Knowing the Value of Monitor Calibration and Profiling.
By: Andy Nickerson
You've sensibly decided to call in a photographer to photograph your new advertising campaign. The shoot was a great success, the pictures looked superb on the photographers laptop and now you're just expecting the final CD.
The shots are back and look sensational, with a little 'enhancement' in Photoshop they'll be ready for the printer and you're new product brochure will be on your desk before you know it.
Why then when you get your brochure back from the print house does your product photography quickly look so inaccurate? The pictures are way too bright and contrasty, all those soft tones are lost and there seems to be a ugly colour caste?
This is an really commonplace concern and one I hear clients agonize about on a recurring basis. The natural response would seem to be, 'blame the photographer', after all they were the suppliers of the original image files. But in truth it is most likely to one of or a mixture of the following complications:
1. Severe Image Editing. Unskilled or incompetent Photoshop retouchers will often perform unnecessary and damaging image manipulation approaches that will often end in poor quality printing.
2. Conversion to CYMK. The picture files your photographer supplies you with are commonly in a RGB colour space and will require conversion to a applicable CYMK colour profile prior to printing. The picture files will necessitate careful colour conversion and ideally proofing if precise colour accuracy is demanded.
3. A Absence of or Inadequate Monitor Calibration and Profiling. This is the big problem and the one that I believe creates the most disappointment and problems. If your monitor isn't correctly calibrated or rather you simply use the makers canned factory settings, there is a good risk that your monitor is deceiving you!
To prevail over this concern you must calibrate your monitor which is the process of setting up your monitor options to accomplish a neutral result, including changing its luminance (brightness), white point (colour temperature) and gamma settings. If you deal with professional photographs on a frequent basis or you don't employ the services of a graphic designer or some other pre-press professional then I strongly advise that you invest in some fundamental monitor calibration software and apparatus. It need not cost a fortune and will indeed cost a small fraction of what a spoilt print run will! If you do use hire a design consultant or pre-press house that fully appreciates the significance or colour management then you may just be happy to manually set-up your monitor, though remember not to alter the picture files in any way as what you see on your screen will be different to what your designer and printer sees!
The calibrator will effectively measure your monitors imperfections and in combination with the software will work out a profile that is unique to your screen. Think of this profile as a 'filter' or 'mask' that once utilised to your screen will remove any imperfections and will give you a totally neutral view.
It never ceases to astonish me how even professional designers simply don't recognize or choose to ignore the significance of colour management in their workflow. Monitor calibration is a small yet valuable part of a professional digital workflow that when dismissed, can cause untold disappointment and problems. So do yourself a massive favour and invest in some simple monitor calibration equipment, you'll wonder why you haven't done it sooner!
How To Manage Digital Photography Lighting
By: Connie Fillmore
Photography blends science with art. The photographer is the artist who engraves his creation with light and shade. Science has gifted the artist a technically advanced digital camera for him to captivate life with it. But he must know to decipher the codes of light
And, Let There Be Light...
Natural light sources like the sun and the moon are considered the best light sources. These lights often invade indoors and make natural shots come alive. Men have created artificial lights like the ordinary bulb, the tungsten halogen lamp or the bright photoflood.
There are various types of lighting, the photographer can employ. The most common is the Directional lighting provided by flash, tungsten or several sources and can be used from the front, back or side.
Front lighting is the most in vogue but it reveals every detail. The light is at the back of the photographer beaming at the face of the subject highlighting every detail. This often results in an unexciting and flat look of your subjects. Another technique is to mystify your subject by lighting up from side. The main illumination from side adds interest and vigor with presence of dark shadows.
In Back lighting the source light remains in the rear of the subject shining in the face of the camera. So, you must be very careful while using this mode otherwise the subject will appear like a silhouette. The main advantage here is, you will be able to capture the natural expressions of your subject in an outdoor shoot, as he will not squint facing bright light.
You can employ Cross lighting where strong directional light comes from both sides. But this method is only suitable for studios with bright flash or tungsten lights.
Lighting For Digital Photography
Digital cameras may offer a wide range of easy lighting modes but there are challenges for the artist in his path to perfection. You must adopt the trial and error method and acquire the knowledge of lighting.
Most digital cameras have preset digital photography lighting modes or 'scenes' for different lighting situation. There is the indoor mode to click without flash, which is particularly useful in art galleries or museums, the night and portrait mode allows you to take pictures of your subject with a gleaming backdrop at night using a slower shutter speed.
The digital cameras provide an automatic setting for white balancing .You can determine the baseline white in your image against which, other colors will be rendered. Your camera may have a histogram to evaluate exposure in different digital photography conditions. Most cameras have various options like daylight, cloudy, tungsten and more.
What Is Auxillary Lighting?
If you want to create art using light and shadow, the Flash unit alone is not enough. Here, auxiliary lighting comes in. If you decide to shoot portraits or product shots in a studio then auxiliary lighting is not optional but necessary.
For great results use head and kicker lights. Flashlights do not generate heat like floods and spots, so are more suited for portraits. Make sure the flash suits your digital camera. If you want to shoot still shots or product shots, continuous tungsten light is the cheapest and best. A range of wattage bulbs and reflectors will help you control the intensity and direction of light too.
If you don't have money you can rent lights. Top studios have various assortments of flash units, flood and spotlights.
How to use light
Light is made up of all colors. If seen through a prism it bursts into different colors. You are free to experiment with the rainbow. Artificial lights have their own characteristics. The photographer can utilize different light sources. You can alter white setting for a different effect. Most digital cameras have color setting modes to achieve accuracy of the colors.
Direction of light is important in digital photography. People look best in diffused sidelights and backlight produces a halo effect while overhead lighting produces sharp contrast of light and shadows. Strength of light is also an essential factor. You can have placid effect from diffused lighting and sharpness from strong light.
Indoor lighting gives you ample scope to shoot nice pictures. You can assemble light as per your choice and can even harness sunlight when it enters your house to soften your image.
Outdoor shots are more challenging. It leaves you at the mercy of Mother Nature. While landscape looks good in soft light, the wildlife is captivating with fine details in bright light. So photographers try to capture wildlife just before dusk or before dawn.
In digital cameras, you do not need to worry about ISO film speed. Most digital cameras have preset ISO setting. However, experimentation is the perfect way to curb imperfection. So inflame your imagination and hone your skill. You are ready to enter the luminous empire of photography.
What Facebook Can Do For Your Photography Business
By: David Drum
Today, Facebook is being used as an effective marketing tool for a wide variety of businesses. However, it is especially effective for marketing a photography business. For most businesses, a Facebook user reads through posted product and service information, but in the final analysis must still decide whether to believe the information, testimonials, etc�as posted. However, in the case of professional photography, potential customers can literally experience your products firsthand all by viewing sample portfolio photographs. This is a huge marketing advantage for photographers, but needs to be tapped properly for maximum impact.
Tips for Marketing a Photography Business On Facebook:
- Don't spam. It is ok to send out a message to your Facebook fans once a month, or at certain times of the year, perhaps twice a month. A lot of this will depend on your area of specialty and it inherent seasonality. If done correctly, your fans will find your messages helpful and informative. However, be careful to limit these messages since if you do it too often, some fans may "unlike your page and there is even a chance that Facebook, in an effort to police their site, will brand your efforts as spam and actually ban your Facebook page entirely.
- Add photo albums of your pictures. I know that this might seem obvious, but you are running a photography business and your page should reflect that. Add selected photographs of your work and perhaps even ask your Facebook fans to vote their favorites. Social media is about bi-directional communication and you will find a number of applications on Facebook that will allow you to do just that, such as Involver or FanAppz.
- Add videos. Add selected videos of some of your photo sessions to your Facebook page. This will give your fans a taste of what goes behind the scenes and is invaluable as it lets potential clients see what they might expect from a photo session with you. Shoot the video so that it is informative, but don't forget to also try to make it a little humorous and relaxing. YouTube Badge is an excellent application that will help you add video and you can find it as well as others by searching the applications section of Facebook.
- Capitalize on the Info Tab. All of the information included on your info tab is automatically picked up by search engines, so be complete and don't skimp when completing your information tab. Make your info tab a mix of professionalism and fun and be sure to include some tidbit information about you as well! Don't forget links to your website, blog, Twitter, and Flickr accounts if you have them and you definitely should.
- A Good FanPage Picture. You are a photographer and this is by far the most essential part of any Facebook fanpage. Add a nice picture of yourself with camera. Embed your logo in the picture as well. You can design the image up to a size of 180x540, so don't just settle for the default size. This will let random folks visiting your fanpage clearly identify you as a professional photographer.
- Update your content keep it fresh. After most of your photo shoots, try to add one of the best images to your Facebook album, of course after securing permission from your client. You can even send each client a personalized wall message, complimenting them on how well the shoot turned out! This is an easy way to keep your pages fresh and seasonally relevant. These simple image updates give you a continual reason to message your fans and encourage them to see the quality and variety that your photography provides.
- Facebook Ads. Facebook advertisements have proven to be effective for marketing a variety of businesses. You create a Facebook ad and let the website choose to place your ads along with profiles of people who are interested in photography. It is easy to set a daily budget limit for each campaign, where the budget limits the maximum amount that you are willing to spend for each day of advertising. Facebook's systems will automatically stop showing your ad once your daily budget has been reached so you will never have to worry about accruing unplanned advertising charges. Some people have had a lot of success with these ads, but I would recommend that you start slowly and see how it works out for you.
Facebook is ideal for marketing your photography, but it may take some time to build a loyal following of people interested in your photographs. It is a very effective way of marketing your photography business and will reflect in a positive way on your business and your brand. Keep your Facebook presence real and you will definitely see positive results!
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An area that beginning photographers often ask about is what they can do to help emphasize the subject in their images. This article will discuss selective lighting, which may be the most powerful tool for highlighting a subject. We will begin to consider light more creatively instead of strictly from technical view. We use light primarily for proper exposure but there is more here than meets the eye until you really see it.
When looking through the lens, do you see only your subject or do you see more? Can you really see and feel what the light or darkness is offering to you?
As we are all aware, life is a mystery. Darkness evokes a feeling of mystery that you can create in your photos. What does the darkness represent? Do you want to move forward to find out what lies beyond? Are you content to simply look into it and wonder? Is it the subject of your photo that is of most importance or is it a symbolic message that is expressed? As the photographer, you are in control.
When possible, look up a photograph of Zion National Park by Hiroji Kubota. Because Kubota uses the contrast of shadowed peaks beyond, he is able to emphasize the surface of the lit mountain in the foreground. Can you feel the drama that is built by this interplay of light and dark? Here is a little landscape photography tip that you can use when you are out looking for a shot. Simply be observant of areas of shadow and try to build them into your story.
Great images very often combine multiple, complimentary techniques to emphasize their subject. Here's another idea you can use to create an easy photo with studio lighting. Aim a single spot light directly on your subject. In the way, you use lighting very selectively but also as a kind of frame because only your subject is illuminated.
If you want to take your images from boring and bland to exciting and bold, give some selective photography lighting techniques a try. You might be pleasantly surprised at how much of a difference this can make next time you are out looking for a new image to catch.
Thomas Luttig is a freelance professional photographer and business owner. Find more information about the best photography schools, landscape photography tips and other digital photography information at his blog at
Emphasizing Your Subject With Selective Lighting – Digital Photography Lighting Techniques
By: Thomas Luttig
David Drum is head of Business Development at H&H Color Lab in Kansas City, Missouri. Starting his professional career as a process engineer at Xerox and Motorola, David moved to the professional imaging industry in 1993. David has worked as Technical Support Manager, Production Manager, Lean Manufacturing Manager, and IT Director before assuming his present role For more details visit http://www.hhcolorlab.com/
Every business needs to promote itself visually and there are vast numbers of small businesses in need of services to take quality images. Companies are realising that it is not as easy as it looks to shoot quality digital images on a plain background and skills are needed to do this. This is where someone who can take this type of shot can make good money.
By taking a little time and marketing skill you can find many businesses who don't have large marketing budgets and are in need of the services of a good photographer. Here's what you need to do.
Do a search on local businesses from directories and the yellow pages in your area. Do a search for particular kinds of local businesses on the internet and look at the quality of their images. Most times they have been taken by the owner or staff and don't reflect the quality of the product. Create a list of potential businesses to work from and get to know the products of each of them so that when you arrive at the store you will know what you are talking about.
2. Create a portfolio
By creating a simple portfolio of your work you will be able to demonstrate to the owner what you can deliver. We are visual people and the first impression created by a good portfolio will often open the door to some profitable business. If you have the time, shoot a few similar products in your studio to show what a particular item will look like so that the potential client has a better idea of how good it could look. You only have one chance to create a good first impression. This works especially well with estate agents and property realtors. Often you can tell the standard of their photo taking by looking in their window. If you deliver outstanding images that really showcase homes you'll standing a good chance of getting some business.
Good product photographers need a simple inexpensive setup to create good images. An essential item is a good light table coupled with a light tent and two good lights. Besides this a macro lens or extension tubes to get close up for smaller items is a valuable asset to your gear. An overhead light box or a ring flash will make it just that bit more simple to get your lighting right. On that topic, good lighting is essential to great product shots.
Try to be more creative and come from a unique angle. Make sure your background complements the object and helps to showcase it. Bottom line is that your images should help the business owner to sell more of his product. If that happens you can be assured of more work and referrals. Don't try to be too smart but rather focus on a simplistic, less is more approach that makes the product stand out clearly. Use props to complement the product without competing for attention.
You will always find work as a product photographer if you are prepared to look for it. Even if it is not a huge amount of work it can supplement your other areas of photography and bring in a tidy income.
Wayne Turner has been teaching photography for 25 years and has written three books on photography.
For a free report on how to make cash from your camera go to http://www.21steps2perfectphotos.com Do you want to learn more about photography in a digital world? I've just completed a brand new e-course delivered by e-mail. Download it here for free by clicking here: http://www.21steps2perfectphotos.com
Cash From Your Camera - Tips To Make Money From Product Photography By: Wayne Turner
Always In Demand, Start Making Money Shooting Product Photography
Product Photography, Product Photographer
Industrial Product Photography