March's Web Site of the Month lets digital photographer
upload images and have them printed and framed using their
choice of a wide variety of wood or metal frames.
It will probably come as
no surprise to Shutterbug readers that digital cameras are now the number
one computer peripheral. One of the things that people like to do with
any kind of photograph--digital or otherwise--is to share, print, and
frame them. This month's Web Site of the Month lets you do all
three via the Internet. It's rare to feature a commercial web
site as Web Site of the Month, but when I heard about eframes.com I
knew that Shutterbug readers would be interested in a site that lets
you upload images, frame, and ship the framed images to friends and
When you get to eframes.com you are presented with three choices that
comprise the essence of what the site is about.
Create An Album. This part of the eframes site allows
you to create an online album of images that not only you, but others
can access to view and even order framed prints. To use the Album section,
you need to be a registered user. To register, all you have to do is
follow the links to a simple page that asks for your name and e-mail
address. You also get to choose a password that you will use to logon
to the site in the future. For those of you concerned about online security
and don't want to provide your e-mail address, you don't
have to be a registered user to simply upload an occasional image, and
have it printed and framed. You can upload images one at a time, but
by creating an album, you allow friends and family members to have access
to your images. Since ultimately you are going to have to provide a
credit card number to pay for your framed image anyway, those concerned
about online security would have lost interest by then.
One of eframes' best features is the ability to store
collections of images in albums. You can even have, as you
see here, many different albums available at one time, which
can be selectively viewed by friends and family. By giving
them the link to the page, family members can view images
in an album and order framed prints.
The Create a New Album window
lets you add images to an album, rename an album, or even remove an album
that you had setup. You can create many different albums: one for your
vacation photos, one for pictures of your friends, and even one for all
of the images you've created with your new image manipulation program.
The choices are limitless. You can edit and control each album separately,
and print images from any one or all whenever you want to. After you've
filled your digital album with images, eframes will assign you a distinctive
URL (Uniform Resource Locator) code for that page. You can e-mail that
link to friends who can use it to browse through the photographs in that
album, but only that album. If you have other albums of images, they can
only access those album pages--if you give them the link. You can even
give your friends permission to print copies of images that they like.
Print And Frame Your Digital Photo. The heart of eframes
is this section which lets you upload a digital image or choose one from
an album. Uploading is simple, and like most eframes, it feels like you're
using a software application instead of working through a web site using
a browser. For now, eframes.com only works with JPEG (Joint Photographers
Experts Group) files. Almost all image-editing programs, including Adobe's
Photoshop and PhotoDeluxe plus lots of others, can save a photograph,
scan, or drawing as a JPEG file. The main reason that eframes is currently
working with JPEG files is that most web browsers can only display JPEG
or GIF (Graphic Inter-change Format) images. If eframes accepted images
in different formats, you wouldn't be able to see them in your browser,
which means you couldn't see them in different frames or in an album.
For those who may be asking, "Why can't I upload GIF images?"
the reason is that the GIF format isn't practical for images that
will ultimately be printed. GIF images can display up to 256 colors and
any photograph of reasonable quality contains thousands or millions of
colors. In future versions of eframes.com the company has plans to accept
images in other formats, then convert them online for you, but for now,
they're sticking with JPEGs.
you prefer, you can upload single images to eframes and
this part of their web site lets you crop the image, order
a print, or frame it.
After you select a specific
image, you can use a cropping tool, much like you would find in an image-editing
program, to crop any unwanted space from the photograph. Another choice
is to resample the image to increase the quality of the printed images,
although I remember that old computer adage of "garbage in, garbage
out" and think that the better quality file that you upload the
better quality the output will be. When you have the image looking just
like you want, you can electronically preview the photo within a variety
of photo frames. If you need information about the process, you can click
on the "faq" icon at the bottom of each web page.
When you go to the Select A Frame page, you'll see a choice of three
major frame types. What's impressive about the selection of wood,
metal, and specialty frame choices is that most of them are quite unique
and are of a type and style you won't find at the local Wal-Mart.
To preview frame types, you click on the icon for each type and use arrows
to view up to four different frames types at a time. Prices for each frame
are shown directly beneath a photograph of that frame. Take the time to
browse through all of the choices. When you find the frame you're
looking for, click on it and you will see your image placed inside that
frame. While the frame prices are not inexpensive--they run from $15 to
$28--they are unique and the price includes the print cost.
Some of the frames come in only one or two sizes, so if you really want
to see your image in one of these frames, you must either crop it using
our cropping function, or you can use an image manipulation program of
your own to change the size of the image. The only other option is to
choose a new frame. If eframes doesn't show the size you want, it's
probably not available. The third section of the opening page is called,
"Buy A Frame Only" and lets you only purchase a frame, which,
to my mind anyway, defeats the purpose of the web site, but curious surfers
might want to check it out.
After you place an order using your credit card, the photo is printed
using Fuji equipment at an eframes.com distribution center, placed in
the wood, metal or specialty frame chosen by you and shipped to any US
address with optional gift wrap and a personalized note.
Another Bookmark. Although Yashicamat 124G cameras are
no longer being manufactured, they remain a popular "first step"
for photographers wanting to try medium format without spending a lot
of money. When first establishing my studio, I purchased a used-but-clean
Yashica-mat 124G to serve as a back-up camera to my Hasselblad. Thanks
to John Harper for sending his favorite bookmark at http://home. att.net/~j..harper/
his web site dedicated to providing information about this durable twin
lens reflex camera. The site gets 800 hits a month from Yashica TLR fans,
and if that describes you, you owe it to yourself to add it to your own
If you'd like to see your web site featured in an upcoming column
or would like to send me your favorite bookmark, drop me an e-mail care