Tech Tips

There have been some great submissions to the Tech Tip box with a wide variety of topics ranging from sharpening techniques to cleaning your camera.

I would like to start off by reminding everyone that Rob Cotton puts on some great workshops for things like Image Management and Digital Camera Basics. If you need some help or just want to learn more about these subjects, contact Rob at Foto Art and see what he has to offer.

For those who don’t mind doing some research on their own, I have taken the Tech Tip questions home and put together a list of links to some web pages that will help you out. While looking around the internet for assistance, always remember that YouTube will most likely have video tutorials on whatever you’re looking for.

Below is the list of topics with the results of my online searches. I hope these help answer some of your questions, and if you find you still need more information, turn to Google or Bing and type in what you’re looking for and see what pops up.

Different sharpening techniques for print, email, monitor etc. in Photoshop


There is a great article on this topic at http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/image-sharpening.htm where they explain what sharpening in Photoshop  really does. It also covers sharpening for different outputs such as prints and monitor viewing; email sharpening will be the same as monitor sharpening.

Various How-to’s


Clean your camera – a great online resource for this can be found at http://www.cleaningdigitalcameras.com/. There is a lot involved in cleaning a camera. I strongly recommend that you read through all of the sections of this site before attempting to clean your camera. If you feel intimidated by the process, check with Foto Art to see if someone if available to do this. The fee might be worth the peice of mind. Note: it is highly recommended that you take your camera to Foto Art to get the sensor cleaned.

Another good read on this topic is at http://photo.net/learn/cleaning-cameras.

Print your pictures – Printing photos is a very subjective topic because of the many variables involved. Each printer has a different user interface, each version of Windows has a different print dialog, and each photo editing program has a different way of preparing images for print.

If you’re using Windows XP and don’t have a program like Photoshop, here’s a good tutorial from Microsoft for printing your photos: http://www.microsoft.com/athome/morefun/photoprinting.mspx.

For Windows Vista, http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Getting-started-with-printing is a good place to start.

And for Windows 7 users, http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/discover/photos has some information, including video demos.

There are various programs out there for photo editing, the most common being Photoshop. There is a great online resource for the print function in Photoshop at http://graphicssoft.about.com/od/photoshop/ss/eb_printpreview.htm and if you look carefully on this page you’ll see other Photoshop tutorials and articles.

How to work with filters on lenses – Filters are used to create a variety of effects in your photography or to simply improve or enhance the image. You can see a very informative article on filters at http://photo.net/equipment/filters.adp. Here you’ll learn about filters for colour, black and white, softening, and many other applications.

Metering – Most digital cameras have three metering modes and they may not all have the same name. The three that have been asked about in the Tech Tip box are Matrix, Centre Weighted, and Spot. A brief explanation of each can be found at http://www.dpreview.com/learn/?/Glossary/Exposure/Metering_01.htm.

How to “re-calibrate” an Epson printer – Now this is a tricky one. Calibrating anything is complicated at best. However, this query came with another part to the equation. The question included the following: “Since installing Adobe Elements 6, colours are off – either dark or overly ‘vibrant’.”

This begs the question, “how were you making prints before using Elements?” It sounds like a simple case of going from one method, which uses a certain set of parameters including driver software, to another. As soon as this happens, it’s almost certain that you’ll see different results. It’s like using crayons and switching to coloured markers. You have to figure out what you need to do to make those markers look like crayons.

There is a web page on calibrating an Epson printer at http://www.normankoren.com/printer_calibration.html, but I assure you, you will not want to attempt this. Maybe you will, but I doubt it. The best thing to do is to learn about printing in Photoshop and figuring out what you need to do to get the results you want. This link was posted in an earlier response: http://graphicssoft.about.com/od/photoshop/ss/eb_printpreview.htm.

Uploading just the recent photos from your camera – You can most certainly upload just the most recent photos from your camera to your computer. Windows XP users can read a tutorial athttp://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/digitalphotography/takeit/transfer.mspx. If you’re using Windows 7, try http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/How-do-I-get-pictures-from-my-camera-to-my-computer. Using Windows Vista? Go to http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Working-with-digital-pictures for the information you’ll need.

The thing to remember here is that when you are to select the images you wish to transfer, only check the ones you want, and if there are no check boxes for selecting images, hold down the “Ctrl” button on your computer’s keyboard and click on each individual image you want. Remember, don’t let go of that Ctrl button until you’ve selected all the ones you wish to transfer or you’ll have to start over.

How to read a Histogram and use it to improve a photo – The histogram is probably the most important tool on your camera when learning digital photography. It shows you a graphic display of your exposure. The following is a list of places where you can read up on the histogram, what it means, how to read it, and how to use it to improve your images. I’ve arranged them in order of least to most difficult.

http://www.dpreview.com/learn/?/key=histogram

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/histograms1.htm

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/understanding-series/understanding-histograms.shtml

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/expose-right.shtml

And for those advanced shooters who are using RAW, http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/right-hista.shtml will show you how to get an accurate histogram on your camera’s display. Please note that this particular method will not work for jpegs.