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PIXelations 6

my first logo

by fotofinish , 08-20-2005 at 02:03 PM (332 Views)

If I have any plans on branching out into photography, even semi-professionally, I will need some sort of business card to share with prospective clients. So my mission last week was to come up with something to use. I wasn’t sure if I was creative enough to do this. I had no ideas or even a starting place. All I had was a name. I knew I wanted to be called fotofinish photography. And I knew I had to start off with a logo on which to build a business card, stationary, billing, etc.

After some research on the net, I found an article here. It was enough to give me some ideas and get me started. I went back and forth trying a variety of designs. I decided to stay with a modification of the sample from the article itself. My overall goal was to keep the logo simple and clean.

Once I had my logo, now came the difficult task of how to arrange it on a business card. After searching the net and the forums for design ideas, I finally settled on the rest of the ingredients to be included.

I opened Photoshop and started with a blank, white background, two inches high by three inches wide document at 8 bits and at a resolution of 300. I then opened my logo psd file, resized it temporarily, and dragged it using the move tool onto my new document. I then needed to compose something which briefly described the services I was offering. I chose: Events (as in Event photography), Products (as in product photography), and Portraits.

Finally, I listed the business location and contact specifics: address, phone, email, and website for samples of my work. I haven’t printed anything yet because I want to live with it for awhile to see if I still like it. I want to show it to some of my friends for feedback. I’m also hoping as you read this that you will take a moment and leave me your comments.

My proposed logo can be found here:

the raw truth

by fotofinish , 08-26-2005 at 01:20 PM (377 Views)

As I drove home from work one day last week, Morea Swamp looked particularly inviting in the mid afternoon light. I quickly returned with my camera and shot twenty five pictures in raw, aperture priority, 200 iso, at around F9. I used my favorite “cloudy” as the white balance. I soon found these captures not to be what I expected or wanted. I wanted to capture the light purple fields of flowers.

I opened a few of these with the Adobe Bridge in raw conversion mode. I changed the white balance settings and found none to my liking. I almost dumped the entire shoot. Until, that is, I tried Auto white balance. I almost always use a specific white balance setting; never auto. I want to be the one in control. The default values of the raw converter, especially temperature, were a lot warmer than what auto determined:

Original White Balance Values:
temperature, 5750
tint, +1
exposure, -.10
shadows, 10
brightness, 55
contrast, +52
saturation, +2

Auto White Balance Values:
temperature, 5400
tint, +18
exposure, 0
shadows, 14
brightness, 55
contrast, +54
saturation, +1

I then did my normal workflow in CS2:

capture sharpen
curves layer
hue and saturation layer
color burning (in this case because apparently I blew out the red channel)
resize for web
output sharpen for web

Here’s my original image with raw defaults and output sharpening only:

Here’s my image with auto raw defaults and output sharpening only:

And here’s my finished image:

Unfortunately, depending on how your screen is/is not calibrated, you may not see much of a difference here.

What Worked: Auto white balace.

What Didn’t Work: My exposure setting still allowed the red channel to be blown out. I lost the slight purplish color to the field flowers.

To Do: Practice with exposure in a high contrast scene with lots of luminance extremes. I plan on getting a Kodak grey card (grey on one side and white on the other. I also plan to follow Michael Reichmann’s exposure article here.

More pictures from my test shoot are here.

i know it’s only rock ‘n roll…

by fotofinish , 08-27-2005 at 11:16 AM (370 Views)

…but I like it! Yes, the Stones came to town last night. My wife, Jayne, and I tailgated with some friends and then attended the concert at Rentschler Field. It was a perfect night for a concert. Their stage alone was worth the price of admission. They even had a moveable stage that brought the band out to the opposite End Zone for the rest of us to see. Really cool! And of course the music, it was the Stones. Need I say more?

My Number 2, Josh, went back to Keane State (NH) yesterday. This will be his final year. And even though it is good to see him go back after a summer at home, it still is sad to see him leave. But not as much as it will hurt tomorrow when my baby, Sarah, leaves to start her college years at Central CT State. Even though she is only twenty minutes from home, it will truly be a heart-breaker. Jayne will be a basket case. The frenetic activity level of this past week, culminating tomorrow morning when we move her into her dorm, will no doubt leave us drained.

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday…

So, what do you charge for…

by fotofinish , 09-01-2005 at 01:33 PM (285 Views)

After having researched various forums on the topic of what to do about pricing any paying photo jobs that may ever come my way, I have come to several conclusions.

Any consumer searching for a product to purchase is normally interested in the price of that product first. People in the forums indicated their suspicion of any web sites that do not provide adequate or accurate pricing information, regardless of the type of product or service. Providing general pricing information would at least establish a sense of legitimacy for my service. Some folks feel they won’t post prices to force the customer to call so that pricing can be better tailored to their specific needs. Other folks say that since I am not well-established, my prices should reflect this.

I don’t know what the answer is. I discovered that, of course, software is available to perform just about anything you need. There is a package here that can price many photographic situations. Until I actually have something I can call a “business”, I won’t spend the money for it. There are so many other details related to pricing that also need to be considered: model releases, service contracts that spell out exactly the service to be performed, and billing forms. This book which I did buy also comes with a CD with all of the forms any photographer could possibly need, and you can customize all of them. I do acknowledge that I need to be ready to answer the question, “So, what do you charge for…”. I was caught once when a co-worker asked what I would charge for a family portrait. I don’t want to be caught again.

a whiter shade of pale…

by fotofinish , 09-04-2005 at 10:45 PM (293 Views)

To borrow from the song by Procal Harum, I took my Kodak grey card which came this week and I setup a little experiment. First, I took several control shots in aperture priority of a flower in my backyard in full sunshine with my 50mm f/1.8 lens.

Here are the camera settings:
“cloudy” (the one with the cloud) white balance, my favorite, and the one I shoot with almost all of the time, because I like the warm color.
1/250 at f/5.6
ISO 100
average metering

And here is what the raw converter saw:
temperature 5750
tint +1
exposure +0.15
shadows 2
brightness 68
contrast +36
saturation 0

I then opened my 20D camera manual to page 51, to set Custom White Balance, and followed the instructions, using the white side of the card. I found I had to pay close attention to the histogram after I took the white balance test shot. I followed Michael Reichmann’s exposure article here. It was important to have the white spike at the fourth quadrant mark, otherwise the result was not white! It took three shots for me to be satisfied with the result.

Once I set the custom white balance, I then began to determine the appropriate exposure using the grey side of the card and manual mode. This step, too, took me several tries to get the spike to appear at the second quadrant.

Here are the custom camera settings:
1/640 at f/7.1
ISO 100
average metering

And here is what the custom raw converter saw:
temperature 5800
tint -8
exposure -.035
shadows 3
brightness 72
contrast +40
saturation 0

And did it make a difference to use the white and grey card? Not outside in full sun light.

I believe that my “cloudy” white balance is close enough for outdoor use in full sunlight. The grey side of the card taught me that I need to set my exposure compensation higher than what the meter will read. What I think will be white or even 18% grey will almost always be under exposed, and thus not be rendered as white or grey at all. I believe that the white and grey card will be exactly what I need in shade outdoors, or most especially for indoors portrait use, where the pose and exposure will be strictly maintained.

To Do:
I started using partial metering instead of center-weighted, which I had used exclusively for everything. I will have to experiment with the three different types to see which may be more appropriate for different situations…

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