Category Archives: Photos

KICK Full Color Video Light

Most smartphones these days have cameras that are more than capable of producing quality images and even videos. Alas, one feature that might botch one’s best effort is lighting; your smartphone probably has very minimal (if any) ways of dealing with less-than-ideal lighting where you’re trying to get a decent image or footage.

Luckily, there’s the KICK Full Color Video Light to rescue your vision from the oblivion of darkness.

KICK Full Color Video Light

How Do You Share Photos Across the Web?

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Yesterday, I bought some interesting things at the grocery store. I had to snap pictures and upload them through Instagram. This site gives you an interesting and unique way to share photos taken with your mobile device on the web in a simple manner. All you have to do is take your picture, select your preferred visual style through the presets and upload it to the web. By doing this, you can share your images across networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.

The problem is that until now there was no easy way to browse everyone’s images on the web. If you weren’t connected to a person in some way, you’d miss out on all the great shots they were sharing. With the introduction of Extragram, though, all of that is about to change.

Extragram uses Instagram’s API to create a new and simple way for people to browse through photos. Instead of relying on the mobile app or even direct links, you can log in and browse Instagram photos within your browser.

Yes, I did just take a picture of the Extragram logo to upload through my Instagram account. If you would like to follow me on the site, just search for my l0ckergn0me username and add me. I tend to take a lot of pictures… I’ll snap shots of silly thing, beautiful things and shiny things. I love to share bits and pieces of my life through photographs, and you never know what you’ll find each day.

The challenging part of using Instagram is choosing which filter to use for any given picture. You have to add exactly the right one to get your point across! Once you’ve done that, it’s time to finally share it out and let others discover what you’ve done through Extragram.

How do you share photos across the web?

Who Owns Your Photos Online?

World Entertainment News Network announced several days ago that they have now become the “exclusive photo agency partner” of Twitpic. There are more than 20 million of us using this service, which allows us to easily upload snapshots and link them through Twitter. This deal lets the company sell images posted to Twitpic for publication within other avenues. The problem I’m finding, though, is that Twitpic’s own Terms of Use are quite conflicting when you read through them. Do they have the right to do this – or do you have exclusive rights to your photographs?

In the TOU, Twitpic states unequivocally that “all content uploaded to Twitpic is copyright the respective owners.” However, the very next sentence states that the company reserves the right to use or distribute your content on their sites – or any affiliated ones. There you go – you own your content, but they have the right to do with it as they please. They are very specific throughout the TOU in stating that no one else can ever use your stuff.

This is also part of the reason for partnering with World Entertainment News Network. That agency plans to initiate legal action against anyone doing so – other than themselves, of course. “There has been much unauthorized use of Twitpic images which we shall be addressing without delay,” said Lloyd Beiny, the agency’s chief executive. The claim is that only the accounts of celebrities will be affected, but neither company has agreed to answer questions for the press at this point. It could, in theory, apply to EVERY account on the Twitpic site.

A few paragraphs further down the Terms of Use, you’ll see that the only time someone is allowed to use your content is via “traditional” retweets, which will automagically link back to the originating photo on Twitpic’s site. Then again, someone can obtain permission to use your work commercially by “obtaining permission from Twitpic in advance of said usage and attribute credit to Twitpic as the source where you have obtained the content.” Yup – even though you own your pictures, you don’t have to give permission for them to be used on commercial sites or services. The company itself will gladly do this for you.

The bottom line here is that you don’t own your photographs. The more information we put online, the less control we have over it. Note that I’m not intentionally picking on Twitpic. They are simply the latest company to do what every other kid on the block has already done: pray that you use their site without truly reading the terms and conditions. It doesn’t matter if you read them or not, y’all. You’re still bound by them once you sign up.

If you don’t want anyone other than yourself to have control over your pictures, written words and other data, then you likely should not put it anywhere online. You might get away with owning your own site and chasing down idiots who steal without permission on a constant basis, but who has the time for that?

Back Up Your Flickr With Bulkr

Just a few weeks ago, we talked about a photographer whose photos Flickr accidentally deleted. There were more than 4000 original pictures on the account that was wiped out. Thankfully, the owner had copies of these images on his computer. What about you, though? Do you have copies of every Flickr photo on your hard drive? Many people don’t – and that could be disastrous one day.

We all know what a pain it is to save pictures found on Flickr – especially if there’s a heck of a lot of them inside of a particular set. Using Bulkr makes it a snap. Back up your photos with ONE click – or download any albums you choose (as long as you have permission!) in any of four different sizes.

Other features of this excellent program include:

  • Write title, tags, description, geotag to EXIF(XMP)
  • Preview images before download
  • Auto resume download if connection breaks
  • Download creative commons photos – up to 500 at a go from Flickr search, your photostream, others’ photostreams, your favorites, any Flickr group and explored photos.

Try it out for free, and grab the pro version while it’s on sale. Normal price for Bulkr Pro is $30.00 – you can get it right now for only $24.99 on the official website. Don’t take a chance on losing all of your memories – back them up the easy way.

How to Stabilize Video on an iPhone

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Movie Stiller is an iPhone image stabilization app. If you’ve ever shot video with your iPhone and found your hand to be a little shaky, Movie Stiller can help create a smooth picture.

After you record a video with your iPhone, Movie Stiller analyzes the image frame-by-frame and creates a smooth picture. While this demo is probably more extreme than the software creators intended, it’s a good demonstration of the limitations. There are a few places where the picture gets black edges at the top and bottom as the software attempts to smooth out the motion and runs out of picture data as a result.

How do you stabilize video on your mobile device? Does your application work as well as Movie Stiller?

Create Slideshows with DropMocks

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DropMocks is a great way to share photo slideshows online with people all over the world. Simply drag and drop your images onto the web page (or into the Google Chrome Extension of the same name) and DropMocks will do the rest.

In this video, Matthew shows you how simple it is to get started. Easily change the order of your photos by dragging them to the position you want them in, or delete with a click.

All you have to do to share the slideshow is to copy the URL. Send the link to someone and they can view your photos in an instant. Link it to your Google account so that you can save them quickly and easily.

Thanks, Matthew, for another great screencast.

HDR Video Tutorial Giveaway

Trey Ratcliff has taught several thousand people how to do HDR photography through workshops, his award-winning tutorial, his book “A World in HDR” and now a video tutorial. This video tutorial normally sells for $99.00, but we’re giving away three copies to a few lucky people.

Trey is best known for his site, StuckInCustoms, which has become the #1 Travel Photography Blog on the internet with around 350,000 visits per month – including one from his mom. He’s also on Flickr and SmugMug, where his photos have recently passed over 45 million views. His work first became popular after he had the honor of having the first HDR photo ever to hang in the Smithsonian.

Trey’s work is nothing short of breathtaking, and any budding photographer should want to learn at his feet. This video tutorial will open your eyes to an entirely new world, allowing you to let your inner creative side shine.

One man who recently purchased this video said: “Viewing Trey’s HDR DVD series is like finding a mad scientist’s book of secret formulas. His screencasts immediately dispel the barriers and hurdles of achieving stunning HDR images. This series is worth every penny.” The praise doesn’t get any better than this.

So! How can you win!? It’s quite simple, folks: Make sure you are following me on Twitter and have liked my Facebook page. Leave a comment on this blog post telling me why you would like to win a copy. The contest will run now through Monday afternoon (January 24th) at 3PM PST. Three winners will be chosen at random and contacted via the email address left with the comment (so be sure you put your actual email address!). That’s all there is to it!

Happy picture taking!

Do You Want the Android Mascot?

How cute is this little guy? Even if you’re not an Android fan, I’m willing to bet you wouldn’t mind having one of these. The Android “guy” is cool, no matter what operating system or device you prefer.

Who wants this Android action figure?

“The term mascot defined as a term for any person, animal, or object thought to bring luck colloquially (informally) includes anything used to represent a group with a common public identity, such as a school, professional sports team, society, military unit, or brand name.” These items and characters tend to be an important part of a company. Take this little Android guy – you see him somewhere, and you just know who he represents. And yes, there are people out there who are loyal to a product simply because they fell in love with the mascot.

You may be wondering if your company needs a mascot. I’d venture to say a definite YES! What better way to have people able to easily identify you and your product or service? When we see that cereal-stealing rabbit anywhere, we know he represents Trix. We grow up knowing these characters before we even understand their role in our society. It’s not only products aimed at kids which can be identified this way. Pay attention to commercials on television: everyone from the insurance agent to the gas station has a mascot.

You still have to have a great product and excellent customer service. But having a way for people to recognize you at a glance is another step in the process to gaining the recognition your company badly needs. Knowing who you are helps give potential customers a sense of security and trust in connection with your brand. Being able to say “ah yeah, that’s Company X” each time they see your mascot builds their confidence in the relationship.

Star Wars Geek Gifts

What’s the best gift for the hard-core geek in your family? Most likely, you will never go wrong with something – anything – Star Wars related. In my case, you totally will be an epic friend if you hand me something that has Darth Vader on it, as well. Thanks go out to my friend Michelle Gamboa and her fiance for this fantastic spatula set.

Does this mean I have to cook now, though?

Teach parents tech?

Have you had to teach your parents how to use a computer? How many hours (or weeks!?) did you spend just getting the basics down with them? I feel for you – honestly. I’ve been there, done that and hope to never repeat the experience again.

Teach parents tech?

Go ahead – tell us your best horror story here in the comments. What’s the most frustrating, funny or outrageous thing that happened when trying to teach an old dog some new tricks?

How to Edit Audio and Video with Roxio Creator 2011 (and a Giveaway!)

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When the good people at Roxio asked if we wanted to take a look at Roxio Creator 2011, I jumped at the chance and tagged Dylan to do the honors for us. His work is solid, and I knew he’d give an honest review. From what I’ve seen in this video, Roxio Creator 2011 is a fantastic overall application that will fit most of your media needs. We’ll tell you later in this writeup how to win one of three copies for yourself!

Roxio Creator allows you to edit in 3D, and create standard-definition and high-definition Hollywood-style 3D movies on DVD from 2D and 3D input. Free 3D glasses are included with your purchase!!!

Easily edit your standard and HD videos. Add picture-in-picture effects, titles and scrolling credits. Rotate video with one click, auto-adjust color, brightness and contrast. Access and share the videos and movies on your PC from the Internet virtually anywhere, anytime.

Trim unwanted parts, combine multiple tracks together, normalize the volume across the mix and add fun effects. Create advanced playlist projects with crossfades, transitions and audio mashups. Dylan reports that this software is quite good at audio editing. He would know, as he’s a professional podcaster and works with audio files every day.

The photo-editing portion of the suite is not one that Dylan felt comfortable enough to do an in-depth review of. He admits to not being a photo editor. However, he found the software to be intuitive and simple to use… yet allowed him to make photos look very VERY good with just a few easy clicks.

If you’re looking for an all-in-one suite, Roxio Creator 2011 just may be the one for you! If you’d like to win one of three copies for yourself, make sure you’re following me on Twitter. Send me an @ Tweet and include the hashtag #RoxioCreator before noon eastern time on Friday, December 17th. Three people who do this will be chosen at random to win a copy for themselves. That’s all there is to it!