Archive for 'photography'

HOWTO: Making an amazing Canvas print with reads

Posted on September 20, 2008, under general, photography.

I recently moved into my own apartment in Dublin, and after a lot of painting and hard work, it needed decorating. If you like taking photos, it’s a great opportunity to put in the extra effort and take some shots that are worthy of enlargement and putting up on a wall. Over the last few weeks I’ve gotten 6 prints done up on canvas, and am getting a feel for what makes amazing prints and what doesn’t.

Reads on Nassau Street in Dublin have a great canvas printing service. but there are some caveats to doing it right and avoiding some extra charges.

Step 1: Take a great photo

Photos with lots of colour and brightness seem to work best, avoid too much detail, landscapes and large-aperture portraits work great. For my largest print, I went out on a mission, and took this photo in the Phoenix park;

Remember if you want to wrap the photo around the canvas you need to make sure that there’s nothing important in the 4.5 cm around the edges.

Step 2: process the photo for canvas

Printing on canvas takes thick ink, to get something amazing looking the photo needs to be bright, and vibrant. I use Lightroom, so I increased the vibrance by about 25% and upped the exposure and brightness by around 15% – it will look a bit glarey on a monitor, but it will come out right on canvas. The same can be done in the gimp, iPhoto, or photoshop.

Lightroom also has an option to “sharpen for matte” when exporting, so I chose that, and exported at 100% quality.

Step 3: burn the files to disc

Reads have a “disc handling” fee of 5 or 10 euro, which essentially covers their costs of getting the files off of the disc and doing things with them. Most customers need to have their files cropped, rotated, sorted and that kind of thing. However if you put a little effort in, you can avoid the charge entirely. First, make sure that your images are exactly the right dimensions for the size you want (keep the resolution as high as possible, but match the aspect ratio of your target size). Next, name the images in an obvious way – if you want a 30×40 canvas print, with the image wrapped around the edges, name the file “40×30-canvas-colour-wrapped-something.jpg” – this means it takes about 5 seconds to give them the files (on a USB fob will do btw) and they won’t waste any time doing anything.

The prints are ready within 24 hours, well all of mine were.

Admire the result! – keep your flickr album and favourites on an iPod Touch or iPhone

Posted on January 21, 2008, under general, photography.

One of the great things I really like about the iPod touch is that it makes an excellent portable viewer for photos. In return for sacrificing 1GB of potential music storage, I get about 2,000 browseable, zoomable photos onto something that’s always in my pocket. Cool!

Flickr sets on an Ipod     Flickr favourites on an Ipod

To make the process easier, here’s a python script to synchronise the photos on an ipod from a flickr account. It’s at It should run on any *nix platform (personally I’m running it on a Mac) and there’s some kind of a chance it might even work on Windows (but who knows).

The whole thing is a single python file, as implementing the flickr API calls myself rather than use any of various python flickr libraries (as they each seem poorly maintained) seemed easier. One of the reasons I’m even putting it online is that beyond anything else, it may be useful as an example of a truly minimal python implementation with the flickr API.

You run the script like so;

    flickrtouchr directory-name

and after it asks you to authenticate against your flickr account, it will progress through syncing your entire flickr account into a directory hierarchy. It keeps a small cache of authentication data in the directory too. It will be organised like;

    directory-name/No Set/[photos]

If you have the same photo in multiple sets it will use hard-links to preserve local disk-space. It also only downloads the most optimal version of the photograph available for the iPod touch/iPhone screen. Everytime you run it, it downloads the missing photos and new sets. Once you configure iTunes to synchronise photos from a folder, rather than iPhoto, it works great.

iTunes syncing from a folder

Of course it will work with any other device or software that takes photo from a hierarchy of folders. Happy flickring.