When White is not All White

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White backdrops are great and still as popular as ever and why wouldn’t they be!

I like to do a very thorough edit on the white background in any images you buy. In case you ever wondered why the final edit can be somewhat fiddly and take longer than you might expect, here’s the answer in this short little video ….

Of course, some images are much quicker than others to process, the fluffy fur in this one make it one of the more fiddly to do. And as with most things you do in Photoshop there are several other ways to remove the marks, which I sometimes opt for, rather than always the eraser tool. No doubt other folk have their own ways of doing things too.

However, it’s well worth doing to give you the best possible quality for your images and ensure that the background will always be pure white.

And, fortunately, I find the process rather therapeutic … 🙂

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Spilling the Beans Part 2 – To Crop or Not to Crop …

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.. aha – that is the question! Cropping a photo can transform an image from average to “Wow”  But not always.

I think, if truth be told, most pictures can be improved a little by cropping, even if only a teeny amount is cropped away. Personally I tend not to zoom in too closely to the subject when I take a photograph, so I have plenty of leeway afterwards to allow for it to be cropped in most sizes.

When you crop a photo which you’re going to get printed, it’s important that the aspect ratio you crop it too is the same as the aspect ratio of the size it will be printed at. There’s a bit more about the various ratios and how they differ on my Pinterest board https://uk.pinterest.com/fotografixgal/print-size-guidelines/

Next thing, how much to crop away? This of course comes down a lot to personal taste and the type of final image you’re aiming for. No right or wrong answer.

I usually try a few variations of crops on an image in the initial edit: baby-1

Then it’s just a question of deciding which looks best – or in the case of when I edit your portfolio images – which I think you might like best. If it’s tricky to decide, I may well use one of the other crops on a similar image so as to include as much variety as possible.

Cropping away part of a subject’s face can have great impact, which loads of you love. However, I know from comments I’ve heard over the years, for some, cropping off the top of a head, seems a really strange thing to do, even in the name of art. Again, I try and include a good mix in your portfolios so hopefully catering for most tastes.

I used to think that cropping tightly into the subject was generally the way to go when there was a busy background to the scene. However my experience of photographing weddings over many years has changed my views on this and, where appropriate, I keep most or part of the background in where it sets the scene or conveys more of the sense of the story that the picture is telling. Some shots are equally good cropped both ways.

For instance with the following wedding edits:

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Wedding venues are generally pretty awesome, so of course have to be shown off as much as possible in the photos. I included as many backgrounds as possible in the pictures at the Clovelly wedding (above) which we photographed last year https://romseyfotografix.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/a-beautiful-wedding-in-clovelly/ so as not to hide those picturesque views! But I also cropped some of them in closer to the bride and groom and included both versions in some cases.

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Another stunning venue! I didn’t do too much of a crop on this one (above); the guests in the background add to the storytelling and the blue sky shows what a beautiful sunny day it was! https://romseyfotografix.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/beautiful-south-farm-wedding/

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With the above image, I could have cropped in closer to the bride as per the version on the right, but in this case felt that by incorporating the black and white pictures on the wall, showing the family in years gone by, made it much more poignant. Not to mention to show off the full length of the back of her gorgeous dress!

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The above shot of Andover works OK cropped in any of the above modes I reckon. It would just come down to a matter of personal taste.

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Cropping out the table and empty coffee mugs, and rotating the flower slightly, made quite a difference to the above picture.

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The shot above left of Edinburgh Castle was straight from camera (and no, I wasn’t toppling over when I took it lol !!). I cropped it to portrait and rotated it, aiming to keep as much of the plants in the foreground as possible to give it depth. I kept a bit of the tilt though – I know not everyone’s cup of tea, but I actually like the effect (occasionally!)

So there we are. It’s amazing how such a simple action as the humble crop can make quite a difference to the end result.

Petals, Ants and Dragonflies! Errr, what?

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Every now and then it makes a refreshing change to break from the normal routine and do something a little different, and it was amazing yesterday to do just that.

Training is not something we do as a rule, but sharing our knowledge is never a problem and, may I say, we had a very enjoyable time in so doing.

Katie arrived at the studio bright and early, camera in hand, and along with her boyfriend, Sam, who had kindly volunteered to be her model for the day. After an initial chat over tea and coffee, we gleaned what photographic experience Katie had already, and what she was keen to learn more about.

We knew in advance that Katie was especially interested in Macro photography, and from what she told us, had taken some impressive closeup images of bugs and things already. Our own expertise in Macro photography is not vast (it is a very different genre to taking people pics!) but we were happy to share what we do know about it. Lee had set up a camera with a Macro lens on a tripod in the studio, using a small toy caterpillar as a very willing (and remarkably still!) model 😉 . Katie was able to practice some shots with that, and then try the same with her own camera so she could compare the results.

Luckily the earlier rain had cleared up, and the sun made a welcome appearance, meaning we were then able to get outside for Katie to take some close-up shots of some of the flowers. With impeccable timing, an ant decided to trot across the petals she was taking, followed soon after by a couple of dragon flies. The shots Katie took looked great on the back of her camera, particularly the detail of the ant, cool.

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Lee advising on the best camera settings

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Lunchtime already; time sure flies when you’re having fun … so a nice relaxing nosh for the four of us at the Luzborough, then back to the studio for some shots of Sam.

This proved to be hilarious, and there were plenty of giggles and laughter; a super relaxed atmosphere, always a plus when taking people shots! We had various setups so we could show Katie the difference between taking high key shots, and then how to achieve the more moody, low key images on the darker backgrounds. Her resulting pictures were excellent, and Sam did a great job as a model! I took a few shots myself as we went along, so I could demonstrate how different poses work, and also to show how different crops and edits can really transform an image.

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We headed outside again, as there are some great little areas in the Basepoint car Park for model shots, so she was able to try out and see the difference between using a speedlight, and just using the natural light available (infinitely better as is often the case), and making use of the various settings such as the steps and brick walls. Both seemed to be in their element, and I, of course, recorded it all on my trusty Iphone!

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And was able to concoct this unusual collage for my day’s pic for my 365Photo Project!

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A big thank you to Katie and Sam for making the trip down and for such a brilliant day. 🙂

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