Picture Snob

Tips and Tricks

February 16, 2009

Time-Lapse Photography: It Even Makes Babies Look Reasonable

Check out this hilarious time-lapse piece below. And go to Photojojo for a tutorial on time-lapse and learn how to make your own time-lapse videos. Whee!

Susan Moriarty at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 27, 2009

Beyond Memories: New Ways to Use Your Digital Camera

There are some neat ideas here from Popular Science for you digital camera users. Not only can you capture memories with your camera, but you can use it as a tool for remembering where you're parked, keeping your favorite take-out menu on hand and even as a mirror for the vanity check! (via Popular Science)popsci_tips1.jpg

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November 19, 2008

Chilly Willy: How to Winterize Your Digital Camera

olympus_1050SW.jpgHeed this post, folks! PC World has been kind enough to write up a great list of dos and don'ts that will preserve your digital camera this winter season. If you're skiing, bumbling around in hockey rinks or just sneaking around in the snowflakes, you'll want to take this advice to heart. For extra protection, you can consider the Olympus 1050 SW ($243), an incredibly durable camera that's good to 14˚F.

1. Keep your batteries and camera warm.
2. Don't breathe on the lenses to clean them.
3. Don't shock your camera into condensation with a big indoor temperature shift.

See the full article from PC World here.

Susan Moriarty at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 5, 2008

Wasteful Printers: How to Get the Most Out of Your Ink Cartridges

wastefulink.jpgIf you were raised on leftovers and clean plates, you may be dismayed by the wastefulness of your desktop printer. Have you ever gotten a low ink warning sooner than you thought possible? PC World has done some investigative reporting on our behalf, to examine just how much ink is left in an "empty" ink cartridge. The results? While all ink cartridges are hideously wasteful--up to 50% of ink still in an "empty" cartridge--third-party ink cartridges (Staples brand, for example) tend to require replacement sooner than the branded cartridges (Epson, HP). So while you may save a few bucks at checkout, you may find yourself checking out more often. So how can you save yourself? You can refill ink cartridges yourself--there are a variety of companies (try 123refills) that offer refill solutions for half the price of a new cartridge. Keep in mind that this is best for average home printing--if you're making nice glossy photo prints, stick with the new cartridge. There's also a bunch of simple tips you can use to cut down on the amount of pages you print, especially when printing web pages that tend to print oddly. (via LifeHacker)

Susan Moriarty at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 8, 2008

You Are Here: How to Geotag Your Digital Photos

geotagging.jpgSo we all know your digital camera will record the date and time of a photo, but what about the exact location of it? Well, there are two digital cameras we can recommend that will geotag your photos, recording the exact coordinates (longitude and latitude, folks) where you took the photo. What can this do for you? Besides satisfying nerd needs, it's another way you can sort your photos and you could even create an interactive map of a recent vacation with images that correspond to points along your route.

Check out the Nikon Coolpix P600 ($466) and the iPhone 3G for affordable geotagging fun. Now you can still geotag photos taken with other cameras, you just have to do it manually with either software or hardware. For a detailed explanation, check out this article at MacWorld. Google Earth, iPhoto and Flickr are great software for geotagging. For hardware, you can check out the ATP PhotoFinder ($100) or the Gisteq PhotoTrackr ($90) -- these are devices you carry with you and use to record your location as you go along.

Susan Moriarty at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

August 26, 2008

Recover Erased Digital Photos with Exif Untrasher

If you have ever pushed that little trash can button with too much gusto and suffered editor's remorse, you can now recover deleted images from your memory card. The Exif Untrasher can be downloaded for free although it is only compatible with Macs (that's a first). You will be able to recover JPGs from your memory card whether you have simply deleted the images or completely reformatted the memory card. Magic! There is other memory card recovery software worth looking at (although it ain't free)--try CardRecovery ($40) or Photorescue ($29). (via ChipChick)

Susan Moriarty at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

June 11, 2008

Photography Education from Digital Photography School and the Strobist

digitalphotoschool.pngEver wonder how to shoot a good portrait? Want to know how to shoot a timelapse film with your DSLR? Get some advice on retouching or equipment? Check out the Digital Photography School blog for great tips and techniques.strobistDVD.jpgAnd the favorite lighting blog --Strobist -- is now on DVD! Strobist has released a lighting seminar on DVD presenting everything from gear to techniques in a hands-on way. We like seeing what we're learning through demonstration. The first edition sold out but they're still taking orders and will deliver in late June.

Susan Moriarty at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

June 3, 2008

Digital Cameras for Travel: Key Features to Consider

When it comes to photography on the road, there's some key digital camera features that will help you avoid a life of frustration and travel photo mediocrity. We're going to focus on point-and-shoot cameras -- they're the most convenient for travel due to size and weight. Plus, you DSLR folks already know what you're doing, right?

Below are 6 considerations we believe to be crucial to having the best tool for travel. And just what camera lives up to this wish list, you ask? Check out Panasonic's Lumix DMC-TZ5K. At $269.99 you're getting 10X optical zoom, wide angle, 9-megapixels, incredible intelligent auto modes as well as manual options and decent video capabilities. lumix_TZ5K.jpg1. Wide-Angle Lens
A wide-angle lens isn't a common option for point-and-shoots, but it's one to keep an eye out for. Like a zoom gives you the flexibility to get close-up or shoot from far away, a wide-angle can add depth and help you capture shots in tight places. Just beware that capturing a group of people with a wide-angle is mutiny -- the people on the outside 20% of the frame will look like they're in a fun house mirror. Which isn't fun.

2. Flexible Controls for Aperture and Shutter Speed

While we love auto mode because we can use our brain for other things, it's not always the best move. Look for cameras with "Aperture Priority" and "Shutter Priority" modes. These are semi-automatic modes that allow you more control for unique lighting situations like sunsets and night shots. For example, in "Aperture Priority" mode you set the aperture (how much light gets in the lens) and the camera adjusts the shutter speed accordingly. If you've got a travel tripod, using "Shutter Priority" to set a long shutter speed (how much time the light has to get in the lense) can be a nice way to capture a sunset at dusk.

ArrowContinue reading: "Digital Cameras for Travel: Key Features to Consider"

Susan Moriarty at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

May 27, 2008

Got an Old Laptop? Turn It Into a Digital Picture Frame!

laptop2digiframe.jpgTake a click over to Hack A Day to learn how you can transform an ancient laptop into a fancy digital picture frame. It looks hard.

Susan Moriarty at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 20, 2008

Digital Organization: Keep a Visual To-Do List with Your Cameraphone

cameraphone_todolist.jpgSee? Technology makes it all better! Even if you do manage to keep a To Do List in one place without regularly misplacing it, remembering to write things on it can be a feat in itself. What if you could document your needs as they arise? Try this tip from an overworked blogger at Minddriven who finds that his mobile phone is usually with him and he can easily snap a photo when he, say, runs out of toothpaste or coffee. If you don't bring your phone to the bathroom with you, well, get with the times. (via Lifehacker)

Susan Moriarty at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 13, 2008

CHDK: Hacking Your Canon Digital Camera

canonhacking.pngJust what you've been waiting for! Lifehacker has a fabulously intriguing article about hacking your average Canon point-and-shoot digital camera. CHDK (Canon Hacker's Development Kit) is an open source firmware that you can load onto your camera's memory stick whenever you want to use it. Even if you don't intend to do this, it's worth a read. Did you know you could increase the video recording time to one hour, get faster shutter speeds, change onscreen data or even run scripts for a set of actions like time lapse photography? No you didn't! Now go visit Lifehacker and he'll tell you how to do it.

Susan Moriarty at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 6, 2008

How Aspect Ratio Affects You: Have You Ever Noticed Your Digital Prints Are Cropped?

aspectratio.jpgWhen we all shot 35mm film, we all produced images with the same aspect ratio (3:2), and the ever popular 4x6 print is based upon that. In the digital world, however, digital cameras do not all share this 3:2 aspect ratio, and as a result, all digital photos do not convert well to 4x6 prints. The most common aspect ratios for digital cameras are 3:2 (most digital SLRs) and 4:3 (most compact point-and-shoots). Some cameras allow you to choose your own aspect ratio. Aspect ratios differ between manufacturer and even between models from the same manufacturer. Awesome, huh?

What is aspect ratio? Aspect ratio is simply the relationship between the width and height of your image--as you see in the chart below, we get the aspect ratio of an image by reducing the numbers to their lowest common denominator. (Don't worry, we did the math for you!)

Print Size ---> Aspect Ratio
4x6 ---> 3:2
5x7 ---> 7:5
8x10 ---> 5:4
20x30 ---> 3:2

Some day, this discrepancy may sort out--maybe labs will print in other aspect ratios and maybe manufacturers will agree on an aspect ratio. Until then, here are a few things you can do to prevent an Insolent Cropping Crisis:

  1. If you know what size you like to print, get a camera that agrees with that aspect ratio.

  2. Some labs (try Snapfish) allow you to select "true digital size" and will not crop your image.

  3. Print with a lab that allows you to select your own crop when you want to -- try myPhotopipe.com (see our earlier post on this service).

  4. Be vigilant when taking your photos and leave enough "safe space" around the edges so that an auto-crop won't cut off anyone's head or eyeball or some such.

  5. Write to your congressman. If they have time to pioneer HDTV, they have time to save us from crappy crops.

Susan Moriarty at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 27, 2008

Apple Photo Books: 6 Tips to Get Good Results

applebook1.jpgRecently, PictureSnob ordered some photo books through Apple and we were a little surprised by the results... we designed and purchased a hardcover book and several soft cover books. We're going to describe what happened and at the end of the post are 6 hot tips for getting good photo book results. Read this! It will save you.

So we had a great time designing these books in iPhoto. It was easy to use and if you consulted the "help" menu you could figure out how to crop and customize to your heart's content. So we get the books (timing was fast, less than a week) and the hardcover book looked fantastic except for a magenta cast that was apparent across all the photos, including black & white images. Now most people might not notice this, but PictureSnob is, well, a SNOB, and this wasn't up to snuff for us. The soft cover books were damaged in shipping (bent corners) and the text had dropped out of most of the book. Additionally, it seemed like images were darker than expected.

So we go to the Apple Photo Services Support page to kvetch. Within hours Apple fully refunded every single book and included some helpful tips on how to better control the photo book results. (We still don't understand why they're shipping soft cover books in cardboard envelopes, but it's their buck.) The tips are good. Why this kind of information isn't more apparent when you set out to make your first photo book is mind-boggling. Apple? What gives?

Anyhoo, here's the tips:

ArrowContinue reading: "Apple Photo Books: 6 Tips to Get Good Results"

Susan Moriarty at Permalink | Comments (10) | social bookmarking

March 19, 2008

Lighting 101 from the Strobist and Table Top Studio

lighting.jpgIf you have ever tried to shoot anything you have to light, we have two tips that just might save you some grief. Check out the Strobist -- it's a fantastic blog about lighting. Go to the Lighting 101 section to get a step-by-step education. He's got great advice on how to light, what gear you need (and don't need) and the blog regularly analyzes shots you see in ads and such and tells you how they were lit. Pretty cool. This lighting mostly applies to those trying to shoot still-life, portraits and interiors, but the more you understand about light in general, the better photographer you'll become.

So let's say you've got a night job hawking wares on eBay. And you can't get a nice picture of that ruby brooch to save your life, let alone get a bid that covers shipping. Or maybe you make things -- jewelry, beads, invitations -- and want to photograph your work for your portfolio. Well, saunter over to Table Top Studio! There's a ton of lighting advice and a bunch of lighting kits you can purchase for various studio shot needs -- they're affordable, portable and contain everything you need from lights and acrylic stands to soft box tents and wires. You can get some of their products, also found under the EZ-Cube name at Amazon -- sometimes you get a better deal there, it depends what you're buying.

Susan Moriarty at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

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