10 07, 2016

Creating or modifying photo strip templates: Part 1

Photo booth strips can be more than just a piece of paper with some photos - graphic elements add to the fun!

A booth strip with a small amount of artwork on the top layer, as it was delivered to the guest.

While many variations of photo booths create different end results, such as images distributed on social media or videos saved for the benefit of the sponsor, the primary output of your photo booth is still a printed strip. That’s a big part of the photo booth experience – the anticipation. The waiting for those pictures to slide down a chute and into your hands. The close inspection, the showing to your friends, the laughter.

Warning: Photo Shop talk ahead

There’s no getting around it. If you want to design graphics, you need to have some skill as a graphic designer and that means the ability to work with Photo Shop or one of its clones.

Can you skip this? Yes. Software such as the Breeze family and Darkroom Booth have the ability to do some designs entirely within the program, but you are limited in how creative you can be.

When you buy a template from the Photo Booth Talk store or almost anybody else, what you’re going to receive is a Photo Shop computer file. So you really have to understand this kind of program.

If you aren’t familiar with such a program, go find someone to help you.

Still here? Good.

Graphic images can be created and saved as several types of computer files, but we’ll be working with only three.

PSD (Photo Shop Document) files are the editable files in which we will actually design our layouts. You can change them as much as you want, add text and layers and special effects, and they remain editable. If you use the right tools and work flow, your images will not lose detail over many iterations.  PSD files are regarded as non-lossy. They will have names like “Chicago.psd” where the file name extension is “.psd”.

They can be saved with multiple layers, allowing subsequent editing of specific elements only. That means when you create a great layout your can add it to your library of stock designs. Offer it to your clients and all you’ll need to do is change the names and the dates.

PSD files can only be seen and used by editing software such as (surprise!) Adobe Photo Shop. Less expensive programs like Adobe Photo Shop Elements and freeware/shareware programs such as GIMP can also handle PSD files.

JPG (Joint Photographic Expert Group), pronounced “jay-peg” files, are a universally-recognized form of compressed image files. They can be seen by just about all computer programs and can easily be printed. They’re a flat file – only one layer – and can not have transparent portions. They will have names like “background.jpg” where the file name extension is “.jpg”.

PNG (Portable Network Graphics) are a more recent file type. Like a .jpg file, they are flat. Like a .jpg file, they can be printed and seen by most computer programs. But unlike a .jpg file they allow transparency. So they are the best type of file for an overlay, for design elements that go in front of the photos of your guests. They will have names like “overlay.png” where the file name extension is “.png”.

The most popular type of design for booth strips can be reduced to 3 layers:

photo booth strip as it's being assembled, with an overlay layer about to be dropped onto the pictures.

The photos have been placed by the booth software, and now we’re ready to stack the overlay.png on top.

  • The bottom layer, often named “background.jpg”. If you are going to have all your custom details on an overlay, you don’t need a background layer.
  • The photo layer, which is created by placing the photographs taken during each booth session
  • The top layer, which generally has all the fun design elements – frames, logos, medallions, and possibly the names of the clients or sponsors. Usually named “overlay.png”.

On top of these layers, some software allows you to create easily edited “captions.” These captions might be details that change from one event to another, such as the name of the bridge and groom or the date.

One big advantage of using captions for the changeable data is that this process is done within the booth software rather than being done in a separate program such as Photo Shop. So if you’re at an event and suddenly realized the groom’s name is Kevin, not Kerwin, you can easily change it on the spot.

A disadvantage of captions is that they can’t have special effects such as beveling, following paths, metallic effects or other techniques possible with Photo Shop.

Each brand of photo booth software has its own way of handling your designs, and in the next chapter of this discussion we’ll go into that.

16 04, 2016

Photo Booth Expo Special Extended – Join VIP Platinum Today

Photo Booth Expo Special extended for the next 10 new memberships. Join the Photo Booth Talk Platinum VIP Club for $50 off the regular price, plus get a flash drive pre-loaded with all 186 templates in our marketplace for just $249.  Offer expires on April 30, 2016 or when supplies run out, whichever comes first.

For more info, go to https://www.photoboothtalk.com/the-vip-club/

To all those who came to visit me at my booth, thank you. I appreciate all of you so much. xoxo

Poster-FrontRGB Poster Back

14 07, 2015

New VIP Club Templates Released

New photo booth templates are now available for our Photo Booth Talk VIP Club members.

July 2015 Release – Beachside Bash

July15Feature

If you haven’t already picked up the June 2015 designs, don’t miss them.  They will only be available for VIPs to download for free until August 15.

June15Feature

VIPs download at http://photoboothtalk.com/members/member.  For more information on our VIP Club program, click here.

 

 

15 01, 2015

Red Carpet January Photo Booth Templates for VIPs

Roll out the Red Carpet!  Our January Photo Booth Templates are now available for VIP Club Members to download for FREE!  If you aren’t yet a VIP Club member, check out the benefits of joining here.

Red Carpet Photo Booth Templates

VIP’s we’re also taking requests for February.  If you are looking for a specific theme, post in the VIP Club section of the forum.  We’re keeping a list of popular requests, so if we don’t get to your design request right away, we will keep it in mind for future releases.

6 01, 2015

Aspect Ratios and Why They Matter:

aspectRatiosThe camera you choose and the printer you choose almost lock you into certain design elements.

Most point-and-shoot cameras like the Canon Power Shots have an aspect ratio – the relationship of photo height to width – of 4:3. That means the photographs are 1.33 times as wide as they are high when you are taking a horizontal (landscape) photograph.

Most DSLR cameras (the ones with removable lenses) have an aspect ratio of 1.5:1. That means the photographs are 1.5 times as wide as they are high when you are taking a horizontal (landscape) photograph. You could also express this as 2:3

If you want each photograph to be 2 inches wide – the most popular width for a photo booth strip – a P&S camera will make an image 1.5 inches tall. Four images stacked on top of each other, with no space between them, would be 6 inches tall. That would make an image 2” wide and 6” tall, the most popular strip size for a photo booth. There would be no space between them and no room to add artistic elements, and you would have absolutely the largest size for the faces of the subject possible.

Two variations of the design: the 4-up version uses 2:3 aspect ratio images, the 3-up uses 4:3 aspect ratio

Two variations of the design: the 4-up version uses 2:3 aspect ratio images, the 3-up uses 4:3 aspect ratio

Using a DSLR camera (or any other camera with a 1.5:1 aspect ratio) for the same exercise each photo would be 1.33 inches tall and 2 inches wide. Stacked four high, your images would total 2” x 5.33” – leaving .67” of white space on a 2” x 6” photo strip.

If you use only 3 images, with a maximum width of 2” per image, the 4:3 aspect ratio of a point and shoot camera will leave you 1.5” for your graphics at top, bottom and between shots.

3 images taken with a DSLR camera will leave you 2” for graphics.

Usually you’ll end up making your individual shots narrower than the full width of the paper, which means they’ll also be shorter from top to bottom. More room for graphics.

Cameras with the 4:3 aspect ratio give you a little taller image space, which can be handy when you’ve got short guests standing on tip-toe to get their heads in the photo.

Most commercial templates are designed for photos taken with the 1.5:1 aspect ratio, and if you use a Power Shot you’ll lose a little from the top and bottom of each photo. That can lead to guest complaints.

The most recent version of Breeze Systems’ PSRemote software offers a handy new option. You can select DSLR emulation and the software will automatically crop your individual pics to the 1.5:1 aspect ratio. It will also mask the live preview on your computer monitor so your guests won’t see areas that won’t make it into the final print.

How you set software to crop point and shoot images to the same aspect ratio as DSLRs

How you set software to crop point and shoot images to the same aspect ratio as DSLRs

So you can safely buy Cherie’s templates, for example, and know that you won’t need to redesign them.

Most of the templates in the site’s marketplace actually come as sets of templates: 1 for 3-photo 2x6s, 1 for 4-photo 2x6s, and one for 4×6″ prints. The 3-up versions have openings for images in the 4:3 aspect ratio while the 4-up versions have openings for images in the 1:1.5 aspect ratio.