Purchasing Through SmugMug

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One thing that has really impressed me about my new website partner, SmugMug, is their seamless purchasing system.  Simple and safe it is all about giving you the confidence that you are being dealt with by professionals.

If you purchase a large print and are worried that it might not be at its best because the photo can’t be blown up that big?  Smugmug has already thought of that and it won’t display an option to buy a print size larger than the image can support!  Brilliant.

Of course there always remains the option to just download an image and then send the file off to a third party printer.  SmugMug make that easy as well.  At the top of the purchasing screen are two tabs, PRINTS and DOWNLOADS.  Select downloads and you are offered a variety of file sizes from small internet quality images to the full sized original image.  Pay for your download and it will be transferred straight to your computer.  Easy.

However, finding a good third party printer who ensures the quality of image that you want may not be easy.  I have linked my website to Loxley Colour, a printing company that has my confidence and will make certain that you get the image of your dreams.  Want to know more about Loxley Colour printing?  Take a look at this fascinating video about their operation.

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www.NickAndersonPhoto.co.uk

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For some time I have been working to put my business onto a more formal footing and now the time has come to take the next step.  I have teamed up with two great organisations to create a new website that offers my clients a simple and seamless way to browse and purchase their photographs.

http://www.NickAndersonPhoto.co.uk

Smugmug are a company that specialises in providing professional web site design services.  Their platform gives a great experience to those who are looking for their images and provides me with a wonderful showcase for my photography.

http://www.NickAndersonPhoto.co.uk

If you order a product from the site it will be created by Loxley Colour, a printing company with an excellent reputation for quality.  They have an impressive array of choices which go from a simple photo print through pre-framed images and canvasses, all the way to beautiful acrylic window frames.  Whatever you order from them, you will be assured of a beautiful result.

http://www.NickAndersonPhoto.co.uk

Of course, not everyone wants to print off all their photos so the site gives an option to purchase a download which is inexpensive, particularly at a size suitable for use with social media.

http://www.NickAndersonPhoto.co.uk

The site will show both client home shoots as well as event photography like our regular Vizwizzs!  A new pricing structure is in force which gives more choice to those of you looking for a special one to one session for your beloved pets.  Once the shoot is complete you will be free to view and order your photos from your own gallery… as few or as many as you wish.

http://www.NickAndersonPhoto.co.uk

As part of this grand opening I am giving a substantial discount of 30% for any firm bookings taken in February.  That would give more than £100 off the price of a home shoot Luxury Package!

So don’t wait… get in touch and put your deposit down to take advantage this offer.

The website nears completion!

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Well my plans to put the business on a more professional footing are nearly complete.  I hope to have the new website up and running on Sunday with some photos from Saturday’s Surrey Vizwhizz.  The site is hosted by Smugmug and allows orders for photo prints and merchandise through Loxley Colour printing in addition to allowing purchasing of image downloads.  Its all very exciting and I am keen to get it just right.

Loxley have a great reputation for quality and it will be great knowing that my clients work is being handled by such a professional company.

Colour Temperature

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It was a chilly cold morning and wandering with my camera was a delight as the bright warm ginger coats of the dogs was contrasting very well against the cool blues and whites of the frosty grass.

In photographic terms we often quote the colours we see in terms of cool or warm for a good reason.  Without being too technical, light is radiated with different qualities from sources of different temperatures.  We measure this in degrees Kelvin and ideally compare it with the colour of light a perfect black body would radiate at a particular temperature.  A black body at over 5000K will show a blue to white colour whilst one at 2700K-3000K will display a yellow to red colour.  Of course there are many other colours in the spectrum but in practice the ones that dominate in colour temperature are only blue to orange, i.e. there is no temperature that will put light into the greens or purples.

In a camera it is usually possible to adjust for different light colours by adjusting the White Balance.  This will usually return the colours to those we see under normal lighting conditions. Alternatively they may move the temperature of the image to a more pleasing level, e.g. introducing oranges to emphasise a sun set photo.

This morning I was photographing frosty conditions under a light layer of mist.  This was giving the light a distinct blue tint that we naturally associate with cold (or moonlight).  In my post processing I made sure that the White Balance temperature was on the cool side so that the photos had a frosty feel to them.  It also allowed me to emphasise the ginger of the dogs coats by increasing the orange saturation slightly, setting them apart from the background.

Out of interest, it would have been easy to give the shots a much warmer feel by increasing White Balance temperature compensation as I did for fun in the shot below.  (I also answered one of my own questions as to why the WB Temp slider in Lightroom appeared to work the wrong way round… it is calibrated to show the correction it is applying, not the actual temperature).

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Post Processing

For many, pressing the shutter to take a photograph is the final action they take before presenting it to their friends on social media or such.  For me, the act of taking the photo is probably only half of the effort I have to put into realising the final image.  The rest is called Post Processing.

When we shot wet film, unless you had your own darkroom, the post processing steps were taken for us by Boots or whoever developed our negatives and made our prints.  I certainly did my own work in the darkroom but was limited to black and white as colour processing was complicated and expensive.

The advent of digital photography put us back into the driving seat when it comes to taking our photographs out of the camera and turning them into the images we want.  Of course we can still let someone else do the work for us and for many that means shooting JPG files and accepting what comes out of the camera.  They have replaced Boots the Chemist with the software that our camera manufacturer has put into our cameras.  So Mr Nikon or Mr Canon has decided that we should have just this amount of sharpness, that level of saturation and just so much colour balance.  Of course, if we are keen, we can still do a little adjustment of those JPG images but during Mr Canon’s conversion heaps of data will have been thrown away.

This is why I shoot almost exclusively in RAW.  This image comes out of the camera without any changes… more or less straight as it came off the sensor.  Now I have to do the job that the camera software would have done; I have to turn it into an acceptable image.  The great thing is that I now have control of all those adjustments and can  use my experience tweak and cajole them into order.  The downside is that it takes considerably longer than it ever did to take the photo!

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Looking at this image of Rugger, its pretty bleached out, lacks contrast, sharpness and colour.  All the information is in the file to correct these problems (which is why the RAW file is some 20mb instead of the 3mb that a JPG version would have).  I use the RAW conversion software to make several changes including bringing down the highlights, increasing the saturation of the oranges and a little on the blues and increasing the sharpness.

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This is the end result… or actually the work I did on the preceding frame.

Resolution

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Not a New Year resolution but a few thoughts on photographic resolution.  Nowadays, the most popular way, by far, to view photographs is through social media sites which display in a wonderful plethora of ways.  PCs, Macs, iPads, tablets, Android devices, Win8, iPhones, iPods, laptops, desktops, retina displays, hi rez or low rez screens, 4k TVs, HD ready, 1080p… the list goes on!  The most common of these are our computer screens or our mobile devices.

When we see photos on these devices they usually look great with good colour, sharpness and contrast despite only being displayed at around 72 DPI.  Dots Per Inch are a common way of expressing resolution and because our screens can only display at a fairly low resolution, 72 DPI is fine.  The smaller the screen, the lower the resolution needs to be to look acceptable.  Our modern phone cameras or compacts don’t usually need much in the way of great resolution as they easily fulfill our need to present good images on the screen.

A photographer fulfills a different need.  An image that is going to be printed needs to be at a much higher resolution and I usually aim to achieve around 300DPI.  The quality of a high resolution image taken with professional equipment may not look a lot different when seen on a computer screen but its merit will be obvious when it is turned into a beautiful 40 inch print.

One way that the quality of a good image can be seen on the screen is when it is cropped and cut down so that the remaining part of the image can still fill a big screen.  The introduction image is just about full size, as it came out of the camera.  The images below are enlarged.

Resolution-4323 First is the square crop that I thought the best way to show this particular image.

Resolution-4323-4This is a tight vertical crop that centres on the subject.

Resolution-4323-3Now a full head shot to display the detail of the image.

Resolution-4323-2Finally a tight head shot that is at a 1:1 size.

So whilst we may all admire our photos that we post and look at on our phones, the detail in a professional image is usually completely lost on that medium and can only be revealed in all its glory when we have it printed and framed on our walls.