Photographic Matchmaking

When you place several pictures in a document or presentation, or on the Web, be sure they look good together. Photos taken at different times, under various conditions, and/or using dissimilar equipment will tend to look or feel different. A novice might not know what bothers him about seeing two such photos on the same page, but subliminally it will strike a discordant note.

To develop your eye for recognizing when photos will look good together, spend some time studying and analyzing brochures, newsletters, catalogs, and Web sites that you feel do a good job with photos, as well as those that don't work in your estimation. Try to understand what attributes of the pictures are clashing or out of sync with each other. As a rule, any two pictures that you plan to put onto the same page or in the same document should have the same level of contrast, sharpness, and noise. The nature of their light, shadows, and color should be quite similar (see Color Figure 16 in the color insert in the back of the book).

In many cases, you can edit photos to bring them closer to each other in terms of contrast, color, and dynamic range (the percentage of highlights and shadows). However, some things, such as the direction and type of light may or may not be correctable in photo-imaging software (see Chapters 9 and 18).

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