Author Archives: Nikolay Dimitrov

How to prepare photos to upload on Facebook

Do you upload your own photography samples on Facebook? If you do so, and you are not pleased with the quality, you should read this article.
Facebook applies a very strong compression on all photos you upload. A great looking photo on your desktop could be completely destroyed in therms of quality when you upload it on FB.

Optimize photos for Facebook

But here are the good news! If you prepare the photos carefully and with the right size, they could look on FB almost as good as in your Photoshop workspace.
There are three key specs for the photos you prepare for FB:
1. Size
2. Sharpening
3. Compression

 

Size

Lets start with the size. This is the most important spec of your photograph. Some time ago, FB used to resize large pics to a small common size. Now it’s different. FB stores the original uploaded photo and shows it non-altered in its picture viewer.. Well not completely non-altered, but with some stronger compression. So, the larger photo you upload, the better the quality? Not exactly, but close. I don’t know why, but computers usually show better pics with size to a multiple of 1024 pixels. So, if you make and upload on FB your photo 1024 pixels the longest side, it should look better like the same photo at 1000 or 1100 pixels. Strange, but true. But is 1024 pixels enough? I would say: no! With common large monitors, 2048 is a better choice. It renders even better and usually fits the screen very well.

 

Sharpening

Sharpening is the second important factor when you prepare photos for Facebook. If you make your photos 2048 pixels wide, I suggest that you over-sharpen a little bit. It will make the photo look better when resized to fit smaller monitors and this is the most common case with this size at the time I write this. A smart sharpen filter with Amount 180 and Radius 0.3 will be enough, but sharpening is a personal choice and depends on your taste and of course – of the type and the content of the photograph.

 

Compression

Using small compression amount is not a solution, while FB applies its own, I would say very strong, compression on all the photos you upload. If you use Photoshop, saving a JPEG with the Quality set to 9 will be quite enough.

 

How do I do it

I resize with a simple Photoshop action, you can record it and use it with a single click in the future.
Choose |File-> Automate-> Fit image| and input 2048 for Width and 1536 for Height. Click OK.
Notice: If you resize a smaller image, it will be interpolated to fit the above size and the quality will be lowered.
After I have the resized image, I do the sharpening. If needed, I do local sharpening to pop-up some areas of the image, while keeping the rest or the photo artifact-free. I usually use Smart Sharpening, but depending on the photo, I sometimes do a Low Pass sharpening, which is better for larger images, but is slower to apply and sometimes returns strange results.
After the sharpening, I save the image, using the File->Save For Web and Devices plug-in in Photoshop.

 

Some other little things to consider

Always upload your images with embedded sRGB color profile.
Always put your watermark somewhere on the image. It is not a good protection against image piracy, but sometimes helps, especially if you go in court.
Don’t be afraid of image piracy. It will always be out there, but it’s far more important that visitors of your FB page or profile see the real beauty of your photography work.
Have in mind that the bigger size, the better all these lens and editing flaws are seen. So, upload only perfect images.

Posted in Utilities Tagged , , , |

Free year 2014 calendar template

Well, as usual, I post here a free InDesign calendar template of the next 2014 year.

The main file in the ZIP package is an Adobe InDesign CS3 interchangeable file format – inx. The file could be opened with all InDesign version after CS2 – CS3, CS4, CS5, CS6. I included also the original InDesign CS4 file, as well as a PDF and a JPG preview image.

The template is fully customizable – months are created with tables and you can easily modify the look of the months. Using the paragraph styles, you can change fonts, colors, spaces and so on in couple of clicks.

The best part of the story: this template is free for personal and/or commercial use.

If you like it, please share this page on Facebook or Twitter, or add a link to this page on your blog or website. Thank you!
 

DOWNLOAD: Free 2014 calendar template (ZIP, 1.69Mb)

LICENSE: Free for personal and commercial use
FILE FORMATS: CS3 interchange (.inx), Adobe InDesign CS4 and PDF
WEEK STARTS: Monday

Preview:

2014 calendar teplate InDesign free

Click for larger preview!

Posted in Utilities Tagged , , , |

13 portraits in less than 10 minutes

I was invited and participated in a photography plain-air in Edirne, Turkey. I was there for four days with friends-photographers from Yambol, Bulgaria…

We were talking in the hotel corridor while I decided to make everyone of them a portait – a real portrait blitz-shoot. I used a door and the wall for a backdrop and available window light. All was done in less than 10 minutes. And here is the result.

The photos are arranged exactly in the order they were shot.

NEF files processed in Capture One PRO 7, using my own “ND_Portrait_lowsaturation” style preset.

Clicking an image will open a larger size in a new window.

Posted in Shooting Photos Tagged |

Shooting with Diana

This was a short shooting (approx. 2 hours including all preparations) with the beauty model Diana Stateva (Bulgaria).

The shooting was done in an old stone quarry. I used 2 strobes to achieve this type of lighting. Camera and lens by Nikon.

Flares were added intentionally while shooting, Photoshop used only for skin retouching. NEF files processed in Capture One Pro 7.2

Click a photo to open it at full size in a new window!

Beauty portrait of Diana

Beauty model shoot

Model portfolio shoot

Fashion editorial

Fashion editorial shooting on location

Fashion shoot with beauty model

Posted in Shooting Photos Tagged , , , , |

Capture One Pro 7 mini-review – does it worth to upgrade

Capture One Pro 7 by Phase One has been recently issued. I am testing the trial version for two days now and I found some very nice improvements.

In the beginning I want to declare that I won’t make here a complete review of Capture One Pro 7, nor have I tested it so deeply to be able to do a detailed review. I will just share my opinion on how good (or maybe bad :D ) is the new version.

So, let’s start!

 

Engine switch

The first thing to notice is that there is absolutely no difference with your old images, when you open them in the 7-th version. Confusing? Well, it is. You have to go to the Color tab of the editing tools, then take a look at the Base Characteristics tool. You’ll see a notice at the bottom, stating that you’re using the engine of Capture One 6. (This statement will appear for every image you have imported in C1-6.) Next to this you’ll see a button with “Upgrade” label as seen in the image below. When you hit it, you switch to the new engine of Capture One 7. Beware, you cannot go back from 7 to 6!

Capture One 6 to 7 upgrade button

If you have made some corrections on the selected image and especially Exposure, High Dynamic Range and Clarity, you’ll notice a big difference. If you have not made changes on any settings, you’ll not see any difference. Both engines produce almost the same output with settings at default. I say “almost”, because I saw some difference in noise suppression only. There may be others I haven’t noticed.

 

 Shadows and Highlights

One of the most important changes (for me) is how Shadows and Highlights sliders in the High Dynamic Range tool work. I see here a big improvement. The tool is working so precisely that you easily achieve an almost HDR effect directly from your RAW file. Here is an example with a portrait: The left frame is always the non-corrected version and then you can see the difference between the engines of 6th and 7th version of Capture One Pro with only Highlight correction and Highlights and Shadows correction.

click to enlarge

 

click to enlarge

 

click to enlarge

 

The big difference using the High Dynamic Range tools comes with high contrast scenes.

This cave is a good example on how good the new tool works in comparison with the 6th version.

Shadows and highlights correction in capture One Pro 7

As you can see, details from highlight and shadow areas are well recovered, but the image from v7 lacks this nasty flat HDR look from the version 6 image.

 

Clarity

Clarity is the other evaluated tool in Capture One Pro. There are now two modes of clarity: Neutral and Punch. None of them works the same as with version 6. Both produce better results IMHO.

EDIT (February 16, 2013): The current version has now 3 Clarity modes – Classic, Neutral and Punch. I like how Classic mode works, very nice addition!

Additionally, there is a new Structure slider with the Clarity tool. I don’t know how it works exactly, but I like it. It’s some kind of High Pass sharpening I guess and it is useful in some cases.

Let’s see what’s happening with a portrait when adding Clarity.

Clarity tool in Capture One Pro 7

click to enlarge

Not a big difference here. C1-7 produces stronger effect with the same settings. C1-6 used to produce nasty hallows with high settings (above 25). This seem to be corrected in the new version of Capture One Pro.

 

Local Adjustments

Finally! In local adjustments there is now a Gradient tool in addition of the Brush tool. You can now easily create the effect of a neutral density gradient filter with a few clicks – very useful in landscape photography.

 

Noise Reduction

The new noise reduction engine really does the job. Now C1 is a real successor of Lightroom and ACR. There is much less chromatic noise at default settings and the produced grain is pleasant and film-like.

Capture One Pro 7 noise reduction

 

Other changes

Using Capture One Pro 7 you will notice that sliders work differently – a little movement of a slider makes big impact on the image. For example, Contrast +5 is less in v6 than in v7.

 

Conclusion

The short answer of the question in the title is YES. The upgrade is definitely worth the money (only €69 in Europe excl. VAT). I will upgrade, for sure. You should too.

 

Disclaimer

I shoot with Nikon cameras and I made this “test” with RAW files from my D3x. With other brands and models this could be different.

 

Sample

Here is an image that reveals the power of Capture One Pro 7 with high contrast or under-exposed photos.

Image editing with Capture One Pro 7

 

Does it worth to upgrade

Absolutely YES!

Posted in Computers and Software Tagged , , |

Free 2013 calendar template

And here comes the new year 2013 free calendar template.

The file is an Adobe InDesign CS4 interchangeable file format – inx, compressed in a ZIP archive. The file could be opened in all InDesign version after CS2.

As with the previous year template, this template is fully customizable – months are created with tables and you can quickly and easily modify the look of the calendar. Using the paragraph styles, you can change fonts, colors, spaces and so on in seconds. And finally, the template is absolutely free for personal and commercial use. If you like it, please share it on Facebook or Twitter, or add a link to this page on your blog or website. Thank you!

DOWNLOAD: Free 2013 calendar template (ZIP, 172Kb)

LICENSE: Free for personal and commercial use
FILE FORMAT: Adobe InDesign CS4 interchange (.inx)
WEEK STARTS: Monday

Preview:

Free calendar template 2013 preview

click for larger size preview

Posted in Utilities Tagged , , , , |

Dimana – fashion shoot in town

Well, I know I am late with this post, many of you have already seen these pictures on my Facebook or Flickr accounts, but better late than never. I am now posting here some of the best photos from the in-town fashion shooting with the young model Dimana kafedzhieva. Camera was a Nikon D3x, lens was (generally) 70-200/2.8VRII, I’ve used also up to three SB strobes with or without different kind of lighting umbrellas.

Click the photos to view larger sizes!

fashion shooting for model book

fashion shoot in town

Fashion model shoot

editorial photography in town

Black and White fashion photography

Fashion editorial shooting

fashion girl posing behind an old arch

Beauty model posing in fashion robe

Fashion photography retouched

Black and White fashion photo

fashion photo model in front of old door

Posted in Shooting Photos

Black and White nature photos

Today I found somewhere deep in my computer some rather old photos I took back in 2007 in Sinite Kamani national park near Sliven city in Bulgaria.

I decided these photos will look nice in Black and White with increased contrast, so here they are.

The camera was a Canon 1Ds (1-st edition) which produces incredible detail and captures very wide range or tones, especially in the dark areas.

Click the photos to view larger sizes.

 

Posted in Shooting Photos

Free wallpapers 1920×1200 HD

Today I found in my computer an old (in fact not so old) folder with photo wallpaper backgrounds I’ve made when I’ve got my first Mac computer – a 17″ MacBookPro with screen resolution of 1920×1200. I’ve been using these wallpapers lately when I got a 21.5″ iMac, which was 1920×1080.

So, I decided to share these wallpapers with my site visitors. Many of today’s computers are using displays with screen resolution of 1920×1200, so I hope a lot of people will enjoy these pictures.

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH THESE WALLPAPERS

You can use these wallpapers on your home or company computer, personal use only.
You can freely distribute the wallpapers, while noting my name and website.
Back-links to this page are highly appreciated.

 

WHAT YOU CANNOT DO WITH THESE WALLPAPERS

You cannot use these pictures for any other purpose than desktop backgrounds.
You have not the right to change/modify the files in any way.
You cannot sell or rent these wallpapers.

 

HD wallpaper black and white sunset

Nature wallpaper 1920x1200 free

Free 1920x1200 wallpaper beach sand

Tree roots free HD wallpaper 1920x1200

BW landscape free wallpaper HD 1920x1200

Shiny water drops background wallpaper

Free 1920x1200 pine forest nature wallpaper

Old oak wood free wallpaper

Free black and white wallpaper

Free wallpaper of sunset with tree

Posted in Computers and Software Tagged , , , |

Some fashion and glamour portraits with Dimana

Well, these are some of the best photos from a 3-hours shooting with the young model Dimana Kafedzhieva. This is her first shooting, and she did quite well, considering her 15 years and lack of experience in front of the camera.

She did her hair and make-up, I did the lighting, took and retouched the photos. Enjoy!

Glamour headshot

Portrait photography

Classic portrait photo

Fashion photography

Studio fashgion photo

Glamour photography

Fashion shoot with young model

Studio fashion shooting

Editorial photo with young girl in bikini

High key monotone portrait

Posted in Shooting Photos Tagged , , , , |