Photography 101…Color Calibration And Printing

“The negative [digital] fill is the score, the print is the performance.”  Ansel Adams

That quote is so true.  If you take a great photo but the print comes out bad, it ruins the photo, right?  But if you take a great photo and the print comes out beautiful, then it’s so satisfying!  I don’t print my own photos.  It just doesn’t seem cost effective to me, but it is important to me to get prints that I am happy with.  Ones that I want to look at again and again in the pages that fill our scrapbooks.  Generally images printed between 200 and 300 dpi (dots per inch) are acceptable, because the human eye can usually see about 240 dpi.  Anything lower than 150 can appear soft and anything below 72 pixelates.  So be sure your prints are printed between 200 and 300 and choose a lab that you’re happy with!  If you do print your own photos, make sure the printer and paper are compatible so that you get the best results possible.

a photo that has pixelated

On color calibration…I never really paid much attention to this, honestly.  Well, I actually hadn’t even heard of it.  Color calibration is basically adjusting your monitor’s colors so that when you look at your screen, that’s the print that comes out.  You can do this using devices such as a spyder or by going into your computer’s settings.  You can set your monitor’s calibration to match your printer.  Some photo printing sights even allow you to calibrate your screen to match the prints you receive from them.  Although I haven’t paid much attention to this in the past, I definitely see the benefits of color calibration.

 calibrating your monitor using a spyder

I’ve always been the student to turn in homework so I was quite surprised with myself when I didn’t complete the Using Flash assignment.  Maybe I was lazy.  Maybe it was too cold to go outside.  Or maybe it just wasn’t my most favorite assignment.  The point is I didn’t do it!  To make up for it, I decided to do it anyway.  So here’s a photo using flash and a couple taken in low light with a long shutter speed.

Flash was used in an effort to stop action to actually see the snow falling.
ISO 200, aperture f/5.3, shutter 1/320

snow at night
This was taken at 7:15 at night.  It was already very dark out.  I set the camera on a makeshift tripod.  It came out looking like it was taken during the day because of the long shutter speed.  You can even see the headlights shining out from the car.
ISO 200, aperture f/5, shutter 13 seconds

driving away
Taking photos in low light with a flash using a long shutter speed can result in the object looking like it has disappeared but a trail of lights leaving evidence that it was there.  This was taken at the same time as the above picture.  My husband was leaving for the store.  You can’t see the car but you can see the line of tail lights.
ISO 200, aperture f/9, shutter 3 seconds
If you like taking low light photos, you definitely need a tripod to get the best results!

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