Posts tagged ‘family photos’

August 7, 2013

One Family Life Story of 36 Years

sistersIt was in 1975 when the world-renowned Detroit-born photographer Nicolas Nixon, a professor of photography at the Massachusetts College of Art originally photographed his wife Bebe and her 3 sisters. They liked the picture so much that they collectively decided to make it a yearly event – the annual family photo – the family’s “annual rite of passage,” as Nicolas Nixon has called it.

Each image reflects another year of life experiences that take their toll.

In 1999, when the resulting series of photographs reached its twenty-fifth anniversary, The Museum of Modern Art published The Brown Sisters photography book, presenting all of the portraits in sequence. “We might wish,” said Peter Galassi, the Museum’s Chief Curator of Photography, “that our family included a photographer of such discipline and skill but otherwise Nixon’s pictures do what all family photographs do: they fix a presence and mark the passage of time, graciously declining to expound or explain.”

That edition is out of print. Eight years later the Museum is published a second edition, including eight new photographs that brought the series up to date.

As of today the Brown Sisters photo story numbers 36 photographs – candid and and at the same time poetic.

You can view them here »

April 9, 2013

Family Photographer Enters The Venice Biennale

The works of Nikolay Bakharev – a Russian family photographer from a miners’ town – will be exhibited at The Venice Biennale (La Biennale di Venezia) – one of the most prestigious international cultural event. Ever since its foundation, it has been at the forefront in the research and promotion of new artistic trends.

Bakharev, now known as the pioneer of Soviet Eroticism in photography, started his career in the 70s working as a family photographer in a miners’ town of Novokuznetsk taking pictures in schools and kindergartens, at funerals and weddings.

It was good money but he was looking to raise the plank in his trade. He regularly read photo magazines Sovetskoye Photo, Czech Photo Review, German FotoMAGAZIN in search of creative ideas.

His found his clients among workers, students in hostels, people on the beach who later invited him to take photos at their homes. They had no special requirements except “make it beautiful”.

Who knew that many years later these shots would be considered museum grade Art.

In the words of Bakharev, “A human being is interesting with his or her openness and frankness… it has nothing to do with an exalted spirituality and beauty which seems to be hidden in any person and must be revealed.”


The Beach Series Photos By Nikolay Bakharev »
Nikolay Bakharev in Conversation with Luca Desienna »

April 7, 2013

Sears “Amazing Photography” Is No More

Sears-Portrait-Studio-closesCPI Corporation, the St. Louis-based operator of over 2,000 Sears Portrait Studios, PictureMe Studios in Walmart and Toys R Us portrait studios abruptly closed all studios nationwide.

Blaming the Digital trend as they do is just an excuse not to take the responsibility for having been stuck with an ailing business model in the face of the modernization of the Photography industry that rapidly evolves as consumers are taking charge.

While a whole host of specialized high-quality vendors were beginning to command this very personal Photography industry branch – Consumer Photography, CPI was still bundling services from “good enough” providers.

At the production point, the photographer on duty could be bad at handling kids or didn’t know how to pose pregnant women. The backdrops and props were outdated.

At post production, there were problems with cropping for framing, forget about editing out stretch marks, fixing awkward smile, or skin retouching.

Printing took weeks and months instead of the promised 72 hours.

This is why consumers chose to beat feet the hell out of Sears Portrait.  They had options. There are plenty of specialized photographers to choose from and who will come to you to take pictures in your natural environment.

Then you can submit your photos online (professional or amateur) to companies like PhotoHand.com to get professional grade photo editing for the price of a Starbucks coffee.

As for online printers, there are gazillions to choose from offering everything – from plain prints to photo books to photo blankets and photo cake tops. Even professional grade printers like NationsPhotoLab are beginning to serve amateurs.

Lesson learned: Don’t mess with empowered consumers!


photohand-photo-improvement-correction-retouching-ad

July 20, 2012

Modern Wedding Book Trends: Vignetting

Before digital cameras vignetting was an unintended and undesired effect caused by camera settings or lens limitations. Now it is purposely introduced for creative effect, such as to draw attention to the center of the frame.

It also helps the photos blend well with dark colored background of layouts. This design element serves particularly well for large photos, especially portraits.


MODERN WEDDING BOOK TRENDS:
Vintage Style Photography
Black and White Photography
Vignetting

June 22, 2012

Modern Wedding Book Trends: Black and White Photography

Mixing black and white photos with color gives a wedding book a certain elegance. When you view a picture your eye is drawn to colors, and when the color is removed you see more of the form and composition within an image.

Besides, some photos, especially the candid ones might look much better in B&W. They look more photojournalistic by putting the emphasis on the action and emotions as opposed to the details of the environment.

Black and White photos mixed with color images in a photojournalistic wedding book

Black and white is far from boring: With the variations of saturation, lighting and toning you can have a lot of options. Here are some examples:

MODERN WEDDING BOOK TRENDS:
Vintage Style Photography
Black and White Photography
Vignetting

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.

 
MODERN WEDDING BOOK TRENDS:
Vintage Style Photography
Black and White Photography
Vignetting

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

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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December 3, 2010

Bringing Glamour to the Masses – This Holiday Season & Always

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May 18, 2009

Shooting for the Book

The wedding season hits in June and we at PhotoHand expect a rise in custom photo books design orders. Most of our clients have been in the wedding photography business for a while but there are a lot of talented young beginners who have been asking us to give them some tips on how to be prepared so that they are in the right place at the right moment and shoot enough material for a lively photo story.

We looked at the weddings albums that we have created so far and came up with this cheat sheet. A bride can also use this list when giving directions to her photographer.

A spread from a wedding book designed and photo retouched by PhotoHand prosfessionals.

A spread from a wedding book designed and photo retouched by PhotoHand prosfessionals.

A wedding is a celebration of a tradition and traditions by their nature adhere to certain scripts. Below are the points general to any wedding but if the wedding is to include some ethnic traditions or special family customs, that photographer must be notified of all such details beforehand so that he or she is able to capture every key moment.

Behind the Scene
The dress on a hanger
close-ups of any remarkable details on the dress
Accessories: flowers, shoes, jewelry, the rings
The bride getting ready (makeup, hair, jewelry, dress,shoes)
Family and bridesmaids assisting the bride
Others getting ready
Portrait of the bride
The groom getting ready (adjusting the ties tie or cuff links)
Portrait of the groom
Waiting for the Ceremony
The wide-angle view of the location
The groom waiting for the bride
The groom, the best man and the officiator
The ring bearer and flower girl
General view of the seated guests
Arrival of the bride

The Ceremony
The best man and maid of honor coming down the aisle
Each groomsman and bridesmaid coming down the aisle
The bride coming down the aisle
Wide-angle view of the ceremony
The vow and ring exchange
Signing of the marriage license
The kiss
The bride and groom coming down the aisle
Any special musician, singer, speaker, etc.

Formal Photos
Hands with the wedding bands
Formal group photos
Romantic bride and groom photos

The Reception
Details: centerpieces, the cake, decor
The wedding party entering the reception
Toasts
Cutting of the cake
The first dance
Dances with parents
Bouquet toss
Garter removal
Guests at each table
Dancing guests

Final Scene
The newlyweds waiving or walking away
Departing Limo

That’s it! Have a great shoot!
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