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John Warton’s Digital Photography Tips and Guides

John Warton’s Digital Photography Tips and Guides

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Published by jhumphrey
The criteria of judging varies on the type of photo competition. But whatever category you may join, the same objectives and rules are observed. Also note that some photo competitions may have additional contest rules. These rules reveal much to the discerning contestant. Always remember to read the guidelines first before submitting your entries. You may not want to start all over again just because you missed to the terms and conditions of a particular photography contest.
The criteria of judging varies on the type of photo competition. But whatever category you may join, the same objectives and rules are observed. Also note that some photo competitions may have additional contest rules. These rules reveal much to the discerning contestant. Always remember to read the guidelines first before submitting your entries. You may not want to start all over again just because you missed to the terms and conditions of a particular photography contest.

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Published by: jhumphrey on Jul 18, 2008
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John Warton’s Digital Photography Tips and Guides
Today, I will share another set of guidelines intended to help photo artists understand why some photosare able to win  photo contestsand others fail. Winning photo contests includes optimized lighting, attractive color, balanced composition, sharpness, correct exposure and other essential elements.The criteria of judging varies on the type of  photo competition.But whatever category you may join,the same objectives and rules are observed. Also note that some photo competitions may haveadditional contest rules. These rules reveal much to the discerning contestant. Always remember to readthe guidelines first before submitting your entries. You may not want to start all over again just becauseyou missed to the terms and conditions of a particular  photography contest.Digital cameras are great for photography contest, since you can take a lot of pictures and instantly seehow they will look. They also save on development costs.The following tips are courtesy of John Warton, senior photo editor at Photo Laureates. Phot Laureates provides picture contestsfor professional and aspiring photographers to gain exposure and recognition.
John Warton’s Digital Photography Tips and Guides
Digital images are composed of blocks called pixels. Pixels and resolution are fundamental conceptsrelevant to every part of the digital imaging chain. When you scan an image, you talk about scanresolution and scanner dpi. If you use a digital camera, you refer to CCDs with 2 or 3 million pixels.Displaying an image on a monitor involves screen resolution, and when printing we use Epson inkjet printers with 1440 or 2880 dpi. The whole digital imaging chain captures, stores, views and prints theimage in terms of pixels. Let’s look at how pixel resolution affects image quality, image size, print sizeand virtually everything else we do in digital imaging. These various pieces of advice will insure thatyou post a strong entry on our photography contest.
Scanner resolution
Since this article deals with pixels and resolution, let’s define the terminology. Units for resolution aredots-per-inch (dpi), although some prefer pixels-per-inch (ppi). (In this context, I use dpi and ppiinterchangeably.) Printers use another type of resolution lines-per-inch (lpi). High resolution, such as300 dpi, refers to a high pixel density of 300 dots or pixels-per-inch. Low resolution, such as 100 dpi,refers to 100 dots-per-inch.In digital photography, images usually are captured by scanning a transparency or using a digitalcamera. With a scanner, the transparency is put into the scanner and samples are taken at small regular intervals. Depending on what the scanner sees,?it generates a pixel. When the entire transparency iscompletely scanned, the pixels are assembled to make a digital image. The scanner can scan thetransparency very finely, recording every little detail, or it can cover the entire transparency muchquicker by taking averages over much larger areas. Smaller stops take longer, but the fine detail in theoriginal is retained. If the scanner averages over a larger area, it creates a pixel with the averageintensity and color from the area, but the individual hair detail, windowpane or single leaf structure islost. The dpi setting of the scanner dictates how samples are made.With 100 dpi only 100 dots will be taken every inch of the transparency, i.e. larger sample dots; whilewith 300 dpi, 300 sample dots are made over the same area, and thus are smaller dots. The important part is the number of pixels generated. If we scan a 4 x 5 transparency at 100 dpi, we get 400 x 500, or 200,000 pixels. A 300 dpi scan creates 1,800,000 pixels. The number of pixels is directly related to thequality of the digital image.
 
Generally speaking, the more pixels the better. If a higher dpi scan creates more pixels and retains moredetail in the transparency, why not always use 300 dpi (or even, 600 dpi)? There are many reasons to bewary of higher dpi settings.First, it takes longer to scan, and higher dpi settings make the file size very big, very quickly. If youdouble the dpi, the file size quadruples; if you triple it, the file size increases by 9 times! Higher dpisettings can make large files that are difficult to save or e-mail.But, perhaps the most important reason to limit the dpi scan setting is that there may not be any visual benefit. Consider how the image will be used. Is the higher dpi necessary if it will be viewed on amonitor or printed on an inkjet printer? In many cases, there’s a limited benefit. Increasing the number of pixels beyond a certain limit brings no tangible benefits, as you’ll see when you print the image.Digital images are composed of blocks called pixels. Pixels and resolution are fundamental conceptsrelevant to every part of the digital imaging chain. When you scan an image, you talk about scanresolution and scanner dpi. If you use a digital camera, you refer to CCDs with 2 or 3 million pixels.Displaying an image on a monitor involves screen resolution, and when printing we use Epson inkjet printers with 1440 or 2880 dpi. The whole digital imaging chain captures, stores, views and prints theimage in terms of pixels. Let’s look at how pixel resolution affects image quality, image size, print sizeand virtually everything else we do in digital imaging. These various pieces of advice will insure thatyou post a strong entry on our photography contest.
Digital cameras
In digital photography, cameras sample the scene using discrete pixels or cells. In a digital camera, thelens focuses the image onto an electronic sensor called a Charge Coupled Device (CCD). The camera’squality is determined by the number of pixels on the CCD chip. A large number of pixels is analogousto scanning at high resolution; we can expect to retain more fine detail.An image made from a CCD with 1.3 million (1280 x 960) pixels will be similar to an image from asmall photo laureates negative, such as 110 or APS film. Images with this resolution are suitable onlyfor low-resolution work, like multimedia or web pages. One way to improve the appearance of a low-resolution image is reducing image size or magnification; in photography, this would be like making asmaller enlargement. Several entry-level compact digital cameras have CCDs with a resolution of 1.3million pixels (Fuji FinePix A-101, HP Photosmart C215 and Kodak Lock’ DX-3215). However, toachieve 35mm quality in a digital image, the CCD needs to have 3 to 4 million pixels (Fuji FinePix2600, and Canon Powershot G1 or G2). To obtain a digital image comparable to 120 roll film, thecamera requires 5 to 10 million pixels (Fuji FinePix S1 Pro, Nikon D1, Kodak DCS 760). Thesecameras generate huge digital files that can be printed at 8×10 or larger. If pixel numbers are related tothe comparable photo laureates meg size,?it helps you understand what quality to expect from a digitalcamera.One last point just like a scanner’s dpi setting can be changed, the resolution setting in digital camerascan often be changed, allowing you to use half or only a quarter of the available pixels to capture theimage.
 
Figure 1:
If we use a digital camera with a lot of pixels or scan at high resolution, fine detail in theimage is retained (top). Low resolution cameras or low dpi scanning creates pixelated results (bottom).
File size
In digital photography, if we know the number of pixels we have we can then calculate the file size.The file size is often used as a yardstick to compare the quality of digital cameras and digital images.The total number of pixels in an image is calculated by multiplying the horizontal and vertical number of pixels. The file size is just a small additional calculation, which depends on the bit-depth resolution.Bit-depth resolution relates to color information and describes how many different colors a pixel canhave. File size is calculated by multiplying the number of pixels by the bit-depth. Most digital RGBimages use 3 bytes of computer space per pixel (one byte for each of the red, green and blue channels),so the bit-depth is 3 bytes. The file size is the number of pixels x 3. Earlier, a 4 x 5 transparency wasscanned at 100 dpi to get 200,000 pixels. The file size of this image is 200,000 x 3 or 600,000 bytes(~600 KB).Sometimes the image has more pixels than expected by the above calulation. In these cases, a software process known as interpolation has occurred, which artificially increases the number of pixels. ( Fujireceived a lot of criticism when they quoted these inflated numbers for their new SuperCCD.) It ismore meaningful to consider the true optical resolution of the CCD instead of the acquired imageresolution. photo laureates advises you to explore interpolation processes as they can produce surprising results.
Monitor resolution
We’ve learned how to alter the number of pixels in an image by changing the resolution setting in ascanner or digital camera. We know the number of pixels that make up the image, but we don’t knowhow big the picture is. A digital image is just a collection of pixels. It only attains a physical size whenit’s displayed on a monitor or printed.Monitors display a certain number of horizontal and vertical pixels. The number of pixels is governed by the video card, which typically offers choices such as 800 x 600 or 1024 x 768 in the monitor control panel. If the digital image has fewer pixels than the monitor, the image will not occupy the fullscreen. If it has the same number of pixels, the image will fully cover the screen. If the image has more pixels than the monitor, it overfills the screen, and you have to scroll to view the full image or use the

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