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Craft InformationFun Inexpensive Gift Ideas

Inexpensive gift ideas, an article with tips on making quality, personal gifts at home. Some suggestions include a hand-bound journal, beaded jewelry, and photo frames. How easy is it to walk into a department store, pick up an i [ ... ]

Art InformationVarnishing Acrylic Paintings

Do you or don’t you? Does an acrylic painting need to be varnished? Judging from the calls and comments that we get on a daily basis, most artists think not. And those that think ‘yes’ are confused about the best technique  [ ... ]

Photo InformationPreserving Photographs

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Selective Focus Technique
Have you ever wondered how those professional photographers make their subjects stand out from the surroundings? For example, a flower may stand out against a blurred background, or a small insect is set against a blurred leaf. Well, its not difficult to achieve this effect.

The trick is to use the selective focus technique. With this technique, we can choose one part of the image to be sharp and in focus, while the rest of the image is kept out of focus. It's very useful in macro and close-up photography. Hampton Photo, Art and FramingNote that it is in fact possible to achieve the selective focus effect using image editing programs. You can simply select one part of the photo, keep it sharp and then blur the rest. However, personally, I choose to shoot the image with selective focus because the effect always looks more natural.

So how do you achieve selective focus? Here are some tips.

Aperture size
For selective focus, try choosing your widest f-stops (i.e. aperture size), such as f/2.8 or f/4. Couple this with a fast shutter speed to ensure enough light is present in the photo. I also recommend using a neutral-density filter to allow you to use wide f-stops.

Telephoto Settings
A good tip is to zoom in as much as possible, or choose a telephoto lens. I've achieved much better results by using strong telephoto.

Locate Out-Of-Focus Areas
Another trick to achieve the selective focus technique is to search for an element that can be strongly out of focus. For example, if you're shooting an insect, choosing to have out-of-focus leaves surrounding the insect is a good idea.

Angle To Subject
This tip takes a bit of practice, but is very effective at times. Choose an angle to the subject that causes background and foreground elements to be farther from the focused subject. This causes them to be strikingly out of focus.

LCD Review
With the advent of digital photography, you can (and should) check your composition in the LCD to be sure the in-focus and out-of-focus areas are correctly captured.
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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