Mark DiLallo Photography

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Autumn is Here! How to Capture the Colors of Fall

Posted by markdphoto on October 10, 2013 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Fall is upon us!  Crisp air and glorious colors beckon us to get out and photograph.


I just updated my Fall Gallery with lots of new images on my website hosted by SmugMug Pro.


 



Here are a few quick tips to help you capture your own images of autumn:

  1. Use a Tripod for optimal sharpness
  2. Use a Polarizer to make colors pop (eliminates color-robbing glare on sunny & cloudy days alike)
  3. Seek out back-lit foliage (leaves glow when lit from behind)
  4. Shoot color reflected by water (ensure your polarizer doen't suppress the reflections though)
  5. Shoot through out-of-focus foliage to add pastel washes of color
  6. On sunny days, shoot back-lit or side-lit early or late in the day, and shoot front-lit in the soft light of cloudy days
  7. Avoid washed out (white skies).  Nice clouds in open skies or leaves against pure blue sky are more pleasing
  8. Hunt for the perfect leaf in a perfect location
  9. Explore patterns and textures
  10. Mind your white balance to keep the colors correct...enjoy your Vibrance and Saturation controls but don't over do it

Plan your outings to ensure colors are at a maximum and crowds at a minimum.  Check out Fall Foliage maps at Weather.com and consider a day off to shoot during the week when the parks will be less crowded.  Otherwise, get to the park...and parking spaces...nice and early.


Have a wonderful autumn and happy shooting!  :)

New Great Look for SmugMug Pro!

Posted by markdphoto on October 10, 2013 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Hi everyone!

I'm really excited about the new look I just released for my image galleries and I wanted to tell you how I created them.



While my main website was created using the easy to use drag & drop features of Webs.com, my image galleries and sales tools are hosted using SmugMugPro--another market leading service provider.  SmugMug Pro's specialty is user-customizable web sites specifically optimized for image display and sales.  SmugMug teams with multiple professional labs such asBayPhoto,whcc, Loxley Colour, and ezprints to allow you to offer image sales/downloads, print services, and image-based gifts (such as t-shirts, mouse pads...and you guessed it, coffee mugs).  


What I like about Webs and SmugMug is that you can create and personalize your website without knowing any html code at all.  They both offer simple and easy menus and tool bars to tailor things to your liking.  For more advanced users, both do offer the ability to add your own code--albeit with some limitations.

SmugMug Pro was already very user friendly with a robust set of web-based tools to let you easily customize everything about your site.  Well, they've now introduced a new environment in addition to their legacy one that includes a bunch of fresh new templates and features.  They give you the option to export your legacy SmugMug site to the new environment and try out its new templates (which are just starting points...everything can be easily altered).  This can all be done privately while your customers still see your legacy site.   When and if you are finally ready to transition, its a simple click to publish the new look and go public.


I just converted my galleries to the new environment.  I really like the fresh, clean, and more artistic look I came up with over my legacy site which looked a bit more technical.  Some of the new features I like include:


  • The slideshow on the home page
  • The ability to display panoramic sized thumbnails for navigation
  • The photo collage displays that let viewers get an instant impression of a gallery
  • The clean, full-screen slideshow presentations
  • The Keyword Cloud...just a neat animation over a simple list
  • The ability for views to share what they like via modern Social Media tools like Twitter and Facebook


Please enjoy my new galleries.  Hope this note helps you let the world explore your images too.  :)




Dell U2410 AdobeRGB 24" Monitor only $400

Posted by markdphoto on January 25, 2013 at 11:35 PM Comments comments (0)

25 Jan 2013

Wow!  Just noticed Dell has a $150 Instant Savings discount on thier Dell UltraSharp U2410 24-inch Widescreen Flat Panel Monitor with PremierColor.  This monitor has an expanded 96% AdobeRGB compatible color gamut, 12-bit internal processing, 1920x1200 XUXGA Resolution, 6-millisecond Response Time, and 178º vertical / 178º horizontal Max Viwing Angle.  A great deal at $420 with Tax. 


In contrast, their 27" PremierColor Monitor is currently $800 and the 30" $1400.


 

Color Management: Your next Right of Passage

Posted by markdphoto on January 23, 2013 at 6:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Do you rememberthe first time you abandoned Automatic for Manual or Aperture Priority?  That milestone was probably nerve-racking and more than a bit frustrating at first, but you were determined to take your photography to the next level.

 

Initially, you were probably happy just to expose an image that wasn't blurry or blown-out.   But, soon you started to master life beyond "Automatic" and really wanted to share your creative successes with others.  Your first prints probably came via Costco, but sooner or later your work improved and you purchased your first photo inkjet printer. Here too, you were probably easily pleased at first.  At some point, though, as you continued tohone your craft, your standards rose, and you became more critical of your ownwork.  What once passed as a great image,now seemed to your refined eye to be obviously flawed.

 

To reach the next level, we all progress to more expensive cameras, computers, software, and printers...and, we expend hours engrossed in study and research to get the most out of those investments.  Soon, we become aspiring Photoshop experts, fussing over images and printing to exhibit our work. 


At about this point, we become aware of and perhaps frustrated with Color Management.  You may be struggling with inconsistent results or are just striving for optimal color quality.  Again, you are ready “to take it the next level”.  Color Management is your next Right of Passage.


You most likely are at least a bit familiar with profiles...sRGB in particular.  This profile (aka Color Space) is the"Automatic Mode" of profiles--that is, its the garden variety color space that comes default on virtually all digital cameras and computer equipment.  What is Color Management's equivalent of shooting Manual or Av?  It's getting off the sRGB defaults and using a larger, more vibrant color space like Adobe RGB (1998) or ProPhoto RGB.  This is because sRGB only supports about 31% of visible colors vs 51% with Adobe RGB and a whopping 91% with ProPhoto RGB.


These wider colorspaces are the path to more vibrant, saturated colors.  Learn and use calibration techniques and you'll enjoy these more vibrant colors more accurately and consistently.  Unfortunately, there is a mine field of settings to get right to use these concepts successfully.  Get those settings wrong, and your colors go horribly wrong.  Add to that confusion over printer profiles, calibration, and perhaps white balance...you might be feeling as anxious and frustrated as that first time you turned the dial from Automatic.


To expedite your Right of Passage and take your results to the next level, I'm happy to announce the release of my latest ebook: Practical Color Management and Printing.




Color Management means managing the life of your image files within your workflow to ensure not just quality but compatibility as your file passes from camera to computer, between software applications, and from computer to printer.  But it’s more than just about your image file—it’s also about special color files that allow your peripheral devices and computer/software communicate about color. Used correctly, these files ensure your camera, monitor, and printer all communicate properly with your computer and match an international standard for color.


So in Color Management, what is the critical element needed throughout the life of your image files?  What aligns your devices with a standard?  What is the language of color in the digital world?  In a word: “Profiles”.  They’re everywhere. 


I can’t make the need for you to understand profiles and practice good color management go away, but I do attempt to be as simple and concise as this subject allows in giving you the knowledge and skills you’ll need to troubleshoot problems and optimize color in your workflow. 


First, we’ll contrast White Balance & Color Correction vs Color Management. Are you struggling with inaccurate colors somewhere in your workflow?  Most of “Color Management” is about calibration and choosing correct profiles and software settings that ensure colors are displayed properly and consistently from device to device.  But if you’re original image has an objectionable color cast, all a good Color Management setup will do is preserve that color cast everywhere the image is displayed or printed.  So, I begin the book by briefly discussing “White Balance” and “Color Correction” techniques that allow you to adjust the colors of an image.


Color Correction, which at a minimum means a good camera White Balance setting, is needed to tame offensive color casts that were present in the scene you photographed (whether you perceived the color cast’s or not). In fact, if you incorrectly set your White Balance, you will introduce a cast where there was none. 


To evaluate and adjust the colors of an image, you need a good color managed and calibrated setup to trust that the image colors you are seeing on your monitor are accurate, (i.e. to ensure that your monitor is not imposing color casts). Only then can you effectively evaluate white balance and correct colors within an image.  Once you get an image’s White Balance “correct”, (aka. to your liking on your monitor), Color Management is again needed to present and preserve colors correctly via every other device and software application throughout your workflow.


Having thoroughly explored White Balance and how colors “enter the digital world”, we next discuss what I think are the essential concepts you’ll need in order to practice good color management—just five concepts…not too scary…you can guess the concept of “Profiles” is the big one.  We all buy different equipment and software, so there is no one prescriptive list of settings I can give you.  You need to know what you are looking at. 


Next, we’ll explore five groups of color settings and defaults that need to be right.  They are hiding in just about every device and bit of software in your workflow.  I can’t stress enough how critical these settings are.  Gross color errors are almost always due to incorrect settings.  The key concepts I stress will help you know where to look, what you are looking at, and will ensure you make good choices.  This five-group process helps make it easy to stay organized as you configure for a color workflow that you’ll now know how to design and tailor for your situation.


Once all your defaults and settings are right, you’re just about there.  However, you will need to know some everyday workflow tasks that involve case-by-case color choices.  We’ll cover some invaluable color housekeeping skills to handle about anything you are likely to face. 


I hope you find this book helpful.  Follow this link to download your copy!

 

 


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