digital lab : a few extras
Hi Everyone -
We're printing in class now and it's pretty exciting to hold some actual photos in my hands. It's strange, but most people rarely have their digital photos printed, including me. Sometimes, it can be a nightmare because the image might look terrific on your monitor, but awful once printed. The photos above might not make the cut in the scent category for that very reason. And, don't get me started on white balance - ugh! I do have some general tips that usually don't give me anything to complain about and I hope they do the same for you -
Download & Backup
Our teacher told us about a student who had 700 photos on her memory card. She hadn't downloaded them to her computer. When it was time to download her work to the computers at school using a memory card reader the card broke in half! All 700 pictures were lost. Could you imagine? What if you lost your camera? So, regularly download your photos to your computer even if you don't work on them right away. Also, please be sure to backup your hard drive. All of these things are machines, and just like us, sometimes they breakdown.
When I first starting taking still life photos of my sewing projects I never used a tripod for my indoors/lowlight shots. I read about how it was essential, but was sure I was steady enough to hold still. I could hold my breath. Wrong! It takes a little bit of getting used to, but the tripod will ultimately become like a third hand, especially if you add in a wireless remote control. Give it a name and you'll have two members on your team. Your first crew member!
Photo Editing Programs
My version of Photoshop was too old for our new computer and I couldn't justify spending $800 for the newest version. I've used Picasa/iPhoto and you can do quite a bit with them. Piknik looks really good, too. Ultimately, I want to do more with filters and purchased Adobe Elements for $75. It's similar to Photoshop, but not as fancy. It gives you the ability to create layers, which is what is necessary for adding textures, filters, etc.
In class, we use Adobe Lightroom ($200) and it's pretty awesome. We can do quite a bit of photo editing, but it has no layer capability. It's also great for organizing your photos and printing is breeze if you can get the image just right for printing, of course.
When I bought my DSLR I didn't want to be a gear head lugging around all this equipment and got the bare minimum. Basically, the camera kit, memory card ($10) and a UV filter ($10). The only things I've added are a 35mm prime lens (no zoom), wireless remote control ($10), memory card reader ($10), and a polarizing filter ($20)). I like the prime lens because it's small, and with no zoom capability, I move around more. Regardless of the story above, the card reader is safer than connecting your camera directly to your computer. The polarizing filter is fantastic for outdoor shots (blue skies love them) and it reduces glare from reflective surfaces like water and glass. You can address this in some photo editing programs, but it's not the same. A lens hood is also often recommended as it prevents light from hitting the front of the lens reducing contrast and creating richer colors. Like the filters, it also protects the lens.
I've always come up with projects for myself. It's a good way to really get to know a subject and it can be anything you like to photograph. Plus, it's a great opportunity to be your own boss ;). If you love the outdoors, focus on trees from all different angles, different lights, types, etc. The reason photographers like Ansel Adams and Richard Avedon were so successful is partially because they took a lot of photos of similar subjects.
Pioneer Women Photography has really great tutorials on everything from basic photography to Photoshop actions.
Ken Rockwell thoroughly reviews all types of cameras. He's a professional, but basically recommends the Nikon D40 for a DSLR and a Canon SD880 for a point & shoot camera. I resisted getting a new point & shoot and opted for a 35mm prime lens instead.
NUBS has great prices on computer software for students, teachers and schools.
Let me know if you have any questions!
PS There is one more thing I need and that's one LCD optical glass screen protector ($10). This thin film looks better to me than the kind that snap on.
Labels: Photography School