Sunday, March 29, 2009

Baby Bump

A few weeks ago, I thought it might be fun to take a few pictures of my friend, who's pregnant with her first baby. She was such a good sport and let me play around for most of the afternoon. I still miss my manual lenses and I'm still getting use to the dials on the digital body but it was super fun.
Katie definitely has that baby glow about here...she her shine! It looks like Ron can't be happier either.

Katie and Ron - Thanks for being such great sports - can't wait to meet the baby!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Lesson 4: Mountin' Them Fine Pictures - Finding your Mat

So what is a mat? As I walked around the trade show floor, I heard vendors calling all kinds of different things a matted album. Technically they are all right because a matted album can be loosely defined as an album where the photographs within the album are surround by some type of frame. Problem is, there are many ways to create a frame around a picture that results in a variety of qualities. Translation? Costs passed onto you.

Starting with the basics, there are three parts of the matting process to be aware of:

1) the photograph - self explanatory
2) the page - or also known as the backing. This is what the photograph adhered to or in some cases, just literally a backing
3) the mat - the frame around the picture.

In this lesson, I'm going to focus on the types of mats you might find. Although mats all perform the same essential function - to frame the picture - there are many varieties of mats that an album binder can use. Here are some that I've seen:

The Cardstock Mat. This is a mat that is made of heavy cardstock. Album makers will use card stock as a more cost effective alternative to a heavier (thicker) mat. Not only is the mat itself less expensive but so is cutting the mat. No special blades are needed to cut card stock.

This example shows a card stock mat that has an embellished edge. The embellished edge sets off the picture better and is printed onto the card stock.

This is an example of how the cards tock and the page mount work together to set off the picture. The mat itself (in black) is made of a textured cardstock. The picture is mounted onto a gold colored page. Therefore, the picture is actually being framed by the negative space created by mounting the picture about 1/2 inch away from the mat. The gold colored page mount creates a border around the picture. This is also a cost effective alternative to traditional mats.

The Traditional Mat.
Most photograph mats are made of wood pulp, or in other words, thick paper. Although the thickness of mats may vary, most traditional mats are about 1/16th of an inch thick.

The traditional mat frames a picture, like this example. The map is beveled, or in other words, cut at a 45 degree angle, to give the photograph depth. Mats come in many colors, usually with a white or cream core. The core is the beveled part of the mat.

The Double Thick Mat.
A double thick mat is approximately 1/8th of an inch, roughly double that of an traditional mat. Occasionally, two traditional mats stacked together is also called a double thick mat.

This double thick mat really shows off the beveled edge and gives the photo even more depth.

This is an example of a double thick white mat with a black core. In this case, the mat itself is made from black paper. The top layer of the mat is covered in white paper. That is way when the album maker cuts into the paper, the mat core is black. Another way to make a colored core is to paint the core once it has been cut. This is much more time intensive and therefore, probably more costly.

The Double Mat.
The double mat is two mats stacked on top of each other. This gives more depth to the picture and provides you the option of mixing and matching colors. By choosing two different colored mats, you can create unique borders.

This example shows two mats stacked on top of each other, creating depth. If you choose a different color for the bottom mat, for example - black, then there would be two borders around the the picture -- the black created by the second mat and the white beveled edge of the second mat.

In essence, you can mix and match any combination to make beautifully matted albums. Depending on the type of mat you choose and the way the mats are mounted (next lesson!), you'll be able to better determine the quality and value of the album.

Light and shoes

I'm never home during the day so I never get to see the afternoon light come through our staircase. The afternoon winter light makes quite a statement, as it turns out, especially on old shoes left in the hallway.

It was all thanks to Melissa, a friend and professional photographer-to-be, I would have never thought to give the light a second glance. She left these...

Just goes to show what I pay attention to these days!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Lesson 4: Mountin' Them Fine Pictures - Flush Mounts

Understanding how photographs are mounted into albums is one of the most important decisions you'll have to make when choosing your albums. Mounting can be defined as the method used to adhere a photograph to a medium. In the case of albums, photographs are usually adhered to paper. Remember these things?

Yup, these were the dreaded corner mounts. I hated these things because they never stuck to my backing and the pictures never stayed in place!

There are dozens of ways a photograph can be printed and mounted. Thankfully, album makers don't use corner mounts. However, album vendors have been known to mount their photographs differently, calling each process by different names. Because I feel that this topic is so important to understand, I'm going to break this subject into a few lessons. Today, I'm going to focus on flush mount.

Generally, there is one standard definition for flush mount - printing a single image and mounting it completely (or flush) to the backing of the company's choosing. I use the term "backing" losely but for albums, it refers to the thick card stock that are bound together to make the album leaves or pages. The singular image is likely to be a digital, printed image and may contain multiple pictures. Depending on your album maker, they may choose to print and mount an entire so...

...or cut your spread into two and mount the pictures as two pages. (Remember the gutters?)

Either way, the picture will be firmly adhered to the backing (usually thick card stock) - hence the term "flush" mount.

Also, don't be fooled - there are two types of flush mount albums - those that are mounted by the album company and those that you mount yourself. More on that next time...