Digital Photography

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.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

What's a "Fast Lens"?

Both zoom and prime lenses can be "slow" or "fast".

Prime lenses tend to be faster than zooms except for the expensive ones.

A "fast" lens is one with a large maximum aperture ( f/2.8 instead of f/4.5 or f/5.6

A "fast" lens lets you shoot with a faster shutter speed at a given light level than lenses with a smaller maximum aperture.

Fast lenses cost more to produceand, are usually larger, heavier and higher priced than slower lenses of the same focal length or zoom range, but are more versatile in depth of field control and are better for handheld shooting.