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  • convenience photography?

    I have already made the journey from film to digital. My 'chemical' darkroom is mothballed and thousands of dollars worth of equipment, film, paper and chemicals are slowly turning to dust in there. I'm not doing much digital fine art photography these days but not because of any perceived limitation of the digital process but more because I have changed? Given my current state of life, photography is very much a tool to achieve my other interests and hence I am becoming more driven by digital's ability to provide convenience photography. By convenience photography, I mean all of the attributes brought by digital such as mobile phones, SD chips with built in WIFI, transfer of pictures via 'cloud' and picture file sizing relevant to the task at hand. I take a lot of pictures to support my woodworking and other hobbies where the only 'channel' to market is the web ..... for which BIG is NOT beautiful. However I am currently on another crusade and that is to to make a photographic inventory of my valuable tools, books and 'collectables'. I am using an 'inventory program' which requires appropriately sized pics and information about the item and its value. To date I have used a real camera, reduced the file size and have now catalogued about a quarter of my 'stuff'. I am not really happy with the quality of the reduced pics but recently I bought a very cheap soft light box off the web and today I took pics of a 'collectable' and a tool ON MY MOBILE PHONE!

    I am now faced with the dilemma of re-doing all that has gone before. Is there scope for a forum that shows me and probably many others, HOW to take a RELEVANT photo that is then automatically sent to its intended destination seemlessly and CONVENIENTLY?


  • #2
    Originally posted by fletty View Post
    To date I have used a real camera, reduced the file size and have now catalogued about a quarter of my 'stuff'. I am not really happy with the quality of the reduced pics but recently I bought a very cheap soft light box off the web and today I took pics of a 'collectable' and a tool ON MY MOBILE PHONE!

    I am now faced with the dilemma of re-doing all that has gone before. Is there scope for a forum that shows me and probably many others, HOW to take a RELEVANT photo that is then automatically sent to its intended destination seemlessly and CONVENIENTLY?

    "A real camera" - is that to say a film camera or a DSLR?
    What software did you use to "reduce the file size" and did you sharpen the image after changing the file size?
    What format are these images in , Jpeg, Tiff, ...?

    In the next part, you talk about "ON MY MOBILE PHONE!" and how to take a "RELEVANT photo" then automatically and seamlessly and CONVENIENTLY send it to its intended destination.
    Can we clarify a few of these requirements - Firstly what camera or devise are we talking about using to take the photo? How is the image stored on that device- on a removable memory card or in the devices internal memory? And where is the intended destination? Will you need to do any editing of the images - cropping, resizing, etc? How many images are we talking about?

    Depending on your definition of a mobile phone, there may be an option to automatically transfer images from the phone device to some shared storage, eg youtube, flikr or the cloud. But security, cost and access to the internet to even view your images are matters to be considered. You say you are not happy with the quality of the images you have already processed, so this may be even more of a problem with the "shared" solutions.

    I have just completed processing several thousand digital images, including cataloguing and processing in Adobe Lightroom and final editing, resizing and sharpening in Photoshop. It has taken about 3 months, but I set a standard for quality and that takes time.

    Between those extremes. there are many other options. Apart from the questions above, your attitude towards copyright and piracy of your images may dictate the directions you can take.

    I am happy to help you, but I need a much clearer understanding of what you are trying to achieve.



    • #3

      Fletty, I spent less than 2 minutes to copy your image (top) sharpen and adjust contrast.



      • #4
        Hi Fletty. Some of the newer DSLR's have WIFI built in, and the newest Nikons have something called "snapbridge", I don't know much about it but from what I recall, it will send your photos to your phone or iPad.

        I am not in a hurry though, I am happy to plug my camera into the computer at the end of the day and download my pics.
        Cheers, Brad.


        • Grumpy John
          Grumpy John commented
          Editing a comment
          I'm a bit old school and am happy to download my pics via USB cable. Although, I've just bought a 128GB CF card for my upcoming trip, should hold ~2400 images. God knows how long that will take to transfer. I might have to do it in batches in case the battery dies.

      • #5
        USB 3 lightening fast. Downloaded my book "A Polishers Handbook" to a stick in under 5 seconds with USB3 takes around 2 minutes with USB2.

        I purchased a new camera recently (Panasonic Lumix TZ110) to fit in my pocket when we're in the UK at Christmas. Full digital, has WI-FI and a whole lot more that I wouldn't have expected a pocket camera to have, including 4K video and stills.

        Still coming to terms with it only pics I have taken were of Melb Working With Wood and Ballarat Wood &Craft Expo all were snapped whilst on the move only stood still to take a couple and I was pretty pleased with what i got.

        Definitely a convenience camera for pretty high-end convenience photography without the need for a big bag full of lenses etc. I have loved my Nikon cameras but the convenience and relatively light weight of the new one make it the ideal camera for taking away and getting great shots, easily and quickly.

        Not a DSLR , full digital.

        Cheers - Neil


        • #6
          Still not really sure what you want to do, but the following is an outline of how I would approach the task.

          Since you have a 'lightbox' and presumable a DSLR, you should be able to produce images of a consistent quality i.e. same exposure, white balance, contrast etc. This significantly reduces the workload. I would transfer the images directly from the removable card in the computer using a card reader and some software such as Adobe Lightroom. Lightroom has some options which will automate most of the remaining steps. But first I would create a reference image - take an image of a typical subject and note the camera settings. Ideally the image should be in RAW format not Jpeg, but if that is not possible you have to work with what you have. The key point is that the settings should not change unless the type of subject changes in which case it may be desirable to produce another reference image for those subjects. I could envisage having reference images, books and collectibles at least.

          Lightroom allows us to import images from the camera memory card and automatically apply a preset. To produce the preset we process the reference file as normal by editing the white balance, exposure,contrast, camera profile, noise reduction, base sharpening, etc,These changes are saved and can then be applied automatically during the import process. As said before, the key is being able to produce a consistent image quality, and with the light box this should be possible.

          The other major benefit of lightroom is that, as part of the "import" process, you can define where to store the image (with the adjustments) and if desired to produce a backup copy and save that to another location. E.g. you might save one copy to your hard drive and another to an external drive for back up.

          You also have the option to create an "Action" in Photoshop to say, resize the image and apply output sharpening. This could be automated through the "Batch" options of Photoshop.

          It might take an hour or so to produce the reference images and set up the presets, but after that it is largely an automated function. There might be a small number which need to be touched up afterwards, but I would not expect it to be significant, but it will depend on ensuring a consistent quality when taking the photos. You might consider using artificial lighting with your lightbox setup.

          You mentioned there are some books; will you scan these? If so the same process can be set up to import the scanned images.

          Last edited by oldgreybeard; 7th October 2016, 02:04 PM. Reason: Corrected some typos


          • #7
            Hi gentlemen and benevolent dictators. Many apologies for my tardy response but I am currently travelling or at least I was until, at 444,444km's, my Landrover refused to go any further! I have just arrived at number 1 daughters and my car is at the mechanics.
            My convenience thread was driven by the realisation that digital photography provides us with a tool much broader than film photography. I used to spend hours in the darkroom printing ILFO/CIBAchromes for exhibitions and can now do it at my desk with greater control although probably less archivalness(?).
            I was hoping to shoot a 'low goal'. I was wanting to tailer a process for those occasions where the thumbnail IS the result?
            For pictures optimised for the forum AND for my home inventory, I've found that point source lighting creates a harsh picture after compression, I've found that compressed pics from my DSLR are more murky than low res pics taken on my mobile phone etc
            Bobs last post is close to the target. What is the best way to optimise a small file picture and to automate its magical appearance in its final destination?
            To date I have homed in on......
            soft lighting
            mobile phone pic without flash
            transfer file to host computer via cloud
            reduce file size with BATCH RESIZER
            wrangle it into the final application

            Ill clarify more when I'm back on deck...



            • #8
              Hi Fletty,
              My Nikon D800 offers 3 file sizes (36.2MP, 20.3MP and 9MP) there is also 4 different formats ( FX, DX, Square and 5x4). In the smaller file sizes, the full size image is reduced and optimesed in the camera using their XPEED 3 internal processor.

              Even at 9MP file size, there is still going to be a considerable downsizing required to get to a "thumbnail" image, and with down sizing (and up sizing) there IS degradation of the image quality. This must happen as the processor (internal or external) must 'merge and delete' pixels to achieve the required size. If the thumbnail is 300px x 200px, then the file size is going to be reduced from 9MP down to 60KP. Even so , it is possible to get a "reasonable" result.

              The original image (left) was just copied into Photoshop and resized to 300 x 200 pixels @ 96 PPI.

              The process for the second image was:
              1. Copy and paste into Photoshop
              2. Change mode from "RGB" to "Lab color" (Image > Mode : Lab Color)
              3. Deselect A and B Channels in the "Channels" panel
              4. Apply Unsharp mask (to the luminance panel only) Amount 150%, Radius 1.6px Threshold 5 levels.
              5. Reselect A and B channels
              6. Change mode back to RGB
              7. Resize (Image >image Size - width 200, Height 300,Resolution 96)
              8. Copy layer (Ctrl J)
              9. High Pass Filter (Filter > Other > High Pass > Radius 3.5 pixels)
              10 Change layer mode from Normal to Overlay in Layers Panel
              11 Merge active layers (Ctrl E)
              12 save for web (File >Export > Save for web (Legacy)
              13 Set parameters (File format = Jpeg, Quality 100% - Maximum, Check "Optimized" checkbox.

              keyboard shortcuts are as I have set in my system and Photoshop version is Photoshop cc 2015.5.1
              Images above are shown at 100%

              Last edited by oldgreybeard; 8th October 2016, 09:51 AM.


              • #9
                Not seeing your images Bob.


                • #10
                  Can you see them now - I see them in the previous post when I logged in Now.


                  • Grumpy John
                    Grumpy John commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I can see them here, but not in any other post. Have you read the How To Upload Images tutorial located in the top navigation bar?
                    I wrote this so that we could get consistent results regarding image size in our threads.

                • #11
                  I am home safe and with a fully functioning vehicle after a 'problem' that cost only $168 to fix.
                  Thank you for all of that work Bob. It is however far more work than I wanted to put into each frame in this process.
                  I probably need to redefine what I am trying to achieve. My impossible goal is to take a picture and then have a thumbnail automatically appear in (for example) a woodwork forum post or home inventory application.
                  I have done some homework during the quiet time provided by being without my own transport. My Nikon DSLR has a SMALL PICTURE setting for which 640 X 480 is the largest. It provides the possibility of both taking a picture at 640 X 480 AND converting an existing picture to 640 X 480. A similar function exists on my wife's new Nikon Coolpix B500. My DSL doesn't have WIFI but the B500 has both WIFI and Snapbridge which apparently transfers ( via cloud?) to a "smart device".
                  So, my homework, on which I shall report is
                  • take a high resolution picture and convert, in camera, to 640x480
                  • take the same picture but at 640x480
                  • compare the results ( by printing both to A4)
                  • experiment with the B500 in transferring via WIFI and Snapbridge
                  IF the picture taken at 640 X 480 is at least as good as one taken at higher resolution and reduced in camera to 640 X 480, then I will start a process of.....
                  • dedicate an SD card to 'small pictures' for web or home inventory use
                  • insert that chip into my camera set on 640 X 480
                  • after each session, insert that chip into my iMac or iPad
                  • import to an album in iPhoto called (say) webpix
                  • when writing a draft or loading the home inventory, search only on Webpix
                  I have already shown to my own satisfaction that soft box lighting produces a much better compressed file picture so I will do all of the above with that lighting.
                  IF WIFI or Snapbridge can replace the need to physically transfer the SD chip to the iMac and can automatically load into Webpix, then I will ask VERY NICELY to use the B500 on a regular basis.
                  IF THIS WORKS then I could take pictures for a woodwork WIP in the shed, wander up to the house, write a draft post, import the relevant pictures from Webpix without any manipulation and Bob's yer Uncle ........ and Neil's yer Benevolent Dictator?

                  Last edited by fletty; 11th October 2016, 01:02 PM.


                  • #12
                    Looks like you have it sorted. looking forward to seeing the results.


                    • #13
                      Originally posted by fletty View Post
                      [LIST][*]take a high resolution picture and convert, in camera, to 640x480[*]take the same picture but at 640x480[*]compare the results ( by printing both to A4)[*]experiment with the B500 in transferring via WIFI and Snapbridge
                      PROBLEM No1
                      On my Nikon DSLR, the SMALL PICTURE function will only allow the conversion of a previously taken picture to 640x480. It does not permit taking a 640x480 picture!
                      Last edited by fletty; 12th October 2016, 03:45 PM.


                      • #14
                        While waiting for burl stabilising epoxy to set, I've put some more time into the Convenience photography issue/opportunity. As with most things in this World, very few of us get to be first at anything. Today I was the first to see the inside of a particular burl, I don't even seem to have been beaten by any herbivorous insect but, as for desiring convenience photography, I am far from the first and so apparently, there are many solutions available for me to get my wish!
                        I haven't made it work for me yet because I am currently waiting for a passing 9 year-old to download a "new firmware release" for me. However, once this is done, the SnapBridge software in the new Nikon Coolpix B500 and the free SnapBridge app, will allow me to take pictures (down to 640 X 480) which are then immediately exported to my iMac, iPad or iPhone via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE).
                        I will be able to work in the shed, take WIP pics, leave the camera in the shed, saunter up to the house, draft a post, import the pics already waiting on my device, and post!
                        I will also be able to draft (say) a 'home inventory' description, then take a relevant pic which will be instantly imported into the description!
                        As noted, I haven't done it YET but according to all reviews, that is what SnapBridge (for Nikon) is designed to do and I imagine the other image capture mega stars will have their own versions.
                        Possibly the only remaining issue is that the pre-set resolutions are below (640 X 480) and then well above (1600 X 1200, 2MB) the resolution requested for our beloved fora?
                        Once I have done it, I will report back, potentially with a post using ......... Convenience photography?
                        Last edited by fletty; 12th October 2016, 03:47 PM.


                        • #15
                          • In just a short 12 months the World has moved on and I thought I had better check in. My probably poorly described goals and needs above seem to have been solved even after upping the ante in both needs and results. I have recently returned from an extended overseas trip and, when travelling, I write a blog that receives many hundreds of hits...... and then lays dormant until I travel again. I can tell from the blog’s stats how successful the photography has been by the number of times a picture is downloaded (some would say stolen) and some have been downloaded hundreds of times. Through breaking the CONVENIENCE PHOTOGRAPHY barrier, I am now able to update the blog each night while the day is still fresh in my mind and, as the blog is often written in the pub, “fresh in my mind” is a relative term!
                          So, here is the current state of play;
                          • the blog is
                          • I have gone mirrorless with a Sony A6000 and usually mount a 18-200 lens
                          • I have Sony’s PLAY MEMORIES app on both iPad and iPhone
                          • I usually know which subject and sometimes which picture will be in the blog by the end of the day
                          • When the day is finished, I find a quiet place which does not need to be in WIFI coverage,
                          • connect the iPad and camera via PLAY MEMORIES and select and transfer the required pictures/s
                          • PLAY MEMORIES gives the set up option of compressed or full file transfer and the compression algorithm seems very good
                          • Ii write the blog and input the selected pictures as I go and I found that I could update and post the blog in about 15 minutes most days then....
                          • return to the bar!
                          In both the blog and the woodwork section of the forum, I record my joy at picking up a hiking pole from a fellow forumite in England. To get the pole home I had to perform the sacrilege of cutting it in half ..... and I am currently arranging a brass coupler to put it back together. I am taking the opportunity however to do a bit more than just right-a-wrong and I am modifying it to also be a monopod to help out with those shakey photographic moments like standing in freezing rivers taking long exposures of waterfalls. I had noted that PLAY MEMORIES also allows for remote control of the A6000 and, although I didn’t use it on the trip, it would be very helpful in turning the hikingpole/monopod into a selfie stick (even though I have no intention of SELF). Soon I will be able to;
                          • assemble the hiking pole
                          • remove the carved topper and mount the camera
                          • mount my iPhone at eye height on the pole
                          • link the camera and iPhone by PLAY MEMORIES
                          • raise the pole above the crowds at (say) an airshow
                          • take photographs by operating necessary camera functions (including ZOOM!) on the iPhone
                          • store selected reduced copies on the iPhone
                          .... and write the blog back in the pub!