Around And Around And Back Home Again

There were once so many different slide projectors on the market that your local camera store probably stocked more than 100 different types of replacement bulbs to be sure they had the one you needed. The most popular by far, was the Kodak Carousel projector introduced in 1964. It was also one of the longest-running, produced in some variation through 2004.

Slide film was the first to capture rich, saturated colors that sparked a new romance with photography. Slide projectors were the revolution that allowed every hobbyist to relive and share their own photos in an experience otherwise known only to Hollywood.

The hit series Mad Men based a 2007 episode on the magical marketing campaign that bestowed Eastman Kodak’s “Wheel” with the now-famous name, “Carousel,” pitched as the magic machine that let you travel through your memories as a child would. “Around and around and back home again, to a place where we know we are loved,” quipped the advertising pioneers.

That dramatization is fictional but it is likely that Kodak used the name CAMEROSITY in some early development. You can use it to decipher the serial number into a date of manufacture, where C=1, A=2, M=3, and so on.

If you still have a carousel projector in working condition, it’s worth hanging onto. Some are being converted with LED bulbs into automated slide scanners. And with slide film still in production and the resurgence of 35mm film cameras, you might even view your next vacation through one!

How Big Can I Print, Really?

You probably know the resolution of your phone’s camera. But what does that mean in real life? Can I make this big enough to live on my wall? Or just on my bookshelf?

You’ve probably heard the detailed answer before, or at least the first few sentences before your eyes glazed over. It’s the one where we start dividing the number of pixels by the desired print resolution to… are we losing you already?

Here’s a much simpler rule of thumb: MP = IN, or megapixels = inches. If your iPhone has a 12MP camera, stick to prints no larger than 12”. A square 12×12 or a rectangular 12×16. It’s a rough guide and there are some exceptions, but the math works out to about 300 pixels per inch. Here’s an example (skip this if the details bore you):

The camera(s) on the iPhone 8 and iPhone X capture 3024 x 4032 pixel image. Multiply to get 12,192,768 pixels, or 12.1 megapixels. If we instead divide them each by 300 (the threshold for photo-quality prints), we get 10.08 x 13.44 inches. That’s the largest size you print that will technically be considered photo-quality.

If, like us, you’re a stickler for quality and only the highest resolution will do, we’ve got you covered. We can diagnose any image you throw our way. But this quick tip will get you in the ballpark without any unnecessary math anxiety!



The Best iPhone Camera Tricks You’re Not Using

The Best iPhone Camera Tricks You’re Not Using

The Best iPhone Camera Tricks You’re Not Using

Did you know there are hidden controls in your iPhone camera app? You’ve probably seen the flash and HDR controls and you know that swiping left or right changes the aspect ratio and photo to video mode. Those are labeled on the screen so they’re hard to miss. But what about features that aren’t labeled?

Here are the four best, most overlooked iPhone camera tricks.

1. Swipe left from the lock screen to open camera.

If you’re thinking, “That’s not revolutionary,” then you’re not paying close enough attention. From the LOCK screen. Which means you can raise your phone and be ready to shoot in one swipe. That’s the difference between getting or missing the shot compared to swiping up from the home screen, which requires you to first authenticate with a passcode, Touch ID or Face ID. This also answers that nagging question you’ve had about those three tiny dots at the very bottom of your lock screen and why the one on the right looks like a camera.

2. Selective AF/AE

Selectawha? Touch anywhere on the screen to autofocus (AF) on and auto-expose (AE), for the lighting in that particular part of the frame. Like when your subject faces are too dark because the background is bright. Or when you want to focus on the stage far away, rather than the person’s head directly in front of you. With a single tap, you now
have complete control over your composition.

3. Exposure Compensation

What if the area on which you want to focus on isn’t the area that you want to expose for? It’s too dark or bright. The answer lies in the small yellow sun icon on either side of the AF/AE box. Slide it up or down to compensate for over or underexposure. Only once the power of this tool sinks in can you fully appreciate the gesture of moving the sun with
your finger.

4. AF/AE Lock

You are now a master. Selecting your focus point, adjusting exposure, and then… You recompose and the frame resets. What? Is all this newfound power really so fleeting? Of course not. Enter AF/AE Lock. The term borrowed from pro dSLRs is just as impressive as it sounds but as simple as you’d expect on your iPhone. Instead of tapping the screen
to select your AF/AE point, touch and hold for two seconds. The selection frame pulsates to confirm and the phrase AF/AE Lock appears on screen. Move your frame anywhere you’d like and your settings remain. Now, you’re a master.

Well, what are you waiting for? Go put your new brilliance to work!

How to discover the shutterbug inside a six-year-old

How to discover the shutterbug inside a six-year-old.

How to discover the shutterbug inside a six-year-old. Like most grade school aged children, mine own tablets and can swipe my phone faster than a New York City pickpocket. But they rarely use the devices’ cameras. The most recent photo in either child’s camera roll? A series of 38 selfies with a blurry dog-looking thing from over four months ago. Other parents I’ve surveyed tell me this evidence is typical. We assume they haven’t yet developed an interest in photography. When they do, the device with a camera is ready and waiting.

But if you’ve ever handed an actual camera to a kindergartner, for example, you know there’s more to it. And the older the camera, the better. One with a viewfinder and no screen really gets the gears turning. After they realize what it is (and that there are no games on it), the purpose sinks in. They discover a different tool that invokes a whole different curiosity.

Here’s how I spawned the shutterbug inside a six-year-old boy. I’d keep an old digital camera handy and anytime we left the house, I’d set it in the back seat. He couldn’t not pick it up and within a couple weeks he was taking it out of the house of his own accord. Sure, that was usually when his other device was off limits, but I say any interest counts. Sometimes, he’d take 38 pics of the seatback out of boredom. But often he’d take real pictures. And he got better fast. I’d watch as he would stop, compose, capture, and retake until he found an angle he liked. The results were far more thoughtful than anything he’d shot with an iPad. I didn’t try to explain the menu or functions unless he asked so he discovered most on his own and now frequently uses exposure compensation to improve a shot.

Since then, I’ve let him wrangle my DSLR, complete with a gigantic vertical grip attached. It’s obviously cumbersome but he knows what he’s doing and, more importantly, why he’s doing it. The pictures he takes are important to him and although most are viewed on his device and shared between family, a select few have found fame on his older brother’s blog. I think we’ll venture into printing soon.

I’m not surprised that he’s become a pretty good photographer. I’m surprised that maybe he already was. Sometimes all it takes is the right tool.


How to discover the shutterbug inside a six-year-old.

#kidsneedcameras #youngphotog #camerakiddo

why metadata matters for preserving old family photos

Why Metadata Matters for Preserving Old Family Photos

Why Metadata Matters for Preserving Old Family Photos

Have you ever discovered a loved one’s handwritten notes on the back of an old photo? My grandmother often noted her memories, in beautiful script, on the back of black-and-white snapshots. Although she didn’t know it when she was writing, she was creating metadata about our family pictures. Metadata is one of those technical terms you may hear people talk about from time to time. It’s just a fancy word for memories. And just like your grandmother’s notes on the back of old photos, metadata is how your grandchildren will learn about you and your legacy. Even though it may sound like technical jargon, metadata is actually super simple and key to preserving family history. Let’s dive in and learn why metadata matters for preserving old family photos.

So, what is metadata anyway?

Metadata is data about data. In this case, the data is simply describing photographs. Metadata provides key information about the photos, which is useful because it adds context and backstory. Metadata also makes finding photos faster, even years down the road when most of the people depicted in the photos are no longer living.

If you carefully add metadata to your photos now, future generations will be able to locate and enjoy photos. Metadata makes your pictures searchable. No more sifting through folders, hard drives and emails when you’re in a rush to find a photo to send to a family member! When it comes to search and rescue, metadata is like the lifeboat of family history! Without it, your family photos may become anonymous artifacts.

 How do I add metadata to my family photos?

After you’ve digitized (scanned) your family photos, you can begin adding metadata to the digital files. Remember, scanning doesn’t actually archive information about your photo. Have you scanned dozens of family pictures, but never actually attached any information to the files? Don’t worry, lots of people make this mistake. The good news is, this is an easy-fix! You just need to add some basic info to your photos. That info is called metadata. The metadata you add will be embedded in the JPEG or TIFF file, so the information actually sticks with the photos!

Peter Krogh, the leading authority on digital asset management for pro photographers, says it’s easier to think of metadata as tags. Many of us are already familiar with tags; we use them daily on social media. They’re manageable, logical and extremely powerful.

There are specific standards for image metadata, which have been developed by news organizations over the last 25 years. This standard is called IPTC. It defines a series of text-based fields that standardize the way different aspects of a photo are described. While there are many fields in the IPTC standard, family historians only need to focus on three:

1) Headline: a short phrase that describes the photo. For example, “Ed and Joe fish at Grandaddy’s Farm” would be a great headline for a family photo.

2) Caption (description): This is a sentence or short paragraph describing the photo. The Associated Press has a specific format for writing captions so that basic information is answered about every photo. While you don’t have to write captions to a strict standard, it’s smart to add as much info as you possible into the caption so details are preserved. As you’re writing captions, think like a reporter. Your caption should answer these basic questions, “Who? What? When? Where? Why? And How?” For example, you should include first and last names of people pictured, what they are doing, a date or approximate date, location, the reason for what they are doing.

3) Keywords: These are like breadcrumbs; they enable searchers to find photos faster. Keywords are words or short phrases that describe the photo. Think of what you would type into Google to find the photo. These are the keywords you should apply. You can use names of people pictured as keywords, locations, activities pictured, events, and other descriptors. It’s also good to standardize a list of keywords to apply to photos so you use the exact same terms to refer to the same concept in different photos. This is called a controlled vocabulary, which sounds like jargon, but is just a way for you to be consistent when describing photographs.

An easy way to add these vital pieces of information to photos is by right-clicking on its thumbnail. But if you’d like to take it a step farther and archive your photos like a pro, you should consider investing in some software that will make metadata a breeze! For my own family archives, I rely on Photomechanic for adding metadata to photos. Here’s a helpful screenshot of the metadata fields within Photomechanic. With a few fast tutorials, you’ll be a whiz at adding metadata to your photos.

Tip for mobile device photos: The simplest way to use PhotoMechanic to manage the library of images you create with mobile devices is to utilize Google Photos’ cloud-based storage service. Google Photos will synchronize the photos from your phones and tablets via mobile apps you install on your Android or Apple devices, and then use a sync app you can download for your computer. By synchronizing mobile photos up to Google Photos, and then down to your computer, you will have the files locally and can add metadata using Photo Mechanic.

Unless you add metadata to your image files (whether they are from your iPhone or scanned from an original print), you don’t have permanent information attached to your photos. And that’s tragic for future generations who want to get to know their ancestors! So take steps now to add as much metadata to your family photos as you can. After all, future generations of loved ones will get to know you through the information you add now.

custom holiday ornaments

Love holiday traditions? Here’s a great one!

We all have them – those meaningful family traditions that we replicate each Christmas season. Maybe it’s watching the big game together, baking from family recipes, decorating the tree or driving through the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights.

When my children were younger, I used to dress them in matching holiday themed pajamas and pose them for a picture under the tree. But as they grew older, I started thinking about finding something more meaningful and lasting to do for them. Something that makes the holiday season special after they leave the house and begin starting their own traditions.

Since I work in the photo industry, I had access to all sorts of options for creative ideas, but one stood out as something that had the lasting power and sentimental value I was looking for – so I landed on personalized holiday ornaments.

These custom ornaments feature an image of our family or the kids, the year and their ages – making reminiscing fun as we decorate the tree. I order multiple copies of our annual family ornament each year – one for each child to keep and one day take with them – plus one that will stay on the family tree at our house.

Now, that my kids are a little older, they love to look for their special photo ornaments while we’re decorating the tree and I love knowing that this tradition will live on for years to come.

#holidaytraditions, #personlizemytree, #lovemyPRproject, #theprintrefinery