Saturday, November 29, 2008

Jon asks...

"What sort of photo editing occurs for school photos? I never imagined that was part of the process."

I guess it sort of varies depending on what's wrong with the kid's face. We do a lot more editing than the big school photo companies.

We crop and straighten all the photos. We pop a few zits and fix stray hairs. People can pay for heavier zit popping. The biggest difference between us and the big guys is that we get rid of the glare from the flashes on glasses. Glare on glasses takes the most time of anything we do, and is fairly difficult. I'm getting pretty good at it and having a tablet/pen input device makes it a lot easier. The big companies specifically say on their order forms that they do not retouch glare on glasses. Another thing we do is colour balancing. We colour balance the photos from each photographer's setup for each day so that pictures of siblings will match even if they go to different schools or are photographed by different photographers.

The colour and light levels change dramatically based on where you are shooting. For example if you are in a school gym that is home of the "Red Devils" and there is a huge red logo behind you on the wall, some of the light from the flashes will bounce off of the logo onto the kid making them more red than usual. If the photographer beside you doesn't have the logo behind them, the pictures will have a different colour cast. Then if the younger sibling is goes to school at the home of the "Blue Devils" they will have a different colour cast as well. Shooting in a drama room looks different than shooting in the gym, art room, or cafeteria. Even though the pictures are mostly the same.

We try to control all the variables. It seems to be working for us.


School Photo Printing Done

We finished printing the school photos today. Some of the ladies at work were discussing the last time we were done before December and it has been over 5 years at least.

The new printer coming late put us four weeks behind on the printing before we even started, so it was great that we were able to get it done. Next year, we are going to be sitting around waiting for the cheques to clear.

Apart from the speed of the printer itself, several other factors sped up printing and packaging.

For example

Photo editors don't have to split their time between editing and printing the photos. Now the editors only edit the photos, which lowers the switchover time between editing and printing.

The person operating the printer works independently of the editors. This means that anything that needs to be reprinted can just be reprinted. This reduces interruptions to the photo editors, and there is less waiting around for reprints.

The new printer is can have a much longer print queue. The machine can print unsupervised once the jobs are entered, allowing the operator to do other things while waiting for the queue to finish.

We don't laminate the photos anymore and cutting the prints to separate them has been mostly eliminated by the new printer. We will likely be able to eliminate all the cutting once we have more time to make templates and tweak the printer a little more.

There are a few more things that we could do to improve, but for the most part, many of the bottle necks have been removed.

Monday, November 17, 2008

KFC Police

I met a guy about 12 years ago that that raises fighting cocks. At the time, he had about 40!

He kept the big ones all together, it is safe to do that because although they naturally fight each other, if the pecking order is already established they don't fight. He said that if he separated one out and the put it back after a week or so the rest would have forgotten their friend and kill it fast.

He took out 2 little ones to show us a fight. They started fighting right away.
Trying to peck and scratch each other with their spurs. Luckily they were too little to harm each other. It was very interesting.

He let them all out and they all went looking for food. After little while later, one of the younger cocks started fighting with one of the hens. The owner whistled for his #1 fighter (mainly to draw attention that there was a fight going on) and it came over and broke the fight up and it let the hen know that it wasn’t allowed to fight by pecking her.

The hen got one last peck in after the fight was over. The guy laughed and said, "Just like a woman, she just had to get that last peck in."

That guy was very interesting. He knew the pecking order of his birds. He knew which rooster was the toughest. He told us that the #1 bird in the pecking order was actually the 3rd toughest rooster, #2 and #3 were both tougher, but because they were younger they could still remember when the #1 was stronger. I guess the top cock maintained his position through roughing up the younger birds and then continually intimidating them as they got bigger and older.

So it seems that chickens just don't like fighting if the pecking order is set in their minds.


Sunday, November 16, 2008


So instead of sleeping right now I am going through the photos on my computer. I have this one saved in the folder called, "BEST WEEKEND EVER".

Monday, November 03, 2008

Time Change

With the removal of Daylight savings time, it gets dark a lot sooner than usual. About an hour actually. I really like having a little daylight left after work. I much prefer that to having a little more light in the morning.

Things are going well. I've finished going out to the schools and now we are focused on printing all the pictures as well as studio work.

I have about half the airmiles I need to get an xbox 360, but the good news is that Safeway has introduced a new card that gives you 50 bonus airmiles when you spend $40. Which is actually pretty easy. I spent $70 today. I guess I should pay attention to how much everything costs and spread my purchases out to maximize airmile potential.