Tag Archives: digital photo

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.

Photoshop Technique: Digital Film Grain

Film has a distinct advantage over digital when it comes to grain: it’s the only natural way to achieve it. Digital cameras are great at producing noise, but it’s just not the same as grain. I’m in love with it — and I actually attempt to reproduce it in my digital photos when the occasion calls. If you need a refresher on when that might be, check out an article I wrote for Antoine called “Going With The Grain“.

Chit Chat

The technique outlined below is intended to be a starting point for applying additional grain to a photo. I’ll be using a section of the photo above to illustrate the method. It tends to work well with black & whites (especially those shot at a high ISO) and cross processed photos. You can follow along or download the Photoshop Action below. Either way, you’ll probably have to tweak the results to get it looking just right.

DOWNLOAD THE PHOTOSHOP ACTIONS

Note that this action set contains all the previous Photoshop techniques I’ve covered in addition to the film grain technique. For help with using these techniques, check my Photoshop Tips archive.

1. CREATE AN EMPTY LAYER AND FILL IT

All of our noise will be non-destructive, so we need a new empty layer on top of the stack (Shift+Ctrl+Alt+N). Then we want to fill that layer with 50% gray (Shift+Backspace) — leave the blending mode set to Normal and the opacity at 100%. Now you should be looking at a gray screen. Wonderful.

2. INITIAL LAYER SETTINGS

I like to do these steps early in the game because it allows me to “see” how the grain is looking as I go through the rest of the steps, but you could just as easily do this at the very end. First, set the blending mode to “Overlay” — light tones get lighter, dark tones get darker — so 50% gray will cause nothing to happen (so you should see the original image again). When we add the grain, the dark spots will darken the shadows on image below while the light spots will lighten the highlights, while preserving the colors of the original image.

At this point, I also like to set my opacity to 65% and my fill to 70% — this will help soften up the effect once we apply the grain. If you use this at 100% opacities, you’ll end up with very harsh grain. If you go down below 70%, you’ll get a very light grain. These two settings are very important to achieving natural looking grain, and I’d suggest that you experiment with these values after the grain is applied.

3. BRING IN THE NOISE

Add Noise

Now it’s time to start making things look different on our photo. We’ll add some noise to the gray layer (Filter >> Noise >> Add Noise…), but don’t freak out when it looks really bad at first. I like to add Monochromatic Gaussian noise with a value of 50% — this gives pretty good hard edges between the whites and the blacks, but there’s still some transition between the two. What you should see in your preview is a really bad looking attempt at grain. It’s going to be very blocky and un-grainlike. You MUST use the monochromatic option if you want grain instead of digital noise (and all the colors that go with it. You could also try using the Uniform Distribution — I find that it tends to create smaller grains, while Gaussian creates larger grains.

If you set your blend mode to Overlay already, you can see how the grain layer affects the image. You should be able to see blocks of lighter and darker spots throughout most of the image. The mid-tones and darker mid-tones tend to show the largest change, while extreme highlights will have almost no change in their appearance.

4. ADD BLUR TO SOFTEN

Blur Noise

Now that we’ve added that terrible noise to the image, we’ll back it off and try to get a natural look from it. The easiest way to do this with some amount of control is by using the Gaussian blur (Filter >> Blur >> Gaussian Blur…). I’ve found that a value of 1.3 pixels tends to work well with the Gaussian noise, but this is definitely another setting you can adjust to your own liking. As you adjust the value, you’ll see the main image in Photoshop changing it’s appearance — which is why I set the blending mode prior to this step.

Experiment with the blur value and different methods of applying blur. Photoshop offers several ways to add blur, and none of them are necessarily wrong. See what works best for your particular image and taste.

5. FINAL LAYER SETTINGS

If you’re happy with the size and edge hardness of the grain, you can now go back to the layer opacity and fill values to find something that meshes well with your particular photo. You can also try a blending mode of “Soft Light” to give a softer… lighter… grain. You might also try some of the other blend modes, but you’ll probably have to reduce the opacity WAY down to avoid any kind of bad distortions. Here’s a before and after image for you (feed readers will have to visit the site to see the effect).

Grain (shown), No Grain (mouse-over)

Like I said, this is just ONE way of creating grain in your images. There are a handful of methods out there, and they all give slightly different results. I use this method most often because it gives me control over many of the layer settings, and it’s totally non-destructive so it can be turned off if I change my mind later.

Anybody else out there like to fake the grain? Leave me some links to photos of yours that have fake grain in them — I’d love to check them out!

WRITING PROJECT: Social Photography

Photography has become a very social pastime with the uprise of digital cameras, the Internet, and photo-sharing websites. Photographers from all around the world are sharing their work, viewing the work of others, and making connections with people they would have otherwise never met. It’s an amazing thing how social networking and photography have almost merged into one big culture: Social Photography.

PROJECT REQUIREMENTS

  • Write a post on a blog and share your experience with social photography websites. See below for more details and examples.
  • Go to the form at the bottom of this page and send me your name, email (kept private), and link to your project entry. If you don’t have your own blog, you can always ask to write a guest post on one of the many photography blogs out there.
  • Once I collect the links from the participants I’ll publish them on my blog. You can then write another post and link to either all or only your favorite articles by other bloggers.
  • Limit one article per author for this particular project. You are more than welcome to visit other participating blogs hosting projects dedicated to other social media sites and take part in those projects (I’ll explain more below).

DEADLINE: MARCH 22, 2008

This project is actually part of a larger project being termed “The Social Media Mega Project“. InspirationBit is hosting the mega-project, and I’m hosting a small portion of this project on photography related websites. Several other bloggers are hosting similar mini-projects to fill the gaps in the mega-project. These projects span the following topics:

So if you can offer up your experience in any of those social sites listed above, feel free to visit the project pages and participate.

WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT…

As photographers we have a lot of options when it comes to social-based websites. We have the photo-sharing sites like Flickr and Zooomr. We have social media sites like photographyVoter and PictPicture. Then we also have some interactive sites like photophlow. Simply pick your favorite social site and choose a topic to write about that you feel comfortable with.

This topic could be how you integrate this social media site into your blogging, photography, or daily life. You could tell us about your good or bad experiences, how would you compare this social networking site with others, what do you like or don’t like about it, how you benefit from becoming a frequent user of this site, what secrets have you learned about it, and/or what tips or warnings would you like to inform others about. It can really be anything related to that site — just share what you know.

As a couple of examples right here from the archives of Epic Edits, Martin has already written about his Top 10 Flickr Hacks, and I’ve written about Flickr Etiquette. I’ll actually be following up soon with a new article on photophlow, how to use it, what it can be used for, and the benefits of using it.

So start thinking about those social pholography sites that you use, and put together your thoughts on how you can share your experience with other photographers.

PROJECT ENTRY FORM

Sorry folks, the deadline for project submissions is over. Stay tuned for the project results on the 24th.