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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 16:03

When manufacturers and purveyors of not-quite-toe-curlingly-expensive optically fun lenses Lensbaby launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring a Sweet Spot selective focus lens and companion app to mobile photographers, a few eyebrows were raised. First, because a well-established company was looking for Kickstarter funding for a project that felt nailed-on to succeed and second, because the Sweet Spot lens and app was iPhone-only. At least, I don’t use an Android phone but I felt indignant on behalf of Andoid phone owners.

Sweet Spot + iPhone, but now coming to Android (photo by Ben Hutchinson)

Sweet Spot + iPhone, but now coming to Android (photo by Ben Hutchinson)

It sounds as if Android users have made their demand for an equivalent sufficiently for Lensbaby to take note. It has just announced a $50 pledge for an Android-compatible Sweet Spot lens and app, that will ship and be availble for download in October this year.

You can go lay down your money on Kickstarter now.

This article was originally posted at Lensbaby adds an Android option to its Kickstarter campaign , on Photocritic.

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Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Crowdfunded Campaigns, Newsflash!, andro..."
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Date: Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 18:22

Last week was a big week for Dropbox, with the unveiling of its ‘Home for Life’ project, the introduction of Carousel, and the appointment of new board members. This week, its expansion continues as it adds photo storage and systematisation app Loom to its family of purchases.

Loom is an app that we’ve featured a few times here on Photocritic. It’s a stylish interface that allows you to keep track of photos taken on different devices in one place. I’ve used it as a repository for my mobile photos because of its easy auto-upload feature. Now, unless I request a zip file of my data, they’re all going to be switched to Dropbox.

Dropbox + Loom = Less choice for image storage?

Dropbox + Loom = Less choice for image storage?

What impact will this have on Loom customers, or potential customers?

  • No more new enrollments are being accepted. If you were thinking of signing up but hadn’t done so yet, sorry, you’re too late
  • Existing users will be able to use Loom until 16 May 2014
  • There should follow a seamless transfer of data from Loom to Dropbox, with further instructions coming by email
  • Customers who wish to switch to Carousel will receive the same amount of free space that they had on Loom on Dropbox, forever. Paid users will receive the same quota on Carousel/Dropbox for free, for an entire year
  • For those Loom users who don’t want to make the switch to Dropbox, a zip file of their entire libraries, including albums, can be requested.

If you were someone who was using Dropbox and Loom in tandem to store and organise images (one as your primary source and the other as a back-up, for example) it’s a bit of a bugger, really.

In an email to Loom users, the team stated that: ‘We know this is a big deal. This decision was made with great care. We have worked hard on our product and feel that our vision aligns perfectly with Dropbox’s vision for Carousel.’ Maybe it was a case of converging ideals, or perhaps it was a case of a graceful surrender rather than a bloody fight to the death, but the merger is indicative of what an interesting and brutal battleground the cloud space is right now. The Big Guys are taking image hosting, storage, and sharing seriously with Google+, Flickr, and Amazon Cloud Drive offering increasingly desirable packages. The Little Guys are having to find ways to differentiate themselves and preserve their markets before they go the way of Everpix.

This article was originally posted at Loom’s next step in image management: joining with Dropbox , on Photocritic.

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Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Corporate, News, app, carousel, cloud, d..."
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Date: Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 15:55

At the end of March I noticed that Flickr 3.0 for iOS and Android seemed to be in the works. Today, it has been unleashed on the world. Well, I say ‘unleashed on the world’ but it’s more like a steady trickle out to users. I’ve not an update for my phone yet.

The updated app offers 14 live preview filters, so that you see what a photo will look like under their influence before you take it, and record 30 seconds of HD video using one of them, too. There’s also a suite of editing tools that ranges from click-to-select filters, vignettes, and auto-enhance to more sophisticated tools like colour balance, levels, and exposure.

Apply filters as you shoot

Apply filters as you shoot

Auto-sync, which automatically backed-up photos from iOS phones to Flickr, is now available across the board, letting you make easier use of that 1TB of storage space and keep images safe.

There’s also meant to be a new and improved search function that lets you sift through images faster and easier that can define images based on when and where they were taken and what features in them and an enhanced information screen that lets you find out more about where a photo was taken as well as which camera and lens were used to create it.

Easier image organisation

Easier image organisation

Finally, sharing photos to other networks such as Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook just got easier.

Colour me intrigued to know what it’ll look like.

Update: You’ll need to be running iOS 7 for the update to reach your iPhone.

This article was originally posted at Flickr 3.0 for iOS and Android is unveiled , on Photocritic.

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Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Corporate, News, android, app, filter, f..."
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Date: Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 12:30

No, we don’t mean black and white here. We mean all one colour. All red, all green, all yellow. All anything. Colour is one of the most powerful tools in your compositional arsenal and it can be easy to forget how striking images composed of all one colour can be; we get caught up in the idea of complementary colours and of our images having to contain enough to satisfy and intrigue their viewers. And monochromatic images can do that: the key is to have as many different varieties of one colour within an image so that it becomes an exercise in naming the different shades, tones, and tints of one hue.

Colours are able to elicit strong emotions in people. It might sound terribly airy-fairy, but there are introverted—blues, greens, and some purples—colours that give a calm, even subdued feeling and there are extroverted colours, such as reds, oranges, and some yellows, that are positive and energetic. You can prompt particular responses from your audience by using particular colours in your photos.

Red

Red is regarded as the ‘strongest’ colour; certainly, if you’ve a multi-colour image that contains just a speck of red, people’s eyes will automatically be drawn to that red dot. But if you choose a monochromatic red image, be prepared for something that feels passionate, energetic, and vital. A strong colour will incite a strong response.

Orange

It shouldn’t come as any great surprise that I have a particular fondness for orange: I’m Dutch. Daniela rather likes it, too, if how often she wears it is anything to go by. Hardly surprising, then, that we chose it as the Photocritic theme colour. There’s something very inviting and reliable about it. Maybe that’s because it’s the colour of sunrise and sunset. You know it’ll happen every day, and that you have the the chance the start over and then to put everything beind you.

Yellow

Yellow is cheerful, optimistic, uplifting, vigorous: anything positive, really. And it’s easy to grasp the association with the sun, with good weather, with the opposite of darkness.

Green

It’s spring here in the UK, and we’re being presented with a riot of green. It is abundant, youthful, verdant, and symbolic of growth and renewal.

Blue

Ever since I can remember, my parents have painted their bedroom blue. They do it precisely because of blue’s qualities: it’s calming, contemplative, and restful.

Violet

You don’t find that many purply tones in nature. Of course there are some, especially amongst flora, but it’s rarity means that violet tends to have a mysterious and superstitious quality to it. The expense of dying fabric purple in Roman times (the dye came from murex shells) meant that it was reserved for only the highest echelons of power, which contributes to the regal and superior feeling purple has, too.

So, don’t be afraid of the monochrome: embrace and experiment with it!

This article was originally posted at If you think that photos all in one colour are boring, think again! , on Photocritic.

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Author: "Haje Jan Kamps" Tags: "Feature Articles, Photography Theory, co..."
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Date: Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 15:08

You’ve created a stream of several hundred, maybe even thousand, Instagram images that you love. There are landscapes and portraits and birthday cakes and bumble bees and holiday photos and you’re really rather proud of a few. Now what do you do with them? Fotobit thinks that you should print them and display them in its nifty interlocking, extendable frame system that its launching on Kickstarter right now.

You start with one 4×4″ frame to which you can attach more frames—left or right, up or down—creating a block of images on a wall, a line of them around a room, or a zig-zag pattern of pictures. As you take more photos you can extend your display or re-arrange it to accommodate the new images.

Arrange and re-arrange with Fotobit

Arrange and re-arrange with Fotobit

Fotobit has already achieved its Kickstarter funding goal, but you can still pledge $30 for a three-pack of frames, $45 for a six-pack, or $65 for a nine-pack (but there aren’t many of those left; when they’re gone, the price goes up to $80). And there are much larger packs of frames available for even bigger pledges. The Fotobit team has signed-off on the final design and production samples; it’s waiting on the Kickstarter funds to place a minimum order of frames with its manufacturers, which means that if everything goes to plan, backers should have their frames by the end of May.

First it came in black, but there are white options now, too!

First it came in black, but there are white options now, too!

‘There’s nothing better than the nostalgic feeling you get when reliving a memory through a photo and I was looking for a way to share and display the countless photos I’ve taken with Instagram in a more permanent way,’ says Alan Yeung, Fotobit co-founder. ‘Traditional frames made the task too daunting, so that’s when I came up with Fotobit, which I hope inspires people to get photos out of their phone and onto their walls.’

You’ve until 24 April to make a pledge via Kickstarter.

This article was originally posted at Click, snap, hang: showing off your prints with Fotobit , on Photocritic.

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Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Crowdfunded Campaigns, News, campaign, c..."
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Date: Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 13:54

I can’t say that I’ve ever felt compelled to examine all that closely the dust particles that my vacuum cleaner accumulates; I’m rather more interested in getting it out of the house. You too? I’m not surprised. However, a project by electrical goods manufacturer Electrolux not only investigated what the dust churned up in different houses across the world said about their respective environments, it produced enlarged images of different types of dust particles and turned them into Tumblr and Pinterest posts, too.

Intrigued to know what plant residue with iron rich clay found in Stockholm looks like? Or how about calcium phosphate from Singapore? What of titanium white paint in Seoul? You can take a look at them on the Dust Art Tumblr or Pinterest run by Electrolux.

Iron rust dust from Taipei

Iron rust dust from Taipei

As well as the unexpectedly pretty pictures, Electrolux’s research turned up the perhaps-not-so-unexpected findings that our dust says a lot about our individual lifestyles—do lots of laundry and you’ll have a higher than average zeolite particle numbers, play tennis and there might be grass or clay amongst your dust—and about where we live. On average 58% of the dust particles in a home come from outside of it. (Want to help reduce that? Take off your shoes when you come inside and open the windows when it rains.)

Plant residue with sand in Los Angeles

Plant residue with sand in Los Angeles

What city-specific findings did the researchers turn up? Well, if you live in Taipei you’re more likely to have iron-rich gypsum particles amongst your dust because it’s used as a coagulant to produce Chinese-style tofu. Old buildings in Paris had high lead particle counts, because lead used to be added to paint to help it dry and make it more durable. Brazil is the world’s top producer of aluminium, meaning that Sao Paulo’s prevalance for bauxite dust shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Los Angeles homes had traces of marine organism skeletons in their dust. And Singapore’s damp climate means that its houses have little by way of external mineral content because it’s harder for the wind to distribute it.

Fluff dust with old paint in Paris

Fluff dust with old paint in Paris

I’m never going to look at a vacuum cleaner in the same way again.

This article was originally posted at Dust Art: intriguing images of dust that won’t make you sneeze , on Photocritic.

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Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Feature Articles, Galleries, dust, dust ..."
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Date: Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014 16:42

Cards on the table, folks: I was never not going to be painfully biased here. About two-and-a-bit years ago, there was no Triggertrap. Today, it’s the only brand in camera triggering. And now, we need your help to develop the next generation of camera triggering devices.

What started with a small idea on Kickstarter back in 2011 has grown into a bit of a beast. We’re responsible for the best way of triggering your SLR camera from your mobile phone. We’ve created the best high-speed triggering solution out there, and are planning to start shipping them later this year.

Creating the next generation of camera triggers

Triggertrap Ada will change the world of high-speed triggering. It's shipping this summer.

Triggertrap Ada will change the world of high-speed triggering. It’s shipping this summer.

If you thought we’d rest on our laurels there, you’re wrong. Triggertrap has grown from being just me, swearing and sweating over a hot soldering iron, to… Well, something quite amazing.

We’ve just hired another three staff members, and are hiring for two more, which means that in the next few weeks, there’ll be a dastardly dozen Triggertrap-employed superheroes, passionately working on delivering the world’s best camera triggers to the hundreds of thousands of customers we already have — and the millions of customers we haven’t yet.

For many photographers – including ones working for NASA, the BBC, and National Geographic – if they think ‘camera remote’, ‘camera trap’, ‘laser trigger’ or ‘sound trigger’, they think Triggertrap. And this is our starting point.

Help Triggertrap grow…

updollarNow, we want to kick it up a notch. We have a thousand great ideas for building amazing new camera triggering devices, and our mission is to make high-speed photography accessible to a whole new generation of photographers. Our current products are one step in the right way. Our future products are going to take us the rest of the way.

To make it happen, though, we need your help. I want to invest £100,000 straight into Research and Development, and I want our customers to help enable us to do so.

Remember what happened with Oculus Rift? Their customers got rather grumpy when Oculus was bought out by Facebook. We don’t want that to happen to Triggertrap fans, and so we’re enabling you guys to get involved, and giving you an opportunity to share in the success of the company.

Check out the video

To learn a little bit more about what we’re doing and why, check out our Seedrs video:

Get involved.

If you’re interested in owning a slice of Triggertrap, you can invest as little as £20 on the Seedrs platform, so sign up here, and then head over to the Triggertrap campaign to take a closer look.

You’ve got to hurry, though, the campaign closes in only two weeks…

This article was originally posted at Here’s why you should invest in Triggertrap , on Photocritic.

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Author: "Haje Jan Kamps" Tags: "Opinion & Editorial"
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Date: Monday, 14 Apr 2014 09:46

If you’re looking for something to do over the Easter break, how about combining a trip to the home of photography with a browse of some of the International Garden Photographer of the Year competition’s winning images?

It was at Lacock Abbey where William Henry Fox Talbot invented and completed the first photographic negative procedure. Now, Lacock Abbey is owned by the National Trust and between 5 April and 22 May 2014, it will be hosting a selection of the International Garden Photographer of the Year winning entries, outdoors, in its Botanic Garden.

Hydrangeas in my Garden by Andrzej Bochenski (2nd place, The Beauty of Plants category)

Hydrangeas in my Garden by Andrzej Bochenski (2nd place, The Beauty of Plants category)

Although the competition is run in conjunction with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the main exhibition is held there each year, there’s a rolling programme of touring exhibitions with Lacock Abbey being first on the list.

‘Our wonderful fragrant flower borders are coming into bloom, so the exhibition will be a delight for all the senses really,’ says Kristine Heuser, Marketing and Communications Officer at Lacock. ‘Photography is very close to our heart, so we are delighted to have the exhibition back again this year.’

The exhibition is open between 10:30 and 17:30 everyday, 5 April to 22 May 2014. Normal National Trust admission charges apply, so please consult its website for details.

This article was originally posted at Photos exhibited in a botanic garden? It’s IGPOTY at Lacock Abbey , on Photocritic.

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Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Events, News, competition, exhibition, I..."
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Date: Saturday, 12 Apr 2014 10:30

From 14 September to 5 October this year, Oxford will be awash with photographers of all stripes and experience as Photography Oxford brings them together for its inaugural international photography festival to enjoy a wealth of exhibitions, talks, films, workshops, and general picture-taking fun.

It’s doubtful that you’ll be able to move in Oxford without finding something photographic going on, including:

  • exhibitions in colleges, libraries, galleries, museums, and maybe even a giant safe (honestly, I have no idea, but it sounds intriguing)
  • talks on a wide range of photography-related issues
  • five nights of movie classics at the festival’s pop-up drive-in cinema (pray for decent weather)
  • a series of critically acclaimed features and documentaries at the Phoenix Picturehouse
  • workshops for photographers at all levels
  • an education programme run in conjunction with local schools
  • competitions where you can pit your own photography skills against the ‘pros’
  • and much, much more
Going?

Going?

You can keep up to date with what’ll be going on by keeping an eye on Photography Oxford’s website, which’ll be updated with the latest festival news.

But rather than an ordinary guide to the festival, the team behind Photography Oxford will be publishing a festival newspaper to get people to the right places at the right times, provide booking information, and spread some knowledge with articles relating to photography and Oxford. This is where you come in. They want a snappy name for the newspaper. It doesn’t necessarily have to be photography-related, but it does need to be memorable.

If it’s your suggestion that the judging team settles on, you and a guest will be invited to attend the festival’s launch party on Friday 12 September 2014 at the Bodeian’s Divity School, from 18:00 to 20:00.

To enter, tweet your clever, punny, and witty suggestions to @PhotographyOx or post them on the festival’s Facebook page. The closing date is Wednesday 30 April and the team will announce the winning suggestion on Twitter and Facebook by Friday 30 May.

Best of luck!

This article was originally posted at There’s a new photography festival coming to Oxford and it wants your help! , on Photocritic.

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Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Events, News, competition, festival, nam..."
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Date: Saturday, 12 Apr 2014 07:45

The early reviews of Sigma’s new 50mm ƒ/1.4 in its ‘Art’ line all suggest that it’s a peach of a lens, albeit a heavy one, that is poised to give just about every other 50mm lens out there a run for its money. And speaking of money, its price has been just been announced, too. You’re looking at $949.

A gorgeous lens, by just about every review

A gorgeous lens, by just about every review

The Sigma 50mm ƒ/1.4 DG HSM ART lens in Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Sigma mounts is now available for pre-order from Adorama.

This article was originally posted at Sigma 50mm ƒ/1.4 Art has a price , on Photocritic.

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Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "News"
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Date: Friday, 11 Apr 2014 16:52

Tamron’s 16-300mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD MACRO for Canon and Nikon and the 16-300mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 Di II PZD MACRO for Sony will be priced at $629 with Adorama and will be available from 15 May for Canon and Nikon and shortly thereafter for Sony.

Designed for APS-C sensors, the 16 to 300mm lens has a 35mm equivalent focal length of 24.8 to 465mm; inludes vibration compensation in the Canon and Nikon models, and benefits from Piezo Drive for faster and quieter auto-focusing. It’s minimum focusing distance is 39cm and it has a maximum magnification ratio for macro images of 1:2.9.

Tamron 16-300mm, available for pre-order

Tamron 16-300mm, available for pre-order

This article was originally posted at The Tamron 16-300mm has a price and date , on Photocritic.

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Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Bargain buys, 16-300mm, lens, tamron"
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Date: Friday, 11 Apr 2014 15:44

In October last year Olympus and Exhibitr.com launched a competition for students, looking for the best images representative of ‘People and Portraits’. After 2,000 entries and a great deal of deliberation by the four judges—professional photographers R.Cleveland Aaron and Jay McLaughlin, Jon Bentley of Channel 5’s Gadget Show, and Jack Harries of the extremely popular JacksGap website and YouTube channel—one winner and two runners up have been selected.

Winning an Olympus Stylus 1 each for their images in the runners-up slots are Elliott Gunn, studying at the University of Gloucestershire, and Alecsandra Raluca Dragoi of Portsmouth University.

Speaking of Elliott’s image, Jessa, R.Cleveland Aaron said: ‘Elliott Gunn’s slightly abstract image gives the impression it was painted by brush as opposed to light. The perfect balance between creativity and technique is what makes this image a winner.’

Alecsandra’s image, Freckled Boy, elicited the following comments: ‘Alecsandra Raluca demonstrates great technical ability here in this image of a young boy. The clarity, the use of light and aperture control brings the boys features to the fore front of the image and our minds.’

And the winner? Water is Life, by Jasper Wilkins of the University for the Creative Arts, which topped the list because of its ‘… clever and powerful use of light in his composition communicates, with great eloquence, the title of this image. The viewer’s attentions are kept solely on what’s important, the children and the water they crave. This image epitomises the power of photography,’ according to Cleveland. Jasper has won an Olympus OM-D E-M5.

Water is Life, by Jasper Wilkins

Water is Life, by Jasper Wilkins

This article was originally posted at The winners of the Olympus & Exhibtr.com student photography competition , on Photocritic.

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Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Events, News, competition, olympus, Olym..."
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Date: Friday, 11 Apr 2014 13:48

Colour: it’s one of your most valuable compositional tools. But it’s also something that we can take for granted, rather than actually considering the impact of colour in our photos. Different colours and their tones can influence how people will look at your images, so depending on what you want to achieve and how you want your viewers to respond, it’s worth thinking about the colour palettes that you use in your photos.

Colour makes everything look delicious

Colour makes everything look delicious

So what can you do to enhance colours, to make them even more involved in the impact that your photos can have?

The colour wheel

Lets start with the colour wheel, with its primary, secondary, and tertiary colours. How they interact forms the basis of colour theory, and great looking colour photos.

Additive and subtractive primary colours

When we were at primary school, we were taught that the three primary colours were blue, red, and yellow. Or technically, cyan, magenta, and yellow. You can mix blue and yellow to achieve green; red with blue makes purple; yellow and red creates orange; and mix them all together and you get black. They’re known as the subtractive primaries and they’re used in print.

Red-Yellow-Blue colour star (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

Red-Yellow-Blue colour star (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

But there are three other primary colours, the additive primaries, which mix to form white. These are the ‘digital’ colours that are used in screens and sensors to create colours. They’re blue, red, and green, and they form the ‘RGB’ colour wheel. There’s a shock!

The 'RGB' - or Red-Green-Blue additive primary colour wheel

The ‘RGB’ – or Red-Green-Blue additive primary colour wheel (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

It doesn’t matter which version of the colour wheel, with it primary colours you prefer, understanding it, and how the colours in it interact, will help you to produce gorgeous photos.

Balancing colours

Combining different colours in your images can create a sense of balance or tension in them. The sense of balance that you get in a seaside picture usually comes from the contrast between the sea and sky blues and the golden-orangey sand.

Ever wondered why a pink flower on a green background looks so stunning? It’s because of the inter-play of the colours. Complementary colours, or those that sit opposite each other on a colour wheel, create well-balanced images.

If you’re looking for a more harmonious image, focus on combining analogous colours, or those that sit adjacent to each other on the colour wheel. Done right, it isn’t boring, but inviting.

Purples, oranges, and reds work together

Purples, oranges, and reds work together

Combining colours

Using lots of colours simultaneouly can be overwhelming: the eye doesn’t know where to focus and the image descends into a confused mess. However, it doesn’t mean to say that you can’t take a photo with a riot of explosive colour.

Don't be afraid of a multi-coloured photo. It can work!

Don’t be afraid of a multi-coloured photo. It can work!

If you get it right, and people know what they’re looking at, they can be vibrant successes, rather than confused failures.

Enhancing colours

Don’t forget that black and white can have an impact on colour properties, too. If you place a colour against a white background, that colour will lose some of its vibrancy and appear somehow muted and dull.

Things don't appear as bright on white

Things don’t appear as bright on white

It’s hardly surprising that the opposite effect happens with black backgrounds: colours become brighter and emboldened. This is useful to remember for portraiture, but vital if you ever dip your toes into product photography.

Muting and saturating colours

By muting your colours, or ‘toning them down’ you can lend a calm, subdued, or even a sombre feel to your photos. If you saturate the colours in your photos, and intensify them, you can make them feel more vibrant and alive.

You might want to be careful when it comes to saturation, though. Too much of it and you can leave your photos feeling unrealistic, almost cartoon-like. It might be the effect you’re looking for every now and again, but probably not all the time. People with orange skin don’t tend to look so great!

Beware of red

Finally, beware of red. Our eyes are drawn to it and even a tiny fleck of red in a scene can be a monumental distraction.

This article was originally posted at The influence of colour in our photos , on Photocritic.

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Date: Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 19:07

Yesterday, the cloud storage company Dropbox announced its ‘Home for Life’ initiative, making Dropbox a service that can ‘take pain away from technology so you can do more with your life.’ Part of that package is Carousel, a photo and video gallery that combines your Dropboxed images with those on your phone in one accessible, beautiful place.

When you have downloaded the app, it backs up your mobile photos, and automatically backs up new ones, before sorting them—and those previously stored in Dropbox—into a chronological gallery. There’s also the option to share hundreds of images quickly and simply via ‘private conversations’.

Put your images on Carousel

Put your images on Carousel

The ‘Home for Life’ idea is about simplicity, and for Dropbox that means taking care of your photos in a fuss-free way as possible: ‘And unlike other mobile galleries, the size of your Carousel isn’t constrained by the space on your phone, which means you can finally have your entire life’s memories in one place.’ No, it’s just constrained by the size of your Dropbox account. And with Dropbox being one of the more pricey cloud storage options out there, this could become expensive quite quickly. It’s fuss-free, but at a price.

Easy to upload and easy to share

Easy to upload and easy to share

I love Dropbox. I use it every day. But not for photo storage. Its cost is prohibitive and despite the convenience and good looks of Carousel, it makes more sense for me to use Google+ to back-up my mobile images and Dropbox to store and share documents. When I’m able to auto-upload an unlimited number of standard-sized images (so that’s 2048 pixels along the longest edge) from my phone to Google+, or full-sized ones at Google’s much cheaper storage rates, it just doesn’t make sense to use up my valuable Dropbox space.

If you’re uncertain of entrusting your photos to Google, Flickr has an auto-upload feature in iOS 7 and it’ll take you quite some time to burn through its terabyte of storage. Or there’s Microsoft’s OneDrive, which has an auto-back-up feature, too.

Dropbox has made a valiant attempt with Carousel to create a service that sets it apart from its competitors, with a swish interface and direct sharing options, but I’m not convinced that they offer me enough to justify the outlay. I won’t be downloading right now. But I’m not you, and if you think it’s what you’re after, pay a visit to the Carousel website.

This article was originally posted at Jumping on and off of Dropbox’s Carousel , on Photocritic.

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Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "News, Opinion & Editorial, app, cloud, c..."
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Date: Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 16:45

Lensbaby has just announced a 5.8mm ƒ/3.5 circular fisheye lens with manual focus for Canon and Nikon mounts. Although it has been optimised for APS-C sensors, you can use it on full-frame cameras. You’ll be left with a smaller image circle is all. It should be able to focus as close as ¼”, going all the way to infinity, and offers an 185° angle of view.

At a smidge under $300, it’s an extremely affordable addition to you kitbag, it just relies on you using its focusing ring to get your subject sharp, rather than on your auto-focus. If you’re not sure that you can stretch to a Canon or Nikon-made lens, it’s an intriguing alternative.

There are some sample images over on the Lensbaby website, too!

There are some sample images over on the Lensbaby website, too!

It’s not on sale yet, but you can pre-order from Adorama. Canon’s here; Nikon’s here and both are priced at £299.95!

This article was originally posted at Lensbaby launches a fisheye lens , on Photocritic.

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Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Equipment, News, fisheye, fisheye lens, ..."
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Date: Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 13:17

This year’s Sony World Photography Awards Outstanding Contribution to Photography award is being made to documentary photographer, Mary Ellen Mark.

Mark is renowned for her documentary images, often shot in black and white, and for the bond that she oftens develops with her subjects, returning to visit them long after her initial assignment is complete. Starting as a freelance, she often worked on film sets, but the four decades of her career has encompassed a great deal of travel photography. Much of her work reflects her humanism and her desire to capture and relate the stories of people living on the margins of society.

Mary Ellen Mark - Ratí and Mike with a Gun, Seattle, Washington, 1983

Mary Ellen Mark – Ratí and Mike with a Gun, Seattle, Washington, 1983

On being informed of her award, Mark commented: ‘I feel very grateful to have received the Sony World Photography Awards’ Outstanding Contribution to Photography accolade. I follow a list of very prestigious people – they are among my favourite photographers.’

Astrid Merget, Creative Director of the World Photography Organisation, said of the award: ‘Mary Ellen equates nothing short of excellence and we are honoured to present this award to her. Having spoken to dozens of her peers and critics, it is clear that Mary Ellen has made a permanent mark on our industry. She is fiercely committed and consistent in her work and is bound to show us a great deal more in the coming years.’

Mary Ellen Mark will receive her award on Wednesday 30 April at the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards Gala Ceremony. On the same night, the winners of the awards’ professional categories and the overall L’Iris d’Or / Sony World Photography Awards Photographer of the Year will be announced.

Examples of Mark’s work will be exhibited alongside the winning and shortlisted images of the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards at Somerset House, London, from 1 to 18 May 2014. Tickets for the exhibition can be booked via the World Photography Organisation’s website.

This article was originally posted at 2014 Sony World Photography Awards Outstanding Contribution to Photography – Mary Ellen Mark , on Photocritic.

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Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Events, News, Mary Ellen Mark, Outstandi..."
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Date: Tuesday, 08 Apr 2014 14:38

Do you have any naughty photos on your phone? You don’t have to answer that, because I’m not sure that I really want to know, but if you do, just be careful should you have to take your phone in for any kind of repair. A particularly scurrilous character from South Wales has been handed a suspended prison sentence and placed on the sex offenders’ register after admitting to two counts of unauthorised access of data under the Computer Misuse Act and an offence of voyeurism under the Sexual Offences Act.

Lee Hawkes, of Swansea, was found to have 48 images of a woman in her 20s and 135 sexually explicit images of a woman in her 30s on his computer. He had obtained them when the women had brought their phones into the shop where he worked for repair. He transferred the images to his phone, and then onwards to his computer. It was a colleague who reported Hawkes to the police.

Apparently Hawkes showed off his swag to an amazed co-worker and claimed that it was ‘normal behaviour’ that was ‘industry-wide’.

While I’m convinced that the overwhelming number of people behave responsibly when entrusted with our phones for repair or advice, and indeed it was a colleague of Hawkes’ who reported him, I wouldn’t put it past some toe-rag somewhere getting unsavoury ideas or a scoundrel or two having a go at seeing what tasty morsels they can find on people’s camera rolls as we speak.

It might be a good idea to keep your nudes away from prying eyes.

(Headsup to the BBC)

This article was originally posted at Mobile phone salesman convicted of pilfering nude photos from customers’ phones , on Photocritic.

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Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "News"
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Date: Tuesday, 08 Apr 2014 12:45

Adobe: purveyor of world-recogned photo editing options: some for desktop, some for mobile, and some that enable cross-over between devices, such as Photoshop Touch and Photoshop, via the Creative Cloud. That was all well and good, but what about Lightroom? When would that be available on a tablet as well as a desktop, people were wondering. What was taking so long? As of today, that wait for a mobile version of Lightroom is over. But is the Lightroom that people were expecting?

For a start, it’s Lightroom for iPad. There’s no alternative tablet offering. You need to be using at least an iPad 2 running iOS 7 to make use of it.

Second, it isn’t so much Lightroom for iPad, but Lightroom for desktop with an iPad outpost. As Adobe puts it, it’s a companion app. Whatever you do on your iPad will always come back to your desktop Lightroom catalogue via the Cloud. For the majority of Lightroom users who want mobile access (and are iOS-based) this is probably how they envisioned using Lightroom mobile, as something that works in tandem with their desktop version: a manoeuvrable dinghy tethered to much bigger-engined boat. However, anyone who might have been expecting a stand-alone app independent of the desktop, however hollowed-out that might have needed to be, will be disappointed.

I’m not sure that the full fire-power of Lightroom would function on a tablet without being scaled down and refined in some way (and indeed Lightroom Mobile is a limited version of Lightroom), and making those types of sacrifices to functionality is possibly not something that Adobe wishes to contemplate or existing users would accept without having full-scale back-up, hence this iteration. Are Lightroom users the mobile-only type? Yet, I do feel as if there’s a degree of reluctance to embrace a truly mobile experience on Abobe’s part. The Creative Cloud is there when Adobe wishes to take advantage of it and lock users into a subscription, but not necessarily to put users’ interests first and give them a workable and truly mobile-only editing option in a world that’s increasingly portable.

Amongst other things, Lightroom mobile will allow users to:

  • Sync mobile edits, metadata and collection changes back to the Lightroom catalogue on a Mac or Windows computer
  • Automatically import images captured on an iPad and sync back to a Lightroom catalogue on the desktop
  • Work on images, even when the iPad is offline, for a truly portable experience
  • Sync photos between Lightroom 5 and Lightroom mobile; synced photos can also be viewed from any Web browser

And finally, the synchronisation-based architecture means that the mobile version of Lightroom is only available if you subscribe to the Creative Cloud. That means if you want the option to edit on your iPad, you need to shell out either £8.78 ($9.99) for the monthly photography subscription, or whatever Creative Cloud package takes your fancy. There’s no option for stand-alone Lightroom users.

I’m not an iPad-user so there’s no decision for me to make here, but I would be interested to know if you think that this version of Lightroom Mobile fulfils your needs, or if you think that Adobe has missed a trick.

This article was originally posted at Is Adobe’s Lightroom Mobile fully embracing the mobile experience? , on Photocritic.

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Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "News, Opinion & Editorial, adobe, deskto..."
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Date: Monday, 07 Apr 2014 15:25

Back in the days of film, you didn’t have much say over which of your photos were developed and printed, not unless you did it yourself. You took a roll of film, dropped it in at the chemist or local photographic shop, and waited for the prints to come back to you. We ended up with the duds along with the masterpieces, and shoeboxes of photos. Now, we can be far more selective about what we choose to print, and even if we want to print our photos at all.

According to research conducted on behalf of Photoguard, a specialist photographic insurance company, 30% of people only ever look at photos online and about 55% of people who take photos have printed any in the course of the past year. Of those who do choose to print photos, it’s people who prefer taking selfies who are most likely to send their images to print, with 82% of them doing so over the past year.

This selfie went one better than a photo print, it ended up in a book!

This selfie went one better than a photo print, it ended up in a book!

Of course, it’s easy to assume the correlation between ‘taking photos of themselves’ and ‘printing photos of themselves’ but that’s not necessarily so. They’re just more likely to print photos that they’ve taken at all, and this might include coffee, cats, and kids, and beers, bicycles, and bumble bees.

Who’s least likely to print their photos? It’s the people who take ‘art’ photos (however that’s defined) and photos of food. Apparently, 77% and 75% of people in those respective categories didn’t send anything to print over the past year.

And why aren’t people printing images? Apart from the 30% who only look at images online and the 20% who don’t look at images at all, 37% of the survey’s respondents found printing too expensive and 27% cited a lack of access to print facilities.

As someone who takes an enormous amount of pride in her photos and enjoys seeing her work in the flesh, it makes me quite sad that people either aren’t quite sure how best to see their photos on paper so that they can hang them on their walls, put them on mantlepieces, or position them on desks, or find the cost of printing prohibitive. As Carly Wong, one of my Twitter friends put it: ‘It’s the test of a great photo too. If it’s great it looks even better in print than it does on a computer screen.’

For the record, here are a few online print companies who’ll run off 100 prints sized 6 by 4 for under £12 (and that’s the top end), plus postage and packing. Some of them will give you free prints when you sign up, too.


If you want to know who was questioned for this survey, it was 320 professional photographers (UK adults who have been paid for photography work in the last three months) and 680 amateur photographers (UK adults who take photographs on a regular basis). The sample is broadly representative of the UK across age, gender and region. Respondents were interviewed between 13 and 17 January 2014.

This article was originally posted at Who still prints photos? , on Photocritic.

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Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "News, Opinion & Editorial, hang, paper, ..."
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Date: Monday, 07 Apr 2014 12:26

Olympus and Panasonic unveiled the Micro Four Thirds standard, with its smaller and lighter weight interchangeable lens system, back in 2008. Olympus has focused on building the OM-D line built to Micro Four Thirds standards while Panasonic produced some cameras that are great for making videos. Today, JVC Kenwood has announced that it is joining the Micro Four Thirds group and will be releasing a series of advanced Micro Four Thirds products.

In a joint statement from Olympus and Panasonic, they were keen to stress the development of the Micro Four Thirds standard in a way that reflects the interests of the individual companies and provides consumers with a selection of different products: ‘The release of these new products will add to the growing diversity of the Micro Four Thirds System lineup, which now consists of a wide range of products that represent the unique characteristics of each participating company.’

I’m awaiting confirmation from JVC Kenwood on its expected Micro Four Thirds product range and expectations.

This article was originally posted at JVC Kenwood joins the Micro Four Thirds group , on Photocritic.

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Author: "Daniela Bowker" Tags: "Newsflash!, MFT, micro four thirds, stan..."
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