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FRAMED: A week long photography event

framed_otv

Ovation TV is highlighting a week of photography programming from April 12-18th. The lineup is impressive and I’m excited to watch as much of it as possible. For example, The Eloquent Nude “presents a remarkable true story of love and loss, travel and adventure, and an intimate look at the making of Modern photography”.

In Close Up: Portraits “acclaimed photographers discuss the impact their work has on their lives and on culture as a whole”. Eve & Marilyn “explores the general relationship between a photographer and her living subject, as well as the specific task Arnold accomplished in capturing a cinematic icon”.

And there’s a lot more. Don’t miss it! Check your local listings for times and channel.

Click here to find out more and review the entire schedule at Ovation TV.

LIFE.com launches

LIFE.com

From the press release:

More than 7 million photos from the Life and Getty Images photo collections are now available to consumers in the largest online photography site. The curated site features both rarely seen and iconic photos from the 1850s through today. More than 3,000 new photos from Getty Images award-winning photographers will be added to the site daily. Users will be able to rate, email, share, purchase, license photos and explore their world through the world’s greatest images in this user-friendly web site.

Other features include:

  • Photo Galleries: News, Celebrity, Sports, Travel, and Animals with the most relevant and timely photos featured daily
  • Gallery of the day’s top photos
  • Editor’s picks of photo galleries in categories relating to current events and other themes
  • Celebrity-curated galleries featuring their favorite photos by subject or topic

LIFE.com

iPhone/iPod Photo Apps

So during my hours of train journeys last week I checked out a couple of photography apps on my iPod. I’ve given them a brief review below but I should also point out a couple of things. Firstly I randomly chose a few from the top rated free photography apps in the iTunes store. I also reviewed two from BigCanvas who gave me free copies of those two paid apps. Secondly most of these apps were really designed for the iPhone rather than the iPod so even though I don’t have an iPhone I kept that in mind while testing them. The main features that the iPod lack are a camera (you can still use all these apps but need to import photos from your computer) and an internet connection (which the iPod is capable of but only if Wifi is available) although not all these apps need internet access.

iSynth This is just fun to play with, if you like photosynth then this is the app for you. I passed the better part of an hour on a train viewing Obama’s inauguration and other exciting events from a huge variety of angles. Using the touch screen actually makes this a little bit more intuitive to use than the original photosynth. iSynth is free and you can download it here.

PhotoArtist This is one of the ones BigCanvas provided a promo code for. Basically it allows you to add some of the filters you find in programs like Photoshop to your photos. The filters available are illustration, cartoon, watercolor, mono, pen, & halftone. This is a fun way to very quickly add some neat effects to your photos and the quality of the filters is pretty good. For the price I think they could include a few more filters but if you’re looking for an incredibly easy to use method of adding filters to your photos this’ll definitley do the job. If you want to print your artwork though you’ll be limited to 6 x 4 size at the best as the resolution of saved images isn’t particularly high.  PhotoArtist costs $1.99 and you can download it here.

photoartist

photoartist21

A couple of images created with PhotoArtist.

ColorCanvas Plus This is the other one BigCanvas gave me a promo code for. It’s the paid version of the free ColorCanvas that I reviewed last week. It’s a cool app that provides a very easy method of getting an effect a lot of people seem to like. The advantages of the paid version are faster response to your finger movements, three different mono-colour filters (so three different ways of making your photo black and white – normal, enhanced, & hi-contrast), & three different brushes (colour, mono, & tint). Out of those the most useful feature is the mono brush which allows you to convert bits of the photo back to black and white if you’ve gone over the edges while converting areas to colour. ColorCanvas Plus costs $0.99 and can be downloaded here.

colorcanvas

A very quick product of ColorCanvas Plus – it literally took a minute to do this.

Photo Collage To be honest I failed to see the point of this app. Apparantly the idea is to “participate in the world’s largest expression of photographic creativity” but I got bored of it in less than 5 minutes. The uploaded photos aren’t of particularly high artistic quality – a lot of them are just blurry shots of someone’s friend in a room that could be anywhere. There’s no content filter so there are a few less savoury pics to be seen to0. There’s no way to comment on photos either (although you can vote on them) so even if you do find one you like you can’t give the photographer any feedback. I think this app maybe aimed at a younger MySpace style audience but I just didn’t get the point. Photo Collage is free and you can download it here.

Comic Touch Lite This one allows you to add speech bubbles to photos. Which is fun for a few minutes but the novelty does wear off. There’s also one filter you can add called “bulge” which does a really over-exaggerated fish-eye effect. Comic Touch’s aim is to provide “the best looking comic balloons on the iPhone” so really it does what it says on the tin but it’s probably not an app you’ll be using regularly. Comic Touch Lite is  free and can be downloaded here.

comiccanvas

The Comic Touch watermark is saved on all the photos you make but you can get rid of it by buying the paid app.

Do you have a favourite photography app? Let us know in the comments.


A Very Basic Guide to Textures

First off what do textures do? Well, things like this…

music-mountains
drive-in-liqour

yellowstone

Some are more subtle than others, obviously! So how do you add them to your photos? The easiest way is to use textures that other people have created. Some are free and some you need to pay for but either way this is what you need to do with them once you’ve downloaded them:

1. Open both the texture and the photo you want to edit in Photoshop. Click on the photo and check it’s dimensions.

2. Change the dimensions of the texture so that it’s as close to the same size as you can get it ( you can uncheck the constrain proportions box if you need to).

3. Still with the texture selected (rather than the photo) press Ctrl+A or Cmd+A (or go to file, select all) and little running lines should appear around the texture.

4. Press Ctrl+C or Cmd+C (or go edit, copy).

5. Select the photo and press Ctrl+V or Cmd+V (or go to edit, paste). The texture will be pasted over the photo so all you’ll see is the texture and not the photo underneath. Don’t worry you’ll bring the photo back in a moment!

6. With the texture layer still highlighted select the opacity in the bottom right corner of the layers tool box. Move the opacity from 100 down towards 0 until the texture looks the way you want it.

And that’s it! It’s pretty straight forward. Play around with a variety of images, textures and opacities to see what you like best. You can put more than one texture on one photo and you can still do other bits of editing such as converting to black and white, playing with the levels, or adding the built in Photoshop filters.

Here are a few sites to for some free textures to get started with:

Essence of a Dream (on Flickr)

CG Textures

Texture Warehouse

Gallerie 1 – this one’s in German but simply click on the blue links at the top of the page to browse the textures.

There are literally hundreds of other sites too, try searching Google or Flickr for “free textures” and you’ll find no end of choice. Remember to check the terms of use, some are royalty free others are under creative commons licenses of various kinds. So have fun, mess around, and let us know in the comments if you find a favourite texture!

Bored with photo magazines

I just received an email from Amazon with an offer of 83% savings on photography magazine subscriptions (use that link if you’re interested and Photodoto will get a small commission). With magazines and newspapers closing their doors left and right this year, who knows if you’ll actually get all 12 issues.

But it reminded me that it’s been a long time since I’ve bought a photography magazine.

I still browse the racks at the book store but I’m less and less likely to actually pick one up. 5 hot portrait tips! Shoot better photos instantly! 8 new cameras reviewed! Upgrade! Upgrade! Upgrade! They all seem the same.

I was pretty happy with my D70 for years. And, while the articles can sometimes be helpful, I don’t think there’s any such thing as a “recipe” that will give you a good photo every time, as the magazines will lead you to believe.

Do you read or subscribe to any photography magazines? Any recommendations out there for someone who is tired of hot tips and shopping guides?

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