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Kevin Post
06-13-2003, 6:27 PM
I just posted my first-ever photos from my shop. Mrs. Post and I took the plunge and purchased a new digital camera (Canon G3) and a photo printer (HP Photosmart 7550) last weekend.

For you digital photo guru's out there...

What do you find is the best method for storing your digital photos? The camera and printer came with software to create albums and print but it all seems a little bit over the top. What I'd like to find is software that will index the photos without sticking them into some proprietary album file that is only accessible with their software.

I've done professional photographry in a past life. I've never been convinced that the quality of the digital cameras and photo printers within my budget were worth having. I've always thought film was the best way to go. I must say that I'm very impressed with the purchase we made so far.

One thing I've wondered about already is how to balance the color between the camera, monitor and printer so the colors are accurate. Does anyone have a good and effective utility to accomplish this?

-Kevin

Mark Hulette
06-14-2003, 7:08 AM
Kevin-

I don't have a digicam yet but just for convenience/filmlessness will in the near future. But I do enjoy nature/kid photography and having a ton of 35mm slides bought a Nikon film scanner. I also didn't want to be tied to an album program so here's my basic workflow:

1. Scan/upload image (of course)
2. Process through an image editor (PhotoShop, etc)
3. Save final image as a TIFF and JPEG to CD-R
4. Delete image from hard drive


Regarding color management here's a pretty good article and website: Color Management Article (http://www.creativepro.com/story/feature/19500.html)

Or just do a search on Google for color management info


Good Luck! This digital stuff is a whole new 'slippery slope' (almost like turning :D )

Glenn Clabo
06-14-2003, 9:47 AM
Kevin,
First off...great choice of cameras. I'm a Canon guy who is just shifting over to digital after a lifetime of film photography. I own a Canon D60 because I've acumulated a ton of Pro L lenses that are worth about as much as the woodworking tools I have. I will warn you...it's a slippery slope and it is a whole new world. I've taught photography before and the darkroom came second nature because I learned at a very early age. Even though I consider myself computer literate...this digital stuff is a lot to learn if you really want to get into it. The good thing is you don't have to get into it to shoot well. A photographers eye and skill doesn't care about equipment.

First ... I don't have any connection whatsoever with this company...or websites but...
The majority of the digicam people I know, both pro and amateur, use a program called Imatch to store files. It's fairly cheap and pretty powerful. The site is hereImatch (http://www.photools.com/) . It has a 30 day eval...and ends up costing 50 bucks if you buy it.

Here's a pretty good site for info Shortcourses (http://www.shortcourses.com/) .

Moniter calibration can become complicated...and of course, just like anything where equipment is involved, opinions are plenty. Mark gave you a good site...but here's a good first shot site
ZoneZero (http://www.zonezero.com/calibration/english.html )

Then of course you do know that when you get really into it, you will have to get the standard software program for all "real" digital photographers... PhotoShop.

Good luck and happy shooting...you're going to love it.

Kevin Post
06-14-2003, 11:42 AM
Excellent info!

I already have Photoshop and, believe it or not, I know how to use it. The camera came with Photoshop LE as well.

I've already noticed some major differences between the color as seen on the monitor and the color of printed photos. My monitor came with a utility called Natural Color but it doesn't seem to work well. I had another, better utility that came with a monitor that bit the dust a while back. There was actually a scale (something like the color aid gray cards) that you stuck to the screen to make adjustments. I need to see if I can dig it up.

The Natural Color utility doesn't seem to zero the gamma settings of the monitor before you start calibrating so each time you adjust the monitor, you wonder if you're making it better or worse.

Jim Becker
06-14-2003, 12:09 PM
Originally posted by Kevin Post
I've already noticed some major differences between the color as seen on the monitor and the color of printed photos. My monitor came with a utility called Natural Color but it doesn't seem to work well. I had another, better utility that came with a monitor that bit the dust a while back. There was actually a scale (something like the color aid gray cards) that you stuck to the screen to make adjustments. I need to see if I can dig it up.


Kevin, you've identified one of the biggest challenges for digital photography...color matching via the computer screen. It's no big deal for web work, but if you're going to print to paper, it's a bit more critical. If you can find the scale you have, it will help. I found that I have to experiment a bit to get things right...and then remember not to touch the monitor settings!

Be aware that the prints you create at home will not generally last as long as traditional prints. If you have something important, get them printed by a photo house. Epson has some new printers which improve on this; I don't know if the HP has the improved ink or not.

For storage, the same problem exists. CD-R and other similar devices are still time-limited in how long the image will last. Contrary to what you would think, the recordings are NOT permanent. Again, important images should probably be printed by a photo-house and normal preservation methods used.

Finally, yes, the latest crop of "pro-sumer" digital cameras are wonderful and reasonably priced. While my heart is set on a Nikon D-100 so I can re-use my SLR lenses, I'll probably opt to just upgrade from my Coolpix 880 to the Coolpix 5700. I really need the "through the lens" viewfinder, particularly for outdoor work and with the rebate and what I can sell my present camera for, the investment is probably worth it...it will be a long time before I can justify $2K for the camera I really want!

Kevin Post
06-14-2003, 3:07 PM
What about indexing? I have files full of negatives from portraits and weddings I shot back in the early 80's. I had a box of index cards ordered by last name that listed their location. The negatives themselves are ordered chronologically. So with a last name and a date, I can find pretty much anything.

Have you all come across anything that does this well? I know I could write something but why spend the time re-creating the wheel?

-Kevin

Glenn Clabo
06-14-2003, 3:27 PM
Typical photographer! Keeping them just in case someone comes back to see what they look like 20 years ago? ;) I know...I know...it's too hard to throw away your hard work. Boxes of negatives everywhere here.

If you scan them...same program. If not I'd suggest a simple database program. Lot's of em out there. I haven't done it...been working on our book collection which has gotten way too big to just try to remember. I did some searching and came across a bunch of databases that may work.

Perry Schmidt
06-14-2003, 5:11 PM
This may be too simple - probably b/c I'm not a pro or amature photographer :), But I'll state my suggestions:

1) Storing them. Actually I just use XP's picture directory. W/ the photo features they have (filmstrip, etc.) they are actually pretty handy. Index however you want. I just use Date, create a directory every quarter. Then if a big project/event happened during that time I'll just put all the pics in a subdirectory. Simple works well. I think I've used Roxio SW in the past to make a very easy to read/navigate CD of the pictures from the directory then. It kept the same basic directory structure, but put web page interface to all the pics. There's lots of programs that do this that are free- don't recommend or not recommend Roxio's program. It did the job, simple, but nothing special.

2) As far as color matching goes, a friend of mine who is a good amature photographer uses the color (???) sheets? They are the sheets w/ the correct colors on them, about 8 I think. The idea being you take a picture of this then whatever that picture is printed or viewed on you can correct it so all the colors match. I have no idea what they're called. But w/ this he can use photoshop to get his screen to color match correctly, then he prints a test sheet of the color sheet, can color shift/correct the photo using photoshop to correct any differences w/ the camera and/or printer to get color correct prints. I have NO idea how he does it or the correct terminology, but if you are interested send me an email/pm and I can get you in contact w/ him on exactly what he does.

Hope that helps.

Perry

Mark Hulette
06-14-2003, 9:03 PM
Glen-

Nice shot! And I totally agree about not throwing anything away... my wife is still asking when I'm going to get rid of the negatives of weddings I did 10+ yrs ago!

Jim-

I too shoot Nikon and have been drooling over a D100... maybe they'll come down to a decent price point soon.

Jim Becker
06-14-2003, 9:18 PM
Originally posted by Mark Hulette
I too shoot Nikon and have been drooling over a D100... maybe they'll come down to a decent price point soon.

Acutally, the D-100 (and it's cousin the Fuji S2) are at a decent price point, considering what they offer, but it's a lot more than I can justify for what I use a camera for. The 5700 will have to be my next step...probably the end of this month so I can take advantage of the $100 rebate. It also uses the same batteries and memory as my 880, so that means less to buy from the standpoint of accessories.

Mark Hulette
06-14-2003, 11:39 PM
Jim-

I guess I should clarify... "decent price point" for me now is a whole lot lower than it used to be (pre-children) so I guess I'll have to 'settle' for a point & shoot type digicam until they really start to come down but then I'll want something with more features with the latest gizmos and I'm right back where I started.

Oh well, it's nice to dream.