Meaning of digital files

Nearly all of my clients request digital files, and in many cases they simply want to post the picture on a social networking site or send it to some one.  Sometimes they want to print the picture.  From my perspective, there is a serious lack of understanding about digital files and there are significant differences in the quality of those files.  While there are many ways to think about this subject, I divided it into three fundamental areas: types, processing and printing.  Select each of the areas below to learn more.

Types of digital files:  This is important because it will effect your ability to make changes to your picture, the kinds of changes that are possible and whether re-saving the file results in lower image quality.  The number of pixels in a digital file will also have a serious effect on what one can do with a picture. 

Processing of digital files: As in the era of film where professional photographers controlled the development of the negative and then the positive films with solutions and chemicals, the digital photographer of today has many choices of converting the camera informtion into a final picture.  Many consumer cameras automatically do this and typically process the pictures to a JPEG format.  The professional photographer has many choices and these choices will effect out the pictures look.

Printing of digital files: I am willing to provide digital files for clients to print, but I believe in trying to educate my clients about their print choices.   

Transition from MobileMe/iWeb to a new website -- on the move!

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I really like doing pictures that are different than the typical picture.  This is a family portrait and I like the sense of motion and energy in the picture.  In my opinion, it feels more dynamic.  But this post is not about family portraits but my experience in moving my website off of MobileMe.  As some of you may know, the MobileMe service will no longer be hosting websites as of June 2012 and the future of Apple's iWeb software is very much up in the air.  When these changes were announced last summer, I started looking around for options.  

The simpliest option was to obtain another hosting site and point iWeb to that new site.  While simple, all of my blogs would disappear and there was no easy mechanism to generate a blog as part of the new site.  I think that this issue combined with the uncertainty of the future of iWeb forced me to the conclusion that I needed another website building software.  So the problem was two-fold: a new web hosting site and new software to do web design.  

Web design software:  I spent a fair amount of time on Freeway Pro and while I could get a site sort of put together, any addition or change seemed to be complex and it was tedious to use.  I then tried Rapidweaver and rather quickly abandoned it as too complex.  While I enjoy learning new software, my real goal was to allow people to understand my photography services and not learn new software.  I then downloaded Sandvox and read their support pages.  It seemed simpler to use, but I could not find a design that I liked.   Eventually I found Grafite from Behind the Rabbit as a plug-in which is the design you are currently looking at.  In my humble opinion, the dark background is more conducive to viewing pictures and video.  But Sandvox offers many different designs and while it is difficult to modify these designs (if your skill level is similar to mine), there are some many different designs you should be able to find one that suits your needs.

There are several capabilities that make Sandvox relative easy to use.  There are multiple objects available from a Contact Form to Facebook buttons to more powerful tools such as the RAW HTML editor and inserter.  It integrates well with Aperture so all I need to do is drag a picture in Aperture over the page in Sandvox.  On the Sandvox site they walk you through the insertion of Google Analytics and StatCounter. There is also excellent support for slideshows , videos and blog structures.  

For slideshows, I use JAlbum.  As a photographer, this is one of the best pieces of software to display your pictures.  It comes with many different skins, online help is excellent and email support is pretty quick as well.  I use the Turtle Skin and it is possible to insert analytics code.  It take a little bit of time to figure out how to get the best displays.  Under settings, in Pages I use 'Link to originals via scaled images; in Images I use 'Smooth, 25 Sharpening, and 100 JPEG quality, thumbnails at 140x100 and images at 2048x2048 pixels.  I also select the option 'Attempt to use hardware accelerated scaling'.  Under the turtle choice General, I select 'Fit images to browser'  There are many other very nice features such as just dragging an mp3 music file to the album and adjust the setting in the turtle:Audio and video.  Once done, make the album and you can test it  before uploading it.  When you are satisfied, select the upload button.  You will need to webhosting information, but it is pretty straightforward.

To add new pictures to my individual albums, I export a 2048x2048 image from Aperture to the Jalbum folder, remake the album and upload.  Very simple and easy.

For webhosting, I eventually decided to go with a2hosting.  They offer great support and made the transition away from MobileMe to be quite easy. 

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me and I will try to help.  But all of things I mentioned above have great online support and responses to email where both informative and relatively quick. 


Two photographers for weddings

There are many reasons why I typically shoot a wedding with two photographers, but the most significant of the reasons is the quality and diversity of the pictures that can be given to the bride and groom following their special day.  Hopefully, their day will be a once in a life time experience and photography is the best way to capture the emotions and happiness.  Below are two pictures taken less than 5 seconds apart: one by myself and the other by 

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Mark Meravy, a photographer I work with pretty frequently.  Working together and coordinating our efforts, we are able to provide the couple with two different views of the same events in a way that a single photographer will never be able to achieve.   From these two different views you get a different feeling.  One an intimate moment between the bride and groom while at the same time a bit of story telling of a happy couple in an urban park with the bridesmaids looking near a fountain.  And if you had not noticed, the person on the far right of the bottom picture is not the other photographer!

At the same time it is far less likely that some critical event or emotion will be missed.   It is e2Photography's committment to this high level of quality that pushes toward the use of two photographers.  

Now I know you don't want your day to feel like a paparazzi experience, so we work hard at being as transparent as possible and when necessary gently impose to capture the more formal moments that you request.







Clean white backgrounds

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When I want a clean white background, I use a very simple approach.  Polar white paper, two strobes lighting the background, one on each side shot into an umbrella that shields the subjects from any direct light.  In this particular session, I set the background lights f/11.6.  Two subject lights were set to f/8.  The picture was taken at ISO 200, f/9, 1/125.  In post, I adjust the exposure upward in Aperture causing the background to drop to a very pure white and the exposure of the subjects to brighten to a very nice level without being over exposed.  You can see other examples from this session in my 'Recent Favorites'.

A© 2011-2015 by Steven Seelig, Chicago Photographer                          630-561-6581                                      e2photo@e2photo.net