Converting color images to black and white

But black and white images can be very powerful. By eliminating color, black and white forces us to concentrate on other aspects of the photo. Textures. Lines. Something as simple as a surface receding into shadow becomes positively sensuous when care is taken in the conversion process. There are many techniques for converting a color image to black and white. The only consensus seems to be that simply converting to grayscale is the wrong way to do it.

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Review: Nikon Capture NX, RAW processing software

This is a review of the Windows trial version of Nikon’s newest RAW processing software: Nikon Capture NX. NX is a major update to their Capture line of software. One of the nicest new features is the innovative U Point technology, but I still find NX hampered by a number of serious flaws that prevent me from using it for any of my RAW conversion needs.

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RAW vs. JPG: Myths and misconceptions

Most digital cameras record JPG images because the JPG format provides a very high degree of fidelity for photographs in a very small amount of space. JPGs are high quality, small, can be viewed quickly and easily on any computer, and look great when printed. But JPGs, like all image formats, also have some limitations. RAW is another image format that addresses some of JPGs problems. But no format is perfect and RAW images have problems of their own.

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How do you name your digital photographs?

Each photograph I download from a memory card is automatically renamed with the date and time the image was shot. For example: 20060623_140123.jpg says that the photo was taken on June 23, 2006 at 2:01 PM (and 23 seconds). Each time photos are downloaded from a card, they’re put into a unique directory named after the current date. If I do more than one batch per day then a batch number is appended. For example: 2006_06_23 or 2006_06_23_01. For events or special occasions I’ll append a description to the folder name. The image download software that came with my Nikon does all of that for me but it wasn’t the default. Most image download software will allow you to do this and more.

It’s a nice naming system because each photo gets a unique identifier and it makes it easy to find the actual photo given the name or the date when you remember shooting it. Having a unique identifier for each photo is important if you’re selling prints since it allows your customers to tell you exactly which photo they want to buy without any misinterpretation (and if you’re licensing them for use you can put that ID in the license).

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A solution for perfect group photos

Microsoft Research Group ShotNext Saturday I’m going to be doing about 30 group portraits with two to three poses each. And if you’ve ever taken a group photograph, you know how frustrating it can be trying to get everyone looking the same way at the same time, not blinking, or generally not looking goofy.

If the group is paying attention it might only take two or three shots to get everyone synchronized. Fortunately for me, this is a dance studio so I’m not going to be dealing with inebriated party-goers. On the other hand, many of them are children. So what happens after the shoot when I find one or two photos where I didn’t notice someone blinking?

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Backing up your photos: why and how

I recently finished a task that turned out to be undeserving of my procrastination and left me with a welcome sense of relief. I made a backup of every digital photograph in my collection, over 15,000 images, spanning nearly 6 years from early 2000. It had been far too long since my last backup. It was easy, didn’t take a long time, and now I know that these treasured memories will be safe if something catastrophic ever happens to the hard drive they are stored on. Here’s how I did it.

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