Picture Frames Express Blog

Archive for the ‘digital photography’ Category

October 6, 2014

5 Amazing Things You Can Do With a GoPro

GoPros are the must-have cameras for the adventurer in us all. Claiming to be the most versatile cameras out there they offer professional quality videos and photos.

GoPro cameras used to be used predominantly by individuals taking part in activities such as biking, running, skateboarding, and climbing however additions in their accessory ranges has meant that you can now involve your camera in even more activities and capture more unique points of view.

This month we are giving away a brand new GoPro Hero 3+ to the winner of our ‘movement’ photography competition so we thought we would give you a quick lowdown on the prize !

What can you do with a GoPro Camera ?

Record a journey

Whether you’re on a bike, in your car or simply wandering around, record your journey so you can replay back your memories. Particularly if you’re off exploring on holiday, GoPro’s can be attached to bags, hats, on a pole to journey along and allow you to replay memories and use the best bits to create some amazing videos.

Record yourself in action

GoPro’s are undeniably great for recording sport; whether it be skiing, running, skateboarding, climbing or mountain-biking, GoPros can be used to create amazing Point Of View videos as well as help you to record and make a note of your technique when carrying out your routines.

Bring a new dimension to family videos

Struggling to capture your family moments? There are loads of ways to involve a GoPro in both your day to day and family activities.

Want to get involved in your childs play? GoPro has loads of harnesses and straps available which can allow you to attach the camera to toys and sports equipment to get involved in the action. Or simply make use of one of the mounts available to reach new heights and captures all the moments from an outside point of view !
 

Take it swimming

GoPro’s come with a waterproof casing and if yours doesn’t you can buy one! this means you can enjoy all the quality with water involved.
Take it out surfing or head for a dive, GoPro’s are perfect to capture the moments in places where a normal camera wouldn’t dare venture.

Involve your furry friends

From getting yourself a doggy harness for your GoPro to simply playing around with man’s best friends there is no doubt pets/animals make the use of a GoPro so much more fun ! Take a look at the video below:
 


 

Accessorize your GoPro:

-Harness
-LCD Touch Bacpac
-Suction Cup
-Filter Clips
-Helmet Connector
-DJI Phantom
-GorillaPod
-Handlebar mounts
-Octomask

Don’t forget with a GoPro, practice makes perfect so get recording around your family home to get the hang of your new toy.

Want to see more of these amazing videos? Check out the GoPro Channel ! https://gopro.com/channel/

If you’d like the chance to win your own GoPro Hero 3+ enter into this month’s ‘movement’ photography competition.

The winner will receive a GoPro Hero3+ and the runner up goes away with a £50 framing voucher. To enter simply follow this link: http://woobox.com/gvdus2 Good luck !

 


August 5, 2014

A Basic Guide To Photo Editing

 
Back in the dark ages, when photos were shot on film, editing was pretty much left to the professionals and extreme enthusiasts; who had a lot of time, skill and patience. However, in our day and age, with the development of digital cameras and accessible, easy-to-use editing software, anyone with a love for photography and a standard PC can edit a photograph. There’s no doubt however that for real expert results, editing as in history should be left to the professionals. However, if you’re simply looking to correct and improve the aesthetics of your photographs, look no further.

Software Everywhere!

If you’ve already started looking for image editing software, you’ll be well aware of the enormous amounts of choice. There are a vast number of different programmes on the market that serve different purposes and, obviously, range quite drastically in price. If it is just a hobby or a quick task to improve some pictures you want to frame, investing a lot of money into a programme isn’t recommended. However, if you wish to experiment with photography quite extensively, it may be worth the investment.

Photoshop in Photography

If money is no object and you’re looking for a more professional, reliable programme, Adobe Photoshop is probably your best bet. This is the top end of photo editing software and will allow you to perform almost every action or photo editing technique, at cost.

Of course it’s rare that if photography is just a hobby and you’re looking to quickly improve the aesthetics of your pictures, you’ll have the money to invest in such expensive software so there are alternatives. For example, Picasa is a downloadable image organiser from Google, which offers the basic elements of photo editing. You won’t be able to achieve the results you would in Adobe Photoshop, but you can still correct the simple aesthetics of your pictures- Red Eye removal, colour adjustment, cropping and so forth. Another alternative is Pixlr.com which is a free online image editor offering loads of tools. These are just two examples and I’m sure with some basic research, you can find a programme that’s affordable and fitting. After all, there are so many!

Cropping

Whether it’s half of the photograph or a fraction of a corner, cropping can be a valuable tool for improving the composition and the general aesthetics of an image. Cropping is executed with the crop tool; which should be available in most photo editing software packages and once selected, it will give you the option to highlight or select an area of the photo to keep and delete the surrounding area. The objective isn’t to drastically change the photo but rather improve it compositionally; so don’t go and crop half the photograph!


 

By cropping a small section as demonstrated above, you can improve the compositional and aesthetic value of the picture; resulting in a more presentable and professional photograph.

 


 

By cropping larger sections of the photograph as demonstrated above, it can begin to look unrealistic and lose compositional and aesthetic value. Remember, only crop little sections if necessary!

Brightness And Contrast

On a simpler note we have changing the brightness and contrast of your photo. Both of these settings should be available, quite visibly, in your editing software package and are fairly easy to use. Just play around with the settings until you come to a point that you feel improves the image. Again, this is quite a valuable tool for improving your photos as it can change a dull, under exposed photo in to a bright, high impact one.

Hue, Saturation, Levels and Curves

These manual methods of colour correction will ensure the colours and their presence, in your photographs, are just right. With Hue, you can change the colour of the picture entirely whilst Saturation allows you to intensify the original colour or, if used with Hue, the new colour. Whilst both of these tools are useful and fun to play around with, some amount of care should be taken when deciding upon the amount of Hue and Saturation used as if they’re overused, the colours and their presence become unnatural.

Again, both of these tools should be available, quite visibly, in your editing software.With Adobe Photoshop for example, both of these settings are available in Image>Image Adjustments.

Now for the more advanced; Levels and Curves. Levels allow you to adjust the amount of the 3 primary colours individually, and curves go one step further by allowing you to adjust the shadows and highlights too. These are both pretty complex tools but if you wish to experiment and play around, there should be no problem. Remember, most of the process involves trial and error!

 

 

The image on the right is the original and the image on the left is edited with the hue turned to green and the saturation turned down. As you can see, if they’re used in moderation, you can give your photographs a pleasant new aesthetical look.

Black And White

Most people now will have the means to take photographs in black and white. Whether it’s on a smart phone or a digital camera, you can usually take a black and white photograph. However, shooting in black and white does present problems. If you take a colour photo you can always change the photo to black and white in post production but if you take a black and white photo, the option to add colour back in is virtually non-existent. Therefore your best bet is to change your colour photos to black and white in post-production rather than the contrary. Using Adobe Photoshop as an example, there are two relatively straightforward methods of which achieve black and white transformation. You can change the Grayscale by selecting Image > Mode > Grayscale. Or, you can use the Hue/Saturation tool, as mentioned earlier, and move the arrow under Saturation all the way to left, which removes any colour from the image. If you wish to go a step further, you can use the levels and Curves tool and intensify the shadows; making the black and white image sharper.

 

Got the hang of photo editing? Why not enter the Picture Frames Express Photography Competition?
This months theme is Black and White Photography.

 

July 7, 2014

Join Us For #photographerhour Thursdays 8-9pm

#photographerhour starts this Thursday from 8-9 pm

(10th July)


Here at Picture Frames Express we love finding new ways to bring together our photographer community which is why we have created #photographerhour on Twitter.

 

#photographerhour offers a prime opportunity for photographers to showcase their latest captures, discuss photography subjects and pool together their knowledge.

 

To join in all you need to do is follow @photographerhr on Twitter and then on Thursday between 8-9pm post anything you would like to discuss (questions you have) or new photos you would like to showcase onto Twitter with the hashtag #photographerhour.

 

One of our team will be manning the pc to manage the hour.

 

#photographerhour will happen once a week with a different theme for the main ‘discussion’ each Thursday.

 

This week (Thursday 10th July) we would love for all our new followers and photographers to showcase one photo which depicts what they are all about as a photographer and to introduce themselves to the community.

 

We look forward to seeing you there !!

 

 

February 24, 2014

14 Composition Tips Every Photographer Should Know

 

Composing a photo from the outsiders point of view can seem extremely simple; see a great view, raise your camera and take the shot. However particularly when photographing inanimate objects or when suffering photographers block taking a great photo just requires a little more thought.

Consider this, think of your favourite image, what draws you to it? If it was one of many photos on the wall, would you still be drawn to that one image? Given the same setting could you get the same photo?

Often it doesn’t come down to a great camera, but a great photographer.

 

Here are some things you should consider in composing a standout photograph:

1. The Rule of Thirds

One of the most known ‘rule’ for photography is the rule of thirds. The principle of this being that you imagine your photo is divided into thirds both horizontally and vertically.The subject of your photo you should aim to lie along one of the third lines either horizontally or vertically.

Take the image below, the young boy lies vertically in the right hand third of the image.


 

2. Balance Out

Following the rule of thirds means you will have space in the other two thirds of your image. If it is completely blank sometimes it is good to look to fill this space with a lesser object in the background to balance the image.

3. Use Natural Lines (C and S)

We often do not notice the natural lines that feature in landscapes. Whether they be an ‘S’ shape bending road or a ‘C’ shaped coastline, think about using these line to draw your viewer further into the image.

4. Horizontal Lines

Similarly horizontal lines in the form of horizons are often features of landscape images. Where a horizontal line features in your picture, try and decentralize it either above or below the central line on your lens.

5. Frame Images

Look to frame your subject before the photo is even taken. Line your camera up to include trees, post, doors walls, anything which helps to frame your subject within the shot through your lens.

In the photo below the photographer has used the window panes to frame sections of the New York City landscape.


 

6. Consider the Weather

When looking to shoot outside consider the weather. If you want vibrant colours, look to shoot when the sun is at its fullest. If you are planning on photographing trees or flowers consider the strength of the wind and weather your subject moving will be a problem.

7. Colour Composition

Many photographers carry around a colour wheel, this is to consider which colours work great contrasting against one another and which will blend well together. Using colour you can seek to both attract and detract from your subject.

8. Background Features

Always consider what is behind your subject; when shooting a model ensure there aren’t trees or bushes behind them which look like they are coming out of their heads. Your background shouldn’t detract from the subject.

9. Consider Texture/Patterns

Photos containing texture and patterns automatically give the viewer something to attract them. Whether it be contrasting patterns against one another or zooming in on texture, think about how you can use these features in your photography.

Take the image below, the photographer has taken advantage of both the patterns found in honeycomb whilst also capturing the depth and texture of the cells.


 

10. Go Up/Go Down- Height and Angle

Consider from which angle you are going to photograph your subject, often things will appear more effective when the camera is not looking straight on at it. Consider getting lower to the ground directing upwards and vice versa, taking the shot from diagonals.

11. The Viewers Journey.

Where are you trying to draw the viewer’s eye? Is it to the central point of the photo, or to an object? Use lines that appear in your image to direct where you want the viewers attention to be lead (leading lines).

12. Repetition/Symmetry

Something we rarely notice in life are repeating shapes, reflections and shadows that occur. Repeating shapes much like patterns and textures are interesting in themselves however it is how you capture them that is important. Consider breaking up an images of symmetry to add a twist to the story, or photographing repetitions at an angle to add a whole new dimension to the image. In the photo below the photographer has captured the symmetry of the windows and panels, however this is naturally broken up by the differences in weathering and also the inclusion of a bench in the right hand side of the image.


 

13. Layering- Front Middle and Back

Layer your photo to create depth. As photos are two dimensional, look to recreate the depth that you experienced at the time through overlapping. Have your main subject at the front and then layer two further subjects at the middle point of the image and also at the back.

14. Bright Spots

Peoples eyes are drawn to brightness, make the subject stand out by putting it in a brighter spot than the surroundings.

Don’t forget to take advantage of each opportunity, if the weather is right, position is right, subject is right, just shoot. Experiment and take loads of shots as you don’t know which one will have ‘that thing’.

Want a chance to try out these tips? Why not enter our monthly Photography Competition on our Facebook Page

 

 

December 10, 2013

How to take pictures in the dark

Taking pictures in the dark

It’s December, the evenings are dark, so it’s the perfect time to take night-time pictures! This blog is aimed at the newbie photographer who is just beginning to experiment with taking photos in the dark. Maybe you’ve tried taking pictures at night-time and ended up with mixed results? Well, this brief guide will try to bring your late night photography into focus.

What you’ll need

  • Digital SLR camera (Single Lens Reflex)
  • Tripod
  • Your camera’s instruction manual or an understanding of how to change the settings

Capture a silhouette at sunset

To create a silhouette you need to place your subject (person, tree, cat, etc) in front of a source of light – in this case it’s the sun. Looking directly into sunlight is dangerous, and can harm your camera too, so use a filter on your lens, or wait until the light has dimmed sufficiently. You won’t need a flash – a flash would light up your subject’s features, but you want them to appear featureless apart from their outline.

Often you’ll find that your camera is clever enough in ‘automatic’ mode to light up the subject. So, switch to manual mode.  Then begin shooting at a variety of exposures and let your camera and the light decide which exposure works best for the look you want to create.

  • No flash
  • More light behind the subject than in front
  • Use manual mode
  • Use a tripod for stability
  • Use a filter on your lens and take care when shooting / looking directly at sunlight.

How to photograph moving lights

To create the look in this photo, which was taken in Shanghai’s Lujiazui Finance district, China, the first thing you’ll need is the perfect location. Find a bridge overlooking a road with moving traffic, or position yourself next to a road, or set of traffic lights, with your camera and tripod. These photos can be taken at twilight, or in the dark.

Using the manual mode, decrease your shutter speed. Very long / slow shutter speeds will blur a moving object – in this case the lights from the traffic. (A quick or short shutter speed is good for capturing stills of moving objects, minus the blur.)

It’s a good idea to choose a backdrop to the traffic that will remain stationary, so only the traffic lights are blurry. The winner of our November competition used this technique to great effect with their ‘sparkler’ photo.

How to photograph a building at night


This shot of the iconic Big Ben tower in London was taken at twilight. Taking pictures at this time of day helps the photographer avoid shadows, but getting the exposure right in a photo like this is trickier. Overexposure will leave a washed-out looking sky, whereas an underexposed photo will lack texture and definition. It’s recommended you try lots of different exposures and do not use a flash.

Some photographers use HDR technology (High dynamic range) to create the ultimate night-time image from differently exposed pictures of the same subject.

If you’re photographing Christmas lights in the dark, turn your camera to the manual mode which will allow you to focus on the lights (in automatic mode the camera is more likely to focus on objects such as buildings, or people).

We hope we’ve inspired you to try some digital photography in the dark. We’ll be running another photography competition in the New Year, so try out the techniques we’ve listed here and send us your results on Facebook!

 

 

November 25, 2013

Join the Debate about Photography Post-Production

World Press Photo runs an annual competition for photo journalists and documentary photographers. If you haven’t heard of the competition, you might recognise one of their past winners:[i] – the naked Vietnamese girl running after a napalm attack; a single demonstrator standing in the way of tanks on Tiananmen Square.

World Press Photo’s co-founder Gary Knight, chair of 2014 contest, announced a change in the rules recently, regarding “post-processing of image files”, as reported by the British Journal of Photography[ii] in October.

This announcement raised a debate about digital tampering with images and whether it’s acceptable in photojournalism, and competitions.

Digital manipulation in competitions

When we announced a winner in our own landscape photography competition recently, one entrant took to Facebook to comment that the winner had used HDR (High Dynamic Range imaging) technology to enhance the appearance of the landscape. HDR is a way of combining lots of different images to make one, super-duper image that has greater depth and contrast.

You could argue post-production or photo enhancement puts amateurs at an even greater disadvantage than usual in competition with professionals, because they don’t know how to digitally enhance or manipulate an image, or perhaps don’t have the expensive HDR equipment.

Existing photography production techniques

On the other hand, let’s not pretend that photography manipulation was invented with digital photography. Using digital manipulation to add light and shade – i.e. enhance the light and shade of a photo and add contrast, is as old as the art of photography itself and was achievable in the dark room with toner. And many amateurs know the basics of digital enhancement, these days too.

HDR is arguably only toning. The World Press Photo competition change in rules was brought about because of a competition winner accused of digital manipulation. An investigation into the JPEG revealed that there was no composite image alteration; i.e. the subject of the photo wasn’t fake but the appearance of it was manipulated. When you consider that this is a photojournalism competition, perhaps it was decided that the factual content of the photo was more important than any digital enhancing.

Is digital enhancement right or wrong in a competiton?

We’d love to know what you think of this -if you’re an amateur, or a professional photographer.

Isn’t it just the same as an artist or a writer using their artistic or poetic license? Tell us on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.

 

February 21, 2012

Picture Frames Express Photo Competition (June: Sights of Summer!)

 

June Theme: Sights of Summer!

Thank you to everyone who entered and voted on the May competition. It was great to see how creative some of you were with the shots of your pets and animals, and most of them were just plain cute!

Facebook

Entries will need to be submitted via Facebook. You will find the competition tab on the right hand side of our Facebook page just below the large cover image. Alternatively, you can enter the competition page directly by clicking here.

Once you have ‘Liked’ the Picture Frames Express Facebook page you will be able to upload your entry directly via the entry form. The theme for this month is ‘Sights of Summer’. You can do whatever you want within the area of this theme and we’ll be fairly lenient with regards to what is acceptable.

The top voted on and 10 of our own favourites from the rest will make a final shortlist of 20. The winner and runner-up will then be chosen objectively by someone with no knowledge of how the pictures arrived in the shortlist or how many votes are associated with each one. We think this is the fairest way to give everyone a chance of winning.

Closing Date

This month’s competition closes at midnight on 31st May 2012. Winners will be announced within 14 days and a number of runners up will be featured on our blog.

You have full creative freedom over your photos as long as they are of the correct theme and not in breach of the terms and conditions. We are excited to see your camera skills, so submit your photos now, and remember this it’s only one entry per person.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is the competion open to entrants outside the UK?

A: No, we can only accept entries from UK residents – sorry.

Q: I’m having trouble voting. What is the problem?

A: There is a known issue with Safari on Mac computers. We recommend trying a different web browser or computer. Apologies for the inconvenience. If you’re not on a Mac, signing out of Facebook and back in should fix any problems.

 

This competition is featured on:

Loquax Competitions
Money Saving Expert

 

September 5, 2011

Picture Frame Famous Landmarks

Whilst stumbling through the Internet one afternoon we came across these beautiful photos of what are considered to be some of the most important landmarks of the world. A landmark is considered as anything that makes a place instantly recognisable such as a building, statue or natural wonder. If you showed a picture of any of these landmarks to someone then they will most likely be able to tell you what country that landmark is in. For anyone who visits these places or enjoys regular travelling, taking that all important photograph to capture your visit is a great moment.

Here are some of our favourites which we think would make great wall decorations if put in a picture frame and displayed in your home.

 

picture frame of Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, Peru

Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower, Paris

Christo Redemptor

Christo Redemptor, Rio de Janeiro

 

And if we were to get one picture frame produced of any famous landmark then we would have to go with this…

 

picture frame of Easter Island

Easter Island, Polynesian Triangle

 

If you have any pictures from your travels that you think would look great in a picture frame, then we can help mount or frame your favourite picture so that you can display it proudly in your home for all to see.

July 27, 2011

Amazing Concert Panorama

Once again it’s time for one of those marvellous images from the Internet that the Picture Frames Express team loves. That’s right it’s another amazing fully interactive 360 degree panoramic image to feast your eyes on!

Check out the Take That Progress Live 360 Wembley Photo.

Take That panoramic picture

Although not as big as the 80 gigapixel panorama of London we previously posted, this 20 gigapixel panorama of Take That’s recent concert at Wembley stadium is truly impressive. The panorama takes in everything from the band onstage and their giant stage prop, to the screaming girls in the front row and the steward stood on the very back row. It even allows each every individual fan that packed into the stadium to tag themselves on Facebook.

If you were there with friends and have found your group within the crowd then we think you should have multi picture frames made as a memento for everyone. You could have a picture of you and your friends in the crowd, a close up one of the band and one of the whole stage. This would look great in any of our styles of picture frames and be a great reminder of the sell out concert.

If you were there and have tagged yourself, then why not let the Picture Frames Express team know.

Till next time.

April 21, 2011

Frame the easter weather!

As you’ve probably noticed, the UK has got it’s groove back! In terms of weather anyway!

Say goodbye to those wooly gloves, hats and winter jackets because spring is officialy here!

All over Britain we’ve been bathing in a lovely warmth for the past week or two and the effects are really starting to show. People are scrambling to their sheds and brushing the cobwebs off the deck-chairs and there are smiles where-ever you go! Though we may be known as a nation to over-react with any weather, it hasn’t stopped anyone from lashing on the suncreams!

We have a wonderful series of bank holidays coming up, giving us all a little time to relax and lounge about in the garden, basking in the beautiful weather. Don’t forget though, easter is only a few days away too! We’ll all be having to cram our fridges with choccy so it doesn’t melt!

This fantastic weather has arrived just in time to make our May!

It’s a great time to dig those picnic baskets and coolers out of the loft and start packing some sarnies! A perfect reason to dig out those dusty digital cameras and snap a few photos to frame! Summer and spring can bring us some of the best times of our lives, so why not give yourself something to remember those good times by?

What better way to preserve a memory than framing it and hanging it on your wall!

Here at picture frames express, we offer a great range of fully customisable and made-to-measure framing options to suit any photo, any wall and any customer!

Take a look around our site and see if you can find the perfect from for those sunny photos! We’re sure you’ll find something to suit your taste!

Until next time, The Picture Frames Express Team