The Perfect Size and The Perfect Resolution for Blog/Website Images

For blog images, two questions come to mind: the perfect resolution and the perfect size.  For size, I worry about how well the image fits in a visitor’s browser.   Many times, I prefer presenting images that fill the whole browser.  As for resolution, I worry mostly about visitors stealing my pics.   A person can only do so much with a low resolution image.  With that in mind, I upload images at the lowest resolution possible.

615 pixels at a 72 dpi resolution.

615 pixels at a 72 dpi resolution.

I usually upload pics at 615 pixels.   I usually practice this according to what’s longer, width or height.  Let’s say the width is longer than the height.  In Photoshop, I create the width at 615 pixels, same way if the height was longer.

The resolution I set at 72 dpi.  For years, this has always been the standard for internet images, a standard I love.  Like I mentioned earlier, I’m concerned about folks stealing my pics.

So, there you have it, the perfect image size and the perfect resolution for blogs.  I recommend 615 pixels and a 72 dpi resolution.

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Explaining Camera Megapixels for Consumers

While shopping for a digital camera, you more than likely run across the word “megapixel”.   What does that word mean, you ask?  I shall explain its importance. 

Each digital image contains pixels.  Pixels are the atoms of digital images.  Just like atoms, each pixel contains information in one small unit.  One million pixels create a megapixel.

In the last decade, megapixels’ importance relied on two things: cropping the image and how big the consumer chooses to print the photo.  The more megapixels a camera has, the better you can crop an image.  Plus more megapixels means the bigger you can print a photo.

Now, I’ll give a rough sketch on how big you can print photos with a certain number of megapixels. Two megapixels can produce a 4×6 print; the standard most people print photos.  Three to four megapixels can produce a 5×7 print.   I’ve had success with printing an 8×10 with four megapixels.  My current six megapixel camera can easily print an 8×10, the biggest I ever print photos.

In this decade, you really don’t have to worry about megapixels because the standard camera usually exists around eight megapixels.  Another thing, like I mentioned before, most photos are printed at 4×6. 

If one desires to print bigger than 11×14, they may then want to worry about megapixels.  Yet, I shall say it again: most people print at 4×6.

If the salesperson tells you any different, ignore them.  Better yet, go to another store.  Nowadays, the hyping of megapixels is just a marketing tool used to extract more money from consumers.

Now, you know what megapixels are and their importance.

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Five Reasons Working Wal-Mart’s One Hour Photo Sucks

For almost six years, I worked a Wal-Mart one hour photo.  Three of those years, I was the Department Manager. What I assumed fun at first turned shitty.

Sure, there were some benefits, like the obscene photos we would run across.  For me, I liked talking to hot moms.  Plus I was able to place my artwork in a photo book displayed for the customers.

Yet, the photo lab sucked.  I  shall list five reasons why.

1.    Customers are the most rudest when it involves photos.  In retail, at different times, I worked apparel and garden shop.  Also, I once had a job taking merchandise from the store’s backroom, bringing it the floor and handing it the customer who just bought it.  I dealt with many rude customers.

Yet, none was ruder than the folks I serviced at one hour photo.  Crappy photos are rarely their fault.  In one case, nothing was wrong with the photos.  Yet, some piece of trash I never forgot insisted something definitely was wrong with her photos.  When they talk like that, it usually means they want the photos free.  That’s exactly what she got, free photos.  Yet, get this; she still kept going on about her not-ruined photos.

“You know you guys ruined our family photos, don’t you?” she went.

I don’t condone violence.  Yet, this is how some people get their asses kicked.   They continue holding a burning match next to a dynamite fuse.  Yet, don’t expect the match to light the fuse, which eventually causes the dynamite to explode.

2.    The photocopier sometimes causes more headaches than it’s worth.  More than likely, you’ve ran across a Kodak photocopier.  Usually, it’s the same machine printing photos from a digital memory card. Actually, it’s called a kiosk.  Why is it a headache, you askj?  Despite the easy instructions on the machine, many people don’t know how to work the photocopier.  At least, they claim they don’t know how to.  Some folks you can show a few pointers and that’s it.  After those few pointers, they can operate the machine themselves. Others you have to spend the whole damned time with them.  Older folks I let slide with this.  With younger folks, I try real hard not calling somebody stupid.  I don’t mind helping other people.  Still, when other work piles up on you, this gets annoying.

Another photocopier headache involves professional photos.  It is against the law to photocopy a professional photo and then sell it.  The photographer can sue the photo lab for this.  A professional photo is copyrighted for seventy-five years.   Still, people insist on copying professional photos, even after explaining the law to them.

What does a professional photo look like, you ask?  Any photo containing a fake background definitely qualifies as one.  If the person poses like a model in the photo, that definitely may qualify also.  Trust me, someone at the photo lab will definitely know what a professional photo looks like.  Arguing about it only makes you look an idiot they wish to never serve again.

3.    The machines always break down.  Sometimes, machines break down due to employee error.  Other times, things happen beyond the employees’ control.  Many times, the latter of the two are the worse.  This could mean waiting until the next day to receive a phone call from a tech, which pisses off impatient customers.  Well, after being promised one hour, I can understand someone being pissed.

Sometimes, the techs are rude or can barely speak English.  Some techs yelled at me.  Also, as they instruct me, I heard some techs munching on food.   Those are the American techs.  The foreign techs you sometimes can barely understand.

Also, many times, it’s always the same machine breaking down.  In our photo lab, it was always the CD maker.  For some reason, it constantly broke down.

4.    The area is always understaffed.  Imagine this happening to one person for three hours:  Not only do they have to print photos.  Yet, they may have to deal with a customer at the photocopier.  I already described the possibilities with that. Then, someone may want to buy a camera, someone who you may have to describe different cameras to. This definitely can take up a huge amount of time.  All this going on, while the employee have to make sure photos are printed in an hour.  During the winter holidays, this happens a lot.

5.    Your skills and knowledge of photography may cause resentment.   When it comes to photographing kids with Santa Claus, some employees asked why it was always me photographing.  I tried explaining I was a professional. (Actually, I’m a pro-amateur.) Still, that didn’t convince them.  Also, as I prepared for and photographed the kids and Santa, management still talked down to me as if I was a potty-training toddler.

Learning a skill places you above the average human.  The average human does average work and remains among the other average humans.  Nothing spectacular can be expected of them.  Average humans don’t possess a skill others are willing to pay for.  They just do whatever is expected of them.

The only skill the average manager possesses is being a dick to employees. Yet, here comes an employee possessing a skill many people admire. Feeling insecure about their own worth, the average manager resents the skilled employee.

One more thing, remember me mentioning displaying my photos in the photo book?  Well, a coworker went behind my back and had the book thrown out.  Then, replaced the book with another containing newer pics.

“We don’t need to display his pictures,” she told the new employee.

Deep in her envy towards me, the idiot didn’t realize the book contained customer photos also.  The photo a customer took of Elvis Presley’s grave?  Gone because this idiot talked another employee into throwing the photo book out, which is where the photo was.

Now, you know why working one hour photo sucks. Because of recent technology, the demand isn’t as high as it used to be.  In order to see what their photos look like, folks no longer need to print a roll of film.  Some people no longer even print photos.  Still, one hour photo still sucks.

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Explaining Camera ISO and Its Huge Importance

Often, a photographer talks about ISO settings.  I shall explain what it is and its huge importance.  The term ISO originated in film photography.   If one were to look at a roll of film, they would more than likely see these numbers: 100, 200, 400 and 800. These were usually the typical numbers one would have found in almost any store selling camera film. Yet, there were films lower and higher than these numbers.  Usually, you would find these in camera stores.

ISO numbers described the film’s sensitivity to light. The higher the speed number, the more sensitive to light the film is.  Anything less than 200 speed was generally used for non-moving objects.  Also, anything less than 200 was used for capturing high detail in an image.  For sunny days, some folks used 100 and 200 speed film. Still, one could have used 400.   400 speed was generally recommended for capturing moving objects.  One would use 400 for events like car races or for things like capturing birds in flight.  Also, for general use, some photographers used 400 film. In my humble opinion, for a family trip, 400 would have been the ideal film to buy.  Like I mentioned earlier, it was good for daylight and good for moving objects.  800 speed and up was used for low-light situations.  When one photographed a concert without using flash, they used a high speed film.  Yet, there was a draw back; high speed film was known to cause grain. For flash photography, many photographers used 400 to 800 film.  As for grain, when using 400 and 800, you really couldn’t see it when using flash.

Here’s another thing about ISO.  Remember when I mentioned 800 speed for low-light? If one were to use anything less in low-light, the image would suffer from camera shake. As some may recommend 400 speed for low light, my humble opinion says 800.

I misled you somewhat.  I explained as if film is no longer used.  It still is.  So, for you “photography purists” still using film, my deepest apologies if I offended you.

Everything I mentioned about film, applies to digital photography. Just like with film, you would use digital ISO for light sensitivity.  All DSLR cameras possess an ISO setting. Some compact digital cameras have them also.  Now, you know what ISO means and its huge importance to photography.

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Why Many Photographers Enjoy Overcast Days

As some folks may not enjoy overcast days, many photographers love them.

Cloudy day

 

I snapped the following photo during mid-afternoon on a sunny day.  Notice the washed-out colors and the unflattering shadow on Buddha’s face.

Statue

Now, notice the same subject during an overcast day, no washed-out colors and no annoying shadow on the face.  Working as a diffuser, the clouds evenly spreads the sunlight.

Statue

Any other day, I would’ve been worried about getting my shadow in the photo.  Not so on an overcast day.  On these days, I can get as close as I want to my subject and shoot at almost any angle without worrying about my shadow getting into the pic.

Overcast days are definitely excellent for flower photography.  I photographed the following daylily photo during an overcast day.  Notice how close I was able to get without casting a shadow on the flower. (For the record, all of the photos in this blog were taken with my iPhone.)

yellow flower

So now the reader knows why many photographers enjoy overcast days, no washed-out colors and no shadows.

Oh yea, when an overcast day does happen, be careful about rain.  Last thing you want is your equipment getting wet.

 

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A Secret About Night Photography

Many beginning photographers aren’t aware of the one trick night photographer’s use.  True, most night photography tips are useful, especially placing the camera on a tripod.  Without a tripod, the photographer may receive unfocused images.  There is also truth in using a high ISO speed when it comes to low light.  Still, the images may come out containing too much digital grain.

Yet, here’s the big secret many beginners don’t know about night photography; many night photos aren’t shot at night. The best and most recommended time for night photography, you ask?  Twilight, the time right before the sky turns pitch black.

Observe. I photographed this at Uptown Altamonte, located in Altamonte Springs, Florida.

cranes roost at night 2

I was happy with it.  Heck, I photographed it with my cell phone.  I had no plans whatsoever to hang this pic in a gallery and attempt selling.

Yet, I went back and photographed the same image during twilight, the best and recommended time for night photography.

cranes roost at night 3

As you can see, the twilight image provides more detail.  Most street lights turn on at twilight, helping give the image of a night shot, which really isn’t a night shot. The image receives more detail because the sky still contains light.

On its first page, Uptown Altamonte’s website shows exactly what I was talking about. The pic was photographed during twilight.

By the way, I didn’t like my twilight pic.  I moved to another area and photographed a pic I did like, one I cropped and uploaded to Instagram.

cranes roost at night 4

So, there’s the secret, many night photos are twilight photos. Hopefully, this improves what you hope to gain from night photography.

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Seven Things Asshole Artists Do

Despite this being a photo blog, I’ve decided to include all forms of art in this blog post.  As you read the post, I am definitely not talking about you, right?  Of course, you yourself aren’t an asshole.  You sure about that?  Here are seven things asshole artists do.

1.    Asshole artists obsess over equipment and always brag about their equipment.  Sounds like a guy always bragging about his dick, doesn’t it?  Asshole artists are no different than the dick braggers.  On and on, they talk about their latest gadget.  Yet, they always produce mediocre work.  Women might say the same thing about dudes who brag about their dicks;  they produce “mediocre work”.

2.    Asshole artists always have to tell people they’re an artist.  Until they see your work, most people don’t give a fuck about you being an artist.  Sure it may work on other pretentious assholes, but most people don’t give a fuck.  This is why when it comes to romance, I re-frame from talking about being a photographer, poet, filmmaker, etc.  I think the object of my desire may be more concerned about my personality versus knowing about my art.  If the art thing does impress her, that’s more points for me.  Yet, despite them appreciating my art, they were more concerned about my personality.  “Is he an asshole?” At least, the smart ones thought this way.

3.    Asshole artists always badmouth other artists.  Okay, all artists are guilty of this.  Don’t let any of them bullshit you.  All artists player-hate.

Yet, some assholes take jealousy to the extreme.  Back in the late 80s and most of the 90s, East Coast rappers constantly badmouthed West Coast rappers.  All of a sudden, folks began voicing about what is true hip-hop.  What was the real issue?   East Coast jealous of West Coast’s popularity.

4.    Asshole artists form cliques.  I guess the idea of hanging around other pretentious fuckers makes them feel comfortable.  Who knows? I’m not a psychologist.  Yet, I have witnessed cliques in artistic circles. Almost all the time, they are formed by assholes.

5.    Asshole artists believe being an artist justifies asshole behavior.   True enough, if one creates outstanding work, people will overlook nasty behavior.  I repeat, if one creates outstanding work.  Yet, if people aren’t aware of your artistic greatness, you will be seen as another typical asshole to avoid.  Even asshole behavior of talented artists works on people’s last damned nerves.

6.    Asshole artists always behave as if only a select few can learn their craft. Okay, there is some truth in this.  After taking dancing lessons, some folks may realize dancing isn’t for them.  Some may realize that with drawing lessons.  Yet, “select few” is bullshit.  Personally, I believe anyone can learn writing.  What makes one writer more outstanding than the other?  The outstanding writer probably was more dedicated.  They went out of their way to learn what techniques worked and what didn’t.  Plus they always wrote,  another way of saying they practiced their craft.

7.    Asshole artists are bigoted and/or sexist.  Some may say this belongs with number 6. Yet, I believe it deserves its own spotlight.  “Select few” may include people of all persuasions.  Yet, the bigoted bastard has problems with folks of a different race creating the same art as him.  No, this isn’t just aimed at white people, either.  People of color are just as guilty.

Also, the sexist asshole believe women aren’t their equal.  They believe women should stick to creating “girly things”.

Some may say asshole artists write blogs about asshole artists.   In all reality, from a small degree, most artists may suffer from the things I mentioned.   Yet, like I mentioned in number 3, true assholes take things to the extreme.

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An Easy Tip for Consumers Hiring a Photographer

More than likely, the photographer you hired is legit, especially when it comes to studio and wedding photography.  This advice is mainly aimed at people hiring photographers for their events and/or event websites.  Still, just like in other fields, frauds do exist in the photography world. 

I’m going to show one easy tip that may show you how skilled your hired photographer really is.  Ignore the fancy equipment they own.  Just because they own it, don’t necessarily mean they know how to properly use it.

If you can, look at the photographer’s past work.  Focus on how they photograph people.  Any photographer worth their ilk would know the proper way to take portrait shots.

Most people are used to holding the camera in a horizontal position.  Here’s where the photographer doesn’t always do that.  Let’s say you come across a tree.  The longest length of a tree is the vertical, the reason for holding a camera vertically.  Let’s say you come across a car. The longest length of a car is the  horizontal, the reason for holding a camera horizontally.

Before the camera phone, most people photographed others in a horizontal position.

Dude dressed in black

Yet, because one person is a vertical subject, many portrait shots are held in a vertical position.

Dressed in black

Most camera phones are positioned for portrait shots.

With portrait shots, you may still want to hold the camera vertically when it comes to two people.

Guy holding wine with his new bride

Three or more is when you hold the camera horizontally. 

Two ladies and two guys

So, if you run across a person who usually photographs a one person portrait shot in a horizontal position, you may want to hire someone else.  True enough, for artistic reasons, photographers don’t always follow the rules for portrait shots.   Still, the ones worth their ilk usually follow it.

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StumbleUpon: Very Useful for Gaining Traffic for Photo Blogs

For huge amounts of visits, StumbleUpon may be one of the best things ever for a photo blog.  First, I shall explain StumbleUpon.  A user sets up an account on the StumbleUpon site.  The idea is to recommend websites to other StumbleUpon users.  A user can submit their blogs.  Yet, here’s the thing.  StumbleUpon notices you doing that too much; they’ll stop sending traffic to your blog.  Or even worse, they will ban your ass.  The best thing is submitting other websites as the user submit their blogs.  Play your cards right, StumbleUpon will send traffic your way, sometimes more traffic than you ever imagined.

Two girls hugging

This pic has gained almost as many views as the blog itself.

When it comes to StumbleUpon, a photo blog owns an advantage over other blogs.  More than likely, each photo on a blog has its own page. Because of this, a photo blogger can submit not only the blog to StumbleUpon but also separate pages of the photos themselves. Something other blogs can’t do.  Doing this definitely brought major traffic to our photo blog.

Yet, there’s a downside to this.  I found this out with one my YouTube videos.  As StumbleUpon said the YouTube page was viewed more than one thousand times, the video itself had only about fifty views. In other words, let’s say your blog has ads on it.  In order for the blog to make money, it depends on visitors clicking on the ads.  As StumbleUpon sends a site many views, the click-on rate for ads is very low.  Still, those are clicks the blog may not have been receiving if it wasn’t for StumbleUpon.  Yet, if a blog has ads on it, it is not wise to depend on StumbleUpon for all the clicks on the ads.

One more thing, a photo blogger must submit the the blog page the photo is on and not the URL page of the photo.    With the blog page, visitors may visit other pages.  The other way, that won’t work.

StumbleUpon is an excellent tool for a photo blog.  The blog may receive huge amounts of visits from StumbleUpon. In many cases, more than other blogs if separate photo pages are submitted right along with the blog itself.  Yet, because of low click rates, it should never be used as the main source for traffic.

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Five Reasons to Hate The Word “iPhoneography”

I photograph using an iPhone.  Yet,I never liked the word iPhoneography. Let’s get straight to five reasons why.

Rivership near the marina.

Call my cell phone pics iPhoneography and I’ll slug your ass!

1.It contains the name of a brand: When people think of cola drinks, they immediately think of Coke. Yet, Coke is the name of a brand. Other companies make cola drinks also.

iPhone is the brand name for a particular cell phone. All cell phones are not iPhones, which leads to another reason I hate the word iPhoneography.

2. Some cell phone photos are not taken with an iPhone: Because of the iPhones popularity, many assume everyone is using the product. Not so. Chris, our webmaster supreme, uses a Motorola Droid.

3. The word and movement behind it are elitist: iPhoneography bascically means any photo taken with an iPhone. There are websites and movements dedicated to iPhoneography, as if iPhone pics are the only cell phone pics created. The sites specifically mention photos taken by an iPhone. Yet, what about cell phone photographers who don’t use an iPhone? Remember me mentioning Chris using a Droid? While spending hard-earned money on Motorola, should he label his pics iPhoneography too? Plus because he uses a Droid, Chris may not be able to join the iPhone crowd.

4. The name may become dated: What happens if iPhone soon falls out of favor? As most move on to the new best cell phone, would folks still call cell phone photography “iphoneography”?

5. The name advertises iPhones: The very name advertises a product. I guess that’s what the cynic in me hates the most, contributing to something that puts more money into corporate pockets. Don’t get me wrong. I love money. Yet, iPhoneography is an artistic movement advertising for a non-artistic company. The iPhone wasn’t intended for pro and/or artistic photographers. Adding a camera to a phone was used to extract more money from consumers. The artistic movement happened to be incidental; it wasn’t part of Apple’s bigger plan to sell the iPhone.

I rather use the words “cell phone photography” or “cell phone pics”. I don’t care if the words don’t sound fancy.  They include every person using a cell phone. Plus they aren’t advertising a brand.

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Six Reasons to Enjoy Cell Phone Photography

Some people call it mobile photography.  Others call it iPhoneography, a name I can’t stand.  Yet, I’ll give six reasons on enjoying photography with your cell phone.  Some reasons the reader already knows.  Yet, other reasons they may not have realized.

Black guy with glasses.

DJ Waldo Faldo

1. Convenience – No more worrying about forgetting your camera at home.  Because it’s on your phone, you now have the opportunity to photograph anytime you want.  As you drive home from work, you notice the beautiful sunset.  In the past, your camera more than likely would have been home.  Yet, because it’s on your phone, you now can easily photograph the sunset.

2. Easy to upload to Internet – As of this writing, you probably own a Facebook page.  After photographing the beautiful sunset, you can easily upload the photo to Facebook and show your friends.

3. Easy to bring into nightclubs – As many establishments ban cameras, they rarely ban camera phone photography.  With so many camera phones out there, how could they?

4. Forces creativity-Many times, I enjoy a creative challenge. How does camera phone photography challenge me?  For one, you don’t have a zoom lens.  (Do not use the zoom on your phone.  It sucks and gives a shitty picture.) Now, I definitely have to move as close to the object as possible.  Try doing this with a butterfly and it might fly away.  Yet, I did manage to gain a butterfly photo.  Another challenge is photographing people in ambient light.  Because it causes red eye, I hate using camera phone flash.  Like I mentioned earlier, I prefer using light already provided.

5. Some things are easier to photograph with a cell phone-I enjoy doing close-ups with my phone more than I do with my DSLR camera, especially when it comes to flowers.

6. A cell phone doesn’t attract unwanted attention like a camera-Any other camera encourages folks to steal from you or mug you.   During evening walks, fear of being mugged is why I prefer photographing with my cell phone versus walking around with a camera.  A camera attracts thugs.

Because of the phone’s limitations, you probably won’t create masterpieces.  Truth be known, many folks with professional cameras don’t create masterpieces either.  Still, limitations should be your last worry for enjoying cell phone photography.

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