Posts tagged ‘how-to’

February 1, 2016

LinkedIn Photo Bus Returns With Free Pictures for All Offer

Did you know that social media profiles with photos catch 14 times more attention than the ones without photos? This is what LinkedIn says, and in an effort to help their members look better online (and for corporate self-promotion, no doubt), last year LinkedIn sent a branded photo studio bus to 16 cities in the US offering free headshots.

In 2016, the LinkedIn photo-bus will be back on the road for the “Picture Opportunity Tour”. To check if their coming to your area, click here >

Picture_Opportunity_Tour

How this works? The process was fast but you needed to stand in line for quite some time when too many people showed up.

You take several photos with a professional portrait photographer, and then select the best one that will be uploaded to your LinkedIn profile on the spot. So, make sure you remember you login. And, no, they will not email you the shot.

In case you feel you picture needs some tweaking: make the skin less shiny, even out skin tones, fix the makeup, remove some sun burn and fly-away hair and such, just download the photo from LinkedIn and order photo retouching on PhotoHand.com website. There is no standing in line there.

September 13, 2012

Tips for Photoshooting Fifis and Fidos

Photos shot with a point-and-click Sony camera and enhanced by PhotoHand.com

I’ve been recently trying to create a photo book starring my new puppy and myself as a gift for my mom’s upcoming birthday. Having PhotoHand as a design company behind this project should have made it easy but I got stuck at step one – taking pictures of my beloved mongrel.

I have a lot of nice pictures of him sleeping but taking action pictures proved to be a difficult task. As I was falling behind my personal production schedule it suddenly hit me – I should have checked with the ultimate pro – Cesar Milan, the Dr. Spock of the canine world. And, of course, CesarWay.com had a list of simple common sense directions on how to take good pictures of dogs.

In a nutshell:

1. Dogs sense energy. Be positive.

2. If s/he won’t sit and stay, focus on what s/he DOES want to do.

3. Shoot lots of photos and sift through them later.

4. Use props – treats, toys, squeakers, balloons.

5. Late afternoon or overcast weather will give you the best lighting.

6. It’s about them – focus on their favorite places, habits, toys…

7. Lower the camera to your dog’s level.

These dog photography tips are based on the advice from Cesar Milan’s friend, photographer Seth Casteel who became famous after his photos of dogs swimming underwater went viral.

Link to the entire article »

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 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

January 16, 2012

Cropping Photos to Match Printing Standards

Cropping is used to make your shots fit the standard photo paper sizes. It’s done by bringing the aspect ratio of your photo to the aspect ratio of a standard print size.

An aspect ratio is simply the ratio between the width and height — the shape of an image. A square photo, for example, would have a 1:1 aspect ratio where the width is the same as the height.

Most digital point-and-shoot cameras have a set frame aspect ratio of 1:1.33 (known as 4:3) when most DSLRs use the aspect ratio of 1:1.5 (known as 3:2).

In comparison, standard photo paper sizes have the following aspect ratios:
6″x4″ – 1:1.5
7″x5″ – 1:1.4
10″x8″ – 1:1.25

As you can see the DSLR aspect ratio fits the format of 6″x4″. In other situations you need to crop your photo.

It is recommended that you crop the photos yourself before sending them to a printer. Otherwise they will use their own judgment what parts of the photo can be sacrificed.

If you need a photo editor, we recommend using GIMP – free open-source software that has been around for quite a while:

for Windows:
http://www.gimp.org/downloads

for Mac
http://www.gimp.org/macintosh

October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween from Mr. Card – an Overly Enthusiastic Nikon DSLR Fan

We love Halloween mostly for the unbridled self-expression that it bring out. We even compete at who takes more photos of outrageous costumes when we post them on Facebook. And every year you stumble upon a costume that you don’t know how to comment on. This year our award for the most puzzling costume goes to Mr. Card.

With so many options people go for this Halloween, Mr. Card chose to devise a Nikon D3 DSLR Halloween costume that actually takes real digital photos.

If you making a mental note to make such a costume next year, here is an instructional video.  After all, given that taking photos is a form of socializing there is a good change Mr. Card was very popular this weekend.

August 30, 2011

Does your profile picture work for you?

Whether you are a lawyer, a sales person, an executive, an entrepreneur or a creative type, you need a business portrait also called a headshot, mugshot, or executive portrait to use as a profile picture online, on business cards and brochures, in company annual reports, for the press, etc.

Why good profile pictures matter
Remember, first impression are difficult to change and a business portrait is the ideal way to show the public exactly who you are. So you need to put your best photo forward to produce the right first impression and there are several things to take into account when making that picture perfect.

How to pose
You need a shot where you look relaxed but confident and look into the camera for eye contact. The purpose of a business portrait is to connect and establish trust while you are not physically there.

How to dress
First, wear something comfortable – posing is hard the way it is and wearing clothes that don’t sit well will make you look stiff and unnatural. On the other hand, be aware of clothing that wrinkles easily as that will look sloppy and unprofessional.

Otherwise, your choice of clothing should be dictated by the type of image you are looking to project – conservative, friendly, artsy or approachable. Still, there are certain photography-related technicalities and some natural rules of perception to be taken into account.

Keep in mind that all black clothes might come out as a solid black spot while all white will reflect the flash light and might “blind” the camera. Off-white, navy blue, gray and brown, are better choices for neutral colors.

For women, avoid open shoulders and deep cuts. When you photo is cropped to fit the online format or the layout of the publication, you might appear as if wearing no clothes. It is better if you wear a long sleeve shirt which is more flattering on arms than short. Avoid busy prints and jewelry – they are distracting in photos.

Hire a professional or use a lucky amateur shot
Needless to say that a professional will deliver a good portrait with ease helping you with posing and setting the lighting in no time. But hiring a professional is not always an option when you are self-employed or an entrepreneur on a tight budget. In this case, if you have a good shot taken by an amateur, it can be enhanced to the level of the studio portrait. The photo below was improved at $11.95. Without the change of the background, this would have cost $3.50 – an affordable expense for any budget.


Contemporary consumer cameras go to 10 Megapixels and higher to give you top-notch resolution of any professional camera. With a good lighting, your friend, colleague or a family member can produce a decent shot of you that will be enhance to the grade of a studio portrait by a retoucher.

Should I get my photo retouched?
Professionally shot “executive portraits” normally get retouched. This is a subtle procedure to give your image a “fresher” (not younger) look. Any temporary skin imperfections like blemishes and rashes that tend to pop up in digitally shot photos due to the sharpness of the capture get evened out. If your eyes welled up with tears during intense posing and exsessive lighting, the retoucher will dry them and fix the eye redness. Flyaway hair that gives the image a sloppy look is removed. Makeup is fixed. Eyeglasses glare and unsightly facial shadows get eliminated. For men, shaving mishaps get corrected. Flashlight reflection that makes the face look oily is toned down. Lint is removed from clothing.

These might sound like trifle things but all these tiny imperfections, hardly noticeable in reality, get into the limelight when a person sees your photo for the first time. After all, it’s 70% how you look, 20% how you sound, and 10% what you say.

July 8, 2011

Point-and-Click Tips: Taking the Red Eye Glow Out Of the Picture

Red eyes (red glow in pupils) in photos is a common phenomenon when taking pictures of people or animals using a flash.


Some cameras support a “red eye reduction” mode.  In that mode the camera fires the flash a few times before taking the photo. Although this helps reducing the red-eye effect, it can also result in photos of people with their eyes closed (as they blink when blinded by the pre-flash).

There are a few things that you can do to prevent red-eyes.

1. Take the pictures with sufficient light in the environment so that your subjects’ pupils decrease in size.
2. Tell them to look to the side of your camera – not straight at the camera.
3. Have someone divert babies or pets’ attention so that they look away from the camera.

Some cameras include built-in image processing software that automatically removes red-eye from the photos, or you can use Picasa or other online photo editing software. Make sure that the software only effects the eye area and doesn’t change the color of other elements in the picture that happen to have the tint typical of the red eye effect. Software trips in such cases as it works on formulas and doesn’t exercise common sense.

Another option is having it done by professional photo retouchers for as low as $3.50, especially in case you have captured a close portrait in a dark environment and now the whole eye retina is glowing red.

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July 6, 2011

Point-and-Click Tips: Avoiding Overexposure and Underexposure When Taking Pictures Outdoors

Although digital point and shoot cameras are generally automated to measure the amount of light in an environment and apply the proper settings to take a good picture, the camera often makes an exposure decision that is incorrect due to complicated scene conditions. Most of the time, when a shot is underexposed, the details in the shadows can be recovered in Photoshop, while you can’t fix a photo if the details are not there as the result of overexposure.

Overexposure: photos that are washed out, too bright, or have blown-out areas.

Direct bright light will create overexposure. To avoid it, as the first measure, make sure the sun is not shining into the lens while you are taking a picture. Sounds like the most obvious thing but you’ll be surprised how many people don’t think of it. It is recommended to put your subject in a shady area when shooting a sunny day.

Besides washing out the image, the harsh light creates a strong contrast where the highlights are too white and the shadows too black.

Uneven contract can be an eye sore. For example if the object’s face is lit from the side the object’s nose can create a strong shadow. When lt from above, the face will feature black spots in the undereye area, under the nose and on the chin. The camera can not automatically correct such effects. Use flash on the shade side to even out the exposure to light on both sides!

Underexposure: Photos that are underexposed look dark and lack details. When printed in large sizes they show pixelation instead of solid colors.

The obvious reason for underexposure is poor lighting. But it can also occur if there is a very bright light source in the photo. It can confuse the camera to believe that there is enough light in the scene for a low exposure setting. The result will be a photo that captures the bright area but darkens all the others.

To prevent underexposure you have to move closure to your subject and make sure your subject is the most well-lit element within the frame.

General: Outdoor photos can benefit greatly by overcast skies or by taking photos early in the morning or in the evening. Taking photos when the sun is at a 45 degree angle will result in richer colors.


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