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Monthly Archives: May 2018

Ways To Fast Track Photography

Update your camera gear

There comes a time when your digital camera doesn’t do your skills justice. While point-and-shoot cameras are convenient and cheaper, they are restricted by their simplicity and their smaller sensor size.

Unfortunately, the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ is still the truth. Even an entry-level DSLR and kit lens will produce sharper and bigger images, and allow you to play with a wider aperture range, from at least f/4 to f/22.

If you’re into landscape photography, a sturdy tripod is a must, as is a polarising filter to darken blue skies. A cable release will prevent camera shake during longer exposures. A decent kit bag will protect your expensive gear, and enable more efficient access to it.

Subscribe to a photography magazine

The racks of most bookshops are stacked with numerous photography magazines. My favourite is Digital SLR Photography*, which boasts a higher standard of writing than found in other titles from the UK. Of course, these days you can subscribe to the digital version of magazines, and download them to your mobile device of choice.

Start a personal project

A popular pastime is to shoot a photo every day for 365 days. The idea is to force yourself into the habit of getting your camera out regularly, not just for holidays, or special occasions. Shoot ordinary events or items.

Dedicated 365 websites give tips and ideas.

You could photograph a ‘selfie’ in the mirror to record your beard growth for 12 months, and then create a time lapse.

Another worthwhile project is to choose a numeral (e.g. 8) or a colour (e.g. red). Walk around town for a day, only shooting this topic. You will be amazed at how such a focussed assignment will hone your observation skills.

Enter a photography competition

Success in a local, national or even international competition is not only a huge boost to your confidence, and reputation – you may collect some fantastic prizes too. Competitions range from promotional gimmicks at local events (think A&P shows or radio stations), non-profit organisations (think camera clubs) to magazines which run these on an annual basis.

This is a great way to expose your work to a wider audience, and broaden your skill set. The more prestigious competitions will charge entry fees, particularly the umbrella organisations for professionals, where winners are highly acclaimed.

Get your work published

If you love to photograph in a narrow niche (e.g. animals, gardens, fashion, children, or sports), and believe your images will withstand an editor’s scrutiny, why not send a sample CD off to your favourite publication? Magazine editors are forever on the lookout for fresh takes on old topics. Follow up with a phone call, or better, a personal visit.

If you’re a competent wordsmith, even better, as you’ll get paid more for quality writing than for a handful of photos. However, be warned: editors are notorious for not replying, so you will need to be tenacious. Don’t give up.

Cleaning Camera for Better Performance

Cleaning the lens

The camera lens is one of the most important parts of the camera, but it is not that hard to clean. You simply need to take off end and front caps and use a soft lens cleaning brush to get rid of sand and large particles present. The brush should be very soft, so it does not scratch the lens. Using lens wipes and lens cleaning fluid you can then wipe clean the glass. The lens tissues are non-abrasive and will not scratch the glass. You can then use a dry wipe to dry up any residue.

Cleaning the sensor

It is more sensitive compared to the lens and should be handled with care. If you have the right camera cleaning kit, then you might just manage to do a good job with the cleaning, but if you are not very sure then it would be wiser to have a professional do the cleaning for you. You will need a disposable sensor swab and a sensor cleaning solution. The swab should be just the right size of the sensor and only a few drops of the cleaning solution should be used. Soak the swab just to the tip ensuring that there are no risks of dripping or pooling the sensor. Wipe the sensor from side to the other with only one fluid motion, but you can re-swab if it does not clean effectively.

Cleaning the body

Regular cleaning of the body keeps dirt from creeping to the sensor and lens. Use cotton swabs and soft cloths dampened with rubbing alcohol or water to clean the body. The soft cloth will give you an easy time with flat body parts and the grip whereas the cotton swabs will allow access in hard to reach areas like diopter, switches and knobs.

Poster Frames

Construction

The border is made of plastic and a plexiglass that covers the poster. The back is made from cardboard, which makes the frame lightweight. For easy hanging, the back has a hook as well.

There is an option to install a mat as well. However, you won’t see double matting in these frames because they will add extra weight.

Snap Frames

Snap frames is another great option. Usually, snap frames load the photos from the very front, which allows you to replace the photo without removing the frame. For ease of access, all of the sides of the frame are open. They are good for movie posters.

Acid-free poster frames

When buying a poster frame, make sure you know whether it’s acid-free or archival. Ask yourself if you need to use a poster to beautify your room or you need to use one to preserve a memorabilia or a piece of art. If you want to use it for preservation purposes, you should give a go to a higher quality material.

Archival Poster Frames

If you want to preserve an artifact, you can take your poster frame to a professional to see if it is acid-free or not. This way you can rest assured that your pictures would be saved for a long term.

If you want to get started with archival picture frames, you may want to opt for one with the back of an acid-free paper. By definition, an acid-free paper has base pH of 7 or slightly higher. Besides, this type of paper is free of sulfur, which makes it an ideal choice for prints that tend to degrade with the passage of time.

You don’t have to go for the acid-free option. UV filtered glass gives you protection from the powerful UV rays. These rays negatively affect the picture within a few years based on the exposure level. Aside from this, conservation glass is relatively heavier and costlier. If you break it by mistake, your photo may get damaged.

As far as weight and other features are concerned, plexiglass frames are a good choice. Just make sure you don’t go for the ammonia-based cleaners. Another thing that you should keep in mind is that the print shouldn’t touch the glass surface or the condensation may show up on the internal side of the frame.

Must Scan Your Old Photographs

  • All photographic materials will deteriorate with time. The rate at which they decay is different for various materials (and storage conditions), but it is happening to all of your photographic memorabilia just the same.
  • Old slides and negatives will tend to color-shift over time. This happens when the film base (which is plastic!) slowly changes with age. The dyes which form the image can also fade – particularly in the case of less-expensive color photographs.
  • As soon as your pictures are digitized, that deterioration is stopped. Perhaps most importantly, the digitized images can, very often, be brought back to their original brilliance with relative ease, if the deterioration has not been too great. In addition, there are now digital storage discs that are expected to last for over 100 years
  • If you have a lot of slides, to view your slides, you have to dig out your old projector (if it still works – tried to find a projector bulb recently?), or a slide viewer, in order to see them.
  • If you have old negatives, you really can’t view them at all – unless you have some rare genetic ability to visually invert colors on your own.
  • Due to an unfortunate technical oversight, the manufacturers of old photo albums neglected to equip them with USB ports (it could have to do with the fact that the technology did not exist). That means, however, that there is no direct way to upload them to your computer. A good scanning service, however, will not only scan the full album pages (which preserves the “flavor” and character of the album), but they can also provide scans of the individual pictures as well – either all of them, or just selected ones if desired.
  • Your past is really important – not just to you, but also to your children, your grandchildren (if any) and other relatives. Your photos represent the best (often, the only) record of that past. By bringing them into digital form them, you can share them with all the important people in your life.
  • Once they are scanned into digital files, your collection old photographs can be shared effortlessly. You can post them to your Facebook pages, and share them on all your favorite social media sites. You can create slide shows, and load them into a digital picture frame so that they are on constant display.
  • Once you upload your photos onto your computer, it turns it into a time machine. Now, all those valued (or, in some cases – forgotten) parts of your history can be pulled up at any time, to be enjoyed and shared.