Tag Archives: giveaway

Get Photo-News with the PhotoVerse App

Last week, the developers of an iPhone/iPad app contacted me about using my RSS feed to pull content for their new application. It’s a pretty cool idea, so I said “go for it!”

PhotoVerse collects photography related news and blog posts like any RSS reader, and makes it handy for anybody interested in photography to keep up on their reading while also allowing them to share the articles on social media networks. In essence, it’s a preloaded feed reader just for the photography nuts.

The developers also asked me if I would like to test out the application… but I’m on Android, so no luck. Instead, I asked if you guys could have some freebies or discounts. Here’s what we have to hand out.

ENTER FOR A FREE COPY OF PHOTOVERSE

I have 5 coupon codes for a free copy of the app. It goes for $0.99 in the iTunes store, so you can go buy it if you don’t want to wait for the raffle.

If you do want a free copy, watch the Epic Edits Twitter account for the start of the raffle. I’ll do it within the day, and the first 5 to reply will get the coupon.

Anybody out there have this app already? How is it?

Filter Forge Photoshop Plugin Review (And Giveaway)

Filter Forge - an advanced Photoshop plugin

[tweetmeme]The folks at Filter Forge contacted me about reviewing their advanced Photoshop plugin software. I’m always interested in checking out new things, so they provided me with a review license of the software and I started exploring it. I must admit that it’s an impressive piece of software.

Read on for my review and be sure to check the details at the bottom about the contest and prize giveaway. This review contains affiliate links.

WHAT IS FILTER FORGE?

Filter Forge is a Photoshop plugin with a huge variety of filter and texture options for photographers and designers. The plugin contains over 7500 textures and filters, most of which are user generated. And that’s another key feature of the software — you can generate your own filters and make them available to other users.

The real strong point of the Filter Forge software is the extensive library of user generated filters and textures. There is a seemingly endless supply of options out there, and the library is constantly growing. The folks at filter forge also offer an incentive to create and promote new filters, handing out reward points for the more popular filters created. Those reward points can earn you discounts and free software.

There are two sides of Filter Forge — textures and effects. If you’re into applied textures, this software will keep you occupied for quite a while. At the time of writing this review, there are nearly 4000 textures available. Filters, or creative effects, are also in abundance with over 3600 options. You can search and browse through the filters at the Filter Forge website.

WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH IT?

Applying filters is relatively simple. You start up Photoshop, pull in your image, and start Filter Forge from the Filters menu. Once inside Filter Forge, you can select the textures or effects you want to apply, check out a few presets, or modify the settings for that particular filter. After you apply the filter or texture, you’re back in Photoshop. That’s pretty much it.

Creating filters is a little more complicated, but the interface is still fairly simple. You can start from scratch or modify an existing filter by using the components available in the filter editor. These components include things you would find in Photoshop: brightness, gamma, hue, saturation, threshold, invert, levels, curves, gradients, blurs, blends, and a whole bunch of other tools you won’t find in Photoshop. The process is very similar to creating a Photoshop action, but more visual and self explanatory.

Enough talk, here are a few of my own photos with various applied filters. Click on the image to see the originals at Flickr.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS

This is certainly a handy piece of software for the folks that apply textures and filters on a regular basis. The sheer quantity of options is staggering. If you’re a “naturalist” with your photography, maybe this isn’t for you. But other photographers, and even graphic designers, should check it out if it sounds remotely interesting.

Filter Forge can be downloaded as a 30 day free trial with no other limitations (and check out the free plugin packs on the same page that don’t require the Filter Forge software). If you want to buy the software and continue to have access to the full library, you have three price options: basic, standard, and professional editions. The basic edition only allows you to use the filters, the standard edition allow you to create your own, and the professional edition has a bunch of other bells and whistles. Check the website for prices because they may change in the future.

WHO WANTS A FREE COPY?

Now for the fun part — I have three licenses for the basic edition of Filter Forge to give out! We’ll run this as a photo contest using the Filter Forge plugin (and if you don’t have Photoshop, you can use it as a standalone software). Here’s what you need to do to enter:

STEP 1. Download a free copy of Filter Forge and install it.

STEP 2. Choose any photo of your own and apply your favorite filter.

STEP 3. Email your photo to blog@epicedits.com. Size it to 1000px on the long edge, make sure to include your name, and tell me which filter(s) you used.

DEADLINE: October 10 13, 2010

One entry per person and the photo used must be your own. By entering the contest you only give Epic Edits the right to display your image as a contest entry no larger than 500px. You retain all rights to your photo.

After the deadline, I’ll size the images to 500px and post them here on the blog along with your name and the name of the filter used. I’ll choose the three winners myself (or I’ll have a couple of guest judges help me out).

Win Photography Props from Baby & Me Boutique

Hi Epic Edits readers. I’m excited to be here and have the chance to introduce myself and my shop. My name is Jill and my shop is called Baby & Me Boutique. I sell a variety of crocheted items, but what I would like to share with you today are my photography props. I make all sorts of fun props for baby photo shoots: cocoons, hammocks, beanies, booties, and more! Many of my products are available in sizes for young children as well.

Good props are an essential for every child photographer. I love photography, although I’ll be the first to admit I’m not that great at it. However, with props like these even I can take a good picture. My props add a creative and professional touch to photos. And in the hands of a true professional (such as the talanted Shanda Leigh who provided the pictures you see here, and many of you I’m sure) they make the most gorgeous photos! Cocoons in particular are a growing trend and I offer several types in my shop.


I truly enjoy making the things I sell, which lets me keep my prices low and feel good about it. I love to see my products go to good use and create beautiful pictures. I hope you’ll stop by and take a peek! http://womenwhodoitall.etsy.com

GIVEAWAY CONTEST DETAILS

[tweetmeme][Brian here] First of all, a big thanks to Jill for offering up some free product to the readers of Epic Edits! She’s offered to give two winners any single item from her shop, so we have two ways that you can enter the contest (you can enter both ways and we’ll pick one winner from each).

DEADLINE: May 13, 2010

  1. POST YOUR BEST BABY/CHILD PHOTO
    Place a photo (or link to a photo) in the comments below of your best baby/child photo. Post only one photo, and it must be your own. This is a judged competition, so post your very best.
  2. TELL US WHICH ITEM YOU LIKE BEST
    Hop over to Jill’s shop and browse through her products. Then leave a comment below telling us which item(s) you like best. The winner will be a random selection (and be sure to leave this as a separate comment if you’re entering a photo too).

So there you go — two ways to enter for a chance at some free props!

Want Some Free Stuff? DIYPhotography.net Has It!

I try to give out freebies here when I can, but Udi has gone over the top with his latest contest/giveaway! Head over to DIYPhotography.net and check out the giant Bag O’ Goodies that he has up for grabs.

This is a judged photo contest split into three parts. Part 1 has been announced and the topic is “food”.

This will be a three-part assignment. In each part you will be asked to take a picture and submit it to the contest. Here is the thing, you must use one of the techniques portrayed in DIYP to take that picture.

Seriously… check out the prizes that are up for grabs. He’s got over $870 worth of stuff to give out — all very cool stuff.

On a side note, props to Udi for quitting the day job and going “problogger”. He’s doing an awesome job at ramping up the blog, and I’m quite envious.

eBook Review: The Magic of Black & White

[tweetmeme]I’m a real fan of black and white photography — doesn’t matter if it’s film or digital. There’s just something about it that can transform a photo so drastically by the “simple” removal of color.

So I was thrilled when my buddy Andrew Gibson contacted me about the release of his book on “The Magic of Black & White“. He’s a great photographer and his black & white photos are stunning — so I was certain that the book would be a good one.

I was right.

The book is a relatively quick read, but offers up a great number of tips, techniques, and guidance for black and white photography. It’s also beautifully illustrated with a ton of Andrew’s fine art work.

See the end of this post for a chance to win a free copy of the book.

“The Magic of Black & White, Part One – Vision” can be purchased through Craft & Vision. The links in this post are affiliate links.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Magic of Black & White is a 58 page downloadable PDF eBook. The book is intended to be viewed in a two-page format (as you can see by the dashed lines in the samples below). Throughout the book, you’ll be presented with specific topics on black & white photography and large sample photos from Andrew’s collection of work.

After a few single-page “chapters” (Introduction, Why Black & White?, The Art of Black & White, and Learning to See in Monochrome), we dive into The Elements of Black & White Photography. This section covers many topics along the lines of tonal contrast, highlights, simplicity, minimalism, complexity, shape and form, texture, lines, foreground interest, negative space, shapes and patterns, and contrast. Each topic gives thoughtful insights and supporting imagery.

From there, we move on to Light in Black & White Photography, which covers the various lighting scenarios and how to use them to your advantage. The last main section goes into Subjects for Black & White Photography, and we look at several options where black & white may make more sense than color. This is all followed up by a conclusion and final thoughts from Andrew.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Gibson is a writer and photographer based in the south of England. He works for one of the UK’s leading photography magazines and also freelances. He loves to travel and one region he’s been drawn back to time and time again is South America, in particular Argentina and the Andean regions of Bolivia and Peru. He works in a ‘fine art documentary’ style and presents most of his work in black and white.

You can find Andrew’s work at his main website or at his blog. He’s also a regular contributor at Phototuts+, Smashing Magazine, and the Fine Art Photoblog. On top of all that, he’s an employee of EOS Magazine. Busy guy!

MY FINAL THOUGHTS

The eBook is longer than a blog article, but shorter than a printed book. I feel that the eBook medium is perfect for what is presented. Andrew gives a great introduction to black and white photography with content that strikes a perfect balance between educational and inspirational. It’s not so technical that the beginner will be lost, and not so “artsy-fartsy” that it isn’t informative — again, it’s just a great balance.

I would personally recommend this eBook to anybody looking to explore or improve their black & white photography. It will definitely get your gears turning and probably give you a few new ideas. At the time of publishing this review, the price of the book is $5 USD (subject to change at any time), which is a steal if you ask me.

Part Two of this book (to be announced) will examine the means of creating the black and white image in the digital darkroom. I’ll update you guys when it’s published.

“The Magic of Black & White, Part One – Vision” can be purchased through Craft & Vision.

WANT A FREE COPY?

[UPDATE 03-30-2010: The contest is over, and the winners have been selected]

[tweetmeme]Andrew has also given me a coupon code for 3 free eBooks to give out! I have a feeling that this particular contest will draw quite a few entries, so I’m limiting the entry period to ONE DAY (contest will end March 30, 2010 at 8am PDT). Here’s how you can enter for a chance at a free book:

1) Submit a photo and/or link to a black and white photo you’ve taken. The photo must be your own. Bonus points for supplemental descriptions.

OR

2) Submit a Flickr Gallery (not a set — a gallery) of black and white photos. Curate a gallery and pop the link in the comments below. Bonus points for supplemental thoughts within the gallery and/or comment.

One entry per person; only the first entry for any given person will be considered. Again, ONE DAY for entries, and I’ll post a comment of my own stating the cut-off time — so if you don’t see the cut-off comment, feel free to post an entry.

Win a Free Lens Rental

Some time ago, we gave out a few free lens rentals via BorrowLenses.com — and now we’re doing it again! We’ll give out a one week equipment rental to two different winners (see details below for entry). This is a cool deal as the holidays approach, and it’s a good way to try out some new equipment or even use it for a paid shoot or personal project.

BorrowLenses.com

If you haven’t checked them out in a while, they have a few new things happening. First off, they’re selling some of their equipment as the bring in new stuff — not a bad way to pick up a new lens or camera body at a discounted price. Also, you can get a 10% discount as a first time customer if you use the code “First10″ when placing an order. And finally, BorrowLenses.com is offering a membership program to the heavy users — $99/year gets you a full-time 10% discount on orders, increased availability of rental items, and no cancellation fees. Not a bad deal if you’re shooting a lot of paid projects that require top quality glass. They’ve also been bulking up on lighting equipment for you Strobists, and they now do sensor cleaning for you dSLR users.

For the rental giveaway, here are a few ground rules:

  • You need to be in the US.
  • The order will need to be made online and you will need to provide a credit card number. This won’t be charged but they will need it to ensure you don’t run off with their lens :-). BorrowLenses.com is a reputable business but if you don’t feel comfortable with this condition please don’t enter.
  • The offer excludes super telephoto lenses and pro camera bodies.

To enter the raffle, just leave a comment and tell us you’d like to win! I’ll draw two winners on December 12, 2009 — so get your entry in right away.

[UPDATE 12-8-09] You can enter multiple times by doing any of the following:

  1. Leave a comment on this post. (1 entry per person)
  2. Retweet (Via your Twitter account) “Another lens rental contest! http://bit.ly/56AGTp Retweet and post the RT as a comment for a second chance to win! (via @BorrowLenses)” Post the RT and/or (preferably) the link to your RT here in the comments (as a separate comment from the #1 entry method). (1 entry per person)
  3. Post about this giveaway on your blog, in a forum, or any other appropriate avenue — just don’t spam the forums and other public spaces. Then leave a comment (again, separate comment from your other entries) with a link to your post. (1 entry per person)

So there you go — 3 ways to improve your odds at winning.

[UPDATE 12-13-2009] The raffle is over, and the winners have been chosen. See my follow-up post for more details.

FotoTV Subscription Winners

FotoTV

Last week, I did a review of FotoTV and promised a few free subscriptions. And thanks to some magical randomness from the Internet, the winners are Genaro Orengo and JDUBJ! Congrats! And if either of these two can’t accept the prize for some reason, I’ll choose another to fill the spot.

For the rest of you… if you checked out the free videos and enjoyed them, consider picking up a subscription from FotoTV.

And a big thanks to the folks at FotoTV for providing us with some freebies!

FotoTV Subscription Winners

Birthday Gift #1 – Two Flickr Pro Accounts

January 12 marked the 2 year birthday of Epic Edits… and January 14 marked the beginning of my (much needed) vacation. So needless to say, we’ll be kicking off the birthday gifts a few weeks late this year.

To start things off, Antoine from All Day I Dream About Photography (or ADIDAP for us regulars) will be giving away the gift of Flickr with a Flickr Pro Account! Antoine also has a great Flickr Group where you can submit photos to be eligible for his yearly calendars. And Flickr Pro is such a great gift, I’m handing out a second to match Antoine! Here’s what you’ll get with a Flickr Pro Account:

  • Unlimited Storage
  • Unlimited Bandwidth
  • Unlimited Photo Sets
  • The Use of Collections
  • Ad-Free Interface
  • Photo Statistics
  • Video Uploads

TO ENTER THE RAFFLE…

All you have to do is leave a comment telling me that you’d like to be eligible for one of the two Flickr Pro Accounts. The winners will be chosen randomly from the comments and I’ll announce them after one week — so don’t miss out and leave a comment!

Birthday Party Winners Announced!

Birthday Winners

After seven days of gift announcements, I had my work cut out for me trying to keep track of the raffle entries. In total, we had 97 people enter into one or more prize raffles! Those same 97 people left a total of 405 comments during the month of January, and let me tell ya… it was a real treat doing the tally. I’m only sorry I couldn’t share the joy and excitement of such a task.

Once the tally was complete, it was just a matter of cross referencing the comments with each of the seven raffles, assigning a raffle ticket to each person for each raffle they entered, and generating some random numbers. The raffle drawing went through without any issues or glitches, and we ended up with seven lucky winners.

I must say, you guys are all so awesome for showing such interest in the blog (and the prizes). I saw a lot of new names showing up, and I’m glad that those folks stepped forward and gave a holler. In the end, there could only be seven prize winners, but all of you are winners in my eyes! I’ve already contacted the lucky ones via email, but for the rest of you here are the results.

And here are a few numbers and graphs having to do with the raffle. This first chart shows that the most popular prizes were the Art Print and the Amazon Gift Card, followed by the Flickr Pro Account and the Photo Book. I’m flattered that so many of you opted for my photo and my photo book!

This histogram shows how many comments people left on the blog during the entire month. You can see that a majority of the raffle entrants left 5 or fewer comments. You can also see that only a handful of people left more than 15 comments over the course of the month.

In this next histogram, I’ve removed the raffle entry comments (the ones where you had to leave a key phrase in the message). The chart shows the remaining comments left by the entrants, in other words the “true” comments. You can see that a significant number of comments and entrants are completely removed from the chart, meaning that this group of entrants only left comments to enter themselves into the raffle (nothing wrong with that though!).

I’m not sure that any of this is terribly useful… I just kind of get carried away with spreadsheets and charts sometimes (it’s not my fault, I’m an engineer). At any rate, I’d like to thank everybody who participated in this thing, especially the sponsors who stepped forward with the extra prizes — All Day I Dream About Photography, Image Keyworder, and Top Hosting Center.

And you’re all invited to next year’s party!

Birthday Gift #7 – Free Web Hosting

The seventh birthday gift for our one-year party will be 3 months of free web hosting provided by Top Hosting Center, and instigated by our buddy Antoine. Here’s what they’re offering up for one raffle winner:

Top Hosting Center Logo
  • 10 GB HDD Space
  • 10 GB Bandwidth
  • 10 MySQL
  • 10 Domains
  • 10 Sub-Domains
  • 10 Emails
  • 10 FTP Users
  • NO Free Domain Name

This could be a great way to get yourself started with a new website to test the waters. If you find out that websites are too much hassle or if it’s just not your thing, at least it didn’t cost you any hosting money!

SO REMEMBER…

If you want in on this one for the raffle, leave a comment on this post with the phrase “FREE HOSTING” in the comment somewhere. And don’t forget that every comment you make for the entire month of January (on any post) will count as a raffle entry for this and the other giveaways.

Also, check the main Birthday Party page to see all of the prizes being offered. And if you have a prize you’d like to give away for the birthday party, let me know!