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The Very Basics Focus Motion Blur: This type of blur is created by lowering the shutter speed on your camera (1/4 to 1/15 sec) in order to capture—you guessed it—poetry in motion. There are three basic elements for this type of blur - intention (e.g. you meant to do it), effort (e.g. you did it) and composition. Soft Focus: In order to create a soft focus, you're essentially bending light areas with soft blurring, while still maintaining the integrity of the image. But your composition has still got to be good—'soft focus' isn't the same as 'slightly out of focus' or 'lack of details'—and we'll have to turn down those latter two. Camera Shake: Camera shake can ruin a photo when you're using lower shutter speeds, a wider aperture (lower "F" number), or a higher numbered ISO/ASA (film sensitivity). The best way to counter this is by using both a tripod and a remote trigger. However, if you've GOT to take that photo and don't have either handy, just lay off the caffeine or try to steady your camera on an immovable object. Oliver's Helpful Focus Suggestions: • For blur effects always make intention, effort and composition your main concerns • Blur effects are more effective if applied to only certain portions of the image • Blurring should never adversely affect the quality of the image • Use a tripod & remote trigger to avoid camera shake Are you still with us? Good! Now we're getting into some more interesting stuff! Lighting If you wanna get your photos into the LuckyOliver library, you've gotta know a bit of the basics. Which basics? It's all those little things like focus, lighting and noise that can make the difference between a spectacular photo and an ordinary one. Want specifics? Here you go! Lighting is one of the key elements of any photographic composition. But the rise of digital cameras and their built-in electronic flashes has all but ruined good old-fashioned quality lighting. Using a built-in flash can cause problems like harsh shadows, reflections on shiny surfaces (think of bald heads) and even chronic bad breath (alright, so we're kidding about that last one.) When shooting your masterpieces, make sure to take the little extra time to make good lighting a priority. Your breath will smell minty fresh and your photos will turn out better, too! Lighting no-no's Reflections: To avoid the problem of reflection, move away from the car—with your hands up! Just kidding. You do, however, try to separate yourself from your subject...literally. You may also want to use natural light (meaning the sun, not to be confused with 'Natural Light' as in beer) or additional light sources...whatever you do, try not to depend on the built-in flash. If you are using a flash unit, and consider using a diffuser. Harsh Shadows: A harsh shadow can occur when using a direct light source on your subject. A few ideas that can help you prevent this disastrous problem are: Try bouncing the flash (off a wall or other surface) to even out the lighting. Or head into the kitchen (you know, the place with the refrigerator) and swipe a strip of wax paper. Believe it or not, placing wax paper over the flash helps to soften any shadows that may occur. Underexposed: No, we don't mean that no one has heard of your work—that's a different kind of underexposure. To avoid photographic underexposure, decrease your shutter speed or increase the aperture size. This allows more light into the camera which can help take the edge off the underexposed blues. Overexposed: Just keep your coat buttoned up. Seriously, increase the shutter speed or decrease the aperture size. This will let less light in and will help capture the vibrancy in your image. Lens Flares: Unless you're a ghost hunter trying to prove the presence of other-worldly beings in your attic, lens flares are not good. Lens flares occur when light refracts from the direct light sources into the camera lens...ouch! This pesky problem can be solved by simply not pointing the camera directly at any light source. You can also lower the aperture to help reduce any reflections that may occur. Purple Fringe: Unless your name is Prince, purple fringe is something you want to avoid. This problem typically occurs when using a digital camera in low light settings against high contrast borders. The contrast then causes a purple (or other color) glow around the edges of your subject. The best way to attack this problem is to adjust the aperture settings to a higher level, (f4 and above) to balance your light sources Oliver's Helpful Lighting Suggestions: • Keep in mind great lighting doesn't mean buying all kinds of fancy equipment. Experiment by opening up the blinds, turning on lamps or turning off overhead lights. • Use wax paper in front of the flash to soothe shadows. Use pure white cloth, paper or cardboard to photograph isolated objects. Technical Guidelines These suggestions will help guide you on your photographic adventures. Here, we're providing the basic info you need to get your images in tip-top shape for upload...and heck, you may even pick up some photographic techniques that'll help you improve your picture-taking skills! Don't worry. It's easy reading, and pretty entertaining - for a "lecture"... 1. It's gotta be a minimum of 1600 x 1200 pixels, and 2000 x 3000 pixels is preferred. 2. DO NOT interpolate or upsize your images. We will have to sic Oliver's dog on you if you do that, and he looks hungry! 3. All files should be a minimum of 8-bit jpeg files with minimal compression. 4. Shoot in RAW format and convert to Jpeg before upload. 5. Images with sRGB color profiles are preferred. Isolation & cropping Objects that have been manually removed from the background and include clipping paths or been shot on a white background can be the most useful to a designer. They literally love them because they can be added to their own backgrounds to create an entirely new idea! Think of the lady in a business suit that's been "clipped", and put her outside of her element—like on the beach, inside a honky-tonk, or on stage at a Hollywood awards show. See what we mean? However, an image that has a background that's tough to remove (say, people in the background or an object sitting in tall grass) can become a nightmare for a designer to work with. Also imagine how your photo can be used. If it's a landscape, is there maybe a nice little spot for a few lines of text? Is the composition of the photo such that it weighs heavier on one side? We've heard it said more than once, "Great photo but I could only ever work with it if I needed something on the left/right side of the page". Remember, broad appeal and versatility are the key. Oliver's Helpful Suggestions: • Keep edges as clean and smooth as possible. Easy on the tricks like feathering or jagged edges • Sometimes software can't do it all, so don't rely on tools like the ol' magic wand to remove those backgrounds • Remember what we said earlier about built-in flashes? Don't forget good lighting for your backgrounds Noise, color, distortion This chapter of suggestions will get your "finesse" down to a science. Time to really pay attention—it could mean the difference between "really good" and "really just GREAT". Digital Noise & Color Distortion: Ever turn your stereo up? Way up? And the music you were listening to sounded just awful? All the bass riffs were distorted in with the treble, and the balance just got shot to hell? Welcome to "noise". In photography, each pixel in a camera's sensor contains one or more light sensitive photodiodes which convert the incoming light into an electrical signal, which is then processed into the color value of the pixel in the final image. Whew! Hang on, there's more! If the same pixel would be exposed several times by the same amount of light, the resulting color values would not be identical but have small statistical variations, called "noise". Noise in digital images is most visible in uniform surfaces (such as spacious blue skies, amber waves of grain and purple mountains) as monochromatic grain, similar to film grain (luminance noise) and/or as colored waves (color noise). Color distortion is less noticeable than noise and blur, but it's there, and can wreck a potentially great photo. It's an optical phenomenon resulting from the failure of a lens or mirror to produce a good image. Correcting the problem: When working to correct the Noise & color distortion (by spot editing or using a noise filter) you want to correct just the problem areas without changing the overall image quality and detail. Or try adjusting the ISO settings to 200 or slower. You can also try using slower speed film (25 to 200 ISO). Compression: During compression, stuff that is repetitive or that has no value is eliminated or saved in a shorter form, greatly reducing a file's size. For example, if large areas of the sky are the same shade of blue, only the value for one pixel needs to be saved along with the locations of the other pixels with the same color. When the image is then edited or displayed, the compression process is reversed. When saving an image out as a JPEG, it's a given that a certain amount of information on your image is going to be lost. A JPEG image is stored using compression that you control. You get to choose between lower compression and higher image quality or greater compression and poorer quality. However, you want to avoid over compression by making sure your quality settings are not too low. Too much JPEG compression can quickly become visible and make the picture look grainy in some areas, or lose detail all together. The only reason to choose higher compression is because it creates smaller file so you can store more images, and it's easier to send them by e-mail, or post them on the web. So when possible make sure to save your image at a higher quality setting (9—12 is optimal). Artifacting: No, this is not trying to find ancient relics to sell to museums. This is a problem that can occur by both your camera and editing software. Artifacting occurs when an image is re-sized, re-sampled or re-saved. If an image is re-saved numerous times (even at the highest quality) it will increasingly get worse—just like making a photocopy of a photocopy. So always start with the cleanest image possible, and shoot your images in the raw format (without compression).. Oliver's Helpful Suggestions: • Always save images at 100%, super-maximum quality. • If you're using a higher ISO setting you'll need to use more light to reduce noise. • Some post-editing programs can create noise once the image is resaved • Different parts of a photo need different amounts of adjusting to get rid of different degrees of noise. • Save images in tiff or PSD format to avoid compression. • Some images just have too much going on to be correctable by noise filters and software. Time to throw in the towel! Over filtering When using filters to alter your photos, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. First, some of your photos may actually look better from a few touch-ups that help give it the extra pizzazz that will allow it to stand out even more than the original. If you're doing things like cross-possessing colors, or adding artistic filters or other effects, the outcome should still be easy to meld into a design piece. The thing to keep in mind when you're using filters and effects is that you're trying to enhance (not compromise) the quality, detail, and composition of your photograph. Tips: • Edit your photos as though you will be the end-user. How will they look in published pieces? • Filtering should never suppress image quality & detail. Broad Appeal Try to compose shots that truly feature your subject matter. Capture some sort of theme by choosing a subject, situation, activity or trade that interests you. Keep the designer in mind; take photos that you could imagine a designer (or other artist) using in a project. Also, keep an eye on what types of images are selling and try to take photos that put a new spin on that subject. Slow Sellers: Artsy images are beautiful, but they just don't sell as well as you might think. Should that stop you from uploading them? No way. You just want to make sure that the majority of the stuff you upload is a bit more 'mainstream'. Above All Be Creative! Guess what? We can tell when you're having fun. How? It shows through in your photo — and that emotional connection can make the difference between a designer choosing your photo and another. Copyright Violations All images that you upload must be taken by you personally, and cannot include any company logos, brand marks, or recognizable people's faces (unless accompanied with a model release form). Uploading another person's artwork or photographs is strictly prohibited and will violate your LuckyOliver membership agreement. So please—just don't do it! You've gotta be the original owner and photographer of any image uploaded. Uploading any of the following is prohibited and may result in the instant termination of services, a rest-of-your-life ban, or legal action. We're not kidding: 1. A picture of a photograph 2. A found image. This included photos you 'found' online, in published materials or even in your brother's drawer. 3. Photographs you purchased from other stock photography sources. You bought rights of use, not ownership rights. 4. Work that's derived from another image (like tracing/illustrating a photograph that doesn't belong to you.) In other words, if your image didn't come directly from your brain matter through your camera with a maybe a stop in some editing software, we don't want it! To be on the safe side you should try to avoid having any of the following in your images that you upload. • Logos & Trademarks: Try not to catch a billboard or magazine cover in your shot, because stuff like company names, trademarks, product brand names, logos and related things are a violation of copyright law. We can't accept them. • Patented & trademarked product designs:Many of the items in your home fall into this category. Most of the toys in your kids' toybox are off limits. Things like the computer in your home office, and your licensed Steelers jersey need to stay out of the picture. • Artwork: anything found in a museum or an art gallery, sculptures, paintings, artwork found in advertisements, artwork done by another person. • Documents: Computer screens/monitors showing documents, birth certificates or social security cards, maps. • Illustrations: Traced illustrations based on a photo you don't own copyright to. • Government & Military Property: Please don't mess with Uncle Sam! The CIA, FBI or other agency insignia, the presidential seal, flat paper currency, and military insignia need to stay out of your photos. • Trademarked buildings, monuments & landmarks: This category can be a little hairy when it comes to intellectual property laws. The best idea in these cases is to do a little research about the copyright laws that apply to the actual building before uploading it to the LuckyOliver site. • Embedded Copyright Notices: Don't put your name or a copyright symbol on any of your photos Model Release No, we aren't sending you your choice of Victoria's Secret models. But we do have to have a signed consent form from anyone you photograph. This is an absolute must-have for any photograph containing a person. If you do not submit one with your photograph it will be circular-filed until one is uploaded along with the image. Please remember: 1. All photographs where an identifiable human face is present (don't worry about those aliens) requires a model release. There are no exceptions. 2. If the photograph is of a minor human (also known a child under the age of 18), a model release must be signed by their parent or legal guardian. Sorry kiddos. 3. If the photo is of you (i.e. a self portrait), a model release is still required. You have to sign it! You have to give you permission to use the photo! I know?it's quirky, but just do it?for us. 4. A model release should be uploaded with each file. If you're uploading consecutive shots of the same model, please upload the model release with each shot — no exceptions. We wouldn't want #5 of 30 to go in the circular file. Note: LuckyOliver can't and won't accept digitally created or digitally signed model releases, including scanned signatures pasted into the model release, script fonts used as a signature or e-signatures. Model Release No, we aren't sending you your choice of Victoria's Secret models. But we do have to have a signed consent form from anyone you photograph. This is an absolute must-have for any photograph containing a person. If you do not submit one with your photograph it will be circular-filed until one is uploaded along with the image. Please remember: 1. All photographs where an identifiable human face is present (don't worry about those aliens) requires a model release. There are no exceptions. 2. If the photograph is of a minor human (also known a child under the age of 18), a model release must be signed by their parent or legal guardian. Sorry kiddos. 3. If the photo is of you (i.e. a self portrait), a model release is still required. You have to sign it! You have to give you permission to use the photo! I know?it's quirky, but just do it?for us. 4. A model release should be uploaded with each file. If you're uploading consecutive shots of the same model, please upload the model release with each shot — no exceptions. We wouldn't want #5 of 30 to go in the circular file. Note: LuckyOliver can't and won't accept digitally created or digitally signed model releases, including scanned signatures pasted into the model release, script fonts used as a signature or e-signatures. Nudity LuckyOliver will accept photographs that contain either partial or full nudity if created in an artistic manner. Of course, we reserve the right to decline any work, including work that offends our grandmothers Sticky Words Give your photos the exposure they deserve! So you've uploaded your photos? Fantastic! Now you've got to make sure people can find them (so that they can buy them.) You may have the most perfect image in the whole LuckyOliver universe, one with the potential to bump your download status to Ringmaster (and increase your royalties) by the end of the week...but if folks can't find it, you won't get squat. Aside from taking the actual photo, keywording is one of the most important aspects to selling your imagery on LuckyOliver. Sticky Word Tips: • Be the buyer: If you were looking for a photo like yours, what keywords would you use? • But don't overdo it: Now let's keep this reasonable. Don't keyword every little detail in your photo. Who was the buyer in your mind when you took the shot? Describe the photo...the physical characteristics of the subject, and the idea, feeling or concept it conveys. • And don't try to be tricky: Make sure your keywords truly reflect your image subject. If it doesn't have anything to do with the subject, don't put it in as a keyword. If you consistently put inappropriate keywords on your photos (tagging a portrait photo with 'computer' for example) bad things will happen, up to and including the LuckyOliver logo being spray-painted on your dog. And how would you explain that to your mom? • The thesaurus is your friend: At a loss? Dust off your old yellow paperback Roget's from college, or try www.thesaurus.com. Looking up one of the keywords you know is a good fit may lead you to other appropriate words. • Think globally: Remember that American terms aren't always universal. Football in the US is not the same as it is to the rest of the world. If in doubt, Google it. Photo Packs These are groups of 5 to 10 photos all of one subject. Individual photos vary from image to image while the subject stays the same. Ways that the individual photos may vary to create a photo pack are: • Take pictures of one subject from different angles • Take pictures of one subject using different variables or sources of lighting • Take pictures of one subject using different lens filters • Take a series of time elapsed photos of one subject (i.e. a flower over the course of a day) • Pictures of an event (i.e. following one person through-out a party, or at a baseball game) • Series of action shots (i.e. a snow boarder lining up for a jump, hitting the jump, launching in the air, soaring towards the ground, landing or not landing the jump) Images that LuckyOliver DOES Need Here are the subjects we need more photographs for. If inspiration strikes you and it's not on the list below, that's okay...go ahead and upload! Lifestyle Family, alternative, LGBT, pierced, tattooed, leisure, sporty, ethnic, for a start. Medical staff and equipment: • People: Doctors, nurses, dentists, anesthesiologists. • Actions: Giving shots, consulting with patients, reading charts. • Places and things: Emergency and operating rooms. We need scalpels, forceps, sponges, stat! Holiday & Seasonal Themes The need for these isn't as seasonal as you might think. So send us Halloween, Easter, Festivus, Summer, Fall...and everything in between! Concept Images Sometimes the not-so-obvious can be oh-so-fabulous. See if you can convey a feeling with your image, like fear, foreboding, teamwork, heartache, surprise, success. Sports Skateboarding, skating, skiing, cycling, hiking, camping (is that a sport?), golf, badminton...catch 'em in the act or get great shots of the gear. White collar Polished models all suited up. Bankers, salespeople, accountants, CEO's, secretaries, teachers, lawyers... Blue collar You know, the people who make the world go 'round. Construction workers, electricians, utility workers. Police officers, firefighters, machinists, and bakers... People in Groups A family, a baseball team or a group of girlfriends out for a night on the town. Just make sure you watch for copyright violations and don't forget the model releases! Food and Beverages With or without a person holding 'em. Antiques They just don't make 'em like they used to, and we want to see them. Illustrations Make sure they're scalable vector illustrations, not rasterized. Car Parts Bumpers, side mirrors, windows, back ends, tires, under the hood... Fashion A crisp white collar, a little black dress or the perfect pair of shoes. Images That LuckyOliver DOESN'T Need: Zoo Shots Most Zoos require permission to take commercial photographs, but we'll always take a "wild" shot! Flowers Unless they're jaw dropping spectacular, they're gonna get rejected. Photos of your feet Most people have at least one. We already have one too many. Sunsets Romantic, beautiful and wholly overdone. Clouds At least make them interesting. Impending storm clouds and ones in the shape of Mick Jagger's profile are always welcome. Forest shots Please don't, but if you do, make sure it's spectacular. Palm Trees We have more palm trees in our archives than the state of Florida. Beaches and Waves Save the shots from your vacation for the photo album. Light Blurs Great for experimenting and learning about your camera, but not appropriate for LuckyOliver. Close-ups of eyes Unless you've had a professional makeup artist do his/her thang. Airplanes From the outside, maybe. From the inside (e.g. out the window or over the wing), no. Shadow We prefer the REAL thing; and the accompanying model release! Backgrounds Before your fire up Photoshop or Bryce, make sure you can give us something better than average Oliver could make themselves. Text embedded in your image Most buyers want to place the text on their own. Your dog or cat They're cute but we'll have to call the pound if we get any more Illustrated frames and borders Sometimes they just don't scale right. So we're not gonna go there. Buyout Price When you put a 'buy-it-out' price on your image, you're basically telling a potential buyer how much it will cost them to own the exclusive rights to your image. Exclusive rights mean that the person who purchases the photo will own the rights to your image; you will no longer own those rights. If a buyer purchases your photo through the buy-it-out option, they can then use the photo however they see fit. They could put it on a billboard, use it as the background for a magazine ad, create and sell a set of greeting cards, create prints and sell them at their local craft fair or even put it on LuckyOliver and earn royalties on it. That's why you'll want to think about your buy-it-out price carefully -- because you're basically handing over the ownership of that image to another person or company.
 
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