How to Capture Vibrant Spring Flowers with Macro Photography

If the onslaught of seasonal allergies is any indication, spring is here, and that means flowers are starting to pop up all over our yards and neighbourhoods. This is good news for the photography enthusiast, as there will be lots of new chances to capture colourful, vibrant flowers as they bloom. You don’t have to leave the comfort of your home either – you can experiment with taking photos of flowers in vases or planters inside your home, or out in your front or back yard garden. To help you capture stunning floral images you’ll be proud to showcase, our LDExperts are sharing all kinds of tips below, from shooting tips to what kinds of macro lenses they recommend, and which print surfaces will make your colourful spring images pop.

Lenses for Macro Photography

Bursting with colour, flowers hold a great deal of beauty, and often look even more stunning when photographed extremely close up, showing off their vibrant colour and unique details. A good macro lens will allow you to focus while the lens is very close to the flower. For this reason, we recommend giving a macro lens a try. You’ll be able to get extremely close to the flowers, filling the frame with fresh blooms, and easily isolating the smallest of subjects.

The best option for macro photography is an interchangeable lens system – either a DSLR or mirrorless camera – which you can then add a macro lens to. Look for a macro lens with 1:1 magnification ratio or higher. A 50mm macro lens will focus closer than a 100mm macro lens, but will still provide the same magnification. Whatever system or brand you use there will be a macro lens for it. You can browse our full selection here.

Or as an affordable alternative, try a macro extension tube that fits between your camera body and the lens, which will essentially turn your standard lens into a macro. However, this does reduce the total light the lens can transmit, so you’ll need to use a wider aperture or slower shutter speed to compensate.

If your smartphone also acts as your primary camera, you could add a macro lens accessory to your smartphone (like the Pictar Smart Lens), which will help you achieve somewhat similar results with the convenience of your phone. The lens is simply clipped on top of your phone’s built-in camera lens.

Technical Tips for Better Macro Flower Photos

Aperture

First, let’s talk about aperture. You’ll be choosing your aperture based on whether you want to keep most of the image in focus, or would rather draw only a main point of interest into focus. For instance, you may choose to have the entire flower in focus, or just a few key petals that have some water droplets on them. To keep most of the image in focus, you’ll want to use a narrow aperture (a higher f/stop), versus if you only want part of your image in focus, try a wider aperture (a lower f/stop). Just switch to Aperture Priority Mode on your camera (Av on Canon, A on Nikon), choose your f/stop, and your camera will automatically adjust the shutter speed.

Focus

Because of the shallow depth of field you will be dealing with when shooting macro, your focus needs to be very precise. As a result, you may not want to rely on auto-focus. Consider switching to manual focus to ensure the sharpest possible image. You could also switch to a single point auto-focus in your settings, which will help you focus on a particular part of the flower.

ISO

To ensure the best quality image, make sure you are using the lowest ISO setting possible for your exposure. If you do need to use a higher ISO, to help avoid camera shake and ensure the image is sharp, consider using a tripod which help with eliminate camera shake.

Shooting Tips for Macro Flower Photography

Ready to start shooting spring blooms? Here are 9 photo tips to try:

  1. Avoid harsh lighting or shaded areas which can cause unflattering shadows by shooting on an overcast day.
  2. Use a good polarizer to make the blue skies deeper, but also saturate colour from the flower, and eliminate glare and shine on the flower’s surface.
  3. Find one flower that stands out from the rest, or an insect like a bee on a flower, and focus your shot on that subject.
  4. Hard to find a flower that stands out? Shoot from a lower angle, up at the flower, with the sky as your background.
  5. Use a tripod that allows you to get very low to the ground (it’s best if it has legs that release and can spread wide).
  6. Try different coloured backgrounds, such as a background of green grass, versus a sea of colourful flowers in the background.
  7. Experiment with the distance your flower is from the background, as this will change the depth of field (blurring the background to different degrees).
  8. Use a frontal fill flash, which will increase the sharpness of your image, and boost the look of saturated colours.
  9. Try shooting in the rain and mist, when water droplets are visible on flower petals. No moisture to work with? Carry water in a spray bottle, or add glycerin to the water so that the droplets stay better on the petals and leaves.

Prints That Will Highlight Your Flower Images

If you’re looking for a print to do your colourful floral photos justice, look no further than our Photolab’s aluminum metal panels. They have a high gloss finish that will make your photos look incredibly sharp and vibrant. Coated aluminum sheets are infused with dyes that will especially bring out the colour in your rich, detailed floral images. Perfect for making those bright flowers pop! Many photographers also choose this print surface because of its durability and resistance to fading.

Choose between aluminum panel montage walls, an aluminum panel with black frame, collages, or your standard full image aluminum panel. We can print these up to 40×60 in size! Turnaround time is quick – just 5 business days for smaller panels. Panels larger than 16×20 may take up to 14 business days. You can order through our website, or using our London Drugs Photolab App (available for iOS and Android). If you’d like a little guidance from our LDExperts, or want to see a sample, just visit us at your nearest London Drugs location!

3 Easy Ways to Display Your Larger than Life Photos

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine just how incredible your photos are when they’re only displayed on your camera’s little display screen, or on your phone. But trust us when we say having them printed as a large format print will make them look breathtaking!

Using our state-of-the-art printing processes, we’re able to make your images larger than life, in a variety of fine art textures and finishes. And you might be surprised by just how big we can print your images – our ultimate enlargements, for example, go all the way up to a whopping 44”x96”!

No matter which surface or size you choose, our experienced Photolab technicians hand-inspect every image and correct it as needed; we can lighten, darken and even correct for colour shift. We also use patented dye inks that deliver rich colour with superior definition. And we guarantee satisfaction on every print. With over 35 years of photofinishing experience under our belts, we’re confident you’ll be blown away by the look and quality.

And if you’re on a time crunch – no need to worry. Many of our large format prints have quick turnaround times, so your photos will be ready to hang in no time.

Here are 3 easy ways to display your larger than life photos:

1. Ultimate Enlargements

Turnaround time: only 2 business days

Sizes available: 5”x7” up to 44”x96”

Our ultimate enlargements can be printed up to 44”x96”, which is definitely big enough to cover any of your bare walls. We use our Epson P9000 large format printer with high quality Epson inks, which have an archival stability of 200 years. Your print can even be mounted and laminated for easy display and durability. The only tough choice: will you order on high quality pearl or glossy photo paper?

2. Canvas Gallery Wraps

Turnaround time: only 3-5 business days

Sizes available: 9”x9” up to 40”x60”

For a textured fine art finish, you can order one of our premium quality Canvas Gallery Wraps up to 40”x60” in size. We have two finishes to choose from: traditional or pearlescent metallic. What’s great about this style of prints is that you don’t even need a frame! The canvas is stretched over a 1-3/4” deep wooden frame and can feature either black, white or mirrored edges. The wooden frame makes your print extra easy to display and gives your image added depth and dimension. Plus, you also have the option to order with a floating frame, so that your print looks even more polished when hung on the wall.

3. Aluminum Metal Panels

Turnaround time: only 5 business days (14 days for sizes larger than 16”x20”)

Sizes available: 4”x4” up to 40”x60”

Looking for an ultra-modern way to showcase your photos? Our Aluminum Metal Panels go up to size 40”x60”, and with their high-gloss finish, they’re sure to stand out. These lightweight metal panels are also very durable and resistant to fading, making them a great option for displaying in high traffic areas.

The metal panels are printed by taking coated aluminum sheets and infusing them with dyes. The process will make your image come alive with vibrant colour – especially if your image is highly detailed, like a landscape photo.

 

Ready to make your images larger than life? Get started by uploading your photos to our Photolab online, using our in-store kiosks, or downloading our London Drugs Photolab App for iOS and Android!

Grad 2018: Preserve Your Graduation Memories

As the school year comes to a close, many graduates begin to look forward to the end of classes, graduation festivities, and the future ahead. Graduating is an incredible milestone – one that often takes a great deal of blood, sweat and literal tears (and perhaps some sleepless nights studying) to get there. And all of that hard work culminates in that special moment when you – or your child – walks across that stage in their cap and gown. It’s a moment that is most certainly worth preserving.

 

Graduation Cards

This special milestone is only made better by being able to celebrate it with your closest family and friends. Invite them to attend your graduation, or your graduation party or dinner, with personalized graduation cards.

To start creating your own unique grad cards, choose from flat or folded, single or double-sided cards, and our selection of specialty papers. Then browse our large selection of graduation-themed templates. Lastly, add some personalization with a photo and the details of your graduation celebration.

To preserve this special date, keep one of your grad cards tucked away for yourself that can be added to a scrapbook or memory box. It’ll be a special moment you can look back on years from now!

As a parent of a graduate, you may want to customize your own graduation announcement cards. Is there really anything better than bragging about your kids’ accomplishments? These certainly help. Personalize them with photos of your proud graduate and a personal message that you can hand out or mail to family and friends.

 

Prints & Enlargements

The day of graduation, you’ll likely be snapping a lot of photos, whether it’s using your smartphone, a point-and-shoot, or DSLR. Luckily, with the help of our new London Drugs Photolab App for iOS and Android, you can order prints of your favourite graduation pics right from your smartphone – or upload your photos to our Photolab website or in-store kiosks. While digital photos are great, for special milestones like graduation, it’s always best to have some hard copies – even if they’re just as a backup.

You can also share this academic achievement with all of your family, near and far, by sending them a few copies of your graduation photos. You know grandma is going to love showing off her super smart grandchildren to anyone who will listen, after all. We ship across Canada, so you can even send them your graduation prints directly when you place your order with our Photolab.

If you had professional graduation portraits taken, we can also create beautiful prints of those images. Order prints or enlargements you can frame, or a fine art print like our aluminum metal panels. We even offer graduation-themed collage templates for our aluminum metal panels, so you can customize a unique and treasured graduation keepsake to hang on your walls.

 

Graduation Photobooks

When there’s just too many great photos to choose a favourite, a photobook is a great way to preserve all the best moments from graduation day. We even have special themed grad templates so you can just pop in your photos, add text, and voilà! You have a beautiful, professionally printed photobook you can keep front and center on your coffee table.

Need a little help getting started? Speak with one of our Photolab Experts at your local London Drugs! Or, you can make your graduation print order through our Photolab website, at any of our in-store Photolab kiosks, or using our London Drugs Photolab App for iOS and Android.

Don’t Let Your Memories Fade: Preventing Photo Damage

A single photograph is capable of speaking a universally understood language: freezing an exact moment and feeling in time.

That big box full of vintage prints has been passed from generation to generation, but they’re not as vibrant as they once were. Now they live in your attic… how will you continue to preserve them?

Light, heat, and humidity can damage or even destroy what was documented long before the age of memory cards, Instagram and Facebook. If you have photos taken between 1936 and 1990, those are especially in danger of fading. The processing used during that time causes them to degrade faster. Digital restoration is only possible to a certain degree, so preserving those photos should be a top priority.

Digital duplication and restoration is one of the easiest ways to ensure all of your family vacations, birthday parties and anniversaries withstand the test of time. With our Photo Scanning Box, preserving a legacy is a painless, one-step process. Fill the box with up to 800 images and have them returned along with a USB flash drive full of virtual copies, yours to recreate, edit, or redistribute. Back them up on any or all devices at home or work, and never fear another year in a dusty shoebox. Check out more information on our Photo Scanning Box here!

If spider webs aren’t a bother, or if you’re a pro scrap-booker with a glitter glue collection even Martha Stewart would envy, knowing how to protect those hard copy prints is of the utmost importance.

Storing your photos in folders or files meant for archiving is a tried and true solution to keeping your wedding pics crisp. Before moving your prints and Polaroids to their new, and likely, permanent home, wipe the surface of each photo with a clean cloth to remove any residue or dust. Even better, wear a pair of gloves as you handle the photos, to avoid leaving oily residue on your snaps.

Whether you’re planning to store or showcase your photos, there are two things to remember when choosing a spot: the room should be weary of traffic; avoid well-used living areas and hallways, out of harm’s way and greasy fingerprints, and be cautious of the room’s average temperature. Areas that are typically warm with a lot of natural light is a big no-no: big bay windows will wash out color, leaving them dull and muted, and humid attics will crack, ripple, and curl the edges of the photo paper.

For walls that look a little bare, you could also consider putting your memories on full display. Best practice is to showcase them behind framed glass, where smiles stay white, and holiday sweaters will stay a festive shade of traffic stopping red. When you order your next prints from our Photolab, you’ll be able to choose a frame to match. Personalized and protected, your photos will be a lasting statement piece in your home.

Prints on aluminum metal panels are also a great choice. They’re fade resistant and super modern: a look that will liven up any home, and will last for a lifetime.

Photographs tell your story. Let that story be shared and protected for future generations.

 

 

World Photo Day 2017: Celebrating Moments in Time with Photofinishing

Even in today’s digital-centric world, printing has remained an incredibly important part of the photography process. Photography is meant to celebrate a special moment in time, and photo printing helps us to share that moment with the world. It’s worth reminding ourselves just how powerful a photo can be, especially while we celebrate World Photo Day.

Developing negatives has always been an exciting part of the process for any photographer, and for a long time it was the only way to share your captured images. It was the only way to tell your story. Henry Fox Talbot pioneered the process of chemically developing film negatives, patenting the process of ‘calotype’ in 1841. This calotype process made photography more practical than paintings and illustrations, with the new ability to make any number of prints from a single negative image. Suddenly, photography was accessible to the everyday person.

However while our options used to be limited to basic prints and enlargements, photographers now have all kinds of unique print surfaces at their fingertips. Thanks to digital technology, we can tell the story of each photo not just with the developed print, but through editing and the print surface itself. After all, a bright, vivid image won’t be conveyed the same way as a dark moody image on the same surface. You’ve chosen a moment in time that you want to celebrate, now you just have to find the perfect surface to share it. Here is a look at some of our favourite print surfaces.

Aluminum Metal Panels

These high-gloss aluminum metal panels have become a popular choice for photographers in recent years. We’ve had many professional photographers tell us these eye-catching prints have been popular with their clients as well. The coated aluminum sheets are infused with dyes that can make any image, especially detailed and rich landscape photos, come alive with vibrant colour.

The London Drugs Photolab has expanded the availability of metal printing technology from just one location to now several Photolab locations, which have the special presses necessary to create the aluminum prints on-site. The lightweight and durable surface makes these prints ideal for hanging on the walls of your home or gallery. They’re also an especially good choice for high traffic areas, thanks to their resistance to fading.

Local photographers Stacy William Head and Larry Hilderman have both printed their landscape images on aluminum metal panels. Stacy finds that the aluminum surface gives his rich, long exposures a very surreal feeling compared to paper or canvas. Larry appreciates the depth it gives his landscape images. You can read more about both Stacy and Larry’s experiences with aluminum metal panels on their respective blog posts here and here.

Canvas Gallery Wraps

Turning your most precious moments into a true work of art is easy with canvas gallery wraps. Using specially pigmented inks with archival qualities, the image is printed on a fine art canvas. The canvas is then stretched around the sides of a 1.75” wooden frame and secured on the back. This style gives the image added depth and dimension. Since the image is printed right to the very edge of the canvas (otherwise known as “full-bleed”), the print can be hung on a wall without an art frame. If you do want the look of a border, our LDExperts in the Photolab recommend a black or white frame, or a floating black frame.

Our LDExperts recommend keeping the canvas dry and avoiding water or liquid cleaning solutions. This will help to preserve the image’s colour and contrast, allowing it to last for many years without noticeable fading.

A new offering is the metallic canvas, which features a pearlescent finish and vibrant colour reproduction. If you’re looking for a unique surface texture, this is an excellent choice.

Bamboo Prints

The texture of bamboo prints really is unparalleled. Made of 90% bamboo fibres and 10% cotton, this ultra-matte, finely crafted white paper offers a unique look and feel to your image. The surface offers maximum aging resistance and an extremely large colour gamut. As an added bonus, bamboo prints are also environmentally-friendly, as bamboo is considered to be a highly renewable resource.

Local photographer Matt Ferguson was impressed after printing on bamboo for the first time. The “texture and physical feel to the print” made it stand out, and he felt as though he “could actually touch the trees and feel the coolness of the fog” featured in his image. If you’re curious to hear more about his experience you can, check out this blog post.

 

Hopefully World Photo Day will inspire you to experiment with your photofinishing options and try something new. Consider the image you have (portrait or landscape), the colours (vivid or dark), and the purpose (home décor or gallery display) and use those elements to help you decide which surface will best tell the story of your image. If you need a little extra help deciding which surface is the right choice, just speak with one of our LDExperts in the Photolab department in-store!

Enter For Your Chance to Win One of Two Aluminum Metal Prints, Featuring Stunning Canadian Landscapes by Photographer Brandon Born #Canada150

We’re teaming up with Canadian photographer Brandon Born to give away two of his prints featuring incredible Canadian landscapes.

As an Alberta-based photographer, Brandon loves adventuring in the great outdoors, capturing the natural beauty of Canada, from the Northern Lights to the famously picturesque backdrops of Banff National Park.

Photo: In Awe by Brandon Born

In Awe by Brandon Born

“I chose these images for the giveaway prints because I wanted to share the simpler scenes that we see in Canada. Both day and night we are blessed with beautiful light and colour. It’s not a necessity to travel to Banff or Algonquin to see a spectacular scene. Simply stepping out into your backyard or driving out of the city a little ways will take you to a marvelous location. You will be astonished by all that Canada has to share, from the mountains, to the coastlines, to everything in between.

I have been fortunate enough to have travelled all around North America and many other parts of the world, but something has always brought me back to Canada. The colours, the smells, the people: Canada has something that nowhere else does. It’s this ‘something’ that I want to share with the world and motivates me to keep on capturing the beauty that surrounds us.

Photo: In a Field by Brandon Born

In a Field by Brandon Born

Whether it’s the mountains in Banff, or the auroras that light up the night sky, I want to use my camera to show the world what makes Canada such an incredible country. I first printed with the London Drugs Photolab 3 years ago and was extremely impressed with how accurately their aluminum metal panels showcased my images. It was a great way to share my work with those around me.

I love printing on metal because of the crisp and vivid colours it portrays. The London Drugs Photolab’s high gloss metal panels are perfect for sharing the vivid colours that Canadian landscapes are so famous for and I’m very excited to be able to share these landscapes with all of you!”

If the walls of your home are looking a bit bare, fine art photo prints, such as aluminum metal panels, are a creative way to spruce up your space. The durable, high-gloss and fade-resistant surface brings images to life, making them a statement piece in any room.

Brandon will be drawing two giveaway winners on his Instagram account at noon MST on June 29th, 2017. Each winner will receive one of Brandon’s prints on our aluminum metal panels. The first draw winner will receive a 24×16 aluminum metal print of “In Awe”, a self-portrait image of the northern lights in Northern Alberta, and the second draw winner will receive an 18×12 aluminum metal print of “In a Field”, an image of one of the spectacular Albertan sunsets that captivate onlookers throughout the summer.

Want to win one of these amazing prints to hang on your walls at home? If you’re a Canadian resident, enter for a chance to win by heading over to Brandon Born’s Instagram and:

  1. Comment on Brandon’s Instagram giveaway post, tagging 3 friends
  2. Follow @LDPhotolab on Instagram
  3. Follow @BrandonBorn on Instagram

Good luck!

Canadian photographer Brandon Born

See more of Brandon Born’s work on his website or on Instagram.

 

 

 

The allure of aluminum: photographer Stacy William Head’s landscape photos come to life with aluminum panel prints

For landscape photographers seeking out new and dynamic ways to showcase their images, aluminum metal panels offer a unique perspective. The striking, high-gloss quality of these prints and their resistance to fading set them apart from any other type of print surface, making them an attractive choice for photographers. The coated aluminum sheets are infused with dyes that can make any image, especially detailed and rich landscape photos, come alive with vibrant colour.

As the popularity of aluminum panels has grown in recent years, the London Drugs Photolab has expanded the availability of its metal printing technology from just one location to now several Photolab locations with the special presses necessary to create the prints on-site.

Photographer, Stacy William Head recently opted to print one of his favourite photos of Moraine Lake on aluminum for the first time with London Drugs. Below he shares his first impressions and why he plans to print on aluminum in the future.

I’m a landscape photographer based in the Canadian Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Canada in a small area known as Crowsnest Pass. My work usually incorporates long exposure techniques to create images that convey a sense of depth along with the passage of time. I enjoy exploring and photographing the area I live in as well as the National Parks that are close such as Banff, Jasper and Waterton.

About this shot – “Moraine Mist”:

This is probably one of my favorite shots I have taken. The optimum conditions lasted for less than five minutes and was taken with long exposure of 159 seconds to give it that surreal feel. I have wanted to get the clouds like this for a while at this location. Even though it’s a very popular destination – probably the most photographed location in Canada – it’s still a great feeling to capture your own moment to call your own and hopefully convey to others the feeling of this experience.

I really love the fact that the aluminum prints from London Drugs are both lightweight and very durable. Aluminum allows me to display my photos in vibrant color with a gorgeous contemporary aesthetic that will last for a lifetime. My photos are sometimes rich in colour and I like to try and create surreal feel in them through long exposure – the glossy aluminum really adds to this effect much more than paper or canvas prints can.

Above: Moraine Mist photo by Stacy William Head, printed on an aluminum metal panel at the London Drugs Photolab.

To learn more about London Drugs’ selection of print textures and finishes, click here.

 

See more of Stacy’s work on his website or on Instagram.