It has been very busy at the store (http://www.michaelwillemsphoto.com), so as you will have seen, little time to post. And yet, the need to learn does not decrease, so I will post regularly again.
Yesterday, we posted a composite photo of Maya, our intern, to support Pride Month:
To make this image, we did the following:
Take six photos, using simple lighting, with different props, taking care that the composition was mainly vertical (i.e. not wide).
In each photo, use a background flash gelled to the right colour – or almost the right colour. I use Honl Photo gels.
Take the photos to the computer and crop them to the same vertical aspect ratio and subject size.
In Lightroom, for each image select subject – invert selection – and then slightly tune the background colour if necessary, to make it the right primary colour (half of them needed slight adjustment to look right).
Export each one, 2048 pixels high
Put them together in a composite Pages document
Export from there (either Pages –> PDF — JPG, or screen grab)
In my shop, we print, among the things. We print all day, and we do it well; so well that we call our prints “Premium Prints”.
So what is a Premium Print?
For these prints, we do the following:
We help our customer get the photo off their device (mostly, a phone). This can involve some phone training, Bluetooth, Airdrop, and so on.
We ascertain that the file is the best one there is. Often we get a tiny screen shot from Facebook Messenger etc, where there is in fact a better file available. We make sure that we get the best file available.
We crop the photo is necessary. Sometimes, we have to fill in areas to allow printing at the required size (e.g. 8×10, if the original is square).
We adjust exposure and colour, if necessary.
Sometimes we need to make more extensive changes. These can include de-noising, sharpening, or even removing items.
Then we print, using fine art papers, on one of our “Giclée” printers: printers that have at least 10 different ink colours rather than just three our four. These inks are pigments not dyes: prints made with pigments reproduce colours better and do not fade readily, like the usual dye-based prints.
We then crop these by hand.
If a frame is wanted, we can advice on the kind of frame that would best suit the photo.
Our staff are all trained photographers and phot-editors, so you get the benefit of their experience and knowledge with every print you make.
And prints are important. They should be on walls, not just on Facebook walls.
It is cold in Ottawa. Yesterday was -18ºC (0ºF), and that was warmer than the day before.
We get lots of snow, plus this kind of thing:
While I’d rather have this:
Or perhaps this:
All of these environments present problems for cameras, through. Cold, heat +sand, and humidity, respectively.
Always carry a spare battery; keep your camera clean; do not change lenses when there’s dust; and when in the cold, carry your camera back inside within a plastic bag and keep it in that bag until it warms up.
I have always recommended shooting a roll of film every now and then. Film – that stuff they used like in the 1800s. And if you are artistic, black and white film.
So I shoot a roll of film every now and then. Because it’s cool. And because I remember to respect the click. Every time you shoot, you spend a few dollars. And you need to get it right: no feedback, no second chances. So you think about photos.
I use my Nikon FE:
And that’s why in my store we also develop film – and in the case of most black and white film, we even do this in-house, right in the store. Here’s some of the equipment, and today’s film drying (35mm as well as 120):
But you don’t need a pro camera… sure, hipsters use cameras like mine, but young women instead love single-use cameras, or better, the simple brightly coloured Kodak snapshot cameras (yes, and we sell them):
I am having a lot of fun with passport/ID/Visa/Residence photos. As I mentioned before, every country is different…:
And the fun is to see a lot about a country by the requirements. As in…:
The Chinese are control freaks, with the most complex size requirements in the world – but the Dutch are not far behind…
For Iran, any muslim female over 9 years old must wear a hijab.
French photos have a “white background forbidden” rule, while the rest of the world requires white – just to be different?
Europeans are, to an extent, standardized – but only to an extent.
Bureaucracies are bureaucracies… invariably a country will have different requirements depending on which bureaucracy needs the photo (visa vs passport vs license: all different)… just imagine the efficiency gains that could be made by having one standard!
The Brits have strange requirements that involve being an approved photographer using some approved British system…
The Canadians are the only ones to do it right: great sizing requirements, bigger photo than anyone else, meaning lots of space for people, with an afro, or with a very long beard, our with a wide face, and so on.
Fun stuff! And we love doing them… and the one thing they al have in common is: no smiling, “neutral expression”… don’t blame us for that one!