizing a recipe or the bodyweight organizer by the National Institute of Health.

From that point, it’s simply an issue of contrasting your real admission with what you need. It’s implied that you won’t get in shape—paying little thought to fasting—on the off chance that you expend such a large number of calories.

Think little of parts

On the off chance that you’re not shedding pounds—notwithstanding remaining inside your calorie needs—at that point, it’s a great opportunity to see serving sizes. It’s entirely expected to miscount the amount you’re really eating, which prompts expending a greater number of calories than you might suspect. This is especially valid with calorie-thick nourishments, for example, cheddar.

For instance, a one-ounce serving of full-fat cheddar rises to around four shakers. Utilize a nourishment scale—or eyeball divides with this instructional exercise—to all the more precisely compute nourishment consumption.

You’re not eating enough

On the off chance that you’ve hit a weight reduction level in the wake of shedding a couple of pounds, Boehmer says you might be eating too hardly any calories.

That is on the grounds that our bodies acclimate to whatever we toss at them, she says.

“On the off chance that on normal you’re just taking in 1200 calories, which is something none of us ought to do all the time, your body will figure out how to work on 1200 calories.”

Melanie Boehmer, R.D. at Lenox Hill Hospital

Decrease calories gradually and focus on increasingly moderate weight reduction, says Boehmer. She exhorts slicing enough calories to lose about a pound seven days.

“At the point when we talk about shedding pounds, the objective is consistently to lose as a lot of weight eating thee most that you can so you don’t make that metabolic inhibitor”

Melanie Boehmer, R.D. at Lenox Hill Hospital


Stay Safe The Next Time You Photograph in Extreme Weather

Heat wave sign on the city. Heat wave concept

Some people say that photographers don’t have enough sense to come in out of the rain.  Little do they realize that rain is often the least of our worries. We often expose ourselves to weather extremes – heat, cold and unpredictable storms to name a few – in search of that perfect picture.

Fortunately, there are some commonsense guidelines that – if followed – will help keep you safe even in the most extreme of weather circumstances. 

Extreme Cold

Cars and trucks driving on snow packed roads taken through a windshield covered with snowflakes.

Who has not dreamed of capturing penguins in the Antarctic, polar bears in the Arctic, or the dramatic Northern Lights that seem to only appear in the coldest parts of the world?  The key to successful shooting in extreme cold is to dress appropriately and protect your gear.

Thermometer with celsius scale placed in a fresh snow showing sub-zero temperature minus 30 degree – extreme cold winter weather concept

Dress in layers-Making sure you are dressed correctly will help protect you in even the most severe cold.  Layers make it possible to trap and keep warmth close to the body allowing you to comfortably stay out in the cold longer.  A base layer of light, breathable moisture wicking cloth next to the body. Synthetic thermal undergarments are the best while cotton is the worst.  Add an insulating layer or two of wool, polyester or fleece to help trap the warmth. And finally add a wind and waterproof outer layer to protect from the elements.

Hats and gloves are a must for shooting in extreme cold.  A good investment are fingerless mittens that allow you to operate your camera equipment without exposing your hands with a pair of warm outer mittens you can quickly put on when needed.

Rainbow on the horizon over the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument in New Mexico

Keep feet warm and dry by layering wicking inner socks with one or more pairs of warm woolen ones inside water resistant boots.  Disposable hand and foot warmers are a great addition when the temperatures are especially low.

Protect your camera gear– Rain covers for the camera body and hoods for the lenses will keep falling snow, ice and rain from hitting your gear.  Some people like to use a clear UV filter, which is easy to wipe dry without worrying about harming the expensive glass, but you need to be aware that this will cut down on your available light and may affect the quality of your shots.

Batteries lose their power quickly in cold environments.  A handy trick is to use disposable hand warmers attached with a rubber band around the battery compartment to help keep them charged longer.   Keep extra batteries in your inner pockets next to the warmth of your body to keep them from draining too quickly. “Dead” batteries can sometimes find new life if they are warmed up again, so keep your used ones close to you in case you need that extra power.

And finally, have a plan for when the cold gets too much.  Having access to a car or shelter to warm up – if even for a few minutes – can keep you and your gear safe and shooting for hours on end.

Extreme Heat

Preparing yourself for extreme heat – such as shooting in the desert or tropical environs – takes a bit of planning as well.  Again, attention should be give to both dress and equipment.

Heat wave sign on the city. Heat wave concept

Dress for the Heat-Opt for lightweight, light colored loose fitting clothing.  The goal is to cover as much skin as possible to protect from the suns damaging waves.  Wearing long pant and long sleeves with UVA/UVB protection if you will be exposed to the direct sunlight for extended periods.  Use a well-vented, wide brim hat to protect your face, neck, head and ears from the sun. Add a good pair of sunglasses to complete your protection.

Camera equipment protection– Humidity will cause extreme condensation on your lenses and camera bodies when traveling in and out of air conditioning in tropical conditions.  Placing your camera in airtight bags and allowing the camera body and lens to adjust to outside temperature before removing from bag will minimize fogging.  Use moisture absorbing desiccant packs inside camera bags if you are going to be exposing your equipment to humidity for extended periods.  

Keep unused equipment in airtight plastic bags.  Try keeping you kit out of harsh sunlight when not shooting, and NEVER leave your gear inside a car or trunk.  Temperatures can reach damage causing levels quickly in hot environments. 

And probably the most important consideration when working in extreme heat is to stay hydrated – drink lots of liquid but avoid caffeine, alcohol and sugary drinks.  Seek out shade as much as possible, and try restricting movement to the bare minimum during the most intense periods of the day. A good sunscreen on any exposed areas will help to further protect from sun damage.


Enemy number one for DSLR sensors is dirt and sand. While precautions should be taken in any outside environment to avoid contaminating your camera body, shooting in a desert or a beach requires extra consideration.

NEVER change lenses in a dusty or sandy environment.  If you think your will want to use more than one lens during your shoot have an extra camera body of each one.   If you find yourself in situation where you must change lenses, do so completely within an airtight bag to simulate a clean environment.  

Fine sand and dirt can infiltrate even the tightest of seals.  In extreme situations it is wise to keep your camera in an airtight container at all times. Underwater casings can be used for this, or you can fashion a casing yourself using zip-type plastic bags.

The next time you find yourself called by the lure of that perfect picture –be ready no matter what Mother Nature may try to throw at you by being prepared to protect yourself and your gear.

Stock photos and illustrations via Dreamstime.com


How to Remove Backgrounds from Images

Sooner or later every photographer wants to learn how to remove backgrounds from images in Photoshop.  Maybe they are trying to isolate an object to use in a composite.  Or maybe they want to remove the sky to replace it with a more dramatic one.  Whatever the reason, it is definitely a skill every advanced post processor should know. 

Select the Subject

The first challenge is to select either the background to be removed or the subject to be isolated.  There are several options to do this. The least eloquent of these is to use the Quick Select tool in Photoshop.  If your subject is uniform in shape and coloring, this method will probably be sufficient.

However, if there are irregularities to the subject, other tools may be more appropriate.  The Select – Subject menu option can work well providing the subject is well defined. If you shot on a Green Screen the Select – Color Range is probably your best option.

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The most precise, and tedious, method is to use the Pen tool to draw the boundary of the subject to select.  

Regardless of the method chosen, detail like wispy hair can be impossible to define without further refinement, which is where the Select – Select and Mask tool is used.

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Select and mask

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Refining the selection using this tool is a straightforward process.  In the Select and Mask dialogue box, Set View Mode to View on Layers to clearly show the selected areas.  In Edge Detection, set Radius to 4px and check the Smart Radius box. Now use the Refine Edge Brush Tool to work around the edges to remove, or OPT (or ALT on Windows) Refine Edge Brush Tool to add back in, pixels around the edges.

Tick the Decontaminate Colors and adjust the Amount slider to ensure none of the background color tint remains (this is especially important for green screen), and choose Output to New Layer with Layer Mask.  The subject is now isolated with a clipping mask.  

Macintosh HD:Users:karenfoley:Desktop:Screen Shot 2019-11-10 at 8.00.05 AM.png

To remove the background, simply CMD-Click on the output layer, choose Select – Inverse from the menu bar, click on the background layer and either mask or delete the pixels.

Masking with Channel Pull

Macintosh HD:Users:karenfoley:Desktop:Screen Shot 2019-11-10 at 7.40.13 AM.png

For trickier selections, using the alpha channel channels to pull selections for a mask can be the most eloquent solution if you have an advanced comfort level with Photoshop.  Let’s use this image as an example and use channel pulling to remove the sky.

Macintosh HD:Users:karenfoley:Desktop:Screen Shot 2019-11-10 at 7.42.11 AM.png

First, duplicate the background layer (to preserve the original) and work on the copy level.  Open the Channels panel. Click through the RBG layers to find the one that gives you the most contrast between the subject and the background ( in our case the blue in the sky makes the blue channel the one to work with) – and duplicate that layer.

Create a Level adjustment and use the sliders to make the background pure white and the foreground as dark as possible without losing details.

Macintosh HD:Users:karenfoley:Desktop:Screen Shot 2019-11-10 at 7.44.13 AM.png
Macintosh HD:Users:karenfoley:Desktop:Screen Shot 2019-11-10 at 7.48.05 AM.png

Using Cmd-Click will select all of the white areas.  Sometimes you will select some of the foreground area especially if it is the same color as the background.  You can either use the Quick Selection Wand to remove those areas or see how we deal with that in a minute. Now enable the RBG channel and disable your Channel copy.  Return to the Layers panel. Since we want to mask out the background (the area that is currently selected) and keep the foreground, let’s Select – Inverse to select the subject area, and then use the Add to Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the panel.

The mask now completely removes the sky background, but you may notice that’s some of the foreground (especially the blue areas) have been removed as well.  Paint them back in by clicking on the mask, choosing the paintbrush with white in Overlay Mode on a hard brush and paint over the areas to bring it back in.   

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Karen Foley is a freelance photographer and frequent contributor to dreamstime.com.  See more of her work at karenfoleyphotography.com.


5 Content Marketing Strategies IT Marketers Should use in 2019

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a type of marketing that involves the creation of content that can be shared online through social media posts, videos, or blogs. Content marketing allows companies to promote their products and services with the focus on creating and distributing valuable and relevant content.

This 2019 ROI-driven IT Marketing Guide that every marketer should follow outlines the foundational components to a great IT marketing strategy and key steps to implementing a comprehensive marketing plan.

Benefits of Content Marketing

Content marketing and tactics can help you attract and engage with prospective customers by delivering quality content that provides high value to the people that visit your site. Content marketing has many benefits as it is one of the most effective and practical forms of digital marketing that your brand can use.

Below are some of the amazing benefits that content marketing has to offer:

  • Content marketing can help to drive conversions: Overtime, content marketing helps to drive more conversions on your site. Companies are able to create consistent marketing content have higher conversion rates than those who do not focus on content marketing at all. Your primary goal with content should be to engage, help, inform, and to bring value to your readers. If this is done tactfully, it can easily help you to increase the number of conversions that you get.
  • Effective content marketing can help to drive more traffic to your website: With consistent content being posted on your site, it helps to bring more traffic to your website over time. With high quality content being created, whether it’s through blog posts or web content, it will help to improve site traffic
  • Quality content helps to build trust with your target audience: By providing your readers with quality information, the more trust that your brand can build over time. By informing your readers about the struggles and problems that they are facing, you begin to establish a relationship with customers and start to build trust based on the value that your content provides.
  • Valuable content can help you to build credibility and authority with your readers: The quality content that you provide to your readers will translate into credibility and authority which means the readers will continue to come back to your site for more information.

Content Marketing Strategies for IT Marketers

Now that we have looked at the many benefits of content marketing, how can you use them to build your brand and grow your company? Below are some of the strategies that you, as IT marketers, can follow.

  1. Create Content Marketing Goals

By setting short-term and long-term marketing goals, it helps to stay in track and see where your company is headed in a short-term and long-term perspective. It is best to sit down with your company and develop these goals. Any good content strategy requires good planning. By following these five essential steps listed below, it can help to create a foundation for a successful content strategy plan:

  • Know your business
  • Know your audience
  • Find an original voice
  • Write down your short-term and long-term goals
  • Make sure your goals are realistic and measurable
  1. Do Not Overlook the Power of Social Media: IT marketers looking to grow their businesses should not overlook the potential social media has. Integrating social media into your content strategy can bring your business great success. Social media allows your brand to have its own voice and helps to bring any social media’s platform and its customers to your brand.
  1. Effective Content Marketing Requires Cross-Channels

Content marketers publish content that meets intent in several channels where prospects are likely to be. Communicating with consumers on single marketing channels can be beneficial, however, with the use of multiple channels, you are able to reach even more potential consumers and increase your conversion rates. By creating promotions where customers of one products can be targeted with promotions of related products, it can help IT marketers to grow their business. Don’t have time to do this all by yourself? Check out this list of best consulting firms in Chicago to choose from.

  1. Use Your Content to Drive Leads to Your Sales Funnel:

What exactly is a sales funnel? According to Leadpages, a sales funnel is “the process from when you first drive traffic to your landing page to the moment you finish the sale”. By learning the methods of attracting traffic to your site, you can slowly build your audience.

Higher the quality of the content, the more chances there are to drive more leads. Content can be leveraged in several different ways, and how to choose to leverage them depends on your goals and budget. You can also build sales funnels to drive leads. Follow these three processes on how to build a sales funnel.

  1. Gain Authority Link By Guest Posting

Guest posting is one of the best ways to bring exposure to your content. Guest posting allows for search engine rankings to place your content at the top that allows for more traffic to come to your site.

  1. Make Use of On-Page SEO

Search engine optimization (also known as SEO) is very effective in getting your site to rank higher on Google and is one of the most effective content marketing strategies. SEO is the practice of optimizing websites that align with search engine algorithms (in this case, Google). SEO tells the search engine that your website is relevant to specific search queries and makes your content available to the users seeking for your content. On-page SEO methods are free and with consistent efforts, produce great results.

The Bottom Line

Content marketing is one of the best ways to invest your marketing money into. There are many variables at play, that it can become difficult to juggle all things at once. By following these steps, IT marketers can help grow their businesses and see success in their companies.

Content marketing strategies offer a great return on your investment in marketing. It can help to drive conversions, bring more traffic to your site, help you to build a loyal following and trust amongst your readers, and help you to build a credible relationship with your readers.

This guest post comes from JGBilling


Figuring Out Digital Marketing In Today’s Online Climate

Competition in the digital marketplace is fierce. Every day a new website pops up, a new social media platform emerges (or dwindles), and your potential clients are bombarded with messages from your competitors. The best way — and often easiest way — to get your business in front of the right customers is to optimize your website so that search engines can find them properly.

You can optimize your website for search engines yourself, or you can hire an SEO consultant.  Skilled consultants, such as those found in a SEO Agency, can help your website cut through the clutter of competitors. Having an unbiased, skilled eye to analyze your content may be the leg up your business needs. So, how do you know the difference between a seasoned SEO consultant and a talentless hack trying to make a quick buck? The proof is in the pudding.

Before your consultant actually makes any changes to your content, they will do their homework. In other words, they will conduct an audit on your current website and find its weak links. Do you have irrelevant content? Are you not boosting the appropriate content well enough? Is your site organized in a comprehensible way to your audience? Be prepared to leave your ego at the door and take a long hard look at the content you are presenting on your website. Don’t be surprised if your SEO consultant starts to dive into the design of your website. The flow of your website should be able to lead your audience easily to the product, service or information that you have to offer. The presentation of your website should be appealing to your audience. The keyword is your audience, meaning there is no one-size-fits-all aesthetic. It all depends on who you are talking to.

The next step may be an obvious one, but many people overlook it: competition. What is the competition doing? Who is your competition? You may think you are competing with one particular group and wedging your business in a space that it does not belong. Are your competitors highly optimized? Are going up against nationwide or global corporations, or are you going up against regional and local businesses? Is your blog and content on par with similar blogs and content? Depending on what you are trying to accomplish, bigger is not always better.

A skilled SEO consultant should be able to look at the entire landscape of your industry and genre then begin to make a game plan for the trajectory of your business. A skilled and service-oriented consultant will converse with you to determine what is feasible and realistic. The more you do, of course, the more you will pay especially if you are wanting a complete overhaul in both content and design. Don’t let the price daunt you. A great SEO consultant worth their weight in gold is an investment that will produce a high ROI.

Another factor a skilled SEO consultant will take into account is your backlink profile. Backlinks are helpful, especially for newer websites. It’s another way for search engine bots to efficiently discover your site, crawl your content and index it, or organize and record it. It also helps tremendously with organically boosting your content.

Are there any external links leading to your website? If so, are the links of high quality? In other words, are reputable websites with substantial traffic linking to your website? Are the websites within the appropriate category and aligned with your business? For example, if you own a blog about motorcycles, it wouldn’t do your business much good to have external links on a site that attracts an audience interested in European automobiles. Relevance is the name of the game. Traffic that comes to your website from a quality backlink will have a low-bounce rate — meaning that it is relevant and useful to the audience that finds it. A tell-tale sign that your backlink is of low quality is a high bounce rate regardless of the amount of traffic that your content earns through time. Backlinking is all about quality, not quality. Quality backlink sites also come from sites that are index and SEO optimized. These sites are usually more established, have more authority and content. A reputable source is always the best kind.

Conducting a backlink audit isn’t as difficult as it is time-consuming. Though it is not as obvious of a step as looking at the content on your own site, analyzing backlink sites is a step that you cannot afford to overlook. Proper backlinking is as essential in the digital word as networking is essential in the real world. Your backlink audit doesn’t just determine where your backlinks are but potentially creating backlinks if there aren’t many.

Bringing in an SEO consultant to guide your website is an excellent first step to helping your business or blog shine in the digital landscape. While they do take on a majority of the heavy lifting when it comes to SEO programming, a lot of the work is done before they even begin to alter your content. You have to be willing to pull up to the table, roll up your sleeves and be involved in the game plan for your site.

Let’s address the elephant in the room: how much does a skilled SEO consultant cost. That’s a question without a straightforward answer. Depending on the size of the project and turn-around time, your SEO consultant may charge hourly or by the project. Rates can start as low as$55 and go up into the hundreds. Discuss your goals with your SEO consultant. Many tasks are easily completed by one person but some may need a team so that tasks can be delegated appropriately. While many hands make light work, it can also make a more expensive bill. You and your SEO consultant will discuss priorities and timing, and your budget before any billing takes place. It’s also important to remember that an SEO consultant may suggest the optimum level of improvement, but you can decide to break your project up as needed. Smaller tasks can be accomplished quickly even while working on major ones and without adverse consequence from search engines.



UX vs. UI: the differences & application in your design

User Interface design & User Experience design, for most people, sound like “web design” and “web design”. At first sight, they look very similar, and almost nobody knows the difference. However, if you look at them closely, there are indeed differences to point out. Both have their own charms and qualities, but one can not do the job without the other.

In our today’s digital world, the competition is tremendous. Web designers have to perform magic and sell their soul to the devil, just to stay on top of the game, yet, clever developers know, that a big part of success lies in super-forces like UX and UI design.

Both disciplines sound very ‘2018’ and can undoubtedly take your product to a higher level. But, although the terms are often used interchangeably, the concepts that lie behind them are not quite the same, so it’s high time to find answers to some pressing questions:

  • What exactly do UI and UX design mean?
  • What are the differences?
  • Why are they relevant to the development of your product?
  • How can you apply them in your design process?

UI: The digital lick of paint

The UI of a website is, in fact, the point where the offered products/services and the potential customer (who would like to know more about it) — meet. It is an instrument with which you can present all the information you want to convey in bite-sized chunks. A “beautiful” interface is stimulating, holds the attention and invites the visitor to take action; after all, it is often the first (and sometimes the only) impression that he gets from your company.

The “wow” factor

UI design takes place in the foreground, is visible to the user and revolves around the “wow factor”. Sometimes, its’ charm is in the small details, such as the shape of a button or a breathtaking choice of typography. In any case, the style has to fit in with what you want to convey as a company. Are you a pioneer in technology? Then a sleek design is something for you. Do you organize neighborhood braziers? Then choose a theme that radiates coziness.

Case study: Bells and whistles are not always necessary for a successful UI design. Authentic Weather is a good example  – it is a stubborn weather app with the slogan ‘No bullshit, just the f*cking weather’. The app is designed in such a humorous way that you still want to check what kind of (f*cking) weather it is today. The design is simple,  straightforward yet very effective. The relatively bare layout fits well with the blunt language, without being boring.

The effectiveness of different UI elements can be tested easily with A / B testing. Does a red button produce more interaction than a green one? Are visitors more inclined to read a blog posts when you add images? Put together an experiment and let the data answer your questions. With that conversion data, you get an objective view of the behavior and the implicit preferences of your visitors. Most people think that A/B testing was designed for testing out the effectiveness of advertising campaigns, but in reality, it can (and should be!) used for testing the usability of your own web pages.

UX: An experience in itself

Now, let’s take one more step further and this is where  UX design comes into the picture. Contrary to UI, the user experience (UX) continues from the point where the screen stops. The emphasis is on what happens in the head of the user during the visit, the emotions that are evoked and the judgment he makes after the interaction.

UX design plays a bit more in the background and is mainly about functionality and structure. It is essential that the purpose of your website and the needs of the user are aligned. What does the visitor want to know or what does he want to do? Which functionalities must be offered to enable him to do so? Besides, it is wise to pay some attention to the way you organize information. Is all information gathered at one place where the user expects it to be? Are all pages accessible within a few clicks?

Ensure a natural user flow

A good UX design is all about a pleasant user flow. The visitor does not have to be handled like a screaming toddler in an amusement park but must be able to follow a consistently smooth path through the website, depending on what he wants to know or find. Such a natural walking path makes the interaction between you and your client practical and meaningful. The user must be able to reflect on his visit with a satisfied smile so that he certainly has a reason to come back in the future. On the other hand, as a web designer who crafts that “walking path” — your goal is to keep the visitors as long as possible on your website.

Case study: The UX design from IKEA. IKEA is a textbook example of an ingenious UX design. The products and manuals are perfectly coordinated, the manuals are simple, universal and recognizable. They are very detailed so that you can effortlessly choose the right one from those 25 seemingly identical boards. Should you still be unable to assemble your Kallax, then you can go to their website for even more support and encouraging words. The UX does not stop immediately after the purchase but continues until that bookshelf finally stands tall in your living room.

By actively evaluating your target group, you can gain insight into the average wishes and characteristics of your website’s visitors. You can then use that knowledge to pick functionalities and shape your design. The perfect UX design requires patience; more often than not, that cycle has to be completed several times before all parts fall into place and even then —  continuous A/B testing is still necessary for progressive improvement.

Can you “design” user experience?

By now, you may probably wonder whether this user experience can be planned out on paper… No. How someone interacts with your website depends on dozens of factors, which you do not have under control. A user who visits your page from a golden beach under a radiant sun will undoubtedly respond differently to someone who has just came home soaking wet from a strong storm. Visitor’s mood, lack or excess of free time, state of mind, weather and other facts may impact his behavior, so you cannot build your strategy from the comfort of your home before even launching your website.

As much control as possible

Although you may not be able to guarantee that your visitors will always load your webpage in a good mood, you can at least ensure that they do not get frustrated during their visit. You may not be able to secure a pleasant user experience, but an awkward structure or limited functionality will certainly damage that experience. You can build your website in such a way that all the ingredients for a positive UX are at least present and all possible obstacles have been eliminated.

Case study: Parxavenue Ltd. This is a Canadian-based web design company that offers only 2 main types of services – digital marketing and web design. Although this is basically all you need to get your product online, not every web design agency offers a fluent UX. Parxavenue have only one entry page where you can find all the information and services you need, without weighing yourself down by tons of useless information, prices, and 12 fake stock photos of “team members”.

Here comes your homework…

It is an absolute must to get started with UX and UI research. This way you can once again view your customers or users from a different angle and develop an even better experience based on their wishes and behavior. By involving your visitors in the design process (whether they are aware of it or not), you can better tailor your website to their needs.

Input from an expert can certainly help you build a more intuitive website design, provided that he does not just impose his own opinion. The only opinion that matters is that of the user. Copying web design elements and marketing strategy from your competitors may work as a good starting point but will not work in the long term, unless you continuously do split testing and optimize your website for YOUR users. What used to be “beautiful” or “in” mere 5 years ago is obsolete today. Bearing all this mind, try and test your website from different angles and remember, that web design, SEO and marketing work is never done. Good luck!