Posts tagged ‘photoshop’

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

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

November 28, 2011

PhotoHand Introduces Photo Gifts with Modern Aesthetics in Mind

Just in time for the holiday season, PhotoHand unveils PhotoHand Gifts website to offer gift shoppers custom-designed photobooks, multi-image prints, framed photos, standouts Christmas decorations, photo mugs and puzzles while aiming to further expand into other gift types.

Gifts that are uniquely personalized with photos are perfect for Christmas, birthdays, weddings and anniversaries adding a nice personal touch to the tradition. The variety of photo gifts on offer has been steadily increasing. Now it’s the time to step up the quality of these keepsakes that is usually impaired by the flaws of the original photo image.

PhotoHand – a leading online specialist in photo fixing and design – comes to the rescue by putting the brains before the brawn and perfecting the image before it goes in photo gift production. Properly edited and enhanced, bland images turn into editorial-style photography that transforms any gift item into a precious memento.

Artful application of photo retouching and graphic design makes all the difference between stylish and cheesy and brings photo gifts in line with the modern aesthetics.

August 31, 2011

How We Survived Hurricane Irene – In Pictures

Those of us deserted in the New York City by friends and family who rushed to the suburbs for safety, spent most of our hurricane weekend on the phone reporting that everything was fine.  Now, as the deserters were struggling to get back to the city, we decided not to disappoint them and tell them how it really was.

Getting ready for the big wave

No one was safe

After the storm

January 31, 2011

How Big Can I Print My Photo?

How big can I print my photos is a very common question. Even professional photographers happen to struggle with this topic.

To avoid any further confusion that we could inflict by technical calculations we put together the following practical matrix showing how many megapixels (M) you should set your camera to if you want to have your photo printed in one of the standard sizes. If your camera settings show width-to-height dimensions in pixels, the additional table below will come handy.
Note:  The calculations are based on the printing standards requiring the resolution of 300 pixels per square inch (a.k.a. 300dpi).   (A pixel is the smallest measurement of the picture size. 1 Megapixel = 1 Million Pixels.)

Can I stretch out an image for a bigger print?
Yes, you can, but the resolution will diminish resulting in a blurrier print. Let’s say you want your photo twice bigger. Then by stretching it out you impair the resolution to 150 pixels per square inch. You can still print your photo but you might not be happy with the result, especially if the image was not high quality to atrt with.

Can an image be enlarged for a bigger print?
Yes, PhotoHand provides this service – it is included in the price of Photo Retouching. The end result may be not as sharp as you want it to be, depending on the quality of the original shot.

Any defect in the original picture resulting from a bad focus, low quality lense, dim lighting, too much flash, camera shaking will only be magnified and might not be subject to effective correction.  Keep in mind that even with the ideal shot, it’s not recommended to lower the resolution to less than 200 dpi.

How Do I Know How Many Megapixels There Are in My Images Once It Is Saved on My Computer?
The number of Kilobytes (KB) or Megabytes (MB) in your computer file roughly corresponds to the number of pixels and megapixels. For example, 2MB photo file will have about 2M (Megapixels) and is good to be printed as 6″x4″.

You don’t need Photoshop or any other editing software to check. Just find the icon for the file on your computer and do the following:

For Mac:
1. CTRL + click on the file (right click)
2. Select “Get Info” from the menu
3. Under “General” check the size of the file

For PC:
1. Point the cursor to the icon of the file and do the right click
2. Select “Properties” in the opened window
3. The “General” tab in the opened window shows the “Size” of the file in Kilobytes (KB) or Megabytes (MB).

If you click on the “Details” tab you’ll see the file dimensions in pixels and the resolution it is formatted in.

In the illustration below:
Sample 1 – The file is formatted in the resolution 72dpi (72 pixels per square inch) that is the standard resolution for the web but too small for print. If we change the resolution to 300, we will need to make the size smaller for density of pixels to be correct, otherwise the stretched out pixels will make the picture fuzzy and pixelated.

Sample 2 – The photo is perfectly formatted to be printed as 5″x7″. The resolution is sharp – 300dpi and the height and width of pixels is enough (see the matrix above).

Sample 3 – The file is setup in the low resolution of 72dpi but the the height and width of pixels are sufficient to re-format the file in 300 dpi and print it 8″x10″ without losing in quality.

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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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May 13, 2009

Primp Up Your Indie Image On a Budget

Indie is trendy. If you hear this for the first time, you’ve been out of touch for quite a while and should hurry to Etsy.com to catch up. Whether it’s shoes, clothes, cosmetics, jewelry, bags, gift items, perfume… indie companies are guaranteed to provide innovative offbeat products that will spice up your image.

Innovation is the key to indie success as small companies are faster on their feet than large brands. They also tend to be greener, organic and more conscious of waste.

PhotoHand is a strong supporter of indies and we have a lot of them among our clients. Indies do not have the promotion budgets of big brands but they must have the big brand image quality to sell.

Indie companies on a budget (and most of them are) do not have the resources to hire professional photographers at $100-150/hr to shoot their new products, especially as they introduce one-two new products at a time. Instead they buy professional or semi-professional photo cameras that are becoming cheaper and more powerful and take promotional photos at their make-shift corner studios.

This is a prudent approaching taking into account that even professionally shot photos still need to be photoshopped to bring out the best in the image.

A perfume bottle shot in a make-shift setup with a non-professional camera was color-corrected and photo-retouched by PhotoHand professionals. Complex level - $11.95/photo

A perfume bottle shot in a make-shift setup with a non-professional camera was color-corrected and photo-retouched by PhotoHand professionals. Complex level - $11.95/photo

PhotoHand has been assisting indie companies with this task for quite a while and we keep getting the same question from our clients: How to set up the photo shoot for the best results.

We did some research, consulted several photographers and came up with the basic set of rules that will set you on the right track.

How to set up lighting for a home photo shoot?

Lighting is of paramount importance in photography. Photographing with natural light will deliver natural colors but only if you shoot on an overcast day that is still bright. You can wait for such a day or imitate these conditions by using easily available elements:

1) A spotlight lamp with a white light bulb. A yellow light bulb will tint the original color of the product;
2) Frosted paper that will be used as a screen to diffuse the light shining on the product and this way prevent the “hot spots” in the photo;
3) A flowing background, preferably stiff paper that won’t crinkle;
4) A sheet of white paper to reflect the diffused light from the spotlight lamp and partially illuminate the other side or the front of the product. This is necessary to avoid sharp light/shade contrast (unless you want it for some artistic effect).

The following diagram shows how to arrange these items for the photoshoot setup at home.

This diagram shows how to arrange these items for the photoshoot setup at home.

How to set your camera for the product photo shoot?

No-Flash-No-GlareTurn off the Flash. Flash glare on objects is very hard to photo retouch because it means loss of digital information. A photo retoucher would have to fill up the blanks by using his/her imagination.

Macro-for-close-up

Set your camera to MACRO for the close-up view.

That’s it.  Happy shooting!  And remember, PhotoHand is always there for you to glam up your image.
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