Posts tagged ‘digital’

June 21, 2012

Modern Wedding Book Trends: Vintage Style Photography

Old is new this season. Vintage imitation has been in for Save the Date cards and wedding invitations for quite a while and now the trend seems to be extending to the the wedding albums. You certainly don’t want the whole wedding book to look vintage unless your wedding was staged in a vintage style – Roaring 20s, 30s Hollywood, 70s Disco…

Usually, you would want to have some vintage elements incorporated in the design. This can be sepia-toned photos, artfully grainy or faded photos for the background images of the layouts.

The book cover stylized as an old photo will make for a nice decorative element on your shelf.

Compare to the original photo below. Before converting it into sepia, PhotoHand designer retouched the image by eliminating the “view spoilers” – the pipe and the pigeon at the groom’s chest level. Then the photo was brought to the most fitting lightness and color level to produce a bright picture.

Vintage Style Photography
Black and White Photography

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.

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

December 12, 2010

Photo Retouching: Feel Beautiful Because You Are

Looking good is not important, it’s everything! At least it must be to two thirds of women, as the Hewlett Packard survey showed, who are “deeply embarrassed” by many of their photos. The same research shows that if you are a man under 35, you are probably happy with every photo of yourself, including the ones that should appear embarrassing.

Why women hate their photos? Because we want our photos to present us the way we’d like to be and they usually don’t. We want our true self to be captured in a flattering light, from a favorable angle and preferably by a genius from Photography. This doesn’t happen often and this is why we delete our photos before anyone had a chance to see them and plead with our friends to remove our photos from their Facebook galleries. Even those women who are majorly satisfied with their reflection in the mirror can and do develop photophobia.

Professional models are never happy with their photos till they have been edited. PhotoHand artists know this because we work with models.

Your photo might be far from perfect, but with the help of the photoshop retouching service, you can make any picture perfect and outstanding.

Suppose someone snapped a decent photo of you that you decided to use a your professional photo (a.k.a. “executive portrait”) on your marketing materials. With a little help from Photoshop, your casual amateur photo will be turned into a “studio portrait”.

Another lucky shot doctored with the glamorizing effects will give your image a touch of Hollywood turning it into a photo gift to your loved ones.

Boudoir photography is a growing trend. Brides are looking for something unique and sexy to give their husbands as a wedding gift. But ladies in their 30’s, 40’s and even 50’s are wanting boudoir photo shoots even more. When asked about their motivations, the general response is that they are still feeling young at heart and want to capture themselves in some beautiful sensual images.
Needless to say, boudoir photography always needs a hand from photo retouchers. We also recommend applying various art effect like soft focus, Rembrandt-like light and shade contrast, Hollywood affects, etc. Then your photo will be poetry. Plus, that the experience of having a make-over and photo session can give women a feeling of liberation and empowerment. Now beauty salons started hosting boudoir photo sessions for groups of women.

From 1991, when pregnant Demi Moore appeared nude on the cover of Vanity Fair, pregnancy stopped being something to be hidden, but something to be celebrated in all its glory. Maternity photos are always a challenge but with skillful retouching they become a celebrated memento in moving forward. We at PhotoHand are noticing a growing trend of sending our pregnancy announcement photo cards just like it is with baby arrival cards.

Wedding photos have been family treasures since the beginning of photography. They must be perfect, especially the bride’s gala portrait shot before the wedding. All the tiny photo flaws must be fixed. But what if you don’t even have that portrait. Well, it can be created in all its splendor.

A less than perfect photos shouldn’t bring you down. First, not everybody is a model – it’s natural to get uncomfortable in front of the camera. And that hair gets out of control because there is no stylist around to assist you. And the makeup artist is not on hand to fix the smudges. Remember, all these annoying flaws can be easily fixed after the image capture.

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November 18, 2008

Capturing The Holiday Spirit

By Heather Joy Roth

The holidays that bring traditional family get-together are quickly approaching, offering us photographers – professional and otherwise – the opportunity to capture life-long memories of the colorful scenery and loved ones. Here are some tips that can help you take eye-catching portraits of the holiday season.

© PhotoHand | greeting cards custom designed from family photos

© PhotoHand | greeting cards custom designed from family holiday photos

Take A Family Portrait

It is rare in this busy world for families to make the time to get together. Take advantage of this opportunity by taking a family portrait. It will be a cherished keepsake for everyone.

Capture Children’s Artwork On Camera

With school back in full swing, now is the time to take pictures of your children’s art projects. It is unlikely that you will be able to collect all their artwork for your child to see when they get older, so taking a snapshot — or better yet, having your child photograph their own artwork is not only a great way to remember childhood, but a creative way to get your budding photographer to enjoy the new hobby.

Capture Memories From A Different Point Of View

When photographing symbols of the holidays or loved ones, look for new, interesting ways of capturing them. You can photograph a carved pumpkin off-center or move in for an up close shot, leaving out distracting extras. Get level with the subject you are shooting.

Holidays mean children, and children are at a height level lower than what we usually photograph at. Get down on their level. This will give you the best picture angles you can achieve.

Spontaneous Photography

When it comes to the holidays, the time I most enjoy taking photos is when a family member or friend opens their gift. My motto is to shoot the portrait first, and ask questions later. Don’t waste time lining up a perfect shot, snap the photo and capture their face when they open their presents. Parents easily make the mistake of distracting their children by yelling at them to look at the camera.

This is a huge mistake, as children will either shy away from being photographed or pose wildly at the camera. If the children are not looking directly at the camera, not only will you not blind them with your flash, but you will be able to capture spontaneous moments rather than stiff poses.

These moments only lasts a split-second so if you can manage to shoot the subject in that moment of surprise, you’ll have a memory to last forever. Try getting restless children involved by having them take pictures of each other. This works especially well with digital cameras. You will be surprised at what they come up with. Kids literally have a different perspective on the world and their images may surprise you.

Broaden What Type Of Holiday Picture You Take

Try capturing not only “classic” symbols of the holidays, but abstract points of interest. For example, you could photograph a tree covered in snow and this can convey the feeling of the season even more than a photograph of the Christmas tree itself. Look for pumpkin patches, snowmen, even leaves on the sidewalk for inspiring, innovative photo opportunities.

Create Your Own Holiday Greeting Card

© PhotoHand |custom designed greeting cards

© PhotoHand |custom designed greeting cards

Greeting cards that you buy in the store are cheerful, but nothing says “Happy Holidays” more than a personalized greeting card you snapped yourself. Get creative, whether you take a portrait of yourself, your pets, family or even a landscape shot. I prefer receiving these cards versus commercial greeting cards. It shows that thought and consideration went into the card and always brings a smile to my face. These are the cards I keep.

Take A Lot Of Photos

Any professional photographer will tell you that to get a few amazing shots, they had to snap hundreds of photos. Do not be stingy with what you shoot. Try taking pictures of anything that catches your eye. A simple, spontaneous close-up snapshot of some Christmas lights can be more eye-catching than a well planned shot of the whole tree lit up.

Remember, the holidays are a time for family, friends and memories.

Capture the holiday spirit by taking spontaneous shots, not by ordering your subject to pose this way or that way. These photographs allow the happiness of the season to radiate throughout your photography.

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October 13, 2008

Defining Your Image Size for Quality Printing

This is the question that we, at PhotoHand, get every day – why can’t you blow up my photo into a poster after you have retouched it. The answer is that the size of the photo is too small. To print a small poster – the size of a standard sheet of paper, your photo has to be at least 5 Megapixels in photo terms, which equals 5 Megabytes in computer terms.

A photo image is described by two parameters: “Image Size” and “Image Quality”. The image SIZE is defined by the total number of pixels – a collection of small dots. The number of pixels per square inch defines the QUALITY of the image.

If the number of pixels (the size) of the image can’t be changed after the image has been captured, the image quality is defined AFTER you have taken the photo. Image quality or resolution will be defined when you decide how many pixels (dots) should be per square inch of your photo.

More pixels/dots per square inch mean higher resolution and subsequently higher quality of print. 72 dpi (dots per inch) are perfect for the web but not for printing. Quality printing requires 300 dpi.

So, the more pixels you capture from the start, the bigger photo you will be able to print after these pixels have been squeezed into square inches by 300 in each.

Here is a sample of calculations:

Suppose you want a print sized 4 by 6 inches in photo quality.
(4in x 300dpi) x (6in x 300dpi) = 1,200 pixels x 1,800 pixels
This equals 2,160,000 pixels (roughly 2.2 Megapixels) in total which is approximately 2.2 Megabytes.

To make it easier, we put together this cheat sheet for you.

We hope we were able to help, but if you still have questions please contact us through our website

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August 28, 2008

Go Digital = Go Green!

Green mentality is taking over, at least at the personal level. Everyone I know favors products packaged in recyclable materials, buys energy-saving electric bulbs and rechargeable batteries, tells ConEdison to switch them to an alternative energy supplier, etc.

I am proud to say that I created paperless work environment for myself five years ago. It took some effort to get into the habit of charting down those notes-to-self on the computer screen instead of paper and saving digital copies of magazine articles, but it was totally worth it: I can always find them. My aspiration was an efficient work environment but, as a side effect, I reduced my carbon footprint too.

This is a logical chain: by being more efficient, you waste less and become greener. Technology makes us more efficient, so technology can make us less wasteful, especially digital technology.

I realize that by saying this I make a lot of enemies among the defenders of analog photography, and you would think that these days no one in his right mind would mess with film processing but there are a lot of old-time photographers who stick to analog probably out of reluctance to re-learn. The usual argument that you can’t achieve the same quality with digital photography only shows that a person is not well familiar with digital post production.

Digital is more efficient, it’s a fact. You can shoot thousands of pictures with no additional expense and then weed out the bad ones, view them on your computer screen in full format without printing and have them retouched right away by yourself or through online service like ours;-) No emulsion or chemistry, no scanners, enlargers, timers and darkroom supplies, no transporting. You are not only saving your time – you are saving the environment.

Online proofing is another way to save on time, expenses and environmentally. Instead of 400 cheap prints that poorly represent your work, post your photos on the Web in a FREE online storage. Your clients would be able to review the proofs and give you directions before you have invested in post-production. I usually recommend our photographer clients to check out that offers unlimited storage with up to 100MB per file and image galleries for free. If you know of a comparable service, let us know and we’ll spread the word for the good cause.

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