Restoring Old Photographs

As time passes and our photographs age, oxidize, and scratch, we have the ability to personally reformat all of our old, priceless family keepsake photographs. After restoring your images in Photoshop CS and reprinting them, it is best to store them in acid-free albums. Since the deterioration process is ongoing, the photographs will continue to deteriorate beyond repair. Without intervention, the photographs will fade away right along with the memories of our beloved ancestors.

I not only have some of my ancestor’s wedding photographs, I have some of their cameras too! Call me sentimental, but I think some of these old-dated items create great home accents and can complement a warm family atmosphere. Restored family photographs are fun to work with too. Depending on the paper used to print them, old family photographs can be decoupaged to a chest or keepsake box or wall papered onto end tables or table tops.

Framing Fine Art Photographs

When framing your artwork, decide if you want a contemporary or traditional moulding. With fine art photography, you can never go wrong with a classic black frame, especially high quality gallery frames made from solid wood.

There are many other beautiful frames to choose from, so it’s worth bringing the image into a frame shop and playing around with the moulding corner samples. Maple and oak frames in black, natural or white and high-end aluminum frames are worth looking into for photographs. Even ornate gold leaf and silver leaf period frames that tend to be used with other kinds of art can work beautifully with photographs. Just make sure the frame and the photograph complement each other.

When looking at frames and mouldings, experiment with different frame widths and depths. Small photographs look great with big thick frames while large photographs can often look better with thinner, simpler frames.

And always remember to pay just as much attention to picking the proper mat. Matting and framing work together.

In addition to frame shops, flea markets and auction houses are great sources for one-of-a-kind frames. You can match subject with frame – a photograph of a country barn, for example, might look beautiful in a rustic, old peeling frame. Again, just be careful that the frame doesn’t overpower the image and that they work together as a unit.

Point and Shoots

The feature of image stabilization enables you to capture a sharp picture in dim light without using the flash or when a telephoto lens setting is needed. Every one of these digital cameras are capable of producing ultra sharp 4 x 6s and great 11 x 17 enlargements.

My choice is the Pentax A10. It has the sharpest monitor, the most effective image stabilization and the best flash range. The DIVx movie mode is also a plus. However, you may have other priorities to help you decide on a model. The Sony features a terrific slide show with music but is pricey for 6MP. The Casio is low priced and thin, but hard to see in bright light. The Panasonic has a nice optical view Finder and is reasonably priced. The Canon has the longest zoom but is overpriced. All have a plethora of special features but the one you will use most is the dial marked ‘AUTO’. If the video capability is important to you then buy the largest SD or MS Card available (2GB). For regular still photos a 256 or 512 megabyte card is enough. Some models include many manual settings for the advanced amateur so further research may be called for.

  • Camera View RES Zoom Card LCD Thickness Flash Price*
  • Casio Exilim EX S600 NO 6MP 38 – 114 SD .6″ 85K 9 ft. $273.00
  • Canon SD 700 IS YES 6MP 35 – 140 SD 1.0″ 173K 11.5Ft. $479.00
  • Nikon Coolpix P4 NO 8MP 36 – 126 SD 1.2″ 150K 13Ft. $340.00
  • Olympus Stylus 710 NO 7MP 37 – 111 XD .8″ 115K 13 Ft . $283.00
  • Panasonic DMC FX9 YES 6.4MP 35 – 105 SD .9″ 207K 12 Ft. $256.00
  • Pentax A10 NO 8MP 38 – 114 SD .8″ 232K 15 Ft. $273.00
  • SonyCybershot DSCFX9 NO 6MP 38 – 114 MS Pro .8″ 230K 9 Ft. $375.00

Info of Resolution

The general thing about digital photography is the number of pixels. Different resolution makes for different images. The more pixels an image has, the more elaborate it is. Details depend on the number of pixels. But bigger resolution also means bigger image file size and larger print size. This may cause some difficulties if you are trying to print the image by yourself. Larger file formats also cause trouble when sending files via email: some email accounts have specific space and your attached files are too large to be received. Despite this, people prefer resolution with greater number of pixels. The picture looks much more realistic when more pixels construct it. It is the same as in the puzzle game: the more pieces a puzzle has, the more complex it looks. Pixels give additional shades and nuances because they can take different colors, so the image looks as real as possible.

Let’s discuss the difficulties of file and print size. Using a 3 megapixel camera, you have no trouble printing 8×10 or smaller photographs and get satisfying results. If you want to print something bigger, you will get into trouble. You’d better go to a printing shop. For prints of larger size, you may need special paper and a professional, who can do it for you. Another thing to remember is changing of size. You can change the print size without making defects on the resolution. But this can only be done when making an existing photo smaller. If you decided to enlarge a small image using a program, you’d better give it up. Smaller images are made of different resolution formats and when you enlarge them, the number of pixels stays the same and is no longer compatible with the larger copy, so the quality of the photo is lost.

Resolution defines the file size as well. You may try to convert larger files into smaller ones, before sending them through email. Before re-sizing an image, you should better save it in its original resolution quality. Save it in its larger and pixel-rich size and then make it smaller in the editing program for emailing. In that case you will always have a copy of the original if you like to print it. Remember that once resized, an image cannot be brought back to its previous size, as it is larger and resolution would be changed for the worse. This effect is called pixelation: when you try to enlarge an existing copy. It always results in worse printing image quality.

There are three points you should remember about resolution.

  • The higher the resolution, the better printed image quality.
  • The higher the resolution, the larger the file size and the larger the print size.
  • Do not confuse pixels with dots. They are not the same. Pixels per inch (PPI) and dots per inch (DPI) are variables completely different from one another.

Photography Poses

“Good Planning” Advice for Photography Poses

  • Prepare For The Event. Prepare for the event by thinking about every photograph you want to take and what kind of photography pose or poses you would like to capture. Consider who, where, how, and the type of environment.
  • Take Multiple Photographs. Take multiple shots of each pose (remember, digital memory is reusable, a.k.a. “free”). Regardless of what you say or do, people will blink. And don’t count on spotting small problems on the tiny camera LCD screen (even on full magnification); which leads to…
  • Check LCD Screen. Check the digital camera’s LCD screen for general framing of the picture, any movement, visibility of faces, and the histogram. Note that you can think up a fantastic photography pose; arrange everyone perfectly; and, have the photograph “frozen” (no blinking, and no shaking of the camera)…but, when you check it out in the LCD, you see 2 drunks fighting in the background! And, my favorite…
  • Funny Phrases. Have some funny phrases handy to use just before you take the photo. Don’t use it when setting up for the shot. And, don’t use the same phrase all the time. Throw in funny anecdotes, phrases, names, words that you know your family will find more amusing than “cheese.” A natural smile looks four times better than a fake one. The second category is…

“Location” Advice for Photography Poses

Taking indoor family photography, is very different than outdoor family photograph (duh!). For INDOOR pictures…

  • Wide Angle. You will tend to use the wide angle more often than your telephoto setting. Pay particular attention to your “end people” (those farthest to the right and the left in your viewfinder), and verify there is enough space in picture, so that if cropping is required, the end people don’t have to lose a limb.
  • The Flash. Flash considerations are critical. Do not be outside your “flash range.” For example, if at ISO 100, your flash can properly illuminate 12 feet, don’t attempt any photography pose that requires anyone to stand at 14 feet (unless, of course, it’s evil cousin Ira who you want to appear in darkness).
  • Plan “B”. If you need to be further away than your flash allows, here are 2 things you can try…First, increase the ISO setting (but not so much as to produce to much noise), or second, move to a significantly brighter location.
  • Watch Your Background. If there are distracting features, change your settings to blur the background (see the Techniques page). The best photography pose in the world won’t look right with a distracting background. And finally…
  • Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall. If there are mirrors or reflective surfaces in the background and you can’t find a different location, only take the picture in such a way that the flash is not perpendicularto the surface, but at an angle (unless you want a nice photo of your flash). Outdoor family photography has completely different issues. For OUTDOOR photography…
  • The Sun. Avoid photographing in direct sunlight, or in mixed light and shade, especially faces. Optimal lighting results from a slightly overcast sky.
  • Shade. When photographing in shade, use fill-flash (see terms) when necessary. And, really finally…

Holiday Portrait Ideas

For fabulous holiday portraits get your children and guests to interact with their surroundings. Hand a child an ornament or ask him to hang a Christmas stocking. It’s not always necessary to pose your subjects. Giving them something to do helps relax them and you get wonderful expressions this way.
Hand an adult a champagne glass and ask him to lead a toast. Ask someone to help you hang the mistletoe. Take his picture while he’s hanging it and then when someone corners him under it for a kiss.

Consider creating a photo essay. Photograph the tree going up, your shopping trip to the mall, your child putting out cookies for Santa, your child sleeping, your child waking up on Christmas (if you can get up that early), etc. Create a story album using one of the many software packages designed for this purpose. I have used Epson’s package that comes with a bound volume designed by Epson, but a search online using the terms “photo album software” reveals a lot of other options. There are also online companies such as Shutterfly that will do the printing for you.

If you are especially creative and use your images to make collages and scrapbooks, the holiday times are perfect for capturing still-life’s that enhance your creations. Photograph the champagne and glasses, mantel decorations, ornaments, and flowers without human subjects. Use portions of these images to enhance your personal stationary or anything you create. Sometimes a portion of a great picture has a lot of potential for creativity. Study your images and consider cropping appropriately.

Include your holiday lights in your pictures. Candles and Christmas lights add an extra glow and provide a special atmosphere for portraits. Consider taking outdoor portraits outdoors in the evening and use your outdoor holiday lights as a back drop. As with all photos, light is one of your most important factors. We are lucky during the holiday season to have the opportunity to make use of dramatic lighting situations. Pay attention to the light and consider what situations would work best with a flash for even lighting and what would be better with natural light. Natural light can help you best capture the glow of the holidays. Play with both natural light and flash to learn what will work best.

Canon Underwater Cameras

Underwater cameras have most of the same features as the handy cameras that we used outdoors – the only difference is that they have certain functions that are more innovative because they are water resistant and can be used to capture pictures under the sea.

Of course, these underwater cameras are not only exclusively for taking pictures under the sea because some of them are also designed to be used in outdoor activities. In heavy rain these cameras will not be affected because of the protective device to guard against water and pressure damage. They come in a number of forms, with their prices relecting the entire range of normal camera pricing.

The cheapest type of underwater camera for instance is the simple disposable underwater camera. These cameras are able to take about twenty to thirty pictures. These cameras are waterproof enough to be utilized when there is harsh rain and snow storms. These are best use for fun scuba trips and family vacations; it will certainly capture the memorable parts of the family fun.

One of the best known brands of underwater cameras is the Canon. It has been proven efficient in all forms of underwater adventures. Canon underwater cameras have a lot of designs that offer different features. Each of the cameras gives advantages and special features that you will really enjoy. However, as you would expect from a quality brand like Canon, these cameras might appear a bit expensive because of the gadgets used on it; nonetheless they are of best quality and you will have no regrets once you see the resolution of your pictures.

Many conventional digital and film cameras have waterproof housings. Placing your camera inside will allow you to ‘transform’ your existing camera into an underwater camera. However, if you want excellent photographic quality from under the water, we would always advise purchasing a dedicated underwater camera.

Canon underwater cameras came in various models. The higher the photo resolution that it has, generally the more expensive the price is. Many of the underworld photographers that I know prefer to use Canon underwater cameras because they offers a “one of a kind quality”. The Canon Company is one of the pioneering companies that launched underwater cameras in the market and you know you will be getting quality when you buy Canon.

Build Photography Portfolio

Choosing your theme

You may already have the pictures to create a themed portfolio or you may be planning on capturing them over the next little while. Either way, your portfolio, like a well written book, should have some unifying theme. This theme can be conceptual or it can be technical. For example, your theme could be about courage, love, urban life, rural life, garbage. Alternatively you can create a theme based on photographic technicalities. For example you could create a portfolio showcasing all of your best wide angle work, or one which displays your best black and white work. The themes for creating a portfolio are only limited by your own imagination. So take your time and create a themed portfolio which means something to you.

Choosing the photos

Choosing the right photographs to put in your portfolio will be a time consuming process. By the nature of the portfolio itself, only your best pieces should be placed within the portfolio. If you don’t’ have too many top picks spend some more time photographing until you get the desired results. Your portfolio is something you should be proud of, not something thrown together out of impatience and haste.

Your portfolio should be manageable for the viewer to get through. Too often photographers fill pages and pages with photographs that the viewer will skim through to get to the end. Most audiences have short attention spans. Don’t take it personally, it’s simply how we’ve been conditioned to see the world. If you’re photography portfolio is shorter, your audience will be more likely to slow down and spend more time looking at each photograph.

For those of you who have been to art galleries showcasing a particular artist work, you’ll remember, that their showcase was relatively easy to get through. This is because they don’t’ want to clutter the walls and they want to keep your attention the whole time. You must do the same as a photographer. Just because they make photo albums that can hold 500 pictures doesn’t mean you should try to fill it up. Narrow your portfolio down to 20-50 photographs. There is no hard set number you need to follow but this seems to be the range that most audiences would prefer.

Showing your work

Now that you’ve put together your portfolio, it’s time to show it off. Keep it in a public space in your house, show your friends and family, but a digital copy online and show it around to galleries and exhibits if you’re looking to sell some of the photographs in your set.

Between Digital and Film Photography

Scientifically speaking, the differences between the two are enormous. With film photography, light traveling through the camera’s lens is actually burning the images onto the film. With digital photography, the light of the images is being encoded as binary data and stored in memory as with a computer. These differences, while huge, can be unimportant to some though. No one is actually interested in the technical aspect of how the cameras work. The photographer is more interested in what it means to him in regard to the pictures he can take and what he can do with them.

One of the primary advantages of digital photography is versatility. Digital cameras can record not only the still images of film cameras, but also motion pictures and audio in some cases. While a film camera can be a specialized piece of equipment for taking still pictures, digital cameras can offer you an entire range of different equipment, all in the palm of your hand.

Digital cameras are also commonly found on other pieces of equipment. As technology advances, cellular telephones and MP3 music players now often have built-in cameras, which are always digital. This may offer some extra convenience to digital camera users, considering that they can decrease the overall number of devices that they must carry with them and use.

Printing your pictures is also very different from digital to film photography. In both cases, though, you have many options. Professional film photographers may develop their prints on their own, in their very own dark room. Amateur or casual film photographers may simply drop their film off at a one-hour photo place. With digital, your pictures are recorded as electronic data, so you can use your computer to print them. Or, if you prefer, you can still drop them off at a photo shop and have it done for you. So as far as printing goes, it seems it is up to you how deeply you want to dive in. Both film and digital offer you a range of options, from the hands-on to letting others do it for you.

So in the end, choosing between digital and film may mean considering the application. Hobbyists may stick to film, while technology buffs and burgeoning photographers will choose the brave new world of digital. Either way, it looks like both styles of photography are going to be around for awhile to come.

Get Closer to Subject

Alternatively, instead of moving closer, use the Optical Zoom of your camera to get a close up shot. Don’t use your Digital Zoom as it will degrade your image quality.

When taking shots of family and friends, most people place the subject’s full body in the frame, or place head and arms in the shot. Instead, fill the frame with your subject’s FACE only – particularly if they are smiling or are in a moment of reflection.

Why does this work? With less clutter in the image, there’s less to draw the eye away from the main subject of your photo. Also, human faces (particularly children’s faces) are something we all feel pleasure looking at.

If you can’t get close enough when you’re taking the shot, you can zoom in later using photo editing software – crop out everything except the subject’s face and see what a difference it makes.

When using the viewfinder for close shots, be careful of Parallax. Because the viewfinder is not at the same position as the camera’s lens, centering the subject in the viewfinder may mean it is not centered for the lens resulting in an off-center final picture. Most digital cameras now come with an inbuilt LCD screen. You can eliminate this problem by using the LCD – which shows you what the lens sees – rather than the viewfinder.