Tips from the Imaging Department

Tweet The gals and I in the Imaging Department were talking the other morning on which category wins for the most user uploads to get printed here at Gallery Direct. It was between these 3: wedding, pets & children portraits. … Read More

The gals and I in the Imaging Department were talking the other morning on which category wins for the most user uploads to get printed here at Gallery Direct. It was between these 3: wedding, pets & children portraits. In the Imaging Department we like to give our user uploaded photos a little clean up and boost if they need it. After all it will be hanging in your home so it has to look it's absolute best! Unfortunately,  we do receive many user upload photos that are fuzzy & out of focus, or are dark or have major flash shadows. And there's not much we, the Imaging Department, can do for those problems. So here are some photo tips that I've found useful when taking photos of my own kids or dog! I also love to take pics at family & friends weddings. Go to them, Keep the eyes sharp, and Use natural light.  [caption id="attachment_2277" align="alignnone" width="720"] My dog, Penny Lane. Shot down at her level, focusing on her eyes and using natural light.[/caption] It's important for your kids & pets to feel comfortable. Get down to their level and go to them. Have you ever heard the saying, "eyes are the window to the soul"? Be sure to focus in on the eyes and keep them sharp. Photos using natural light always come out so much better! No flash burst or shadow from the flash. Experiment, Be Patient, and Schedule. [caption id="attachment_2278" align="alignnone" width="720"] My kids. Experimenting with different angles, patiently taking lots of photos and scheduled to do it a time of day I knew they wouldn't be grumpy.[/caption] Experiment with different angles, approaches and compositions. Be patient and just take A LOT of shots. Worry about the results later. It's always good to schedule a time to take portraits when your kids and pets are most energetic. Backdrop awareness and Non posed. [caption id="attachment_2279" align="alignnone" width="500"] I found this blue bonnet field a few miles from my home. Wouldn't it be a perfect backdrop for a wedding portrait!?[/caption] We've seen several times photos of the most adorable kids with maybe a pile of laundry or dirty dishes in the backdrop...or a wedding couple with other people or cars in the backdrop. Be aware of what is behind your subject, and if possible pick a beautiful backdrop out! We also see a lot of posed portraits and those are great, but sometimes I find the non posed ones to be most interesting. Like capturing a wedding couple, walking, talking and laughing. It really makes the photo more intimate.   I hope you found my tips useful. We love seeing the customer photo uploads that come through our Imaging Department, so keep uploading and ordering from Gallery Direct!

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!  

New Era Artist Feature: Volume 1

Tweet Working in Prepress at New Era I have the privilege to work with and look at original artwork from our New Era artists every day! I received degrees in Architecture and in Art emphasizing in Graphic Design, so needless … Read More

Working in Prepress at New Era I have the privilege to work with and look at original artwork from our New Era artists every day! I received degrees in Architecture and in Art emphasizing in Graphic Design, so needless to say I love Architecture and Art... and art of architecture is even better! This is why one of my favorite New Era artists is Tatara. I was able to conduct an e-interview with Tatara, below are the questions and answers.

Q: Your watercolors show dynamic culture, landscapes, architecture & cityscapes – what inspires you to paint these subjects?

A:  I rarely ask myself what I’m looking for when choosing this or that subject.  But once I am working I find that a sense of ideology reveals itself again and again, one that brushes over and blends all the many different details of a fractured world.  My images are in fact based on the reality of this world because I use photography as a tool.  The way a certain image is taken through the painting process, however, tends to bring out “the environment” of a setting.  And it is this part of a landscape that interests me. Q: Do you paint your subjects in person, from memory or refer to a photograph? A:  I began painting outdoors and on streets. This was exciting to be on location, having to stay focused amid the circulating distractions.  Now as I find myself spending more and more time on each piece, I take photographs and piece them together to recreate what it was like to be standing in that spot, all while painting inside my studio. Q: How long have you been painting? How many pieces have you painted? Do you use other mediums besides watercolor? A:  Though I have always enjoyed drawing with pencil, since my childhood even, I only began painting like I do now 15 years ago.  Watercolor seemed like an extension of drawing.  And now I am painting with oil, which for me has been the biggest step toward painting. [caption id="attachment_662" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Troubled Guest TA173A, wall mural hung in our office gallery by my coworker, Brittney and myself"][/caption] . Q: Which piece that you painted is your favorite and why? A:  Well, because I don’t really think of my work as individual, virtuoso-like creations, and rather as threads in a big fabric, I find this question difficult.  But if we look at “troubled guest” I see a good representation of all that interests me.  It is a house, a very generic house, that has been taken over by streamers of toilet paper.  It is a setting that has cultural undertones, but once removed, it has a serenity reminiscent of the Indian sub-continent or of warm-hearted laughter.  Altogether, the environment surrounding the object reaches from paper edge to paper edge. [caption id="attachment_665" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Original on the left, digital print file on the right inversed in Prepress."][/caption] Q: Your latest works have included painting in inverse colors, how did you come up with this idea and is it difficult to paint in this mode? A: I stumbled upon this technique by looking at snapshot negatives as an alternative figure/ground composition.  I found what I needed in the negative, which then served as the subject of a painting.  Once the painting was completed I recorded it in my inventory like I do all my work.  But I had a simple curiosity which was to observe the painting reversed back to its original color composition.  It seemed full of possibilities because of the newness of layering watercolor upon an ink-black substrate, becoming lighter and lighter, instead of the convention of increased darkness. Is it difficult?  Only when you think about what you’re doing. Hope you enjoyed getting to know one of our artists, stayed tuned for New Era Artists: volume 2!