Month: June 2019

Types Of Photo Editing Services

Photo retouching involves different steps. Some photos require detailed editing while some require only certain overall changes. When a client brings a photograph for retouching, it is important to understand his expectations. It is the job of an image retouching service provider to understand the needs of his customers. Photos that require retouching are of two types. The first category includes old photographs. Classic photographs that get damaged owing to wear and tear and atmospheric factors require some repair jobs. Retouching such photographs may take time. This retouching might require the use of several editing tools and filters. Depending on the extent of damage the retouching job might require 1 to 2 days’ time. Different service providers have different working style. Rates are also different and they depend on the quality of the work. For high quality work you might end up spending more bucks.

The second type of photographs includes new ones that need certain background and foreground changes. In such cases retouching involves removal of background or improvements in the foreground. Color correction and settings related to contrast and brightness are some of the basic factors that fall under this category. Editing the facial features in a photograph is also an important part. Removing black marks and stains from the face of a person is not an easy job. This has to be done very carefully and cautiously. After all the corrections the contents in the photograph should look real and natural. This is the challenging part. This is the reason why certain photo retouching service providers are popular for their work while others are infamous.

Photo retouching is an art and it requires specialized training. Professionals in this field have lot of demand and they often get lot of work to handle on a regular basis. If you wish to try your luck in photo retouching you can start with some online tutorials. There are several articles and videos in the internet that can help you to begin with photo retouching. However, for practicing advanced retouching jobs you need some professional training. There are several online and real institutes that offer different types of courses on photo editing software’s like Photoshop.

Basics Of On-Camera Strobes

The Brand Name Products

At the top of the line are name brand products like the Canon 680EX-RT ($499), the replacement for the 580 EX ii, and the Nikon SB-910 ($559). Those units are eye-poppingly expensive but they cost a lot for a good reason and that reason is they deliver reliable light and excellent shots. There’s no fear that when you push the button, the strobe won’t fire. The communication between the camera, lens and strobe all work together to produce amazing images.

There’s actually a level above the name brand strobes with models like the Quantum Qflash, which are basically a battery powered studio flash. They are wonderful lights, but overpriced in my opinion.

Second Tier Strobes

Both the name brands in camera equipment also offer slightly less powerful models such as the Canon 430EX II ($259) and the Nikon SB-700 ($326). You are sacrificing some power but still getting a light that communicates with the camera and lens to create near-perfect lighting.

3rd Party Strobes

Yongnuo is quickly becoming the biggest name in 3rd party on-camera strobes that have some compatibility with Canon and Nikon’s electronic metering. Yongnuo had some problems related to capacitors in 2011/2012 that they seem to have cleared up. All the same, it’s wise to order them from a retailer with a generous return policy in case you get a clinker.

The Yongnuo YN-565EX ($159) claims to support Canon and Nikon’s electronic metering but I can tell you from experience that it is not always a steady relationship. All the same, I’ve shot paying jobs with Yongnuo products and have gotten excellent results. I also have several backup flashes I can bring along in case something goes wrong.

Guide to Camera Lenses

Focal Length

The main identifying feature of a lens is its focal length. Lenses with a single fixed focal length are known as prime lenses.

The focal length of a lens is a measure of how strongly it converges or diverges light. A lens with a short focal length is stronger than one with a long focal length. In other words, short focal lengths bends the rays more strongly, bringing them to focus in a shorter distance. Short focal length lenses have a wider angle of view. Conversely, a lens with a long focal length is weaker, and bends the rays more feebly, bringing them to a focus in a greater distance. Long focal length lenses have a narrow angle of view.

A lens with a focal length about equal to the diagonal size of the film format is known as a normal lens. For 35 mm film format cameras, the diagonal is 43 mm. While 45 mm was once a common normal lens focal length, 50 mm or 55 mm is more typical (and I have no idea why). A lens with a shorter focal length is often referred to as a wide-angle (typically 35 mm and less). A lens with a significantly longer focal length may be referred to as a telephoto (typically 85 mm and more).

There is much more to wide-angle and telephoto lenses than simply making a subject bigger or smaller (closer or further): they should be used to control perspective. Wide-angle lens exaggerate or stretch perspective. Near objects appear closer, while far objects appear further away. Telephoto lenses have the opposite effect and compress or flatten perspective.

Perspective control can be a powerful compositional tool in photography, and often determines choice of focal length lenses used. I would say more, but this article is an overview of lens options, and not about composition.

Aperture Sizes

Most lenses have an adjustable iris, which is made from a number of overlapping/interlocking blades (typically between five and eight) that open and close to adjust the amount of light passing through the lens. This structure is more commonly known as a diaphragm. Higher numbers of blades are generally better, since they create a rounder hole for light to pass through.

The diaphragm is used to set the lens aperture (literally the size of the hole through which light passes). Lenses with large apertures are said to be fast, because they can permit enough light passage to enable the use of a faster shutter speed. Conversely, lenses with a smaller maximum aperture are slow, because less light is transmitted, and a slower shutter speed is required.

Aperture sizes are referred to as “f-stops”. The numerical value of the f-stop is the result of the lens’s focal length (numerator) divided by the diameter of the aperture (denominator). In this equation, if a lens has a fixed focal length, as the aperture gets smaller, the denominator also gets smaller, so the f-stop number gets bigger as aperture become smaller (e.g. 50 cm/10 cm = 5. 50 cm/5 cm = 10). The results of these calculations are a common set of f-stop values: typically f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22, where f/1.4 is the widest aperture and f/22 the smallest.

Each of these f-stop (as written) permits twice and much light to pass as the next f-stop to the right, and half as much light to pass as the f-stop to the left.

Lens aperture setting rings are commonly click-stopped for these aperture values. Some lenses have fractional stops. For example f/1.8 lenses are common, and of course, fractional stops can be set deliberately by ignoring click-stops.

The maximum aperture size, or speed of the lens, is the important factor, and usually emblazoned on the front on the lens along with the focal length and manufacture’s name. Not all aperture setting perform equally well, and generally, the best (more optically perfect and aberration free) overall aperture is somewhere around the middle of the range.

Depth of Field

There’s more to aperture size selection than simply controlling the amount of light entering the lens. Different aperture sizes have differing “depths of field”.

Although a lens can precisely focus at only one distance at a time, the decrease in sharpness is gradual on each side of the focused distance. Depth of Field (DOF) is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects that appear acceptably sharp.

Large apertures (such as f/2) have a shallow depth of field, while small apertures (like f/16) have a deeper depth of field. In many instances, it can be desirable control the depth of field. Sometimes, its good to have the entire image sharp, and in other instances, a small depth of field will emphasise the subject while de-emphasizing the foreground or background. In other words, these components can be blurred and out of focus.

Most lenses feature depth of field markings that show the depth of field for each aperture setting against the lens’s distance scale. They literally indicate the limits of acceptably sharp focus either side of the precise distance at which the lens has been focused.

Zoom Lenses

In the world of 35 mm photography, zoom lenses are relative newcomers. They are optically more complex, and it wasn’t until the late 1970s that zoom lenses achieved sufficient quality to become commonplace.

As explained in the section about aperture sizes, changes in the focal length of the lens alter the value of aperture sizes. This is why zoom lenses are normally identified by two maximum aperture values (for example, f/4 ~ f/4.5).

The point of a zoom lens is to combine the performance characteristics of equivalent prime lenses within its range, to offer move flexible control perspective. It’s an easier option than carrying and changing lenses, but isn’t a device to save the photographers from moving to the correct position to compose a shot. Sadly, this is often the way zooms are used.

Accessories

I started-out talking about optical aberrations, and have returned to the subject to conclude the article. A further aberration is “lens flare.”

Lens flare is a very common problem, and occurs when non-image light enters the lens and reflects off of the various elements. It can create bright spots and streaks. Flare is usually caused by a bright light source, such as the sun. Prime lenses tend to be less susceptible than zooms, which have more internal reflective surfaces. Among prime lenses wide-angle lenses are often less susceptible to flare, while some telephone lenses are designed with built-in lens hoods to combat lens flare.

Architectural Photography

Camera: One of the most important features in the digital camera that one uses for architectural photography is the size of the chip. The camera with the largest chip – or at least a full sized 1:1 ratio to the lens is imperative. Wide-angle lenses are always required and one cannot afford the loss of image space when using a camera with a lens factor of anything less than 1:1, which allows for the full use of the wide-angle capabilities.

Another helpful feature is the automatic exposure bracketing so one can bracket up and down at least 2 stops from the base exposure. There also must be a setting for Manual as that is the setting that will always be used. Most, if not all, of the professional digital cameras that are a full size 1:1 chip ratio will have these features.

Lenses: As previously mentioned, having the right lenses are essential and that requires the PC (perspective control) or “Tilt Shift” lenses (I personally have never needed to use the tilt feature however). I use the 17mm Canon Tilt shift, the 24mm Tilt shift, and the 35MM PC (Perspective control) lenses on a regular basis. I also use the 28 PC lens occasionally. If one was to have only one lens to start out with, the 24mm Tilt Shift is the most important lens to have. That said, there are many times when the wider 17MM tilt shift is essential and the 35MM would be very helpful (although one could crop). It may be possible to sometimes work around these scenarios with conventional lenses and correct the parallax in Photoshop, keep in mind however, that any correction made in Photoshop will infringe on the image space. The other benefit of using the PC or Shift lens is that one can raise or lower the lens for more sky or foreground, then merge the layers in Photoshop.

It is possible to use older Nikor PC lenses with an adaptor to fit your camera. My 35 and 28 PC lenses are the old Nikor lenses (over 30 years old) and they work just fine on my Canon. There is a variation in contrast due to the lack of modern day lens coating techniques, but it is nothing that minimal Photoshop adjustments can’t easily handle.

Another option that works well, although I have never tried it, is to use a 1.4 tele-converter on the 17 or 24 or 35 MM TS lenses, effectively converting them to the 24, 35 or 50MM focal lengths. There are other advantages as well, i.e. a larger image circle which translates into more coverage and movement with the lenses, with less distortion.

Tripod: I always a heavy tripod and a cable release on the camera and lock the mirror in the “up” position to minimize vibration. A tripod head that has flat surfaces on the sides is also very helpful for leveling if the tripod head doesn’t have levels built in (even these will need adjusting from time to time).

Level: Always use a small level for leveling the camera or Tripod head. The “hot-shoe” levels are not accurate. Trying to find a level spot on the ergo friendly style of cameras today is impossible, so leveling the tripod first, then refine the camera angle and then take off the camera an level again, is the most accurate procedure. Verticals can be more problematic if the tripod head doesn’t have a flat surface on which to place the level. As already stated, there are Photoshop fixes for parallax correction, but it is much easier and less time consuming to get it level in the first place and more importantly any postproduction correction will result in cutting off some of the image, which may be very problematic.

Although these tools are essential for Architectural and Interior photography, the most important tool of all is an understanding of what makes a good architectural and interior photograph! One must understand and be sensitive to what the architect, builder or interior designer is conveying in their design, and then present that design in the strongest possible way. As professional commercial Architectural photographers, it is our job to sell our client’s product.

Enjoy Photographic Reproduction Restoration

Photographic restoration combines technology and art which happen to be two of my favorite things. Even in school, the two areas I focused on most were my graphic arts courses and my art classes. I believe there was only one year in my entire school career in which I didn’t have a single art class. And as a matter of fact, even back in high school during my 10th and 11th grade years of graphic arts classes, I was so much more familiar with Adobe Photoshop and the art of photo editing and manipulation that I often had to show my teacher how to perform certain tasks. I was also the go-to guy when the other students had questions or problems with Photoshop.

Beyond this, I am also able to help people recover treasured photographs that are special to them. Sometimes people feel like there’s nothing that can be done to restore a photograph back to a renewed state. Then they see the finished result of their restored photograph, and their gratitude and joy is sometimes an emotional event. It’s very gratifying to be able to help someone restore a memory of someone or something that is important to them.

Another reason why I enjoy performing photo restoration services is because in all reality… it’s fun! I love having that certain skill set that allows me to be able to make something appear in an image that isn’t really there, or restore something to a photograph that used to be there. The freedom of a little creativity is truly an enjoyable feeling.

Finally, one of the most important reasons why I enjoy performing photo restoration services is because it allows me to work out of the comfort of my own home. I don’t need an office building or have to work a normal 9-5 shift. This type of profession gives me the freedom to wake up when I please, work the amount of hours that I please, and take vacation as I please. Most importantly I am able to spend more time with my family.

Engagement Photos

Camera shy

While some couples are naturally at ease posing, the majority of us feel conscious. Eventually this camera shyness reduces. What I have found is that couples who had an engagement shoot do much better dealing with camera shyness on wedding day.

Getting to know your photographer

Engagement shoot is a great opportunity to build rapport with the wedding photographer. Both parties get to know each other better. A lot of verbal and non verbal communication occurs during the engagement session. Often photographers communicate with couple using gestures. By the end of the engagement shoot, the couple will have a better understanding of what these gestures means. This will make non-verbal communication easier on wedding day.

Photogenic angle

We all have our most photogenic angles. Experienced wedding photographer usually estimates best angle for photographing you. As a wedding photographer, I find that reviewing the engagement photos on a larger screen helps determine which side and angles flatters the bride and groom the most. I use this knowledge to capture beautiful wedding photos of bride and groom.

Professional portraits for slideshow, guest-books, and coffee table books

Engagement photos are usually taken at photogenic locations such as Deep Cove, Queen Elizabeth Park, and Stanley Park. I mention these locations as I am a wedding photographer from Vancouver. I am sure your city will have nice parks, or beaches, and other photogenic locations to take engagement photos. Photos taken at photogenic locations will naturally look very beautiful. A lot of engagement photos end up in the slideshow played during reception. Some of my clients have used their engagement photos to make guest-books, and coffee table books.

No time pressure

Imagine romantic photos taken at beautiful photogenic locations. Imagine elegantly posed photos of bride and groom. In an engagement shoot, there are less schedule pressures. Both the photographer as well as the couple are at ease and calm. This calmness shows up in the end result as well.

Understanding Histograms

All well and good, but let’s say you’ve watched one or two of these videos and are still a bit flummoxed as to how to interpret these Histogram things. Well, this is the situation I found myself in for a few months – for a time, no matter how they phrased it, these different photography experts failed to get their know-how through my dense cranium. I hope to share with you how I eventually came to understand what these Histograms meant and how they’re actually very simple to work with, once you understand their meanings.

Right, here goes…

A Histogram is nothing more than a graph that tells you whether your photo has parts that are too bright (overexposed) or too dark (underexposed), to the extent that certain portions of your image data won’t be useable if/when you get your photo back into editing software, such as Adobe Lightroom, to finish processing your photos – trust me, when shooting in the recommended image format referred to as “RAW”, it’s amazing how much detail even the most sophisticated modern camera lenses fail to reproduce, and it’s only when you get your images into a program, such as Lightroom, that you can adjust various settings to bring out the richness and depth of the colors, lights and shadows, which, thankfully, the camera’s digital sensor DOES manage to capture. It just needs software to tease it out – in the pre-digital era, photographers used to do this in the “darkroom”; today, in the digital era, you don’t need to be in near total darkness in order to process your photos, you can do it in a nicely lit room, on your nicely lit computer… which is most probably the reason Adobe didn’t call their software Adobe Darkroom.

So, getting back on track, at very right edge of the Histogram graph, you have data for white; at the other end, over on the very left, you have the data for black. Everything else in between represents all the rest of the colors, or shades/tones of colors that can be present in any given image or scene. Each photograph you take will have its own Histogram assigned to it – this is a graphical record of all the highlights, shadows and colors (of varying shades and tones) in that one image.

Try this simple series of 5 tests – this is what I did and it helped me understand what was going on with the Histograms:

  • Test 1. Put the lens cap on, take a photo and look at the histogram. There should be a single line on the left of the graph, yes? If there had been all sorts of colors in your scene and you’re getting something too black or too dark, and if the lines of your Histogram are mostly over on the left of the graph, then you’re losing detail and would need to make certain adjustments, such as decreasing the Shutter Speed; choosing a wider Aperture; and/or increasing the ISO. All of these changes help to brighten up your image.
  • Test 2. Now, take the lens cap off, and point the lens at something white (like a plain sheet of paper) and fill the frame with it (go up close, so that there are no other colors in the scene creeping into your photo). If you don’t have a piece of white paper or anything white to use, turn your ISO up to something like 1600 or higher, then turn the Shutter Speed to a really slow setting – give it a good 30 seconds and point the lens at the lightest color(s) available to you (e.g. walls; ceiling; up at the sky out of a window, etc.) and take a photo. When you look at your Histogram, for this image, there should be a single line, or a very small bunch of lines, over on the extreme right of the graph. The image will appear white and the Histogram data is reflecting this. The camera interprets this as an “overexposed” image. If there had been all sorts of colors in your scene and you’re getting something too white or too washed out, and if the lines of the Histogram are mostly over on the right of the graph, then you’re losing detail, once again. Adjustments you might want to make include increasing the Shutter Speed; choosing a narrower Aperture; and/or reducing the ISO (unless you’re already at the lowest ISO setting, that is). All of these changes help to reduce the brightness of an image.
  • Test 3. With your camera still trained on that light subject (whether a wall or ceiling or piece of white paper), take a series of photos with ever faster Shutter Speeds. Then, look at the Histogram for each respective image, and you should see the line or group of narrow lines gradually travel from the right side of the graph, over toward the left side (depending on how many shots in this test sequence you can be bothered to take). If you were training your camera on something white, then the images in the sequence should begin to look ever more grey.
  • Test 4. The fourth test is to go hunting for objects with single colors, filling the frame with each object in turn, and then taking individual photos of these single colors. Photograph something red (filling the frame with this color, so your entire photograph is a mass of red), and there will be a narrow bunch of lines in this photo’s Histogram slightly to the left of the very center of the graph. A photo that’s all yellow will have a bunch of lines further over on the right side of the graph, just over half way from the very center of the graph. Play about with taking photos different single colors, and their corresponding Histograms should give you a better understanding of how the Histogram is helping you to interpret individual colors in any given image.
  • Test 5. The fifth and final test is to take photos of anything you like. Introduce a variety of colors into your photos and see the wild patterns of their corresponding Histograms. If the majority of the lines are bulked over on the left of the Histogram graph, it’s probably telling you that your image is too dark (too underexposed) and you need to adjust your camera’s settings to brighten it up. Conversely, if the graph is mostly bulked over on the right side of the graph, then your photo is likely to be too bright and washed out (too overexposed) and you need to adjust your camera’s settings to reduce the brightness. If there is black in your image, such as a black car, then there will be a spike on the left of the graph, indicating the black color (this is fine).

How to Take an Awesome Selfie

Gotta Look Good

If you’re just rolling out of bed and still have the sleepies in your eyes and a pillow pattern indented in your forehead, it’s probably not the best time to take a selfie. Make sure you look decent. Comb your hair, put on some make up and check yourself out. You can obviously always retake the picture if you see that your hair is out of place or if your lipstick is smeared all over your face but why waste the time, get it right the first time.

Think Background

We’ve all seen the selfies where you don’t even care about the person in it as the background is just so much more interesting… dirty laundry, empty alcohol bottles, yucky toilets, messy rooms. All of these will kill your shot, and I don’t mean “killin’ it”, as in a good way. What’s behind you? How will it effect the picture? A good background can make or break a professional portrait and same goes for selfies so check what’s behind you and go for solid colors, cool textures and patterns, blurred city or landscape scenes or anything else that’s fun and interesting but not cluttered. You want to pop of the background, not get lost in it.

Lights, Camera, Action

Lighting is everything in photography. Make sure you are well lit but at the same time avoid harsh lighting that will leave shadows on your face. Try using natural light such as light coming through a window or taking a photo outdoors on a overcast day where the cloud will act like a huge, awesome diffuser in the sky making your features appear softer and more attractive while still being well lit.

Filter It

Every portrait, wedding photo or anything you see in a magazine has been retouched and edited. So don’t be afraid to get creative and throw a filter on it. There’s tons of apps and editing software out there so use them! Filters can make your photo more interesting, make you look better and in general are awesome. Just don’t over kill it! Hiding a blemish or cropping something out of the picture is cool but smoothing out your face to the point where it looks like Barbie with botox overdose is a no-no.

The Right Angle

Avoid unflattering angles. Taking a photo from above will usually do the trick. If you ever had a professional portrait taken, you might have had the photographer tell you to stick your chin out to avoid the double chin. What you really want to do is stick your forehead and chin forward. It might feel weird and uncomfortable but it will stretch the skin on your face and neck hiding the pudginess and the dreaded double chin. You also want to squint your eyes a little bit. And by a little bit I mean a little bit, you don’t want to look like you’re straining to see something. Ever hear the famous Tyra Banks phrase “smizing”? That’s exactly what you want to do… Smile with your eyes.

Silly Duck

Out of all the above tips, this one is the most important one. HAVE FUN! Be silly, be goofy and have fun with it. Scratch off all of the above tips and just have a blast with it. Do a crazy duck face, stick your tongue out, put on a fake mustache, be cute. BE IN THE MOMENT! That is what the selfie is all about after all, capturing an awesome moment in time and sharing it with the world. So don’t take yourself too seriously and go out there and show your best selfie!

Photo Restoration

Now that the photos were dry and flat, they were subjected to intense ultra violet light to prevent further damage from the growing mold. Once completed the prints were safe to handle without further damaging the emulsion and the image. I prefer individual scanning rather than batch scanning so I can adjust setting based on the damage, and I have more control using a Flat Bed Scanner in the RGB Mode. For the restoration process I prefer “Adobe Photo shop” CS 3, 4 or 5. Two scans are required, the first to retain the original image and a second scan for the working copy, or the original scan be duplicated in “Photo Shop” for the same results.

Since the images were very faded due to being subjected to prolonged water exposure, my first attempts were made in Photo shop to intensify the RGB composite. When evaluating the initial results, which were not satisfactory, I decided to approach the RGB Channels to achieve the desired workable file. Each Channel was isolated separately evaluating the Mid-tones, Shadows and the Highlights of each channel. Of the three Channels, the Red one showed the most promise. It was duplicated to a new blank document with the use of the Histogram Tool. Adjustments were made to the Red channel to insure proper pigmentation in each channel. The Channel was then saved as a Gray Scale Photo Shop File. Later it would be reconverted as a JPEG file for the finished image.

The Gray Scale image was retrieved and opened in “Photo Shop.” Then using the “Mode Tool” the image was saved to the RGB format and again retrieved to “Photo Shop. With the original scan on the workspace for reference, the new RGB image was outlined for each area of the image or masked using a “Masking Program” to separate the various elements to be hand colored using the Original scan. The outline or mask was saved individually to the “Select Tool” giving it a name identification. Once saved it can be called back to the image to load, adjust, and colorize with the pallet and the paint tool. I found that increasing the Color Saturation of the original scan prior to color picking the original makes for a better restoration. Once the image was separated by masks or outlines and full comprising is completed, the finished image should be saved as a PSD File to retain all the individual masks and outlines for further corrections.