Monthly Archives: March 2008

Link Roundup 03-29-2008

A quick reminder before we get into the regular links: Tomorrow (March 30, 2008) is the Laguna Beach Photowalk for anybody in the Southern California area. It might rain a little bit in the morning, but thing should be cleared up by 2PM when we meet. Now on with the links…

  • Giclee Paper Choices and Applications
    Jonathan Penney
    A master print maker covers the various types of giclee papers, ranging from watercolor to canvas.
  • FAQ: Photo Filters
    Photo-Mentor.com
    A great guide to the various photo filters out there.
  • Essentials for Film
    The Meditation of Life
    One film photographer’s guide to shooting film… light meters, notebooks, tripods, spare batteries, spare film, filters, and of course the old school leather case to tote your antiques around with.
  • PROJECT: Iron Chef Photography – Fork: Voting
    Neil Creek
    Some really amazing results from an interesting photography project. Neil Creek asked his readers to take a photo of a fork, and urged them to get creative with it. The participants certainly did that!
  • Top 10 Wired Reader Self-Portraits
    Wired
    10 great self portraits from the readers of Wired, chosen by the readers of Wired.
  • About Bokeh
    BokehTests.com
    Tutorial on Bokeh of lenses, especially spherical aberration and its effect on an image. Extremely technical explanations, but a great read if you can follow it all the way through.
  • Quick-Fix Guide to Common Photography Problems
    Beyond Phototips
    Here’s a short list of problems that you may encounter on your journey of discovery in photography, along with an equally short list of fixes to get you back on the road.
  • Shooting Tethered From Your Camera Into Lightroom
    Photoshop Insider
    A five step tutorial for using your camera tethered with Lightroom.
  • Photography 101 – Lenses, Light and Magnification
    digital Photography School
    In this lesson of photography 101, Neil covers everything you need to know about how lenses work. The article talks about brightness, f-ratios, magnification, field of view, and much more.
  • 16 Studio Lighting Schemes Explained
    Fotopunto
    If you’re a lighting dummy like me, this article will help to “shed some light” on the mystery behind those studio setups. Each of the 16 schemes shows a lighting diagram and a sample photo.
  • Photoshop Express Stuff
    Lots of buzz this week about Adobe’s launch of Photoshop Express, their new online photo editor. In case you missed out on any of the buzz, here are some tidbits from around the block. John Watson from Photodoto has a quick review of Photoshop Express, as does Jeff from PhotoWalkPro. But watch out, David Woof and Aaron Hockley point out a glitch in the terms of service that grants Adobe a little too much freedom with your images. Then John Nack speaks to this issue and assures us that Adobe is working to revise it. The moral of this story: read the terms of service before you sign up for online services. Also check out the video introduction to Photoshop Express from a couple of the “Photoshop Guys”.

60% of Photoshop Users are PIRATES!

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.
We pillage, we plunder, we rifle, and loot,
Drink up, me ‘earties, yo ho.
We kidnap and ravage and don’t give a hoot,
Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.

So here it is… the one week results from our previous poll on software piracy. In that short time, we’ve had nearly 500 photographers cast their votes and the outcome is quite interesting. It looks like Adobe’s high-end photo editing software packages (like Photoshop and Lightroom) are hot items in the pirated software market.

I’m not here to make judgments or anything — I’m just presenting the results from our little study. I’d also like to mention that my computer is 100% free of pirated or “borrowed” software and that the poll results are no indication of my own habits.

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Each of the results below have two graphs. The first is a measure of how many of us use a particular piece of software: users versus non-users. The second graph takes the users and splits them into pirates and non-pirates. Also, I’m going to leave the polls running for a while to see how things progress over time.

PHOTOSHOP USERS

58% Pirates

Wow… I expected the number of Photoshop pirates to be high, but not quite that high! 58%?!? So for every legal copy of Photoshop, there’s a pirated counterpart… and then some! An equally interesting observation from the poll is that 87% of the people who read this blog are Photoshop users of some sort. I’m sure we represent a higher density population of Photoshoppers, but my guess is that well over 50% of digital photographers have access to Photoshop.

LIGHTROOM USERS

55% Pirates

Although Lightroom isn’t quite as popular as Photoshop with the general public (with only 58% of the voters), the users of Lightroom are just as willing to pirate the software. I assumed that Lightroom would be less pirated because it’s newer software and because the price is slightly lower than that of Photoshop. I assumed wrong. Then again, if you’re going to pirate a copy of Photoshop, why not Lightroom too?

OTHER SOFTWARE USERS

38% Pirates

We have quite a few “other software” users in the mix too. I didn’t break down the polls into every piece of software on the market, so I clumped everything other than Photoshop and Lightroom into this category. Interestingly, the rate of piracy (at 38%) is much lower than with the high-end Adobe products. I can’t imagine that other software would be more difficult to steal, so this lower number is probably a factor of popularity, price, and availability.

FREE & OPEN SOURCE USERS

0% Pirates

And out of the four groups in the poll, this was the only one with absolutely no piracy. Go figure. I’m actually impressed at how many people use free and open source software for photo editing — 64%! And only 19% of those are using the software that came with their cameras. The rest is all open source and freeware/shareware. Good for you guys! Although, there’s probably some percentage of free software users who have pirated copies of commercial software.

What do you guys think? Are the results surprising? Should Adobe care about this? I’m sure they’re aware of Photoshop and Lightroom being pirated, but I wonder what their position is on the topic.

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Social Photography Tips From Around the Web

Our (extended) group writing project has officially come to an end. Back in January, I posted the project requirements and guidelines. Over the course of the past two months, we’ve had 12 entries into the “Social Photography” portion of InspirationBit’s Social Media Mega Project.

Posted below are some excerpts from the 12 articles. Many of the entries were centered around Flickr, but there are a few that touch on other social sites and services. It’s always great to hear thoughts from other photographers on the websites that so many of us use. I’d encourage you to read through the articles linked below — the authors put quite a bit of effort into their writing and they’ve published some very useful and insightful information.

Social Media as I See It

Social Media as I See It

… The one that has had the biggest impact on me is http://www.strobist.blogspot.com or strobist.com. David Hobby has created a community with his site. He has selflessly shared his knowledge with all of us to improve our lighting. He unknowingly pushed me to challenge myself in areas I have always wanted to tread but didn’t know where to start…

Social Media In My Way

Social Media In My Way

… Flickr is not only a photo sharing tool. With the possibilities of commenting pictures, joining groups and participating in group discussions it is a lively scenery of photography related discussions… Jumpcut and Animoto are newcomers comparing to Flickr but it’s worth to keep an eye on them… photographyVoter.com- an other great social media example – is the Digg for photographers… I’m sure others leverage social media tools at a much higher level than I do. Some people are even making a life with and off them. And if you are one of those you can work location independently. But there is one thing to note: it is hard work and requires time…

Blog Writing Project

Blog Writing Project

… Flickr – it has caused me angst and confusion! I guess that’s not quite the opening you were expecting? Let me explain… The thing is, I didn’t “get” what Flickr was about. Being kinda new to the social web I’m not really “into” it, and nor it seems, are many of my friends and colleagues. My philosophy has tended to be that if I’ve got something that’s worth saying then I will, but otherwise I tend to look, not touch. Even on forums I tend to lurk. But that’s not what Flickr (and blogs) are all about…

Utilizing Flickr as a Photoblogging Tool

Utilizing Flickr as a Photoblogging Tool

… I happen to now host my images on Flickr… My favorite use of Flickr, however, is the ability to use it as a blogging tool. I have a photoblog for projects and I can dump my images onto Flickr then easily blog straight to my wordpress site… Using Flickr as a blogging tool has helped simplify my work-flow…

Help me flickr! I want to be a better photographer!

Help me flickr! I want to be a better photographer!

… By following this advice you can create an online portfolio of your best work… Restrict your uploads to one or two a day, but don’t feel like you have to upload something everyday… Haven’t shot anything recently, but still want to share some work? Cruise through your archives… Groups are probably one of the most important facets in your development… Spend time in the pools that most interest you. Comment on the photos in the pool. Insightful comments… While fav’s may reflect your moods to a certain degree, on a wider scale they reflect your aspirations…

Socializing

Socializing

… So I will share with you here MY experience with social websites, the ones I use, the one I love and the ones you could really help me make a change with!… Flickr offers unlimited storage and bandwidth so I use it to host various images/icons/logos that I use here… PhotographerVoter is a digg like community specialized in photography links! Luckily the people are much nicer than at digg… the most important part of socializing is not the social websites but it is rather to meet and make friends from readers and other photography bloggers…

photophlow: A Social Experience for Flickr Photographers

photophlow: A Social Experience for Flickr Photographers

… Photography is becoming an ever increasing social event with the onset of digital cameras, widespread Internet access, and great new websites springing up every time you turn around. Flickr has been a pillar community for photographers across the globe, and it’s an amazing place to share your work, view the work of others, and communicate with other photographers. But social media and other social websites have given us a taste of what it really means to connect with people who share common interests, and Flickr just isn’t cutting it (socially) for some of us. This is where photophlow comes in to play — adding a whole new level of social interaction to Flickr… photophlow is a mixture of several concepts and existing services…

Twist & shout!

Twist & shout!

… I looked at several services before opting for Shutterchance and my blog ‘eclectic’. Flickr seemed too huge with the number of ‘photographers’ and in some cases they seemed far too pompous! Zooomr was finding its feet – and still is; I wasn’t keen on the layout of Aminus3 and Blogger was a non-starter… I certainly felt most at home on Shutterchance…

Virtual community becoming real

Virtual community becoming real

… “Web 2.0″ is all about online community. But sometimes we want more. We want to meet the real people behind those avatars and icons. A small group of Ann Arbor photographers, first met on Flickr, has been meeting semi-regularly in person… We know each other online by our Flickr “handles”, such as Boston Wolverine and Capntoo. In person, we become Sam and Dave… our online community becomes a personal community, which in turn strengthens the online community…

Flickr is the key to my social photography experience

Flickr is the key to my social photography experience

… I joined Flickr in October 2006… I still kinda “lurked” around Flickr at first. I put a few photos up and spent hours viewing other people’s images… then I got a comment… then someone invited me to post a photo to a group… then someone added me as a contact… then someone asked to use one of my photos on their website… Before I knew it, I was an active member of the online photography community… My contribution back to the online photography community is to write posts on my own website; stumble photography posts and websites when I can; bookmark articles on del.icio.us and vote for articles on PhotographyVoter… Flickr is definitely the key to my social photography experience. In fact, if I had not discovered Flickr, I may still be “lurking” my way around the internet.

Things to Consider Before You Join a Flickr Pool

 Things to Consider Before You Join a Flickr Pool

… Photographers and Designers need a social media website that would help their artwork visually targeted. Flickr has the powerful tool to bring a visual masterpiece uncovered to the millions of viewers. If you’re a photographer or a designer who blog, why not starting out a Flickr pool?… Here are things to consider before you join a Flickr Pool… Create a nice screen name url… manage the usage rights… set the content type of your graphics… Watermark your photos with your blog URL… Tags your uploaded photos…

Social Media As A New Way Of Doing Business

Social Media As A New Way Of Doing Business

… It is easy to get overwhelmed by hundreds of various social networking sites… For some of us social media presented the ways to express ourselves, make friends, escape the troubles of the real world or simply feed our lifelong desire to learn. For others social media became the perfect tool in growing and conducting business…. I thought of interviewing Rastin Mehr, a successful entrepreneur, talented developer and an open source advocate… Flickr… My most favorite of all social networks that is. I’ve been using it for 2 years I think. I use it every hour as a way to reduce my stress, or trigger my imagination…

And remember to check back on InspirationBit in a few days if you want to see the results from ALL the different social networks and websites.

PhotoDump 03-23-2008

More great photos this week from the Epic Edits Flickr Pool! I hope everyone is still enjoying the Flickr group and the PhotoDumps as much as I am!

In the Window by Android9missing identity by IlletirresA Walk in the Shadows by PatriciaPixNo Love by A Cognitive State of Mindceviche spoons by RygoodJohnny by BrianLarterThe Dog & Everything @ COD by As The Picture Fades Photographygood friday by wasabifishEgret in Motion by Bernie Kasper81*366/disguise by ojoyous1Only through complete dissection and consumption of my failures am I ever truly satisfied. by the_wolf_brigadeall aboard america... by IlletirresIt Has Eyes!Bring out your dead - 365 reject by vandyll.netBlue Ridge Mountains by Bernie Kasperlong by s-t-r-a-n-g-eDid I mention I Am Legend was coming to DVD today? (27 of 365) by vandyll.netall my insecurities have been stripped away by IlletirresDracula's house by akhater.two.pair.couple by ojoyous1My Self Face Portrait by Will FosterArctic Spring by AlaskaTeacherThe ArmHand in Hand by akhaterEntrance by Daniel HellermanKhat Chewing Akha Hilltribe Lady in her hut by tcmmanWestminster - Reflection by tyt2000Lightning by visuellegedanken_MG_1659 by donnaidh_sidhe137/365 - The field of my dreams by anthonyskeltonThe only portrait I've taken of my wife that she's happy with... by the_wolf_brigade

Link Roundup 03-22-2008

While you guys are reading this on Saturday the 22nd, I’ll be snow skiing in North Idaho. I just thought you all should know that. Enjoy your weekend!

  • Giclee Printmaking FAQ’s
    Jonathan Penney
    A good question and answer post regarding giclee prints from a master printmaker.
  • February Challenge recap
    April Challenge announcement
    PhotoChallenge.org
    The official February Challenge recap by Trevor Carpenter. February was all about the colors. The next photo challenge will be held in April 2008. This month will focus on entropy, or devolution.
  • How To Stress A Camera Lens
    The Online Photographer
    This is a really great article that talks about common lens issues to avoid while shooting. Not only does it go into what to avoid to achieve good photos, but it also talks about what to do in order to achieve bad photos with technical errors.
  • Photography and The Law: Know Your Rights
    Photojojo
    You’re sure you haven’t done anything wrong, but you don’t know whose side the law is on. Fret no more, here are the 10 commandments of legal rights for photographers.
  • Apple’s iPhoto – A Review for the Uninitiated
    PhotoWalkPro
    Pretty much a full-blown review of Apple’s iPhoto image editing/organization software. It looks like a good choice for the folks who don’t want to fork out a ton of cash on Photoshop, Lightroom, or Aperture.
  • Two-Color Technicolor Photoshop Tutorial
    Photoshop Tutorials
    Kind of a neat little Photoshop tutorial for creating a Technicolor film effect with your full-color photos.
  • Photography 101 – Lenses and Focus
    digital Photography School
    Neil has certainly done his homework with this one… A nice lesson on the physics behind optical lenses and their ability to focus light.

Your Guide to Adobe Bridge: Workspace

In the last post of this series we talked about the basics of Adobe Bridge. What it is, what it can do, why it’s a good thing, and some of the computer requirements. I’m sure some of you are quite anxious to start digging in to the finer details of the software, but before we go anywhere I want to talk about the Bridge Workspace.

A workspace refers to the layout of features and controls available in a piece of software. Adobe Bridge has several predefined workspaces, each having a unique purpose in the photo management process. Different workspaces mean different views, panels, and controls. I’ll lay out the various workspaces, then we’ll dig into each of their components (many of which are shared across workspaces).

FOLLOW THIS SERIES OF ARTICLES!
VISIT THE TABLE OF CONTENTS
BACK — ADOBE BRIDGE INTRODUCTIONS
NEXT — ADOBE BRIDGE IMPORTING

THE SIX WORKSPACES OF BRIDGE

Adobe Bridge has six predefined workspaces. You can also create your own space and save it if you find something that works better for you.

DEFAULT
Default Bridge Workspace
LIGHT TABLE
Light Table Bridge Workspace
FILE NAVIGATOR
File Navigator Bridge Workspace
METADATA FOCUS
Metadata Focus Bridge Workspace
HORIZONTAL FILMSTRIP
Horizontal Filmstrip Bridge Workspace
VERTICAL FILMSTRIP
Vertical Filmstrip Bridge Workspace

And here are a couple of my own custom workspaces. They’re only slightly different than the predefined workspaces, but sometimes those little things can make a difference in your productivity. I’d encourage you to make your own workspace by dragging the various panels around until you find something you like.

CUSTOM 1
Custom 1 Bridge Workspace
CUSTOM 2
Custom 2 Bridge Workspace

After looking at a few of these workspaces, you ought to notice that they consist of the same parts (aka “panels”) but rearranged. So let’s dig into those panels and explore what they do.

THE SEVEN PANELS OF BRIDGE

For the purpose of this section, I’m using a screenshot of a workspace that has all seven panels visible. I don’t usually work with such a layout since tabbed panels are more space efficient. Refer to the colors in the image as I step through each of the panels.

Adobe Bridge Panels

  1.       FAVORITES
    Similar to a “Favorites” or “Bookmarks” folder on a web browser, you can keep your most helpful items in here. Favorites can include folder locations, files, collections, previous searches, Version Cue, Adobe Stock Photos, downloaded comps, Bridge Home, and a bunch of other stuff that can be set in the general preferences (Edit >> Preferences… >> General). Personally, I find it handy to keep my most used collections in there (we’ll get to what those are another day).
  2.       FOLDERS
    If you’ve ever browsed a directory tree, this one should look familiar — It’s just your folder structure on your hard drive. Folders can also be navigated in the “Content” panel, but the “Folders” panel provides a quick method of changing locations.
  3.       FILTER
    I love this panel. I think it’s one of the best things in Bridge that sets it apart from other software. Filters are a way to exclusively view photos that meet a specified criteria. Want to see only your RAW files? Or how about images with a certain keyword? Maybe you’re looking for an image with a vertical orientation? Easy — just click on the filter and you’ll only see those images. If you sort-of know what you’re looking for, filters will allow you to find it a hundred times faster than scrolling through tons of images.
  4.       CONTENT
    The content panel is a window to the contents of your current folder, not unlike a file browser on your OS. But the content panel provides more functionality than your operating system can. Thumbnails can be resized from very tiny to very large, and they can be set to scroll horizontally or vertically. Bridge caches the thumbnails for super-speedy viewing. Thumbnails also show star ratings (which I don’t typically use), labels (which I definitely do use), filename, and a few other things depending on what the photo is and what’s been done to it. This panel also allows you to access a large number of controls and commands via the right-click menu.
  5.       PREVIEW
    The preview panel is similar to a slideshow, but a little more powerful. It’s very handy for inspecting images at larger scales, comparing multiple images side-by-side (just select multiple files in the content panel), checking for sharpness and whatnot between 100% and 800% zoom (click on the image and a magnifying loupe pops up – scroll to change the zoom). The other great thing about using this preview is that everything is color manged, so your Photoshop files and RAW files will appear EXACTLY the same as in Photoshop.
  6.       METADATA
    When I first import photos this is where I spend most of my time. The metadata panel provides you with access to all the file info, EXIF, IPTC, RAW settings, and a bunch of other stuff you never knew existed. What’s really great is that you can select a bunch of images and apply keywords, descriptions, copyright info, location info, and other things as a batch.
  7.       KEYWORDS
    The keywords panel is similar to the metadata panel, but it’s sole purpose in life is to organize and apply keywords. Common keywords can be grouped, categorized, applied in batches, and renamed with this visual interface. Keeping your keywords organized and up to date can prove to be a major benefit while keywording images — I’m alway amazed at how many more keywords I can apply by just taking a quick scan through my lists.

So that’s pretty much it for the panels. I touched on a couple of usage tips and tricks, but we’ll go much deeper in subsequent articles.

THE MANY CONTROLS OF BRIDGE

To prevent this article from getting too long, I’m not going to visually highlight all of the little buttons and menus as I did with the panels. I would encourage you to explore the software interface on your own, looking for the little icons located below the menu and at the bottom of the window. Some of the panels also have buttons and drop-down menus that provide added functionality. Right-click menus contain another wealth of options to assist you with organizing, searching, and processing your images.

One major item worth mentioning is the “saved workspace” button set. Look down at the lower right of the window — you should see a “1″, “2″, and “3″. Hold down on one of them and select a preset (or custom saved) workspace. Set all three for the ones you like the most and now you have a workspace quick-launch — hit the button and away you go!

WHAT’S NEXT?

At this point I think we’re quite familiar with the Adobe Bridge interface basics. From here out I’ll be walking through my typical workflow and highlighting all of the things I commonly use the software for. In the next article we’ll talk about importing photos from your camera or card reader straight into Bridge. This is a very important step, since it can save you lots of time once you get those file on your computer. So stay tuned!

For those of you looking to obtain Adobe Bridge: Claudius Coenen mentioned on the last post in this series that there is a way to get Bridge for free. Apparently if you download the Photoshop CS3 30-day trial, the license will expire on Photoshop but not on Bridge. Now of course one of the major benefits of working with Bridge is the ability to interface with Photoshop and ACR, but it’s also handy as a standalone file management tool. Also note that I haven’t tried this out so I can’t say that it works for sure.

FOLLOW THIS SERIES OF ARTICLES!
VISIT THE TABLE OF CONTENTS
BACK — ADOBE BRIDGE INTRODUCTIONS
NEXT — ADOBE BRIDGE IMPORTING

Here’s a video I found that goes well with the content discussed in this article.

Laguna Beach Photowalk: March 30

I had such a great time at the last photowalk in La Jolla that some of us decided we should put on another one in Orange County (which is kind of a midway point between Los Angeles and San Diego). Hopefully we can get a decent turnout again, so if you’re in the Southern California area, here are the details:

WHERE: Laguna Beach, California


View Larger Map

WHEN: March 30th, 2PM

I set it up for after lunch so we don’t have to try finding food for under $20 per person. But if you’re into food, you might want to show up early and hit one of the many restaurants down near the water.

WHY?

Because photowalks are where it’s at! If you’ve never been to one, you don’t know what you’re missing. I always meet a ton of great people and I walk away with lots of interesting photos. It’s part social event, part photo shoot. Here’s my write-up for the Upcoming.org event:

Join us in Orange County’s Laguna Beach for an afternoon of photowalking. We’ll begin our walk at the Festival of Arts building on Broadway, walk all the way down Broadway until we hit the Pacific Coast Highway, then we’ll turn our attention to some of the more active streets in Laguna Beach — Ocean Avenue and Forest Avenue. When we’re done with the busy street scene, we’ll head down to the beach and walk along the boardwalk. For those who want to do a little more beach photography, we’ll then head over to the rocky shoreline to see what we can find.

There’s a large parking lot available across the street from our meeting place, and parking will cost $3 for the day. Bring a few extra dollars in case you need to park in a different lot, prices will vary between $3 and $10.

Laguna Beach is fairly simple to reach from the major freeways. Just hop on the Laguna Freeway 133 (also known as Laguna Canyon Road) from the 73, I-405, or I-5. The canyon road will take you all the way down to our meeting spot and into Laguna Beach. Or for those coming from a nearby beach town, you can take the Pacific Coast Highway into Laguna Beach.

Hopefully the weather will cooperate with us that day… but hey, it’s Southern California. There’s a 99% chance it’ll be sunny and warm. And if all of this isn’t enough to persuade you to come hang out for the afternoon, it’s my birthday (on the 31st) so you owe it to me!

Laguna shore
Creative Commons License photo credit: timotale

Sim City
Creative Commons License photo credit: Kevin Labianco

Cue Hilary Duff
Creative Commons License photo credit: shawdm