Posts Tagged ‘scan to digital’

Create A Wedding Slideshow By Scanning Old Photos

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Important Details for Wedding Slide Shows Like Scanning Photographs

Make Your Wedding Slide Show Powerful by Scanning Photographs

Every wedding season, brides and bridesmaids turn their attention to the details that personalize a wedding and make it memorable. For many people, thanking the family and expressing love for relatives are important parts of a wedding and help this process of building up the right details. Slideshows, although they don’t use slides anymore, are a popular and effective way to share memories and remember family members who have passed. The process of collecting old photos to scan to digital, organizing them in a series with matching music and sometimes narration, and then sharing it with the guests at the wedding is both fun and potentially emotional.

There are two general types of slideshows that people have at weddings. The first type is like a presentation. It feels like an official wedding event, and one or more people narrate using the pictures to tell a story to the guests. The subject often relates to how the bride and groom met and sometimes weaves in other stories about family members. The other common slideshow is a more passive feature at the wedding. Instead of being a focused event, this type of slide show is usually just projected onto a wall or played on a monitor somewhere out of the way that people will easily see and be able to enjoy. This allows people to casually notice it as they get drinks, for example, and enjoy the photos without requiring the time and attention of anyone else at the wedding.

Regardless of how the slideshow will be presented, it’s important to go through the process of creating it carefully. Picking photos to scan to digital, deciding on music, and ordering the photos are just a few of the details that can be significant if the designer wants it to. There are a number of basic considerations that frame the process. First, the more people will be forced to watch the slideshow, the more important it is to keep it short. People don’t like to sit through too much of the same thing. And even if it’ll be playing on a side table, the longer the loop the more difficult it will be for people to bring friends over to show them favorite parts. Anything over 15 minutes will be too long. The other major consideration is the quality of photos. Most people have a vast collection of digital photographs as well as the boxes of old photos from relatives. The scans and photos needs to be high quality so they will not look degraded when projected on a large screen.

After the practicalities, it’s important to deal with the aesthetics. The most impressive slideshows have a logical progression. Most go from older to more recent photos. To maintain peoples’ attention, slideshows need to be engaging and dynamic. That impacts the photos that should be selected, the importance of using active transitions instead of just dissolves between photos, and makes including a short video clip or two very effective. Even the simplest of slideshow software enables all these things and the addition of music. But to be sure everything looks good, it’s important to watch the “final draft” with a very critical eye and perhaps get the input of a friend or relative who will be honest about simple ways to improve it before the wedding.

Slideshows can be incredibly moving at many weddings. And from digging through old photos to scan to digital to putting the whole thing together and enjoying everyone’s reactions, it’s a very fun process when you pay attention to the important details.

Planning for a Better Photograph

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Take Photos You’ll Want to Scan by Planning Your Shots First

Spent Some Time Thinking Carefully Choosing Your Approach First

Great photographs take planning. It’s a simple maxim, and yet as amateur photographers who may have only taken one or two really good photos in our lives, most of us feel like the art form is more about feel or “having a good eye.” But the difference between a memory card full of throw-aways and one with that shot you’d be happy to print, scan to digital, share, and preserve forever is about more than just natural talent. Pros, experts, and successful amateurs all argue that beyond knowing your cameras and lenses and getting familiar with light and composition through taking and studying thousands of shots, it’s the ability to have a plan and understand how to execute it with the help of others that enables people to repeatedly capture the image in their mind.

Planning might seem almost impossible given that some of the best shots we see every day on websites and in periodicals are of dynamic, vibrant scenes. The people in the shot didn’t pose, backup, and replay the action a second time so the photographer could get a better angle. And most of the time we’re sure they don’t take a photo and scan it to digital to redo the whole thing in post-production. And yet they make eye contact with the camera, their faces are perfectly framed, the smile or glance or movement of but a moment preserved forever with that one snap of the shutter. For example, a recent photo spread on the Boston Globe’s website covering the Indian festival of Holi shows close ups of revelers, chaotic action scenes with colored powder streaking across the frame, and the shining faces of children caught in moments of pure, youthful joy. How could planning bridge the gap between what I can do with my camera and the magic that professional photographers captured in these shots?

Professional freelance photographer Jason Lindsay makes the point that every shoot is unique, so it’s important to consider all your possible subjects and angles, and try and shoot them with your various cameras and lenses right away as part of a regimen of preparation. Then you can review these initial shots, which he likens to “sketching”, and share them with peers to get immediate feedback. The goal is to figure out what approach works best to capture the mood and objects you want.

Of course, part of that process must come from experience. Knowing what elements of the situation, such as the joy, chaos, and playfulness of the Holi festival, are most salient and essential for the photos, requires conscious, deliberate thought and experience. This is especially true when translating that analysis into decisions about what objects reflect those moods. In the Globe’s Holi spread, three types of shots dominate: clear extreme close-ups of faces covered in the colors of the festival, emotions plain on their faces face; medium shots of one or a few people moving and dancing, engaged in the activities characteristic of the holiday; and wide shots of large groups that give a feeling of size and chaos.

Although the hundreds, if not thousands, of pictures were necessary to put this 22-shot collection together, every photographer featured almost certainly had to execute a plan, perhaps based on a similar analysis of the salient emotions of the festival, to decide upon the technical approach necessary to capture them. One could even argue that the fact of these obvious trends in what emotions and types of shots different photographers captured suggests they all planned and responded to the same things.

Despite the gulf that separates the weekend amateur photographer from a professional, one of the biggest variables that we can control and which will lead to more photos we want to print, scan to digital, save, and share is preparation and planning. Some extra thought goes a long way to putting you in the position to snap the perfect shot.

Lathmar Holi Festival-The Big Picture-Boston.com
Tips From a Pro: Great Shots Take Great Planning-Popular Photography

How to Photograph Running Events

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

How to Capture Running Shots Like an LA Marathon Photographer

Know Your Goals and You’ll Make Better Choices

The 2012 Los Angeles Marathon in the books, and along with the same amazing finishes that always impress viewers, the race produced thousands of incredible photos. The shots of Simon Njoroge breaking the tape with a mingled look of exhaustion and simple pride in his accomplishment are an example of the kinds of stunning photographs that running allows. They’re the kinds of photos that your mom would cut from the front page of the paper to scan to digital and email you. And just as with any athletic photography, there are definite styles, strategies, and techniques that the best photographers use to capture running events.

The first thing you need to do is make it clear why you want to shoot a running event. Because road races cover so much ground and have both fast individuals and vast hordes of runners grinding it out, these athletic events require some concerted planning. You can’t just show up with your favorite camera and lens and idly hope to steal a few great shots the way you could walking around a neighborhood. Most people photograph races either promotionally for the event organizers or professionally to be able to sell the photos to competitors and their families afterword. Some also go to capture that one group of friends or family members, which may be the most difficult of all. You might have other reasons but the types of shots you want to get will probably fall into one of the categories that these purposes suggest.

Promo purposes call for both wide angle group shots and close ups. However, many of the close-ups that are most desirable feature competitors before the race, with eager excitement on their faces and friends supporting, or after the race looking like they ran hard and are having a great time celebrating. Except for the really strong runners, most action shots show a person with a pained expression. Unless the race is billed as gritting through something tough, those shots won’t be as useful. The group shots follow basic conventions – they’re relatively easy as long as you get the focus right and expand the depth of field. Where you choose to shoot from tends to be more important, because you need to get the right background and composition of people. Similarly, capturing people before or after a race is not too difficult.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to get shots of individual runners, you do need to prepare quite a bit. Faster film speed (even with digital cameras), faster shutter speed, and a longer lens are all important. You want to shoot people either when they look strong, which means at the start of the race or in the last minute of the race when they’re kicking hard to the finish; or you want to catch people in moments of real emotion, like when two friends running together are supporting each other or when a person who was considering giving up gets a second wind. Both of these goals require finding the right position on the race course, both in terms of the action at that part of the race and as far as being able to see runners approach so you can size up the subject, and paying attention to faces and body language so you can capture the real moment when they’re at the right range. Even though runners don’t move that fast, they won’t stop. So the right spot is the only way to give yourself the opportunity to take shots that you can digitize to monitors after the race and that competitors may actually want to buy.

So the most important steps to taking good running photos are planning based on your goals and picking the right location. Some people worry a lot about using a flash to fill or carrying several cameras around. This is more important if you’re going to be shooting people before or after the race. But as opposed to other sports, where there are specific, dynamic moments that need capturing, with running events its more about patience and intuition than about having the fastest camera and getting lucky with the perfect shot.

It’s only through thinking about these steps and following through with your decisions that you’ll get those perfect running photos worthy of being scanned to digital, that tug the heart strings and excite viewers.

Whitney Houston Remembered

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Whitney Houston, 1963–2012

Her Powerful, Timeless Voice Influenced Generations of Singers

Whitney Houston was born on August 9th, 1963 in Newark, New Jersey. She died just 48 years later. Infamous in recent years for her struggles with drug addiction and her famously volatile marriage to Bobby Brown, Houston will ultimately be remembered not for her troubled personal life, but for her powerful, timeless voice and her triumphs as a music sensation.

Houston grew up around music, soaking in the sounds of gospel choirs and well-known singers before she could even talk. Her Mother, Cissy, sang gospel and was a backup singer for some of the biggest acts in the business, including Dusty Springfield, Otis Redding, and Wilson Pickett. Singing talent was in Houston’s blood (and in that of her cousins, Dee Dee and Dionne Warwick), and her godmother was none other than Aretha Franklin. By the time she reached high school, Whitney Houston was already on the path to stardom, singing backup for Chaka Khan and Lou Rawls. Meanwhile, she had begun a successful modeling career, appearing in the pages of popular magazines like Glamour and Seventeen.

In 1985, Houston’s first album was launched and became a huge hit, propelling the singer into fame seemingly overnight, though the project had been in the works for nearly two years when it was released. Simply titled “Whitney Houston,” the album became the first by a new female artist ever to yield three number-one singles, the most memorable of which being “The Greatest Love of All.” The black-and-white photo above, which was scanned to digital by the Associated Press, shows Houston belting out a powerful melody during a benefit concert at Boston Garden on May 10th, 1986.

Houston’s huge voice and unique style put her at the center of pop culture, and under this spotlight she became a strong influence on generations of singers to follow, from Mariah Carey and Alicia Keys to Christina Aguilera, Queen Latifah, and Jennifer Hudson.

In 1992, Whitney Houston took Hollywood by storm when she starred with Kevin Costner in “The Bodyguard.” The film yielded the hit song “I Will Always Love You,” a soft melodic love song by Dolly Parton reinterpreted by Houston as a power ballad. The single became the best-selling single by a female artist in music history, and the soundtrack won a Grammy for Album of the Year. Over the following years of her career, Houston amassed 22 American Music Awards and six Grammys, making her one of the most decorated female singers of all time.

The Return Of The Electric Car

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

The Electric Car: Then And Now

Battery-Powered Cars Aren’t So New, As These Photos Show

Although the recent resurgence of electric and hybrid electric cars has shed new light on the potential benefits that such designs offer over conventional gasoline-powered cars, the electric car is far from a new concept. In fact, electric cars have been around since the very early days of the automotive industry. In the early 20th century, there was a close battle for dominance among several automotive technologies, as steam-powered cars and electric cars had yet to give way to the internal combustion engine. The first picture here, which was scanned to digital for preservation, shows the prolific inventor Thomas Edison (left) standing with an electric car running on an alkaline battery of his design. Edison strongly believed in electric cars, and took up the cause in 1900 to design an entirely new battery chemistry to improve the range of battery-powered vehicles. He believed that trains and trucks could also be improved by switching to electric power. Around the year 1910, Edison abandoned his work on electric car batteries as gas-powered engines became the front-runner for setting the standard in automotive tech.

What’s the earliest hybrid car you can think of? The Toyota Prius was certainly the first to become widely popular. The Honda Insight, first launched in the late 1990s, was the first to be mass-produced and sold to the public. But the concept dates back quite a bit further, to the beginnings of automotive history. In 1900, a 25-year-old engineer named Ferdinand Porsche (yes, that Porsche) invented the first hybrid car, which is pictured in the second photo, scanned to digital by the Museum of Automotive History. The designed utilized electric motors mounted near the front wheels to help propel the car.

Fast forward a century, and the streets are full of hybrid cars. Meanwhile, the all-electric car is making a serious comeback. Mainstream automakers like Nissan and Mitsubishi are selling electric cars in increasing numbers, and boutique automakers like Tesla have made a name for themselves by making only electric cars. Tesla recently announced its newest design, the Model X, which features stylish and functional falcon-wing doors that make ingress and egress easy even in tight spots. In the photo here, Tesla co-founder Elon Musk demonstrates the doors, which have a unique hinge that allows the doors to fold as they rise from the car’s frame. The Model X’s SUV-like design is large enough to replace the family minivan, yet compact enough to maneuver in and out of tight parking spaces. The Model X will have an estimated range of up to 260 miles per charge, depending on battery options, when it is released next year.