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This is a subject which many of us are always seeking to learn more about.


Today, I complimented Doug Sanders on his image of beads, knowing that he is becoming acquainted with a digital camera. He mentioned learning about f-stop adjustments for greater depth of field, white balance, lighting systems, background gradient from light to dark, all ripe topics for discussion! Another direction could include film/slides vs. digital images, why use one or the other, considering the end use...


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Shalom Janel,


being a very active professional photographer and a scientist, I have for some

years now, reached the conclusion that digital photography surpasses the using

of conventional (Film) cameras in many ways.

I have not shot film even once over the last 4 years, and I deal with very high quality

color publications!!

To utilize all the advantages digital photography offers, one should also use a good

picture editing software (Photoshop is the first choice) learning the basic tools offered

by such programs.

If there is any interest on this forum, I can outline all the advantages of digital photography

vs. the conventional, helping to "convert" those still hesitating....


David Darom (ddd)

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Shalom David, I would like to hear your thoughts on digital advantages(and also disadvantages).

One problem I have is not having the ability to see on my screen how sharp a digital image is.

I only have a 17" eMac. Maybe I'm missing something( other than a big screen).


Also I wonder what management software(organising) you use and also storage backup?


Glad you're on board, Jim

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Hi Jim,

One day, if I manage to visit you at home I will be able to solve

ALL your problems concerning digital photography in 30 minutes....

Now, from 10,000 miles away, all I can do is offer some specific advice.


Maybe a few words first on some of the most obvious advantages of

digital vs. conventional photography for those whe have not

yet converted:


1. In Digital photography, The results are instant and can be checked

for quality on the screen, enlarging portions of the image (up to x10 and more).

This allows for instant re-shooting of the subject, correcting whatever

needed on the spot. On the computer screen always open the images

in a photo-editing software like Photoshop. In its recent versions go to

File --- Browse --- and then to the folder on your desktop with the pictures.


Jim, I always download all the images to a folder on my computer's desktop

and then check the pictures. To check for sharpness I enlarge the images

as needed pressing the "Space bar" to move around the picture.... Your

screen is a good one you really don't need anything larger!


2. The WHITE BALANCE feature, even when used in the Auto mode,

gives wonderful color correcting options that minimize unpleasant hues

created by various light sources. Fluorescent lighting is usually greenish

compared to "Daylight", and Tungsten bulbs give a dominant orange cast.

Using a normal daylight film (without specific filters attached to the lens)

will result in dominating color casts in pictures shot under various lighting

situations even outdoors in the shade, on a cloudy day or when the sun

is low above the horizon.

Digital cameras solve this problem nicely even in the basic Auto mode.

They also have a Manual White Balance option where the digital camera

can be calibrated (very easily) for accurate color rendering under any

given lighting situation.


3. If the above is not convincing enough, then the ability to display the

images on the home TV minutes after the shooting or deal with them

on the computer and print them out within minutes, is something no

amateur photographer could ever do with conventional photography....


4. Pixels are the basic building blocks of digital photography and

are responsible for the final "resolution" of the picture. The more the

better. With a 5 Mega-pixel camera one can print beautiful letter size

pictures. With an 8 MP digital camera the "resolution" is much higher

and the results can be used for professional full page illustrations.

These are affordable cameras ranging in price from $300 to $750.

A 22 Mega-pixel professional digital camera - the ultimate photographic

tool of today - costs around $50,000 but is worth every cent to an

active professional photographer.


I save and arrange pictures the old way especially as Mac's OS X

offers large picture ikons for picture files...... Subject folders with

dated subject "sub-folders" and files. I backup material on external

hard disks, and on DVDs by subjects or projects (with 4.7 GB storage



As you can see, Jim, from this long answer, I have more time than usual

on my hands, as my book is in the process of being shipped to the USA

and Europe...


David (ddd)

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I have been shooting RAW images and doing the minor tweaks in Nikon Capture before opening the image in Photoshop. The problem is storage. The file sizes are huge and I was wondering what your work flow was through archiving.


Software suggestions are welcome.

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I have found that there is no noticeable quality difference between shooting

RAW files and shooting in the "Fine" or similar setting, producing

smaller jpg files. Once I open the picture file I never save it again as jpg

but as eps (Using the "jpg Maximum Quality" option). This reduces the

file size considerably. Shooting raw is slow and fills the camera's disc

capacity in no time....

I also avoid the Nikon Capture option (other digital camera makers supply

their specific basic software for dealing with images) and open the pictures

in Photoshop's "Browse" option dealing with them one by one with Photoshop's

many options and tools. I usually create a "Macro" through the "Actions" option

when repeated functions are needed to deal with a batch of images.


David (ddd)

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Thanks for the input. I do prefer the speed and size of jpg files, but was concerned about information loss.


What are your preferred image image sizes, file and format, for publishing and print?

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Don, I can give you an example from my book "Art and Design in Modern Custom

Folding Knives" that I sent you last year. The final size of the full page illustrations

in the book was at 400 dpi. For the pre-print process the illustrations were supplied

as eps files. All the pictures in this 256 page book (final sizes, eps and at 400 dpi)

fitted on one 700 MB CD.


But, as all the illustrations in that project were created in layers (when combining several

knives on one page) I also saved them as psd files. These are now backed-up on three 4.7 GB



Usually 300 dpi is more than enough for color printing in a magazine or a book. In extra high

quality printing 400 dpi is needed (enabling the Ofset printing process to use the fine 200 screen).


Hope this answers some of your questions.

David (ddd)

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How do you up the dpi? I see that the images are 300 dpi when I get them from the camera or scanner, but can I increase it in Photoshop or do I need other software?

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The basic rule is not to increase the number of pixels in a picture file.

The only way to up the resolution (i.e. from 300 to 400) is to reduce the

area size of the picture. Leaving the size unchanged and increasing the

dpi, will add pixels to the file by software interpolation. This is risky

as these new pixels, close as they may be to to the colors of those next to

them, might change details in the picture. Slight increase will not really be



Using "Image Size" see that the three parameters WIDTH, HIGHT and RESOLUTION

are interconnected. Then, when you change one the other two change accordingly,

leaving the number of pixels in the file unchanged. This way you can determine what

size your picture will be when upped from 300 to 400 dpi.


BTW, you should always photograph using the the maximum value (Size) your

camera is able to produce, giving the picture the most pixels to begin with. This is

defined as "Large" on some of them.


David (ddd)

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So for instance, to have a useable photo for you book, what image size would you prefer? Is psd an acceptable format or is it safer to go with tif?


I appreciate your help. Thanks.

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By giving so much information that seems trivial and

simple for me, It seem I have confused you a little.


I'll make it basic:


I use psd files to save multy-layer images. these cannot be used

as-is for print. They have to be flattened first. After flattening I save

them as eps files. They take up much less space when closed but return

to full size when opened. Saving flattened files as Tiff will result in taking

up much more storage place. But, tiff is considered very stable and there

is no loss of data whatsoever....

Sorry for this. It still sounds complicated but if you deal with picture files

on a daily basis, I'm sure you can make something out of this........ ddd

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Thanks for taking the time to explain all this. I guess my confusion was over upping the dpi to 400. I have never tried that mostly I am reducing it to 150 for web use. I will try an image so I know what is going on in Photoshop when I change the dpi. Saving as eps is new to me too, but anything that helps with the file size is a plus. Much appreciated.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...



Your statement about RAW vs. jpg might be misleading since

jpg can also be manipulated any way in any basic photographic

software. When saved to disk, jpg files are compressed (at various

qualities from 1-12 (low to high) and take up much less space.

this allows for many more images to be stored on the camera's disk.


Also, when shooting RAW the writing time of the file to the disk

in the camera can be very long (compared to saving of high quality

jpg images) which can reduce, at times, the chances for quick

additional shots.......


David, (ddd)

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Guest DFogg

Actually, the new cameras process RAW files with virtually no delay. You have much larger files, but can adjust the image in very subtle ways with no degradation.

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