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What resolution should I save my digital picture in?
Most digital cameras give you a choice of low, medium, or high-resolution. Use the highest resolution that your camera will allow. From there, Jim's photo enhancement team at TFI photo can prep the photo for puzzle creation. To submit a digital photo for puzzle creation, burn the file to a CD and mail it to Jim, making only a small print for use as a color reference.
All camera captures should get a little processing for sharpening and color balancing for printing. That's also when you will size the image for best reproduction.
What if I'm taking a picture with a film camera. Can that be used for a puzzle?
Any sharp, well exposed photo can be used to create a puzzle. To submit a regular photo for puzzle creation, send the original negative to print from.
What tips can you share about taking photos for use in puzzles?
For the photo, lighting should be even, without bright heavily contrasted areas of sunlight and deep shadow. The puzzle print material has a great deal of color contrast by design (for bright catchy color rendition) so uneven lighting would make a bad picture even worse. In general, a good picture will make a good puzzle.
Note: Jim's puzzles are based on standard sizes (ex: 11x14"). In some cases, an original photo may need to be cropped to fit into the appropriate puzzle size.
If you have questions about submitting a photo to be used as a custom puzzle, please contact Jim at 781-639-8162 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Digital photography tips
We asked our photography experts for a bit of advice on digital photo enhancement. Here's what we discovered:
The leading photo tweaking program is Adobe Photoshop, a fantastic yet costly program for Mac and Windows. A much more affordable version with a gentler learning curve is called Photoshop Elements.
We're also pleased to share a few tips for enhancing your pictures using these and similar digital photo software packages:
Exposure problems? Choose Auto Levels from the Image menu in PhotoShop to correct exposure problems and color balance.
Blurry image? Choose the Sharpen tool under the Filter menu in PhotoShop to make it clearer.
Looking to remove an unwanted element from your picture? Use the Clone tool. If it's a large area you're looking to remove, use the Patch tool, grouped with the Clone tool.
Want to insert something from one photo to another? Start by having both photos opened on the desktop. Use the Pen tool to select the element that you want to move. Then use the Move tool and drag and drop the selection into the target image.
Of course, digital photo manipulation can be tricky, and involves much trial and error. Here are a few books on the subject:
Shooting Digital: Pro Tips for Taking Great Pictures with Your Digital Camera (ISBN: 0782141048)
Rick Sammon's Complete Guide to Digital Photography: 107 Lessons on Taking, Making, Editing, Storing, Printing and Sharing Better Digital Images (ISBN: 0393325512)
Adobe Photoshop 7.0 Classroom in a Book (ISBN: 0321115627)
Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0: A Visual Introduction to Digital Imaging (ISBN: 0240519183)
PhotoShop in Seven Easy Steps (ISBN: 1840782188)