Digital Photography

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Link to page at Adobe that lists supported cameras for raw conversions

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Organizing backup CD's

Sharpie now has special markers for CD's - says so right on them - got mine at Office Max.

I burn the CD - all my pictures are file named year - month - day - So I write the year and month around the center hole on the clear part - then they go in a slim case -

I write the same info on the hinge of the case - then file them hinge end up in Creative Memories Power Sort boxes ( since I don't use them for prints - LOL - finally got all my old family photos scanned, am digi scrapping them so am giving the originals to my SIL. )

I can then just flip through the cases looking at the date info on the hinges. It only takes a few minutes to pop one in the computer and scroll through the thumbnails. Just as fast as looking through contact sheets - and you can enlarge to check if you have the right picture.

I also have on the disc and hinge whether it is originals or enhanced.

They say its best if discs are filed vertical rather than horizontal.

Where to start when going digital and what others need to know to help you out

The camera you are using
What lens you are using
Which flash you have
What you tried to do and what didn't work the way you wanted.

Start by taking your camera - set it on auto - set the lens on auto - Then take your manual and go through it page by page. This is digital - you aren't wasting film or developing. Try every button as you go through the manual page by page. Yes lots of it will be gobbility gook - keep going - write down what doesn't make sense - all the WB and AF that you run into and don't have a clue what they are write them down - pages later you will run into them again and it will say WB ( White Balance ) which still won't mean much but when you see WB start saying white balance to yourself.

Put sticky notes on the pages that talk about focus distances, image resolution settings, flash distances, specifications. Your manual should look like a Bible someone has really used for many years.

If you want to take your photography to the next level get a good photo editing software and learn how to use it. ( Photoshop Elements 4 for under $100 - Photoshop CS2 for $600 if you really want to go pro )

When asking questions tell which photo edit software you are using.

When you have a handle on your camera and how it thinks ( it is a computer ) then venture into the manual settings.

When you know how to work with jpg files, in your image editor - then move on to tif and raw.

With digital you need to develop a workflow - a process where you get your pictures from camera to finished project. Here is a suggested workflow in steps - if you are a beginner just do:
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 6 - 15. Add the other steps as you find out what they are and what they can do for you.

1 - Capture images
2 - Transfer to computer
3 - Save - HD - CD - DVD
4 - Edit and delete
5 - Convert from raw
6 - Rotate and crop
7 - Resize up
8 - Correct color and contrast
9 - Repair
10 - Enhance
11 - Save working file
12 - Sharpen
13 - Save archival file
14 - File
15 - Output - developer - printer


There are several learning curves going here:

Your camera
Your edit software
Your computer
Your online developer/ local lab/ your own printer

It can be really over-whelming all at once - so go slow and work on one thing at a time - ask questions specific to what you are working on.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Using Cable to get images from camera to PC

I leave the USB cable that came with my camera plugged into my PC all the time. When the PC boots it finds the cable.

When I want to download images I just:

Go to Windows Explorer My Computer
Make sure camera is off
Plug cable into camera
Turn camera to review PC should show new drive Double click on new drive
Wizzard for scanner and camera should open
All images on card should come up as thumbnails
Select the ones you want to save and click next - If PC offers to delete images from card say no.
Turn Camera off - unplug.
Move images to files you want them in - check they are all there -
Save to CD or where ever - then delete images from card in camera.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

What is balance in an Image?

Out of balance can be anything in the picture that looks too heavy on one side of the picture or it can look top heavy or bottom heavy

Dark is heavier than light

Big looks heavier than little

Closer looks heavier than further away.

If you took the picture and balanced it on a knife blade at its center point does it look like it would tip one direction or the other. ( big dark rock on one side and open lawn on other side. ) ( Big dark stormy sky 3/4 ths of picture 1/4 light sandy beach ) ( three balls of equal size - one far back on left - one half way to front in center - one close up on right )

We use groupings a lot to balance pictures - three little things on one side to balance one big one on the other side - like in layouts.

And the triangle arrangements - embellisments on the layout - but also arranging people groups in triangles - one standing behind two seated - one on the third step to the left, one on second step a little to the right, third one on first step to the left of second one.

I think a lot of the picture on the wall straighten stuff we do has more to do with the visual balance of the picture than it's relationship to straight with the mopboard.

How about a picture with a water horizon that looks higher on one side?? Talk about an PS'ing urge to straighten and crop!!!!!

Error - Can't find printer, scanner or camera

Make sure the USB cable is hooked to your computer when you turn the computer on ( boot up).

I use the USB cable to download from my Oly P&S and the same cable to download from the DRebel. Make sure the cameras are off when hooking up and make sure the camera is off when unhooking. I use the XP Camera and Scanner Wizard and don't let the computer clear the card. When the images have downloaded I turn the camera off - unhook - then delete the images in camera.

I haven't reformated since putting the cards in the camera - unless the clear all images does it automatically.

I haven't had the cards out of either camera since putting them in other than to show people in my class how they pop out and what they look like.

I use the same method for the desktop and laptop.

I never installed the software that came with either camera.

You can get the camera not found if you plug in the camera after booting up the computer. I leave the USB cable hooked to the desktop all the time so when the computer boots it finds the cable hookup. With the laptop I plug in the USB before booting up. Then when I plug in the cameras and turn them on the computer finds them. My printer hooks up by USB and if I hook it up after booting it only finds the printer half the time. I usually have to hook up then boot for them to find each other.

Lots of I, I, I in this post but there is some controversy over doing things this way - using the cable vs. using a card reader. Card readers are fine - especially if your camera goes through batteries.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

RAW or JPG ????

Most digital cameras have highest resolution jpeg as their default setting, or some the next step down - high jpeg. Some P&S's do raw.

Resolution has two different meanings and can really confuse people - it can be :

dpi - dots per inch

ppi - pixels per inch

And every image can have both. For a good 4x6 it needs to have a pixel count of 1024x768 or higher and if you want to print it you want it at 250 to 300 dpi.

If you want to send it in an e-mail you would resize it to a 600 pixel count for the width ( resizer will fill in the heigth # ) and maybe you would drop the dpi to 72.

You can change the default resolution setting in your camera if you want it to take higher or lower pixel count images. If all you want your images for is web, a lower pixel count will cut down on your postprocessing ( workflow ) If you want to print or print enlargements you need to set the camera to do higher pixel count images so there is more detail captured. If you have a camera that captures in raw you get all the info the camera captured - and the camera does no processing - a highest setting jpg would have the same pixel count but some processing of the image is done by the camera, which makes post processing go faster in general.

Raw images have to go through postprocessing because decisions about exposure, color balance etc have to be made ( with jpg the camera made those decisions ). Raw images are much bigger file sizes, which can make working with them and storing them more of a challenge.

The average beginning photographer isn't ready for raw and the postprocessing it needs - for someone who is comfortable with image editing ( photoshop ect) raw can be a great tool for the tweaking they want to do. Anyone who wants to make it as a pro these days needs to be proficient at Photoshop or hire someone who is.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Why are parts of pictures getting cropped off when printed??

Welcome to the brotherhood of freeform croppers - and the things we have to deal with. Doing your own printing someday will be freeing to you - in the mean time while you have to live with someone else doing your printing for you -

A 4x6 is a certain shape rectangle - 4" to 6" ratio. An 8x12 is the same shape - same ratio. To get from 4x6 to 8x10 the shape & ratio of the sides of the rectangle have to change. Think of it as having to crop 2" off a 8x12 to get to 8x10.

Some print places also crop some off when the white edges become part of 4x6 for them. Some people plan the white edges into their 4x6 so if their picture gets cropped off they loose white edge not part of their image.

Another thing that can mess up here is not having all your images at the same resolution - ppi - pixels per inch. Usually you want from 250 to 300 for this number. A minimum pixel count for a 4x6 would be 1024x768. You can have a higher pixel count than that but don't go lower. If you don't watch your resolutions the printer will make adjustments that throw off sizing of the image. When you crop you wack off pixels and if you didn't keep the ratio right the printer will blow it up some and then do its own cropping.