Welcome to


Photos of beautiful women, female fashion and glamour models

Portfolio | Blog
About Me  |  Model for Me  |  Modelling Tips  |  Photographer Tips  | 
|   Web Design  |  Wishlist  |  Equipment  |  Links  |  Favourites  | 

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A summary of photo editing software

On a photography course I found myself describing photo-editing software to a number interested people who knew less on the matter than I.  Here is a summary of what I described to them.

Let's start by dividing software into three distinct groups.  There are software packages you get for free, consumer-based packages that cost roughly fifty to one-hundred dollars, and the professional editing packages that cost in the range of five hundred dollars.

"Free" would include whatever package is supplied with the digital camera/printer/scanner you buy, plus some others that can be downloaded at no cost or consumer-level give away in a computing or photography magazine, which is normally an older version of a current software package or a time-limited trial.

One notable free download is Picasa.  This piece of software has a rather unique approach to editing which I will explain.  When you first install Picasa it indexes all the pictures on your hard disk drive.  It will then let you apply a limited set of edits to each image, including cropping, white-balance, black and white conversion plus a decent selection of filters. Picasa stores these edits separately from the image file, the actual image is un-affected unless you specifically decide to overwrite it.

In the context of model photography, Picasa is a nice browsing tool that can produce a number of effects shots painlessly and without changing your original image.  Its excellent for experimentation. The major thing it lacks are decent cloning/blending tools which one would typically use to clean-up a models skin or remove objects from a uniform background.  For those kinds of functions you are going to have to look at other packages.

Paint Shop Pro
, now a Corel product, is one of the more mature consumer-level software packages.  The creator's intention was to supply a inexpensive image editing tool with a really comprehensive set of features.  Paint Shop Pro is joined by Abobe Photoshop Elements, now in its 4th version and Microsoft have released its Digital Imaging Suite which is similar in capability.

In the context of model photography, using these packages will get you cloning and blending tools.  You also get layering tools that allow you to create compositions from multiple photographs as well as perform a variety of special effects.  If you need to get an absolutely flat horizon, these kinds of packages have rotation tools that permit you to do correct this.  Exposure and colour balance can be very precisely adjusted by manipulating histograms. You probably also gain the ability to process RAW camera images, as long as your camera is one of the more popular models.  You may also get automation tools, that let you apply the same changes to a batch of photographs.

Whilst it is accurate to describe these packages as "consumer level" I know professional photographers who don't use anything more sophisticated. 

Adobe Photoshop is the gold standard of photo manipulation.  Available for the price of an entry-level Digital SLR or a high quality lens it has all the features of the consumer level packages and more besides.  Automation is improved and the package contains some really sophisticated image manipulation tools appropriate for graphic design/editorial and advertisting purposes.

Wikipedia has a nice comparison table of features in the major photo-editing packages :-

Comparison of bitmap graphics editors - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sunday, June 25, 2006

No more model directories please !

I was recently updating my tips page with a list of currently active model directories.  These are sites that allow models to enter a portfolio of pictures, statistics and contact details and advertise for work.  The list is now approaching fifty seperate websites and in addition to the ones I added I also had to remove a few which are not active any more. If anyone is thinking of starting up another directory for photographers and models,  please look at this list first.  If you don't think you can offer something genuinely different from one of the existing players - then don't bother.  It is kind of a crowded market already.

As a photographer the feature I use most often is a location based search.  I want to find models near where I live or near where I am travelling to, important because I will be picking up models travel expenses. Way too many of the model directories out there do a bad job of location search - they don't let you search by region or city - so I do a country based search and get back thirty pages of headshots.  Better than nothing, but not as useful as it could be.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Lens and Sensor Cleaning

I have a pre-shoot routine which includes charging batteries, clearing down memory cards, assembling any props or special equipment I need and making sure I have a copy of the shoot plan and the models contact details.   After examining the results of one shoot I think I need to add an additional step - check camera lens and body for dust and dirt.

The dust problems I experienced could have been worse, the shots can be fixed post-production, but it would be less time consuming to do the cleaning job up front.

Switching to the Canon 5D has seemed to make sensor dust more of an issue, for me.  There are a lot of other people reporting similar issues with the Canon but I would be charitable and attribute this mainly to the increase in sensor size.  I don't think its a big deal as sensor dust is easily dealt with using the right equipment and procedure.  The procedure is described in the canon manual, the dust blower I use for the process is a Rocket Blower, so called because of its distinctive "flash gordon" rocket shape.  The rocket blower is manufactured by Giottos and is available from most camera suppliers.


For lens cleaning you need a fine brush to sweep away dust and hair particles combined with a solution to clean off finger-prints and grime which will eventually get on your lens with even careful handling.  The lenspen does quite a nice job of combining both needs in one gadget.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Pbase offers improved statistics

Pbase,  the photo-hosting website that I use for the bulk of my website has radically improved its reporting statistics.  It was always possible to get statistics from pbase,  but one had to
use third party tools and/or add specific code to your webpages. There is now a pretty friendly link at the bottom of each gallery and image page that leads to a report on image downloads over the last thirty days.  If nothing else, its a nice way of determining what pictures appear to be more "clickable" than others and its better feedback than provided by many other websites.

PBase Photo Database - Photo Hosting - Photo Sharing - Web Photo Galleries

Meanwhile,  I will continue to use addfreestats for other website analysis.  Amongst the features that really appeal to me is that addfreestats provides reports on viewers screen size, location and the referring URL.  Recently,  I found that one of my webpages was being quoted on a russian website engaged in a forum debate about models and their purchasing of portfolio shoots.  I couldn't really follow the debate because auto-translation software isn't that good, but it is nice to know that my little website is reaching a worldwide audience.

AddFreeStats Free web stats, free website statistics

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Freelance Models add a "friends" feature

I was recently updating my portfolio on a number of model websites.  In the course of doing so I noticed that FreelanceModels.com has changed its format a fair bit and has added a "friends" feature, so you can update your profile with people you have worked with.  Freelance models is one of the better free photographer/model networking sites out there. if confuses me  that is doesn't seem to be as popular as some of the other sites which one has to pay for.

Freelance Models

Myspace is not the first site to allow "friend of a friend" type networking but it is one of the most popular.   However,  I also notice it has a networking affiliation which means that one can search for models or photographers within a particular geography and genre.  Although the search feature is not as powerful as one would find on dedicated model websites, the ubiquity of myspace amongst a certain age group makes myspace suprisingly useful for talent searches.   Below is my myspace profile: