Desinger Tips: Fake Your Way to a Blank Canvas

A blank canvas can be used with the Photobooks. It basically allows you to create a book from scratch with nothing else on the page. As it stands right now, you can’t do that as a “theme” with the other products yet. We are working on adding blank templates to each product, but we are not there at the moment.

So, to get a blank canvas, you will need Fake Your Way as the post title says. Remember, this is all photo products except Photobooks.

1. The first step is to choose your item. Whichever photo product you want to work with.

2. Choose any “theme”.

3. Once you get to step 3, click the customize button.

4. Select each object on the design and click delete. This will clear everything off of your canvas.

Once all the objects are gone,you have your blank canvas. From here, you are free to do whatever you want! Sorry there isn’t an easier way yet, but this is the temporary work around for those of you who don’t want to use a pre-designed theme for your project.

 

Hope this helps!

Designer Tips: Opacity and Brightness

A really cool effect you can use in your designs is changing the opacity or brightness of an object. It works great for faded backgrounds, or if you are using a photo to show a memory. It adds a softness to the image or object or fades it out enough so you can write on top of it (think Guest Books or Greeting Cards).

To change this setting, first make sure you have clicked the “customize” button or are in “designer” mode. Then, just click on an object and find the opacity (brightness for background images) option. Slide your mouse left or right and see what kind of effect works for you.

 

The word of this setting changes based on the type of object you select. Background images say Brightness, as there is nothing behind them to show through. Opacity is the option when selecting any other object since objects below it can be seen through it.

It’s a neat tool that can add a really nice effect. You can also do this with text blocks. This is a great trick to use when you want text on an image that it is tough to read. Add a coloured box behind the text with a low opacity. It gives you just enough of a base to make text readable but also lets the image behind it show through.

An Open Collaborative Project – Recipe Brag Book

I just started an online project that everyone is invited to help with. It is called the Recipe Brag Book. Just like we make Brag Books for our kids or pets photos, this is a recipe one. You can login to the group project and create your own page with your own recipe on it.

 

Check out http://groupbook.ca/recipebragbook to learn more and join in the fun! It is just getting started so add your recipe now to get in the first few pages and get seen the most!

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.