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Custom Scrapbooks by Lisa

Photo Phacts

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Digital cameras:
     Digital cameras have made our lives easier and made our photo taking more professional than ever; but as in all things it can also have some inherant problems as well.
1. Learn to edit as you go. Cameras now have almost unlimited capacity and this can make us snap away at lightening speeds. No longer limited to 24 or 36 exposures we tend to shoot at alarming paces. Learn to delete as you go. Deleting 1000 photos after the fact can be combersome. It can be difficult to weed out your favorite photos when you are clicking back and forth on your computer. Look at your shots on your camera when you can view 1 to 3 at a time. Use your "critical eye". This will also save some space on your chip for future shoots, espesially invaluable on longer trips when you may not have access to download your shots.
2. Don't forget to charge those batteries before your next photo opportunity. Murphy's Law states your camera will shut off only during your most precious one- of -a- kind events in your life.
3. Good, Better, or Best, the higher the quality the smaller the memory. Keep this in mind when you are shooting your next photos. When I take long trips, I tend to use the better photo setting it will hold around 300 photos. If I am taking animal, micro, or nature shoots I will use the best quality to really zero in on the fine details and color. I don't use the good level, but this would be fine for a birthday party or sporting event, etc.
4. Eye piece or view screen? We tend to use what we are comfortable with. Learn to use both. The eye piece is so much better under bright light situations.
5. Same shooting rules apply with conventional and digital cameras. Don't shoot into the sun! Todays computer programs can go a long way to correct bad photos but try to eliminate rooky mistakes. Use your flash in low light, even when outdoors.
Digital cameras can be blurry when using a flash in low light due to the slow shutter speed. You may need to use a tripod to get a clearer shot. Many digital cameras are much more sensitive to low light than conventional cameras and can take a good picture without a flash.
6. Most flashes aren't useful past about 4 to 6 feet. If your at a concert or fireworks show or other large arena areas, turn the flash off. It just annoys those around you.
7. If an object seems to far away, give it a snap anyway. You may be surprised. Pixels of a digital camera work differently than the grain of conventional camera. The photo can be blown up much more without losing it's integerity. This is where your photo program on your computer can do it's magic.
8. Don't forget about your internal memory. We all love those little chips in our camera, and they do fill up; but every camera has storage internally as well. In an emergency you can snap anywhere from 30 to 100 extra photos.
9. The hard way and the easy way, which path will you take. I hate to say this but read the manual. This is hard for me because I am not a manual reader. I had my camera for a good 2 years before I picked up the manual and let's just say I was taking pictures the hard way.
10. I think everyone with a digital camera should have a photo program on their computer. Even if you prefer to have your photos professionally printed you should still learn to edit and crop your own photos. Professional printing companies will do minimum color correction and standard block cropping. Crop at home and then take your photos to have them printed. Only you can truly know what you want from your photos.

Printing photos at home:
 
1. Your photos will only be as good as your computer. The higher the DPI (dots per inch) the better the photo. If your computer will, let's say, go to 750 DPI, then it doesn't matter that your printer goes to 1200 DPI the picture will only print to 750 DPI and if your scanner only scans 500 DPI then that is as high as your resolution will be when you print the photo. Make sure your scanner, printer, and computer are DPI compatible. By the way, don't get caught up with the high price tags on high resolution. most eyes can't process anything much higher than 750 DPI (that's usually the "better" on your print setup), so anything over that is just waisted ink and dollars.
2.   Paper quality does effect the way your photos print. Price usually is a good indicator of quality. I preferr satin finish paper. The saturation of color seems the most true. Glossy papers can float the black inks. I find Kodak premium or higher and Cannon best quality to be the best glossy papers. Stay away from matte photo papers, the saturation is poor. Epson makes a matte paper that has the best saturation but I still don't like it over the satin.
    Check the back of your photo paper boxes. You should buy a paper that has a 50 year or better life expectancy. Quick drying photo paper is great but it has the lowest life expectancy. No home printer prints waterproof photos ( except if you use a waterproof ink cartridge, very pricey) if this concerns you, have the photos professionally printed. If anyone has ever accidentally sneezed on one of their home prints then you know what I mean.
3. Docking ports and photo printers verses computer and 8x10 printer scanner. There are so many printing options these days and all have their merits and shortfalls. With me, it's always about cost. Bottom line is that printing through your computer gives you the broadest options for the least money.
   Docking ports are fast but allow the least options for altering photos and have basic cropping tools.
   Those cute photo printers are easy but work with precut photo paper than can cost up to twice as much as 8x10 photo paper and gives very little sizing options.
   In other words, you pay for the convenience with less options and more money. You choose which is best for your lifestyle.
Speaking of cost. When buying a full size printer, consider cost of ink as well as the features the printer has. It isn't the cost of the printer itself but the ongoing cost of the ink that will get you. Example- I have 2 new HP printers that are only 1 model number off one printers ink cartridge costs $38.00 the other costs $18.00. Same company same quality almost twice the price. The less expensive one has a generic brand of ink I can purchase for $8.00 the more expensive one does not. The only differance between the two printers is that one has chip slots and the less expensive one I use a USB port from my camera. Guess which one I use the most? (Helpful hint: generic brand inks vary tremendously. Just because you don't like one brand doesn't mean you won't like another. Check to make sure the generic brand you buy has the same amount of ink in it as a standard name brand. Often times it is half the ink for half the price~not really a deal.) They are beginning to make printers again with individual ink cartridges. You may want to check out this option next time you are ready to buy a printer.
4. Your computer does not always know what it is talking about. Don't believe it when it tells you it is out of ink. It is usually lying to you. Wait to change the ink when you actually see the ink run out. On my printer I can get around another 30 full color pages before the ink actually runs out. If you have a printer that won't let you print after the alarm is sent, then pull the cartridge out and put the same one in again. Your computer lies to you, so repay the favor and save some bucks.
 

My favorite digital cameras:
low end- Cannon Sure Shots ( a good pocket-line of cameras)
 
median end- Kodak Easy Share (the lenses in the easy shares are German optical quality usually found in much higher end cameras)
 
high end- Cannon Rebel (love the telescope attachment and changeable lenses)

My Favorite photo computer programs:
I have them all, I use them all in my work. Trust me on this one, you won't be sorry with any of the below mentioned software.
 
Microsoft Digital Image Pro- super ease of use and is a real workhorse. At around $80.00 it has as much to offer as programs twice the price.
 
Print Shop Pro- great for journaling, layouts, and clipart. Easy to use right out of the box. Great price as well.
 
Creative Keepsake's Scrapbook Designer-the name says it all. Is a good program for people that are not computer savy.
 

My favorite printers/copiers:
I don't pretend to tell you which model is right for you. These are companies I like for their consistancy and quality. Whether you choose an all-in-one, scanner/printer or docking station, these are good manufacturers of all these products.
 
HP- really consistant and good true color without the big price tags. Ink cartridges can be traded in at Staples for $3.00 store credit.
 
Epson- They have a printer and scanner that will do 12 x12 pages! It's pricey but worth it for you scrapaholoics. The paper is very expensive.
 
Lexmark-These well-working,inexpensive printers are great for kids, students, clubs. The color isn't as true but the inks are very reasonable.