Decorating With Photography

The first thing you’ll want to consider is whether to have the photograph in black or white. This can be decided by many factors – for instance, in a modern bachelor apartment, a classy black and white photograph will look a lot better than a colorful montage. The same goes for a boardroom or office – staff or corporate photographs will usually look better in colour than a black and white print.

However, if you have a really good color photograph and you wish it were black and white (or vice versa), there are ways to achieve this. If the photograph has been taken via a digital camera, you can then upload it to a computer and use a program like PhotoShop or similar to edit it. This can give you a myriad of effects – from straight color swap to adding a tinge of sepia to give an air of aging, the possibilities are endless. Even if you’ve used a traditional still camera, you can ask for a CD when developing them that the negatives will be transferred to, so you can still upload them to a computer and amend with a photo editing software program.

Depending on what look you wish to go for in whatever room you’re putting the photograph(s) in, the frame is the next choice to make. If you wish, you can purchase different frames for different walls in the same room. Far from them not looking right, the different approach will allow them to be more prominent. Look to match them to your décor, if you wish, so that frame blends in with carpet, or rug, or sofa.

The next thing you may wish to consider is whether you want to hang a single picture, or a group together. This is fairly easy to decide – a single photograph picture frame will usually look out of place the larger the wall, so let that dictate your approach. Groups of frames offer a warmer sense of being, especially if it’s children and family. Have a collage of school photos from different ages as the central theme, and perhaps miscellaneous family photographs surrounding them to finish an inviting look.

The last thing you really need to decide is whether you wish to use your own photographs, or professional ones from an art shop. This is really down to how much quality you wish to involve. Although obviously not up to the standard of a professional photographer, your own photographs can be of a more than presentable quality, if you’re prepared to take the time to get the right shots. However, by mixing photographs from a studio with your own, you can achieve an excellent effect and add that little bit of difference to any room.

Sense of Depth in Photography

A photographer should know how perspective works and how to exploit it to render reality as he or she desires.

Simply stated, perspective relies on two fundamental rules:

  • The nearer the object, the bigger it appears.
  • Parallel lines seem to converge toward a point.

Our brain relies on these two tenets to perceive depth and distance. So, getting down to the nitty-gritty, if a photographer wants to create a conspicuous sense of depth, he should make the above-mentioned rules evident. On the contrary, if his aim is to make a picture look flat, he should minimize these two perspective effects.

Let us assume we want to produce a strong sense of depth. We can achieve our goal by inserting in our picture a few converging lines. The more converging, the more intense the sensation of depth. Alternatively, or together with it, we can put an object in the near foreground and a far background behind. The object in the foreground will appear bigger compared to the background and, again, this will improve our impression of depth. The nearer the object in the foreground, the higher the perception of depth. For instance, when shooting a landscape picture, have some flowers in the foreground and the panorama behind. On the other hand, if a photographer would like to make a picture look flat, he should remove any object in the foreground or step back from it so as to render it less conspicuous.

Be careful when getting closer to an object in the foreground, however, as it may get out of focus. Always keep an eye on the depth of focus of your camera and lens system when taking a picture. Both the foreground and the background should be in focus, unless a blur effect is intentional. So choose the aperture of your camera accordingly.

Film Verses Digital

To be honest; the reason you used the flash sync speed was because in most cases it was a mechanical speed, just in case you had one of those new fangled SLR’s that use electronic shutter. But besides the obvious dependency on a charged battery, there are other differences between film and digital cameras.

If you have ever shopped for a digital camera you have no doubt heard one of the key buzz phrases, “35mm equivalent”. This means that the optics are not exactly the same. Since the 35mm SLR camera has been the standard for the last 50 years, that’s what they compare it to. The difference between the two is a ratio of 1:1.4. Simply put, a 35-200 zoom on a digital camera would be like having a 49-280 zoom lens on a traditional 35mm camera.

The main reason the optics are different is because the sensor (the device that actually reads the light) is also a different size. Film cameras use a film sensitive to light that is placed directly behind the lens. When the correct exposure is calculated, that image is literately burned into the film. Digital cameras, on the other hand use a sensor; that also sits behind the lens. This sensor is made up of millions of individual points that each represents 1 pixel. Once the sensor has gathered the information for each pixel it then transfers that data to a digital media card of some type (which can be used again and again.)

Generally digital cameras use sensors that are smaller than the 35mm film used in older cameras. The Depth of Field changes with the size of the sensor, the smaller the sensor the higher the depth of field. The reason they are made the sensor smaller is generally a cost factor to the manufacturer.

The sensor is the physical device that gathers information about the quality of light coming into the camera. The process or “how” it goes about gathering that information is referred to as “metering. The human eye can see the world around it with a range of about 16 f-stops; camera meters on the other hand, only have a range of 5 f-stops at any given time. This is why camera meters are calibrated for “mid range” exposures of 18% gray, because 90% of the time that is as close as we will get to what the human eye can do. It’s not a fault that the camera can not see as good as you do, it’s simply a fact of life.

There are basically only three types of metering systems. They are:

  • Spot Metering
  • Center-Weighted Metering
  • Matrix Metering

Spot metering as the name indicates only reads a small spot or portion of the overall image (usually 1% to 3%). This type of metering is useful in any situation where the lighting is extreme. Backlit subjects, macro shots, or even pictures of the moon can benefit from this type of metering. This type of metering is usually found on the more costly upper end cameras.

Center-Weighted metering averages the overall scene with an emphasis on the center area of the frame. Usually this type of meter bases its reading with 75% of the light hitting center frame and 25% for everything else. It assumes that most people place their subject dead center, most of the time. It is worth noting that most center weighted systems have a greater sensitivity in the bottom half of the frame; to avoid an overly contrasting sky from throwing off the readings. This type of system is by far the most common used in digital cameras today. Even the higher end Digital SLR’s use this as their default setting.

Matrix Metering splits your image up into anywhere from 3 to 16 metering zones and evaluates the different zones to come up with one over all reading. In this process of evaluation it takes into account factors like: subject size, position, distance, point of focus, over all lighting, color and more. This system uses a microchip which has been exposed to thousands of different picture-taking situations. It is by far the most complex and the most accurate metering system to date. It is also usually found on the higher end Digital SLR’s.

I have used the word “digital” several times, but do not be deceived. These are the same type of metering systems used in traditional film cameras as well. The only other known way of reading light has to do with “reflected light” verses “surface light”. Most meters in the camera are reading reflected light (IE the light that is reflected off the main subject and reaches the camera.) Every so often you will see someone with a hand held light meter that will go right up to the subject and read the light that falls on the surface of that subject. Some photographers still debate which way is more accurate. The idea of the “Spot Metering” should accomplish the same thing, but for many photographers (fashion photographers in particular), the separate meter seems more standard.

With these points in mind, consider not only the differences but the similarities as well. All of us have our favorites; Canon, Nikon, Kodak. Some choose digital, some choose film. The things to remember are what we all need to get a great shot. Things like composition, leading lines, framing, and the rule of thirds are much more important to our success as great photographers than the physical tools we use to accomplish a great shot. On the other hand, knowing what your particular camera or metering system can or can not do, let’s you know if you have the right tool for the job.

Advantages of Online Photo Printing

Whether you are still printing your digital prints at home, using your own printer, or going through the hassle of popping into your local shopping centre to drop in and pick up your digital prints, why not try out some of the online photo processing companies – you will amazed at the cost of online photo printing!

Online photo printing offers the consumer a range of advantages including cheap pricing, fast delivery and a range of extras including the facility to create online photo albums, upload unlimited digital photos and, in many cases, share them for free with friends and family.

Photo sharing, in particular, is extremely popular with consumers because it enables us to create an online photo album of a holiday or special occasion and then email our friends and family with a link to the album which means that everyone gets to enjoy your snaps!

In most instances, the procedure for uploading the images to your album is easy and intuitive. Simply connect your digital camera to your computer, download the images to a location on your computer and then upload them directly into your photo album from your the online photo printing provider.

The online photo printing sector is also extremely price driven and you can easily compare the prices from a range of companies. Generally, the online photo printing companies offer low prices; with some starting from as little as 1p per print. However, don’t be misled because this low price often relates to you having to purchase a large quantity of digital prints in order to qualify for this price.

One of the best, and most reliable, providers of online photo printing is Truprint who offer 40 free prints to new customers, fast delivery, unlimited storage and the facility to share your pictures with friends and family.

Personalised photo gifts are also offered by many of these companies and these can provide the perfect gift for a friend or loved one. The range of photo gifts tends to differ between companies but typically includes photo cards, t-shirts, teddy bears, posters, puzzles, memory books, mugs and calendars.

Seeing the Light

All photographs need light, that’s obvious. But just as all photographers are not created equal,
neither is all light the same. Some of the types of light include: Natural light (the sun), fluorescent
light (overhead lighting), incandescent light (light bulb), Electronic light (Flash), Reflective light
(off of water or snow), Bounce light (off a ceiling or wall).

Photographers like Ansel Adams or Edward Weston have been known to wait for hours or even days,
until the light was just right. What makes the light just right? What was it they were waiting for? They
were waiting for “the right moment” that brief instant in time when all the elements and principles of design, happen at the same instant. As far as light is concerned, it must compliment your subject. It
must enhance the natural beauty, not distract. It must be one with the subject. Before I start sounding
too much like a Zen Buddhist Monk, let me give you some examples:

Most photographers when shooting outdoors prefer early morning or just before dusk in the evening.
The most obvious reason is that light is not as harsh. If you are trying to create the mood of a beautiful sexy model, you don’t want dark shadows that make her nose look like a small mountain peak. Likewise you want to be able to see her big beautiful eyes, not have her squinting so she looks like she’s in pain.

On the other hand, say you are trying to shoot an advertisement for some new sports drink. The
harsh sun glistening off, beads of sweat of a prominent athlete; may be exactly what you want. Does
that kind of make you thirsty? Good. That was the idea.

Reflections off a pond or lake are much more pleasing to the eye if it is overcast. A twinkle in the eye
is usually a quick bright light source at a slight angle from the subject. Red eyes are caused by a light source that is directly lined up with the subject’s eyes. (The light you see as “red eye” is nothing more than a reflection off the back of the eye.) The best way to avoid it is to move slightly up or slightly
down in relation to your subject.

Most indoor lighting will change the color of your film (unless you use a flash.) Florescent lights will
cast a blue- green (cool) color across the image. Incandescent lights will cast a yellow-orange (warm) color across the image. That doesn’t mean the light is wrong, if you choose the right subject. If you
are shooting fish in a fish tank, a blue green tint might actually improve the over all image. A nursing
child might benefit from the warm feelings of incandescent light.

Electronic flash is balanced for daylight, which means it’s the same as having the sun in your pocket.
You bring your light source with you. A flash can help good shots, look great. A flash can fill in harsh shadows. A flash can stop motion. A flash can allow you to take shots that your naked eye can not see.
A flash can become addictive, but remember it also has some negatives points. Red eye, washed out subjects, backgrounds that go totally black are some problems created by flash. Don’t get me wrong,
I love using flash, but to be fair, it CAN make things worse. Try bouncing your flash off a wall or ceiling for a more natural looking effect.

Your job as the photographer is to be aware of all these different types of light and know how they will affect your subject. When you use a fill flash outdoors with someone wearing a baseball cap you will actually be able to see their face. Others who think: “Oh, there’s plenty of light” will get really dark shadows and wonder why yours look so good. Anyone can rush out and buy a camera but remember;
the camera is only a tool, the light is what makes it just right.

Picture Frames and Photos

Picture frames are containers added to photos in order to enhance, protect and display photos. Some individuals even possess digital picture frames. The photo frame displays digital photos without the arduous need to print the photographs. Currently, digital photography unavoidably display the photos directly from the memory card of a camera–although a few styles may also provide internal storage to the memory. Some models can even load photos over the Internet from an RSS feed, by e-mail and photo-sharing websites like Picasa or Flickr. Most digital picture frames display photos as a slideshow. Digital photo frames can even play movie clips which are recorded in a camera’s movie mode (MP3 audio or MPG files).

The process of recording photos by means of capturing the light on a medium that’s light-sensitive,–sensor or film–photography is light patterns emitted from certain objects to expose a sensitive chemical (electronic medium) during a timed exposure. This is normally accomplished via a photographic lens in a camera, which also stores the resulting information electronically or with chemicals.

Since traditional photography burdened most photographers working at remote locales without the easy access to processing facilities, Kodak unveiled the new, sophisticated DCS 100, the very first commercial digital camera in 1990. Thus, commercial digital photography came to life. The high cost precluded uses other than professional photography and photojournalism. The primary contrast between chemical and digital photography is that analog photography does indeed resist manipulation since it entails film, photographic paper and optics. Digital photography is undeniably a highly manipulative medium, as it is quickly replacing film photography in professional and consumer markets.

Fortunately for the savvy consumer, most picture frames are simple and elegant to match with practically any furniture and appliance. Photos can come in picture frames that are available in gold, silver or sometimes even platinum colors, with a wide 3′ frame borders. This gives most picture frames the look of style and contemporary appeal, coupled with beauty and elegance to maximum expression. Most picture frames are manufactured and handcrafted for photos of weddings, birthdays, family gatherings and anniversaries.

Art of Photomanipulation

Photomanipulation is basically the art of taking a normal photograph and then manipulating it the way that you want it, namely through use of a computer and various tools and applications on the computer. This modifies photographs either by analog or digital means, and is also commonly referred or related to what is known as ‘Photoshopping’, which is the slang term for the digital editing them, and although it is not directly aimed at the Adobe Photoshop application, it was named after it. Adobe Photoshop is only one of the many different digital editing applications that are available however, and for instance there is Paint Shop Pro, Corel, and even Paint, although this is one of the less advanced programs and is rarely used in the photomanipulation processes of today.

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the issue of photomanipulation, and although there are definitely many people who have good, positive things to say about it, there are also those who feel that there are concerning issues surrounding it. For instance on the covers of magazines, when celebrities heads are pasted onto different bodies, this in the past has stirred up a lot of commotion. One instance in particular was when the O.J. Simpson trial was taking place and the Newsweek magazine posted his mug shot as their magazine cover picture, while Time Magazine posted the exact same picture only used photomanipulation to alter it, and ended up making Simpson appear much darker than he was in the actual picture, and as well they removed the serial number and darkened the area around him. The Lebanon reuters incidents is just another prime example.

The ironic part was that the magazines ended up side by side on a newsstand, and it was incredibly clear what a significant amount of this had taken place in Time’s version of the photograph.

Journalism is only one area that uses a great deal of photomanipulation, and fashion magazines are definitely topping the list as well. One of the biggest problems with these photomanipulated photographs is that they alter the opinions and views of the public who, for the majority of the time, have no clue that the particular photo was even altered at all. Therefore there really needs to be certain standards set in the field of photography when it comes to something such as photomanipulation.

Shape of Things

This process of forcing a viewer to stop and look again is commonly known as creating a “Spot”. A “Spot” does not have to be formed by a different shape. It could be a different color, texture, or size. Most often it’s something that is totally different, like a rose in a field full of daises. Being aware of shapes is similar to being aware of lines that can lead your eyes either into or out of a photograph. Shapes can be obvious or not so obvious. They can be real, or they can be implied.

Why do some photographers seem to take forever to arrange a group of people? What is it they’re looking for? More than likely, it has to do with shapes. Three people standing in a straight line is boring. Move one of them up or down and suddenly you’ve formed a triangle. Add one person in the opposite position of the point and now you form a diamond. Shape adds feeling to the unemotional canvas of a photograph.

Obviously not all shapes have the same impact. Circles and Triangles tend to grab attention. Squares and Rectangles on the other hand tend to blend in. Combining shapes is often what makes the difference between a great shot and a boring one. Shape often goes hand in hand with texture. The roundness of the female form is usually more pleasing to look at than the coldness of a steel beam.

When my wife and I were engaged we had a friend take some photos of us for the wedding announcement. We went to a local park and found a nice interesting big rock to sit on. When our friend took the shots, she was not aware of the shapes in the background. In the distance there was a street lamp. The way the shot was taken the lamp pole was not in the shot, but the lamp part itself was. To this day, friends still ask: “Remember that UFO in the background of your announcement pictures?”

Sometimes shapes are formed by the lack of something; this is often referred to as: “Negative Space”. Positive space is simple. That’s your subject, usually in the foreground. But negative space on the other hand, is what most people are not aware of (like the UFO). Sometimes shapes are opposite of everything else in the Positive space, this can leave the viewer confused. You might say, “Something is just not right.” When in doubt, start looking at your negative space. The bright round shape between subjects may actually be pulling your eyes away from the subject itself. This is a classic example of: Negative Space.

Where you place the shape also matters. Here is a photo tip to remember: if you are taking a family portrait and the father is huge (round or tall) don’t put him right in the middle up front. Why? People will have a hard time looking at anyone else in the shot, if his shape dominates the picture. Place him behind someone else, or have him kneeling so he doesn’t tower over everyone else. Being aware of shapes (both obvious and not so obvious), can make all the difference in the world.

Gaining That Picture

Aperture: The aperture sets the amount of light that reaches the film. In other words the aperture will only allow a certain amount of light to reach the film for the brightness of the photograph. Most cameras that are automatic will select this setting for you, but when learning photography basics if you can use manual settings to choose the aperture you will learn when flash is needed or when you need to have extra light in the room for the best quality picture.

ISO or Speed- This is the shutter speed. The shutter speed is determined by the amount of light as well as the film. In other words the larger the number the faster, and more sensitive the emulsion for the film. So a film that is ISO 100 is going to be slow, which produces a lesser picture than say ISO 400. ISO 400 is 4 times as fast.

These two terms will help you when you are studying photography basics. Next you need to learn how to hold the camera. The camera should be held steady so if you do not have a tripod you will need to hold the camera very tight against your eye and nose. The objective is to hold the camera as tight as possible to your face with your right hand with your index finger on the button, while your left hand is under the lens holding the entire camera steady. While these are just some of the basics of photography you will find many books or other types of publications on photography basics, including those used for photography classes.

Online Photo Album

Where Can I Get An Online Photo Album?

You can get access to online photo albums on a free or paid basis at various sites throughout the internet. Depending on how many pictures you want to share, what your connection is like, your particular preferences and a number of other things chances are that you can find a free online photo album site that fits your needs.

Is Building an Online Photo Album Hard to Do?

Building an online photo album is not a difficult thing to do. As a matter of fact, it is much easier to build a web based photo album to share with friends and family than to put hours and hours and money into fancy acid-free paper with the other alternative, and that is scrap booking. There is no replacement for real photographs and actual storage methods, but as far as showing off pictures and bragging to friends and family, online photo albums are the most surefire way to get it done. All you have to do is browse for pictures on your personal computer and upload them onto the site. From there, you can organize the pictures into sub-albums and edit them. You even have the option of making some folders private and others public, so anybody with the proper URLs can access your photographs. With private albums, there is a password required to get into the folder, but most sites give you the option of sending out an automated email with the URL and password information in it.

For this reason, many intimate family moments are in the kind of album that is kept private and password protected. On the other hand, family reunion pictures or even an artistic portfolio are probably photographs that you would want to make public to other internet browsers. Building an online photo album is all a matter of pointing and clicking. The shooting part of the deal was done before the online photo album even entered the picture, and the picture taking is the hardest part of all.

Allowing Others Access to Your Pictures

The advantage to having an online photo album as opposed to a traditional one is that you can show your pictures off to anybody with an internet connection. This gives Grandma almost instant access to ballet recital pictures, even if she lives clear across the United States of America, as is so often the case. These albums even allow people to leave comments n the pictures, telling what they think or writing about the memory behind the picture; this is just one of the newer and more pleasant features of online photo albums.