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Choosing and processing your images

Back lighting with lamps

Choosing which images to print is your most important decision! For back-lit prints there are special considerations, especially for realistic images such as portriats on our SmoothPhotoCloth. It is imposssible for prints to look the same with both reflected light and transmitted light. The dark tones need lots of ink to keep from looking washed out with transmitted light, so then they will look too contrasty and dark in reflected light. For lamps with SmoothPhotoCloth, at your request, we will process in Photoshop for transmitted light. With low-operating-cost LED bulbs, we recommend leaving the lamp turned on all the time for your best viewing experience.

Photo by David Elmore

Subject matter

With no film to purchase you probably have a large number of digital images. You need to weed out the bad ones then analyze the rest very carefully. You will be viewing this print for a very long time so choose a subject that brings back great memories -- a loved family member? A favorite vacation spot? Artistic composition? All of the above?

Sharpness

Next you need to choose an image that is sharp. The best way to do this is to zoom in so the image fills your monitor or more so you are seeing only a part of the image. Is the main subject in focus? Is there a blur from a moving subject or an unsteady camera? Can you see individual hairs in a portrait? After viewing several photos this way you will quickly learn to separate the sharp ones from the not-so-sharp ones. Even the best photographers must discard many of their images.

Lighting

Great lighting helps make a great image. For portraits, avoid direct flash or mid-day sun if at all possible -- they result in flat subjects and harsh shadows. Instead use bounce flash, available light, cloudy days, or open shade. Outdoors in the sun use direct flash to fill in the shadows. For landscape scenes, shoot early or late in the day.

Image evaluation service

Can't decide which image will make the best large print? Upload several and we will give you our recommendation! No obligation and no need to place an order first.

Resolution and print size

If you have a recent digital camera you probably have 3 megapixels or more, sufficient for one side of a lamp. If you want an image to stretch all around the lamp, you will need a higher resolution camera or a stitched panorama. Note that a typical 10 wide by 12 high lamp shade is 40 inches all around...more

Retouch and edit

As part of the purchase price we will fix standard problems such as poor exposure, red-eye, and clone the background for the sides of a gallery wrap. However, we can't restore detail in badly under- or overexposed parts of the image, or make sharp a blurry subject...more

Convert to black and white

With black and two different gray inks our HP Z3200 printer makes excellent black-and-white prints that turn out completely neutral on all of our paper types. We suggest you submit a color photo so we can optimize for black and white in Photoshop.

Image combinations

We can combine many images onto each side of your lamp. Upload all of them and explain what you want in an email or the special instructions box...more

Restoration

Do you have an old damaged, faded photo? Send it to use for restoration and a large print ready to hang...more