Saturday, 18 December 2010

Unit 310 Photo Editing Process

Starting Image adjusted for contrast only, I wanted the lens flare as I felt this was an important style requirement of the image which had a similar effect to the image from one of my influences, Unfortunately in the background there was a tree which is spoiling / intruding into the image, I couldn't move the car or the tree so the only option was to remove it in Photoshop, I would normally try and get the image right in camera, but sometimes there is no other way.

The final image 
After editing in Photoshop and about 12 layers each with a role to play from the simple cloning of the tree out to replicating the flare over the cloned areas, and finally importing another image section for the rear view mirror image.

Unit 310 Calendar Styles

 I'm at the to point were I have finalized my images and am now looking to import them into a calendar profile, I now have to decide which styles I like and want to use  and which images will go where.

I have a couple of options, the purist way would be to produce my own template in photoshop then send this to a printer (see Previous blog entry).... or the easy way would be to use an online printers template and just put my images into the one I like, I think this will be the way I will go, It's easier and probably quicker too.

There is a multitude of web based online printer companies out there such as Blurb or Bobs Books, right the way through to Tesco's, the two companies that I may be using is DS Colour Labs and Bob Book, both of these suppliers I have been using these for my photos and I am happy with their quality and turnaround of the products.

Here is the Bob Books online system:

With endless possibilities of layout options which you can amend to suit your wishes

DS Colour Labs has a similar system but has not the flexibility of design of Bob books, you cannot move image boxes around or resize the frames. but still a good option as it is quick and easy to produce quality images.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Joe Cornish

Whet to the Joe Cornish lecture held by Burton College last Wedneday evening,  It was a very enjoyable lecture  where he talked about his life as a photographer from his early beginnings to present. He talked about his influences, his passion and his reason for why he is a landscape photographer.

Joe spoke about his camera equipment and said that you don't have to have the kit to take good pictures! I disagree with him to some extent, my reasons are if the kit didn't mater then he wouldn't be lugging a rucksack full of equipment up a mountain he would have a point and shoot in his top pocket,  In my opinion I think he is partly right, you don't need kit to take a picture with good location, composition and lighting, however to take quality pictures you need the right kit to get resolution, tonal range, depth of field, sharpness on the image and colour rendition.

I think what came out of the lecture most was the time and dedication that is required to get the images he gets, he spends days or even weeks at one location just to get one shot with the right lighting and weather conditions. Here is a link to his Light and Land work which just says it all

It 's basically what 'Mr Steve' our lecturer said  which was confirmed by Joe, to get a good image you need the following key things
  • you need to know your equipment inside out, what it can and cannot do
  • you need the equipment to be able to do the job
  • you need to have commitment and passion 
  • you need to have the eye to see and compose images
  • you need to be in the right place
and the most important one in my opinion is 
  • Take pictures, when ever you can, practice, practice practice practice..... if you do this one thing everything else will fall into place.
Finally I think one of the things that came out of this lecture is the fact of time, if you go to a location and expect to get the same images quality as Joe they you will always be disappointed, or extraordinarily lucky, because this is his profession, he does this every day he is practiced in his craft (where as we play at it) and he does this every day, even on his 50th birthday.


Saturday, 20 November 2010

Unit 310 Produce your own calendar in Photoshop

Originally I was going to have a workflow process which included using my monitor at home which I have calibrated to the output of the online colour profile of DS Colourlabs and I was getting them to print off my calendar, unfortunately after talking to Mr Steve our lecturer, he is of the opinion that part of this units requirement is for me to physically print my images on a printer next to the computer, rather than what is basically a remote printer at DS Colourlabs! .... so I'm going to produce my own calendar in photoshop and use A4 sized luster photo paper. Following on from my previous conversation with my lecturer and aaan email conversation with City and Guilds (or not) we can to the conclusion that I may be able to produce a local image on the college printer to show that I am able to produce colour calibrated prints, then for my finished product I will go the Bob Books as this is a cheaper and more durable option. 

The following process is for example purposes and I will not be using this process again because of the costs and the ascetics as the image does not present itself as well when the calendar is over the image.

Make Your Own 2010 Calendar in Photoshop

I just got a calendar file (.psd) from my friend, and I already used it to create unique calendars. So I would like to share how to create your own 2010 calendars by using this calendar file. Not only for your own 2010 calendar, but you can also create nice and unique 2010 calendar for your friends, family, etc. Moreover, you can create the calendar for selling as well. Anyway, before I go over into details, I would like to show before/after images as shown below.

1. Download zip file CLICK HERE. Unzip this file “” to get “2010.psd”.
2. Then, open “2010.psd” with Adobe Photoshop.
3. Let’s look at the layer pallet and you will see each layer containing date of each month in 2010.
4. I will demonstrate you how to use this file (so easy) to create the calendar of January 2010. Let’s open a photo.
5. Duplicate layer by right click and select duplicate layer.
6. Select the destination file which you would like the layer to be on and the click OK.
7. After clicking OK, you will see at the layer named “January” in the layer pallet over the background layer.
8. You may see that layer named “January” is so small because my photo is very large. I am not worried about this problem because my layer “January” is text which I can expand as big as I want.
9. Use free transform command (Edit>Free Transform) to expand size of text until you are satisfied with overall size. What’s more, you can add effect into the text such as dropping shadow, blending layer, etc.
10. Add some additional text if you like.
11. You will get nice and unique 2010 calendar which is ready to print and /or send to someone for this New Year.
12. You can try another style like this as well.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Unit 212 Resource, time and costs

In this Blog entry I will be providing clear and consistent evidence of resources used, time require to complete the task and total estimated costs that would have been required had this been an actual commissioned brief.

Because this brief/ unit was part of course I have obviously tried to source materials and subjects that have not cost me anything. to that end I shall produce estimated costs for the resources used.

College course time 16 weeks = 16 days total work divided between 3 units, plus additional days of my own time.

The resources involved in this brief were basically as follows:

  • Insurances and my time costs
I have house insurance which covers my equipment, had this project been an actual business process I would have had to made sure every process was covered from my equipment through to public liability. 

Public liability costs about £375 this also include professional indemnity so that had the work not been suitable and I will be sued by the customer it will cover this possibility.

My cost had I been charging for my time would depend on how you set up the process, either you put in a cost for the whole job (fixed price) or you charge by the hour. To give you an idea my wedding work I charge around £600 for a full days shooting and editing time and a 26 page wedding album, this works out at about £23 per hour and out of this I need to buy the album.
  • camera and lens
the camera and lens I used cost approximately £3000 to buy and would to hire cost for 3 days £59

            • support equipment such as tripods, lighting andd reflectors
            To buy my equipment my tripod a Manfrotto 055XPROB cost £125 plus £55 for a three way head, to rent would have cost me £25 for three days 

            Flash Equipment I borrowed from the college was again free, to buy would have been around £900, and to hire for three days would have been £60 and  £25 for the battery pack

            Bowens Triggers cost about £300 for transmitter and receiver, again the college one was free to hire would be £9

            • people to photograph including accessories and clothing
            My model Emma cost me £20 per hour which is a very good price, this reason being is that I bartered with her and she was free that day and the shoot was at her home location, had we had three models for the two hours each it would have cost me £120 for this brief.
            • cars and materials to photograph
            Cars again were free this time due to knowing someone who knows someone with some cars, had we have had to hire out car then the cost would have been approximately £500 per car for the full day

            • pc/ Mac including appropriate software to download, edit and process images
            Again my mack and Adobe CS4 software to buy was about £1200 for the Mac and £400 for the software. to hire would be 

            • CD// Mac/ Printer, paper and ink to enable output of images to the relevant source
            Dependent on what output method I would require the cost could be negligible, CDs are pence to buy and burn. Printers obviously cost more around £600 for a HP Photosmart B9180 A3, and £43 to hire for three days. The college computer which is also HP Photosmart B9180 A will be free to use, but there is a cost for paper which includes the ink usage and this is £3.50 per A3+ sheet.

            So all in all what would have been cheaper to do... Buy and borrow or Hire

            The results are in

            Buy and borrow have cost me ... £5,720
            To hire would have cost me     ... £1,800
            The actual costs were               ... £70 including purchasing three calendars

            The end result is that obviously as I had all this equipment already the actual cost of the shoot was £40 for one model, but had this been a commercial shoot it is significantly cheaper to hire, the flip side to this is that if you are using the equipment on a daily basis then the reverse is true it then become cheaper to buy over the long term.

            Unit 310 Photo Imaging Output Evaluation

            In this Blog entry I will be providing a technical evaluation that demonstrates a high level of knowledge of digital imaging systems,and color management from the taken image through to the pc screen to the final output of the the printing device, be it local or remote such as an online printer. digital imaging systems,and color management is the controlled conversion between the color representations of various devices, such as image scanners, digital cameras, monitors, TV screens, film printers, computer printers, offset presses, and corresponding media.The primary goal of color management is to obtain a good match across color devices; for example, a video which should appear the same color on a computer LCD monitor, a plasma TV screen, and on a printed frame of video. Color management helps to achieve the same appearance on all of these devices, provided the devices are capable of delivering the needed color intensities.  In this case it will be from a digital camera through my iMac with the output being Bob Books and online printer.

            Parts of this technology are implemented in the operating system (OS), helper libraries, the application, and devices. A cross-platform view of color management is the use of an ICC-compatible color management system. The International Color Consortium (ICC) is an industry consortium which has defined an open standard for a Color Matching Module (CMM) at the OS level, and color profiles for the devices and for working spaces (color spaces the user edits in) as also devicelink-profiles representing a complete color transformation from source to target.
            There are other approaches to color management besides using ICC profiles. This is partly due to history and partly because of other needs than the ICC standard covers. The film and broadcasting industries make use of many of the same concepts, but they more frequently rely on boutique solutions. The film industry, for instance, often uses 3D LUTs (lookup table) to represent a complete color transformation. At the consumer level, color management currently applies more to still images than video, in which color management is still in its infancy.

            I will start this journey through this process by first telling you what equipment I have, The capture equipment I have is two digital cameras, one a full frame 21 megapixel, the other a 1.6 cropped sensor with 12 megapixels, both of these cameras I use the RAW setting to the highest quality. The RAW format is very similar to the film negative before it is processed as it contains all the 'raw' information taken by the camera. to process this information I use Adobe Bridge and its RAW processing software for the basic batch adjustments such as white balance, for more detailed individual adjustment and amendment such as removal of blemishes of skin etc I continue through to the full Photoshop program. Alll of my images are veiwed on my 24" iMac desktop system  with OS Snow Leopard operating system which I calibrate using my  Pantone Huey Pro, this is one of a multitude for devices which provide you with an automation screen calibration. I have a Canon MP160 3 in one printer, and I use an online printer company called DS ColourLabs

            Screen Calibration
            I feel that accurate colour is essential for anyone involved with digital imaging, and monitor calibration should be as essential as remembering to put your memory card in the camera.. My package included an installation CD  (this is where these images are from), with drivers for both Windows XP and Mac OS so I use it on my Windows based laptop as wll, although the screen on the laptop is not as good a quality as the Mac, it also come with the huey unit itself, a desktop cradle and USB extension cable, some screen monitor cleaning wipes and a quick start guide. Following the quick start guide to the letter, first clean your screen with the wipes. Install the software and re-boot on completion. Once the computer has restarted you connect the huey to your computer via the USB cable extension cable. Place the Huey on your desk facing you and it reads the ambient room light, once completed you are prompted to attach the huey to your screen.

             The first thing that strikes me is its small size, its about the same size as a Wacom pen. The huey has eight tiny suckers which hold it in place on the screen and it can be used for both LCD and CRT screens (and laptops). I was reluctant to use this on the delicate surface of my LCD screen. The suckers need a slight amount of moistening, I resisted the temptation to lick the suckers and used a damp cloth. A small amount of pressure is required to make the huey stick to a LCD screen, but not enough to cause any damage. For CRT screens there isn’t a problem, just whack it on.

             Once fitted in place the screen rotates through a series of colours, this process takes about 1 minute. Your monitor's profile is saved and automatically applied as the new default setting. You are prompted to remove the huey and place it back in the cradle in front of your monitor.

             The huey will continue to read the ambient light and adjust the brightness of the monitor all the time your computer is switched on. - very clever stuff. There is an adjustable slider in the preferences that gives you the choice of how frequently you want huey to measure the ambient light.

            You can also select the kind of work you do from; gaming, web browsing and photo editing, graphic design and video editing, to warm low - medium - high contrast and warm low - medium - high contrast. This changes the appearance of the image displayed on your screen, which in my opinion rather defeats the purpose of creating an accurate profile by does give the option to have your own settings to suit your own taste, I like mine reasonably warm. The huey measured the monitor as is, and at no stage was I prompted to alter my monitor's brightness and contrast settings. I adjusted the contrast at brightness when I received my first print back so that the original on screen image matches the printed version thus gaining consistency for future prints from this supplier.

            In summary, the huey is very easy to set up and use on my Mac screen. The huey cost me £70 and I think represents good value for money, and it appeals to the keen hobbyist who doesn't want to splash £140+ out on a Spyder. Bearing in mind that is aimed at the hobbyist market I would have liked a few more options, such as being able to calibrate a TV screen as well as a monitor, basically it does what is says on the tin is calibrates your screen so that I can now set my onscreen images to what ever profile I require be it my local printer, or my online printer companies I use. Since using this device I have never had any colour problems on any of my returned prints. The important thing to do is to also adjust your brightness of your screen, Macs are notoriously bright at around 300 candelas, a candelas is a base unit of luminus intensity (power of light emited from a device). A common candle emits the same light power intensity of one candlelas. How I have set the brightness of my Mac was by getting a print of one of my images from my online printer and comparing the same image on screen then adjusting the brightness levels until I think the look the same, obviously you never get this excact as one is emmiting light whereas the other is reflecting light. I have set my mac to 3 bars on the scale and I ensure that I have it set at this level when I edit my images. When I use my local printer I use the same method as above and record the settings for later use.

            Now that I have my on screen image is a bit more reliable, I find that those colour casts and defects on my prints are much improved. I find that if you I am using manufacturers inks and paper the printer profiles supplied by the printer and the paper manufacturer are often very good.
            If printing from an application like Photoshop then I suggest the way is to use 'no colour adjustment' in the printer driver and use the appropriate printer profile in the Photoshop 'Print with Preview' window.

            When I send my images to a third party or online printing for printing, it helps if you can send consistent data. Using standard colour spaces (such as Adobe98 or sRGB) you can be more sure of what you are sending, The company I use require me to send my images in the sRGB colours space. If your printer supplier is not able to answer basic questions about their colour management policy and preferred formats, then maybe consistent results are unlikely, and I would probably not use them.

            Paper and inks
            Manufacturers inks and papers may be more expensive, but until third party ink manufacturers offer printer profiles for various printer/paper/ink combinations you are just going to have to experiment. There is also the question of how long your choice of ink/paper is going to last, personally until the price of inks come down I will continue to use the online printers. none original replacement inks, I find never have the same consistency and is very difficult to achieve consistent results, so again I will keep using the online printers.

            Of course you can produce your own printer/ink/paper profiles... This sounds expensive and it can be... The equipment to produce top quality profiles, and the expertise to do it does not come cheap. If you are just going to be using a few paper types then consider getting custom profiles made. You print a standard pattern, send it off, and a profile gets mailed back to you. The complexity and expense of this process varies, but it is pretty straightforward. You might wish to experiment with doing profiles yourself  but be prepared for plenty of experimenting. There are several reviews of colour management devices  which can help you with getting more accurate colour, most paper manufacturers supply profiles for their paper and some even offer their services to help set up your printer with a profile for their paper..If some of these solutions sound too expensive, then consider the real costs of getting it wrong. Factor in the time and resources lost in not getting things right first time.

            Take time to learn the principles behind colour management because I think  it's well worth it . The better you understand what is going on, the easier it is to spot something that is not right, and fix it. Remember that the end result is what counts.

            So now I have sorted out my screen calibration the next thing is to ensure that I have some method to ensure that the images I take can be calibrated through to the printing stage, there are two things we need to do one is to be able to achieve a true white balance, mos to the time this can be achieved when you are using RAW by using the eyedropper white balance tool/ selector to adjust the white balance by clicking on a suitable white area on your image in Adobe's RAW processing software, this is 99% of the time simple and easy some times when you have multiple light sources which are all different such as tungsten and fluorescent, so what can you do about this... well the answer is simple get a 18% grey card and have your subject hold this for the first image and use this to calibrate the white balance, you have to remember to use it every time the light changes.

            I use Lastolite products and they also product some useful tutorials courtesy of Mark Cleghorn, as below


            The second thing I need to do, especially if I do an advertising shot, is to ensure that my colours are true the the manufacturers specifications, fo excample the car I used for my calendar shoot was a ferrari and there colour red is there trade mark and had I been using this shoot to advertise their car the shoot would have been wasted if at the printing or projecting stage it wasn't the same red.

            So you use a similar card to the 18% grey card, but this time a Macbeth colour chart, you put this card in the picture, just the same as the grey one. when your picture is one the screen, I make sure that I have set all my devices, Camera, Mac, printer and editing software to the same colour space, I use Adobe RGB 1998, then I turn off all the automatic settings.

             To enable me to ensure that the colours that the manufacture put on the car is the same that is reproduced on the printed output, I down loaded the colour reference, sometimes it is a pantone colour reference but in this case as it is a car they use a slightly different colour refernce scale this is a HEX colour chart.

            Once I have the correct colour chart I sample the colour by using photoshopscolour sampling / colour balance pipett tool first on the manufacurers colour, noting what the colour reference is then sampling the out file colour and adjusting the colours to match. (by luck or experienced eye the colour on my prints and screen image/ car was a perfect match) The trick is to sample a section of colour with flat lighting on it an no reflections.

            Luckily for me and the others, the college has conveniently calibrated a monitor and a local printer and to prove this here is the printer test sheets that is printed and compared against the monitor. 

            Unit 310 Photo Imaging Output workflow

            In  this blog entry I will be providing clear and consistent evidence of my understanding of the workflow process that is involved in producing images. every thing from selecting the method of image production to identification of image output problems and resolution of the issues.

            So to put it basically what is my workflow:

            • Camera.. take a picture with a DSLR on the RAW quality setting
            • PC... download the RAW file to the pc
            • Photo editing software.... adjust the RAW file image as required
            • PC... save the finished file as a TIFF and JPEG
            • Back up all images as TIFFS to separate back up hard drive
            • Online printer..... send JPEG file to the online printer for printing of single prints, books or calendar
            • Burn to CD/ DVD for client
            • Send images or proofs by email to the client

            Unit 310 Twenty Images

            Here are my selected images, they are two series of ten images from my unit 212 working to a photographic brief. The two themes were: prestige cars and female fashion, unfortunately because of circumstances I was only able to produce images of two cars, due to the fact that seven vehicles were programmed in but only two turned up on the day of the shoot, and similarly three models were scheduled in, but due to illness and other paid assignments only one model (Emma) turned up.

            Ten Car images - Title of Calendar 'Red' due to the fact that the two cars I eventually ended up with were.... Red

            Post production on these images has been limited to exposure, some fill and cropping, I may do further post production for the finished article, but at this time it is not required for the selection process.

            1) Image title: Curves and Lines
            In this image leading line plays and important part of the composition, as the shape of the car and the way the light accentuates the curve of the vehicle and leading you through the picture, whilst the reflections of the trees in the wing and the green grass beyond lest you know that there is other elements beyond the picture.

            2) Image Title: Vanishing Point
            Again the road going into the distance creates the idea of an endless road in which the sleek car speeding off, the strong diagonal lines also enforce this idea, the letterbox proportions also grounds this image to enable the vehicle to propel itself from

            3) Image Title: Through the Starting Gate
            Strong diagonals and lines create a flow from the gate through to the gravel drive carrying the car with it. The viewer naturally looks at an image left to right  as you would reading a book, this image is easier to look at because of this.

            4) Image Title: Corniche
            In this image I have used the leading line coming in from the right which created some dynamic tension making the viewer trying to balance the picture because of this tension thus creating interest at the same time

            5) Image Title: Red and Silver
            Again as the image above it diagonal dynamic tension creates an interest.

            6) Image Title: The Black Hat
            In this image there are some lines but the majority of this image is about symmetry with the model in the middle of the car with the wings framing her. Interest in the picture is the question of why is she hiding her face? is she as beautiful as her body and clothes suggest.

            7) Image Title: Fast Lines
            Again the leading line and strong cropping emphasise the fast lines of the car.

            8) Image Title: The Flying Lady
            close cropping with a shallow depth of field create depth to this image. the shape of the radiator and the flying lady create a sort of triangle or circle making the viewer stay within the image.

            9) Image Title: Caress

            10) Image Title: Walnut and Leather

            Ten fashion images, again due to only one model turning up the images and styles are limited.

            Post production on these images has been limited to exposure, some fill and cropping, I may do further post production for the finished article, but at this time it is not required for the selection process

            1) Image Title: The Grey Mini

            2) Image Title: Shades of Grey

            3) Image Title: Girl in Headscarf
            This image was selected as it uses the strong lines of the windshield and door window to frame the model keeping you looking at her.

            4) Image Title: Melancholy

            5) Image Title: Looking Back

            6) Image Title: Black and Grey

            7) Image Title: Emma

            8) Image Title: The new Black
             9) Image Title: Legs

            10) Image Title: The Yellow Dress