See this new photography article by BetterPhoto pro instructor Jim Zuckerman:
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Simply put SAVE40 in the Gift Card Field during checkout and SAVE $40 off any 8-week photography class or use code SAVE20 and SAVE $20 on any 4-week photo course.
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Q: Recently, I read an article about calibrating your computer monitor to provide the most accurate display for digital imaging if you plan to make or order prints. Why is this necessary if you own a high quality monitor? Was it not calibrated in the factory? And if I do need to calibrate my monitor, what do I need to buy and is the process complicated?
Answer from Peter Burian: The first two parts of your question are simple to answer. Even an expensive monitor may not provide truly accurate rendition of colors, brightness and contrast right out of the box. And even an optimal display tends to change with time, making it necessary to correct the colour, brightness and contrast every month or two. In order to achieve a high level of satisfaction with prints you make or order, you must be confident that your monitor accurately reflects the actual characteristics of a digital image.
There's more to color management but the essential step, monitor calibration, is straightforward. A cheap monitor, or one that's quite old, may not respond well to calibration but others certainly will.
If you own a monitor of high quality, and if it's not old, you can achieve that goal with an affordable monitor calibration kit such as the Datacolor Spyder4 Express and the X-Rite ColorMunki Smile. Serious photographers might want the more sophisticated Spyder4 Pro or ColorMunki Display.
The calibration process is straightforward, and should take less than 10 minutes. You place a supplied device (called a "colorimeter") on your screen and connect it to your computer's USB port. The software will then display a series of coloured patterns on your monitor and analyze the screen output. Follow the on-screen prompts to ensure that the display will be accurate. If given the option to set a desired Gamma and White Point, I recommend setting 2.2 and 6500K respectively, when prompted to do so.
The more advanced calibration kits like Spyder4 Pro (whose screen is shown here) provide more options than the affordable kit like the Spyder4 Express but even the latter can provide a dramatic improvement in display accuracy.
The calibration process will create a profile for your monitor and adjust the display's color rendition, brightness and contrast. As you start working with a fully reliable monitor, you should find that the display produces substantially greater accuracy. When you make a print or order one from a custom lab, it should closely match the appearance of the image on your monitor in color rendition and in tonal values. That should certainly minimize frustration, reducing the need to make a lot of test prints that can waste time, ink and paper.
The most affordable monitor that should be useful for digital imaging is the 27-inch LG ColorPrime 27EA83-D (about $850). This LG product (highly rated in the 2013 Technical Image Press Association Awards http://www.tipa.com/english/XXIII_tipa_awards_2013.php) boasts 99% coverage of the Adobe RGB color space, 100% coverage of the sRGB color space and 10-bit color depth said to "achieve 64 times better color representation than conventional 8-bit monitors". Other features include WQHD (Wide Quad High Definition) technology for "four times the resolution of HD" and a 4-screen split feature so you can view four images simultaneously.
Notes from the Editor:
Peter Burian teaches three inspiring online photo classes at BetterPhoto's online school of digital photography:
-Mastering the Digital Camera and Photography
-Boot Camp for New Digital SLR Owners
-Mastering the Canon EOS Digital Rebels
In addition, Peter's photography appears in two books by Jim Miotke and Kerry Drager: The BetterPhoto Guide to Photographing Light and The BetterPhoto Guide to Creative Digital Photography.
The great landscape photographer - William Neill - teaches right here at BetterPhoto, as well as writing an excellent column for Outdoor Photographer magazine and conducting private workshops. In his recent (March 2013) OP column, he shares this important thought:
Don't miss his column: A Dance On The Beach ... focus on the fundamentals to make great strides in your photography.
That's the theme of this how-to book! In The BetterPhoto Guide to Photographing Light, Jim and Kerry discuss - in words and images - such topics as the direction of light, sunrise and sunset, the color of light, moody and dramatic light, the beauty of overcast light, and so much more.
Also covered are techniques for fixing lighting problems: i.e., fill flash, reflectors, and High Dynamic Range (HDR). In addition, the authors cover tricky exposure situations, such as backlighting, snow photography, and low light.
The BetterPhoto Guide to Creative Digital Photography
“Is creativity something that can be learned?”
Jim and Kerry hear this question all the time, and the answer is short and satisfyingly sweet: Absolutely yes! This book is intended to reject the mistaken belief that you either have it or you don’t. In fact, it’s easier than you might think to boost your creativity and improve your skills. With some time-tested techniques and innovative approaches, you can start making memorable photos that stand out from the crowd of forgettable snapshots.
In this book, The BetterPhoto Guide to Creative Digital Photography, you'll learn how to create eye-catching images consistently ... through the artistic use of composition, color, and design.
Like these ideas?: BetterPhoto.com offers an exciting lineup of online photography classes: interactive courses with pro feedback and self-paced courses where you proceed on your own schedule.
We all can tend to push an image too much during processing, especially when adding contrast, structure, or in HDR-land. Over-processing delicate natural images is pretty much always a disaster.
Too much contrast can have the appearance of over sharpening. Too much structure can add an over-sharpening effect especially where there are edges against a bald sky. And over cooked HDR can be flat, for example, if we remove too much contrast and /or shadow areas during HDR tone mapping.
(c) Tony Sweet
Rather than reprocessing the image from scratch (if it isn’t too far gone), I find that adding about 66% opacity of glamour glow from Nik’s Color Efex 4, can soften the image and render a more “fine art” look. After applying the filter globally, I’ll use the negative control points to fine tune areas that may become too dark. This process was done to the image above.
(c) Tony Sweet
Digital Infrared can have a similar problem. See image above. Aside from using glamour glow, for infrared, I’ll tend to work in Magic Bullet Photo Looks (Red Giant Software), Diffusion and Light, presets, adjusting to taste. This is a high-end software primarily developed for video, but adapted to still photography. They have an entire line of software for still photography.
The glow was added using and fine tuning the Basic Black Diffusion preset in the Diffusion and Light filters in Magic Bullet Photo Looks.
Glamour Glow, Silver Efex Pro, and Viveza from Nik, are used on these images.
Thanks for taking the time and we’ll see ya online!!
Black-and-white is a wonderful and elegant way to capture the world with photography. A common mistake is treating black-and-white as simply the removal of color, which it is not. Black-and-white is about contrast.
A good contrast to start with is using tonal or brightness contrast to structure and define the black-and-white composition - as shown below in a photo of a mission church door in New Mexico.
Mission Door ... (c) Rob Sheppard
In this outstanding sale at BetterPhoto.com, you'll receive 2 years for the price of 1. All orders placed by Monday, April 22nd, 2013, will add a free year to your account!
This offer is good for both new sign-ups and renewals. Check out our two great options for websites for photographers: