Kacey + Rossi: Photographs

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No, most of our photographs don’t look like this.  Kacey and Rossi had this wonderful wedding photographer, www.williamcolephotography.com, who has a way with an image that most of us never will.  Not only do they have the advantage of being appealing to look at, but they came to me electronically, as big files, which allows me to manipulate the size photograph I use in their book.

While there were times I used one image to take up most of a page (as above), there were other times that it made more sense to put a few together, particularly if they were telling a story.  I’ve taken a page out of Kacey and Rossi’s book that was about guests walking down the “aisle”, illustrating how to use a group of images together.wedding page for blog

While it’s easy to make an image smaller, the same is not true for enlarging.  So, if the hard copy photograph is 4 x 6, that’s about as big as the image can be in a picture life book.  And as most of our older photographs are hard copies that need scanning (Perhaps you’ve thought about digitizing your photograph archive?  We can help with that), understanding how hard copy translates to the computer, and then back to print, is an important part of what we do.

For those that know me, you will be surprised to hear me getting “technical”. I still find this sort of thing hard to understand, but as it is an important part of making a beautiful book, I have a working knowledge of the main points.

Images that are on a screen are made up of little shapes (some erroneously call them dots and quantify them as dots per inch or dpi) , a bit like the Roy Lichtenstein on this link (permissions don’t allow me to show the actual image on my website, a subject for another day) http://artsamerica.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Oh-Jeff….jpg.  For simplicity’s sake, we’re going to call them dots.

If you make an image smaller, the dots just get closer together, but if you make it bigger, there’s more space between dots.  While Photoshop is a great photo manipulation software, the decisions it makes about how to fill in those spaces aren’t good enough for what we’re trying to do, below is an exaggerated example of what a “pixellated” photograph looks like.Olthof_bij_het_Atomium_pixellated

As having all images as sharp as possible is crucial to a picture life final product, we err on the side of sharper, smaller photographs.

How does this relate to you?  First, the higher the setting on your camera (for example 300 dpi/ppi vs the more common 180 dpi/ppi), the more flexibility you’ll have with regards to enlarging in the future.  However, if you’re not planning to do anything with the photographs other than keep them on your computer or make smaller sized prints, making the setting higher will mean taking up more room wherever you’re saving your images, so decide accordingly.  Also, if you’re scanning any photographs that you will end up printing, make sure the scanner is set to 300 dpi.  Setting it higher won’t make a bigger or sharper image, though setting it lower will make a smaller or less sharp image.

OK, I’m going to insert a nice photograph here to give your brain a break, I know I need one.  But we’re almost done. Here is my mom (in a blurry photograph taken by an old iPhone – this is the sort of image that is harder to work with in a book) a few years ago on her birthday, cake decorated by Nat.  Today, she turns 85, Happy Birthday, Jilly!

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One other technical thing.  While an image can appear sharp on a screen when it is only 75 dpi, it will not be sharp if printed, despite screen appearances.  That 300 dpi/ppi really is important.

Good job, you read through the whole mind bending technical blog post, which may or may not have made sense.  I know you probably won’t remember it all, I certainly wouldn’t. but hopefully you’ll know where to look if you ever wonder about this sort of thing.  Here is a final photograph, related to the post in that these are the men at Kacey and Rossi’s wedding.  Who wouldn’t want to look at this as a sharp, ahem, well defined image?

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