If you would like to submit photography or photo restoration tips to this blog, please email me at KevinRetouch@gmail.com.

We will gladly provide a link to your website or blog along with your contribution.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Photography Tips for Beginners

As a new photographer, these are some of the ideas that have helped get me going.

1. Don’t go crazy buying the most expensive equipment right away.

It’s possible to get very nice photos with an inexpensive point and shoot. See these examples on Flickr. The more photos you take, the more you’ll know about what kind of camera to get when it’s time to upgrade.

2. Consider a tripod.

On the other hand, an inexpensive tripod is worth getting, especially if you have shaky hands like mine. When I got a tripod, my satisfaction with my shots skyrocketed. For even more stability, use your camera’s timer function with a tripod (read our introduction to tripods).

3. Keep your camera with you all the time.

Photo ops often come when you least expect it. If you can keep your equipment relatively simple – just a small camera bag and a tripod – you might be able to take advantage of some of those unexpected opportunities. Or, if your phone has a camera, use it to take “notes” on scenes you’d like to return to with your regular camera.

4. Make a list of shots you’d like to get.

For those times you can’t carry your camera around, keep a small notebook to jot down places you’d like to come back and photograph. Make sure to note any important details, like the lighting, so you can come back at the same time of day or when the weather’s right. If you don’t want to carry a notebook, send yourself an email using your cell phone with Jott.com.

5. Don’t overlook mundane subjects for photography.

You might not see anything interesting to photograph in your living room or your backyard, but try looking at familiar surroundings with fresh eyes. You might catch an interesting trick of the light or find some unexpected wildflowers in your yard. Often a simple subject makes the best shot.

6. Enjoy the learning process.

The best part of having a hobby like photography is never running out of things to learn. Inspiration is all around you. Look at everything with the eyes of a photographer and you’ll see opportunities you never noticed before.

7. Take advantage of free resources to learn.

Browse through Flickr or websites like the Digital Photography School Forum for inspiration and tips. Also, your local library probably has a wealth of books on all types of photography. If you’re interested in learning about post-processing, give free software like the GIMP a try.

8. Experiment with your camera’s settings.

Your point and shoot may be more flexible and powerful than you know. Read the manual for help deciphering all those little symbols. As you explore, try shooting your subjects with multiple settings to learn what effects you like. When you’re looking at your photos on a computer, you can check the EXIF data (usually in the file’s properties) to recall the settings you used.

9. Learn the basic rules.

The amount of information about photography online can be overwhelming. Start with a few articles on composition. Be open to what more experienced photographers have to say about technique. You have to know the rules before you can break them.

10. Take photos regularly.

Try to photograph something every day. If you can’t do that, make sure you take time to practice regularly, so you don’t forget what you’ve learned. An excellent way to motivate yourself is by doing the weekly assignments in the DPS Forum.

11. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

If you’re using a digital camera, the cost of errors is free. Go crazy – you might end up with something you like. You’ll certainly learn a lot in the process.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

How to find a photographer


First we'll start with wedding photography.

There are many important factors that must be considered when selecting a photographer for your wedding.

Be sure to . . .

1) Compare and interview photographers.

One of the most important factors when making your decision should be whether the photographer is a member of PPA ( Professional Photographers of America) or some other professional organization. Most organizations require their members to operate thier businesses according to a certain set of standards, and if a prospective photographer is not a member of one of those organizations, chances are there's a reason. Don't be afraid to ask.

2) It's important that a prospective photographer is able to show you more than one COMPLETE wedding and not just a few of the best photographs taken from a variety of weddings.

The above fact is VERY important and may be hard to come by, but you should NOT settle for anything less! Just about anyone can snap hundreds if not thousands of pictures during a day long event like a wedding and be fairly certain that a small percentage of those photographs will be good. But that's not good enough. Ask your prospective photographer to see ALL of the photos from more than one wedding, not just a selection of his best work, which is what some photographers will attempt to provide. If you look at ALL of the images from 4 or 5 different weddings and you are impressed by what you see, then you can be certain that he or she is a professional wedding photographer and not just a part timer that got lucky on a few shots here and there. This is the true test of an exceptional professional photographer! You’ll be spending a lot of money on your wedding photography, so make sure you KNOW what you’re buying!

3) Make sure you feel comfortable with your photographer. 

It's not enough to just like your photographer or his or her work, it's important that you really click with him or her and feel good about the person you have chosen to capture your most intimate moments, afterall you and your guests will be dealing with him throughout your entire wedding day and for months beyond! In addition, if the photographer makes you feel uncomfortable, you will be less likely to feel comfortable posing for photographs, which defeats the purpose of hiring a photographer in the first place.

4) If possible, try to avoid photography studios that contract their work out to other photographers. In other words, make certain that the delightful, talented photographer you spoke to prior to the big day will be the photographer who is actually photographing your big day.

At A Glance: Important Questions to Ask.

5) If I hire you to photograph my wedding day, can you guarantee me that you will be the photographer photographing my wedding?

6) If yes, do you have a back up plan in the event you are unable to photograph my wedding?

7) Do you offer retouching?

8) If so, do you charge extra for that service?

9) Do you do all the retouching in house?

10) Is there an additional fee for special finishes such as black and white and sepia?

11) Do you offer special services, such as handcoloring?

12) Do you offer packages?

13) What is included in your packages? 

14) Are you willing to arrive early to photograph us (bride and groom) before the ceremony, if we decide to do that?

15) Do you arrive early to get the getting dressed shots?

16) Do your packages include one or two photographers?

17) Do you charge extra for a second photographer?

18) Do you work with an assistant?

19) Do you have backup equipment, in the event something fails or breaks?

20) Are you a film based studio? Digital? Or both?

21) If you are a digital studio, do you provide online proofing of my wedding day images? 

22) Do you provide a CD of my wedding day images?

23) How do you present and deliver the proofs? (very important for out of town brides)

24) Do you charge an additional fee if the wedding service and reception are in two different locations?

25) Do you charge extra if we want to go to a third location for pictures?  

26) Do you charge a travel fee?

27) Do you offer only traditional albums or do you offer a variety of options to choose from, like Storybook albums and coffee table style books?

28) Do you design the special albums yourself?

29) Do you work with a videographer?

30) How many photos do you take during a typical wedding?

31) Do you sell the negatives?

32) Do you offer parent albums?

33) Do your packages include photographing the rehearsal dinner?

As you can see from the above, it's very important to ask lots of questions when selecting your wedding photographer, as it will help you avoid any unwanted surprises on your special day! 

Kevin Winkler

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Most Important Photography Tip

There are many composition tips recommended by photographers, books, courses, workshops, blogs, etc. Everyone talks about them and they are certainly important and basic to create images that are not boring and that have a WOW factor. We also mention them in our blog and in our Photo-Tip-of-the-Day simply because they are important and secondly because the more you hear about them you will eventually learn how to apply them.

Composition rules are basic guides that tell you how an image will go from dull to exciting. Rules are also meant to be broken, but you have to learn why and when to do so. Some of the composition rules are even difficult to understand, you need a scientific mind to do so and I will not go into those. For me photography is an art so why complicate it even more.

Photographers already have to deal with color, light, contrast, detail, depth-of-field, modes and many other technicalities. At the end of the day you might be able to learn and apply all the tips and techniques but your images might still not be the ones that win photo contests, that get published, that get exhibit or that simply make you sigh.

The most important tip that hardly anyone talks about is ‘Train Your Eye’. The eye of a photographer is his or her most important tool. Train your eyes to see light and you are on your way to creating awesome images. Train your eyes to differentiate 2D from 3D and your pictures will suddenly have volume. Teach them what is contrast and they will identify detail. You will create amazing images as long as your eyes make decisions on what to include in your photograph and what to eliminate, the choice of angles and light.

First tip to training your eyes – look at a scene, close your eyes and open them again. Does the scene cause the same effect as when you first saw it, in other words, did you sigh after re-opening your eyes. If you did maybe you have a great shot in hand. Go for walks and practice framing in your mind different scenes, open and close your eyes. When you are able to look at a scene and continue to be amazed you will have trained your eyes to actually see great shots.

Our eyes see the world in 3-D, photos are a piece of paper in 2-D. What sometimes feels like an excellent shot when printed it turns out to be a photo without interest. Train your eye, go for walks, frame your scene and then close one of your eyes. If the composition looses spark and now looks chaotic, then you do not have a good image, if you still sigh, see detail and perspective then you have a great shot.
Now squint with the open eye, suddenly contrast and detail will seem more obvious and things will pop out. If they do, you still have a great shot if they don’t then you are missing shadows and details. The more you exercise your eyes the more you will train them to see a great image.

Cameras have certain advantages and certain disadvantages compared to your eyes. Use them. Cameras can focus and see details that your naked eye will not see, so train your eyes by closing and squinting. Your camera will frame your subject and block the rest, your eyes won’t, train them to do so. Your camera only sees with one eye and your camera cannot read the balance between highlights and shadows. Train your eyes to see changes and different light angles. Walk again early morning and late afternoon and see how light goes through the leafs of the trees, how it reflects on water and on windows, move around, go up, go down and train your eye to see how light changes as you move around.

Train your eye to frame as your camera does. Take another walk but know with a frame made out of carton and pick your scenes. Soon your eye will be trained as your camera to see what the frame allows you too and block the rest. Practice a lot using this simple and cheap tool. Your frame can be a small 1″ x 1/5″ cut on a 5 x 7 photo paper or as large as a 4″ x 6″ on an 8 x 10 photo paper, as long as you can see your composition and block the rest.

Train your eyes to see color. Walk around pick a color and focus on it. Walk some more and you will see that color popping out. Continue walking and focus on a different color, suddenly you will now see this other color. Practice makes perfect.

Train your eye and capture amazing breathtaking images.

Each ‘Photography Project’ is a new challenge for The Duenitas Digital World, which we meet with great motivation and enthusiasm! We are technically proficient under any conditions and work in an unobtrusive respectful way. The Duenitas Digital World is flexible and reacts well to unplanned happenings; capturing the perfect image as we go.

The Duenitas Digital World is based in Miami, Florida and covers South Florida, the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. We specialize in the following Photography Topics: Weddings, Resort, Real Estate, Product, Family & Event and Commercial Photography.


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Object removal . . .

Each day in my business of restoring old photographs at www.BestPhotoRepair.com , I encounter all kinds of photo manipulation requests, from simple digital retouching to more complex restoration work. But my favorite type of request is object removal.

I guess I enjoy it, because I really get to use my imagination. When you remove an object, especially an object in the foreground of a photograph, you must replace it with something, otherwise you are left with an unsightly blank space.

And that's where real imagination and creativity come in, because it is usually left up to the restoration artist to determine "what's missing", once an object as been removed from an image.

Although there are a lot of different ways to remove an object from an image, I decided to focus on the "Patch Aware Fill" method.

Below you will find a quick step by step guide on how to best fill that blank space, leaving a flawless image behind.

Open an image with an object you need to remove, like this sign posts in the image above.
If you're working with a single-layered document, duplicate it by pressing Command-J (PC: Ctrl-J).
If you have multiple layers, activate the topmost layer and create a copy of all visible layers by pressing Shift-Alt-Ctrl-E (on a PC). Double-click the duplicated layer's name and rename it.
Select the Patch tool. Once you've selected the patch tool, make sure you selected "source" from the menu at the top.
Click-and-drag to "paint" a selection onto the object you wish to remove from the image.
Once you have the object selected, move the selection over an area in the image that looks very similar to the area from which you are removing the object.
(For example, if you are removing an object from in front of a bush, select a similar looking area of the bush to fill in the space over the object you are removing.)
The patch tool will give you an idea of what you are capturing in the selection.
Once you find an area of the image you want to "paste" over the object, drop the selection. I say drop, because I use a Wacom table and pen, so all I need to do is release the selection over the new area and the patch tool will take that area and blend it into the area you are filling, or in this case, it will blend it over the object you are removing.
Obviously this method does not work on every image nor every object, but it's a great place to get started.
Hope you enjoyed this quick tutorial.