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FAQs and Trivia
Getting good pictures of bling-stallations can be a bit of a challenge,
so these few dos and don'ts might help:
Make sure your camera does not have the flash or automatic
flash options on. Using the flash causes the camera to see mainly the
pool of light
created by the flash, making the bling look dim.
Housebling pictures look best when the installation
is very bright, or where there are light sources nearby (other installations
lighting) to give a hint of the shape and scale of the house. If you
get a picture that looks like spots of light on a black background, try
taking the photo at dusk so that the house becomes partially visible.
This may help to improve the overall effect.
Your camera's shutter speed will be at its slowest in pitch
darkness, so it will be very easy to get camera shake. And it's unlikely
visible on the camera's display when you check the picture. Obviously,
it's best to use a tripod, but if that's not possible, always use something
to lean your camera on, or hands against, as you take the picture. Lamp
posts, trees, walls, vehicles, sturdy friends, etc, will do nicely.
You've probably seen professional photographers
at work, they take loads of shots of one subject, even when using film.
Do the same: you can choose
the best, and bin the rest later.
Take the picture at the camera's highest quality setting so
that the maximum amount of visual information is present before you start
It's extremely advisable
to make a copy of any file you intend to work on or enhance. Keep the
original safe: it's easy to mess up!
Unless it's a very bright housebling installation,
you may find that the picture doesn't match up to what you saw. If you
took the picture
at the high quality setting, there's a chance that you can improve things.
To do so, use a picture manipulation program. Adobe Photoshop is what
the pros use, the popular Paintshop Pro isn't what the pros use, but
it and many other similar utilities and programs will do
the job for the purposes of houseblinger.com. You should experiment with
the brightness, contrast and colour saturation controls to see if you
get a better result. Don't 'wash out' a picture in an attempt to brighten
it up. You can use the 'sharpen' option to get a bit more sparkle, but
don't do this until after you have reduced the picture to its submission
size (see below).
Most non-pro cameras create picture files in the
JPEG compression format. Files in this format have the .jpg suffix. We
require all submissions
to be in this format.
We request that submitted pictures should
be no more than 400kb in file size.
All images on a computer screen are
composed of a matrix of picture cells (pixels). Computer monitors display
at 72 pixels per inch (sometimes
shown as 72ppi or 72dpi). Housblinger displays its submitted pictures
at 360 pixels wide but recommends submissions to be 640 pixels wide.
In your image manipulation program,
go to the Image Size option. This produces a dialogue box allowing you
to specify picture dimensions and
picture resolution. Make sure the proportional scaling option is checked,
so that when you reduce the width to 640 pixels, the height reduces in
the same ratio. Ensure that the picture resolution is set to 72 pixels
per inch (or 28 pixels per cm). At this point, you may find that the
picture can be enhanced further by applying the 'sharpen' facility.
Now save the file. Most programs, at this stage, ask you whether you
want to save the file at high quality or low. This directly affects file
size, so you must choose 'low quality'. This is quite acceptable for
on-screen viewing. By now, the picture file size should be in the region
of 200kb. However, your image manipulation program will be indicating
an un-compressed, working size. Now close the new file, and take a look
at the file in its folder window. If you have your files listed with
their details (not as icons), you will be able to see the file's size.
If the file size is still over 400kb, just check back through these instructions
to see if you've missed anything.
It is possible, at this stage, to 'optimise' the picture further for
the web. Optimisation makes the file size even less, without visible
loss of quality, and makes pictures load quickly. If you want to have
a go at this, find out how in your program's manual.
There's always more to learn! Why
not take a look on Amazon and
see if there's a book that will give you more than we're able to provide
Take a picture of your house in all its sparkling finery and email it to housblinger.com for free display on this site. Here's how...
Seen some excellent or excessive houseblinging? Take a snap and send
it to us
It's simple, and here's how you do it...
Here's some safety advice from Halifax
General Insurance. And take a
look at RoSPA's page on Christmas
Use the information here for instructions on how to do this.