8020 Media has announced that they are closing JPG Magazine on January 5th. Among their other recommendations, I’d add that now is a good time to delete your account. Otherwise, anything you’ve uploaded to the service may land in a sort of “content publishing limbo” on the 5th when the site shuts down and you no longer have access to your submissions.
Photo by: foxypar4 (cc-by)
Happy new year! I hope you had a great holiday and got to spend some quality time, as I did, with the people you love. I thought a quick look back at some of the most popular posts of 2008 would be a great way to start Photodoto.com’s third year.
As you can see, our posts run the gamut from quick tips, core photography instruction, and reviews…to software, image editing, and fun projects. And we’ll have a lot more in 2009. So thanks for reading, tell your friends, and stick around—it’s going to be a great year!
Quick Fix for Cluttered Backgrounds
Despite all that has been written about keeping the background of your photos simple, that goal is not always achievable. Sometimes your subject is in a place with a busy background everywhere. Or perhaps the subject is doing something that you don’t want to interrupt by walking around the person or requesting that she or he move to a different location.
The importance of focus and quick tips on how to get it right
Focus in photography is about a lot more than simply sharpness or being able to see what you are looking at. Focus can enhance a subject by making it stand out from or blend into its surroundings, focus can draw you in, and the right focus can create an emotional connection with the viewer. No matter what style of photography you enjoy, focus can work for you or against you.
Black and White with a Splash of Colour
One of the techniques people most often ask me to teach them is making a photograph like the one on the right that is black and white with one other colour. There are a few ways to achieve this effect but here is the one I find easiest for Photoshop users.
Review: Nikon Coolpix S550
Before you even take it out of the box the Nikon Coolpix S550 looks cool (mine looks especially cool being “cool blue” coloured). But while looking good is nice the important thing is how it performs.
Big and Tasty Food Photography Tips Roundup
I’ve got a nice roundup here of food photography sources with a ton of great tips, tutorials, and videos for making food look tasty on camera. How seriously you take this probably depends to some extent on whether you’ve ever heard the term “food stylist.”
Basic Travel Photography
I’ve just returned from a little jaunt to Portugal and I have to say there is little else that gets me as eager to get my camera out as wandering around a city I’ve never seen before. And of course, in the age of the compact digital camera pretty much everyone takes a camera with them when they travel these days. But how do you come back with photographs your friends and family won’t have to feign interest in?
Take better flash photos in one easy step
Many people shy away from flash photography because it makes people look bad. Photographs taken with a flash can leave harsh shadows that highlight every wrinkle, turn skin blue, shine a flood light at thinning hair, create hot spots on the forehead, nose and cheeks, and generally make subjects look unattractive. But when there isn’t enough light, sometimes your only choice is to use a flash or not take photos at all.
Review: The Flip Mino HD Video Camera
I really like the Flip video cameras. I reviewed the original Flip Mino back in June and recommended it for anyone who wanted to shoot more than a couple of minutes of video at a time or who wanted to reserve the space on their camera’s memory card just for pictures. The Flip Mino is a handy, compact, easy to use video recorder. And the Flip Mino HD is virtually identical in every way except one.
Free noise reduction plugin for the GIMP
But one thing my stock GIMP install didn’t have was a decent noise removal filter. That is, until I downloaded and installed the GREYCstoration plugin. Installing it is as simple as downloading and dropping the plugin into the GIMP plugins directory. Restart GIMP and you’ll find a new menu under Filters | Enhance | GREYCstoration.
Screencast: Curves color enhancement tutorial
This 2.5 minute screencast shows a simple and fast technique using multiple layers to enhance the colors in a photograph.
Buying a digital camera for your kids
My kids are naturally curious about photography having a shutterbug for a dad. I started them out tentatively with some disposable film models but those were unsatisfying. Too slow. No LCD screens. Kids aren’t known for their patience. Digital was made for them.
Learning Composition: The Rule of Thirds
Whether you’re feeling artistic or not, good composition is important for making images that resonate with viewers. Everything else being equal, poor composition can create an itch in a viewer—a subconscious and annoying one that can’t be scratched.
Tethered shooting on Ubuntu Linux using gPhoto2
My D70, like most digital cameras, has a USB port that allows me to connect it to my computer and download photos. Many cameras also allow you to control them using your computer when they are connected. This is called tethered shooting.
Introducing Your Little One to Photography
One of my day jobs involves working with special needs children and children in hospital. I do a lot of work with children on the autistic spectrum and children with learning difficulties, as well as with at-risk youth and kids with chronic illnesses. One of my absolute favourite things to do is introduce these children to photography. Not only do I enjoy sharing my passion but for a lot of the children I work with it is a unique way for them to express some creativity.
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You’ve all seen the photos of the beautiful out of focus highlights behind some object of interest. Now you too can participate in this irresistable photographic cliché! It’s all just a simple matter of position and focus.
To achieve the effect in this video, the only thing I changed was to move the model away from the background (closer to the camera) and refocus.
For more in-depth information about depth of field and how you can control it and use its awesome power to triumph over evil, check out these articles from the Photodoto archives:
If you’re looking for something requiring a little less commitment…
- Epic Edits is sponsoring an “Actions and Presets” project with over $1,000 in prizes. Just create a cool action or preset, share it, and win!
- Beyond Megapixels shares a really fun project for creating a photo booth in your home for unique holiday photos.
- ‘Tis the season for Christmas shooting tips. Here are a couple more from Strobist and Ars Technica.
- Jared Luke shares how he shot a great low-key portrait in How I Took It.
- This may be the best reason of all to always keep your camera with you. You never know when your “National Geographic moment” may happen.
- “Annie Leibovitz at Work,” a newly published retrospective of the iconic photographer’s 40-year career, captures her moments between moments.
- Polaroid just can’t catch a break. Only 9 days until they stop selling instant film.
- Must see: The Big Picture’s three part series 2008 in photographs. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
- And finally, from the “I roll my eyes at you” department. An iPhone app for creating phony tilt-shift photos.
If you still haven’t knocked out all the Christmas shopping, or if you’re looking for a treat for yourself to celebrate getting all those presents bought and wrapped, Times Online has an article suggesting nine books that would make great gifts for anyone who appreciates photography. From portraits in 1920’s Paris to “a wry look at the fantasies of war in the United States since 9/11”, there’s a good variety in the suggestions.
The article contains links to a UK based website where all the books are available at discounted price (some more so than others) but for US readers below are the links to the books on Amazon.com:
Recollections by Philip Jones Griffiths (this link is to Amazon UK, I couldn’t find the book available from Amazon USA, Borders, Barnes & Noble, or Powell’s)
Objects by Martin Parr (only available as a used book on Amazon USA)