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Photo InformationDigital Photography Lighting

Digital photography can be a great way to capture images of the world around you. Digital cameras are improving each day, giving even an amateur photographer a way to take amazing photos. However without proper lighting, the best [ ... ]

Framing InformationFraming Fine Art

A valued piece of art is never simply taped to the wall. Art can be an investment, and it deserves the best preservation techniques that exist. Improperly framing art fades it, damages the paper, and alters the original piece. Fr [ ... ]

Photo InformationArt Prints – How are they made?

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 techniqu [ ... ]

Portrait Photography Tips

If you don't have or can't create a photo studio, concentrate on environmental portraiture. Show the subject and also his surroundings. These tend to work best if you can enlarge the final image to at least 11x14 inches. In any smaller photo, the subject's face is simply too small. Taking photos that will enlarge well is a whole art by itself. Your allies in this endeavor will be a low ISO setting, prime (rather than zoom) lenses, a tripod, and at least a mid-range digital SLR.

There are two elements to a photo studio for portrait photography. One is a controlled background. You want to focus attention on your subject and avoid distracting elements in the frame. Probably the best portraits aren't taken against a gray seamless paper roll. On the other hand, you are unlikely to screw up and leave something distracting in the frame if you confine yourself to using seamless paper or other monochromatic backgrounds. You don't have to build a special room to have a controlled background. There are all kinds of clever portable backdrops and backdrop supports that you can buy or build. If you absolutely cannot control the background, the standard way to cheat is to use a long fast lens, e.g., 300/2.8. Fast telephoto lenses have very little depth of field. Your subject's eyes and nose will be sharp. Everything else that might have been distracting will be blurred into blobs of color.

Hampton Photo, Art and FramingThe second element of a portrait studio is controlled lighting. With lights on stands or hanging from the ceiling, you get to pick the angle at which light will strike your subject. With umbrellas and other diffusion equipment, you get to pick the harshness of the shadows on your subject. There are some pretty reasonable portable flash kits consisting of a couple of lights, light stands, and umbrellas. These cost $500-1000 and take 20 minutes or so to set up on location. If you don't have the money, time, or muscles to bring a light package to a project, the standard way to cheat is to park your subject next to a large window and put a white reflecting card on the other side. Don't forget the tripod, because you'll probably be forced to use slow shutter speeds.


The most flattering light for most portraits is soft and off-camera. A large north-facing window works, as does the electronic equivalent, the softbox. If your subject is outdoors, an overcast day is best. If the day is sunny, make sure to use a reflector or electronic flash to fill in shadows underneath the eyes.


If you want to flatter your subject, you'll probably want to deemphasize his or her nose. That means you want to stand at 10 or 15 feet away from your subject so that their nose isn't significantly closer to you than the rest of his or her face. However, at such a large distance from the camera, filling the frame with just your subject's face will require a high magnification (i.e., telephoto) lens. Typical "portrait" lenses are therefore between 90 and 135 millimeters long (for 35mm cameras). Many professional fashion photographers use 300mm or 600mm lenses.

With a Canon or Nikon, most professionals end up using their 70-200/2.8 or 80-200/2.8 zooms as portrait lenses. These 3 lb. monsters aren't very pleasant to handhold, though, and if you know that you're only going to do portraits, you're better off with a prime lens. Prime lenses are lighter and give better image quality. Unfortunately, the prime lens in this range that a serious photographer is most likely to own is the 100 or 105 macro. These are very high quality optically but difficult to focus precisely since most of the focusing helical precision is reserved for the macro range.

Capture the spirit

If the photo captures something that you remember about a person, there is no need to show the whole face clearly. The photo may have a lot of meaning to friends and family even if it doesn't communicate much to a stranger.

If you're using film...

Most people probably look better in black and white. If you want the sharpest results, you'll get them with Kodak TMAX-100, and Kodak BW400CN. Kodak's TRI-X emulsion has enough grain that it may flatter certain subjects. You will probably find that TRI-X in the 35mm format yields grain that is simply too obtrusive. TRI-X works very well in 120 or 4x5 size, however.

If you're doing color, you'll want subtle tones, low color saturation, and low-ish contrast. Good places to start in the color negative world are the Kodak Portra films, Fujicolor Pro 160S, and Fujicolor Pro 400H. For color slides, try Fuji Sensia.

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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