Take Good Digital Photos Like A Specialist

Have you been under the often-mistaken impression that you must be a specialist photographer to snap really great digital photos? You may be very amazed by these useful digital photograph tips and how useful they are when you need to get best digital pictures that you are able to. Having some simple information that allows you keep your focus – pun intentional here folks as we are discussing photography – as sharp in your subject as possible.

The important digital and professional photography ideas that you want to seriously consider is that you need to select a digital camera that is suitable to your demands. We are not merely discussing the economic element here either my friends. What we are discussing here happens to be the specific details of the camera itself. You may want a digital camera that is a really affordable – about twenty dollars approximately – unless you care, what other people think about your particular alternative and likes. If you absolutely desire a more costly product this is your choice.

Another thing you want to think about if you are going out to take that first digital picture is actually the scenario where you intend to take pictures. This brings us towards the next in the line of these digital photo tips: observe the illumination. You need to think about what you need to take pictures of things that are outdoors you will definitely have to seriously consider the illumination and the conditions. If you’re taking pictures indoors you are also going to need to pay attention to the lighting and interior conditions.

This brings me to my next on the list of digital photo tips you need to look closely at your subject. This is one thing of paramount value as well. In case you are taking pictures of inanimate or still objects, for example trees, plants or signs you do not need to fear these things being moved unexpectedly by anything except the wind. If you are going to be taking photos of landscapes, you also only have to fear the wind as well as the weather. Nonetheless, if you are taking a picture of animate objects, their motion needs to be considered.

Paying attention to these couple of simple tips can considerably enhance the caliber of your digital photos.

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Why Become Skilled At Photography?

z1Why do many people decide to gain knowledge of photography? The small answer is: for the reason that it is the easiest way to trap the awe of the world. A supplementary elaborate response is: for the reason that it helps us to capture the moments of our existence to reveal with our kin and friends, it is enjoyable, it can help us become illustrious, make cash, etc.

There are thousands of reasons why taking photographs has become so trendy nowadays. The advent of digital machinery has raised the recognition of this easily reached art even more. Continue reading Why Become Skilled At Photography?

Making Money With Photography

z1There is more than one way to make money through your photography hobby, and the most commonly known type is to actually become one of a professional wedding portrait photographers photo shoots. The other less commonly known one are listed below and they requires a different type of photography skills, as such do not be too surprise that even you can start making some money out of your passion.

Products Marketing Photos

These photos are no doubt everywhere, no matter where you turn your head while out in the streets. Pictures of the latest gadgets, household needs, and food and beverage restaurant are everywhere; surely there are some job opportunities available, right?

You can definitely get into this type of photos shooting to start earning some side income, and in fact these photos are far easier to take compared to wedding ones, because you are dealing with items and products instead of real people and these products do not run around when you are trying to take a picture! So if you are interested, you can simply ask your immediate friends if they know of any job openings that might be suitable for you.

Another way to get started in shooting these sorts of photos is to actually approach marketing companies that might be near you, and who knows they might just be looking for a freelance photographers! Although the payout might not be as high as you would want, they are generally easy to take and create as such you want to make sure that your portfolio have a diverse set of pictures that can give credibility to your experience as a product photographer Melbourne.

Wildlife and Landscape Photos

The other type of photos that can also generate money for your photography skill is photos of landscape and wildlife animals. Granted these photos are a lot more rare and difficult to take, you will find that the payout are also usually better, and can be recurring when you managed to find a company that demand these type of photos. Chances are they are using these photos to create greeting cards; calendar and post cards and they will need more than just one set from you. Important thing to note when creating these photos to sell is to make sure that you can create depth and perspective for these photos.

So why not put your skill into good use by start learning how to take photos that actually help you generate some form of income that you can use to further your passion. You might even make enough money for you to quit and be a freelancer.

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The Breakdown Of Different Ceremony Packages

There are so several things to look at on your marriage day: the dress or tuxedo to wear, the food to eat, the wedding crew, the ring and the vows. Make sure that the photographer you employed was able to make your day last forever by taking images of all the memories created that day. Ensure that you’ll choose the appropriate photographer for your exclusive day, someone individual you feel comfortable working with and that you are really impressed with their portfolio. It is now time to choose the marriage photography package accessible once you’ve selected the photographer.

The fundamental marriage package will just supply you with the few prints and a reduced amount of photographers on your wedding day while the expensive service will give you an audio visual presentation at your reception and would in general have 2 to 3 photographers and could sometimes integrate video coverage too. The fundamental packages in general just integrate 1 photographer going around for the period of the entire marriage and reception.

These packages will present you with the basic snap shots you see all through wedding. You can plan to acquire a picture album with the wedding pictures you have elected, ranging from 40 to 50 snap shots. The package does not incorporate extra services. A couple photograph kissing, exchanging rings, the slicing of the cake and the group images that you have at each wedding. This marriage photography package is almost cost-effective and you can simply ask your buddies to bring their cameras to take more photographs.

The middle-priced wedding photography package supplies additional prints and in general extra photographers on your marriage day. The service could additionally incorporate pre-nuptial or engagement snap shots which were done weeks or months prior to the wedding itself. A slide show of the snap shots to be shown for the period of the wedding party is additionally covered in the package. To further grant the couple additional memories of their elite day some photographers would take pictures of actions happening concurrently.

The high-end ceremony photography package is a ton better in comparison to the middle-priced package since it could offer added service and extras. There’s no need for you to search for added providers since this database already is compiled of a videographer to cover your marriage. You can alternatively find in this ceremony package inclusions of slide shows at the reception plus extra photographers and a save the date portrait shoot. If you have cash to give up, this is the method to go. More memories and extra perks, such as they say, you really get what you can afford.

Important Photoshop Elements Training Methods

Adobe happens to be fast to provide their consumers regarding any kind of training intended for the different varieties of programs and Adobe Photoshop Elements 8 is not an exception.

Photoshop Elements 8 has basically turned out to be latched with an on the web training community, referred to as the “Learn Elements Now” instruction web site. This website offers training as video tutorials and online elements training to support you understand the possibility regarding the different features of the software as well as get the best out of it. You can find pod casts found on the site offering people with different tricks and tips for using the various capabilities associated with Adobe Photoshop Elements 8.

The site also has several online consumer training guides. In addition, it offers access and links a number of free video training courses for Photoshop Elements. With regard to users which might be completely new to Photoshop Elements 8, there are a unique number of video tutorials called the “Getting Started” training videos. For experts as well as those who have been through the actual “Getting Started” videos, there is an intermediate to superior Photoshop Elements training department. The actual “Getting Started” video lessons as well as instructions were created to help you to a user stage within less than 2 hours, as well as master basic principles of Photoshop Elements computer software.

Adobe has additionally developed an Adobe Online community training online program intended for Adobe Photoshop Elements 8. The actual Adobe Community training support consists of tips by Adobe specialists globally that post to the web on a regular basis making use of their advice. In addition, it has a comments area and a community forum where by consumers of Adobe Photoshop Elements 8 around the globe come together in this site to discuss difficulties, ideas, suggestions and other workarounds associated with Adobe Elements 8 along with anything related to photo-editing. Adobe in addition has a custom internet search engine in which the user can easily look for just about all Elements training – content articles, video lessons and information sites – related to virtually any aspect of Adobe Elements 8. This kind of content isn’t limited to the training and videos given by Adobe but in addition from people around the world.

Anybody can also get in touch with Adobe Photoshop Elements training support directly. There are also conventional support programs readily available for small as well as medium firms, and if you are a developer making use of the particular application and integrating it with an additional piece of software, there are special designer assistance programs created by Adobe. Additionally there is Adobe TV that has “how to” programs providing tips, demos and step-by-step instruction concerning how to use Adobe Elements 8 to the maximum.

There is also a subscription structured e-newsletter within the Adobe web site wherein subscribers receive an annual e-newsletter with a ton of posts, instructions and how-to-do training and insider secrets coming from the leading photo-editors as well as photography enthusiasts in the marketplace. It also supplies a membership based access to a community discussion board which allows consumers to discuss their problems associated with Adobe Elements 8.

Buying A Digital Camera – What To Look For

Looking for a new digital camera for yourself or for a gift? If so, it can be quite confusing with all the various types of cameras, brand names, and features out there. However, you shouldn’t worry, because there are only a few things to consider when selecting the right camera. Answer the following questions and you’ll be much better prepared to start your camera hunt.

1. The Type of Camera. First, you should decide what kind of digital camera you need. Will you be primarily taking simple photographs? If so, then an inexpensive, automatic “point and shoot” camera will generally suffice, and they’re the easiest to use. However, if you are planning on taking professional quality photography, a digital SLR (single lens reflex) with more features can give you better control of your shots.

As far as prices go for the different types of cameras, here’s a general rule of thumb:

– Entry-level “point and shoot” cameras (subcompacts and compacts) – between $100 – $300

– Advanced “point and shoot” cameras – $350 – $600

– “SLR-like” cameras – $450 – $1,300

– Professional grade SLR cameras – $500 – $7,000.

2. Shape, Weight, and Size. Although point-and-shoot cameras will be smaller in size and weight, the heavier and bulkier digital SLR cameras will take much higher quality pictures.

You should be able to grip the camera comfortably. A smaller camera body is more difficult to grip properly, and all-too-many point-and-shoot cameras don’t have a grip at all. If they do, it should just fill the inside curve of your fingers to fit properly.

3. User Controls. If you’re looking for a basic point-and-shoot camera, be sure to find one that you feel is easy to operate. The main controls (to set picture resolution, flash options, exposure, picture resolution, and other modes like macro, automatic, or a self-timer) should be easy to locate and use. Although pros and more experienced photographers need to be able to make advanced adjustments like shutter speed and aperture settings, these particular features may not be all that important to you.

4. How Many Megapixels Do I Need? How much fine detail that can be captured in a digital picture is basically determined by the megapixel rating of the camera itself. A low-end megapixel rated camera (between 2 – 5 megapixels) is more than adequate for pictures that will simply be emailed or displayed on a web browser. However, for those photographers who need to capture the finest details for high quality displays or printing, a minimum megapixel rating of 5 is required, and can go as high as 12. Once you get into the higher megapixel ranges, though, a difference of a couple megapixel levels won’t be all that noticeable.

5. Optics and Responsiveness. Don’t obsess over megapixels, though. There are still other important issues to consider like lens quality and the responsiveness of the camera. Make sure you buy a name-brand camera with quality optics in it, like Zeiss or Sigma. It’s the combination of the lens’ quality and megapixel rating that primarily determines the quality of the image.

You will discover that inexpensive digital cameras can have a really long lag time between pressing the “shoot” button and the camera actually capturing the image. If you’ll be taking any “action” shots with the camera, like during live sporting events or your kids’ activities, you’ll need to look for a camera with a continuous frame rate of at least five. Slower cameras can make shooting action pictures difficult, if not downright impossible.

6. Zoom lens. There are different types of zoom lens – digital and optical. The digital zoom feature essentially magnifies and averages the center of the picture electronically, frequently resulting in a less than satisfactory picture. Optical zoom, on the other hand, is the best method of zoom available, as it physically moves the lens in or out to capture a particular subject. Camera buyers should try to get a camera with the highest optical zoom that they can afford.

7. Memory Card Format. The most popular storage card formats for digital cameras these days are SD (secure digital) cards, and you can find them in capacities of up to 32GB. For higher end SLR cameras, Compact Flash cards are generally the standard; they also come in up to 32GB sizes. Memory cards are getting cheaper every year, so don’t scrimp on this type of storage for your pictures and buy some extras.

8. Battery – Type and Life. Check out what kind of battery your chosen camera uses. Some cameras use their own proprietary type of battery instead of standard AA batteries. All batteries will stop holding a charge eventually, so be sure to keep a fully charged backup battery with you at all times.

Battery life will vary between digital cameras, with some cameras lasting much longer than others. See if the camera you’re interested in has a high picture count per battery charge rating.

9. Don’t Forget Accessories. Each camera kit generally comes with some accessories, so see what they offer. Unless your camera expressly prohibits it, buy some rechargeable batteries and a charger. A card reader for reading your storage cards is also nice to have. Small color printers for printing photographs is also a useful item to pick up if it’s not in the camera bundle.

Hemante Garces is a photography enthusiast who has spent a lot of time and money coming up with solid requirements for a digital camera purchase. He put this digital camera best to buy list together to assist others also in the market for a digital camera.

Tips For Group Portraits Photography

z1There are many reasons why you should know how to take group photo’s or family portraits. Many a times, people want their picture taken on the fly and it’s not feasible to have professional portrait photographers to take them.

Every family deserves to have at least one good family portrait together but it’s nice to have additional portraits as the family grows and ages. The best way to learn to take portraits is to practice on your own family or friends! And don’t forget to get in the picture too, if you’re taking your own family portrait! So be sure to use a camera with a remote shutter button release and a timer. Continue reading Tips For Group Portraits Photography

You Need To Understand Your Film Choices To Take Good Pictures

Which Kind Of Film Do You Really Need??

Sorry but there are no easy or simple answers to choosing the right film. Regardless of what camera you use, whether or not you’re doing wedding photography, nature photography or just shooting your favorite mother-in-law (of course, when you do that, just make sure you’re using a camera and nothing else).

Do you use ISO 100, 200, 800?? Do you use black and white, color negative or color slide film? Do you buy the name brand box, the ‘house’ brand or the really cheap stuff neither you or any of your friends have ever heard of? Unless you’ve tried them all it’s expensive and time-consuming to wade through all the myths and half-truths that surround these various products. For instance, I’ve heard that ISO 800 film is “the best all-round film you can buy”. It even says so on the yellow box!

Unfortunately, you can’t believe everything a manufacturer tells you when he is trying to get you to part with some of your hard earned money.

With experience you will come to know which film works best for the type of pictures you ‘normally’ take. Pictures generally fall into three or four main categories: people, scenery or people in scenery. Pet photos are also very popular. Fortunately, most of us take pretty much the same kinds of photos most of the time so once we choose a film that works well for us we can stop worrying about it.

Let’s talk about ‘film speed’ for a minute. What this means in practical terms is that to get the best pictures we need to know what activity will be taking place and what the lighting conditions are going to be like where we plan to shoot.

Is there going to be a lot of water, snow or light-colored sand where the pictures will be taken? Is there going to be a lot of furious activity like car or boat racing or is it going to be the equivalent of a family picnic? Is it supposed to be sunny or isn’t it? These are the types of considerations that must be taken into account before choosing a roll of film.

I want to spend a minute relating film speed to camera settings. Assume we have a constant shutter speed of 1/60th of a second and ISO 100 speed film. The ideal aperture setting has been pre-determined to be f5.6. With ISO 200 film this setting would be f8; with ISO 400, f11 and with ISO 800 it would be f16. I hope this helps you a little to see the difference.

never recommend using ISO 800 film unless there is a very specific need for a very fast, high-contrast film. It is simply impractical for general photographic use. It is a highly specialized film that should be used with experience and discretion. Otherwise it is generally a waste of money. It also creates serious difficulties for the processing lab because inexperienced users invariably overexpose the film and make it extremely difficult to get any kind of decent color from the negs.

In spite of what it says on the ever-popular yellow box, ISO 400 film does not work really well around snow, water or sand. The film is simply too fast for the shooting conditions. The highlights get ‘burned’ out and a lot of detail is lost unless it is quite cloudy. A picture taken in sunshine does not need as high film speed as those taken under low light conditions.

ISO 400 does not work well with flash shots of people either. Once again the highlights get lost because, unless you have a very sophisticated external flash gun you often times can’t compensate for the high film speed and the results are generally an overexposed negative. This results in very poor color.

Generally speaking ISO 100 or 200 is your best bet for all-round general photography. It works equally well in boats and in the family living room. You can usually use it for close-up flash photography (6 to 8 feet) without burning up things like faces.

You need to know that overexposed negatives do not produce good color.

Several years ago a lady came to my professional lab with a series of very badly overexposed 4X5 professionally taken wedding negatives. The photographer had really blown it because the shots were all about four or five stops overexposed. I accepted the order with the proviso that I could not guarantee the color results. As I recall it took close to five minutes to expose an 8X10 print. A normal negative would normally take a little less than 30 seconds to print.

The customer (like most people) simply did not understand that good color (or a good color ‘balance’) depends on a properly exposed negative. In spite of everything we could do in the lab, in order to get a decent flesh tone in the faces of the bridal party we had to turn the photos a ghastly greenish colour.

In the end, the client settled for dress colors that looked pretty well like the color of the dress material sample she provided to us even though the faces of the bridal party looked like the colour of overripe tomatoes.

A hard lesson learned. The wedding formals were essentially ‘toast’ until we employed a very old technology. In the end we were able to make some reasonably acceptable black and white prints which were then hand-colored with special photographic print dyes.

I grew up with black and white photography and I probably have a built-in prejudice in favour of the older technology. Color has certainly taken its rightful place in the industry but I still love the soft, gentle tones that you can only get with black and white.

I had my favorite kinds of black and white film and developer combinations, most of which aren’t even available any more. There was a real art to taking good black and whites but to a large degree the skills have been lost.

Speaking of not being available any more – did you know that the largest camera ever built was called “The Mammoth”? It was built in 1858 by an English photographer by the name of C. Thurston Thompson. It was designed and built to take a promotional photograph of a brand new luxury railway train and took a 3 ft. by 3 ft. square picture. The camera body was so big it needed a railway flat car to move it about the country!

To its credit, Kodak has developed a very nice black and white film with wonderful mid-tones that has to be developed in (C-41) color film developer and printed on an automatic color printer. Most of the black and whites I have seen going through the lab are poorly done but every once in a while there is a roll that goes through that is absolutely perfectly exposed and the results are very spectacular to say the least.

If you like to ‘play’ with your camera and are a little on the artistic side, here is a real challenge here for you. “Try it, you’ll like it!” I believe is the way the old saying goes. My new digital camera has a black and white capability which I am really starting to enjoy. You need to play with it to get good results but it’s a bunch of fun trying.

By the way, when people started using the old box camera in large numbers, the most popular week-end activity was known as “Kodaking”.

Back to business!

The decision about what ‘brand’ of film to use can be a rather perplexing one. The larger retailers have their own ‘house’ brands that they sell as the “best” and then there are the familiar yellow boxes from Kodak or the green boxes from Fugi or the blue boxes from Konica and so on and so on.

A lot of the ‘house’ brand film has in the past been manufactured by Fuji and Konica although the manufacturer is not always disclosed by the retailer. Some products are made by lesser-known firms, mostly from the Asian countries. It has been my experience that consistent results are best obtained by using the branded product.

The main reason for this is that you never know when the ‘house’ is going to change suppliers. The box looks the same but what’s inside may change without notice if the retailer finds a supplier with a better deal. You can always ask your retailer for the name of the film manufacturer of the house brand. Some can tell you and some can not. If they can’t it is my suggestion that it is because they keep switching suppliers.

In my experience, Kodak films usually favour the warmer colors, the reds and yellows with a rather soft contrast. Fuji on the other hand tends to lean towards the green and blue side with a somewhat higher contrast. Konica seems to me to have an overall better color balance and a contrast level that suits me. I like good colour ‘saturation’ and good, snappy contrast.

Many moons ago worked as a production supervisor for a very large photofinisher in Western Canada. The company does not exist today but it was about the largest company of its type back then.

The owners were staunch Kodak supporters. They used nothing but Kodak paper and chemistry for years and years. When the industry-wide competition started becoming ‘cut-throat’ in the early 1970’s it became crystal clear that costs of manufacturing had to be cut severely. That meant buying unbranded paper and chemicals. My employer did this.

My point is this. Hardly anyone noticed the difference in our output. The color looked the very much same as it did when we used the branded products and the end customers were satisfied with our work.

This happened because we were able to adapt our production processes to the new materials. The same can be true today of the lesser known brands. Just because you don’t recognize the name does not automatically mean it is a lesser product and can’t do an adequate job.

There’s a lot more that can be said but that will have to wait for another time.

You Need To Develop An “Eye” For Good Composition

How many times have you seen pictures with cut off heads or feet because of poor composition? How many times have you taken a picture of ‘Aunt Mary’ standing in front of the ‘Empire State Building’ (or whatever) and when you get the picture back from the photo lab, you can’t tell if its Aunt Mary or Uncle John? Composition is an extremely important factor in taking a good photograph. Most of the more expensive 35mm cameras have viewfinders that show pretty well what you are going to get. These are commonly called SLR’s or Single Lens Reflex cameras. What this means to the user is ‘wysiwyg’ or ‘what-you-see-is-what-you-get’. The reason the view is so accurate is the fact the operator is looking through the actual ‘taking’ lens and not just a simple viewfinder.

A viewfinder camera (like single-use or digitals) on the other hand has a ‘viewing’ system that is independent of the ‘taking’ system. This can cause composition problems for some users. You have to do some experimentation to find out if yours is one. A general rule of thumb is to move in on your subject until you see exactly what you want to photograph and then move back a couple of feet to leave a little room on all sides of your composition. Play with your camera until you know exactly what works best for you.

Take a few moments to really look at what you’re shooting. ‘Snap’ shots are all well and good once you become good enough to see your actual composition very quickly but they don’t always work out the way you might want. (Ask me how I know about that little rule!)

Just because you see something on the edge of your viewfinder when you take the photo, it doesn’t mean you will see it on the finished picture. This has to do with cropping during the printing phase of aerial photographs UK production.

There’s a difference in the proportional dimensions of a 35mm negative and an 8X10 print for instance. Printing the full negative will produce a print that is closer to 8X12. This is why the industry changed the standard print size from 3 ½ X 5 to 4 X 6. Too many customer complaints were being received because of the severe cropping. Even with today’s superior printing technology, if a photographer shoots a little too ‘tight’, there is a very real possibility of losing some of the image on the very edge of the negative. Here’s a couple of examples of what I’m saying about composition that I happen to like. (I should…I shot ’em!) Years ago the movie industry thought it was absolutely essential to get an actor’s entire head in a given shot or scene. There was no such thing as “tight” shooting. Look at what’s happened in the past 25 years to that theory!

The same principle applies to our own pictures. You can get far more pleasing composition if you don’t always include Aunt Mary’s feet in the picture. Whether you’re shooting the Grand Canyon or the Empire State Building you can get a very pleasing shot of Uncle Gordon standing in front and off to the side a bit without including his entire body.

Frame Your Shots

Whenever possible, ‘frame’ your subject. The tree on the right is a good example of what I’m talking about. It provides a natural frame for the main subject.

I was on my way home from shooting a commercial job one day and spotted this little scene by the side of the road. While there is nothing particularly spectacular about it, it does provide a pleasing, peaceful effect and looks good as a 16X20 print on the wall. The ‘frame’ in this instance is the foliage around the pool of water.

I love brilliant color, lots of it. This scene was taken in Jacksonville Florida. One of the reasons I like it is because the brilliance of the lights on the water keep the viewers eyes centered on the picture. Essentially there’s nothing to lead the viewer’s interest ‘out’ of the picture.

Use One Hour Labs “Yes” or “No”?!

 

One hour labs are here to stay. Whether or not you get good work from the average one hour mini lab is pretty much a crap shoot. It depends totally on who manages the place and what that manager’s level of expertise is. It also depends on who the operator is. Some are good, some are really good but, unfortunately, most are not. There’s usually no employment incentives for them to become good.

There are thousands upon thousands of horror stories about experiences gained in one hour labs all over the continent.

Keep in mind that these places are usually put in place for reasons of profit and profit alone. When a box store invests around a million bucks in a photo lab, they want to see a decent profit. In these days of cut-throat pricing this usually means minumum, untrained staff. Customer service is generally not a major priority in spite of the advertising hype.

We had this sign on the wall of a one-hour lab I used to work in…

We do work that’s

perfect, fast and cheap.

However:

If you want it perfect and fastit ain’t cheap.

If you want it fast and cheap, it ain’t perfect.

If you want it perfect and cheap, it ain’t fast.

…and that’s pretty much the the way it is.

As a paying customer, you have the right to expect reasonably good work from even a one hour lab. You may have to send it back once or maybe twice but one-make-over usually does the trick.

Here’s a chuckle for you…

It you know the buzz-words, the techno-babble as it were, you’re gonna be a whole lot further ahead. To start with, you’ll have to know a little bit about color and color ‘balance’. I’m gonna teach you more in the next few minutes than most one-hour lab operators ever learn. Sorry but I’m going to get a wee bit technical here so please bear with me. If you pay attention it will all come clear – promise!

Here’s a chart that will help our discussion. Have a good look at it and I’ll explain a little better what it’s all about after you’ve done that.

To make this simple, the one hour lab operator needs to find a “balance” between the “additive” (red, green, blue) colors and the “subtractive” (cyan, magenta, yellow) colors. Note the color opposites – cyan/red; magenta/green; yellow/blue. If the lab’s photo chemistry is “in control” and your exposures are within one or two stops your pictures should look fine if the operator is any good.

If a print is too red for instance, ask the lab to add a ‘button’ of cyan. Be careful not to confuse cyan with blue or magenta with red. If you do, you’ll simply look foolish. Do your homework. Remember you’re looking for the best possible ‘balance’ between the six colors.If they don’t, here are some things you might want to do.

There’s a lot of advertising hype surrounding a very famous name in the photo industry. Kodak’s name and trademarks are bandied about by companies which claim to adhere to national “standards” but you have to take these claims with a grain of salt. The typical one hour lab is not really great at following the ‘rules’.

You can ask the lab personnel to look at their chemistry control charts. One hour lab people won’t generally like you for asking but if you’re going to entrust your valuable pictures to them you should have the right to know if their quality control is any good. If they’ve nothing to hide there won’t be a problem. Any good lab will be proud of their controls.

It won’t mean much to you if you do get to see them but there are some things that even a lay person can readily tell. If the lab operator-drawn red, green, blue and black lines on the chart are fairly consistent and if they don’t run outside of the control limits (which you can readily see) and if they appear to plot control strips every day or so, you’re pretty safe in assuming somebody is doing something right.

If not, run, don’t walk to the nearest exit and don’t go back – ever!

It’s absolutely critical that the “C-41” chemistry that processes your color negatives is both in good chemical and temperature control. Kodak temperature tolerances are plus or minus one half of one degree on the Fahrenheit scale. Anything outside this will damage your negatives and that can’t be fixed. Bad printing can be fixed so that’s not as critical.

If your prints are simply out of ‘balance’, a makeover is usually sufficient to correct the situation.

This was really funny…

I haven’t touched on too light or too dark photos (density). This is purely subjective and it’s up to you whether or not you like any picture either darker or lighter. All printing the equipment in use today have almost infinite control over density. Don’t accept something you don’t like. It isn’t necessary.

For example, a lot of one hour lab printer operators don’t have a clue how to print a good sunrise, sunset or mountain shot. Most inexperienced operators print them far, far too light. Be aware of this.

The one hour lab industry as a general rule has, over the years, educated customers to accept whatever comes off the printing equipment as the very best that can be done. However, in spite of this, unless it really IS really good stuff, the odds are very, very good that it can be improved if you know what to ask for.