Posts tagged ‘image improvement’

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

April 27, 2011

PhotoHand presents its services at My Freaking Wedding Bridal Show in New York

On April 17, 2011 PhotoHand.com presented its services for photo improvement, wedding book design and save-the-date card design as well as wedding invitation package design at My Freaking Wedding Bridal Show in Manhattan.

My Freaking Wedding, a bridal show organizer supported by an off-beat content website filled with tips on how to add flavor to the tried and true wedding routine partnered with a dozen of wedding vendors to feature local products and services that are the “hidden treasures” of New York.

The event was filmed by a talented New York director Rene Ortiz.


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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 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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December 3, 2010

Bringing Glamour to the Masses – This Holiday Season & Always

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June 14, 2010

Comp Cards – How To and What Works

As PhotoHand gets more and more orders for comp card design we also receive more requests to help in picking the photos for our model clients. We hope this post will be useful in this task.

General
A model comp card has a front side with a full size portrait and a back side with a selection of representative shots from the portfolio — and the model’s basic stats (see below) and contact information — printed on both sides of an 8.5″ x 5.5″ piece of card stock (12 pt stock) (US) or 15×21 cm (Europe, Asia).

Think of your comp card as your marketing tool. This will determine how you want to pose for it and which photos to choose. The casting manager will hardly look for Miss Congeniality with a big teethy smile. Neither is important how pretty you are. What is important is HOW GOOD YOU ARE AT MODELING.

Number of Photos
You need one good headshot for the front side and 4-5 photos for the back of the comp card.

Photo Size
Photo should be at least one Megabyte (=one Megapixel) in size for quality printing, especially the headshot for the front of the comp card.

Posing
Before the photoshoot, pick a dozen of poses you think you can imitate from fashion magazines and practice them in front of a mirror until they feel natural. Strike poses that show elegance and power.

Facial Expression
Some very good photos of you are only good for the family photo book. Nice smiley pictures won’t get you very far. You will not get booked because you are a nice person. Look at the glossies, the models there are all pouting or spot a faint smile. No big teeth smiles.

Make sure your face is not tense. During the photoshoot, close your eyes, think of something and then open your eyes. This usually does the trick.

Front Photo
For the front of the comp card, select your best ¾ portrait shot.

Back Photos
You’ll need 4-5 photos for the back of the comp card. Make sure that at least one photo shows you in full height.

Versatility
The photos at the back should show the different sides of you: glamorous, bohemian, sporty, sexy, grungy, country, business… whatever style you can master. This was you will present your true potential to get you bookings.

Model Stats

For Men For Women
Height Height
Shirt Bust
Waist Waist
Shoes Hips
Hair Color Shoes
Eye Color Hair Color
Eye Color

Comp Card Design
Your comp card needs to have a pleasing, not to mention professional, look to attract the attention of the casting manager. This is like packaging for a product. Even if you are not so happy with the results of your photoshoot, your photos will shine when cropped for the maximum effect, or tilted, and nicely arranged in an elegant format.

Take it from the professionals. This comp card that we retouched and designed some time ago, was used in a television program in Canada as a sample of how to design comp cards that get you jobs.

We hope you find these tips helpful. Good luck!

Related Posts: Modelocity Magazine Gives PhotoHand Thumbs Up

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October 5, 2009

Glamor with a Disclaimer

PhotoHand-blog-illustration-retouchingTo fight self-esteem problems experienced by girls and women who feel pressure to fit the standards set up by advertisers, British and French lawmakers are pushing for laws that force the Advertising industry to disclose when retouching is used on models. According to the proposals, all ads where retouched images of models have been used should carry a disclaimer stating that changes have been made.

You would think that in our day and age, everyone knows that ad images are artistic interpretations. They are decorative. Let’s be honest, you wouldn’t want Calvin Klein ads to feature “guys from work”.

I personally think “feel-good” movies are more damaging for the psyche of young women. And, if we continue along the disclaimer path, they should run a marquee warning during romantic comedies and Cinderella-plot movies saying this is just wishful thinking and no one should fall for this delusion.

As for photo retouching, it has become a natural part of the process of developing an image for publication. It puts fixes where the photography failed. You always do the bare minimum checklist:

– Improve lighting
– Adjust colors
– Remove flyaway hairs
– Remove glare
– Remove shadows from faces
– Even out skin tone
– Cover up temporary skin imperfections
– Correct smudged make-up
– Fix clothes

These are the basics of photography post-production that have nothing to do with manipulation of the public conscience.

And if you still consider this an illusion than the illusion starts from the production stage. There is a crew of workers besides the photographer at any proper fashion or celebrity shoot. If you have ever watched America’s Next Top Model then you should know how a good make-up artist, stylist, and lighting specialists can improve the outcome and make the photo look glamorous, the way you (let’s face it)  like it.

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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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