November 12th, 2013

Digital Darkroom: Creating Film Effects with Photoshop


And now for my favourite type of assignment: play around in Photoshop! This month, the photolab blog is All About Film—why to shoot with film, and how to achieve some classic looks with your digital images. For this assignment, I used the very user-friendly Photoshop Elements. This program is accessible to the beginner and a great way to dip your toe into the pool of photo editing. That said, there are so many programs and apps that can create similar effects, I encourage you to find one you like.

Note: Creating special effects with film and developing is an art form, and very talented people—professionals and hobbyists alike—have devoted years to honing the craft. Not for a moment do I pretend that my photo doodling even comes close to their exceptional craftsmanship.

With that said, onto the fun!


September 16th, 2013

The Great Photo Makeover: Part 5 Vacation Photobooks

Last month I started the Great Summer Photo Project, an endeavor to get my photos off the hard drive, out of the shoeboxes, and into books and albums where I can enjoy them.

Part 5 is all about making vacation photobooks.

Do it right away

My aunt is a seasoned traveller who has two habits when she returns from vacation: she unpacks the suitcases immediately and she organizes her photos into a vacation photobook within a week or two.

I’ll admit that it takes me few days to sort through the suitcases of six people, but I have started making vacation photobooks right away (click here to see the book I made from my New York pictures). It is very satisfying to get the photos edited, the bad ones deleted, and the images on paper.

So this weekend, in the midst of new school busy-ness and extracurricular chaos, I carved out a couple of hours to make my summer vacation book. Here’s how it turned out.


August 26th, 2013

Restoring Old Photos


The Great Photo Project: Part 4

By Angela Ford, photo blogger

Last month I started the Great Summer Photo Project, an endeavor to get my photos off the hard drive, out of the shoeboxes, and into books and albums where I can enjoy them.

This month’s topic: correcting, restoring, and retouching old photos.

Do-it-yourself retouching

If you are familiar with this blog, you know that I love to play around with photo editing. That said, I am just a dabbler—so I called up Nikki Castonguay, Photolab Production Manager, to get an expert opinion. What kinds of restorations can a beginner do, and which are best left to experts in photo retouching?

This is a broad question, but can you give me a general idea of photo restorations that are easy for home users?

Well, it really depends on how much experience the customer has working with correction software. A lot of hobbyists are quite adept at fixing little things. It can’t hurt to play around to see what you can do—you can always undo your changes. My best advice is to make a digital copy of the image as a backup before you start.

August 1st, 2013

Photo first aid: The beauty of photo editing

For the longest time, my photo editing skills were limited to fixing red eye and cropping out strangers in bathing suits from my beach shots. When I started writing this blog and using my own photos, I began to look at photo editing a little differently. Every picture can be tweaked a little so it looks its best. Now I edit every single photo, at least a little bit.

If you’re new to photo editing, do not be intimidated. You can undo every change, and even revert to the original image if you make a big mess.

Your photo organization program, like Picasa, Aperture, or iPhoto, has an Edit Mode (it is often an icon that looks like a pencil). Most programs will give you the choice between basic and advanced features, with Auto buttons that often make very good changes. I have edited a few images to give you an idea of the possibilities.


July 2nd, 2013

The Great Photo Makeover: Part 1

Warning: what you are about to see may be disturbing to organized readers. This is where I store all of my printed photos. The albums are in no particular order, and some are practically empty, with just a photo or two pasted in to prove that I have good intentions. The shoeboxes/suitcases below are stuffed with loose prints that go back—I am not exaggerating-over a century.

Great Photo 1Notice my computer, looking casual? It holds another 11,000 images.

I have 11,000 digital photos going back to 2002, and four shelves of prints in albums and shoeboxes, another 5000 images, I’m guessing. These 16,000 images haunt me, call to me when I walk into my office. Angela, organize us! Put us into books! You have so many good pictures—share us!

So this summer, I am tackling the photo mess and you are invited to come along. My plan is to organize the digital files, scan old prints, and create photobooks that I can share with friends and family.

July 2nd, 2013

A new way to show off travel photos

Here is a paradox that every one of us has experienced. A friend gets back from a wonderful vacation, and she tells some great stories about what she saw and did. You are riveted. “That sounds awesome, I’d love to see some pictures!” you say.

One thousand images later, your face is sore from stifling yawns, and you have sworn to yourself you will never, ever visit such a wretchedly boring place.

If I’m being totally honest, I occasionally experience this same boredom with my own travel albums—too many shots of stuff I can’t really remember.

The problem with travel photos, I have come to realize, is that they are typically organized chronologically. But the chronological method has this drawback: our memories are more like a mosaic of impressions, some of them interesting anecdotes, others just fleeting feelings.

Perhaps it’s time for a different approach.

November 16th, 2012

Photo Walls that Pop

You may not know the term, ‘pop art,’ but you have certainly seen it. Think Andy Warhol and the neon Marilyn Monroe painting, four squares of bright yellow, blue, and pink versions of Marilyn’s face.

Irreverent, bright, and fun, different versions of this work of art are everywhere. Something about the brilliant colours and simple lines inspires artists—professionals and amateurs alike—to try their own version of this pop art classic.


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