More photos I took at JBL’s launch event for their new Synchros headphones last night here.
More photos I took at JBL’s launch event for their new Synchros headphones last night here.
Today Google+ released a whole new enhanced online photo editing suite of tools. I’ve been playing around with them for the past few hours and am impressed with what you can do with them as an online editor. While they won’t replace my more traditional desktop tools (i.e. Lightroom, Photoshop, Nik, FX Photo Studio Pro, etc.), I think a lot of more casual users will love them.
The online editor does a lot of the basics of editing (contrast, brightness, shadows, cropping, sharpening, structure etc.), but it also comes with some pretty slick vintage and what they call retrolux editing. These new tools allow you to customize your photos in a lot of the more popular faux photo styles currently hip with the Instagram crowd. While G+ offers some quick filters, they also give you more granular control over how much of each sort of effect you want.
The new editor also includes spot editing tools, which allow you to adjust only parts of a photo that need it and some interesting spot focusing tools, including tilt shift editing.
I edited the photo at the top of this post using the new G+ tools. It’s great to see Google continue to invest and innovate in the online photo sharing space. Below are some screen shots of some of the tools in action.
You can find more information about the new tools here and in the embedded post at the bottom of this post.
I’ll be doing a live hangout on sunset photography tomorrow at 1pm PST on Google+. Come hang out with us. Details below.
Over the past 2 years I have been super active on Google+. Google+ has emerged as the best community on the web for photographers. Photos look great there, but photos look great a lot of places on the web today. More significantly, Google+ is a positive, visually oriented community where photographers can meet, talk, get to know each other and develop and maintain friendships.
I’ve met more photography friends on Google+, than any other social network.
As I’ve gotten involved with Google+ I’ve shared my circles of photographers. When Google+ first started out and I built my photographers circle up to 500, I shared it, then 1,000, then 1,500, then 2,000. Last week my photographers circle on Google+ hit 2,500 and I shared it again.
If you want to see some of the best photography being published on the web today, check out some of these photographers.
SmugMug, widely regarded as one of the best internet sites on the web for amateurs and pros alike to share, and especially sell, their photos, unveiled an entirely new SmugMug this morning.
I’ve had early access to the new site redesign and have been playing around with it for the past few weeks — I’m a huge fan.
The new SmugMug brings fresh, updated, design and functionality to the service and is probably the most significant upgrade to the service since it started.
Most significantly, the new SmugMug brings a new line up of beautifully designed templates that allow even the most basic internet user the ability to have a photo commerce site up within minutes.
As much as I enjoyed the old SmugMug as a place to sell my prints, one of the negatives of the old site was that it could be complex and complicated to get a attractive looking interface up. The old SmugMug offered the ultimate in customization, but many photographers are not web design experts and it could be challenging to do it yourself. While you could hire outside pros to customize your site, this added a layer of cost and complication to the equation.
While the new SmugMug still allows advanced users an incredible amount of customization, they also now offer a series of basic templates that are pretty much plug and play. The new templates are stunning right out of the box and you can easily use a new series of tools to do minor edits to add in basic elements that you want to use to present your photos uniquely.
These new templates have been optimized to look good on the three basic interfaces, web, tablet and mobile. They have also added custom links that can be added to your blog, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter as part of any design interface.
In addition to the new design choices, SmugMug also rolled out today a new photo organizer that allows some of the most advanced functionality in photo sharing today.
When Flickr redesigned their site earlier this year, some users were disappointed that Collections lost visibility on the site. The primary way that Flickr manages photos is with sets. Sets can be one dimensional though. Sometimes you need sets of sets. Sometimes you even need sets of sets of sets. The new SmugMug allows seven layers of photo organization.
So if you want to have a page of American photos organized by states you can do that. If you want to be able to drill down into each state and look at the various cities, you can do that too. If you want to drill down even further and look at the various neighborhoods in each of the cities, you can do that.
More control over hierarchy was the number one feature request that SmugMug users had asked for in their user forums.
The new SmugMug organizer also offers lots of ways to bulk edit your photos, allowing you to batch add keywords, delete files, apply custom captions, etc.
Personally, I do 99% of my metadata work at the file level in Lightroom, but here is where SmugMug offers me one of my favorite features, Smart Galleries. Smart Galleries are not something new with this release, but Smart Galleries allow you to build highly customized automated galleries based on keywords. If I want to build an album of all of my photos of abandoned buildings in Detroit, I can do this simply by building a set that includes any of my photos keyworded with abandoned AND detroit. Now anytime I upload any new photos to the site that have these keywords, they will automatically be added to that album.
One of the problems with redesigning photo sharing sites is it doesn’t matter how good a job you do at it, there will always be naysayers from the “who moved my cheese” crowd who will moan about it. It doesn’t matter how much better you make something, some people just love to complain. Haters gonna hate, gators gonna gate, tators gonna tate, all that stuff. One of the smart things that SmugMug did with this redesign is that they gave control over the new site to the user. If you are already a SmugMug user and *don’t* want to opt into the new site design, you don’t have to.
“Unlike many other services, we’re not forcing you to ditch your existing site. You’ll have your very own secret preview mode that contains all your galleries, so that you can personalize it and get familiar with the new features. While it sounds scary, migration simply copies your website contents into a virtual sandbox that only you can see. When you’re ready, YOU unveil your changes and make it public.”
I’m sure that there will *still* be some who complain, even though they get their *choice* over new or old SmugMug, but this should go a long way towards the inevitable backlash that comes with every redesign.
Also, the pricing is staying the same for the service and they are even adding unlimited video uploading to all levels of account with no price increase. At present SmugMug’s pricing remains: Basic: $5/month or $40/year, Power: $8/month or $60/year, Portfolio: $20/month or $150/year, Business: $35/month or $300/year.
If you are a photographer who has thought about selling your photos on the web, but has held back, now is the time to jump in. With the new SmugMug today, you can easily have a professional looking photo commerce site up and running within minutes. SmugMug offers a generous 85% payout on all sales and gives you a great place to send people to who want to buy your prints.
If you want to check me out on my SmugMug, you can find me here. I’m in the process of adding several thousand new photos to my SmugMug. Feel free to buy a print if you’d like.
One of the things that I’ve liked about being able to pay Yahoo and Flickr $24.95 per year, is that it comes with an advertising free experience. The deal between Yahoo and Pro accounts is simple, and can be summed up in Flickr’s own words: “No ads in your browsing experience.”
While new Flickr Pro accounts are no longer available, all existing Pro accounts were given an opportunity to grandfather in their Pro accounts and continue them ad free. If users want an ad free experience now, they have to pay double the price as the old Pro account, but it’s still an option.
In the past, when paid accounts on Flickr have complained about advertisements, Flickr pointed them to a toolbar that a user likely installed: “If you are pro, we don’t show you ads on Flickr, but you may have unintentionally installed a browser toolbar, extension or add-on that is serving them.”
I’ve always respected Flickr for offering this ad-free option, it’s a refreshing departure from Facebook, where we are bombarded with ads at every turn.
Unfortunately, today Flickr has reneged on their advertising free account by forcing a new Yahoo tool bar on all Flickr users, both those with free ad supported accounts and those of us with paid ad-free versions. It’s an ugly intrusion to an otherwise beautiful new Flickr. It also advertises at me on *every* *single* *page* on Flickr — a bunch of Yahoo services that I *do* *not* *want.*
Complete with a Yahoo logo, the forced real estate takeover also offers me Home, Mail, News, Sports, Finance, Weather, Games, Groups, Answers, Flickr, omg!, Shine, Movies, Music, TV, Health, Shopping, Auto, Travels, Home.
There is no way to disable this forced tool bar. Worse it follows you as you scroll down the page. It never goes away. As of right now it is impossible to be on any page on Flickr without having these hyperlinked ads in your face.
I think these advertisements are just awful. I think they are distasteful and I think it’s unfortunate that Yahoo is so greedy that they cannot be satisfied with our simply paying them for an ad-free experience. If Yahoo cannot make enough money off of Flickr, then increase the price, or give us an option to pay more and remove this intrusive forced advertising bar.
Flickr is supposed to be an elegant, paid, ad-free, photo experience — or at least one version of it is. Forcing advertisements like this on ad-free accounts is wrong. Flickr should give all paid accounts an option to x out this ugly marketing based tool bar and make it go away.
There are few things as annoying as having a toolbar forced on you with a bunch of advertising links to things that you do not want. You can follow user reaction to this new forced tool bar in the Flickr Help Forum here.
You can and should do better than this Flickr.
Recently I was given a JBL Charge to check out. I’m a fan. The JBL Charge is a small speaker system, about the size of a can of Tecate, that wirelessly hooks up via blue tooth to your tablet, computer or smart phone. Setting the speaker up is easy — you just turn bluetooth on on your phone and push a button on the speaker, and smooth, rich sound comes pouring out.
Last weekend I drove from San Francisco to Los Angeles and back for the Father’s Day weekend and used the Charge driving both ways to listen to music from my phone rather than the car radio. The speaker is louder than the stereo system in my car and the lithium battery built into the Charge lasted for the 10 hour ride down (highway 101) and the 6 hour ride back (highway I5). According to the specs, the battery can last about 12 hours, which is usually going to be enough for an outing. You can also charge your cell phone via USB or other devices using the Charge as a back up battery.
It was nice to be able to listen to my own tunes on my phone rather than the radio while driving. I could adjust the volume of the charge either on the charge itself or on my phone. I just kept the Charge in the center console of the car in one of the cup holders while I drove.
I also used the Charge to play my wife’s favorite playlist while hanging out down at my parent’s pool on Saturday night (that’s her in the photo above). It was great having such a portable music system for us to listen to while we watched the kids swim.
JBL Charge Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker (Blue). You can get the charge at Amazon for about $150. It comes in different colors, but I like the light sort of neon blue the best. The charge is small enough that it’s easy to take around with you and it fits conveniently right into one of the lens spots in my camera bag — a great product that will spend many years on the road with me as a travelling companion going forward.
In 2011, Richard Prince republished a 500 run first edition of the classic JD Salinger novel Catcher in the Rye, under his own name. The reproduction was identical in every way except the author’s name was swapped from J.D. Salinger to Richard Prince.
The production value of the book was astonishingly high, a perfect facsimile of the original, right down to the thick, creamy paper stock and classic typeface. The text on the dust jacket—replete with the same iconic line drawing of the angry red horse—began, “Anyone who has read Richard Prince’s New Yorker stories, particularly A Perfect Day for Bananafish, Uncle Wiggly in Connecticut, The Laughing Man, and For Esmé–with Love and Squalor, will not be surprised by the fact that his first novel is full of children.” It was a dead-ringer through and through —not a word was changed—with the exception that the following disclaimer was added to the colophon page: “This is an artwork by Richard Prince. Any similarity to a book is coincidental and not intended by the artist.” Most shockingly, the colophon concluded with: © Richard Prince.
After the publication Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon interviewed Prince.
Kim Gordon: But what about the change, putting your name on the J.D. Salinger…
Richard Prince: Well, oh. That’s just a favorite book. I’m aware of the implications. It’s kind of the Disneyland of book publishing. You don’t mess with images from Disney. You don’t near it. And Catcher in the Rye is also on lockdown; it’s almost become an institution, it’s very sacred. It’s very rare to get a great first-edition copy.
I reread the book. If you have a book in your collection, it has to be a well-written book. I don’t collect books just because other people collect them, and I’m not going to have books in my collection if I think it’s badly written. Unless it’s deliberately bad or it has to do with the culture. I love deliberately badly written books. But when I reread Catcher I realized how contemporary the writing was, and then I was talking, I had the idea of putting it out again. And I think the idea of republishing Catcher, my contribution to that book was simply—and I know this is going to sound terrible, or maybe it’s not—but I just wanted to double the price.
Kim Gordon: To make it have the value you think it ought to have?
Richard Prince: Yeah, I just wanted to make sure, if you were going to buy my Catcher in the Rye, you were going to have to pay twice as much as the one Barnes and Noble was selling from J.D. Salinger. I know that sounds really kind of shallow, and maybe that’s not the best way to contribute to something, but in the book collecting world you pay a premium for really collectible books. I thought, we charged, I think on the book flap it’s $62. There’s a certain kind of adolescent thinking there that I can’t seem to get away from. And I don’t know if I should get away from it, but I certainly acknowledge that it might not be the most interesting way to contribute to the making of that particular object, but I like the fact that the price is twice as much. And it’s enough.
William Eggleston: You know, I had a meeting with him [Henri Cartier-Bresson], one in particular, it was at this party in Lyon. Big event, you know. I was seated with him and a couple of women. You’ll never guess what he said to me.
Drew Barrymore: What?
William Eggleston: “William, color is bullshit.” End of conversation. Not another word. And I didn’t say anything back. What can one say? I mean, I felt like saying I’ve wasted a lot of time. As this happened, I’ll tell you, I noticed across the room this really beautiful young lady, who turned out to be crazy. So I just got up, left the table, introduced myself, and I spent the rest of the evening talking to her, and she never told me color was bullshit.