Archive for the Tip or Trick Post Category

For Irfanview Users

Posted in Tip or Trick Post with tags , , on December 18, 2012 by Art of Photography

(This post is for experienced users, especially those familiar with *.ini files)

Have you taken the plunge and installed Irfanview? Or are you a long time user (it has been around since 1996) who still thinks it is one of the best image editors for quick jobs. If you are one of these, this post could be the Christmas gift you have always wanted.

70s effect

I recently received a comment from Disguy who reminded me that you can edit the *.ini file for Irfanview. Specifically he was talking about the settings I had posted for re-creating some of the current popular photo filters. Anyway, by using the function Color Correction Profiles, you can instantly apply the settings you want without having to refer to any kind of guide.

Lancaster Courthouse Dome, Grant County, Wisconsin

Lancaster Courthouse Dome, Grant County, Wisconsin

What we are going to talk about makes use of Color Correction Profiles. If you are not familiar with these, select Image >> Color Correction (or Shift + G). This brings up a dialog box that allows you to (among other things) specify brightness, gamma, color channels, contrast, and other image rending settings. In the bottom left of this panel you will see color profiles (newer versions of Irfanview, I am not sure when exactly this started). To use a profile you first have to set some. Once they exist, you click the drop down and select the profile you want then click the LOAD button. So, for the nine (9) sets of setting I gave in my earlier post, you could set up each one in the interface and then assign it a profile name.
Find the file i_view32.ini (%appdata%\irfanview) on your computer and open/edit it. Scroll to the end. If you have not set up any profiles, just copy this to the file and save it (you may want to save a copy of the file first before making any changes).

Now when you open a picture in Irfanview and go to the Color Correction panel you will see all these profiles listed in the drop down. If you already have some profiles set up follow this procedure.
1. Under [ColorCorrection] paste all the entries that start Profile_profilename=1;…
2. Find the entry that lists the Profiles by name and add the new names to the list (separated by the | symbol). How they are listed is how they show up in the drop down.


If you haven’t modified *.ini files before, just go slow and make sure you know what is being asked for before you take the action. If you save a copy of the original, you can just rename it back to i_view32.ini if you run into problems. Good luck to all!


Barnum, Wisconsin

Posted in Image Post, Tip or Trick Post with tags , , , , , , on August 24, 2012 by Art of Photography

Just a quick post with a single piece of advise. If you cannot get an image to process the way you want, try turning it into a graphics project. I could not get the face of the bike to lighten up in a picture (no level of detail visible) that was otherwise a nice composition, so I made a post card out of it instead…

I work with someone from Barnum, Wisconsin and I am pretty sure if they move, any signs that give the population number will have to be removed. Anyway, the image is now a little more interesting.

[personal note; good to see the Packer’s back on the winning track]

IrfanView In Use

Posted in General Post, Image Post, Tip or Trick Post with tags , , , , , on August 22, 2012 by Art of Photography

While tools like Photoshop and Topaz are very capable programs, because of the number of images I could be processing at any one time, I always look for simple quick tools that can do most the heavy lifting.
My favorite is a free program called IrfanView ( It downloads from third party sites (my link is to by CNet) but they do have their own website (
It is best to download the program and also the plug-ins package (separate item), especially for support with RAW files.

It is free and installs easily. It has been around for a long time and is highly recommended. I use it for navigation as well as initial processing. Although it has a lot of capabilities, it is easy to learn. Start with one skill and once mastered, you try another.

So, what is post-processing, and does it have value? Here are two images. The first is a raw, straight from the camera, picture. The second one has had the contrast adjusted.

As you can see, the horse starts to ‘pop out’. Further adjust gamma and color saturation and you get this…

All of these are the same image but the last one is closest to what I saw when I shot the picture. That should be the goal in all post-processing. To finish with a composition that makes you feel the same way you did when you decided the subject in front of you could be a good photo.

All of these adjustments were made with IrfanView.

I opened the image in the program and in the menu bar selected Image >> Color Corrections…
This opened up the adjustment panel

In the lower right section I set Contrast to 45, Gamma to 1.12, and Saturation to 150.
[Contrast is the difference between light and dark (where they meet).]
[Gamma is basically how bright the image is.]
[Saturation is brightness of color.]

IrfanView can do much more including crop, crop to a ratio, sharpen, blur, change resolution (use 96 dpi for images to be shown on a monitor, 240 dpi if it will be printed), and much more. It also has a decent batch processor to convert and/or rename files quickly.

All-in-all, this is how I start. Either I publish as is, continue tweaking with Photoshop, or use the image to preview things I might want to do with more capable graphics software.

In whatever you do, good luck and keep shooting!

Scripting Photoshop

Posted in Image Post, Tip or Trick Post with tags , , , on April 29, 2012 by Art of Photography

It has been a busy week but one of the sideline entertainments has been taking the time to delve into scripting Photoshop. For those unfamiliar with this aspect of the software, Photoshop has supported the use of AppleTalk, VB Script, and Javascript since version 7 (and maybe even earlier). In fact, some of the dialogs you see in the interface are script generated. Why script over Actions? Scripting brings in the power of regular programming functionality. Random numbers, If-then-else decision making, and iterate cycling are just a few of the features that scripting provides. You can include an Action in a script and you can include a script in an Action. Powerful stuff this but not for the casual user. You need to have mad object oriented programming skills because it’s all about the Photoshop DOM subset in leveraging the program’s transformative capabilities.
The end result is the below images. The first one is the before and the second one is the result of an action and a script. It took less than one minute to create. A GREAT time-savings for the busy professional.

Kaitie and Mom before the Prom

Painting with Photoshop Actions and Scripts

Thanks for being a reader and have a great week!


Posted in Image Post, Tip or Trick Post with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2012 by Art of Photography

Compositing is the art of assembling dis-associated images into a single composition. The most common version of this is chroma keyed backgrounds (‘green screen’ or maybe ‘blue screen’). However chroma key is primarily a technique for film and video. For photography, compositing is more often the inserting of objects into a picture (unless you are Dave Hill, then it is an art form of collages on steroids).

While adding something (or someone) to an image with Photoshop seems easy, the results are usually less than desired. The item looks pasted in and the effect is obvious.

Even when the objects don’t match type (a bikini babe in the middle of Times Square), a successful composite can be accomplished if the lighting matches for all objects. Light is our visual clues. Light has several properties (intensity, hue, and direction being the big three) and if they match then our eyes see a single location.

There are a lot of ways to adjust for this depending on a particular situation. The better your mastery of Photoshop, the more you will be able to adjust and tweak the final outcome, but understanding the role of light is the key to ‘making it work’.

Background wall and her glasses were added in post production.

This is a fun thing to do and I encourage everyone to play with this a lot. In the process you will become much more aware of scene lighting and that will have a direct impact on all of your photography!

Have a great week of picture making!

Instagram in Irfanview

Posted in Image Post, Photoshop Tutorial, Tip or Trick Post with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2012 by Art of Photography

I have blogged before about a great free program for image processing with the unusual name of Irfanview. This is, in my opinion, the best image manipulation program you can use until you step up to Photoshop (or possibly GIMP). Today’s blog is about using Irfanview to re-create some classic film and dark-room trick photo effects.
These settings can only be used in Irfanview ( but do not require the extra plug-ins package.
Ready to go!?!
With an image loaded into Irfanview, type a capital G (shift + G) or go to Image >> color corrections … in the menu options. This opens up a dialog with a before and after of your current image. On the left side you will find controls for Brightness and Color balance (Red/Green/Blue). The right side has controls for Contrast, Gamma, and Saturation. We will modify six (6) of these controls (I never touch Brightness, Gamma is way much better).
Note that these settings are not absolutes and you can always tweak them depending on the picture they are being applied to. They are a starting point however I recommend you do apply all the settings for the effect before you start tweaking.
The format for the filter instructions is ; Red, Green, Blue, Contrast, Gamma, Saturation.

Original Image

70’s; -5, 5, -50, 10, 1.1, 50

Chrome; -5, -20, 0, 75, 1.1, -25

Polaroid; 25, 30, 5, 0, 1.1, 0

C-41; 15, 30, 80, 0, .8, 25

CrossProcess; 35, 35, -50, 40, .8, -75

RedScale; 65, 30, -50, -10, .8, -50

Lomish; 35, 10, -60, 75, .75, -100

SkipBleach; 70, 60, 115, 10, .45, -125

Brownie; 30, 5, 100, 0, .9, 35

Chrome is meant to emulate KodaChrome color reversal film
C-41 relates to ‘normal’ color film processing (the main Kodak chemical is named C-41)
Cross Process, Red Scale and Skip Bleach are based on deliberate chemical misapplication techniques.
Brownie is based on 126 films.
70’s is based on time eroded prints.
Polaroid is emulating Polaroid’s emulsion.
Lomish incorporates some of the elements found in the output of the cheap Russian Lomo cameras.

Hope you find these useful and that you have a good time playing with them. Let me know if you run into problems or don’t understand something I wrote.

My Friend Emily

Posted in Image Post, Tip or Trick Post with tags , , , on January 13, 2012 by Art of Photography

This is my friend Emily. When it is raining and no one wants to come out and play, Emily is there. Emily works with me to practice various photographic techniques. Today she is posing while I figure out Rembrandt lighting. Rembrandt almost always painted in a distinctive style when doing portraits in his studio. A very dramatic lighting set up that has adapted well to photography. They way to tell Rembrandt style is to look at the shadow cast by the nose. It should connect to the shadow of the jaw.

Shouldn’t we all have an air of mystery about us?

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