The stories behind the images

The stories behind the images
chairs, rome

Saturday, December 24, 2011

buon natale

Buon Natale! May the joys of the Season lead the way to a bright and prosperous New Year. We hope to see you in Italy in 2012.

Best wishes from Lisa and Dianne at Capture Italy

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

a venice favourite

"We can replace the variety of colour by black and white, or in any case not struggle against nature to make light... we must manage to put the sun behind the canvas, the picture must have the power to generate light." Henri Matisse, 1949.

This low-light image is one of my favourite's from our recent tour in Venice. Photography is emotional - we all respond to images based on our own emotional lives. Our favourite images may certainly not appeal to our family, friends, colleagues, fellow photographers. When you show your images to people after your trip, be prepared for this and never be disheartened if others dismiss your favourite images with a "oh, but it's blurry"... How we see and respond to photography will always be based on who we are, and we are unique individuals.

Equipment and settings used:
Camera - Canon EOS 5D
Settings - f/3.2, 1/25s, ISO 400, auto white balance, neutral picture style, shot in RAW
Lens - Canon EF 24-70mm L USM
Focal length: 64mm

Happy Shooting, from Dianne and Lisa at Capture Italy.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

how-to guide to digital photography books, by guest blogger debbie scales

Debbie Scales has been a consultant with Creative Memories for twelve years and is based in Queensland, Australia. We met Debbie at a photography convention in 2010 and have stayed in touch.

Debbie is an avid traveller and photographer and jumped at the chance to put together her Top 5 Tips for creating digital photo books. Be sure to check Debbie's special offer for our Australian readers at the bottom of the article.

Over to you Debbie...

Someone once said “A good snapshot stops a moment from running away”. We take so many photos, especially now that the digital era is well and truly upon us! In fact we often take 3 times as many as we really want... or need. But with all these photos being taken, what does everyone do with their snapshots? They are on the computer... I share them on facebook... I still have them on the memory card!

So, my question to you is... If those moments were so special and memorable that you just had to capture them forever, why just leave them on the computer as purely a digital image? Why not do something with them so that we can easily share them with others and enjoy them for ourselves.

I know that when I purchased my first digital camera I struggled with the number of images that were quickly amassing on my computer. I also struggled with the thought that someone would only see those images on a screen or via email. Yes, photos do look good on a computer screen... but they look SO much better when they are printed in photo books.
If you are an avid photographer you will have thousands of images by now. do you get started? It is easy to say that you just do it... but here are my TOP 5 tips for creating digital photo books.

1. Select Photos for your book.

Whether it be a once in a lifetime trip to an international destination, or a week long beach holiday, a trip book is a great way to relive your experiences. Taking the time to put a book of photos together will ensure that your trip remains a favourite memory for many years to come.

Depending on the length of the trip and the number of places visited and events enjoyed, your book could be anywhere from the minimum 20 pages up to the full 80. For this book you will need to write down a list of places and events in the order that they occurred, and next to it indicate how many photos you would like to include, and therefore how many pages you will allocate to that event. You many need to consider full page images here too, as some of your photos will want the WOW factor. As a general guide, you could fit as few as 80 or as many as 400+ images in a full 80 page 12 x 12 sized book.

The little bit of time choosing your photos here will speed your book completion along.

2. Choose a Style for your project.

Now you have your list of projects, and some organisation around which photos to include in them, the next step is choosing your style. How do you want your book to feel? How do you want others to feel when they are looking through your book? Different styles of photobooks will need a different feeling, and you get to choose what that is.

• Classic and sophisticated styles are great for weddings and coffee table style travel books, or any book that you want to keep simply stunning. The images, often only one or maybe two per page, tell the story, and the backgrounds are mostly black and white. Add in a few special quotes or softened edges of images, to add some additional interest if needed. This is extremely quick and very effective in style.

• Fun and relaxed styles are good for annual family books and events like birthdays, new babies and fun holidays. Change the design and colours of pages throughout your book to compliment the photos. Think in double pages, as that is what is visible when someone opens your book to flick through it. Add text to tell the story, and fun titles to show the different sections of your book. Enhance with digital embellishments to add character and individuality.

In all good digital photo book programs, such as Creative Memories Storybook Creative Plus, there are many predesigned pages to choose from with all of these elements already included, or you can create your own with digital artwork.

3. Consider the size and number of pages.

Whilst the number of pages in your book can be worked out as you go along, it is certainly beneficial to consider the minimum of 20 and maximum of 80 pages. When planning a book with over 400 photos, you might need to consider splitting your project into two books, so that you are not limited on the photos you would like to include. This is where the little bit of time spent planning your project will enable you to create your book more effectively.
With most photo book programs the size of your book needs to be chosen at the start, as once begun, cannot be easily altered and you may find yourself beginning again.

The three sizes of Creative Memories books lend themselves towards different projects:

• 8x8 inches: This is a perfect small event, snapshot or gift book. Think birthday, mother of the bride and groom, pets and Christmas gifts.

• 11.5x8 inches landscape: Good for medium sized projects such as school journey, small holiday, family history.

• 12x12 inches: This is the most versatile of all the sizes. Perfect for travel as it can hold so many images, or wedding where you want lots of full sized page images. Good for the annual family album as you will end up with more photos and events than you thought you possibly could!

4. How much time do you have?

Is your project something ongoing or does it have a deadline? Did you want that wedding album done by your anniversary? Or that book printed in time as a gift for Christmas or your child’s 18th birthday? Your time available and deadline may affect the style that you choose.

• No deadline: Well, it is always good to give yourself a deadline otherwise you may never do it! But with that in mind, you can create as you choose. Be decorative or classic. Use pre-designed pages or create from scratch. The choice is yours!

• Short deadline: Go for classic style or predesigned pages. Keep it simple! It will look great. Use an auto-populate feature: If you have all your photos chosen and in order, and you want to use the same theme of predesigned pages throughout, in Storybook Creator Plus you can use the auto-populate option. The software can intelligently work out the number of photos per page and position them accordingly. All you need to do is tweak the pages to suit, once the software has done the work.

5. Ask for help if you need it!

One of the benefits of choosing Creative Memories for all your photobook needs is that you have a consultant ready to help when needed. Whether you need project ideas, organisation help, software tutorials or special effects lessons, just pick up the phone or send an email and I can be available to assist. Your query can be answered quickly, enabling you to continue with the fun and creative side of creating fabulous storybooks
Where do you go from here?

You can visit my website to further explore the options available to you, and register to receive a monthly newsletter. I have available hands-on workshops in the Gold Coast/ Brisbane area to assist you as you get started, and ongoing events to guide your completion as needed.

As a special offer to Capture Italy clients, contact me prior to book completion to receive 15% off the printing costs of your Storybook.

Remember, photos connect us through time and the generations. A Coffee Table book of your favourite photos, especially ones you have taken, will be a cherished book on display in your home for a lifetime.

Debbie Scales

Thanks Debbie.

Debbie can be contacted through her website

Happy Shooting, from Lisa and Dianne at Capture Italy

Sunday, December 18, 2011

camera maintenance - top tips from guest blogger anderson camera repairs

Mark Meier, Manager at Anderson Camera Repairs, Brisbane, gives us his top tips for camera maintenance:

1. When not in use, keep zooms retracted.
Not like this:

Like this:
2. Don’t put lens caps, rear caps, and body caps in pockets as the lint will stick to the cap then transfer to the lens or camera

3. Keep memory cards in protective cases not in bottom of camera case or pockets. Dust or grit can cause damage to card and also damage to pin assembly in camera.

4. Keep camera cases and lens pouches dust free vacuum on regular basis

5. Keep lens contacts (below, silver dots on lens) and body contacts clean with a soft cloth. You will know if they needcleaning when F— or F ee is displayed on the LCD it means there is bad connection between body and lens. When cleaning the body contacts care must be taken not to touch the mirror or focus screen. In some cases the contacts will need to be replaced by a service center.

6. Keep the cameras firmware up to date. Firmware is the operating instructions that your camera follows to work correctly. Sometimes the manufacturer will update the firmware for the camera to improve its operation. You can download this from their web site, but you must follow the download instructions or damage can be caused to the main circuit eprom.

7. Keep the flash hot shoe terminals and the steel slide rail where the flash mounts to clean. Use a pencil eraser which is mildly abrasive to polish the silver contacts. Also the terminals on the flash will need cleaning occasionally.

8. If cleaning the CCD yourself always make sure you have a fully charged battery or are using the AC adapter. Use the facility in the menu of the camera that will allow sensor cleaning, don’t use the Bulb mode. Follow the cleaning products instructions or you will risk damage to the low pass filter which protects the CCD unit. To replace a damaged filter is expensive. Preferably bring the camera to a service center for professional cleaning.

Mark and the team at Anderson's can be contacted on, or on +61 7 3245 6444.

Happy Shooting, from Lisa and Dianne at Capture Italy

the importance of focus

Capture Italy are big fans of American photographer Stephen Shore's "The Nature of Photographs". In his book Stephen talks about the importance of focus. What you choose as your point of focus will in turn focus your viewer's eye, which in turn focuses their attention, which in turn focuses their mind. In Dianne's image, the focus is on a rather pensive-looking (or perhaps reflective?) nun - what is she thinking? Let your eye, attention and mind focus and see where they lead you.

Equipment and settings used:
Camera - Canon EOS 7D
Settings - f2.8, 1/200s, ISO 100, white balance 5600K, neutral picture style, shot in jpeg
Lens - Canon EF-S 17-55mm
Focal length: 38mm

Happy Shooting from Lisa and Dianne at Capture Italy