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4 Panorama Tips For Capturing Amazing Views

4 Panorama Tips For Capturing Amazing Views

Sometimes, a 2:3 just doesn’t do a view justice. Panoramic photography allows you to capture the entirety of a scene in a wide image, unconstrained by traditional aspect ratios. Panoramas can be easily shot with special panorama modes inside most cameras, or even smartphone apps, as well as hand-stitching using a DSLR and Photoshop. But, besides the method you use to capture the shot, how do you make the panorama every bit as gorgeous as the original scene? Here are four panorama tips to get you started.

Avoid moving objects and objects in the foreground.

Since panoramas capture a view wider than the human eye can even see, they are prone to distortion. Add in stitching and it’s easy to see why panoramas are so prone to odd image errors. But by knowing how to avoid those errors, you can avoid the weird stitches and wind up with a great shot. First, avoid moving subjects. Even the wind in the trees or the waves on a lake can cause the stitch not to line up properly. (Note, however, that you can take a panorama of water if you use a long exposure so those waves become smooth motion blur.)

But don’t stop at avoiding motion — objects close to the camera are most prone to distortion. If you are shooting a panorama that’s more than twice the typical aspect ratio, avoid having any objects in the foreground, or they will appear to tilt at odd angles away from the camera.

Identify your subject.

Many rookie photographers shoot a panorama because they are inspired by a scene — but what part of that scene is the subject? Before shooing, identify where you want the viewer’s eye drawn to the most. Just because you are shooting a panorama doesn’t mean compositional tips like the Rule of Thirds don’t apply. By starting with your subject, you can decide where to stand, where to start the panorama and where to stop the panorama.

Don’t shoot in auto.

If you’re using a panorama mode or panorama app, skip right to the next tip, but if you are using a DSLR and manual stitching, listen up! If you shoot in an auto mode, or even a semi-auto mode like aperture priority mode, the exposure between shots might be different, creating obvious stitch lines. Shooting a panorama requires manual mode to get exact exposures. If you’re still uncomfortable in full manual, copy the settings from programmed auto — but you need to shoot in manual to guarantee the exposure doesn’t change between shots.

Eliminate distractions.

Before you shoot, look for anything that distracts from the view — working to avoid or remove that distraction pre-shoot is much easier than editing it out later. Move to get those power lines out of the picture, or pick up that litter on the ground before you shoot.

Panoramas allow photographers to capture a scene without being limited to the size of a single frame. Stitching introduces a number of potential panoramic photography pitfalls, however, which is why it’s best to start with a few panorama tips before you head out.

4 Black and White Photography Tips For Beginners

4 Black and White Photography Tips For Beginners

Black and white photography may be as old as, well, pretty much photography itself, but there’s something about a colorless image. When the color is removed from the photo, the eye focus more on shapes, shadows and patterns, making the type of monochrome format an excellent tool for a number of different subjects. But, the best black and white images are envisioned before the photographer even presses the shutter release. So, how do you take great black and white photos? Here are four black and white photography tips.

Change the color profile — but shoot in RAW.

Most cameras will have the option to change to a black and white color profile, which means those previews you see on the back of the screen will be in black and white, and with some cameras with electronic viewfinders, you can see what the black and white conversion would look like as you shoot. This simple switch makes it easy to visualize how color scenes would look without color.

But, for the best results, there’s one more step. Believe it or not, there are a number of different ways that color can convert to black and white — allowing the camera to do the conversion is like shooting on auto. Instead, maintain creative control over exactly how that color converts by shooting in RAW. In RAW, those camera color profiles aren’t applied, which means you can see the general effect in-camera, but you have full control over how that color converts in post.

Look for shapes, pattern and light as you compose.

Removing the color from a photo forces the viewer to consider everything else. As a photographer, when composing a black and white image, look for scenes that are absolutely striking even without color. Look for patterns that might be even more obvious in a black and white shots. Shapes and leading lines are great in any photograph but keep a careful eye out for hem when shooting for black and white. Black and white can also make difficult lighting appear more striking and intentional, whether that’s boring flat light or hard, high contrast light.

Aim for a wide range of grays.

Ideally, a black and white photo should have both a true black and a true white, but also plenty of grays in between. The more different tones the image has, the more contrast and punch the final image will have. Some of this is post, but some of this is also shooting and looking for scenes with lots of contrast.  If you need, you can even try the high dynamic range technique to introduce a wider range of grays.

Play with the color sliders.

Don’t settle for the one-click black and white conversions. In Lightroom, head right to the B&W section on the HSL Color panel. Next, experiment with the sliders and watch how the tones in the image change. (You can do the same thing in Photoshop by adding a black and white adjustment layer). Lightening oranges, for example, will brighten skin tones. The greens and blues can be particularly helpful for landscape images. By adjusting each color individually, you can create a black and white that’s full of contrast or even create a matte look.

Black and white may have fewer details without those colors, but that means viewers will be taking a closer look at what’s in that shot — so put these black and white photography tips to good use the next time you shoot.

6 Tips For Getting Great Results When Scanning Old Photos

6 Tips For Getting Great Results When Scanning Old Photos

There’s no way around it, printed pictures fade overtime. Digitising old photos not only makes them easy to share, but it also prevents any more age damage, not to mention avoiding a physical disaster like a fire or a flood destroying memories by using a cloud backup service. But, scanning old photos isn’t as simple as putting photos in a scanner and pushing a button — at least, not if you want top notch results anyways. Here are six tips that will help you get better results when scanning old photos.

Clean the photo first.

Dust, dirt and even stray hair can degrade the quality of a photo. Before you scan, prep the photo by using a soft brush to clean the front — the same brush you’d use to clean a camera lens. Alternately, you can also try a microfiber cloth. While in many cases dust spots can be removed with software, the quickest method is to swipe the dust off before you scan. If a print is torn, align the edges as good as you can and tape the back before scanning. Major stains and tears will likely have to removed by a professional.

Don’t forget to clean the scanner too.

Yes, scanners will also collect dust as they sit. Clean the glass plate of the scanner with a microfiber cloth. If you can’t remove everything with the cloth, you can use a glass cleaner, but be very careful not to leave streaks — because those aren’t fun to remove either.

Set up the scanner for the best results.

While there are apps that will “scan” a photo using a smartphone camera, for the best results — and highest resolution — a scanner is still best. Make sure you’re set up for success though, by setting the scanner to the highest resolution possible inside the scanner options. Scanner software can also make the job easier — many scanners, if you scan multiple images at once, will crop them automatically.

Open the scans in a dedicated photo editor.

If you happen to be a Photoshop subscriber, great. If not, you’ll still want to edit your photos. If you don’t own Photoshop or an alternative like Corel PaintShop, you can access free online photo editors, such as Fotor. Alternately, many programs offer a one-month free trial to test. Start by cropping and straightening, if your scanner didn’t already do that for you.

Think color.

Film has characteristic colors that are now popular to emulate digitally, but you may want to consider some color and contrast adjustments on your scanned shots. If a photo has faded, you can add back some quality by increasing contrast and adjusting the exposure. You can also use color controls, like saturation and vibrance, to add some life back in the photo.

Correct with the heal or clone tool.

Chances are, some of your scanned photos can have damage or dust spots that couldn’t be removed ahead of time. Since it’s simplest, start by using the healing brush tool, available in most photo editors. If that doesn’t work, the clone tool can replace the damaged area with another spot from the same photo.

Old family memories shouldn’t be kept in a box — but doing more than just a simple scan will help keep those moments in-tact for generations to come.

4 Sports Photography Tips For Rookie Photographers

4 Sports Photography Tips For Rookie Photographers

A camera can freeze a moment in time — and freezing that split second moment at the peak of the game creates an amazing image. Sports photography, whether it’s t-ball or professional football, usually means the photographer needs to have speed and reflexes too, not just the athlete. But, with practice and a few sports photography tips, you can learn how to capture that winning shot. Here are four sports photography tips for beginners.

Anticipate.

In the split second that it takes for a modern camera to take a shot, often, that peak moment is already gone. Sports photography is that fast. So how do you get those mid-action shots? Two things — one, turning on the burst mode on the camera, which takes several shots in quick succession. And two, anticipating the next move before it happens. You’ll capture better photos if you are familiar with the sport, learning to recognize the signs that a pass is coming to reposition the camera to the likely recipient, for example, and firing just before the pass arrives. If you’re not familiar with the sport you will be photographing, start watching games on YouTube before you go.

Watch the ball.

Some of the same advice for the players actually applies to the photographer too. In sports that involve a ball, keep your eye on the ball and include it in the shot. Without a ball in the photo, it’s difficult for viewers to see what’s going on. While occasionally you can make a case for photographing the action a bit farther from the main play (such as trying to capture a photo of every player on the team), for the most part, the image is better when the ball is visible. For sports that don’t involve a ball, be sure to include enough of the scene so that the viewer can see what is going on.

Embrace a fast shutter speed, even when that means using a high ISO.

Sports, a majority of the time, require a fast shutter speed. Using shutter priority mode is your best bet, particularly for scenes that may have changing light, such as outdoors or with uneven gymnasium lights. The shutter speed depends on the sport you are shooting, ideally at or over 1/1000 though slower sports and limited light may mean using a bit slower speed. In sports, getting that high shutter speed to freeze the action is the most important aspect, so don’t hesitate to use a higher ISO if you are shooting in limited light.

What sports photos don’t require a fast shutter speed? Panning, or moving the camera while the shutter is open, is a popular technique for shooting races that uses a slower shutter speed.

Zoom — but aim for variety too.

A fast zoom lens is a sports photographer’s best friend, bringing action across the field up close. A good zoom lens will allow you to get solid shots even when you are limited in where you can stand, which is an unfortunate reality in many sports photos. While zoom is important, add variety by including some wider shots that show more of the play, as well as looking around to fans and coaches for potential shots too.

Sports photography’s high speed makes it a challenge for new photographers, but with some practice, the shots can be worth the extra effort in the end.

New DiLand On-line Software Solution

New DiLand On-line Software Solution: Diland WEB

Photo Direct is proud to announce Diland’s next wave of software development, adding to the very successful and popular DiLand Kiosk software and DiLand Studio software, Diland WEB. This is an easy to use web based ordering system that will mirror you’re in store Kiosk and allow you to use all your customers computers as a kiosk in their own home, sending all their photos and print orders directly into your Diland studio.

Diland Studio Software

Professional software to manage orders received from multiple DiLand Kiosk software via local network. It allows control of order execution: send, redo, archive, envelope printing, quick order editing to change prices or print formats or… much more.

  • Manage order from the kiosks, WEB or from the software itself
  • Image selection and print copy quantity in one step
  • Initial digital signage screen can be setup with images, video and promotional text messages.
  • Multiple image source selection to load customer’s images.
  • Load images from social network folders.
  • iPhone and iPad image loading via USB cable and via WiFi, with and without APP.
  • Clear card insertion instructions with 3D drawings.
  • Image selection and print copy quantity in one step.
  • Images can be enhanced and automatically corrected.
  • Each image can be adjusted, printed with FIT or FILL option, duplicated or printed in multiple sizes.
  • Image crop is easy to do with touchscreens by simply adjusting the yellow box on the image
  • Clear options for image enhancement.
  • Manual corrections can be enabled to allow customers doing manual image adjustments.
  • Images can be rotated also by fine steps.
  • Automatic Red eye correction.

DiLand Kiosk Software

Easy to use intuitive software to create print orders from digital images. Print products and channels are easily customizable: passport, borders, contact sheet, cluster, gifts, Photobooks, automatically send print orders to dye-sub printers, minilabs, networked PCs, photofinishers via ftp or removable storage media. It is possible to load third party frames and graphics to enable creative products like cards, calendars etc.

Event photography ordering system with dedicated image sources and price list, Digital signage feature with customizable text, video and images for high impact promotional messages.

Diland WEB

Can you imagine having these features and benefits in your customers home, to make photobooks in the evening saving the file as they go then sending directly to your store. You could set up local business in your town or further a field that have capacity like a football, Golf, fishing club or RSL with a shortcut to your website to generate addition revenue streams remotely.

If you don’t have our system at the moment you can purchase a Studio and On-line license and you’re off and running!

Contact us today to see how this new Diland WEB can benefit your business: (03) 9894 1644 or sales@photodirect.com.au

5 Tips For Running Successful Advertising Campaigns As A Small Business

5 Tips For Running Successful Advertising Campaigns As A Small Business

With social media, Google ads and online advertising, an advertising campaign is just a few clicks away — but that doesn’t mean all a good ad campaign takes to create is just a few clicks. To make the most of an advertising budget, small businesses need to head into an advertising campaign with a plan, or risk spending without the reach. So what do small businesses need to know before setting up that marketing campaign? Here are five advertising campaign tips for small businesses.

Create an overall marketing plan.

Before you even boost that Facebook post or run that Google ad campaign, you should have a marketing plan for your business to identify your overall goals and the best ways to achieve them. A marketing plan will answer questions like, who is your audience? And what brand image do you want to portray? Creating a marketing plan helps make sure these essentials are always easy at hand for any advertising opportunity.

Create specific, measurable goals.

What is your goal for taking out that ad? Sure, you want to earn money, that’s every business’ goal for advertising. Be more specific. Is there a certain sub-audience you want to reach out to? Perhaps a specific product or service to promote? Or maybe you simply want to introduce more consumers to your brand to start building trust. The best goals, however, are also measurable so that you can make improvements for the next ad, so factor that into your plans and write down your starting numbers to compare to after the ad runs.

Keep communication channels open.

Say your ad is successful at reaching the right audiences — how will they contact you to learn more? Today, there’s hundreds of ways to do that, but try every one and you’ll soon be worn thin. Keep the communication strategies to one or two based on your audience and goals. Let customers know how they can best learn more by listing those options, like an email newsletter and a favorite social media channel. Don’t inundate them (or yourself) with ten different social media profiles, multiple email newsletters and contact forums.

Build a cohesive timeline.

Ads work better together. By establishing a timeline, you can help ads placed in multiple channels to work together for that end goal. Establish when you’ll advertise on social media (and when you’ll send reminders). Plan print ads around an event. Determine if a press release would help and when to send it. Figure out when you’ll need to order those extra flyers for that trade show booth.

Brainstorm the most effective ways to use the budget.

Advertising can quickly take up a big chunk of the budget if you let it, but sticking with only free advertising options isn’t always the wisest choice either. While some free and low-cost marketing types are very effective, make sure you’re not investing too much time with them — or you might be better off paying for the ad and saving the time for work that brings even more income to your business. Take a few minutes to consider your goals and dream up some options outside the ordinary, then find which ones will suit your budget, goals and audience best.

Developing an advertising campaign can either be a headache or a business boost. By following a few advertising campaign tips, you can help your small business to fall in the latter category.