Tag Archives: prints

Smiles for you and me

My wife found a very cool service on the net for making slide shows to share pictures with friends and family. It’s called “SmileBox” and the basic service is a freebie and not too offensive with ads and such. It ties into iPhoto on the Mac and makes it very easy to assemble a slide show to email or if you buy the plan, burn to DVD using iDVD. The same features are available for Windows but I do not have any experience with them, only on the Mac.

I have a “gallery” show at a local coffee house (Chapman Coffee House) and my wife and I made a slide show using Smilebox to send it around. But an important part is that I can make a DVD of the show and give it to the owners of the coffee house for their own use. This keeps me and my business in their good graces and shows off that I can take foodie pictures of their wares, nice architectural shots of their business and more. Well worth the 39 dollars a year membership fee.

The membership also lets you using your own music but gives you a library of 2,000 or so songs to choose from which is very handy. You can choose from sideshows, ecards, scrapbooks, postcards or photo albums with a nice assortment of templates for each. And when you are done with your creation, they have it set up to post to all the major and minor social sites like, for example, WordPress ūüôā

You can see a live sample in the slide show below of my gallery showing at the coffee house.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Chapman Coffeehouse August 2009
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Posted in Album Software, Business Aids, photography, Uncategorized, workflow Also tagged , , , , , , , , |

Composition Notes

Taking a good picture is just not about subject or colors, there is a very important aspect of any image called “Composition”. This is how the various items in an image are arrange or how images are arranged. Artists have worked out various “tricks” in the past to aid with composition. There is using part of the foreground as a border to help focus the eye on the subject, you can use the rule of thirds where there are four point on an image where the subject can look it’s strongest, you can use curves and lines to help guide the eye to the subject and more. The number one composition error that most photographers make is the “bulls eye” composition where the subject is dead center in the frame. An additional error is that people tend to take pictures all from their eye level either tilting the camera up from their eye or down from their eye. This is very problematic when taking pictures of children who are much smaller than the photographer.

But I really want to talk about composition and how it ¬†applies to how you arrange your prints. What? it’s true, you can use more than one image on a given print. When you do this, you can really make a nice print by paying attention to composition within the images and how they are arranged on the mat.¬†

Consider the image below, three images of the same field of flowers, boring by themselves but with some simple layout tricks, it becomes a very different image.  Remember what I said about using lines to help guide the eye?

Summer Glow



When you look at the image, the eye wants to start at the top left and go right.. so you see the wide angle of the flowers. Then the next line down starts at the right and draws the eye back to the left side with bigger flowers and then back to the left again. Finally, you stop on the bottom with a close up of the flowers.

This simple trick of cropping and arranging the strips of flowers makes for a pleasing picture for the eye and allows for the eye to follow the path how it would naturally move.

Layout composition also can work with size of images used.  In the following example, I used three images from the tea house in the Chinese Gardens located in Portland, OR. The image on the left is the smallest and it goes left to right with the right being the largest of the three. I also used a muted image for the background to help tie all three together.

Tea House

These two samples are just a couple of ways to use composition in your layouts of multiple images.

Try arranging multiple images next time you have a set of  images you like. Play with them and see if you can combine them using layout and cropping to build a stronger overall picture.

Posted in photography, ramblings Also tagged , , , , |

Prints and Posts

So I have my first “Gallery” showing at a local coffee house. If you are around, drop by Chapman Coffee House in Orange next to Chapman College on Glassell and Walnut.

Its much more of a “show your art and help decorate the walls” but I’ll take it. For the printing, I used MPIX for the first time. I have used Bay Photo in the past and have been very happy with them but MPIX has a metallic paper that just sounded too cool not to try.

I exported about twenty images out of Lightroom and uploaded them to MPIX. The Java loader is very easy to use and unlike the POS loader that Facebook uses, it does not seem to mind if I use FLickr images as a source file or not. I made a gallery and picked out my images for standoffs and metallic paper. I did all this at 4:30AM and placed my order. By 5pm the next day, I had ALL my prints in my hands. And the metallic paper is gorgeous with the right images. You need saturated colors and strong images since the paper is very reflective with a sheen to it when it hits the light. A friend looking at the images said they had almost a 3d look to them which is true.

The quality of the prints was very good but they trimmed off some of the prints which cost me my signature line on some images. Even with the print sized specifically for the 10×10 or 8×12 etc, they oversize the print slightly. Lesson learned. I wish MPIX tied into SmugBug so I could offer the metallic paper to customers without my having to use MPIX’s ROES. Maybe someday.

So in a nutshell, MPIX has killer paper with a super delivery time and decent prices. The QA was ok, a couple of my standoffs were dinged and I wish they made it VERY clear to how is trimmed for the bleed but they are small complaints.

Posted in photography Also tagged , , , |