Photography Tips: Shoot Like a Pro

These few tips won’t actually make you a professional photographer, but they will help your photos have a little more of an artistic touch to them. These tips are easy to use and before too long, you’ll just find yourself using them without thinking.

 

The first tip is called the “Rule of Thirds”.

Wikipedia defines it as “The rule of thirds is a “rule of thumb” or guideline which applies to the process of composing visual images such as paintings, photographs and designs.The guideline proposes that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections.Proponents of the technique claim that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject would.”

Imagine some lines going through your image like a tic-tac-toe grid. This imaginary grid gives you a rough guide on where to line up the subject of your photograph. By being off-centre, it makes the shot a little more dynamic. This effect can be done after the fact as well by cropping the image using the tools in the GroupBook software. So no worries if you have some great images you still want to use.

 

“Try different angles”. You can get some really cool shots by just changing the height or angle that you shoot from.

Something as simple as rotating your camera a bit can really add something to a photograph. Try it out and see what you can come up with. Don’t think in just portrait or landscape. Have the “bottom” of the picture be a corner of the image. Another thing to try is shooting from down low, or up high, directly above and whatever else you can think of. Especially for taking pictures of kids, get down on the floor with them and snap your shots from their height. It will feel like you are actually down there with them in the photograph. It will feel much more personal than pictures where you are looking down toward them.

 

“Never be afraid to get too close”. This usually applies to portraits, but it can work great with still life and nature pictures.

Some pictures can benefit from getting right in there, either physically or by zooming. Shots from in close gets those extra details that shooting from farther away would miss. Don’t feel like you need to get a person’s whole body or head in an image. Sometimes, leaving some out makes the image feel more up close and personal. Best thing to do is try taking several shots from different angels and distances. See what you like best by comparing the different pictures. Everyone likes something different.

 

 

“Avoid the flash!”. If at all possible, avoid using a flash in your pictures.

Flashes tend to create some problems with images. It washes things out, removes the vibrant colours and causes red eye and weird shadows. If you can, find a place with better lighting instead of using the flash. If your camera can do, lower the shutter speed, change f-stop and play with the ISO settings and see if you find something that works. If you are taking pictures of a distant object in the dark, a flash will only light up the foreground and you wont even see what you are trying to get. So remember to turn it off when your trying to get some pictures at the kid’s school plays and concerts.

 

That’s all for now. Something important to remember is that these are just tips, not rules. There are no rules in photography. It is an art, not a process. Get creative, break all the “rules” and find what works for you. Not every shot works with the rule of thirds. Sometimes getting close does not make an image better. Flash can be the answer in some situations. The best thing to do is get out there and try everything. See if you can find out what your own style is.

 

Have you taken a great shot you want to show off? Go to our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/groupbooks and post your pictures.

Summer Fun – Buy One Get One Offer

We’ve had a pretty hot summer so far, so that means lots of outdoor fun. Hopefully, you’ve taken lots of pictures too.

With all the backyard BBQs, beach days, camping trips and other summer activities, you now have several great themes for a Photobook. We have several great themes that would be a perfect fit for a summer book.

After making your book, be sure to use the code JULYBOGO in the shopping cart to get your 2nd copy free on any photo product. You must set the quantity to 2 when adding to cart. Greeting Cards, Postcards and Photo Cards are 50% off.

Use code JULYBOGO in the shopping cart to get your 2nd copy free.

Expires July 31st.

Hope you are all enjoying your summer!

Understanding DPI and Resolution for Poster Printing

It isn’t always easy figuring out what kind of file you need to print an image and once you get into large format, it becomes even more difficult. Hopefully, this article will help you figure out what is needed when printing large format posters and displays. We should start with some clarifications of the terms we will use.

Large Format is the term we use for prints that are larger than what typical digital presses can handle or something that will be printed on our large format printer. In our case, large format would apply to any of the poster items.

Resolution is the measurement of the pixel count a camera can output or that a image file was created at. Pixels are the number of dots horizontally across an image multiplied by the number of pixels vertically of the image. When you see that an image is 2000 x 3000, that number is the resolution. This number is often used when measuring a camera’s picture quality. High resolutions usually only help when blowing up a picture for large format. You can tell what an image’s resolution is (on a PC) by right clicking it and selecting properties, then clicking details. On a MAC you can find this by right clicking and going to “Get Info”.

DPI stands for Dots per Inch. This is the measurement of clarity or quality of an image. The number of pixels in a square inch of the image is how DPI is determined.

Alright, with those terms out of the way, let’s get back to how to figure out what resolution and DPI you need to print. It is a sliding scale depending on a few factors: distance of the viewer from image, size and intended use of the print. Resolution determines the size you should print and DPI determines distance it should be view from.

 

If you are viewing an image from close up you should have somewhere between 250-300 DPI. If you are a few steps back you can probably get away with between 150 and 250 DPI. The farther back you go, the lower the DPI can be. The eye tends to clump details together as distance increases. If this is an outdoor display and the viewer is going to be even farther away, you could go as low as 70 DPI. If you ever get the chance, go look at a billboard up close. Chances are it is really bad quality, but looks great when driving by.

There is a simple formula you can use to figure out how large you can go or how large you should go based on intended use. The goal here is to not resort to re-sampling the photo using software. Ready for some math?

 

Resolution/dpi = print size (use known resolution divided by desired DPI for each dimension).

Ie. 2000 x 1500 image at 200 dpi means I can print an image at: 10”x7.5”

2000/200 = 10  and  1500/200 = 7.5   which means  10×7.5.

 

Dpi x print size = resolution (use desired DPI times desired print size for each dimension).

Ie. I want to print a 16×20 at 250 DPI. My image would have to be: 4000×5000.

250 * 16 = 4000  and  250 * 20 = 5000  so…. Resolution = 4000×5000

 

So now that the math part is done, you know roughly how to figure out what you need to print what you want when it comes to large format. There is usually no point going higher than 300 DPI as the human eye has trouble picking up anything higher than that anyway. Here is a chart you can use as a sort of large format cheat sheet.

Size

100 DPI  Resolution

200 DPI Resolution

300 DPI Resolution

12 x 16

1200 x 1600

2400 x 3200

3600 x 4800

16 x 20

1600 x 2000

3200 x 4000

4800 x 6000

20 x 24

2000 x 2400

4000 x 4800

6000 x 7200

20 x 30*

2000 x 3000

4000 x 6000

6000 x 9000

24 x 36*

2400 x 3600

4800 x 7200

7200 x 10800

30 x 40*

3000 x 4000

6000 x 8000

9000 x 12000

36 x 48*

3600 x 4800

7200 x 9600

10800 x 14400

*We currently don’t offer all of these sizes online, but this just gives an idea of how it scales.

How To: Use Clipart in Your Designs

Using clipart in your Photobooks, greeting cards and posters is a great way to add some nice embellishments or fill those gaps in your design that just feel like they need a little something. It gives that added touch of personalization and makes it feel a bit more like a scrap booking project too.

Some of you may not be sure what clipart is exactly. Well, the best way I can explain it is to think of them like stickers. You pick one and place it on top of your design much like you would a sticker if you were to add one to the printed copy. The perk here, is you can move it and re-size it as needed.

Adding clipart to your project is easy. Just get into customize mode (by clicking customize or being in designer mode from the get go) and click the clipart tab. From there, you will see several categories with images in them. Those are your clipart images. Just drag one on to your design and voila, you have used clipart. Browse around and see what is there. You may find that perfect one to really make a page in your Photobook or cover of your greeting card really work for you.

How To: Manage Your Images

It is always easier to design things with Photos when you are organized. That is why we have a Photo Management tool for you. You can sort your uploaded images into albums for easy access and find what you need quickly. Organize it by project, person, event or whatever else makes sense to you.

The get started, click on the “My Images” tab on the menu. That will bring you to the tool. Make sure you login when you get there. You will see a screen with all of the images you’ve uploaded into your projects, along with some tools down at the bottom.

From here, you need to create an album and give it a name. That will place it along the left side of the window. Now, you can drag your photos 1 by 1 into that album and they will move from the main “My Photos” page to the album you made. Just a note about moving images.. if your images are large it may take a while to “move”. Just keep dropping the next one in line into your album even if the first one doesn’t seem to move yet. It is processing and will disappear when finished.

You can also delete unwanted images here. Do that by dragging an image onto the trash can and clicking delete when prompted.

Now you know how to sort and organize your photos to make it even easier to create your awesome projects. Hope this helps and happy GroupBooking!

Photography Tips: Getting Ready to Shoot

Photography can be a lot of fun. I am by no means a professional, but can get some pretty nice shots. Like most things, you get better with practice. If you are already pretty comfortable with your photographic talents, I probably don’t have much wisdom to impart. We will be trying to find some true professional Photographers to do some guest posts, so keep an eye out for that.

To start, some basic photography housekeeping items:

  • Make sure you have room on your card/camera. Nothing is worse than clicking that button on a great shot only to see “Insufficient Space”. Take the time to clear out some extra/old shots to be ready for new ones.
  • Check the battery! I know I’ve fallen victim to this a few times. Always make sure your camera is charged. If possible, have a spare battery so one can always be full. Also, in the cold, batteries run out faster, so bring some extras just in-case.
  • Clean the lens. You can use the same stuff you clean glasses with. Spray and a soft cloth.
  • Have a plan. This does always apply, but if you know you want certain pictures or certain people, things or poses, make a list (written or mental) and be sure to get them. I know in the moment I often forget what I started out wanting.
  • Get inspired. Take a few minutes to go online and search Google or Flickr for some inspiration. Type in something that describes the kind of pictures you want to take. Go search Summer Family Photos and see what comes up. You might find something that gets your creative juices flowing and gives you some ideas of your own. If not, you may see a pose you love and want to copy. Go for it

I know these tips aren’t the most fun, but they are important ones, and often overlooked. Luckily, once you start doing these things on a regular basis, it just becomes habit and you don’t need to think about it anymore.

 

Happy shooting everyone and have a great weekend!