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Using Light to Take Great Photos

ImageHave you ever wondered why a professional photographer’s pictures look better than your snapshots? Sure they’ve got the fancy cameras and the great software, but what about the nuts and bolts of shooting a great picture? Do they know something you don’t?

The answer is yes. They know about lighting.

Lighting can be the key to what ends up being a great photo, or it can be what ruined a potentially great photo. 

Professional photographers spend a lot of time studying and learning about light but they’ll be the first to tell you how simple good lighting really is. Good lighting is simply light from a large light source from somewhere other than the camera.

That’s why you see photographers using those big umbrella lights in their studios. A photographer wants lots of light from lots of sources and not only directly in front of the subject.

A larger light source is a softer, flattering light source. Good light can make adults look younger and children look happier. Good light can make your whole photograph stand out.

You can’t get that kind of light from a typical digital camera. Most pocket sized point-and-shoot style cameras have a very small flash. It’s also attached to the camera and creates what the professionals call cave dweller lighting. The pictures look as though they were taken in a cave with a flashlight taped to your head.
So what’s the answer for someone that doesn’t have fancy lighting equipment?

Here are some suggestions. Put your subject near a window or open door. Get outside and if there is sun put it behind your subject. We’ve all been taught this is wrong but it’s wonderful light because the sun creates secondary back lighting. If you have a shaded area put your subject right on the edge of the shade so that the bright part of the sky lights them without the harsh effects of the sun. The sun’s refection off of a building can also add some incredible light.

One of the great aspects of using digital cameras is that you can try lots of things and take lots of pictures without having to worry about wasting film. Try different lighting sources and try using natural light in different ways.

Photograph literally means write with light. Light is the main element the professionals use to create quality pictures.

Canvas Printing

Printing on canvas is incredibly versatile and a great way to create a ready-to-hang image or artwork. Every canvas that we print  is protected with a UV coated acrylic finish to guard the print from dust, moisture and fading. Do you want your canvas stretched on bars or non-stretched? Framed or unframed? Customize the work to make it truly your own.

Art Prints – How are they made?

Photography by Laurie Barone-Shafer
Nowadays just about anyone can take a good quality photographs with a digital camera. Or take a few hundred pictures and the chances are few will be good, and even one or two outstanding.

Here are a few tips, tricks and techniques on how to make art print poster ready photographs and print ready digital files. Don’t get overwhelmed, there is a lot of information here, but a lot of it is just intuitive. Well, a bit of patience will always help.

First thing – Photo Size

If you taking a digital photo of you family or friend the largest size you would print is usually 5 by 7 inches, maybe 8 by 10 at the most. Even small size digital photographs (2MB or less) are ‘good enough’ to create a decent print. But if you want to create prints that are 16 by 20, 20 by 24 inches or larger you need more pixels (in pixels 20 by 24 inches photo is actually about 40 times larger than 3 by 4 inches photo assuming they have the same resolution).

Learning to Paint Watercolors

Watercolor is an easy, fun medium for creating art.  Color theory, composition and design can be explored freely with watercolor paint, paper, and brushes.  Several techniques may be used with watercolors for varying effects including painting wet on wet, wet on dry, layering washes, and more.

Watercolor paper comes in cold press, hot press, and rough.  Rough paper has the most texture, and its hills and valleys can result in interesting effects when paint is added.  Hot press is the smoothest and has the finest texture.  Cold press has a moderate amount of texture and is the paper most commonly chosen by watercolor artists.

Watercolor paper comes in several weights ranging from 90 lb. to 300 lb. based on the pounds per ream of paper.  Most artists prefer to use at least 140 lb. paper.  Papers vary somewhat between manufacturers, so sampling different papers is advisable.  Paper can be purchased in pads, in blocks or in large sheets.  The large sheets are usually the most economical and can be torn into whatever size is desired.

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