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July 2010 Archives

July 1, 2010

Review: onOne Software Genuine Fractals

By Cheryl Pearson

Photographers today are always looking for products that will provide them with a quicker, more efficient way of streamlining certain tasks. I recently tried out onOne Software’s Genuine Fractals 6 plug-in, which is designed to resize and enlarge images up to 1,000 percent without losing sharpness or detail.

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A lot of photographers use Adobe Photoshop’s Bicubic Interpolation method in the Image Size dialogue box to resize images, but there can be a noticeable loss of fine detail or sharpness. Some use an incremental upsizing process that is reported to produce a better result than enlarging with a single step. You can create an action that will enlarge the image in 5-percent increments until the desired size is achieved. Although this approach may work, I’d prefer a tool that does it for me, to any size I need, and produces a great result. Genuine Fractals does that by enlarging and optimizing images for high resolution output, and has a few additional tools that make it worth looking into.

I re-scaled a 5x7 image to 25x35 using Image Size dialogue in Photoshop, set to Bicubic Smoother. I engarged the same 5x7 image using Genuine Fractals. I viewed both at 100 percent and focused in on one aspect of the image. While the difference is more difficult to see in this screenshot, the image on the right was re-scaled in Photoshop and the image on the left was upsized in Genuine Fractals. Photoshop’s Bicubic Interpolation method produced acceptable results, but I felt the image resized in Genuine Fractals was slightly sharper with more crisp detail and less noise. (Click image for large view.)

 

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Genuine Fractals can be accessed in Photoshop in two ways: from Photoshop via File > Automate or from the onOne drop-down, next to Help, in Photoshop’s menu bar. With Photoshop CS5 you can have the onOne plug-ins in a floating menu palette that can be docked in with the other Photoshop palettes.

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Feature: An iPad In New York

By Bob Zimmerlich, CPP

A few days after picking up the new iPad with 3G service at a local Apple store here in Phoenix, I was on my way to New York unexpectedly for a funeral of a close family friend. Since I was packing light, I thought this would be a good test to see if the iPad could replace my heavier MacBook Pro on a short trip since I wasn't planning on any photography related work.

Just after I arrived at JFK my sister asked if I could do a headshot of her for her new startup business. My judgment must have been thrown off by the red-eye flight, because I said, “Sure, absolutely,” without a second thought. Problem was, I didn't have any of my gear, not even a camera. That's OK she said, she had a Canon Elph point-and-shoot. Now I'm thinking, oh, golly, gee whiz, sis—that will be swell (thinking in 1950s terms being the more civil alternative to cussing).

Since I wanted to use natural light, I downloaded an app called PhotoCalc onto the iPad to see when sunset on Long Island would be, then checked the local radar with the WeatherBug app's visible satellite radar loop. Seeing that clouds would be rolling in from the west by 5 p.m., and knowing the limitations of her camera, I knew we would want to finish the shoot inside with window light before then. With some proper positioning, a sheet of white foam board as a reflector and a rigged tripod, the shoot went well considering the situation.

Now for a little post processing, but without my trusty MacBook Pro what could I do? I thought, let's put this iPad to a real test.

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July 6, 2010

Review: DigiLabs Pro Software

By Stan Sholik

An efficient workflow is only a dream for most portrait and wedding photographers. Too little time is spent behind the camera relative to the time spent in front of a computer monitor. Preparing proofs for client review, creating albums, taking and fulfilling print orders and making online web galleries are far more time intensive than the photography itself, yet are not billable hours.

So it wasn’t surprising that, at the PMA trade show this year, the largest category of products I saw were offerings designed to create an efficient workflow for photographers, labs and retail outlets. One of the foremost among these offerings is DigiLabs Pro software.

DigiLabs is a market leader in creating online front-end ordering systems for photo labs. Several of the leading labs are using DigiLabs software, but with the lab’s own branding so that you are unaware of the actual origin of the software.

DigiLabs Pro software is a combination and major upgrade of their previous My Photo Books and My Photo Calendar & Cards software that were licensed to private-label partners and the previous DigiLab application used by professional photographers.

Using DigiLabs Pro software, photographers can create studio-branded web galleries and a wide range of photo products. The web galleries allow studio customers to view and order photo products online from their computer or iPhone. Available photo products include flush mount albums, coffee table books, proof books, calendars, greeting cards, and canvas gallery wraps, as well as photo prints and enlargements.

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Digilabs offers a a number of calendar options, including custom design; a range of products including greeting cards, event cards and announcements; and photo books are available in a range of sizes and cover treatments, printed on digital presses on heavy paper stock. Photos courtesy of DigiLabs.

What sets DigiLabs Pro apart from other competing software is how fast and easy it is to use. With a common, clean interface for all available products and wizards included to guide you through the more complicated products such as photo books, it is quick to learn and easy to navigate.

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DigiLabs has created an iPhone app that is available at no charge from the Apple iTunes store. This allows your clients to view their web gallery and order prints on their iPhone. Images courtesy of DigiLabs.

Continue reading "Review: DigiLabs Pro Software" »

July 7, 2010

Harvest Couture, for Clients with Stylish Taste

By Diane Berkenfeld

The word couture is usually associated with fashion, but not anymore. Harvest Pro, the California-based wide-format printer that’s been producing museum quality Giclée prints for more than two decades has turned their sights to the photo industry. Harvest Couture will offer photographers the ability to offer truly unique photographic art pieces to their clients, by printing photographs on acrylic and metal.

Three substrates will be offered: acrylic with hand laid silver leaf, acrylic with white ink printing, and metal with white backgrounds. Out of these three different materials, come four possible ways to print. They currently offer four sizes: 20x30, 24x36, 30x40, and 40x60 inches. Custom printing is possible up to 4x8 feet, and the smallest the company will print is 16x24 inches.

According to Jenny Coulston, Pro Photo Curator for Harvest Couture, these sizes are better for photography. “We do believe if you’re going to do it, do it at least as a 20x30. At that size the images feel like an art piece,” she says. The biggest issue for the company is showing off the end result to prospective customers, because the printing processes create a one-of-a-kind photograph. When you view these prints, slightly altering your viewing angle can change the way the image looks.

Coulston says photographers can have multiple-piece editions created or one-offs.

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This 40x60-inch print on metal hangs in the Wedding Sales Room at the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel, Calif. ©Kathleen Clark Photography

Continue reading "Harvest Couture, for Clients with Stylish Taste" »

July 13, 2010

How to Prepare for Photokina - Sept. 21-26

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From September 21 to 26, 2010, all the leading names in the international photography and imaging sector will be represented at the 31st Photokina. In the halls of the Cologne exhibition grounds, the “who's who” of the international photo and imaging sector will once again present the entire spectrum of products and services in the areas of modern image technology and image applications for consumers and professionals.

If you plan to attend, representatives and organizers of the event offer the following tips to make the most of your travel and Photokina experience.

Flights: Book your flight early enough. Best rates are available when you book before Early August. Economy class tickets from the East Coast should start with $ 800. Fly into Frankfurt – Germany’s largest and most centrally located airport. Most major cities in the US service direct flights to Frankfurt. The airport has its own train station. Take a high speed “ICE train” which will reach Cologne in 58 minutes – trains race safely along the “Autobahn” and leave even the fastest cars behind. Alternatively you might also consider flying into Duesseldorf and take the RE trains to Cologne. Use discount offers available to North American attendees of Photokina. From September 14 - October 3, 2010, discounted air fares are available to Photokina attendees at lufthansa.com in the Meetings and Events portal by using event code "DEAPQ". The German Railway (DB) offers discounted train rides to Cologne. Tickets can be purchased at photokina-cologne.com  or by calling +49 1805-311153 and mentioning Photokina.

Continue reading "How to Prepare for Photokina - Sept. 21-26" »

July 16, 2010

Review: SimpleViewer Pro and svManager

 By Betsy Finn, Cr.Photog., CPP

You might be familiar with SimpleViewer already. The SimpleViewer product family is the brainchild of web developer Felix Turner of Airtight Interactive and offers user-friendly Flash galleries that you can download and use for free (or upgrade to the Pro version for more features). I'm familiar with the free versions, and I wanted to find out if the added Pro Features, or svManager, might be worth it in the long run.

First off, let me do a run through of all the SimpleViewer products. Then I’ll discuss the benefits of the Pro options and dig a little deeper into using svManager.

SimpleViewer, TiltViewer, AutoViewer, and PostcardViewer are all Flash image-viewing galleries (templates of a kind). Each one has a slightly different feel and look, but all are designed with simplicity in mind. svManager is an interface that allows you to easily create galleries with any of the four gallery templates. 

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SimpleViewer

Continue reading "Review: SimpleViewer Pro and svManager" »

July 30, 2010

Review: ViewfinderMasks

A custom viewfinder mask to save time and money

By Don Chick, M.Photog.Cr., CPP

Every now and then you encounter a product that falls into the category of “nice to have,” but for one reason or another, it just doesn’t make your priority list. Initially for me, a custom viewfinder mask was such a product. I could see the reason to own one and the potential value, but higher priorities and price kept me from making the investment of $195. Boy, was I wrong to delay!

Now that I have a custom viewfinder mask from ViewfinderMasks in my camera, I am convinced that it is one of those must-have products that will make your post-production life easier and pay for itself in both time and money.

A custom viewfinder mask helps because a DSLR, or 35mm camera creates a 3:2 ratio image area, which translates to 4x6 or 8x12 image formats, while most professional portrait photographers print 4x5 or 8x10 images using a 4:5 ratio. The composition and cropping problem happens when you fill the frame with your 8x12 subject (Figure 1) and attempt to print the image on 8x10 media.

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Figure 1: Composing your image without a viewfinder mask,
you tend to fill the frame with your subject …

Part of the image must be cropped off at one or both ends (Figure 2). It is especially difficult to create a pleasing portrait when some of the head and body has to be cropped and the frame is filled mostly with the subject’s face.

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Figure 2: … but when you print, you have to crop one or both ends. Images ©Don Chick

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Reexamining the Greener Print

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By Dawn Tacker
Images by Mark Pawlyszyn

Whether your do your own printing or task that to a competent lab, Greener Photography recommends using natural fiber paper in place of traditional RC/silver halide paper for printmaking as a greener option. Read more about that in our Greener Photographic Prints article. But which natural fiber paper to choose? One important factor to consider: the use of OBAs, or optical brightening agents.

OBAs are used to make paper look more uniform, and more white. But at what cost? As OBAs break down, their effects do as well—and they don't break down uniformly. A paper that is made unnaturally white through the use of OBAs will start to yellow—it is a matter of the paper returning to its "natural" color. However, when OBAs break down they can cause irregular yellowing. OBAs call into question the longevity of a photographic print—what good is a lightfast rating of 200 years if your print will yellow sooner than that? The greenest options for printing are also those that will withstand the test of time.

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What's a photographer to do? To avoid color shifts and yellowing of your fine art prints, chose papers with zero or very low levels of OBAs. How do you find out if your paper has OBAs? Check out the manufacturer's website, and look for information on OBA content. Click on "Continue reading 'Reexamining the Greener Print'" to find our list of a few examples of papers that have zero-to-low levels of OBAs:

Continue reading "Reexamining the Greener Print" »

About July 2010

This page contains all entries posted to Professional Photographer Magazine Web Exclusives in July 2010. They are listed from oldest to newest.

June 2010 is the previous archive.

August 2010 is the next archive.

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


 
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