Theming A Room – Ways to Create a Cohesive One

Theming A Room - Ways to Create a Cohesive One

Putting together a colour palette and style! Here are different and creative ways to theming a room.

Theming a room with the help of interior design; you either love it or you hate it. Some people get excited about a blank room with limitless possibilities, and others feel overwhelmed by the choices at hand. We’re here to help!

Find Your Personal Style

If you have no idea where to start, take our style quiz to get an idea of what type of interior decor style would suit you best. Whether it’s country chic or minimalist, this will help you with your inspiration search!

Gather Inspiration

Use websites like Pinterest and Houzz to find images and decor styles that inspire you, and pin/save them to create a moodboard for your room. Use your style from our quiz to help find things that are really relevant to you, and remember to consider who else will be using the room too!

Theming a room: Pixelpaint for theming your room

Theming  a room: Pixelpaint to create a room theme

Pick Out a Colour Palette

Using your moodboard images, have a look and see what colours and patterns come up regularly in what you’ve chosen. You can use a tool like the ColourPickEyedropper Chrome extension, and AdobeColor to find complimentary colour schemes.

Walls & Floors

The walls and floor of your room are essentially your backdrop, and there are a few options of how you can use them in your room theme:

  • Add a burst of colour to a neutral colour palette/theme with a block colour feature wall
  • Introduce pattern or texture with a (sparingly used) wallpaper
  • Make your furniture and decor pieces take centre stage by using neutral painted walls
  • Create an edgy, modernist feel with bare concrete floor
  • Add a natural, rustic warmth with wood floor
  • Bring in texture, pattern or colour with large floor rugs
Theming a room: Walls and floor of your room are essentially your backdrop

Theming a room: Wall and floor as a backdrop from MyDomaine

The Big Stuff

So then there’s the furniture. With interior design, we think comfort tops style. Consider how the room will be used; if it’s a living room that is the heart of your home, you want it to be comfortable enough to spend a lot of time there, so choose items that are durable and that you truly love!

That being said, with things like sofas and chairs you’ll want to take into account the colour scheme and also patterns. Too many patterns in a room can make it feel busy,rather than relaxing and pleasing to the eye, so keep it to a minimum and keep it consistent.

Try and keep materials and finishes on dining tables, sideboards and bookcases consistent too. It’s best to keep these things neutral unless you want one of them to be a feature item, in which case go crazy!

Theming a room: Choose items that are durable and that you truly love!

Theming a room: Comfortable room colour scheme and pattern example  from ThePrettyBlog

Soft Touches

Rugs, cushions and blankets are a great way to enhance the theme of your room. Mix them with neutrals and add colour, patterns and textures that go with your style!

Big throws and carefully arranged blankets are really on trend at the moment, as it adds a feeling of cosiness and comfort to bedrooms and living rooms.

Theming a room: Rugs, cushions and blankets are a great way to enhance the theme of your room.

Theming a room: Enhancing the theme of your room ideas from ByKoket.

Feature Pieces

It’s important to have one or two feature pieces in a room; something that makes those who walk in go ‘wow!’. Feature walls or furniture items can play a part in this, but here are some other ideas:

  • A large, leafy plant in the corner
  • A musical instrument or hobby item as a conversation starter
  • A *beautiful, big canvas* above the fireplace
  • A souvenir from an exotic destination
  • A family heirloom
  • A large, Parisian style clock
  • A *gallery wall*
  • A sculpture or vase
  • An intricate fabric wall hanging
Theming a room: Example of feature pieces in a room

Theming a room: Example of feature pieces in a room from AtHomeInLove

Ready to add a feature piece to your themed room?

Edit Pictures Like A Pro

Edit Pictures Like A Pro

Edit pictures like a pro with these simple techniques. Here's how to turn your images into wall­-worthy art!

So you’ve been through the process of searching through and selecting your own photos to print, and now you’re looking at those images thinking they’re just not quite right...

If you’re not totally in love with the way your photo looks, don’t rush into printing it. A canvas isn’t just for Christmas ­ it should be a part of your home for years to come, so you want to get it right first time!

Here are some of our top tips to edit pictures and enhance your images so that you fall head-­over-heels in love with them:

(Psst...you don’t have to own Photoshop to make your pics look snazzy ­ try a free online editing tool like Pixlr that has all the features you’ll need and more! We’ll be using it for the tutorials below...)

Edit pictures with Exposure, brightness and contrast

Edit pictures: Before and after using exposure, brightness and contrast adjustment

Exposure, Brightness & Contrast

Is your photo a little too dark, or just...a bit dull? Tweaking the exposure (using ‘Curves’)as well as the Brightness and Contrast can help give your image a boost!

Edit pictures through adjustment using curves

Edit pictures: Tweaking the exposure using ‘Curves’

Simply open up your photo and go to Adjustments > Curves (in the top menu bar), and move the points at the bottom and middle of the curve slightly upwards, and the top point slightly to the left, until you’re happy that it’s lightened the image, without ‘whiting out’ parts of the photo too much. If at this point it looks a little washed out, don’t worry,the next step will sort that out...

Edit pictures through Brightness & Contrast adjustment

Edit pictures: Brightness & Contrast adjustment

Head to Adjustments > Brightness & Contrast, and slide these bars up or down depending on what your image needs. In the above image, I have reduced the Brightness slightly so that the clouds aren’t overexposed, and increased the Contrast to make everything look crisp and clear!

Edit pictures with colour balance

Edit pictures: Before and after using Colour Balance

Colour Balance

Sometimes in strange light, or if you’re taking a photo indoors, the colours can go kinda strange in your photos... you know what I’m talking about; that weird blue hue or orange wash ­ not cool!

Edit pictures by color balance adjustment

Edit pictures: Enhancing photo by Colour Balance adjustment

To fix this, go to Adjustments > Color Balance, and tweak the red, green and blue offset bars to warm up or cool down your image.

Edit pictures through Saturation and vibrance adjustment

Edit pictures: Before and after using Saturation and Vibrance adjustment

Saturation & Vibrance

Another fix for if your image is looking a little dull is to tweak the Saturation and Vibrance of your photo. These settings enhance the colours and make your image ‘pop’­ great for if you want your canvas to be a colourful focus piece in your home!

Edit pictures with saturation and hue adjustment

Edit pictures: Enhancing photo by Hue & Saturation adjustment

Go to Adjustments > Hue & Saturation, and move the Saturation bar to the right. The Hue changes the colours in the image (ie, changes a blue sky to bright pink!), so you probably don’t want to use that, but try it out anyway if you like!

If it’s still lacking that extra oomph, try tweaking the Color Vibrance under Adjustments as well.

Edit pictures by using Blemish tool

Edit pictures: Before and after using the Blemish Tool aka Spot Healing Tool

Dust & Blemishes

Now I probably wasn’t planning to hang this photo of Easter eggs on my wall, but hey, it makes a good demonstration...

In the top left corner you’ll see a few chocolate crumbs from previously devoured chocolate eggs, which are kinda ruining the clean white background. Luckily, getting rid is easy!

Edit pictures by removing dust and blemishes in photo using Blemish tool aka Spot Healing Tool

Edit pictures: Removing dust and blemishes in photo using Blemish Tool aka Spot Healing Tool

Head to your sidebar of tools on the left, and click on the icon that looks like a plaster (next to that demonic red eyeball...); this is your Blemish tool (aka Spot Healing Tool in Photoshop). You can increase the area size of this tool in the top left corner.

Then all you have to do is click on your annoying specks of dust, pimples, bugs, or chocolate and they’ll disappear ­ yay!

Putting these edits all together will result in beautiful, bright and blemish-­free photos for you to print with your fave printing company 😉

Layman’s Guide to Resolution

Layman's Guide to Resolution

Image requirements might be a boring stuff but very significant into achieving high-quality photos. Here's our layman's guide to resolution, sizing and formats... yawn ­ I mean yay!

So you’ve got a theme for your room and have found your perfect image. You’re super pumped about it, only to find that there’s a whole load of boring techy hoops like this layman's guide to resolution to jump through before you can send your image off to print. What a dampener.

Pixels and Vectors

What is a Pixel?

A pixel (‘picture element’) is a tiny unit of illuminated colour on a screen, which is used (in the thousands!) to compose an image. When you take a photo with a digital camera,in encodes the image into pixels so it can be viewed on a screen!

What is a Megapixel?

1 million pixels = 1 megapixel. So if you have a photo that is 1720 pixels in height by 1280 pixels wide, you can multiply those numbers together to find how many Megapixels the image is in total (so in this case, it would be 2,201,600 pixels ­ or 2.2MP!)

This is really a measurement of what the image dimensions are and how big it is.

What is a Megabyte?

A ‘byte’ is a measurement of memory on your computer (1 million bytes = 1 megabyte). You can think of it as a ‘weight’, or how heavy your file is on your computer. So a 2.2megaPIXEL image might ‘weigh’ less than 1 megaBYTE, or it might weigh more than 5megaBYTES! It depends on what file type you’re using, and the file compression settings (we’ll get onto those in a minute!)

Canvas Megapixel Requirements:

Because a pixel is a size unit, if you try to enlarge an image with a certain amount of pixels, the image will ‘pixelate’ and look fuzzy. For this reason, we have some minimum image requirements for image megapixels for each of our canvas sizes, to make sure they don’t get the fuzzy, pixelated look when printed!

A4: 1 Megapixel +

A3: 2 Megapixels +

A2: 4 Megapixels +

A1: 8 Megapixels +

A0: 16 Megapixels +

Regular Panoramic (100cm x 30cm): 6 Megapixels +

Jumbo Panoramic (150cm x 50cm): 14 Megapixels +

Baby Square (30cm x 30cm): 2 Megapixels +

Mummy Square (40cm x 40cm): 3 Megapixels +

Daddy Square (60cm x 60cm): 6 Megapixels +

What is a Vector?

A vector is actually a mathematical formula that represents both a quantity (or size) and direction. When an image is created a vector, it is not made up of pixels, but rather plotted points on an unseen grid. This means that you can scale a vector image to any size and it won’t lose quality, because the mathematical formula will simply adjust to the new size. Vector files should only be used for graphics and digital artwork, not photography.

Sizes and Resizing

How Do I Find My File Size?
To find the size of your photo, simply right-click (or Ctrl click) your image and select ‘Get info’ or ‘Properties’ (depending on if you’re using Apple or Windows). Here you’ll be able to see the dimensions in pixels:

Layman's guide to resolution: Dimension in pixels

Layman's guide to resolution: Dimension in pixels

If you’re looking through lots of images and want to filter by dimension (megapixels) or‘weight’ (megabytes), go to your image folder, select ‘View’ and order by ‘dimension’ or‘size’:

Layman's guide to resolution: Filter by dimension
Layman's guide to resolution: Filter by dimension and size

Layman's guide to resolution: Filter by dimension and size

Resolution

What Does ‘dpi’ Mean?
Dpi (or ‘Dots/pixels per inch’) refers to the density of pixels in an image. It helps you understand how large a photo can be printed or displayed.

It is recommended that if you want your image to be displayed on the web, it should be saved as 72dpi. This is because screens can’t usually process more than this, so there’s no point in saving it as anything more ­ it’ll just make the file ‘heavier’ on your computer!

For print, images should be saved at 300dpi. Good printers can handle this kind of density, and it leads to a seriously crisp, high quality print! If your image size can’t quite handle 300dpi, the minimum you could go to is 150dpi if necessary.

Aspect Ratio and Cropping

Why Can’t I Make My Square Photo Rectangle?
An aspect ratio refers to the proportions of your image, and is important in making sure your image doesn’t distort when resizing. So for example, if you have a photo that is 1280 pixels wide and 720 pixels in height (a ratio of 16:9), and you want to resize it without making it look like it’s been stretched,you need to stick to the ratio of 16:9.If you resized an image with a ratio of 16:9 to a square (1:1), it would look squished and distorted. So in order to make your image fit within a square, you would need to crop it(ie, only use a square portion of the photo). Below is an example of how this works in the free online image editing tool, Picmonkey:

Layman's guide to resolution: Aspect ratio and cropping

Layman's guide to resolution: Aspect ratio and cropping

Compression and File Formats

What are the Different File Types for?
JPEG: This file format is perfect for images with more than 256 colours (ie. photographs and complex Photoshop projects). You can determine the quality of a JPEG file as a percentage; so when you save an image as a JPEG you can set whether you’d like to save it at 30% or 100% quality, for example. This is useful if you want to make the file‘weight’ (megabytes) smaller to upload online, or as high quality as possible for printing.

GIF: This file format can only process up to 256 colours, so is best used for very simple artwork with only a few colours. GIFs are highly compressed, small files that are designed to be quick to load and easy to send, so should really only be used for web purposes.

PNG: To get past the limitations of quality associated with GIF files, PNGs were created! These files are designed to load fast but still look high quality, making them perfect for online use. They also support transparency.

TIFF: Similar to JPEG files, you can choose the compression/quality of your image using percentages when you save it as a TIFF. The main difference is that you can alter the background of a TIFF to be transparent ­ useful for a photograph/graphic mix!

VECTOR: As explained above, vector files can be scaled easily without losing quality,and are best used for graphics and digital art. Because vectors are based around paths and shapes to build an image, they can’t process details such as colour fades or complex brushes very well, so for that a PNG or TIFF would be better.

What Format Do You Need for Printing?

We always ask for JPEG files for printing on canvases, because they provide the best file quality. However, if you have a vector graphic that you would like us to resize for you, you can send that to us directly!

Canvas Gallery Wall – A How To Guide

Canvas Gallery Wall – A How To Guide

Creating a canvas gallery wall can be tricky but there are tips for artwork choices, sizes, shapes and layout!

You’ve seen canvas gallery wall take over Pinterest, and now you want one for yourself. No, I’m not talking about a super epic cinema room (although that would be cool!) ­ I’m talking about the infamous ‘gallery wall’.

We love them, and think they totally lend themselves to a fun selection of canvas prints too. Here are some of our top tips for creating one for your home:

1. Pick a colour scheme and general theme

Of course, this is the same when choosing any art for your home, but it’s even more important when you’re finding lots of different pieces for the same space.

Yes, gallery walls should look random and whimsical, but in order to get ‘that look’ you actually need to put some effort into it. Kind of like hair. You want that laid back surfer/bed-­head look but you gotta spend money on highlights and an hour backcombing and putting product in each morning to look that natural, right?

Check out our guide to theming a room, or take our style quiz  to get some colour and style inspiration!

2. Choose an ‘anchor’ or ‘focus’ piece

Use your largest (and more important/meaningful) piece of art as a starting point for your layout. And no, that doesn’t mean it has to go right in the middle... check out how each of these gallery walls use one big piece to create a central point:

Example of a travel-themed canvas gallery wall

Example of a travel-themed gallery wall from LiveLaughRowe

3. Mix up shapes, sizes & styles

The best gallery walls (in my opinion) are those that use a range of different imagery,rather than just photos of a similar type. Using a mixture of photography, illustration,block colours, patterns, and abstract art can create a feature that really interests your guests.

When you’re searching through images to use, consider what size and shape to print them in. We offer *a range of shapes and sizes* for our custom prints, from A4 to A0,panoramic to square!

Mixture of styles, sizes and shapes in a canvas gallery wall

Mixture of styles, sizes and shapes in a canvas gallery wall image from LTLPhotography

4. Plan your layout first

Drawing out your gallery wall plan first can help you decide how many prints to use, and also what shapes and sizes to get. Once you’ve sketched it out, another helpful tip is to create some to­ scale paper cutouts of each print and arrange them (using masking tape) on the wall so you can imagine how it will really look!

How to draw out your canvas gallery wall plan

How to draw out your canvas gallery wall plan image from MomtasticLife

5. Forget about symmetry

Symmetrical gallery walls simply aren’t as fun and interesting to look at. Quirky layouts are best, not only for looks, but also practicality.If you’ve left the edges rough and not squared off/symmetrical, you always have the option to add to your gallery wall should you want to!

Quirky layout in a canvas gallery wall

Example of a quirky layout in a canvas gallery wall from DesertDomicile

6. Keep your gaps consistent

While random layouts are fun, there’s one thing that should be orderly and consistent,and that’s the gaps between your prints. To keep the whole feature pleasing to the eye,this is kind of important.Usually a gap of between 2 and 4 inches will be fine ­ any bigger and your prints may not look like they are all part of the same feature, any smaller and it may look cramped.

Example of a canvas gallery wall with consistent gaps

Example of a canvas gallery wall with consistent gaps from MebleWnetrza

7. Treat your gallery wall as one piece of artwork

As I said, you don’t have the keep things central or symmetrical within your gallery wall by any means, but you probably want it to be central in the space you’ve chosen, and you definitely want it to be at the right height.Check out our guide on *how to hang your artwork* and remember to measure your gallery wall as a whole as though you were treating it as one piece.

Extra Ideas:

  • Use mixed media
    I love seeing gallery walls that have taken that extra creative step by including a range of items and objects. Here are some ideas:
Use of mixed media in decorating your canvas gallery wall

Use of mixed media in decorating your canvas gallery wall  from DrivenByDecor

  • Use a template
    Get someone else to do that hard work for you and download a pre­-made layout template for your gallery wall! There’s a lazy way to do everything in life.:

Ready to get some art for your gallery?

Hanging Art: The What, Where and How

Hanging Art: The What, Where and How

Hanging art that you love could be tricky most of the time as you find ways where to hang it perfectly. But let's take your worries away as we show you how to find the best spot, and get the sucker on the wall!

When choosing art to print you may have already considered where in your home you are making or hanging art piece particularly where your canvas print will be going. If you didn’t and you just ordered some art out of pure spontaneity, I appreciate that; you little rebel, you.

Okay you probably have some kind of rough idea about where to hang your artwork,whether it’s ‘above the bed’, ‘in the porch’ or ‘behind the sofa’. You may have used this rough idea to decide what size and shape to order to print in too, which is great! But that’s still not specific enough to help you actually hang the thing.

Before You Start

Before we start all that measuring business, make sure you’ve got the right tools for the job, or you’ll be left for days with pencil scrawlings on the walls while you try to remember to visit the DIY store....

You'll need:

  • A measuring tape
  • A pencil
  • A level
  • A hammer
  • Painting hooks (or drywall/concrete anchors depending on the weight of your print and the type of wall it’s going on)
  • A pipe & live­-wire detector (while not absolutely necessary, if you’re hanging in a kitchen or bathroom and using anchors, you may want to check where you’re hammering first!)

Prepping the Print

All of our canvas prints come ready to hang with string already attached, so you don’t really have to do anything to prepare it! However, if you’re buying prints from elsewhere, here’s a great video tutorial  on how to add your own wire/string.

Making the Mark

You don’t need me to tell you that things should be nicely centred in the space, either centred above a piece of furniture, or centred to a wall. But when it comes to what height to hang your piece, are you just using guess­work?

Hanging art: Hanging artwork too high up on the wall

Hanging art too high up on the wall example from StyleByEmilyHenderson

Hanging artwork too high up on the wall is a very common mistake, and some people may not even realise they’ve made that mistake. What you may not know is there is a simple, universal guide you can use:

A standard eye level height of between 57 and 60 inches from the ground to the centre of the print is a golden rule to work to! However, there are exceptions:

  • If your artwork will be hanging above a piece of furniture, 57” may be too low or high, so a guideline of between 6 to 10 inches above that piece may fit the room better.
  • If the print is going in a room that is mostly for sitting, you may want to hang your piece a little lower to reflect the average eye level in that room (not too low though!)
  • If it’ll be hanging in a child’s room, again it’s best to hang a little lower for their eye level
Hanging art: Example of a good height above the sofa

Hanging art: Example of a good height above the sofa from KerrisDaleDesign

Once you know the measurement from the ground to the centre of the print, it’s time to do some maths.

Measure the height of your print and divide it by two; then add that number to your ‘eye level height’ (let’s say 57”). Next, get your artwork and measure the height between the top of the canvas and the centre of the wire/string when it is pulled tightly upwards; this might be something like 2 inches. Subtract this from your other height number and this is the height where you need to make a pencil mark and add your picture hook.

Eg.
Eye level height: 57”
Canvas height: 12” (divided by two = 6”)
Difference between top of canvas & wire: 2”

Picture hook final height: 57” + (6” ­ 2”) = 61” above ground

Final Steps

Carefully knock in your picture hook or anchor as per the instructions that come with them, and you’re ready to hang!

Getting the print to sit totally straight can be a bit tricksy, so feel free to use a level and/or a patient family member to get rid of any lopsided-­ness!

How To Find Photos To Print When You’re Out of Ideas

How To Find Photos To Print When You’re Out of Ideas

Where and how to find photos to print so you can create artwork for your home.

If you’ve been through your own stash and still can’t find photos to print that you'd call "the one" don’t be disheartened! There are plenty of places where you can find professional, quality photography and artwork that’ll look awesome in your home.

Free (CC0) Stock Photography Websites

Did you know that there’s a whole world of totally free images that don’t require payment, or even any attribution? Well now ya do! Here are some of our favourite photos to print:

Find Photos To Print on Unsplash.com

Eiffel Tower on Unsplash.com

Find Photos To Print on Pixabay

JellyFish on Pixabay

Paid Stock Photography Websites

The only downside with the free sites above is the fact that the images are kind of… popular.

Web-savvy or photography-wise folks may catch you out when they see a well-recognised free stock photo on your wall, but then again, so what? If you love it, it shouldn’t matter.

But if you do want images that are more exclusive, here are some premium stock photo sites you can look through:

Find Photos To Print on iStock Photo

Hummingbird by iStock Photo

Find Photos To Print on iStock Photo

Bait Ball - Palau, Micronesia - iStock Photo

Pre-Designed Images

If straight up photography isn’t your thing, street art, digital graphics and photo-manipulations may be the type of decor you’re looking for.

For fun, wacky, and thought-provoking art and imagery, our pre-made canvas store on TradeMe has plenty of options!

Custom Designed Images

Okay, you’re fussy, I get it - and rightly so!

You want something totally unique and meaningful to you, and only you.

Well my friend, a custom design is what you’re looking for! There are a few options you could look into:

  • Fiverr - For (yes, you guessed it), a fiver, you can commission someone to create a unique piece of artwork for you! Just make sure you’re clear about what you want and provide them with plenty of inspiration to get good results... 
  • Canva or Picmonkey: Why not try and Do It Yourself using a free online design tool to create the image you want? With these websites you can easily add text to images, add design elements and create collages!
  • A Pixelpaint Custom Design (email us): We have some fantastic in-house designers who can help bring your inspiration to life. We charge $65 per hour for custom work, so feel free to get in touch.

Find Photos To Print That You Love?

Architectural Photography – 5 Quick Tips

Architectural Photography – 5 Quick Tips

Enjoy taking photos of buildings? Or it's official name "architectural photography"?

If, like Jason Mann, you can’t walk down the street without noticing the intricacies of every structure then these 5 quick architectural photography tips are just for you.

1: Context

All architecture is built for a purpose which often reflects ideas of a specific era – it shows us a window into past traditions and techniques, present trends and a glimpse into the future.

A successful photograph is as much about exploring this narrative as it is about taking a ‘technically perfect’ photograph.

2: Planning

So you have a building in mind that you really want to photograph.

You glimpsed it one morning on the way to work (looking majestic I might add) and have been eyeing it up ever since. The first things to consider are what time of day does this building look its best, which direction does it face and do you want to show it in use?

As a general rule don’t photograph a building on a dull day or when it is in shadow it just won’t do it justice.

Directional light (i.e. the sun) is amazing at bringing out detail and making colours pop. I like to shoot at either end of the day when the sun is about mid height in the sky (between 10 and 30 degrees or so) at an angle to the building I am shooting.

Get into the habit of just being aware of what is around you and how light interacts with different buildings throughout the day.

You really don’t need to be too pedantic about it, but if, you are like me, you are a bit of a perfectionist then I highly recommend the Photopills app for planning shoots.

Architectural Photography

Architectural Photography By Jason Mann

3: Equipment

A lot of people think you need the latest and greatest DSLR to take amazing photos. That is just not true.

While it helps, spending thousands of dollars on a kit is just overkill for 90% of people.

So many options, what do you buy? The key things to look for in a camera for architectural photography are:

Wide Angle Lens

I shoot most of my work on a 24mm lens. I recommend that you use a lens that gets you at least close to this. Your typical high end point and shoot will usually get you to 28mm which will be fine for most situations. If you have a DSLR there are plenty of wide angle zoom options.

Manual Controls

The automatic settings are not going to cope with architectural photography – especially when you are shooting at dawn/dusk. Look at getting acamera that has full manual or semi manual (aperture priority) controls. If you are not sure what I mean by the above please take a look at some of the Canon tutorials

Megapixels

I wouldn't focus on the megapixels of a camera too much. It does not define a good camera and as a measurement is very misleading.

Any mid-range camera with 12+ Megapixels is easily good enough for printing large prints. Almost any modern camera purchased in the last few years that you have spent $500+ on will meet the above criteria.

An example of this is the Canon SX60HS . It is a good all-rounder and its specs definitely satisfy the requirements of architectural photography.

My current point and shoot camera of choice is the Canon G5X.

4: Use a tripod

Dial down the ISO, increase the aperture and get some firm legs underneath your camera.

As architecture is stationary, the main camera setting you will tweak is the shutter speed.

The ISO should be low (100400)and the FStop high (around F8 for a point and shoot camera, F14 for a DSLRs). During twilight hours this may result in exposures up to 5 seconds or more so a tripod is a must.

Be sure to get a cable release or use the shutter delay function to ensure that you do not bump the camera when taking the shot.

Architectural Photography - Jason Mann

Architectural Photography - Jason Mann

5: Straight Lines

Straight lines in architectural photography is a rule that is hardly ever broken. The vertical lines of a building should be vertical.

When you are taking the photo you will no doubt be looking up at the building which will make it look like a bit of a triangle. The more distance you can create between yourself and the subject the less you will be looking up at it and the more accurate the photo will be: cross the street, ascend the neighbouring carparking building or shoot it with a longer lens from a distance (i.e. a nearby hill).

Even with all those steps you may still need to make some corrections when you edit the photos. If you are using Adobe Lightroom they have an automatic feature for this. In Adobe Photoshop it is slightly more complicated but still fairly straightforward. You can even do this on Instagram.

ABOUT JASON MANN

Jason Mann Architectural Photography

Jason Mann is an award winning photographer specialising in Architectural Photography.

He regularly has work featured in architectural publications such as Architecture New Zealand, Interiors Magazine and Landscape Architecture NZ

Want More?

For more architectural tricks and tips please check Jason's blog

Or take a look at the stunning portfolio on his website or connect with him on Facebook

Landscape Photography – A Professional’s Process

Landscape Photography - A Professional's Process

Landscape photography is one of the top things people print with Pixelpaint. 

Some of the most stunning ones we get are shot by professional photographer, Adrian Hodge.  So we thought it would be interesting to get an insight into his landscape photography process.  

In this article, you'll learn how to plan, execute and process amazing landscape photography like a pro.

Plan: What's needed?

When planning a shot you need to think about the time of day and the direction any natural light will be coming from, mostly from the sun.

Do you want to be shooting into the sun or away from it, how will the sunlight look at different times of the day?

You may also be interested in shooting the stars in the night sky (astrophotography) and need to know where the moon and Milky Way will be Ideally, you’ll want to drive at least 30 minutes out of any major city to get away from the light pollution to get to see the dark sky in all it’s glory.

One invaluable tool I use to plan my photos is a mobile phone App called Photopills.

Photopills allows you to plan where the sun, moon or even the Milky Way will be at any time and in any location.

They even have augmented reality to have a virtual look around to see where these things will be. At $15 it’s a small price to pay for something jam packed with features. I use it every day!

Obviously if you’re shooting outside you’ll become interested in the weather, you start noticing cloud pattern and the different types of clouds, and you’ll start learning which clouds look the best at sunrise & sunset.

Landscape Photography Planning

Landscape Photography Planning

Execution: 

The day has come, the weather is perfect and you’re heading out to do some landscape photography, hopefully you set your alarm properly if you needed to get up in the middle of the night or early before sunrise.

Batteries

Make sure your camera’s batteries are all charged up, the last thing you need is a flat battery when the light is just right.

Dress Warm

Make sure you’re going to be warm enough, you can always take layers off when the sun comes up

Tripod

A tripod is another thing you shouldn’t skimp on, particularly for landscape photography.  It needs to be light and portable enough to carry around while being sturdy enough to handle a bit of wind. Some have hooks under the centre column to hang your camera bag which can help weigh them down.

Settings

SHOOT IN RAW. You can shoot JPEG’s as well, but you need to be capturing as much information as possible, for processing later. Most landscape photos have a great depth of field (DOF) meaning shooting at a higher f/stop or smaller aperture.

Focal Length

Do you want a wide angle to capture all your surroundings, or a zoom to focus in on a specific part of your view?Sometimes less is more, so check the edges of your composition.  Sometimes it’s easier to zoom in a little now to remove some annoying branch, bush, animal than to have to edit it out during processing.

Filters

I find the use of filters invaluable while out shooting.

For example, the effect of a polarising filter cannot be reproduced later during processing so it’s so important to get it right in the camera first. Also the use of solid neutral density (ND) filters to slow down the shutter speed, or graduated ND filters to tone down the sky or bright areas of your shot to reduce highlights blowing out. I use LEE Filters

HDR (High Dynamic Range)

Sometimes when shooting a landscape photography scene with a large dynamic range of light from bright whites to dark blacks it’s handy to take multiple bracketed exposures. e.g. Normal, under exposed and over exposed.

These can later be merged in processing into a single HDR photo or SuperRAW file to bring more balanced light to the scene.

Panorama

Are you greeted with a wide expansive vista?

You may choose to capture multiple frames from one side to the next. Allow for roughly 30% overlap between the photos and shoot in portrait (vertical).

Also see this blog post on panoramic photography.

Processing

You’re home again and time to process some shots, after importing the photos to an organised folder structure you can open them in Lightroom.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is pretty much the industry standard for processing RAW files, it’s a powerful tool for processing but comes with a how lot of additional functionality including cataloguing and organising your image library, sharing web slideshows, printing etc.

There is a subscription called Creative Cloud or CC which is only $10 AUD per month, it includes Photoshop and a suite of mobile apps to process on the go. It’s a great investment that you will not regret.

Below are screenshots of the main process steps I take in Lightroom.  It’s a 49sec long exposure photo of mine from last November.

The long exposure was achieved by using a LEE Filters ‘BigStopper’ which is a 10stop solid ND filter.

Which blocks lots of light from entering the camera, meaning you have to take a longer exposure to gather the same amount of light. This results in all movement becoming blurred, clouds blend across the sky, running water turns smooth. Lots of creative opportunities.

Landscape photography processing: The original RAW image taken straight off the camera

Landscape photography processing: 10000 Temp; +30 Tint; +1.52; Exposure-100; Highlights+100; Shadows+50; Whites-50; Blacks+20; Clarity+30; Vibrance & Saturation; Lens Correction; Removed Chromatic Aberration; -10 Vignetting; +10 Dehaze; Removed seagulls from end posts; Dust spot removal

Landscape photography processing: Lightened top left corner with +0.99 grad filter

Landscape photography processing: Lightened bottom left corner with +0.99 grad filter

Landscape photography processing: Darkened bottom edge with -0.66 grad filter

Landscape photography processing:
Darkened top half with -0.33 grad filter +20 tint for added magenta in sky

Landscape photography processing: On the left is the original RAW file straight off the camera, on the right is my edit using the PROCESS tab in Lightroom.

There are tonnes of videos on YouTube showing various landscape photography processing workflows in Lightroom, one person I’ve learnt a lot from and watched heaps of their videos is Serge Ramelli

As you can see, I prefer more vibrant & saturated colours, something that comes out great on Pixelpaint canvases, their colour reproduction and quality of finish is stunning and all my photos I’ve had printed to canvas by them have looked amazing.

ABOUT ADRIAN HODGE

Adrian Hodge Photography

Adrian Hodge is an enthusiastic landscape photography expert based in Rotorua, New Zealand.

He loves taking photos of landscapes, experimenting with HDR (High Dynamic Range), long exposures, panoramas & astro-photography.

Want More?

Check out Adrian's work on his website or on his Facebook page

Panoramic Photos – How To Shoot & Process

Panoramic Photos - How To Shoot & Process 

Printed panoramic photos looks a little out the ordinary and can really set off a room.  Beyond the simple world of automatic mobile phone panoramics, Werner Kaffl has perfected the art of the high resolution, high detail. stunning panoramic shot.

In this article he tells us how to replicate one of the many incredible panoramic photos he sells in galleries around the country.

"Many people just use their mobile phones to shoot a panorama. Those look alright on social media, but with such a small lens and sensor, those panoramas lack quite some detail and quality on a big screen or even printed. Also, you don’t have much control over the outcome." - Werner Kaffl

Gear: What's needed?

Camera:

Most digital cameras can be used. 

This tutorial goes for DSLR, but essentially the process is similar with cheaper gear.

Lens:

As panoramics typically cover a wide area, you'll want to use a wide angle lens rather than a zoom lens, if possible.

The ideal lenses will have little distortion but high sharpness.

Tripod:

A good idea is a tripod with a pano head, but in bright daylight handheld shooting is possible too (for 1-row panos).

A pano head has some important features...

It can be adjusted to different vertical angles and then be moved horizontally (or the other way round for vertical panoramas), many will even have scales. It becomes essential when shooting more than one row, as you need to keep the same vertical angle for each shot in each row.

Many tripods have a so called “ballhead”, which allows you to fix a camera in any angle, but those aren’t very good for panoramic photos shooting.

Filters:

Not essential, but some filters can be useful too, especially for sunsets (or sunrises).

Preparation: What you need to know

1st:  First it’s important to know if you want to shoot during daytime or in twilight/night.

2nd: You need to know how high OR wide your panorama shot will be.

For example, most sun sets will be horizontal panoramas, but a milky way shot can be a vertical pano.

The Process: Shooting

Panoramas can consist of just 2 images (easiest version of a 1 row pano) as well as virtually any number of shots at different vertical angles (multi-row pano).

To capture as much as possible in any given scene, you'll be shooting in rows.

For example, 10 shots when the camera is pointing down a bit, to capture the foreground, then another row of 10, camera pointing up slightly, to capture the sky and distant scenery.

I like to use graduated filters which darken the upper, bright part of a sun set, but leave the bottom part clear. This allows to expose longer without blowing out the highlights, and this gives you effects like creamy looking clouds or milky looking water.

The Shoot:

In daylight, without a tripod, you should try to shoot in one direction (I shoot left to right).

You should try to keep your vertical angle (if there is a horizon, try to keep the horizon at the same height of each shot).

Your single shots should overlap at least by 30% - I personally overlap up to 70%, more shots make more detail.  Also, if one pic sucks, you can just leave it out.

You should not change camera settings (like exposure) within a row, as this would cause darker or lighter patches in the final picture.

If your pano has more than 1 row, shoot each row in the same direction as the others. The single rows should overlap as well, at least 30% or more.

When shooting a sunset (multi row), you might start shooting from the bottom row, then the next higher row etc. Reason being, it’s getting darker quickly, and that way you get still good light on the foreground.  In the next row it’s already darker and the highlights won’t blow out too much.

For sunrises it’s the other way round.

Pro Tip:  

Shoot sceneries which give you enough reference points – i.e. if you shoot 100 degrees of horizon, the stitching software can’t find differences between photos and so it can’t determine which shot belongs to what place within the pano.

The Process: Stitching

If you use a DSLR, you would shoot in RAW, and I assume you are already familiar with converting the RAWs to JPG format, adjusting contrast etc.

Usually you would process all of them the same way, otherwise you will get patches.

Stitching Programs:

There are a lot of programs out there for stitching. Many of you will use Photoshop for editing and stitching.

I personally prefer Microsoft ICE. It’s freeware, more powerful and a lot faster than Photoshop or Lightroom. But that’s personal preference, and if ICE fails, I can still try Photoshop.

Here is a pano, stitched “manually”, to show how it might look like without panorama software.

It not only puts the shots together, it also alters distortion etc. You can also see how far those shots overlap. This one is composed of 38 single photos in 2 rows of 19 shots in portrait mode each.

The final version is over 150 Mega Pixels, should be easily printed to a size of 4 m wide or more, without losing detail.

Panoramic photos: Werner Kaffl - Panoramic Shot Manually Stitched

Panoramic photos: Werner Kaffl - Panoramic Shot, Manually Stitched

The Results:

Below is the result I got with ICE – Color, contrast and highlights needed to be adjusted too, as you will have variations in your single shots, “steps” in the horizon and clouds needed to be corrected (as clouds moved during the shooting).

Mostly this will be done in Photoshop (or similar software), which allows you to brighten or darken parts of a photo – and a lot more, which I might explain in another article, as this doesn’t only count for panoramas.

Panoramic photos: Werner Kaffl - Panoramic Shot - Stitched With ICE

Panoramic photos: Werner Kaffl - Panoramic Shot - Stitched With ICE

I used a 24 mm wide angle lens for this, which allows quite a high level of detail, here a 100% crop from bottom right:

Panoramic photos: Werner Kaffl - Panoramic Shot - Close Up

Panoramic photos: Werner Kaffl - Panoramic Shot - Close Up

Getting an amazing result like this can be a quite long and complicated process...  on some of my photos I work 10 hours or more to get them right!

ABOUT WERNER KAFFL

Originally from Germany, Wener's passion for Photography started with his first 1.2 MP digital canon camera, which he quickly outgrew.

After moving to NZ in 2010 his interest in low light and astro photography was ignited after seeing some astro photos on the internet.  Like many photographers, this meant a lot of learning, stocking up on gear and practise with post shoot processing.

Want More?

Check out Werner's work on his website or on Smugmug

He also runs 1on1 and group coaching sessions, so get in touch via email!

6 Colour Reproduction Basics – RGB, CMYK …WTF?

Colour Reproduction Basics - RGB, CMYK .......WTF?

Ahh colour reproduction; the bane of every designer/photographer/printer’s existence. Although we regularly receive comments about how accurate our colours are, a 100% match to what you see on your screen is influenced by lots of factors, so let's cover colour reproduction basics.

But, fear not my friend!  Read on because this article will:

  • Explain colour reproduction basics in layman's terms
  • Describe the two biggest factors contributing to a perceived difference in colour
  • Help set your expectations when it comes to printing
  • Give you some tips on how to match what you're seeing with what we're printing
  • Immediately increase your intelligence by 0.0021%*

* Experiences may vary

Factor 1: RGB and CMYK

* Uber geek alert *

RGB 

Images on your camera or computer (and most other screens) are created through mixing different colours of light called RGB - short for Red, Green and Blue.

Physics lesson coming back to you now?

CMYK

Meanwhile, just to confuse things, printed materials use inks that mix together to make colours.

These colours are CMYK - short for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, BlacK. (K is used because it is the "Key" colour)

You’ll know this if you have a colour printer at home that yells at you every week “FEED ME MORE MAGENTA! NOM NOM NOM NOM”.

What makes the difference then?

The main difference here is that one uses light to create colour (RGB) and the other creates colour through the reflection of light off pigmentation (CMYK). This is why the colours on your final print may look slightly different to the colours you see on your screen.

We ask for RGB files and convert it to CMYK ourselves, so if you’re printing with us, you shouldn’t need to worry about any of the above unless your image has been edited to CMYK colours (e.g. by a designer).

Most photos are RGB, so unless you know someone has been fiddling with your image, you'll be fine.

Factor 2: Your Screen

BUT that’s not all; your screen itself might be causing the problem.

If you were to show the same image on 5 different screens, they’d all appear slightly different to each other.

Why?  

  • Different brightness & contrast settings
  • Different temperature & saturation settings
  • Maybe they were turned on at different times… some screens take a while to ‘warm up’ while others are quicker
  • Different screen resolutions
  • The lighting and position of the screen in comparison to the lighting or any windows will have an effect on how the image appears

So many reasons why your print might look different on your computer and IRL**. Yay.

**In Real Life

How To: Basic Screen Calibration

Windows

The display calibration tool can be found in Appearance > Display Control Panel (if you can’t find it, just search ‘calibrate’ and it should pop up - God knows I can’t find anything on Windows).

Click the option to calibrate your monitor and follow the instructions to edit your brightness, contrast, gamma (here’s an explanation of what on Earth that is, if you don't mind slipping into a coma) and colour settings to match the test image you’re shown as best you can.

Choose ‘Current Calibration’ once you’re happy!

Colour Reproduction Basics - Basic Screen Calibration on Windows

Improving Colour Reproduction - Basic Screen Calibration on Windows

Apple

You can find the ‘Display Calibration Assistant’ in System Preferences > Displays.

The program will walk you through editing the brightness, contrast, gamma and colour settings.

At the end, press continue to save your new settings.

Colour Reproduction Basics - Basic Screen Calibration on Apple Mac

Improving Colour Reproduction - Basic Screen Calibration on Apple Mac

Serious Colour Calibration

Or, if you’re serious about getting accurate, spot-on colour for regular printing, you can buy a screen calibrator and let that do the work for you!

How much you spend is up to you, but we would recommend the following from Amazon.com... price range approx $130 to $260 NZD (excluding shipping) 

If you’re printing a canvas with us, rest assured we calibrate all our systems regularly, but we’ll always let you know if something’s looking way off balance! So now you know colour reproduction basics....

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