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Archive for October, 2008

Edit photos for free online

October 9th, 2008 2 Comments

 Edit Photos Online for Free

You have just received a set of photos from your recent vacation. You know your friends are eager to see those pictures. You’re about to upload them to your Flickr photostream when, while browsing through the photos, a thought hit you: they need editing. But you’re in the office and your office computer does not have Adobe Photoshop installed. And even if there is, you know you’ll get lost simply trying to adjust contrast. So what will you do?

All you need is an online photo editor. With it, you would not need Photoshop to perform simple corrections or enhancements on your photos. These online photo editors allow you to perform the following basic functions:

·         Cropping

·         Adjusting brightness and contract

·         Sharpening

·         Blurring

·         Resizing

·         Creating effects like sepia and grayscale

·         Saving in multiple image formats

You have to take note though that since your photo editor is web-based, there may be limitations compared with standalone applications like Photoshop or Picasa Editor. But there are tools out there that give you almost everything you need. I’m going to present to you 3 of the most loved photo editors in the web today. And the best thing about them is that they are FREE.

If you use Flickr, you’re probably already familiar with Picnik. It’s Flickr’s completely integrated photo editing application. All you need to do is go to your Flickr photo, click the Edit Photo button to launch Picnik, and you’re set to play. Of course, if you don’t like to edit inside Flickr, it’s fine. Just sign up for free at the Picnik website. Then when you’re done editing, you can upload your photos to Flickr. Clever, eh?

Picnik is Flash-based. It is considered the fastest in the new breed of online photo editors and has the most intuitive user interface. It’s probably the best of the bunch. Thus, it is no surprise that its fan base grows with each day. For a handy set of Picnik Tutorials check out our previous blog posts.

While we love Picnik. It’s certainly not the only option available. 

Unlike Picnik, Phixr is developed using Ajax. As such, it has the potential of giving users complete editing satisfaction. The most attractive feature of Phixr is its ability to make artistic Polaroid snapshots and to insert comment bubbles and effects in your photographs. Also, you can directly upload your edited work to a lot of photo-sharing websites like Facebook, Flickr, and Picasaweb among others.

And just when you thought online photo editors cannot even come close to what Photoshop delivers, think again. Formerly known as Fauxto, SplashUp is an intricately designed application that closely resembles most features of Adobe Photoshop, including its look and feel. It is completely developed using Flash, and it is the first online tool to introduce a layered editing environment. As a bonus, you can save your unfinished work in the application’s own file format so you can continue editing later.
 

What are you waiting for? Explore these online photo editors and begin transforming your photos now.

How to earn money from your photographs

October 6th, 2008 No Comments

 You have been pursuing this hobby for years now, and every day, when you turn on your computer, you do not fail to play a theatrical slideshow of the best shots you’ve taken. And then what?

 
Yeah, sure: the artistic satisfaction you get from staring at your photos every day, reveling at how you’ve mastered your craft, has always been enough to answer the question “Where do I (and my photos) go from here?”
 
Have thoughts of making money out of your photos crossed your mind? It does not have to mean you are selling your art. On the contrary, knowing that your work equates to good monetary value can encourage you to take your photography skills further.
 
Now is the time to convert your 50GB worth of photos into money that can fill your bank account. Get a list of the ways to sell your photos and find the one that suits you best.
 
But before you start doing that, you have to make sure that your photos are of superb quality: unique, dynamic, flawless. They should need no additional editing to conceal blemishes or mistakes.
 
It is also important that you know what kind of subject to photograph. There are a lot of things you can photograph but not all of them will sell for a good price. The kind of pictures that can make money for you are:

 

  • Travel and vacation photos that include landmarks, attractions, monuments, architecture, and scenic spots.
  • Sports events like soccer, wrestling, hockey, basketball, and others.
  • Local events such as cultural plays, musical concerts, trade shows, fairs, and car shows. Check your newspaper for upcoming events in your area.

 
Now here are the different ways to sell those photos:
 

·         Sell online. You may upload your photos in many stock photo websites that will then sell the images for you. You will be paid depending on the number of people requesting to buy a copy of your photo. Before choosing a stock photo website, be sure to check feedback about the site. This will help you decide which site is best.
 

·         Run an exhibition. Find a place big enough for all your works, but small enough to make it appear that your works are attracting a crowd of passers-by. You may show your photos in a pet shop or grocery store. There are also art galleries that give chance to new artists. If you have an impressive portfolio, you can have an exhibition in a mall or an airport. Brilliant Prints can always help you turn them into canvas prints, foam mounts or acrylic art.
 

·         Join photo competitions. Send your best photos to themed competitions online or in art exhibits. If you win, or at least become one of the runners-up, people may come to you to buy your photographs. Make sure that your entry has your contact details.
 

·         Send them to magazines. If your photos are chosen, you will get published and earn easy money.
 

·         Print them on novelty items. Print your images on mouse pads, mugs, calendars, and CD covers. This approach works because the items you’re going to print your photos on are useful everyday accessories.
 

How to take a soulful portrait

October 3rd, 2008 No Comments

 Today we bring you the first in a continuing series of articles written by some of our keen staff photographers.

It is every photographer’s goal when taking portraits: to show the subject’s soul.

That’s the only way for your audience to grasp the entirety of the person on the photo, and get to know your subject than just the color of the eyes or the age of the skin. When you capture the soul of a person on a photograph, a lot of things naturally follow: personality, heart, strength, experiences, humor, and priorities.
 
When you take photos of your kids, your wife, your friends, and even strangers in the streets, do you attempt to bare the story of their lives, their souls?
 
How do you make that happen? Is there a button on your camera that can do that? The bad news is that there is none. The good news is that there are tips you can rely on to help you and your camera do the trick.
 

1.      Go candid

Capture your subject’s normal, spontaneous behavior. Pre-arranged poses look unnatural and pretentious. Take their photos while they are around friends or family, while at work or playing, or while they’re doing something they love. This works particularly well when photographing kids.
 

2.      Eye Contact

As they say, the eyes are the windows to the soul. Usually, your subject’s eyes look down the lens and that creates a sense of connection between your subject and your audience. But you can also make them look elsewhere.

 

Ask your subject to look at something not seen on camera. This creates candidness and a bit of intrigue on the part of the audience because they wonder what the person on the photograph is looking at. Could it be his love interest, his favorite food, or the horizon? Why does your subject look intensely interested?

 

3.      Get closer

Tight shots reveal more details. Photograph faces real close. You can also choose just one part of the face or body—the lips, eyes, hands, hips, shoulder, or feet. These focused images will leave the viewers imagining about the rest. 

 

4.      Out of comfort zone

Stay away from cliché photo shoots: head and shoulder shots, desk shots, standing shots in front of the company emblem. Instead, push your subjects out of the box. Ask them to jump, make silly faces, bang their heads like rock stars, dive on their beds, or even do cartwheels. This will show how much a good sport the person is, and how much he can make fun of himself.

 

5.      Take a series of shots

Set your camera to Continuous Shooting or Burst mode and fire away. When you do this, you capture more emotions and actions from your subjects. They also feel more at ease, and the photos become more real and candid. Plus, you get a lot of photos to choose from in case you need to capture the best shot.

5 best free photoshop plugins

October 2nd, 2008 No Comments

 

Last time, you learned about basics of Photoshop plugins. Today, you are going to discover free plugins, filters in particular, which will improve the efficiency of your every Photoshop session and transform your average-looking images to extraordinary ones.
 
All the plugins that will be presented are Windows- and Mac OS-compatible. Also, the plugins were tested in Photoshop CS1 for this tutorial. But many of these plugins work just fine with lower Photoshop versions, and even with PaintShop Pro or PhotoPaint.
 
Here are 5 helpful and free Photoshop plugins from the thousands available online:
 

1.     Luce

Photography is all about light. Change the quality of light on a cloud photo using this filter and insert beams of light shining through it. This can be done through a number of steps in Photoshop. Do it in one or two clicks using Luce from Amico Perry.
 

2.     BorderMania

Adding borders to a single photo is easy, but it can be time-consuming if you have to put borders on all photos of a 50-piece portfolio. BorderMania filter allows for easier application of borders and frames. Tweak your image and play around with different types of borders. Make sure to increase the size of your canvas before you add frames so that the borders don’t cover parts of the image.
 

3.      Mosaic

Who can resist mosaics? Auto FX’s Mosaic  filter took Photoshop’s built-in mosaic options and blew it out of the water with far more effects you can do with an image.

 

This plugin seems like a stand-alone application with its large and attractively designed interface. It also includes standard menu functions like File, Edit, and View. You can control mosaic options that include tile size, depth, neatness, color shift, and spacing.
 

4.      Dreamy Photo

Remember the Photoshop tutorial on achieving a dreamy effect for your photos? That’s the long-hand; there’s another Auto FX plugin called Dreamy Photo that does the trick in one strike. Controls include scales for blur, blend, “ghosting,” tint color, and mask softness.
 

5.      Harry’s Filters

Imagine having access to 69 image effects using one control window—the possibilities are limitless. Download Harry’s Filters ThePluginSite and start experimenting with the effects.

 

The 2 available dropdown menus provide plenty of options where you can change effects on color, noise, warp, and patterns. The plugin also includes a feature called “auto” that allows you to sit back, relax, and watch your photo transform from one setting to another until you find the look you want. The plugin automatically does the job for you.
 
That’s it: the 5 best free Photoshop plugins you can check out. Try it on your photos and let us know how you find them. If you have other plugin suggestions and tips, feel free to post them in the comments section.

How to Prevent Camera Shake

October 1st, 2008 No Comments

Camera shake has always been an issue for photographers, whether novice or professional. This happens when you are shooting either at low apertures or low shutter speeds using a non-stabilized camera. The resulting image is blurry and discouraging.

 
This is not the kind of blur on photos that contain moving objects. In contrast to camera shake, motion blur is intentional and produces a fluid effect.
 
To help us get crisp and sharp images every time we press that shutter, there are 2 options to take: use Image Stabilization or get a tripod.
 
What is Image Stabilization?
 
DSLR manufacturers sell camera bodies and lenses that support a feature called Image Stabilization (IS) for Canon lenses or Vibration Reduction (VR) for Nikon.
 
These allow photographers to handhold their camera in poorly lit conditions, using longer exposures without having worry about camera shake. This is usually achieved by turning on a setting in the camera menu or flipping a switch on the lenses.
 
Cameras and lenses packed with IS will cost you more. But, if you often shoot under low light conditions (for example, if night photography is your expertise) investing in IS-capable tools is well worth paying the extra dollars for.
 
If you shoot at extremely slow shutter speeds, however, the IS in your lenses will not suffice; your hands will surely move or shake after 2 to 3 seconds. Here’s where a tripod comes in handy.
 
What is a tripod for?
 
A tripod is a three-legged stand that is used to elevate and stabilize your camera. Like Image Stabilization, it will help you prevent camera movement when taking a photo, especially when making slow-speed exposures.
 
For example, if you want to photograph the traffic on a busy avenue and you want to create that flowing lava effect as a result, you need to use a slow shutter speed that’s between 3 to 4 seconds. At this setting, you cannot trust your hand to give you the result you desire. You need to mount your camera on a tripod, and you can play around with the long exposure as much as you want.
 
You can also use your tripod to precisely frame a scene, or when you want to take more than one image of the exact scene at different exposures (which you can later process with HDR).
 
If you have been ranting about your blurred images since the day you started exploring your hobby and if you are serious about your photography, do yourself a favor. Get yourself IS-capable lenses and a tripod.

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