Inevitability of Image Cut Outs in Photoshop

It is rightly said that pictures speak louder than words. But if the pictures you see in any medium are poor in quality, the impact of the entire exercise will be lost. Hence it becomes imperative to edit and enhance the quality of each and every image which has to be published in any medium – whether print or digital.

No matter what image you are editing, you can be sure that almost every image will require an image to be removed from its background for providing some effect or the other. Although this can be done through many software programs but in most of the cases image cut outs in Photoshop provide the best quality and the needed impact.

In today’s times of e-commerce portals, putting your products in the best light is the most important task, because the buyer gets to know your product only by seeing its image. The more detailed and impressive is the picture, the more inclined will the buyer will be towards buying that product.

While looking at the majority of products featured in magazines and blogs you’ll usually find them as part of “trends” or “style” features. But as most of the photos are shot without giving much attention to the background, image cut outs in Photoshop is the most effective solution to get rid of the unwanted elements of the background, or to altogether change the background.

Some products, especially women’s apparel, jewelry and other accessories often look good and explicit without any background. The process of image cut outs in Photoshop is applied to such pictures to make them look exclusive and elegant, thus helping in increasing their appeal, and ultimately sales.

Although images of most of the products need to be edited, but not all products require cut-out images. Wallpaper, flooring, interior designs etc are often displayed best in lifestyle shots. Some photos might need cleaning of the picture or the background, but do not need an image cut out in Photoshop.

Knowing Lighting Ratios

A general scare exists among photographers at any photo studio about lighting, but in fact there is no mystery about it. There exist two aspects of it: exposure and shadows. Of course, there are more things to it that need to be taken into consideration like color, composition, background, makeup and hair if it is shooting a model.

In the studio, special attention needs to be paid to the exposure relationships between the different light sources, which is expressed as ratios and determine the places where it needs to be placed to make the subject look good. Here comes the role of shadows.

Lighting Ratios: If light is placed in front of a model directly, there is no need to consider about ratio. The exposure is straightforward. To set up the image, a meter could be used in incident mode and the metered reading taken.

With two lights, the input can be varied (hence the exposure) with each of it by changing the distance between the subject and the source and also making changes to the power setting. With light ratio of 2:1, the difference between the main light and the fill light is one f-stop.

For a 3:1 lighting ratio, there are one and a half f-stops of discrepancy between the two sources. Digital cameras use 1/3 f-stop increments to measure light, though the 3:1 ratio as was used traditionally is taken with half f-stops.

Due to the ability of sophisticated handheld light meters to read light in tenths of an f-stop, one can easily determine one and a half f-stops if there is a requirement of such ratio.

The positioning of a handheld meter helps in precisely measuring the light on a product of face and is a great advantage to the photographer. By measuring a reading from the position of the subject after pointing the meter’s white dome toward the primary light source, the correct exposure can be determined for the main source.

Then on removing the white dome away from the main light projecting toward the fill, a precise reading on a fill light could be taken. By taking note of the f-stop readouts as given on the LCD and making adjustment to the light, the ratio could be found that will help in making the subject look in the way that is needed. It is not always necessary that studio lighting is taken in the studio itself. The outdoor location could be turned into a studio.

How to Make Beautiful Photo

  • To make your photos interesting you must have a camera with function, which allows you disable the automatic settings and set them manually. Often in practice it’s SLR digital camera. It also has a better matrix, which affects the quality of the photos and you can change lenses, allowing you to take your photos more diverse, giving you more space for creativity.
  • Try to take pictures as best as possible, to make minimum adjustments on the computer later. Try to mentally divide the frame into nine equal parts and possibly put important objects on the intersections, not in the center of the photo. This will make the photo composition more dynamic.
  • Don’t get carried away with the flash. It often makes blurry photos and faces can be flat. To avoid blurry photos lean hands on a firm surface and press the shutter during the pause in heartbeat. Only practice helps you to hold the camera confidently and steady.
  • Look for unusual angles and subjects. You can make an interesting shot when you photographed only part of the object, composition can be built in abstract forms.
    Look for bright and unusual color combinations. Try to remove any small objects from the frame, they can distract from the main view.
  • Analyze why you like or don’t like your photos, it will help you in the process of shooting.
  • Shoot animals and children from the floor or at the level of their eyes, it will make your pictures more interesting.
  • Try not to “only press the button”, photography – thoughtful process. It makes sense to get around with the different parties of the object to choose the best angle.
  • Learn to observe. This is crucial for the further development of you as a great photographer. Look around to notice interesting and unusual events that can become the basis for photography.
  • Get used to the fact that you are still a beginner. If you just started studying photography and you make a “brilliant photos”, then your self-esteem somewhat overstated. In this case, you just need looking for the slightest faults and getting rid of them.
  • Try to make a lot of different photos and practice will make you better!

Nikon D3400 White Balance

There are two ways of looking at the Nikon D3400 white balance. The most obvious one is when you are looking at the back of the camera as you press the i button and D3400 white balance is third along the top line and that gives you the option to select the white balance that you want. However it does not let you change the white balance within those settings. If you want to do that you need to go into the MENU OPTION and then go into SHOOTING MENU, then you go down to white balance and you will see that you have all the options that you would see when you look in the button, but, should you press your multi-selector to the right, it will give you the option of either deciding to have a different option within that main sub-option (so for fluorescence, for example, you have seven further options in fluorescent which are all slightly different) or if you do not have different options then you have an option which allows you to change that option within the camera. You can do that by using the multi-selector and you can make either more green or more magenta or blue or more red. Personally, I think this is probably far too detailed unless you are going for a very specific look, but the general way of changing, which is to go back and just look at the general options in white balance when you are in the shooting menu, should be sufficient for you to decide your best option. But if you want to go in and change cloudy for example and make it a little more red or a little more blue then you can do so but you can not make those changes to that option from the i button.

So let’s have a look at what the D3400 white balance options are when we come out of menu and we will have a look through them with the ibutton. The first one is AUTO. This tries to select the most obvious white balance itself. It has quite a good auto detection for white balance and in most cases you will be fine on AUTO with the Nikon D3400. It is pretty good for most circumstances. The next D3400 white balance option is INCANDESCENT or tungsten. That has quite a yellow tone to it because it is more like candle light or home and residential lighting which tends to be tungsten lighting and so it will try to take some of that warmth out – some of that orange and yellow and add some of the blue to make whatever is white in that picture more white and less yellow.

The next one is FLORESCENT. Florescent lighting is a little bluer and it is the sort of lighting that you get in offices – strip lighting often – which gives a very blue tone to things. As a consequence of that the camera will try to add a little yellow to the picture. Then we get on to DIRECT SUNLIGHT. Now direct sunlight is actually a lot bluer than you might imagine and so the D3400 white balance setting does try to add a little more yellow to that just to give it a more natural look. The one after that is FLASH. When you fire the flash, whether it is the built-in flash or an external flash, it is a very cold white shade. So as a consequence of that the Nikon D3400 tries to add some more yellow to give a more natural tone to the color, and especially, obviously for skin tones which is quite important. Then the next two which are CLOUDY and SHADE. As we move further up the scale the environment becomes more and more blue so the D3400 white balance settings will be trying harder to add a little yellow and a little orange just to warm that picture up and make it look less cold. If you are shooting in shade or in cloud then there is a natural inclination for the image to look slightly blue, slightly cold, so you want a little orange to warm that picture up.

A good experiment is to take the same picture, going through all the Nikon D3400 white balance settings. Then you will be able to see exactly how the white balance changes the ‘feel’ of a picture. D3400 white balance can be used very creatively once you have mastered it, as it is a very simple way of affecting the tone of the image. For example, adding yellow adds warmth to a picture and give the impression of sunlight which in turn can make the image feel like a summer shot. Conversely, adding blue can make the image seem quite cold. It is really useful to experiment with these D3400 white balance settings.

Street Portraiture

I’ve been reading a lot about Street Photography. It piqued my interest and I spent many nights, scouring the internet. The main issue that I had was that it was too detached for me. The almost voyeuristic detachment with which the street photographer hangs back and observes what is going on, before clicking the shutter at the Bresson-esque decisive moment, generally goes unnoticed by the subject. Despite street photography taking place in public places, such as a train or a cafe, the photographers aim is to avoid having any impact on the scene unfolding before them. Anonymity is key. For me, I like the interaction. I like to talk to people. I wanted my subjects to be involved. I can only advise that anyone who is going to try the same thing as I am, should take a look at the ‘Humans of New York’. The photographer approaches and speaks to the subjects before taking a photograph of them. In my own opinion, this makes the photograph more about the interaction between the photographer and the subject and less about the observation of people.

I’m certainly not claiming to be an innovator here. There must be a million photographers before me who gone down this well trodden path, but I’m not interested in them because this is my personal project. I’m starting a collection of photographs of people that I’ve never met before. Throughout the course of any day, we all see many, many interesting people who we don’t know. Perfect Strangers. People who for some reason capture our attention and interest. The reason may be good, or bad, but for some reason, they stood out and made us wish that we could photograph them. It’s difficult to break down the social boundaries that stop us from approaching a total stranger and talking to them, it’s even more difficult to ask them if they will let us photograph them. For anyone in the same position as me, I’d recommend this project and the aim is simple. To eliminate the fear that we have of being rejected, photographically speaking. Our aim should be to encourage ourselves out of the comfort zone, to force ourselves to approach the people that previously, we’ve only imagined talking pictures of. What’s the worst that could happen? They might say “no”.

Photo Booth in Every Occasion

Make everyone feel special

Most events are incomplete without a few good photos. Be it a corporate event or a wedding, visitors will appreciate if you can give each of them a photo memento of the event, and a photo booth will make it possible. You can make each and every person who attended your event feel special. For example, in a wedding, visitors will be thankful for having their photo brought inside a corner with various types of assistants to run with the topic of the occasion.

An opportunity for the guests to mix and mingle

If you are organising a large gathering, not everyone attending the event will know each other. It will bring that fun element into the event. It will give your guests not only an opportunity to have fun with the people they know but will also give them a chance to interact with strangers at the party. Moreover, it gives everybody a chance to have their picture taken at the event either with the guests or hosts or both.

Fix the boredom

At a wedding we normally see the bride and the groom busy getting photographed by a professional photographer while all their guests will be sitting bored waiting for their turn to click snaps with the couple. When you have a photo booth your guests will be in a fun mode even before the start of the actual event. They can have all the fun while you are busy getting photographed by a professional cameraman.

Add to the entertainment value of the event

Photo booths come with exciting props, which are essential if you want your guests to get excited about your event. When you hire a photo booth make sure they have fake moustaches, feather wigs, and oversized hats, eyeglasses, picture frames, etc. Such props will encourage even shy guests to try out and act silly. It will add to the entertainment value of the event and your event will be the talk of the town for months or years to come.

Quality photos to keep

This is the age of selfies, but they cannot beat the quality of pictures captured through a DSLR. Now, there is a general misconception that pictures clicked at photo booths offer sub-standard photos, which is not at all true. There are so many photo booth companies which offer great quality services at cheap rates. They will ensure you get bright pictures on high quality paper. That way you will get the best photography experience. Not only that. By hiring it you can gift your guests a great souvenir. The high quality of photos printed at a photo booth is in no way inferior to the pictures clicked by a professional photographer.

A chance to give your event more publicity

To recall the best moments at an event you need good quality pictures. That is the main reason why we take pictures at any event. By hiring a photo booth you will be able to give every visitor a chance to leave the event with a specific picture, and your event will be etched in their memory forever. Your guests might even share the pictures taken at your event on social networking sites and more and more people will get to see your event. That way your event will get more publicity and could also makes personalized photographs possible at big and small events.

3D Stereoscopic Photography

Set up

To take 3D photographs, you need a tripod and a camera. The first step is setting up your tripod and camera on a level ground. You can choose to take a photo of anything. Your subject should however be on the center.

Take your shots

Once everything is set up correctly, take your shot. After the first shot, slid your tripod to the left or right for approximately 2.5 inches or 63 mm. If necessary, you can consider adjusting your camera’s direction so that your subject remains at the center of the shot. After making necessary adjustments, take your second shot from your new position.

Consider using additional cameras

The above step works perfectly for still subjects. If you want to capture perfect 3D photos of moving subjects i.e. a pet, you need additional hardware like an extra camera. A 2 camera rig which mounts perfectly on your tripod can come in handy at this step. You should ensure cameras are mounted approximately 2.5 inches apart (from center to center). In case you don’t have an extra camera, you can consider constructing a mirror splitter. The splitter will help you capture both views perfectly using a single camera.

Viewing with glasses

Once you have your photos, the next step is viewing them. It is important to note that you need a viewing system to be able to view 3D photos. In our case, we will focus on the most common viewing systems which are 3D glasses. These special types of glasses superimpose right and left views. As a result, the glasses filter the image forcing each eye to see the appropriate view only. It is important to note that there are many 3D viewing systems when talking about 3D glasses.

The most common include; color filtering, active shutter and polarized glasses. Color filtering glasses display 2 colors only, one for each view. Polarized 3D glasses use 2 sets of polarized light filters to project the picture through each pair of filters. These glasses are perfect for viewing over-colored filter systems. Active shutter glasses switch display between left and right views in every other frame. Depending on the type of 3D photo you have, you can choose suitable viewing glasses. Alternatively, you can choose to make your own glasses.

Set Up a Simple Photography Studio

Firstly though, we need to understand that handling this equipment is the latter of two evils. The first is learning to identify light, where it’s coming from, how soft is it, and how it interacts to highlight your subject.

Let’s start with the most available light there is, daylight. It might seem silly, but using the natural daylight, will provide you with the best light there is. Studio lights, are built to try and mimic this light in it’s various forms. Sitting your subject next to a window, will provide a very complimentary colour and softness to the light. The softer the light, the more it wraps around your subject.

If using the window method, try both direct sunlight and indirect shaded light for different effects, and the best part, it’s free! To mimic this kind of light we use studio strobes or “flash” as they are commonly known. The easiest set up to get, is a single strobe and a large reflector and stand. Many places sell these as kits for as little as $600, sometimes including remote wireless triggers, so you don’t even have to be anywhere near the lights when shooting. Compare that to an on-camera flash kit, which can cost $400 up for a good system, the extra few dollars are going to give you so much more creative freedom to experiment. Look for kits that include the light, stand, remote trigger and a softbox. You must get a softbox. No softbox, no soft complimenting light. If not included, they start relatively cheap anyway, at around $100, often less.

A system offering around 400 watts of power is plenty for a small studio, but make sure you can adjust the power up or down by at least 1/4 of a stop with each change. Good systems such as those from Elinchrom and ProFoto provide great control in 10th’s of a stop. Small, but often needed for subtle improvements. Light with a basic reflector that offers gold, silver, white, black and translucent, will serve the best. These are known as 5 way reflectors. The gold offers a subtle, warm (orange) tone, whilst the silver cools the light down with a slight blue cast. White adds light to increase the exposure, and black subtracts light, adding a high contrast look. The final element is the translucent disc, acting like a small softbox or cloud. To explain, clouds make for the perfect softener of light, acting as a gigantic “diffuser”. The larger the light source, the softer the light becomes, as the further it has to travel across a surface, before spilling into the subject below. As an example, shining a torch through a bed sheet will spread the light evenly, whilst the torch itself, will pinpoint the light. A good start for absolute beginners is to get a continuous light kit, instead of a flash kit. With the continuous kit, simply switch it on, look through the viewfinder, and what you see is what you get. Problem with continuous lighting is, it’s often hot, tungsten lights are noisy, cast a yellow light, and become very hot to touch within a very short time of turning them on. New manufacturers are making this easier, with cold LED lights that mimic daylight, but have a big cheque ready if you want a set. A simple strobe kit is not hard to master.

Many studios use multiple lights, white cards, block boards, reflectors and all sorts of gear, but that kind of gear is reserved for very high end commercial and fashion shoots. To get started, a simple light kit with a 5 disc reflector will give you just as soft or dramatic a look, to wow your friends and family or even your client. Remember, the more gear you have, the more you need to use it, otherwise it’s costly resource just sitting in storage.

Pose Like a Model for Photos

The Classic Hands-On-Hip

It’s always a good idea to not leave your hands limp or rogue. Perching one arm on the hip, weight shifted to one side and relaxing your shoulders. This “Teapot” pose is so popular with models, it slims your figure and creates a tall and dignified look that makes the waist appears slimmer. Be sure to position your lifted arm that’s placed on the hip to show off any fancy accessories or nail polish art.

Use the Mirror

Pose in front of your new BFF, the mirror, until you are near perfect at it. Learn your body shape and pick sides and angles you love. Forget about feeling guilty about your vanity, and remember “all is vanity”. Use your imagination and pretend someone else is behind the mirror, camera in hand and snapping away. Keep your feet in check for full-body shots, they are always closest to the mirror and you do not want to appear big-footed.

Go Lower

When sitting your camera height should be well above your eye level and your photographer standing a little far for the best result. This particular technique would show all your features, hair and makeup and also give you the illusion of a more petite, skinny frame.

Photographers often totally forget their own height and shoot from below the model’s eye line and you should never let them do that if you want the perfect photo. The chances that a shot from below help increase the height of subject or create the dramatic heroine shot you may be looking for are slim, and failed results with disappearing chins, weird shadows and dwarf shots are nearly always the end game.

For selfies, keeping your phone lens above your head will capture only your best angles and keep your neck looking elongated and swan-like.

Turn Your Head

If your face is asymmetrical in any way, not to worry you’re in good company. The easy fix for photos is to turn your head a bit when snapping and let the perfect tilt and camera angle hide that crooked smile of yours. Tilting your head is also a great trick for slimming your profile so if you really want to pose like a model, try turning slightly rather than facing the camera head on.

Stand Straight, Chin Out

Let the one thing you do not forget about perfecting your photo posture be to put your best foot and chin forward and stand up straight.

Cameras are only two-dimensional, meaning a photo cannot display its subject in all three dimensions unless it is shot that way purposely. When posing in front of the camera and looking straight at it, pushing your chin out, down and forward can extend your jawline, creating the sharper and stronger facial lines that are associated with model features.

TFP Shoots

A TFP shoot is a photo shoot in which neither the photographer nor the model receives any compensation for their participation in the photo shoot other than copies of the images that are produced. In fact, TFP stands for “time for prints” or “time for photos”, as in each person’s “time” is exchanged for “photos” (or “prints” as the case may be).

Typically, the photographer posts a “models wanted” ad in places frequented by aspiring/amateur models (Craig’s List, photography forums, modeling websites, college campuses, etc.) inviting models to submit photographs for consideration for an upcoming shoot. The photographer then contacts any of the respondents he or she wants to work with and works out the details of the shoot.

At some point before the shoot actually takes place, the photographer will usually ask you to sign a model release and/or TFP agreement. The model release authorizes the photographer to use your likeness in whatever manner the two of you agree. The TFP agreement spells out terms under which the shoot is taking place, including:

  • The number of photos the model will receive and the format in which they will be provided
  • The manner in which the photos can and can’t be used
  • The date by which the photographer has to provide the photos
  • Any requirements regarding watermarks and copyright notices

Shortly after the shoot (usually a week or two), you’ll receive copies of the final images from the shoot to add to your portfolio.

If you’re an amateur model, there are a number of ways in which you can benefit from participating in TFP photo shoots:

  1. You can save thousands of dollars while building your portfolio by getting hours of professional photography services for free.
  2. The experience you gain working with and learning from different photographers can be priceless.
  3. You can work with many more photographers than you otherwise would, leading to a much more diverse portfolio.
  4. TFP shoots often lead to paying gigs for amateur models as you network and gain exposure.

All in all, it’s the easiest and least expensive way for an aspiring model to build a solid portfolio.