Category Archives: Features

Selphy

This is the Canon Selphy CP800, a small dye sublimation printer that produces quality 6×4″ prints in less than 50 seconds.

I’d been thinking about getting one of these for quite a while, principally because with an optional battery pack you can take it out on the road and print photos on the fly directly from an SD memory card.

The dye sublimation print process uses a solid ink that is heated to turn it directly into a gas which is then applied to the special print paper. This means that there are no liquid inks. The same process also apples a protective layer to the finished print that makes them water resistant. They can also be handled immediately.

I’ve used the printer on a number of occasions to hand out complimentary prints, often within a couple of minutes of taking photos. It’s a great promotional tool and the quality of the prints is impressive, equal to if not better than many of the photo labs you’ll find in pharmacists and photo shops.

Cross-Processing

There are many effects you can produce in the digital darkroom and one of those often used is cross-processing. This is an effect produced when print film is developed using chemicals for slide film, or vice versa, the result being that subtle shifts occur across the colour curve. This is easily replicated using image editing software.

If you hover your mouse over the photo above you’ll see both the treated and untreated image.

As well as the shift in colour, I’ve also added a vignette and softened the edges of the picture, a characteristic borrowed from Lomo photography.

Thinking Of Using Stock Photography?

When planning promotional materials for a website or printed matter it can be tempting to use stock photography to illustrate your offering. However, there are a number of reasons why you might want to take the trouble to feature images that relate directly to your business.

Stock images by their nature are generic and say nothing about the individuality of your business. The discerning visitor will often recognise an image as off the shelf and relate that to the value of your organisation, whereas a picture that clearly shows your own business, product or service shows that you have put in the time and effort to differentiate your business with confidence. There’s also the danger that a stock photograph might have been seen elsewhere.

Stock photography simply illustrates the business you’re in rather than your business.

Whilst there are cost advantages to using stock photography, you may find that bespoke images created especially for your business are not as expensive as you might think. You can use photography in a number of ways – to illustrate your unique selling point, your team at work, the benefits of your product or service, often featuring your branding or some other identifying feature that is unique to your operation.

If you’d like to discuss how Steve Beeston Photography can help your business then we’d be delighted to hear from you. Just call us on 01992 500 986 or drop us an email at info@stevebeeston.co.uk. You can also find out more by visiting the website at www.stevebeeston.co.uk.

Not What It Seems

Whilst taking photos for a project about Hertfordshire recently I came across this rather unusual scene in Baldock.

This is a bricked up shopfront that has been incorporated into larger premises. However, when viewed in isolation it can appear a little bizarre. It brings to mind Harold Evans quote: “The camera cannot lie, but it can be an accessory to untruth”

Irfanview

I use a number of software packages for viewing and editing images, the most obvious being Photoshop. However, I’m also a big fan of Irfanview,  written by Irfan Skiljan of Jajce, Bosnia. The first version of Irfanview was released as long ago as 1996 and the current version is 4.3. This is a brilliant little program with a wealth of features. You can view and save a whole host of file formats as well as performing basic editing tasks such as resizing, cropping and sharpening. Not only thus but you can add plugin-in filters that allow you to edit colour curves and apply filters to your images. It even does batch-processing. Not only is this remarkable program very powerful, but it’s also free, although the author does suggest you might want to make a donation. The download is also very compact, at just 1.4MB!

www.irfanview.com

Pre-shoot Consultations

Many assignments start with a pre-shoot consultation, during which I discuss a client’s requirements, timescales and delivery of the finished job.

For photography involving people, such as portraiture, lifestyle and event photography, we’ll sit down and chat about what you’re looking for and the environment in which the shoot will take place. With any such assignment it’s important for me to see the location beforehand so that I can get an idea of lighting, shooting angles and features within the environment that might be used to advantage, or those that may present difficulties. For Portraiture and Lifestyle Photography we’ll also discuss what you’ll wear and any accessories that you might use.

For product photography, a pre-shoot consultation gives me an opportunity to see the product and get an idea of how you want to use the images and the sort of results you want to see.

Another important part of the process is to establish a relationship with the client, something I regard as an important part of doing business.

The Seasons: Winter

There’s no denying that snowscapes present some wonderful photo opportunities. They also present us with some issues – specifically exposure. If you allow your camera to control exposure in the snow the chances are you’ll end up with some distinctly underexposed pictures. There’s also a good chances you’ll see a distinct blue cast. This is because snowscapes aren’t average scenes, and when a camera calculates exposure, it’s expecting an average scene. It’s expecting the distribution of light and dark and the balance of colours to be somewhere around grey. In a snow scene however, the average is pretty much white. So the camera needs to be told. The simplest way to do this is to bump up the EV (Exposure Value), which either slows the shutter speed or increases the lens aperture.

The picture above was taken with exposure set to Program mode, which calculated an exposure at 200ASA of 1/250th at f8. You can see from the image that the snow is less than white. Compare this with the photo below.

In this photo an Exposure Value of +1 was dialled in, resulting in both a larger aperture and slower shutter speed, 1/160th at f6.3. The difference is quite pronounced and gives us a truer representation of the scene.

Almost all modern digital cameras from dSLRs to compacts allow you influence the exposure using EV. Many use a dedicated button on the back of the camera, usually signified by a +/- symbol. You can use this creatively for any number of not-so-average scenes, from snowscapes to shooting into the sun. So if you find that using the cameras n=built in metering gives photos that are to dull or missing shadow detail, think about using the EV control to adjust the exposure.

Not A Wedding Photographer

Many people ask me if I do wedding photography. I do not.

Wedding photography is a highly skilled area that involves not only photography, but dealing with large numbers of people as well. You have to be prepared for whatever is thrown at you in terms of environment, weather and “personalities”. And you have to get it right first time, every time. You can’t take chances by asking an inexperienced wedding photographer to cover such an important event. I have no such experience and therefore I don’t do weddings.

However, I am more than happy to cover informal family functions, such as anniversaries, christenings etc. And if you’re looking for a photographer to informally cover your wedding reception without the wedding photographer price tag, I’m happy to do that as well.

To find out more about the photography packages I offer, please visit www.stevebeeston.co.uk/photography-packages.asp.

Compressed Perspective 2

Back in July I wrote a piece about compressed perspective and how it can change the apparent relationship between near and distant objects. I couple of photos I took a few days ago demonstrate this further.

You’ll notice in the picture below that one bottle of shower gel appears slightly larger than the other. Specifically, the yellow bottle on the right is slightly larger than the lime bottle on the left.

However, this is a good example of how compressed perspective can fool the eye. The yellow bottle is actually a lot smaller than the green bottle – it just looks larger because it’s much closer to the camera.

Here’s another image showing the bottles side by side.

As you can see, there is a big difference in size! The green bottle is a standard Original Source bottle, whereas the Lemon and Tea Tree is a travel pack size.

In the first picture the larger lime bottle is about a metre behind the smaller lemon bottle. I used a small aperture and manually focussed on a point midway between the two to ensure that they were both in focus, thereby making them appear as if they were positioned next to each other. The illusion is helped by the fact that the proportional relationship between the bottle and label are the same on both bottles.

Compressed Perspective

Compressed perspective is the effect whereby two objects at a distance appear to be closer to one another than they really are. The effect is often associated with telephoto lenses but can equally be produced by both standard and wide-angle lenses. The phenomenon is most obvious when the perspective dominates the field of view.

The opposite effect is called exaggerated perspective and is produced by wide-angle lenses. Unlike compressed perspective, the effect cannot be produced by longer lenses.

Some articles incorrectly state that the effect is created by telephoto lenses. This is a myth. It is an illusion that is observed when a distant scene is viewed in isolation. This can be demonstrated by cropping a photo taken with a standard or even wide angle lens to show the distant objects in relation to one another, mimicking the effect of a telephoto lens.

An opposite effect can be seen in car wing mirrors, where in the US it is often accompanied by the warning “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear”. The convex surface of the mirror produces a wide angle view that results in an exaggerated perspective.

The photo of four gravestones below was taken with a telephoto lens at a focal length of 230mm (35mm equivalent).

Compare this with the photo below, which was taken from exactly the same position, but with a focal length of 50mm and cropped to show just the four gravestones from the previous photo.

You can see the the perspective is almost identical. The uncropped photo is shown below.

By way of further comparison, if we move closer to the subject and use a 28mm wide-angle lens, the difference in perspective can be seen. The gravestones in the background now appear to be a lot further away.

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