How to Look Picture Perfect in Your Senior Photos

If there’s one thing that needs attention when keeping memories of your senior year, it will be the photos that are taken from every important occasion such as the Graduation Day and the Prom Night. These photos play a large role in keeping a memory alive. It’s a reminder of how you looked and what you were doing on a particular time, on a specific occasion. This is why many seniors make a big deal out of their senior photos.

Unfortunately, as much as many would like to keep these photos pretty to look at each time, there are still those who take pictures that are not. This is common especially when the Longview pictures for the year book or prom night are taken.

In order to avoid this, here are some useful tips to look pretty before you say cheese and have that perfect smile captured:

Weeks Before the Picture Taking: Be Ready Physically

Though many high school seniors live the unhealthy and youthful lifestyle, it is still recommended to do some prepping up before having their senior Longview pictures taking. Eat fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water. These may sound like too much of a task for teenagers today but this diet brings out a more natural glow. Eat this diet and get naturally shinier hair, brighter looking eyes and rosier cheeks in a few short weeks. This is a lot better than putting a lot of make up on.

Getting exercise also helps as it puts you into your best physique when striking a pose. A great figure will also make selection of clothes for your senior photos a lot easier.

Day Before the Picture Taking: Get Polished Up

The day before taking your Longview pictures, nothing beats having a complete night of sleep. Also, taking care of small details will be useful. Some teenagers even go to a salon for a mani and pedi plus some last minute eye brow grooming or other hair removal treatments.

What is not recommended the day before the Longview pictures taking session is the facial treatments. The problem is that these treatments make the face all red and swollen. Many teenagers don’t know this.

On the Day: Feel Confident

Nothing beats being confident in every frame. Senior photos look great when the model feels good about herself. A pretty face is not pretty enough for a picture unless confidence comes with it. Just think about it: if you look back at these pictures, wouldn’t you feel good when you see your confident “you” when you were younger?

The Art of Digital Photo Retouching

The Limits of Photo Cameras

We live in an age of amazing technological advancements in the visual technology fields. Photo camera models renew themselves each year with the promise of more mega-pixels and new features. And yet, if we think about it for a moment, the photo that comes out of each of our digital camera models most times has strengths and weaknesses that persist through all the successive models that go through our hands.

Digital Cameras and in general all photographic cameras are, despite all of the marketing buzz, still very limited machines. For example, they register our world with sensors that can only capture a fraction of the tonal range that our eyes can perceive.

Imagine yourself on a sunny day in front of a beautiful landscape.

Below you, around your feet, you can see the rich lush green vegetation; above you, the bright blue skies. As we contemplate this scene, our eyes are able to perceive all its richness, the details in both the shadows and the bright clouds above. The dynamic range that our eyes can process, which goes from the darkest to the brightest areas, is enough to contain most of the rich detail in that scene.

Now take your photo camera and snap a shot from your position including both the vegetation and the sky. The result is very telling. Depending on the parameters that either the camera or you choose, some detail of the scene will be gone from the result. Either parts of the vegetation will blend to black and lose all detail or parts of the sky will blend to white and lose all detail.

In summary, the retina of the camera, its digital sensor, which captures the light of the scene, is not capable of dealing with a tonal range as large as our eyes can. It can only capture the full detail in a small range that can be positioned at different levels of brightness by the camera itself or us. Because of that, in a scene like the one described above that has a very large contrast, it ends up capturing the detail only at the highlights and mid-tones, or mainly at the mid-tones, or mainly at the shadows and mid-tones. It simply cannot capture simultaneously the full detail of the scene from the darkest to the brightest areas.

This is of course a simplification of an scenario that we could describe in much more detail. But the conclusion is still the same. When we look at the final photo, we realize that what we remember seeing with our eyes is not what the photo shows. That richness of detail everywhere is gone. And this is just one of the limitations that all Photo cameras share. We could go on to describe many others related to color precision and other areas where cameras simply cannot cope with the depth and richness of the world around us.

Photo Retouching comes to the rescue

Here is where photo retouching enters the scene. So what really is photo retouching and what is it useful for? We can approach this question from two angles and both are related to each other:

Bringing the Photo closer to what we remember

1) On the one hand, photo retouching is the art of taking that initial photo and working on it by various means to bring it closer to what our eyes saw when we were in front of that beautiful scene.

Photo retouching applied to the scenario described above is, for example, the art of manipulating the image we captured and making more visible some of the details that almost disappeared due to the limitations of our photo camera. It enables us as well to enhance the color of the picture and bring it closer to what our eyes enjoyed. In short, retouching allows us to take the photo and compensate for the limitations of our camera. It gives us the possibility to try and bring the final result as close as possible to what we remember.

Two key points here:

a) First, retouching is not synonymous with Photoshop. Photoshop is the most popular of the tools used in our digital age to retouch photographs. But retouching can be done in numerous ways, either with the many software products available on the market or by processing the digital outputs in other ways (such as printing and scanning the photo successive times including physical interventions in the middle to alter different properties of the image).

b) The second point is that when we talk about – what we remember from the scene – we have to take into account the psychological implications of that statement. It has been shown that often when we remember a beautiful nature landscape, we remember it greener and more saturated in color than it really was.
Therefore, when we retouch that photo, should we manipulate the output to approach what we remember from the scene, or what the scene truly looks like when we stand in front of it?

But no one can possibly say what the scene truly looks like. For each of us, the experience of looking at something will be completely different. Furthermore, what we remember from our visual connection with the scene will also be different for each of us as vision is truly relative. (let’s remember the example of the person who is enclosed in a room painted completely red and with nothing else inside to compare that color to. The person will be unable to see that red color until we introduce something with which he can compare it).

So, if we are retouching a picture for ourselves, we will attempt to bring that image closer to what we remember based on our own personal experience. If we are retouching it for somebody else, we may either bring that scene closer to what generally is accepted as attractive for such a scenario or we may ask the client whose photo we are retouching the details of his/her perception of that scene and then manipulate the result towards that direction.

Moving Beyond what we see

2) On the other hand, retouching allows us to go beyond the first point and enhance reality in infinite directions. As we mentioned previously, vision is very relative. We all remember the same scene in different ways. That lush green vegetation will be remembered by some of us as more saturated in color than by others, some will remember it more yellow and others greener. Some will remember the vegetation to be brighter and others darker; some will even remember it larger and others smaller. This is all a consequence both of the biology of our eyes and of the continuous filtering that our brain performs on our perception of the world around us.

Depending on the importance and resonance that our different memories have on us, the brain will remember different scenarios in different ways. Therefore we can summarize by saying that once we leave a scene, its representation in our minds starts to get distorted. What we remember is a mixture of the filtering and processing performed by our brain plus how our mind wants to remember that input. All in all, most times what we remember has little to do with the actual physical input we had in front of us.

This very same human trait that at first may sound a bit disturbing is also what powers our imagination and our capacity to invent, to create, to expand beyond what we see. It allows us to blend, interconnect, associate and produce ideas and images that we have never seen in real life.

And here is where retouching again becomes an extremely powerful tool. Not only can we start from that initial photo we snapped with our camera and take control of the distortion that happens naturally in our minds, but this time we can modify the image consciously in whatever directions our imagination suggests.

We can make a blue shirt red. We can expand that forest of trees and make it five times larger. We can put an ocean around our house or extract a figure from its background and make it fly through the skies. The possibilities are endless. As such, from this second perspective, retouching becomes a wonderful way of visually imagining, exploring, creating and expanding ideas.

The art of retouching, described from these two angles, is an art-form that requires conscious thought and decision-making strategies. We have to decide what parts of the picture we will work on and what style of retouching we will perform. Will it be retouching that will go unnoticed and simply enhance the picture without calling attention to itself? Or will it be retouching that aims to transform the image into something completely out of our imagination and therefore will aim to look surprising and new in an elegant way?

A professional photo retoucher works with the image like a craftsman. He must work carefully with his electronic brush, repairing, correcting, blending and transforming the image in subtle ways that slowly change it just as a sunset or a sunrise slowly transition into a new reality without sudden changes that could call attention to themselves. As such, the work of a professional photo retoucher is similar to the work of a painter, a sculptor or an illustrator.

Precision work full of creativity and focus that aims to do what our photo cameras could not do; Enhance and transform the photo closer to what our eyes enjoyed and our minds remember.

Retouching can cover an infinite array of treatments including basic color correction, high end beauty retouching, skin retouching, make-up enhancement, glamour retouching, lighting enhancement, photo montages, portrait retouching, eyes retouching, photo illustration, photo restoration and touch up, magazine photo retouching, photo cartooning, background extractions, damaged photos restoration, wedding photography retouching, panoramic photography, photo paintings, other special effects and so much more.

Some online services offer minimal automated basic retouching services like automatic color and contrast enhancements. These perform generic automated corrections to an image and fail to produce optimum results for the same reason that all automated processes in life fail to adapt to the unique individual circumstances of a subject, in our case an image.

Every picture is a different world. Automated processes can improve the contrast and color of an image sometimes, but other times they can degrade the image instead of improving it, taking the image in the opposite direction needed by blindly following theoretical rules and mechanical algorithms.

And what is even more important, automated processes cannot think and cannot create a strategy of what they want to achieve. They cannot contemplate an image and create a plan to bring it closer to what our human eyes would enjoy or to the dreams that our souls envision.

That is why the best retouching can only be done by humans, by artists, by creatives, by truly, magicians that with their electronic wands work for hours and days on the pictures and create results that sometimes reflect our memories and other times transform our dreams into realities, as real for our eyes as what we remembered but even better, taken to the edges and peaks of human creativity and beauty.

How to Take Great Photos of Your Vegetable Garden

Nothing says success as a gardener more than when the first vegetables start sprouting. All of that hard work, from cultivating the soil, adding in compost, and growing your seeds indoors has all finally come to a positive climax.

However, it doesn’t have to end there. With the many blogs, message boards and groups on vegetable gardening, why not share your results with other gardeners with some photos. With today’s digital cameras and photo editing software, you can have wonderful pictures uploaded and online in no time. Here are some tips to make sure your shots make your veggies look pristine rather than dumpy.

Take a Close Up
Even though you might have the latest and greatest super zoom camera, I have found that my best photos have come when I move in closer to the vegetable or vegetable plant I am trying to take a picture of. Make sure the plant you are photographing takes up as much space on the view lens as possible.

Sunny Day
One of the best photo opportunities is when the sun is shining and first thing in the morning. When you see the sun glistening off the morning dew that is on your vegetables, it makes for a great photograph. Next time you take a photo use this shot and you will be happy with it as well.

Level Up
Don’t be afraid to get down on the same level as the vegetable you are trying to photograph. When you take a picture on the same level it makes it look so much better than when you are higher.

Organize the Photo
Nothing looks worse then when I take a photo of something and when I see the picture on my computer it looks terrible because it looks very disorganized. In other words, besides those juicy red tomatoes I was trying to capture, I also got the dog in there, some of the fence, some of my planting pots, and of course that is when my two year old decided he was going to run by. It is best to retake this photo and get it organized so that it will look better.

Photo Editing
I took the plunge and invested in Adobe Photoshop. It is a great tool for many things I do, and one of those things is editing photos I take. On occasion I will need to remove what I call background noise (unmovable objects, bugs etc) that take away from the beauty of the vegetable I am trying to photograph. There are many photo editing pieces of software on the market and they range in price from as little as $30 all the way up to $500. Buy based on how much you are going to use it.

You work hard on your vegetable garden and there is nothing wrong with sharing your hard work with others through photographs. So go ahead and take some good shots of your vegetables and upload them online so others can get inspired by your work.

Unknown Facts About Vegetable Planting Guide Made Known

It is important to have a vegetable planting guide so that you can be sure you are planting all of the right vegetables in the right areas. There are some things that your vegetable planting guide should include so that you can have the best garden possible.

First of all, find a guide that talks about what should be in sun and what should be in shade. Tomatoes should always be in full sun, but other fruits and vegetables need to have partial shade during parts of the day. You want a vegetable planting guide that can give you a good idea of what these plants and vegetables might be, and how you can best plant them in your garden.

Next, look at a vegetable planting guide to determine what types of watering systems you are going to need for your garden, and how to best use them. You want to be sure that your garden gets all of the proper water, and this should include the areas that need more water as well as those that need less.

Your vegetable planting guide should help you figure out what you can plant in lower areas that will get more water, and what you should plant in higher areas that would not get as much. This way, you can be sure that the vegetables you have planted with be able to thrive like they should.

Another important factor in your vegetable planting guide should be the idea that you want to see pictures of the various plants so that you can recognize them. Your guide should include these photos for you, and you want to take a careful look at them to be sure that they are what you need.

Then, you want to be sure that you have marked the rows where you have planted certain crops, so that the crops that you plant can have the best chance of survival. This is very important, as it is vital that you know where each of the plants is. The vegetable planting guide will also help you see when the plants come up, so that you don’t get them confused with weeds. You want to get rid of the weeds, and at the same time, you want to keep the plants that will grow up for you.

Your vegetable planting guide should have lots of great information about what to plant and where. Things like corn must be planted with other corn stalks, and other fruits and vegetables need to be near one another. If you follow the suggestions in your planting guide, you will have a great garden.