How Pictures are Combined

Combining two or more pictures in a single frame enables digital photographers to come up with great artistic images that cannot be otherwise done with a single photograph of an image. This type of manipulation can be considered a distinct art form all on its own. By combining pictures, you can use your older images you have stored in your computer to create unimaginable artistic pictures and use it as your creative medium.

combine1 How Pictures are Combined

This type of manipulation will take a lot of creativity and imagination on your part because it requires more than the usual tidying up of an image. This can be used  for more than artistic interpretation but to create an actual believable image.

combine2 How Pictures are CombinedPlacing several shots in a single image is not at all difficult. You can take multiple exposure shots to replace a sky in a landscape to give your photograph a more dramatic impact.  For example, if you were to use a portrait, it would be useful to combine two frames from one shoot. If you photograph two models at the same time, it is difficult to make them look at their best at the same time. By combining pictures, you can merge a facial expression from one shot into another to get a perfect pose.

A technique used in photomerging is isolating each element using layers to be able to do small corrections in each piece of the jigsaw puzzle without affecting the image as a whole. Each piece may need its own distinct adjustments, effects and distortions. Layers are then arranged in groups or folders. The layers work within a folder enabling adjustments to not affect other elements. The folder will then act as a master layer that interacts with each other by using various blending modes, masks and opacities.

Layered Montages are separate images that have isolated elements in its own folder full of layers. This will allow you to remove each element in turn with respective adjustments.

Advanced blending such as in Photoshop will enable you to control the exact densities at which the blend will become visible. This further allows you to specify what areas you want the blend to affect whether it be light tones or dark tones within an image. This is also known as auto-masking. This can create effects that are impossible under natural circumstances.

 

 

 


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Importance of Digital Post Processing

In the good old days of only film, most people who took photographs usually went to a photo store to have the negatives developed and the pictures printed. After clicking the shutter release button, they had no way of previewing the image, or further improving it in post processing.  Darkrooms were accessed usually by photography class students, professional photographers and serious hobbyists who had space in their house to maintain one.  Darkroom equipment was also expensive, which was another reason why photo editing was not very widespread among regular folks who just wanted to see what their photos looked like.

With the arrival of digital photography came the boom of digital post processing. Suddenly, the ‘darkroom’ could be accessed with the use of a computer and a photo editing software. With digital, one could now preview the image right after taking the shot and edit it in the convenience of a personal computer. The easy access to the digital darkroom and its cost effective effects on images spawned a massive wave of interest in post processing and people who used to get their prints in the camera shop could now dabble in photo editing and even printing. 

Digital post processing has given us the capability and the opportunity to take control of our images and how they can look from the time the shutter button is pressed to the final printed hard copy. If you like taking photos but haven’t tried your hand at digital post processing yet, here are some very valid reasons why you would want to:

editcomp Importance of Digital Post Processing

1. You can remove photographic imperfections – scratches, sensor dust, little dark spots and other blemishes can be eliminated in a few short minutes. You can straighten your image’s horizon, fix its exposure, and remove background clutter.

2. You can enhance your images to make them more appealing – photo editing programs have loads of tools and filters to help you make your shot more attractive. Some programs such as Photoshop can even imitate the effects of expensive lenses and filters. You can brighten colors, add creative blur, sharpen edges, and do countless of other editing adjustments.

3. You can crop your photos – cropping allows you to play with the position of your subject in the frame. It also gives you an effective way to cut out unwanted sections at the sides of the frame. Do keep in mind to compose the shot as you would want it in-camera so that there is less need to crop off unnecessary elements. Cropping can be good for your image but it will also cut image pixels, thus making its size smaller with less room to work with when editing.

4. You can resize photos for faster online upload – sharing your images with loved ones and the rest of the world has significantly become easier with digital photography. Since the digital image size can be quite large with the higher megapixels your camera has, uploading to your email or a website can be a slow process. Not only that, if you send an image at full resolution, someone can copy it and then use it for their own gain without your permission. In Photoshop, you can resize your photo to a much smaller size such as 75kb, while maintaining good visual quality. The results are faster uploading and downloading in the internet. The smaller file size will also make photo thieves want it less since they will not be able to do much w a photo that has been resized to a much smaller scale. Whether you use digital post processing for basic and minor corrections, or you use it to make wonderful works of creative goodness, the choice is up to you.       


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How to Use the Dodge and Burn Editing Tools to Enhance Your Photos

There are several ways to edit a shot in Photoshop and two of the most underrated yet highly effective tools are the dodge and burn tools. These are found at the toolbar on the left. The default icon is the dodge tool and if you click on the little arrow, a dropdown list will appear showing the burn tool and also the—-.The dodge and burn tools are the digital equivalent of the methods used in the actual darkroom, where to 'dodge' meant to obstruct the light hitting a section of the photo paper from the —- with the use of an object. While to burn meant to allow more light to hit a specific section of the photo paper. Since one cannot really see the results until the image has been fixed with chemicals, the procedure would usually be trial and error with a lot of test prints involved. Now, digital technology has made it so much easier to achieve the visual results we want.

Let us try out the dodge and burn method with a sample image. Open an image in Photoshop and make a duplicate layer.

dodge1 How to Use the Dodge and Burn Editing Tools to Enhance Your Photos

Pinpoint the areas that would need to be darkened and/or lightened. Let us start with the dark area. In this image, the bottom part of the snail's shell and the lower left corner are too much in shadow and it would be a good idea for a little more light to show more details. Click on the dodge tool and keep the hardness set to 0% so that the edge of your brush is soft. Set the diameter to a manageable size so you have better control of your strokes. As for exposure, choose a percentage that gives a subtle yet visible result. A high exposure value would mean a more drastic dodge effect. Use the dodge tool like a brush and swipe the dark areas until they are light enough.

dodge2 How to Use the Dodge and Burn Editing Tools to Enhance Your Photos

dodge3 How to Use the Dodge and Burn Editing Tools to Enhance Your PhotosNext, choose the areas you want to darken such as the upper right corner. Burning would make that area more balanced in terms of tonal value. Click on the arrow on the dodge tool icon to show the burn tool option. Again, adjust the settings and swipe over the light areas until you are satisfied with the results.

The burn and dodge tools are great for spot adjustments and using them can enhance the light and shadows in your photo by making the light areas appear even lighter and the shadows darker. They can also lessen the degree of light and shadow detail to make the lighting appear more even.


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How to Break the Photo Rules for Creative Effect

Photography is a craft that makes use of various ‘rules’, which are actually simply guidelines to help provide a pleasing composition. It can also be an art form, and as ‘art’ is not meant to be controlled and restrained. The following are various photo ‘rules’ which every photographer understand before they are attempted to be broken:

break1 How to Break the Photo Rules for Creative Effect1. Always use The Rule of Thirds – this states that the subject should be placed on one third of the frame, either vertically or horizontally, to create a sense of balance and visual appeal. If you were to place the subject smack dab in the center of a rectangular crop, or if you place it at the very edge of the frame, you are breaking this rule and your image stands the chance of being unbalanced or off-putting. Yet, you can break this rule and still have an interesting image. More visual tension occurs and you can take advantage of this in your shot.

2. The scene must be adequately lit – under or overexposure can mess up a shot and turn a good composition into something you want to discard. However, careful use of lighting can make very dark or bright images striking to look at. Also known as low key and high key, these techniques make use of a lot of shadows or highlights in creating an artistic effect.

break2 How to Break the Photo Rules for Creative Effect3. Remove noise – apparent image noise or grain in a shot are often fixed as soon as they are discovered. We strive to keep our images clear and fine, with no trace of digital noise that can mar our shot. Yet, we can make use of noise to enhance certain images. When used effectively, digital noise can dramatically add to the mood of the shot and evoke an emotional response. For instance, a grainy image of a row of street lamps at night could benefit from some noise.

4. Keep it simple – uncluttered and clean looking images are usually best in presenting the subject to avoid any unnecessary distractions. Breaking this would mean adding a lot of extra elements that could potentially break the shot. Again, control is the key here when setting up the scene. Although it may look busy at first glance, each element can actually support the main subject and the message the photographer is trying to convey.

break3 How to Break the Photo Rules for Creative Effect5. Keep the subject sharp – the general rule is that subjects should remain sharp in the image so they can be easily recognized and appreciated. And yet, images that are completely out of focus can be quite interesting especially if you are trying to invoke a certain mood or design. As long as the out of focus or blur is obviously intentional and positively impact the shot, out of focus images can be a resounding success. However, do not pass off blurry snapshots as being artistic and attractive. Most viewers are discerning and know whether the out of focus is intentional or by accident.

6. Make the subject clearly visible – when taking images, the subject is usually in a prominent place in the frame and is obviously the center of attention. You can also create interesting and provoking photos by placing the subject in a more subtle position, thus creating a need in the viewer to see more of it. For instance, partial portraits are quite popular although you cannot see the entire subject. 


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The iPad and the Photographer

Now that the iPad has a firm foothold in the market, many of you might be seriously interested in getting one. But like all fancy gadgets, it can take time to decide whether it is worth spending around $499. Of course, it all depends on what you will want it for. As an entertainment device, it packs quite a punch. And if you are a photographer, you might find the iPad useful in various ways.

One of its major uses would be as a portfolio. When you are looking to be hired for photo services, potential clients would want to look at samples of your work. It is quite common to show your sample images using a laptop, albums or prints. By using an iPad, you can display your photos in one gorgeous medium. After all, presentation really does count. It is more striking and sleeker than a regular photo album and more intimate than a netbook or a laptop. At 9.7 inches on its widest side and at 1024 x 768 pixel resolution, the screen is large enough for viewers to fully appreciate the images. Also, it utilizes in-plane switching (IPS) technology which allows people who are obliquely viewing the screen to still get a clear view. This is perfect for when a crowd of eager people want to see the picture you took of them all at the same time.

Another asset of the iPad is that you can upload images to it right after you take your pictures. With the use of the iPad Camera Connection Kit, you have the option to import image files using a USB cable or straight from an SD card. It supports both JPEG files and RAW formats. Right after uploading, you can even send the images by 3G (you have to sign up for this extra service) or Wi-Fi to a client who might be waiting for them. A drawback is that photo editing is limited with the iPad. It will not be the best tool to do heavy post processing since iPad photo apps do not have the extensive editing features of Photoshop and other similar software.

Although the iPad is a fantastic device, it does have its weaknesses. It does not support Flash so if your online portfolio is flash based, you will not be able to access it. It also has little storage space (64GB max) compared to netbooks or laptops, and it does not have the capacity to multi-task so you can’t receive instant messages while you are previewing your photos or fixing your slideshow. Keep in mind that this is version 1.0 and that over time there will surely be improved and more feature packed versions that might address these issues.

The iPad might not replace a netbook or a laptop in terms of productivity or functionality but if your purpose in having one is to pamper yourself with the latest gadget that will give you tons of fun, and at the same time allow you to have a stunning portable portfolio that can show off your pictures in vivid detail, then this might just be the ideal gift you can give yourself.

 

 

 


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Choosing the Perfect Photostock Plus Storefront

It is safe to say that photography is all about visual imagery and presentation is necessary to entice people to go to your site and browse around. Your photographs may be exceptional but if the package in which they are displayed is unsightly, it can be assumed that potential buyers will be put off and look somewhere else.  Photostock Plus offers varieties of website templates called ‘storefronts’ which have been created to showcase members’ photographs for selling purposes. Although each storefront template is special in its own way, finding that perfect storefront that matches your personality as well as your photographs can be a challenge. A fun challenge, nevertheless.

After going to ‘my account’ and clicking ‘customize website’, click the ‘select a store template’ button and it will open a window to several template options. Currently there are 47 designs but more are being created. Twenty six of those templates are available only to gold members, which is another great reason why you should upgrade if you haven’t yet.

You could break your options down first to templates with light colored background or dark background. Would your photographs appear more striking set against a black backdrop? Do they look more pleasing to the eye if a lighter color were used? If you prefer more color, why not try the pink or green template and see if that works best. There are templates with sports motifs, nature themes, and even love designs which is perfect if you are a wedding photographer. There are elegant and classy templates such as the Parchemin, and simple yet stunning ones such as ‘White Harmony’.

You may place a title for your storefront such as your company name or your website address. The header content is a great way to provide information about what your page is all about. A short but informative sentence would be enough to hook buyers into lingering. The content section is where you would want to describe yourself a little bit more, here you can add extra information that you feel the buyers should know. Both the header and the content section have the added feature of allowing you to include HTML or flash code to further personalize your page. You may also add an invoice note which will appear in the customer’s invoice.

Photoshop Plus has thought of everything to make the buyer’s experience a pleasant one. You have the choice of adding slideshow music with a wide selection of melodies to fully enhance your storefront’s appeal. You may also show your pricing group if you like. To further customize your page, you may have event albums open in a new window, enable comments on your photos, and have the site send you an email when you receive a comment.

Take some time to choose and customize your storefront to fully maximize the potential of site traffic and buyer patronage. 


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Counting the Dots and Upsizing

The number of pixels in an image determines how far you can enlarge your digital images in print. Each pixel represents a square in an image. The more squares there are, the greater the clarity of an image when enlarged. Usually, the general accepted standard for professional printing is 300 pixels per inch (ppi). For ordinary printing, it’s 200ppi which is more than enough for ordinary use. The difference is seen when the image is enlarged to its maximum size for which a picture can be printed.

dots1 Counting the Dots and Upsizing

How big a pixel can be depends on how far away the print is when viewed. Working out the maximum printable size for the number of pixels for your image is simple. You can use the tools in any manipulation software such as Photoshop and Elements. The image size window will show you the printable size  for the set number of pixels per inch. You can hen change the pixel concentration to make the image bigger or smaller.

There is a confusing question regarding pixels and dots. The resolution of digital images is measured in pixels which is an image file that has no physical dimension. It is only when pixels are displayed or printed where their size is visible.  Pixels per inch help calculate just exactly how big an image can appear for a particular use. Printers and paper are sold based on how many dots per inch (dpi) is their capacity. Printers can also have the option to allow you to choose dpi settings you require.

Dots per inch vary from pixels per inch in a way that dpi rating is a way of describing how small a dot of ink the printer can create on paper. The more dots of ink in a printed image it has, the finer the detail in the final outcome. This is only apparent when you use paper that has the capacity to show it. If you’re using ordinary paper, it would only be a waste of ink to use higher dpi settings.

Economy Normal and Fine– 360dpi is the minimum resolution setting when using normal paper and basic inkjet stock.

Photo – 720dpi and 1444dpi are reserved for good quality photo paper.

Photo – 2880dpi or higher is best use only for fine, glossy media.

dotscomp Counting the Dots and Upsizing

When using basic calculations, an uncropped image shot using a 3 megapixel camera can be printed at just about 10×8 inches at 200ppi. This can have a maximum output of 7×5 ices if you use 300ppi as a standard. You can however still produce larger prints with a 5 megapixel camera by manipulating the image using an editing software. By using the program, you can add more pixels to in image so that it can be further enlarged without showing the tiny squares called pixelation.

This process increase the size of the image file as well so only do this to images that need upsizing and not storing. This process is called Interpolation. By using a software to  make a guess as to how to add new pixels to older ones. Upsizing means that a image produced by a digital camera can be printed out at a far greater range of sizes than the standard norm. There can also be some quality loss, Photoshop has five Interpolation processes you can choose from. Bicubic option is for all around use. Depending on the type of image, each may produce varying results. You can choose the best tool that fits an image for better quality.

The resampling process should be done before the image is sharpened. For large changes in the number of total pixels, it is worth doing the upsizing in stages than all at once.


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Architecture Photography for Editorial Use

Stock agencies will almost always ask you for a release for you images most especially when you are dealing with models and property rights. This, however , doesn’t mean your image cannot be licensed. In most cases, the jeopardy is shouldered by the publisher. But never pretend you have obtained a release when in fact you do not.

archi3 Architecture Photography for Editorial UseIt’s always better to be safe by acquiring a release for your images, but when using them for editorial purposes, it will hardly ever have a need for one. There may be numerous stories claiming to have gone through hell and high waters with this type of problem but it is a rare scenario.

Wide angle lenses are quite pricey and a common thought among photography enthusiasts is if it is possible to photograph buildings without it. It’s always fun discovering different angles that would allow you to capture buildings and other types of structures with a telephoto lens. Distant viewpoints can give out of the ordinary perspective of a well known architectural landmark, this allows you to focus on architectural detail and patterns in a selective way.

archi2 Architecture Photography for Editorial UseBut because buildings are tall and as well as being surrounded by other buildings, the most extreme wide angle lenses are useful for architecture than other subjects and become even more so when shooting indoors where possible viewpoints are a lot more restricted.

One particular drawback in using a wide angle for large structures is that to get the whole building’s image from top to bottom in the whole shot, you have to tilt the camera. This can cause parallel vertical lines to meet in the actual image. This type of result can be unique when it creates noticeable diagonal lines. 

When shooting from a farther distance with a longer lens can help get the whole architectural structure in your shot and you don’t have to tilt your camera as much. Another technique you can use is to look for a high vantage point such as another building from across the street will give you a better view and allow you to keep the camera at a vertical position. Furthermore, you can utilize a perspective control lens which is an expensive accessory for some DSLR cameras. This allows you to shift the camera’s lens up to be able to include the upper portion of a building without having to tilt the camera.

Converging verticals can easily be corrected by using any standard image manipulation software which is essential for every aspiring photographer. By stretching the building from the top archi1 Architecture Photography for Editorial Useportion will align the vertical lines. This will however make you lose some of the picture area. It’s best to study the image and imaging how you can use the software to your advantage to enhance your image while still I the scene and remember to frame the subject loosely to make sure you capture all the important elements for your final image.

The ideal equipment for architectural photography are:

  • A super wide angle zoom that can cover focal lengths effectively in the 15-30mm range. A wide angle or semi fish eye converter may also be used.

  • A standard zoom with a 35-200mm focal length can be very effective. This enables you to shoot from varying distances as well as effectively crop your images to enhance details.

  • A tripod is very important when shooting indoors but is also important for outdoors. A tripod allows you to make full use of the fixed nature of architectural structures as well as image quality ad depth of field.

 


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