FAQ 2

Why you want to have your digital images printed at a professional photo lab?
Many of our customers are buying digital cameras and seem quite happy with the results they are receiving with them. There is a growing problem with digital cameras in that no one is printing those special family images we all used to enjoy in albums. Many people are emailing their images to family members, but those images aren't high enough quality to make pictures. If those images are on someone's computer the chance of them being deleted is very high and there goes your family's history. What are we going to pass down to our children if the images are gone?

The are several compelling reasons to have your keeper images printed. Many of my customers ask me about using an inkjet printer to do their own printing at home and here is what I tell them.

Our photographic paper is archival, which means it will last close to a century. Most inkjet printers use dye based ink which has a lifespan of up to 30 years. This lifespan is only obtainable with the ink and paper sold by the printer manufacturer. Some of the more expensive inkjet printers use pigmented inks which have a longer lifespans, but again only on the manufacturer's paper.

A second reason for using us is that our talented staff professionally color corrects your images at no extra cost. Include a guide print that you like the colors on and we will try to match it. If you print your images on an inkjet at home, you end up doing your own color corrections and at about $2.75 per 8x10 inch print for ink and paper it isn't very cost effective.

The machine we use to print is calibrated so that the images we see on its monitor are the same color when they are printed. If you use an inkjet at home you will need to calibrate your monitor and use printer profiles to calibrate your printer. This allows the computer to print the same colors from the monitor to the printout. This calibration isn't easy on a Macintosh and impossible on a PC. If what I just wrote sounds too complex just drop off your files and let us help you.

So in closing, get those digital images printed and put them into an album for future family fun. We are glad to help you make prints any time.

Should I delete images one at a time off of my memory card?
Deleting images from a memory card removes the directory listing for that image, but the image still remains on the card. This is why with the proper software, images can be saved after they are deleted. We offer that service.
By deleting individual images on a regular basis you can cause the memory card's directory to become corrupted and unreadable. Its far better to keep all your images on the card until you download them to your computer. Then you can delete the images on your computer after viewing them on a larger screen. Once they are downloaded and then copied to a CD for a backup, reformat the memory card in your camera to clear the old images from the card.

Camera Flash is a useful tool.
Many people take a lot of pictures without flash. There are a lot of photos that could be much better with a little flash. Flash tends to decrease exposure differences between sunlight and shadow so your photos look more real. I will describe some techniques to use flash to help your photography.

Fill flash

Most modern digital cameras have a problem exposing properly for both highlight and a shadow area. If you expose for the highlight or brightest area, the shadows fall to black. If you expose for the shadows, the highlights blow out to white. This is because digital sensors have a limited range from shadows to highlights. This is where fill flash really shines (pun intended). Fill flash is especially useful in macro photography of flowers to soften harsh sunlight. Just use a TTL remote cable for your flash which allows you to move the flash to the best position.

When used properly the flash can shift your tonal range so your image looks like the original scene. The technique is as follows.
Set your camera to a manual exposure setting. Set an aperture that gives you sufficient depth of field for your scene. Balance the exposure using the shutter speed dial. The shutter speed has to be below the flash sync speed. On most cameras this is less than 1/200th second.

Turn on the flash. It will automatically set itself with the TTL circuitry. When you take the picture the flash will fire and fill the shadows with enough light to brighten them up a little. If the flash adds too much light just use the flash compensation control to lower its intensity. This setup can be used for nature photography as well as portraiture.

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Drag the Shutter Flash

Have you ever noticed that flash exposures in a dark environment have black backgrounds? This happens because you are only using the aperture of the camera to set exposure. With flash photography the aperture controls flash exposure and the shutter speed controls ambient light exposure. By putting your camera on a tripod and slowing down the shutter to allow some ambient light exposure the details in to background will appear.

In Aperture Priority mode, set the aperture to the correct one for your subject. The shutter speed will give you a good background exposure for the scene. Turn on your flash and fire away. As long as the shutter speed is below the cameras flash sync speed ( generally 1/200th of a second ) it will work. As long as you are on a tripod you can use shutter speeds down to 1 second.


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