Posts tagged ‘Digital camera’

January 17, 2012

Cropping Photos to Improve the Visual Effect

Cropping is a useful tool for photo improvement. Though it sounds like an easy trick, cropping is more art than science and you need an eye for it. Still there are some general guidelines that can help you improve the visual effect of your photos.

Focus in!

Crop to bring the attention to the main object or person. In a portrait, the person’s eyes are the focal point. If the person is looking sideways, make sure to allow ‘space’ for her to look into or include enough of the object so the viewer knows what the the person is looking at. Otherwise the viewer will wonder what is missing.

Cropping also lets you remove the parts of the picture that didn’t turn well, let’s say because of awkward posing like in the example below.

Don’t amputate!

Cropping off people’s limbs at joints makes them look like amputees. Despite a very popular concern, it’s okay to crop part of the head if it’s a close portrait, as it will bring more attention to the eyes.  Cutting between the joints is alright as long as it’s still possible for the mind’s eye to fill in the blanks to complete a person’s torso or limb.

An example of bad cropping where the hand cut off at the wrist appears detached. The only way to fix this effect is to re-crop the photo to a close portrait.

Combine tilting with cropping!

In some situations tilting can save the day when you realize the only photo that you like is still bad.

Remove distractions!

Remove the view-spoilers, parts of unidentifiable objects and things that distracts from the story the image is telling.

Someone's back was a view-spoiler in otherwise a nice portrait. The photo allowed for easy cropping that brought the new balance to the composition by seemingly adding to the empty space in the direction of the person' glance.

Watch the ‘negative space’!

This is the space around the central object. Cropping too tightly will make the photo look awkward.

Cropping Contextual Images

The images surrounding the person or the object in the center of attention serve as the context and create the picture story and establish the mood. It becomes a critical compositional component that need to be cropped to have a balanced visual effect. To reach the optimal result, it is recommended to follow the Rule of Thirds.

The Rule of Thirds: Divide the frame into thirds horizontally and vertically. The points where those lines intersect are good starting points to place the main subject. Essentially the primary subject is slightly off center.

In the original photo the person is put squarely in the middle and the background is cropped too tight leaving no breathing space above and below the figure. By cropping right below the hand (not to lose the gesture) and reducing the space on the left we re-balance the composition to bring it it in line with the Rule-of-Thirds.

You might find it impossible to follow all these rules as they start to clash when your photo has more than one problem. You would need to compromise or send it to us at PhotoHand and we’ll apply more advanced techniques to perfect your mementos.

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You might also want to read:
Cropping Photos to Match Printing Standards
Other Point-and-Click Tips

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December 12, 2010

Photo Retouching: Going Mainstream

Photo retouching, a.k.a. photo editing or airbrushing, is as old as photography itself. But only with the advent of the digital revolution that overturned a lot of concepts in the Photography industry since the beginning of this century, photo retouching became commonplace, extending to family photography – professionally taken as well as amateur shots.

Photo retouching services became affordable to any budget ($3.50/photo at PhotoHand.com) and easily accessible over the web. You can order it 24/7 just like you order books or clothes.

Just decide what you don’t like about the photo, check the pricing schedule and go to the order form to upload your shots and type in your instructions. You will get your images back in the same resolution without any marks claiming the copyright over your photos.

Photo retouching (“photoshopping”) does not mean altering the photos completely, rather it simply modifies the images and removes the flaws originating from technical and non-technical faults.

Besides the lighting that you normally don’t have control of outside the studio, there are a lot of mishaps that can ruin the view: exit signs spoil the mood in the wedding pictures and so do slight wardrobe malfunctions like skin overflowing the edge of a sleeveless wedding dress (happens even to the skinniest brides), twisted tense smiles resulting from prolonged posing, electrified hairs crossing faces… There is no reason now to put up with these imperfections that spoil otherwise a perfect memento.

Of course, it takes skill, experience and artistic perspective to improve and sometimes rescue the photo without affecting the originality of the image. Luckily, now the magazine-quality photo editing services are available to every mom, newlywed, serial dater, actor, musician, aspiring model, pageant contestant, starting out fashion designer, beauty professional, life coach… everyone.

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August 11, 2010

Point-and-Click Tips: How To Avoid Blurry Pictures

Modern digital cameras equipped with automatic settings make it easy to take beautiful pictures of your family.  Still there are some tips to remember to avoid pretty common photo defects that can not be fixed with photo retouching. We’ll cover them one by one and give you very simple practical tips to avoid these mishaps.

Our first topic is picture blurriness. We, at PhotoHand, quite often get request to sharpen blurry photos. This can be done only to some extent before the image turns pixelated. So how to avoid blurriness?

First of all, use a real camera, not a phone camera. Even if your phone camera takes multi-megapixel shots, there are a lot of other technical parameters that are missing from it to deliver a quality image.

The second common problem is “shaky shots”. A digital camera is very light and there is a big probability that it could be easily shaken or swayed when you take a shot.

We suggest you always hold the camera with both hands.

When taking a shot, assume a steady and stable position to avoid any shaking or wobbling of your camera that will result in blurring in your pictures. If you are standing, make sure that you are on level ground and that your feet are shoulder width apart. If possible, lean against a wall or a tree.

If possible, do not hold your camera at arm’s length as this could cause swaying of your camera. Keep your elbows close to your sides.

When kneeling, rest your elbow(s) on your knee for support.

If you have a DSLR camera, your left hand must be placed around the lens and the bottom edge to support the edge of the camera.

If you are still getting shaky pictures, it is normally recommended to use a tripod or a monopod (a one-legged tripod). We don’t see these as a practical solution for a mom. But there is an easy-to-carry lightweight (4.8 oz) alternative to tripods and monopods – SteadePod. It resembles a stainless-steel tape measure – you attach one end to your camera, pull the retractable 6′ steel cable down to the ground, hold it with your foot, and the slight tension on the cable gives you a steady camera position. This device costs $24.99 at B&H and can be ordered online.

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August 22, 2009

PhotoHand.com Catches Growing Attention of Professionals and Small Businesses

Fast and affordable online service for image editing and photo design – PhotoHand.com is quickly turning into one of the most valuable online resources for small/SOHO business, entrepreneurs and professionals looking to boost their images.

Traditionally limited by modest marketing budgets and now influenced by the current recession, professionals and small businesses are reconciled with the fact that their promotional images can’t rival those of corporations. PhotoHand.com is changing this perception by bringing Madison-Avenue quality image editing and photo design to Main Street folks.

The strictly online mode of operation might not fit the processes of large companies but it is perfect for Actors, Models, Consultants, Dentists, Indie Designers, Small Manufacturers, Beauty Professionals, Tattoo Artists, E-shop Owners… the list goes on.

Just upload your photos through PhotoHand.com website, supply your directions in plain language (what you want or what you don’t like in the photos) and in three business days you have the images that will make you or your business stand out – all without breaking the bank.

PhotoHand’s fees start at $3.50 per photo for complete cosmetic retouching. For $11.95 your product photo will be altered into an ad worthy of glossy magazines. Online proofing and changes are free.

Unlike many photographers, PhotoHand works under the “work-for-hire” clause and thus does not claim copyright over retouched photos or photo designs. This means PhotoHand’s clients have the full ownership of their images and can take them to any printing company of choice.

PhotoHand.com works with amateur photos as well as with professionally shot images. The company realizes that many business owners or professionals take one shot at a time when they are ready with a new sample and paying $75-150 an hour for one-two photos is excessive. Most of them have long figured out how to use powerful digital cameras and how to set up the lights for a shoot.

Naturally, such DIY photos need some editing help but so do professional shots, as PhotoHand can attest. With a little bit of post-production TLC, PhotoHand makes such photos shine.

After all, it’s 60% how you look, 35% what you sound like, and 5% what you say.

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