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the aps blog

from the east coast hip

The Atlantic Photo blog is a gathering spot for our favourite customers, photographers, gear hounds, and suppliers.

Here's where we'll share enthusiasm, insider tips, and creative inspiration for everyone from the beginner to the seasoned pro - and we hope you'll share the same with us. Enjoy!

Many thanks to Marc MacArthur of Heckbert Studio & Gallery (Charlottetown PEI), Liam Hennessey of Applehead Studio Photography (Halifax NS), and Chris Lovegrove (Northern NB) for our banner images. We've got a diverse professional community in the Maritimes, and we're proud to be a part of it.

the APS photographer's circle

Q  |  "As a wedding photographer, what does creativity mean to you?"

A  |  "You know that ‘think outside the box’ saying? We like to get outside the box and then run as far away from anyone that seems to be gathered around outside it. We don't do the Public Gardens. Converse chucks are suitable wedding shoes for a bride, groom or photographer. Tattoos are awesome and love does not always need to look at the camera and smile."

~ Liam Hennessy, Applehead Studio, Halifax, NS

on the bookshelf

Portrait Photography by Mark Cleghorn

From choosing the right equipment to artful composition and making your subject comfortable, this book lays out the essentials of capturing moving and unique portraits.

The Photographer's Guide to Portraits by John Freeman

This inspiring, practical guide explores everything from composition and light to digital tweaks. Learn how to set subjects at ease, and how to photograph with all kinds of light, lenses, and tools.

Mastering Black and White Digital Photography by Michael Freeman

With this essential guide, discover how to create a stunning monotone image, and experiment with colors as gray tones, manipulating tonality for dramatic effect, and high contrast, infrared, and pseudo non-silver looks.

Mastering Digital Flash Photography by Chris George

Learn how to decrease contrast and shadows in outdoor portraits, control the light using bounce techniques, and employ high-speed and rear curtain synchronization to create impressive motion-blur images.

The Digital Photography Book by Scott Kelby

"This book is all about you and I out shooting where I share the secrets I’ve learned, just like I would with a friend—without all the technical explanations and techie photo speak." ~ Scott Kelby

Digital Photography by Steve Luck

Explore the digital explosion, the difference between film and digital, and how to choose a camera wisely. Get a grasp on ISO, megapixels, post-processing, slideshows, printing, and compositional theory.

Black & White Digital Photography by Les Meehan

From basic concepts to advanced techniques, learn how to create great monochrome prints via camera calibration, white balance, and scanning equipment to emulating traditional darkroom techniques.

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Monday
Nov242014

The Magic Of The Photo Lab

 Everyday, people upload their digital images or bring film to our lab and few understand what it takes to produce a quality print product. The process is not so much magic, but the practice of due diligence.Photo by Buffie Boily Phoographic Arts. The first thing I would like to point out is that as some of our equipment is state of the art, the procedures or fundamentals behind maintaining proper workflow or best procedures go back to 19th century photographic theory and the study of sensitometry. So just like the concepts in capturing the the perfect moment and having the best exposure with your camera, film or digital, the same backbone in theory resides in the modern photo lab. I would like to tell you about the basic steps and procedures that make your prints look as good as they can be; a story of magic of printing in a modern digital lab.
                                               OUR "WET LAB"
 The term "wet lab" is a recent label for a photo lab that uses traditional silver halide process that involves chemistry that has a developer and a bleach and a fixer as well as a wash system. The paper is light sensitive and must be exposed in absolute darkness. We have 4 processors that we have to maintain on a daily basis. One of them is a film processor that develops colour negative film. The other 3 are printers that expose and develop RA4 colour paper. Two of the machines are lasers and one - the Chromira - exposes with LED technology.
   The first step to the quality control process is to balance the chemistry itself. I like to compare the chemical process to that of a human body, and specifically to that of a person with diabetes. The developer is an alkaline and is the key to optimizing the exposure made by the printer. It is kept in balance by being replenished by fresh developer (food) from separate replenisher tanks. When the paper or film goes into the developer, an oxidation process begins.  Similar to how water and air make a nail rust, the developer reacts with the silver creating the beginning of the latent image. A developer that is too weak will result in flat, muddy images and too strong will result in darker contrast ones. We use a tool called a control strip that process before the start of everyday. It is read by a densitometer that shines a light through the strip and reads the red green and blue layers. The industry is standardized thanks to Ansel Adams and the Zone System. We have a standard process control strip to compare to and the difference between the two is plotted and graphed to allow our technicians to take action where and when required. If the developer is too active then the machine requires starter, like insulin to a diabetic, to bring the process in control. In a nutshell, it's the balance of acid and bases, and if you're a good wine maker you would catch on fast.
 The next step is to balance the printer to the chemistry status. That involves yet again a standard print with grey patches (again the zone system) that are read on the densitometer. In the case of our chromira 20 zones or shades from complete black to pure white including 18% grey are read and graphed. The process can take a hour or more to meet the target before a single print is made. 
 Once we have a perfectly balanced machine, we when then can create custom profiles for every paper we use. This involves a similar process to balancing, except we use different software and read 1800 patches to define the profile, allowing you to have the widest colour space and best print quality from your images. Photo By Buffie Boiley Photographic ArtsImportant point - if we are not balanced to true Black and White then your colour or B&W photos won't look as good as they should.
 
       The "Dry Lab" 
 
The dry lab is another term coined by the industry that is basically any process not wet. Our Dry lab consists of Epson 11880's and Rioch printers that are Giclee or Ink jet. Since no chemistry is involved the procedures are strictly on product specific custom profiles. Our Dry Lab in many ways sets standards for our quality control. Although it is a collaborative effort, Geraldine has a true touch when it comes to tweaking the profiles for canvas, watercolour and any other print product we wish to use. This, in a nutshell, is what we believe separates us from the rest. We adhere to procedures and set our own standards. Box stores and many Pro labs don't drill this deep as it takes experience and resolve to stick to what can be a time consuming, but ultimately rewarding process. Would you want us to trade off quality for speed?  

Thursday
Nov132014

Creative Photo Printing Ideas

  In today's world of thousands of digital files on our hard drives and phones, it would appear to be a nightmare to decide what to do with them. If you are not an organized person to begin with, then you just might throw in the towel. But what if instead of starting from the pile looking for images, you start with a concept of how you want to display them. Plain old photo printing is the simple option until you decide what you want to do with the prints. Creating your own Collage takes many images and puts them into a single theme. Framing your prints is always the first option. For choice of frames, you need to take into account the decor they will be displayed in. Treat every image like a piece of art. Realistically, we are talking small numbers here, not the thousand images you have squirreled away. Frames come in hundreds of styles, but I like to divide them into traditional and postmodern. Today's modern decor varies widely, but in many ways follow those lines. Retro is a trend, therefore more rustic frames are a fit, whereas that ultra-modern interior design may need a little more thought. Your home is not the only place that you can personalize; your workplace is also a great option for displaying precious moments in time for all to see.  It's important to know that almost all our print products are Mobile and instagram friendy, so get those images off your phone and onto a keepsake.
 
  There are more things that you can do with a picture then traditional prints. Canvas printing is an easy no frame approach, and for the higher end look there are Canvas Floater frames. 100 years archival Canvas Prints are produced at Atlantic Photo Supply along with a selection of floater frames. 
 We also have new Framed Canvas print product mounted on smooth mount with 3 frame styles that will fill any space on your walls, creating the ambiance of the lifestyle art decor. This product is cured and sprayed with two protective coats. Your image will "POP" off the print. The Frames are made here in Atlantic Canada and have truly professional look. Again, when it comes to presenting images, it is important to portray your moments in time in some fashion other than a slide show on a computer monitor. 
 Prints and Canvas are but a few things we can help you with. How about Metal Prints, Calendars, Mugs, Hardboard Panels, Puzzles, Clocks,T Shirts,Can Koozies,or a Cuff Bracelet for starters? 
                  Large Cuff Bracelet.

 

Wednesday
Oct222014

Metal Prints

My foothold is tenoned and mortised in granite,

I laugh at what you call dissolution,

And I know the amplitude of time.

- Walt Whitman 

 

Years ago, we'd take photos for a reason; you had family coming over, you were going on a trip, there was a wedding. You had one or two special shots out of a roll of twenty four that you'd put in a frame or give away or put on the fridge. Those photos created the backdrop to our childhoods. They were the physical representation of a memory or a place you cared enough about to commit to film. Then, the options for preserving that memory were few. My family used to go camping at Bon Echo in Ontario every year, and the cliff there is called Mazinaw Rock. One of the constants in my childhood was that rock. It would be there every year, and so would we. I'm sure we took many pictures of the rock over the years, but I don't remember keeping many of them, or they were squirreled away in one of my mom's albums. Recently, I found myself looking through one of those albums, and I came across a picture of Mazinaw Rock. The rush of memories came back to me, and although the picture itself isn't extraordinary, what it represents truly is.

 

  

Today, we find ourselves with more ways to share our photos than just a regular 4 x 6 tucked away in an album or enlargement on the wall. One such option is a metal print, which is affordable and something that doesn't need to be framed. Like a canvas, it creates a statement. It is also durable and the available sizes are perfect for a scanned photo.  These metal prints make great gifts, and they travel well.  It is very easy to set up on the photogifts section of the site, and they ship across the country.

 

11 x 14 Horizontal

Seeing your old memories in a different format will breath new life into them and remind you why you spent the film to take that shot, or why that shot was the only one out of a roll of twenty four to actually turn out.

Monday
Oct202014

Personalized Photo Calendars

     In today's wired world where our schedules and time space are all delivered by electronic media we often forget about the traditional wall Calendar. For generations it has filled a special place on our walls. When I was a kid, our outhouse always had an up to date calendar from our local general store hanging front and center; Calendars were the center of family planning. Most of all, it was the photographs that made certain months special. My Grandfather always had his favourite in the garage, while Grandmother had our lives marked down to the hour on her Red Rose Calendar. 

I had a Export "A" Toronto Maple Leafs calendar on my bedroom wall. I still have a copy today (memories of glory days past). My point is that the calendar in print has always been a piece of our surroundings, a statement of the world at the moment in time we live in.
 So if you have an opportunity to add a little ambiance to your home as well as put some memories that could eventually become precious keepsakes on your wall, do it in the form of a quality personalized photo calendar. It also is a tremendous gesture to those we care about. Your family and friends - maybe co-workers. It is such a unique way for us to share a true moment in time on 14 different photo pages. 

  
                     Before You Get Started.

 Step 1. Think about a cover photo as well as images for the 12 months of the year, and a back cover as well. You can do it by seasons or by a theme. Perhaps a special event, weddings, anniversaries or your children in 2014, or just a year of wonderful memories that are stored on your computer. Step 2. Once you have organized that, all you have to do is go to the Photo Calendar section of our website and choose the calendar that will fit your style. There are also single image Photo Poster Calendars as well.  Step 3. Upload those photos and organize them by month online. *Hint. It easier to organize and name them by month beforehand. You can also put notes on dates that are memorable such as September 25, which is my birthday. Once finished, click next and go to the shopping cart then check out.

Our Photo Calendars are printed on premium quality McCoy cover stock and shipping is $8.50 coast to coast. Don't wait until the last minute - sign in to Atlantic Photo Supply so all your work will be saved while you work on your project. This also means you won't have to fill in all your credentials each time you check out. We also have a newsletter you can sign up to that will give you all the latest deals and information on our products.  Thank you.



Monday
Oct062014

Lifestyle Wall Art Canvas

The  digital era has greatly influenced the decor of today's home. The average person now has the ability to surround there living and work space with quality Gallery Wrapped canvas. Portraying your important photographs adds to the character of your space. Thick archival gallery wrapped canvas can be ordered from APS with many sizes and styles to choose from.                                                                                                                              Bare walls can pose a challenge for anyone, but one option is to dress them with personalized wall art with the help of our online photo printing. This personalized wall art comes in the form of custom canvas photo prints. Atlantic Photo Supply makes it easy for both amateurs and professionals to create these prints in different sizes, configurations and looks.

These easy to create and personalized prints on canvas are also affordable, with the smallest size starting at $40. What is more, Atlantic Photo works with you to bring a completely different dimension to your images, whether they are fading old family photos with heirloom status, or a picture you took on the fly with your cell phone. The online photo printing works with Facebook and iPhone images as well, so small low-resolution images stand a chance too. The canvas comes in ether 2 inch thick stretchers,or a slimmer 3/4 inch. We can print almost any size up to 54x100 inches.
 One decor tip would be that if you are trying to figure out how big a print you need, it's best to measure the space you want to decorate. If you have a piece of furniture such as a coach, you measure the coach and the best fit is 2/3 the width of the coach. So a 60 inch
would allow you a 40 inches to fill with your life story wall art canvas. keep in mind that you can do a multi image cluster design that can tell a story, or you can divide one image into 3 or 4 separate panels. Like the sample image above. You can have the image wrap around or if there isn't room without cropping something critical out we can add a coloured border!

 The great thing about our canvas is it's archival rating is 100 years. We use 100% Canvas with two coats of protective spray. The wood stretchers are 100% Canadian made, cut and milled in New Bruinswick. Just a note as well that we don't recommend wire for hanging, just a nail or screw for the inside of the stretcher to hang on. make sure you use drywall plugs for those heavier pieces.
 We can also Frame your canvas as well, so for that and any other question feel free to contact us