Hello Indigo blog readers, this is Morgan King interrupting your usual blog author to explain all about making custom horizons for your Indigo Night prints based on your photographs. I’ve been doing the graphic design work for Indigo for many years, and have created lots of unique horizons for our customers in that time. Now Indigo Night is formally offering the service to everyone, so I’m here to explain how it works and what we require to make it happen!

There are several factors to consider when choosing the appropriate photograph for us work with – it can be done from less exacting images, but your satisfaction is more likely from photos that follow as many of these guidelines as possible:

  • Photos taken at sunset or sunrise are always the easiest and fastest to work from – it keeps the image from having sharp shadows while still having a distinct separation of earth and sky, which is excellent conditions for digitally extracting the horizon. Night time photos are ok, obviously, and they often have the benefit of having all the lights in the area being turned on, but if the skyline disappears into the dark of night, it can be time consuming to cut it out accurately.

  • The horizon part of the image should be as short and wide as possible! Think PANORAMA. The most common difficulty we encounter is the natural tendency to center the image, to ‘fill the frame’ with your subject: that makes for a great photo, but for the night sky print we need room for the sky. The horizon elements should be about 1/5 of the overall print area. It still needs to stretch across the length of the image, too. There’s a lot of ways to massage an image into fitting, but the better fit it is from the start, the better! Back up!

  • The photograph should be as large and high resolution as possible. Digital cameras made in the last few years usually take photos that are high enough resolution to work for an Indigo Night print, but small images, such as those taken from cellphone cameras, are usually too small and grainy to be manipulated and printed at a quality that matches the rest of the Indigo print. We don’t require the images to be full print resolution (300ppi), but the larger and higher resolution the image, the better and more quickly the image will be able to be created. At the risk of stating the obvious, the print needs to belong to you.

  • Try to choose an image that’s as unpopulated as possible – photographs with a lot of people can be problematic in several ways. Since Indigo Night tries to choose the best possible time in the night to get the moon, planets, and the best constellations visible, the exact time that the print is made for can vary quite a bit, so a photo that was taken
    at 6pm after a wedding might need to be used for a print that has stars from just before midnight, so including people would be pretty incongruous. Another reason not to include people in the photo is that the night sky print has a quiet, still beauty to it, and people frozen in motion can weaken the overall effect and lessen the timeless gracefulness of it. Finally, removing people from an image, while certainly possible, greatly increases the amount of time it takes to create the image!

Keeping those few guidelines in mind, we can work together to create a totally unique skyline! If you have any questions about how this process works or if an image is suitable for a custom horizon, please contact us! Even if the photo you’re dreaming of using doesn’t meet the exact guidelines, that doesn’t mean we can’t give it a shot – we’ve pulled off some amazing transformations in the past! Also, if you have a creative or unique idea you’d like to pursue with your custom horizon, we’re open to discussing unusual requests!

If the photograph seems like a good addition to our catalog we’ll do the development for free. If it’s just going to be for you and you alone, we’ll shoot you a quote based on your photograph. Prices usually fall between $50 and $100, rarely more, and sometimes less, especially if it’s a quick and simple rendering, such as adding your own steeple into one of our existing treelines. (By the way, that’s a really special thing to do for an milestone anniversary gift — if you can track down the steeple from the church where the long married couple tied the knot!)