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December 2007 Archives

December 1, 2007

Review: Craig’s Actions Production Assistant Series

The Production Assistant Actions series includes the iTones, Jazz, Portrait and Wedding action sets that add excitement and variety to your photographs and speed your workflow.

By Shawn Soni

The Craig's Actions Production Assistant series of Photoshop actions are designed to help photographers speed their workflow and produce consistent output. Canadian photographer Craig Minielly’s experience as a professional photographer affords him excellent insight into the arcana of the digital workflow, the need to produce accurate, consistent products, and above all, come up with creative results for his clients.

The relatively straightforward initial instructions and download include links to QuickTime movies created by Minielly that take you step-by-step through setting up the proper folders for saving your work. 

The videos do an excellent job of explaining how to install the components and make modifications to each of the Save actions (or Dump files) to match your desktop environment. The actions are essentially recorded Macros in Photoshop, so editing them is simple, and the videos show you how to customize so you’ll always know where your files are. You can even edit things like the JPEG quality in the RGB Web folder to change the Craig's Actions default setting. In all, you create three sets of Dump files, one containing Photoshop PSD files that have all the information you need to go back and rework the image, one Dump file that’s the RGB/Web image, and one that’s a sharpened TIFF for print output.

A simple touch-up to the raw file looks okay (left); right, the image makes a much bolder statement after applying the iTones action Neuport Soft +2. ©Shawn Soni

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Review: Showit Web v2.6

By Shawn Soni 

Showit Web 2.6 has the potential to bring the events of your client’s wedding day to the close of the reception in a way that will allow you to sell you services many times over, while providing them with an entertaining interlude featuring their favorite subject: themselves.

This standalone program for Windows or Mac automatically creates a customizable Flash slideshow for Web viewing. This review covers Showit Web Pro version 2.6 ($199). Borders and Effects add-ons are available for Showit at marginally increased costs to enhance what Show-it produces.

The software makes it easy to import and build a slideshow “on the fly” to show off your work at a wedding or event.  Just add a laptop and good quality projector to your arsenal and find (or set up) a place to put on a show that really tugs the heartstrings.  

The set-up screen for building the slideshow has basic controls that include source and destination folders, JPEG sizing for images, photo orientation (landscape/portrait) and basic controls for slide movement, which can be refined in the Images tab.

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How To Read and Understand a Histogram

By Ellis Vener

“The map is not the territory” – Alfred Korzybski

What is a histogram and what does it tell us about a photograph?

A histogram is nothing more than a bar graph. It shows how the luminance values in a digital or digitized photograph are distributed. The linear scale in a histogram runs from black at one end to white at the opposite end. With the exception of a scanned negative, the scale runs from left (black) to right (white). About 99 percent of the histograms we use in photography today have 256 increments, corresponding to 8-bit data depth. The histogram maps the distribution of the luminance values either as a composite of the red, green, and blue channels or in each channel, as you may have seen in the histogram display on some cameras and as option in Photoshop.

The horizontal scale of the histogram measures exposure latitude, and the vertical scale measures quantity: it tells us how many pixels in the image have a specific luminosity value. While the horizontal scale is measured in absolute values  (0 to 255) the vertical scale is effected by several factors: the color space, bit depth, and if you are shooting jpegs, the compression level.  


Above, the histogram display from Adobe Photoshop Camera Raw shows channels represented by different colors.  

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First Look: Nikon D300

By Shawn Soni 

Let’s just start by saying that Nikon will be giving Canon (and anyone else) more than just a run for their money with the new D300. Aimed at the prosumer market, this camera is well designed and has a feature set that Nikon Digital shooters have been looking for since Julia Roberts was shooting that digital Nikon* in the movie “Stepmom.”  

Best new features, quick look:

ISO The biggie. For some reason, Nikon decided to name the lowest and higest ISO settings like EV intervals, thus there is LO .3 .7 and 1.0, which roughly correspond to ISO 100-160, according to the manual, and Hi .3 .7 and 1.0, which boost the sensitivity to ISO 4000-6400. No matter what Nikon calls them, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom still seems to assign a numbered ISO value that a person can understand. The noise evident at the higher ISO settings is phenomenally reduced thanks to the new Advanced Noise Reduction technology Nikon has incorporated into the sensor and seems to be paying big dividends.

The image above demonstrates the impressive high-ISO noise handling from the Nikon D300. Exposure: 1/50 second at 5.6, ISO 800. (Click for larger view saved for Web at Quality 65 in Adobe Photoshop CS3) ©2007 Shawn Soni

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What makes a photographer's website great?

A site content and design guide

By Tricia Gellman Holmes

A great website is one that gets you the quality and quantity of work that you want.

In the current age of technology, a high-quality portfolio website is essential for a professional photographer because in many cases, your website is also your potential clients’ first impression of you and your work.

The first and arguably most important aspect of your site are images—make sure they load quickly and are displayed large. Beyond your imagery, here are a few key components to consider: unique and consistent branding, easy to use navigation, updated content, search engine optimization and clear, easy to find contact information. All of these contribute to ensuring your website is working to market your business.  

A distinct and consistent brand identity 

Your website is often the first opportunity you have to establish your brand and distinguish yourself with potential clients. Through the selection of your images, use of color, typography, logos and graphics, and even music, you have the opportunity to create your own unique brand. Use of consistent branding throughout your site shows the attention to detail and level of professionalism you bring to your business.  

In the worlds of portrait and wedding photography, your personality—and that of your brand—may be as important as your images to your potential client's decision. Customers often look for a brand and images that they connect with on an emotional level. Incorporating video into your site is a particularly powerful way to communicate a very personal message to potential customers and reiterate what makes your brand, and you as a photographer, worthy of consideration.

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December 11, 2007

Miller's $100K Charity Program


Press Release—Miller’s Professional Imaging, the leader in professional imaging labs, has announced the Miller’s $100K Charity Program. During the 2008 tradeshow season, convention attendees can register at the Miller’s booth, and if their name is drawn, Miller’s will give $1,000 to donate in their name to the charity of their choice. Miller’s will be awarding 100 different giveaways throughout the season, amounting to $100,000 in charitable contributions.

“Philanthropy has always been an important part of the Miller’s culture. This year, we decided to add to our charitable giving with the Miller’s $100K Charity Program. We’re able to help photographers make a difference in their own communities with donations that will be given in their name,” said Richard Miller, CEO of Miller’s Professional Imaging. “All are encouraged to come by the Miller’s booth to register. What a better way to say ‘thank you’ for visiting us!”

Miller’s will give $15,000 at Imaging USA, January 6 - 8. For a comprehensive list of all convention contributions, visit http://www.millerslab.com/about/charities/.

Miller’s Professional Imaging was founded in 1968 and offers a full line of professional products and services.
Miller’s is the largest professional lab in the United States and has production facilities in Pittsburg, Kansas and
Columbia, Missouri.

December 28, 2007

Storm Case iM2500 and New Utility Organizer from Hardigg Cases

Press Release—Air travel has never been easy, but today’s ATA requirements can strain the limits of even the most seasoned traveler—particularly when it comes to carry-on luggage. 

iM2500 Storm Case

Hardigg Cases, the company that revolutionized the protective case industry more than half a century ago has risen to the challenge with the new iM2500 Utility Organizer. On its own, the ATA-approved iM2500 is the perfect travel companion: an unbreakable, water-tight carry-on case that can transport clothes, cameras and laptops safely and securely—no matter your destination. However, when you add the new Utility Organizer, the iM2500 is transformed from merely a great protective case into the ultimate carry-on luggage solution. To take the pain out of air travel, we designed this organizer to comply with all ATA requirements—including strict 3-1-1 regulations. Multiple pockets keep papers, 3-1-1 regulated liquids, plane tickets and small electronics like iPods and cameras safe and separate. The Utility Organizer fits neatly into the iM2500’s lid—allowing the case to close securely, encasing its contents in an impenetrable, indestructible shell. Slide a new Utility Organizer into the iM2500, and you’ll have the ultimate carry-on solution: unmatched protection for your gear with unparalleled convenience for you.

To get a look at the iM2500 Utility Organizer, visit Hardigg Storm Case at www.stormcase.com, call us at 800-542-7344 or stop by a local retailer for a demonstration.  

Pricing: iM2500 with Utility Organizer (no foam), $220
iM2500 with Utility Organizer and foam, $252
Utility Organizer only, $26 

About December 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Professional Photographer Magazine Web Exclusives in December 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

November 2007 is the previous archive.

January 2008 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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