Four Steps to a Better Photo

Tweet With so many great cameras on the market today for great prices almost anyone can take an amazing photo. At Gallery Direct we want your photos to turn out amazing, it makes our job as your printing solution a … Read More

With so many great cameras on the market today for great prices almost anyone can take an amazing photo. At Gallery Direct we want your photos to turn out amazing, it makes our job as your printing solution a lot easier. Here are some tips to taking a better photo. 1. Eliminate red-eye Red-eye is probably the most common and, let’s face it, scariest photo mishap. While there are tons of sources out there that aid in the removal of red-eye, wouldn’t it just be easier to avoid it altogether? What causes it? I was always told that people with light eyes are more prone to red-eye. This may be true, but that never explained why my brown-eyed friends were inflicted with the red-eye as well. Turns out, the main cause is the camera’s flash. The light from the flash reflects off the subject’s eyes and illuminates the blood vessels within the retinas. The result is a red glow scary enough to make you reach for holy water. How do I prevent it? Well, the obvious answer is to avoid using a flash. If you’re unsure about whether or not to use it, take a few test shots first. You might be surprised. If you absolutely need the flash, ask your subject not to look directly into the camera lens. Also, many cameras today come equipped with a red-eye reduction feature. Check your manual to see if this is an option for you. 2. Designate a focal point Have you ever looked at a picture and thought “what am I supposed to be looking at?” Yes, we all have. Even a picture with great lighting and color can be compromised if the subject is nowhere to be found. What causes it? Lots of things, like a competing background, too many landmarks or a subject that’s too far away. Basically just trying to fit too many things in one picture. How do I prevent it? Try not to be distracted by everything around you and focus only what you can see through the viewfinder. Treat what you see as a two-dimensional image with a hierarchy of importance. Sometimes the solution is simply to use the zoom feature or take the shot from a slightly different angle. 3. Make it sharp I know sometimes blurring is intentional and can create really nice photos, but I also know sometimes it’s not. What causes it? Blurry photos are the result of either a moving subject or a moving photographer and the wrong shutter speed. How do I prevent it? If you’re taking an action shot, make sure the shutter speed is set appropriately. Many cameras come equipped with an Action mode that automatically sets it for you. If it’s a low-light situation, use a tripod to keep the camera steady and prevent camera shake. 4. Expose it just right Exposure is the amount of light that passes through the camera lens. Too much light can result in a bright, washed-out photo, while too little light makes the photo look dark. What causes it? Dimly lit spaces with a fast shutter speed, or really bright spaces with a slow shutter speed. How do I prevent it? If you have the option to adjust your shutter speed, do so accordingly. If not, don’t fret, there are still things you can do. If you’re shooting indoors, move near a window or lamp to add extra light. If you’re outdoors and it’s too bright, find a shady spot for your subject. Or, as counterintuitive as it sounds, try using the flash to avoid severe shadows. Overcast days really create the best lighting for photography. Well, there you have it. I can sense your photos getting better by the minute!  
When it comes to Mother's Day and photo gifts people immediately think of mom and her kids or grand-kids. While that is a great idea you can only do that so many years, this year try some of these unique photo ideas and put them on canvas with the $49 photo upload deal going on right now! * Put your Mother's wedding photo on canvas. Unlike today when our parents where married putting your photos on canvas was not an option so surprise her by doing it now * Put a picture of your mother's parents or siblings on canvas. My mom is one of 8 and has a photo of all of them together when they are young, she would love that put on canvas for her. * Put a generational photo on canvas. I have a photo with 4 generations of women in it, how special would that be on canvas. * Put the family namesake on canvas. Is your mom named after a family member? Put that person on canvas. * Put a photo collage of your mom as child on canvas. Help preserve special family photos for generations to come by putting them on canvas. You can find Ellen blogging daily at Thrifty & Chic Mom.

The Gift that Keeps on Hanging

Tweet So you forgot to record the Patriots/Ravens game for your boyfriend and his cable cut out right before Billy Cundiff’s missed field goal. It’s okay. There’s time to redeem yourself before Valentine’s Day. Luckily you have a great memory, … Read More

framed I love youSo you forgot to record the Patriots/Ravens game for your boyfriend and his cable cut out right before Billy Cundiff’s missed field goal. It’s okay. There’s time to redeem yourself before Valentine’s Day. Luckily you have a great memory, and an even better camera, packed full of snapshots from the fantastic time you two had in Cabo last summer and the amazing surprise party you threw for him on his birthday. So go ahead and grab that picture of you looking svelte in your two-piece, or the one where he swears he looks like Robert Downey, Jr. and have it printed for Valentine’s Day. It’s the gift that says, “LOOK AT HOW MUCH FUN WE HAVE TOGETHER.” So next time he’s yelling and throwing things at Tom Brady, he’ll see the picture hanging on the wall and remember how much he loves you. Maybe you will remember that, too, next time he leaves his dirty glass on the coffee table.

Print Your Photos Already

Tweet I love taking pictures, and I think I am really good at it. I love showing my friends and family how they look through the little screen on the back on my Sony CyberShot– we all smile and say … Read More

I love taking pictures, and I think I am really good at it. I love showing my friends and family how they look through the little screen on the back on my Sony CyberShot-- we all smile and say awweee -- and then that photo is never seen again- except maybe 6 months down the road on Facebook. My New Year’s Resolution is to rescue these images from my camera and do something with them! I didn't really intend to fill this blog post with my family photos from the holidays, but isn't my niece adorable? She is only 2 weeks old in these pics... and if I left her in my camera any longer she would be in preschool and I would sending outdated adorable pictures. Alright, you get my point -- so this is what I have done. I went to Gallery Direct and printed my favorite images from the holidays on canvas. I kept a few for myself, and I sent a few to my mom, grandparents and of course to my brother and his wife.  It’s ridiculously easy to upload your photos and print them on a canvas. It really takes about 4 – 5 clicks of the mouse.  Canvas prints are also very affordable, and with the 75% off sale, Gallery Direct is basically giving them away. Use code: Photo75 I must say-- this simple gesture pretty much won me the award of "family member of the year" as the phone calls and thank you’s I received were amazing, I think there were actually tears.  I did let everyone in on the secret code of getting 75% off at Gallery Direct -- Enter: Photo75 at checkout. Alright, I am off to print some more photos, just thinking about it reminds me that I need to send my sister a birthday present.    
It's Halloween weekend and the scariest part to me is that as soon as we count our candy and put away our masks, it's time to plan for Thanksgiving and then Christmas. A houseful of family and friends is a blessing to me, and so is the power to impress them!  It's amazing how a few pieces of new artwork can really spruce up your home for the holidays. Here are a few easy tips I do every year that make a huge impact with my guests and it keeps my mother in good spirits. Warm Up The Place: Make everyone feel cozy with a warm image in the dining area.  I just purchased these two above for my dining room.  Last time I changed the art in the kitchen my friends thought I had rennovated the entire kitchen area. ha! Honor Your Guests: This one scores major brownie points with the out of towners - I always print pictures we took from our last family gathering on a canvas and display them. Often it's from the Holidays before or in my case, my brother got married so here is my niece and nephew in his wedding -- I find that putting up my siblings kids is just as special to my brothers and sisters as have pictures of them. So I often go the kids route.  The kids love to see themselves displayed and feel special. My niece wanted the last canvas I had printed of her, so this year I am printing two of each as suprise gifts. Classy Holiday Decorations:  A nice snow scene or nativity scene image printed on canvas is a very tactful way to decorate and your home, and it's easy to store for use next year.  I like to keep these images up all winter long. Have a few tips to share with us? We'd love to hear them. Comment away!

   
Here at Gallery Direct we want to make sure that your image looks great. We offer a wide variety of imagery so that you can definitely find something that fits your taste. We have exclusive artists that share their wonderful artwork with us, just for you! In fact, I have many hanging in my own house. We also have Vintage prints that have grown to be very popular. And, you can even upload your own photo and create your very own piece of art. We’ll be doing a three part series on what we, at Gallery Direct, specifically offer. Our PrePress and Imaging department ensures that each image is looked at and retouched to perfection. You are getting the very best there is to offer with Gallery Direct. Gallery Direct offers: Exclusive Artwork: This is Judy Paul’s Lucky in Love – which has been perfected to look closely to the original, in color and in texture. One of my absolute favorites.         Vintage Artwork: Maybe you order a Vintage image. Each Vintage Image you order has been retouched to look like new. Just take a look at this example: Marines Recruiting Photo Uploads: Many customers upload their very own image and are able to create their own art or photograph. There are lots of wedding photos and family photos… photos from trips or even a birthday party. We see a lot back here in the PrePress and Imaging department. We’re going to jump right on into Photo Uploads first. It’s a popular choice. When you upload a photo onto Gallery Direct, you are able to pick the size you want. You are also able to pick a type. Do you want a Gallery Wrap? Or maybe have your image Framed? We also offer printing on Metal, Acrylic, Mirror and even Wood! There are lots of options. Once the image makes it to our PrePress Department is when the magic starts. Let’s look at the below example. The flash from their camera has caused the woman to have “Red eye” – our PrePress Department can take that out: Let’s say you want your photo to be turned into a B&W or Sepia tone: Maybe your photo has a certain Hue to it that doesn’t look neutralized. In this case, this photo is too blue. We can make sure your image turns out great: Join us next time to learn more about our Vintage Imagery. Cassie in our PrePress team works wonders! Go take some photos! Brittney
It’s fascinating how many digital photo printing sites are fighting for a page one google ranking. Why are there so many photo to canvas printing sites? More people have digital cameras and businesses want to make money from this market for ultra-personalized artwork. But, why do folks want to turn their lives into artwork? That’s the question, and the answer’s as obvious as a 25-carat cubic zirconia: “BLING!” Two small New York subcultures captured the media attention in the mid-1970s, Punk and Hip Hop (sorry England, you can’t take credit for birthing the Punk, only proliferating it). Little did we know it at the time, but these two subcultures would battle it out to become the dominant marketing-cultural paradigms of the Western World. Let’s meet our candidates. Both Punk and Hip Hop are “folk” movements, not in a musical sense, but in a grassroots sense. The subcultures gave hope to their participants though artistic expression, simultaneously creating unity while seeking empowerment. The different tools the subcultures employed were not limited to music, but also included how you speak, how you dress, and how you move. Both subcultures used the DIY (do-it-yourself) mantra to unify and increase the member-base, and provided very basic requirements for their members. The DIY mantra then expands to “Just do it,” express yourself first, worry about progressing your talent second. Can’t play your guitar very well? That’s not a requisite to be on stage; use what you’ve got to convey your message (Punk ethos). Can’t sing? You can rap; you just need something to say (Hip Hop ethos). Where the two subcultures greatly differ is in their view of the Establishment. Hip Hop always sought to become part of it, to attain the values, the objects, and the status of the Establishment. Punk sought to destroy those values. Moreover, Punk, rooted in Western-culture, reinforced self-deprecation as a means to stand-out for its participants. This is a very European concept to make fun of yourself. Hip Hop, rooted in African-culture, reinforced self-glorification as a means to stand-out. This is the dominant cultural standard in the Western World today, to stand-out, to say “LOOK AT ME.” This is why today Hip Hop is still Hip Hop, but Punk--with its destroy the establishment and self-deprecation message--morphed or splintered into many different movements: Indie-rock, Post Punk, Emo, Hipster, and the like. Likewise, regardless of how one’s talent pushes the artist to success, the artist must always be leery of his talent and the Establishment, celebrating it. In the end, maybe it’s better to kill yourself and avoid becoming part of the Establishment? As evidenced in the suicides of Ian Curtis of Joy Division and Kurt Cobain of Nirvana. Do you think Jay-Z or Kanye would ever “off” themselves? Hell No. In contrast to Punk’s self-deprecation is Hip Hop’s belief that the individual and the celebration of the individual are paramount. No matter your income bracket or talent level, people should shine like stars, BLING! Hip Hop’s greatest contribution to the world is BLING! You matter most; start acting like it, even if it proceeds your current status. Conceive + Believe = Achieve. So while you might hear a Ramones' song selling cars or a Clash tune hocking soda, the world we live in is not Punkland, but Planet Hip Hop. Today’s world is about self-celebration, not self-deprecation. Advertising revolves around self-celebration. Television revolves around self-celebration and is the chief contributing factor to the proliferation of Reality TV and YouTube. BLING!, where everyday people shine like stars. So, why are there so many digital photo canvas printing sites? BLING!- consumer products revolve around self-celebration, too. BLING! is for any income bracket, from Oprah to Jessi Slaughter. Canvas Photo Printing is a medium, offering a low cost, high-quality solution to turn yourself into a work of art™. You don’t need to commission an artist to celebrate your fabulous life. You can just upload and have it turned into wall decor. We sell an astronomical amount of photos on canvas. We’ve been at this for ten years, and we’re amazed the orders show no signs of slowing down. We’re launching a micro-site, dedicated to handling just photo upload. It will be very easy to use with an incredibly slick design; because things need to be simple, so people can get back to their fabulous lives. Aside from our quality and price being the best for digital photo canvas printing, the user will not be limited to just canvas. Just like gallerydirect.com, the new micro-site will offer alternative media and framing options. BLING! If you really want to celebrate your fabulousness, you might consider printing your digital photo on a mirror! Footnote: Eminem blew up to hyper-stardom because he was the first to mix the self-deprecation of the Punk-tradition into Hip Hop, a little something for everyone.
We think the digital camera might be one of the most significant inventions of all time, particularly, the gazillion megapixel cameras of today. The digital camera didn't close down photo development sites or put photographers, en masse, out of work. The digital camera's contribution is simple, yet profound: the amount of people capturing time increased exponentially. Recently, our friends at Fotolia taught us a new term, "the happy accident." It's that one image out of dozens or even hundreds, which makes you go, "WOW!" The one that looks like a professional took the picture, the one that says I have to upload it and turn it into hang-able wall decor. The image that makes you say, "I want my photo as canvas wall art, or framed on paper, or recreated as art on metal, acrylic, or even mirror." At Gallery Direct, we've now reproduced thousands of happy accidents for customers. Most of the images are absolutely stunning. If the photo upload user could consistently reproduce images such as the ones we've turned into wall art, we would sign some of these folks to limited edition fine art publishing agreements. Therein marks the difference between professional and amateur photographers. A professional photographer can capture compelling images readily and without fail. An amateur photographer, such as my 13 year old niece, will take about 2500 pictures to find one happy accident!

Your Photo On Canvas: Narcissism Unfettered

Tweet One of the most popular offerings at Gallery Direct is our photo upload service: Turn Yourself into a Work of Art.™ As a standard operating procedure, we have to verify each and every file that is uploaded. This is … Read More

One of the most popular offerings at Gallery Direct is our photo upload service: Turn Yourself into a Work of Art.

As a standard operating procedure, we have to verify each and every file that is uploaded. This is necessary to make certain the file size is large enough to reproduce the image to the desired size specified by the user. Occasionally, the file size is really small; therefore, we are unable to reproduce it. Other times, we receive copyrighted material, (naughty, naughty), and we then have to contact the customer to say we cannot create the artwork from protected material. Most times, the uploaded files are the users own photographs. We receive these as large files--around 2MB to 20MB--and the user specifies the picture to be recreated as oversized canvas artwork.

As you might imagine, holidays and seasons influence the pictures we receive. Halloween brings many requests for ghoulish artwork, and this Mother's Day season, we're noticing many poignant pix of mom. It’s nice to see so many thoughtful folks out there.

After reviewing thousands of orders for your photos on canvas, we've noticed most of the images look like pictures you might see on someone's facebook page. Gallery Direct recreates artwork from pictures of people with their pets, people kicking it at parties, on vacation, at little league games. You name it, we've recreated it. It's sort of difficult to describe, but internally, we call it a "facebooky" quality. Think about the culture. Facebook is where users post photos of themselves, creating an idealized vision of their lives--their universe, if you will--online.

Social media is changing the way people think about artwork. It's a grassroots style trend, this type of truculent-narcissistic-hyper-reality, influenced by social media and reality television. If everyday people become stars, why shouldn't everyday people become works of art?

Another source shaping the trend of your photo on canvas or as framed artwork is Reality TV, which makes celebrities of everyday people. This coupled with individual-first mantras fueled by Facebook, Twitter, iPhones, and YouTube is creating a new genre of art. Moreover, consciousness-shaping icons such as Oprah Winfrey herald the concept that the greatest sin is to go unnoticed. This is translating into a home fashion trend.

The demographic recreating artwork from personal photos seems to be split 50% women to 50% men. Moreover, based on the subject matter (i.e. what's on the photos), we're looking at a broad mid-twenties to late forties demographic.

One recent image to grace our facility was this beautiful girl wearing gossamer wings. She recreated herself as a 50x50 image. A week after the delivery, we called her to ask her what she thought of her new piece and where it was hanging, etc. The young voice exclaimed "It's hanging in my apartment. I love looking at it! I love it! Thank you!"

Why not have an idealized image of yourself hanging on your walls to coincide with the idealized way you present yourself to the world via facebook? Social media is changing the way people think about artwork. It's a grassroots style trend, this type of truculent-narcissistic-hyper-reality, influenced by social media and reality television. If everyday people become stars, why shouldn’t everyday people become works of art? It makes perfect sense, and the trend is turning out some really great artwork!

Footnote:

Oversized canvas is our number one category for your photos on canvas. I think it's because people shop around online, we have the best quality and price + the $9.99 flat rate shipping encourages very large pieces. If you are going to take the narcissistic plunge, you might consider reproducing your photos as framed art on paper and even mirror, which is something the other providers cannot boast.