News and Updates

"Gas Stop" by David Freund November 02 2016, 0 Comments

 

Long time friend of Lumiere Photo, David Freund, who over the years has exhibited at Spectrum Gallery, is releasing a new book: “Gas Stop” published by Steidle Books. The book will be available in November and is published in four hardbound volumes in slipcase. It will sell for $100.  

All of the 500+ black and white photographs depict a road culture world that no longer exists. The photographs were taken between 1978 and 1981. Several themes run through the extensive number of images. All of the images are very smart, perceptive and in many cases humorous. The images are very precisely framed and constructed, bringing a visual tour-de-force to this definitive collection of 70’s and ‘80’s road culture imagery.

For more information click here.


Operation Photo Rescue October 25 2016, 0 Comments

Image from Operation Photo Rescue Portfolio

I came across a really unique organization: Operation Photo Rescue (OPR). They are a team of photo restorers who travel to disaster areas to capture photos that have been damaged then upload them to volunteers all over the world who will restore and send the new photo back to the original owner. 

“I had no idea how profound that impact could be until I participated in my first of several copy runs,” says Pat. “I personally copied the photos brought in by a mother who told me they were the only photos she had of her son who died at the age of 14. We met families clutching photos that they felt sure were a lost cause, only to be moved to tears after hearing us tell them, ‘No problem, we can fix that.’” (Pat, an OPR Volunteer)

It is quite amazing that they can restore memories when everything else is lost for these victims of flooding or storms. They have an online volunteer application for those interested in getting involved and helping those in need: http://www.operationphotorescue.org/volunteer/

“Insurance doesn’t restore memories…but we do.” -OPR


Good Light = Good Quality October 05 2016, 0 Comments

In scenes with variable light it is really important to read your light meter. It’ll balance out the highlights and shadows to give you a more balanced exposure. You can also use it by reading only the highlights or only the shadows if that is the focus of your image. Professional light meters are really expensive, and unless you need more options for flashes, your in-camera, or light meter app will do just as well for ambient light.

When I use my DSLR I will typically rely on my in-camera meter. I will use manual mode and keep my aperture consistent, moving shutter speed first then ISO. This works well for my shooting style and I know when I am shooting a bright scene, to underexpose an f/stop and vise versa to balance out the tones. 

When I shoot film, I always use the Pocket Light Meter app. It only has three buttons (shutter, ISO, and aperture) that you can adjust and change the consistent factor. EASY! The app does have ads, which is annoying but considering you could be using a $500 Seiko, it’s pretty good.

Why am I writing about using light meters? Because everyone should be using one! Taking a poorly exposed image then using Photoshop or Lightroom to correct it doesn’t cut it when you want to print a nice image. There are issues of burns and noise which you don’t see on your screen but will show up in a print.

It is easy to overlook and just fix later but using a light meter will really increase the quality of your images and prints. Enjoy!


Saving Digital File Types September 29 2016, 0 Comments

Before I did my research, I would save all of my files as JPEG’s. I didn’t know any better, and it was the only file type on the long list of “Save As” options that I could recognize. The “Save As” list is a bit intimidating but once you know the uses for each type, it becomes a lot easier and you’ll be able to save your images for your intended use.

Now I don’t mean to rat on JPEG images right off the bat, because they do have many good purposes. JPEG or Joint Photographic Experts Group, compresses the files and is universally the most supported file type. JPEGs are great for sharing on social media, e-mails, web, and photo kiosks. You would rarely have troubles with the computer reading the format.

The downside to JPEG is that it is compressed and lossy. This means that when you save an image to a JPEG, the file is made smaller and information is lost. Furthermore, every time you open that file after saving it, information is lost and overtime there will be a significant quality degradation, which makes it really bad when your export is not the final export.

If you have a camera that can shoot in RAW, always always always shoot in camera RAW! RAW files record everything that the camera sensor reads and are digital negatives so they have flexibility and depth to them afterword. The best part about it is that if you mess up, the original pixels will always be there to go back to.

RAW files are not working files, they are huge, and are not very compatible, but they are good to save in a hard drive for safekeeping if you ever need to go back.

 

TIFF or Tagged Image File Format is the file that we like best here at Lumiere Photo. It is uncompressed and lossless. It is great for saving a working file because it holds the full size of the image and will also keep layers that you have made in Photoshop. That way you can easily go back into the program and keep working on it later.

PSD or Photoshop Document is very similar to a TIFF in the way that it is uncompressed and lossless. The only major difference is that PSD files can only be used with Adobe programs and are not supported elsewhere.

PNG is a lossless file type that is mostly used for large images online. GIF is a compressed file that is mostly used for small images or animation online. Large Document Format, BMP, Compu Serve GIF, Dicom, IFF, PCX, Pixar, Portable Bit Map, Scitex CT, Targa, and others that are more specific to where it can be opened.

There are a lot of different file types but if you know what suits your workflow best it becomes much less confusing. Just remember to keep a lossless version of the file so that when you want to print it big you can.

Have more questions? Call and we’ll chat: 585-461-4447

                                                


Clear Coats put to the Test September 14 2016, 0 Comments

 

One of my recent clients had a lot of questions regarding the image stability of our prints and what he can do to protect them even more. One of the options that we had talked about was a protective coating which would make them moisture-resistant, dust and scratch resistant, UV protected, and non-yellowing.

I decided to do a test on Moab Colorado Satine Paper with three different protective coatings that we keep in the store: Krylon Triple-Thick Crystal Clear Glaze 0500, Clear Jet Fine Art Low Gloss, and Krylon Crystal Clear Acrylic Coating 1303.

 

 The image below has no coating on it.

 Krylon Triple-Thick Crystal Clear Glaze 0500: It’s definitely a super thick gloss coating. Regarding prints, I would never recommend this coating. The print now reminds me of a cheap Costco glossy bulk pack because you have to move the print in order to see the whole thing because of the light reflections. I might be able to use this one as a mirror if I put another coat.

 Krylon Triple Thick Crystal Clear Glaze 0500

Clear Jet Fine Art Low Gloss: This low gloss spray turned into a no gloss spray. It looks completely matte after using the spray which in this case I’m not sure I like because I originally chose a coated paper for a reason. It really took the texture out of the paper and makes the image look flat which is something I really didn’t expect. I think for certain images, the Clear Jet Fine Art Low Gloss could create some really nice results but for this image it wasn’t what I was looking for.

 

Krylon Crystal Clear Acrylic Coating 1303: The Crystal Clear has more shine than the naked paper but is still very similar. This coat made a texture on the surface of the print, which is less smooth than the original but isn’t noticeable by just looking at the image. I think this coating is the closest to the coating on the naked paper and would be the one that I use for this series.

 

All in all, I think that the Clear Jet Fine Art Low Gloss and the Krylon Crystal Clear Acrylic Coating 1303 are most suitable to our clients. I feel that the Clear Jet Fine Art Low Gloss would do very well on a matte paper because it does not have any reflection and it feels very natural as matte papers do.

Lumiere Photo charges $3.00 per square foot of protective coating. If you decide to do it yourself just remember to test the nozzle before trying it on your prints. If you have any question please feel free to stop by or give me a call: 585-461-4447.


The Importance of Color Management July 20 2016, 0 Comments

Why should I calibrate? It looks great on the computer after it is edited but have you ever noticed how your piece looks different on other computers or the colors change when you print? That is because every device (camera, scanner, desktop, tablet, printer, etc.) has a different color space. In order to keep the colors true to your piece, you need to have a color management system in place.

Here at Lumiere Photo, we use the Colormunki Photo, and love it. It comes with a calibration device that will calibrate your monitor, and printer. It also comes with a ColorChecker classic. The device is a simple setup and guides you along the whole calibration process until your printer and monitor are accurate colors that would match any other calibrated device. 

Sounds great right? The reason that many artists don’t use it is because it’s a bit expensive. So what to do? Buy an X-Rite ColorChecker. The ColorChecker is an inexpensive card with calibrated color squares on it. To use it, hold it in one of your shots so you have an image of it. Then when you edit later in Photoshop take your eyedropper tool and select the white, middle grey, and black from the card to make your image have a true white balance. 

When I was a student at RIT, I heard “did you use your ColorChecker?” so often in group critiques. It really makes a difference to have truly, accurate colors. Having a color management system, even one as simple as a ColorChecker, takes out all of the guess work and will leave your image as beautiful as when you shot it.


The iPhone: A Photographer’s Sketchbook September 23 2015, 0 Comments

Often times we associate a certain camera with a type of photographer, the Landscape photographer with a view camera, and the street photographer with a Leica. Each camera influences the way we see, react and compose a photograph. It affects the way we process and edit our work. Resulting in many photographers taking preference to one over another. Not often enough do we see photographers experimenting with different cameras, relinquishing preconceived notions, and allowing the camera to influence the work they create. It is also too often that the photographic community feels threatened by new cameras, and condemns them before they have a chance. In the last few years the iPhone, and other mobile phone cameras have been in the hot seat.

 

A recent technology review in the Wall Street Journal boasts that the new DxO One, a sensor and lens adaptor for the iPhone, is as good or better than your DSLR. And Annie Leibovitz commended the iPhone as the “snapshot camera of today.” There is no doubt that the newest camera on the block is here to stay. However this doesn’t mean we all have to adapt the mobile phone as our new favorite, and start exhibiting every snap we take with it. During a similar time of change for photographic technology Minor White wrote a “rationale for the miniature camera” titled Exploratory Camera. In his words “if photography is to be an extension of vision each type of camera needs to be fully exploited for its unique possibilities.” The iPhone has its own personality and brings to the table a whole new set of possibilities if we allow it. Due to its simplistic and compact nature it allows photographers to experiment, acts as a placeholder for future ideas, and along with social media allows for the sharing of ideas.

The iPhone is a versatile tool; it is easy to use, is always in arms length and is quick on the draw. With a large variety of capabilities ranging from multiple aspect ratios, tilt shift capability, tilts and swings, HDR and built in manipulating software, this camera allows the photographer to hash out ideas as they come. Where and when the mood strikes the iPhone sits in the photographer’s pocket: a sketchbook. If every camera should be “exploited for its unique possibilities” surely there are some possibilities to freely work out creative ideas through out the day-to-day routine.

This camera does not offer high-resolution images, or vast tonal range; these low-resolution images however, make the perfect placeholder. It is now easy to carry around thousands of “ideas” in ones pocket. Reminders of shots or places that need to be revisited, techniques that can be employed, snapshots of inspiration to bring back to the studio are all conveniently organized. The importance of a sketchbook is emphasized in every high school art room around the country, now it is time for the photographic community to put emphasize on the amazing tool we have in our pockets every day.

 Copyright Michael Darcy

Unlike an artist’s sketchbook, the photographer’s sketchbook provides new tools that allow for a conversation of ideas, and critique. Through apps such as Instagram we can share our thoughts and receive feedback at the push of a button. To many these apps are scary and threatening, but if their full potential is realized than these apps are invaluable.

It seems about time we take away the fear of new photographic technology and realize its full potential. Not to say use the iPhone on your next job for a client, but the next time you’re out and about and feel inspired snap a placeholder shot. Share an idea with others on Instagram, and see what they have to say. Or just experiment. Every camera holds its own unique potential; see what the photographer’s sketchbook can do for your workflow.