Digital Photography

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Adding Images at 2 Peas

When posting images at 2 Peas there are four different catagories of images:
1 - those posted in the Photo Gallery
2 - those posted in a post
3 - those to the left of a post - the avatar or profile picture
4 - those that are automatically added at the bottom of the post as part of the signiture

To put your images in the Photo Gallery:
There is a Layout Gallery and a Photo Gallery. Being a scrapbook site the LO Gallery came 1st. You need to post to the Photo Gallery if you want your photos there - but it says LO Gallery in a couple places along the way to the photo Gallery so don't worry about those. Just follow step 2 real close.

1 - prepare your images in an image editor that sizes by pixels - size it to 600 pixels or less on the longest side - 72 ppi/dpi or 300 makes no difference - it's the pixels here. Save.

2 - Sign into 2 Peas
Click on Photography ( Up at the top of the page - the line under the header )
Click on Photo Gallery ( Up at the top of the page )
Click on New Post ( Up at the top of the page )

3 - Post a new Layout Gallery ( this is one or the places where it uses LO Gallery wrong )

Photography Gallery Category - pick one from the list
Private - leave unchecked
Format - leave 8.5x11
Pages - If you want to load 5 pics put in 5
Title - ( example ) Pea & S Self Portrait
Your Album - Skip
Garden - Skip
Comments - ( put in here what you want to say about your pics
- Camera
- Lens - if it is a zoom lens what mm did you use 70mm
- Shutter Speed ( SS ) 1/60
- Aperture ( f stop ) 2.8
- ISO - ( this is a leftover from film days - film came in different speeds - for lots of light - low
light - digital uses the film speed designations ) 400

4 - Hit Submit ( Skip the stuff under Submit )

5 - A new screen comes up - scroll down to the red x's
- hit Browse
- select your picture
- open
- hit submit
- wait for it to load.

6 - A new screen comes up
- scroll down
- your 1st pic should be there. Click browse by red x under your 1st pic
- Select
- open
- submit
- wait.

7 - When all your pics are loaded scroll back up to "update " and click it.

8 - Now go give someone some Pea Praise and give 2 Peas time to load your stuff.

9 - Check gallery - your pic should be there.

To add a picture in a post

2 Peas hosts our LO gallery entry's and our Photography Gallery entry's. If you want a picture under your username, if you want to put a picture in a post, if you want a picture at the bottom of your post - all these have to be hosted somewhere else on the web - 2 Peas won't host them. There are photo hosting sites like Photobucket that let you post some pictures for free. When you upload to Photobucket there is a URL listed under your photo - you copy and paste that address into your profile or post here at 2 Peas and then we see your photo.

For the photo in a post:
- Size your pic in an image editor - not bigger than 600 pixels on the longest side works. 72 - 300 ppi/dpi doesn't make any difference both work
- Upload the photo to a site such as Photobucket
- When you have it uploaded then there is a URL address under it. Copy that address.
- Sign in to 2peas
- start your message
- then click down there where it says Insert Pea Code - click Image
- a box opens - paste your URL ( Ctrl + V ) OK your done. The Html is in your post - it will be the pic after you hit submit.

Do you want an Avatar or Profile picture

These also need to be hosted off site like at Photobucket. They need to be 65 x75 pixels.
- Copy the URL
- Sign in at 2 Peas
- Up top there where it says you are Logged in as ( your user name ) Click on My Home
- then My Profile
- then paste the URL where it has the space for Profile Picture URL
- Update
- you're done

Picture in Signiture at bottom of Post

- size in image editor
- this also needs to be hosted off site like Photobucket, upload, url
- 2Peas sign in
- MY Home
- My Profile
- Then way down at the bottom there is a signiture box - paste your URL there
- click Update
- done. 2peas can be a little slow - so if the pics don't show immediately read a couple posts then check again and your pictures may be there. If not then run through the steps again and check the HTML.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Really look at the pictures that hold your attention

Take some time and study pictures that you are really attracted too - then look at them and figure out -

Where did your eye fall first? Then where did it go?

What held your interest - colors - subject - focus - lines - DOF ( depth of field ) - textures.

Study the light - was it coming from one direction - two direction - many directions ?

Was the light strong - diffused - soft - colored?

Was the image PS'ed - if so what was done?

Are there catchlights - what shape - what do the catchlights tell you about how the image was taken - was a straight on flash used?

What is the subject of the image - what does the image say about the subject?

What does the background add?

Is there space in the picture and how does it add to that picture?

Does the picture follow the rule of thirds and if not why does it violate that rule - and why do you like it anyway?

Did the image touch you? - how? - sad? - happy? - made you remember something?

How is the subject posed? - props? - background?

Start a file if images you love. - Look through them every so often - are they still favorites or has your eye changed?

Sunday, April 30, 2006

What is raw?

When you shoot in tif or jpg - your camera processes your image and it comes out a picture. You can then tweak and play with the picture but there are limits to what you can tweak and how much you can tweak.

When you shoot raw the camera does no processing - the raw data goes to your computer. You then need a raw converter to process this raw data, it isn't a picture yet - it hasn't been told what exposure, saturation - etc to apply to this data. When you open in the converter, auto settings determined by the type of camera that took the picture bring up a picture but nothing is set - it needs processing or decisions made on the exposure, saturation etc. What was done by the camera in jpg now has to be done by the operater of the conversion software. Once the decisions are made the data is then saved as an image file - jpg or tif.

The raw data is easier to tweak and gives more range for tweaking - but if you took a bad, out of focus picture even raw won't make it a keeper. If you took a good or great photo, raw can give it just a bit more to make it even better.

Raw also captures way more data that can be processed into a jpg - there is 8 bit - 16 bit - and more bits and channels of color - which means raw can deliever way more colors as the bits go up. So for color prints raw gives exciting options 8 bit jpg can't. Raw is all about options - and CONTROL.

Kind of like going from an 8 crayon box to a 48 crayon box.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Zoom - Optical???? - Digital ????

Optical Zoom - moves you closer - you get more detail - think of 3x as 3 feet closer - 10x as 10 feet closer. Does 3 feet or 10 feet make a difference - sometimes 3' closer is too close - sometimes 10' closer won't be a drop in the bucket. If you are sitting on the couch and are trying to catch your cat or kid doing something cute across the room, 10 feet closer is great.

Digital zoom - forget you have it unless you know and want what it will do for you. It is what you get when you have your picture in the computer and use the litttle zoom thingy to enlarge the picture. You may see things you hadn't seen when it was littler but no detail has been added. Digital zoom crops in camera. Most of us would prefer to leave the space and crop in postprocess.

I've been ask to teach a digital photography class - help

I've been teaching Digital Photography Classes for Adult Ed now for a year. Some thoughts for you:

1 - An avg group would probably show up with P&S's they aren't comfortable with. The cameras may have manual but most won't be ready to go there.

2 - Unless you get a group of digi scrappers ( unlikely at your LSS ) most of them will be computer beginners. If they are comfortable with a computer they may be new to photo editing software.

3 - The eyes of non-computer people glaze over in about 15 minutes when you go to that subject.

4 - When you have a mixed levels class the beginners will glaze over while you answer the questions of the more advanced.

5 - A two hour class is stretching most peoples attention and comprehension limits.

6 - If you have them bring their photos - some won't know how to get them out of their cameras ( still on memory card ) - and every thing everyone says about their pictures better be positive ( hard to control in a mixed group ). I have those with cameras that have cables hook them up to the TV and SHOW us their pictures. No CC is given. If they ask about what they could've done different I try to answer.

A suggestion -

2 hour workshop to introduce the wonderful possibilities of digital photography and your own digital darkroom.

Then present the pluses:

Take lots of photos - no film
No extra pictures printed
Size the way you want.
Color the way you want.
Crop the way you want.
Save money doing your own special occasions.
Make money doing others sessions.
Go anywhere scrapping with laptop.

You get the idea.

Consider how many hours you will use to prepare to teach 2 hours. Time getting to the site and setting up. Time teaching. Time tearing it down, cleaning up and getting home. With the gas prices mileage can also be a consideration. What is your time worth and how much will the market bare.

Adult Ed here pays $12 an hour for the 2 hour class. After you figure in all the time spent it isn't high pay, but I'm enjoying it and having fun so it helps buy me more toys.

If your class goes over really well and you want to do more teaching it would maybe open the door for you to teach more specialized classes.

Next year I'm going to offer:

Intro to Digital cameras ( for those wanting to buy or who have a camera they know nothing about ). Lots of people are getting digital cameras as gifts and don't have clue one on what to do. 2 hrs.

Using your digital camera in auto and mode settings. Two nights - 2 hr classes

Using your digital camera in manual. Two nights - 2 hr classes

Using your computer as your digital darkroom. Three nights - 2 hr classes

Should I use re-writable CD's and DVD's ?

A digital data file has it's set amount of data - it is whatever it is. You can copy or move it forever and it doesn't change.

Jpg files compress data a bit ever time they are opened & SAVED - but if you don't open and SAVE them you can move them forever without them ever changing.

Now - when burning image files as data files you need to check that the whole file burned, if the whole file burned you are set.

The reason that rewritables aren't really considered great is that you could write over and loose the written over files - or say you have 300 images on the disc and go to add more and all of a sudden the disc corrupts.

If you are moving files from one computer to another the disc can quit working or refuse to work in one computer but still work in another. Once in awhile computers get a hair and just do something - like decide to reformat your disc - there goes your data.

I don't have my computers networked so I used to use rewrite CD's to move files from one to the other. It worked most of the time but sometimes I'd get messages about corrupted partitions.

Now I burn my originals to CD's so I just open what I want on the computer I want it on. If you burn and check a regular CD - you either have the data or you don't - not to say that it won't corrupt sometime down the road.

If you and your computer(s) are really good at rewritables you may never have a problem.

Now you have a new DSLR - where to start

The more computer literate you are the easier it is to "get" digital. These are computers and have a lot of computer characteristics. If you screw it up royal in the menus and settings - turn it off to reset the defaults - or if you somehow changed some defaults you can go back in and reset to defaults and start over.

Most of the terms and actions that have their roots in film photography will come easy to you. Computerized film photography. If you plan to go to raw shooting you need to postprocess - the digital darkroom - PSE4 and PSCS2 both have raw converters - Then you don't need to install the software that came with your camera.

The raw files from the XT have the file extension .CR2 - or you can shoot in jpg - or jpg + raw. You have lots of choices. Just go one choice at a time and you will get there.

You are now digital - you aren't wasting film or developing - take lots of pictures - then you can use the cable that comes with your camera and look at your pictures on the TV if you don't want to load them to the computer to look at. You can see a lot more about the picture when it is bigger.

CAUTION: Always have the camera turned off when you connect or disconnect it from the computer, or TV. Never pop it open and pop out the memory card while it is on. Any of these actions can corrupt your card.

You are starting a great adventure - enjoy the journey. Lots of us are in the same boat with you or are only a month or so ahead of you. Lots of us are new to DSLR's - Canon - Nikon - and Olympus so we are all kind of learning from those up ahead. Welcome.

Organizing Digital Images

My pictures all have file names like:

1956 - 2 - 17 - 1
1998 - 11 - 2 - 10
2001 - 3 - 4 - 005
2006 - 4 - 15 - 001
year - month - day - individual #

I use the XP Scanner and Camera Wizzard which does most of this for me.
I then burn to CD or DVD

When I want pictures I pop in the CD and skim through the thumnails to find what I want to work on - drag the images to a project folder - pop out the CD. When I have PS'd a project then burn a project CD. I only have projects I'm working on on the computer. And multiple CD's of all my originals.

Harddrives live give or take 5 years. Internal and external. Auto backups - when your HD crashes is when you find out if it is still working. I think Lisa Bearnson was the one that lost a couple years worth of photos that way.

I went through the computer died - have I lost everything - a couple times before I arrived at this method.

The organizers are nice - but are they changing your file extensions?? - Will you be able to upgrade to a new software and organizer with your present system? Will your system work when we move on from XP or to the next generation of MAC?? That's why I'm staying with simple short file names and jpg extensions for now.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Backing up Images to CD or DVD

Scott Kelby suggestes in a book of his that I have that you burn a CD at the time you are downloading to the computer - you don't save to the hard drive - you then use the CD to access pictures you want to PS.

By pulling the pictures off the CD you know that it burned and that it works. Burn a 2nd CD of the worked over images. If you start doing that you won't have the harddrive filled up - and if you figure out how to organize your current images this way, then going back and burning your other images to CD or DVD will be easy.

Some will burn 2 CD's of each - and make sure they have 2 different brands of CD. ( So if they run into a bad run of CD's they still have images on a different brand of CD ) There are cheapy - to expensive CD's - some sold as archival and guarenteed.

After burning a CD it is a good idea to make sure it reads - by opening it in a computer - a different computer than it was burned on is a good idea.

What file type to save in: JPG - is pretty universal and will open in the most applications. - BUT - it is a compression file and does a bit of compressing every time you save. TIF - Doesn't compress - widely used. Other file types - may be propritary - will only open in the same software they were generated by. Raw files may have different file extensions - saving files in their raw format is desirable but keep the propritary thing in mind - especially as the years go by and technology changes.

Then there are the how to mark CD's questions - Sharpie just came out with a special CD marker - I number my CD's on the clear circle around the middle hole. I store mine in the slim cases (marked on the hinge with the same id as on the disc ) in a box that holds them standing up.

Some store the second copy at work, bank, with family in another location. With all these CD's how do you find a certain picture when you need it? I file by date - but some people file by event - Whatever works for you. Some people print contact sheets - but I found that combersome so now I usually have a pretty good sense of the date so I just pop in the CD and look through the thumbnails.

The best thing is to come up with a workflow that works for you - AND THEN DO IT. It's sad when a harddrive crashes - or a backup system fails and someone looses a year or two's worth of photos.

Saturday, March 25, 2006


Here's a WORKFLOW I found in a magazine article - didn't save his name so can't give him credit - but loved his plan. He makes his living at photography and pointed out that the less time spent in postprocess the more money earned ( dollars per hour ).

1 - Capture Images - ( camera - scanner )

2 - Transfer to computer - ( reader - cable )

3 - Save Images - ( HD - CD - DVD ) ( Scott Kelby in one book I have, suggests burning to cd and NOT putting images on the hard drive. You then have the "originals" on the cd, and since you work off the cd you know you have a readable cd. ( You may want to burn another cd at this time from another brand of cd in case of a bad lot of cd's - cd rot ) If you only save to hard drive make an orginals file and then only work on copies.

4 - Edit and delete - ( dump totally hopeless - if you have them on hard drive )( if you work off the cd then only copy the images you want to work on.)

5 - Convert from raw ( if you have a Canon the file extension is .CR2 )

6 - Rotate and crop

7 - Resize Up - ( Change ppi - this is usually from 72 to 300) This can be done with the crop tool but if you want more control do it in Resize - Resample off when going from 72 to 300. Sometimes it is better to resize then crop.

8 - Correct color and contrast

9 - Repair

10 - Enhance

11 - Save working file - ( layers ) ( maybe to CD - this one saves the layers if you want to go back to the layers - the archival will be saved after you flatten and you won't be able to come back)

12 - Sharpen ( usually done with unsharp mask )

13 - Save archival file - ( HD - CD - DVD )

14 - File - ( CD's - DVD's )

15 - Output

Most of us can leave out a few of these steps but I have found the order very helpful. Actually there isn't any reason to work on an image unless you know how you want to output it. If you crop for an 8x10 and later decide you want a 4x6 or 8x8 you have to recrop or even go back and start with a new copy. No use to resize until you know what ppi you will want - 72 - 180 - 250 - 300. Once you decide what you want the image for then you will know how you want it cropped - what ppi you want - what pixel count you want - what you want to do with the color - no use to spend lots of time tweaking color if later you actually decide you want it in B&W, or sepia.

The pro has it over the amateur in that they know what pictures they need for this customer, what sizes, how it will be output ( prints on what paper etc. ) It drastically cuts the number of decisions to be made.

There are pro labs now where the photographer takes his pictures - up loads them to the lab - and basically they are done until the lab sends a check. The lab takes a percentage but does the post-processing - puts the images up for the clients to order - takes the orders - sends the prints. Great for the photographer that doesn't want the post-processing tying up their time.

Cropping and Resizing

Two peas photo lab wants:

Minimum pixel count to be :

640 X 480 - wallet - 2x2 - 3x3 - 4x4
1024 x 768 - 4x6
1152 x 864 - 5x7
1600 x 1200 - 8x10
2000 x 1500 - 11x14
3000 x 2000 - 24x36

If your camera loads to the computer at 72 ppi then you need to resize to 300 ppi for most online printers - you can do this in Resize - turn resample off.

With my Drebel it loads to the computer at:
72 ppi ( Pixels per inch )
3456x2304 pixel count
48 x 32 inches ( turn on your rulers)

When I go to ( PSE4 ) Image - Resize - Image size - Resample off - and change the ppi from 72 to 300 - the pixel count goes to 3456x2304, the inches go to 11.52x 7.68.

Now that I'm at 300 ppi - go to crop and put in 4x6 or 5x7 and crop. If I want three different shape crops I crop three different copies of the image and label them - 4 - 5 - 8 so I know if the were cropped to be 4x6 - 5x7 - 8x10. ( When using the crop tool put in 4.0 - 6.0 etc )

After cropping go back and check that you still have above the minimum pixel count. Cropping won't change the 300 ppi but it will chop off pixels on your pixel count. If you do a major crop you may drop your pixel count too far. There are times to crop before resize and times it is better to crop after resize. If your pixel count is too low that is another problem and a different subject.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Letter To My Pets

Letter to My Pets:

When I say to move, it means to go someplace else, not to switch positions with each other so there are still two of you in my way.

The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. All other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note that placing your paw print in the middle of MY plate and food does not stake a claim making it YOUR plate and food.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help in your quest to reach the bottom first, because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think that I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to one another, stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob, or get your paw under the edge of the door and try to pull it open. I must exit through the same door I entered. Honest.

Also, I have been using the bathroom by myself for quite some time -- canine or feline attendance is not mandatory.

I can't stress this one enough -- kiss me, THEN go smell the other dog's/cat's behind.

To pacify you, my dear companions, I have posted the following notice on our front door:

Rules for Non-Pet Owners Who Visit and then Complain About Our Pets:

1. The pets live here. You don't.

2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. (That's why it's called "fur"niture.)

3. To you, our pets are just animals. To us, they are an adopted son/daughter who happens to be hairy, walks on all fours and doesn't speak clearly.

4. Dogs and cats are better than kids because:

---- they don't ask for money all the time
---- they are easier to train
---- they usually come when called
---- they don't hang out with drug-using friends
---- they don't need a gazillion dollars for a college education, and
---- if they get pregnant, you can sell the children

When You Need to Shoot in Manual

Auto does a great job on the average image shot in average light situation - but auto tends to fail when the subject is:

- a single color
- regular geometrical pattern
- has little or no density
- is reflective or shiny surface
- moving at high speed
- behind glass
- in front or behind other objects
- distant
- dark
- does not reflect light well

With manual ( once you figure it out ) you can predict when auto isn't going to do the job you want and then you set it to do the job anyway. ( It wants to focus on the closest eye - you want it to focus on the other eye for example ) Or you know the light is too weird for it to get it right - so you make it under or over expose to compensate. You need to take so many pictures with it that you know how it will capture images - then think how to make it do it different. Film photographers took rolls and rolls and rolls and rolls of film before they ever got good - so expect to take many many images before you get good.