General, photography, technical

Throwback Thursday: Yearbook

Last week, I mentioned my yearbook. Today, I want to tell you, how to create one ūüôā

Each December, I copy all my edited / developed images from the past 12 months into one folder of my hard-disk and rename them to have a naming schema YYYYMMDD-HHmmss- in front of the original file name. Next, I remove all tags and stars from them by using a light-table software to have no filtering at all. Now, I can flip though all of my images and give them stars again. Starting with 1 star for the outstanding images. After that, I can filter again and select all images with 1 star and start again flipping though the already marked images and give a second star to the outstanding images. Repeating this three times I got the top images marked with 5 stars.

You can also ask someone for help: a friend or a family member. But, what are the¬†¬†quality characteristics? An images must be sharp (expect, you’re looking for a kind of abstract images), well exposed (having details in the highlights as well as in the dark shadows), a balances horizon and have a good composition. Although, inexperienced people can’t name, why an image is better than another image, they are often able to rank them.

What does good composition mean? It’s not that easy. You can study for years to try to learn what composition mean. Different teachers stress different aspects. But, there are a few basic rules. Instead of writing my own thesis on this, I have a link to Wikipedia for you as an entry point.

Now, that you have a selection of your images taken during the last 12 months, you can start composing the book.

Here you have several options as well. I’d recommend, first finding a print shop¬†and use their software for composing the book instead of creating a pdf and upload the final pdf. Try to tell a story in your book and align the images along that story. You could i.e. order the images chronologically (like a trip through the year), by topic (flowers, animals, landscapes, people, still-lifes, macro, …. ) or by the main color of the images (reds, yellows, greens, blues, monochromes and in-between the mixed colors like purple, orange, turquoise and so on to describe the whole rainbow in your book).

Don’t put too many images on one pages. Keep it simple. Your yearbook is the gallery of the best images of the year. Thus, put only one image in landscape format or max two images in portrait format on one page. Or one image in landscape mode on the left page and 4 complementary images in landscape mode on the right page. (i.e. a big landscape and 4 details in that certain landscape). Pay attention to have the images of the same size throughout the whole book. That makes the book look more even. Look for matching or complementary¬†images on the two pages laying side-by-side. Choose a neutral background color for the pages like white, black or a grey tone and keep this color for the whole book. Don’t use cliparts and big texts. When necessary use a simple and neutral font like Helvetica, Times or Courier in sizes up to 10 point for regular text and 12 point for headlines (that’s bigger than in your newspaper! – try it with your home printer for a single page).

When you need an advice for a certain kind of software for any of the above tasks, drop me a note and I’m going a bit more in detail and name the software I’m using.

Take care!

 

art, photography, technical

up, on to the wall!

Hey, you like to go out and taking photographs? You brought back (and bring back at least occasionally) a card full of great photos? Raw-development is also already done? And now? Only using up several giga-byte of storage on your computer?

How often do you look on your photos stored on your computer, usb-stick or cell-phone? Do you show them around? How do you do it? Do you put them online to a web-forum, your blog, at g+ or at flickr? Isn’t there more? What else could you do with your photos?

Many years ago, when photos were taken on film, you’ve had to bring the film to a lab for development. A few days later you got your developed film back via postal service or fetch it from a store. According to the order you placed with the film, you also got at least one print in 9x13cm (3,5×5 inch) or 10x15cm (4×6 inch) from each photo.

Nowadays you can find self-service print stations in supermarkets, drugstores and small photo shops. These might be the replacement for the ordered prints I mentioned above. I guess, this is used mostly for photos taken at family events like birthdays, christmas or weddings. Photos taken during a vacation might end in a self-designed photo book. According to the ads, they seem to be very popular. But is this all? No!

There are also labs around, that are offering prints in bigger sizes. I ordered some of such prints in 30×45 cm (12×18 inch) or 40×60 cm (16×24 inch) to put them on a wall. What a great impression. I put them with a passepartout in a wooden frame behind a sheet of glass. Thus, the print is saved well. But, the glass is mirroring. Especially in quite darker parts of the photo. Nevertheless, such a big photo not only reminds you to that special situation, it also can motivate you.

Transportation

Up to DIN A4 (20×30 cm / 8×12 inch) prints are distributed in a hardened envelope and transported by the usual mail service. Bigger sizes prints, instead, are distributed rolled in a cardboard tube and transported by a parcel service. Furling such a print is easy for distribution, but has a big problem: the print memorized the time being rolled and tends to roll up again after being unrolled. Additional, you are in risk of kink or bend the print while pulling it out of the tube. These kinks often are irreparable damages.

Alternatives

For some time, there are also a few alternatives available: Canvas prints, metal prints (composite materials) and Acrylic prints.

Canvas

A few weeks ago I ordered two canvas prints sized 60x80cm (24×32 inch) to test the quality. They came in a parcel as expected. Each frame wrapped in air bubble film separately and together in a stable cardboard box. Despite their size, they are surprisingly lightweight compared to a conventional framed print.

Interestingly, both canvas prints have an impression of depth and three-dimensionality. It seems for me, as if I could really touch the subject in the image, when looking at them.¬† That’s a very different experience compared to conventional prints. Maybe, that’s a result of the structured surface of the canvas material.

Unfortunately, on all four sides you’re losing parts from your image. That’s because of the canvas is pulled over the wooden frame and fixed at the back. Depending on the thickness of the frame, you lose several centimeter / inches. Therefore, make sure, you don’t have any necessary content in these border parts. Some (if not all) print shop know about this problem and face it with different options to choose from. The simplest option is accepting the loss. Or, you can add extra space for the wrapping in white, black or fitting to the image. Now, it’s up to you, to choose the best option for your purpose.

You don’t need a picture frame or a gallery system necessarily to put such a canvas on the wall. Simply put needles in the wall and use the wooden frame inside the canvas for hanging your picture up.

Acryl

I also ordered an acryl print. It’s much more expensive than a canvas print. The look-and feel is similar to the conventional prints mounted behind glass and you don’t have any losses and the borders of you print. Delivery is also in a flat cardboard box. The surface is sensitive for scratches. Thus, it comes with a protective foil, that you have to remove after delivery.

For this kind of print, you definitely need a clamp behind your print to hang it up. Not every print shop includes it per default. So, look carefully for it.

Storing

I like to change my prints every a few times a year. Thus, I have to store them somewhere. Storing conventional print is easy. They don’t need much room. I take them out of the frame and store them in a folder, I bought in a store for artists (painter). It’s a cardboard map big enough for A2 prints. Usually it is used by art students to collect their works. And, my photo prints are save inside, too. It’s also quit easy to reach them when I want to change one.

Canvas prints are way bulky. You also have to take care of them, while storing them. The material is quite sensitive for pressure. You have to avoid, that something else lays on top of a laying canvas frame or might press an edge from the side while storing them standing upright.

Acryls are also not so easy to store. OK, they are not as thick as canvas and less sensitive for pressure. But, you have to save the surface from scratching and, most importantly, handle the jutting clamp on the back.

Conclusion

For me, each of these different materials has its own pros and the quality is very similar. At the moment, I like the canvas print most, because of the mentioned feeling of depth.

But, I don’t want to conceal a drawback. You can only use the predefined formats for your print.Usually, the print shop offers his products huge variety of formats you can choose from. But, supposed you have i.e. a panorama in a format, not available at any print shop. In this case, you can print is on paper and cut off the unnecessary parts, cut a¬†passepartout and build a frame on your own. This is not possible with the other materials.

I’d like to get your comments. What do you think about hanging your own photos in i.e. your living room or your hall. Have you ever tried, hanging up your own photo? What kind of material do you like most and why? Are you interested in printing you own photos now, if you didn’t do so before?