RECENTLY I WROTE:
- Dungeness at twilight
- Before I die…
- Borough Market and my old iPhone 4S
- The things you see in London…
- Filming with Gok Wan for NAT
- A photographer’s journey: Niall McDiarmid’s Crossing Paths
- Summer 2013 in pics, part 1
- In pictures: Surviving a thunderstorm in Kazimierz
- Aerial photographs of Heathrow Airport
- Adobe Lightroom 5 – five favourite video tutorials
MY MOBILE EYE:
Category Archives: software
It’s also part of the Creative Cloud, which is subscription-based, but the standalone-product is more than sufficient for most photographers and also – unlike CC – comes with a perpetual licence.
Lightroom has been my software of choice from the day it was originally released. I use it for cataloguing, archiving, tagging, selecting, enhancing and publishing my RAW files. I use it for jpgs too, but its real power lies in how it handles the RAW files.
I’ve been using Lightroom 5 beta for the past few months as every time Adobe updates the software I’m a bit sceptical about the ‘new’ features. Sometimes they are genuinely new features, but often just enhancements of the existing ones, which did not always justify the price tag.
The past versions of Lightroom – as good as they were – always seemed to lack some key features that came as standard with Photoshop. When Lightroom 5 beta – or more recently the full version – was released, I got really excited when I saw that some of the missing features were finally added. Plus we got some really cool extras which this time make the £60 upgrade price tag worth it. (It’s around £100 if you’ve never owned a copy of Lightroom before).
My favourite features in the latest version of Lightroom include:
- The Upright Tool, which allows you to straighten wonky images.
- Smart Previews – now you can work with images that are not present on the same drive where Lightroom is installed, even if that drive gets disconnected.
- The Advanced Healing Brush, which sounds like re-discovering the wheel if you’ve used Photoshop in the past, but the addition of this tool to LR5 means you don’t need to switch to Photoshop if you want to make some minor adjustments.
Adobe produced quite a few video tutorials to go with the release, here are five of my favourites:
Top 10 hidden gems:
Working with offline images using smart previews:
Moving between Lightroom 5 and Photoshop:
The new Upright Tool:
Enhancing isolated areas of an image:
There are many more official short tutorials on Lightoom 5′s official YouTube channel (39 at the time of writing).
Something incredible happened last night. Flickr surprised everyone by upgrading its iPhone app. Not *just* updating – upgrading. Revamping. Relaunching as something completely new – and in fact, usable. Yay.
That’s when – and if – you can log in. If, like me, you were forcibly logged out during the update, you were asked to log in using either your existing Yahoo! credentials, Facebook or Google.
Sadly, despite numerous attempts the message was always the same for me:
I requested a new password, but I was ignored.
Well, not just me:
@michald Same here. Asked for password reminder but never got email including log in details. That’s me never using Flickr again.
— James Seddon (@jamesseddon) December 12, 2012
Frustrating, unnecessary. But there seems to be an easy – if completely baffling – “workaround”.
When you get the above message, ignore the main screen, but instead go to the next screen with captcha.
Type in your email and password – plus the captcha bit – and if you’re as lucky as I was, you’ll be logged in and redirected to your welcome screen.
No idea why you need to do it this way, and sadly, neither the Flickr blog nor the Flickr dev blog offer any clues.
But the app is actually quite cool and seems to define the direction in which Flickr is likely to go now. An overview of the new features is here.
If the complete overhaul of the app is a sign of things to come, Flickr may still rise from the ashes. Hope it’s not too late.
Another major British newspaper – after The Guardian – is attempting to capitalise on the popularity of Apple’s iPad and the general hunger for good quality photography, including news photography.
While The Guardian goes for one stunning news image per day, the Telegraph selects 12 images daily. They are available around 5AM (UK time) every morning. They are not necessarily mind-blowing or unique. They are there to tell a story or a series of stories.
Yet for me it’s not all about the numbers. I personally prefer The Guardian’s approach. We are bombarded daily with hundreds of images and I’m not sure I really want to browse through yet another gallery of 12 agency images. I do like the fact Eyewitness selects one high-impact image a day. I tend to spend more time looking at and analysing what Eyewitness publishes - and the fact that each Eyewitness image comes with professional tips on top of any captions makes the app so appealing.
But that’s my personal preference.
What I really dislike about the new app is the fact it comes with no sharing options and no controls. There’s no way to favourite or share anything there. Also, there’s no refresh option, which means new images won’t appear unless you close the app completely and restart. Hmm, really?
I was trying to find out more on the Telegraph’s website, but there’s no mention of the app anywhere.
Which means it’s either an experiment or the app is at a very early stage of development. Either way, Eyewitness it ain’t.
The iPhone, initially derided for its poor camera quality, has undoubtedly convinced many amateur, semi-professional and professional photographers to expand their photographic horizons.
Hundreds of apps, with hundreds of effects, have made quirky, interesting, weird, vintage etc. photography an everyday phenomenon. People have been able to go beyond web-based sites to share their photography and acquire new techniques and often many new fans.
The words iPhoneography and iPhoneographer, however clumsy, have entered our daily vocabulary. iPhone images are present everywhere – from iPhone-specific apps and galleries, to online photo-sharing sites and news outlets.
But should it work the other way round? Should non-iPhone images ‘infiltrate’ iPhone-native apps like Instagram?
I’ve noticed more and more DSLR-quality images being posted on Instagram and initially I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it. On the one hand, why not? Pictures are pictures, right? No matter how or where you take them. If you can add iPhone images to Flickr, why not add DSLR images to Instagram? It’s all part of the fun.
Yet iPhoneography is about using the iPhone to take – and modify – your images. The clue is in the name. So what motivates people who post their photoshopped-to-death images on Instagram? And can adding non-iPhone images to services like Instagram or Hipstamatic be seen as cheating?
Well, try this Flickr discussion. Started by someone totally outraged by such practices:
I hate when I see pictures taken with profesional cameras, why do people do that? flickr is for that not instagram !!!
says Hans Stockholm. And instantly gets backed by a bunch of people who also find it equally outrageous that Instagram can be used in such a way. Some claim it’s simply uninteresting.
But then you have people like pdexposures, who seems to be absolutely fine with that:
Sounds like some people need to get their panties out of a punch. It’s a photo sharing program, I share iPhone shots, Dslr, 35mm, polaroids, instax and more types of film on my stream. None of My followers complain and they often lead to discussions about other forms of photography including tips and tricks about the medium that shot was taken in.
I had my knuckles rapped after my criticism of Hipstamatic (or rather: my criticism of one person’s reliance on Hipstamatic as a source of creativity). That discussion polarised people, although a few came to my defence. And it seems the latest “should we/should we not” iPhoneography discussion has gone the same way.
There are similar discussions all over the web. On getsatisfaction.com official Instagram reps admit they themselves find this issue a bit confusing and get plenty of support from other Instagram purists. On the same site, however, another similar thread has been hijacked by the ‘whatever’ camp.
I use Instagram to upload iPhone images only. I prefer it this way. I did upload one DSLR image once, then someone asked me whether it was taken with the iPhone and I felt like a cheat. Taking photos with the iPhone requires certain skills – from the way you handle the phone, to how you deal with shutter delay to how you see and frame the world through the screen. Therefore when I see a good image taken with the iPhone – regardless of whether Instagram filters enhance it or not, or whether it’s been modified using other iPhone apps on top of Instagram - I know this guy has mastered a particular skillset. And I like that. But that’s just me. I understand many people won’t care about whether an image came from the phone or a high-end DSLR camera as long as it’s ‘nice’.
So where do you stand?
If you read my previous post about Instagram, you know I’m a convert. It’s a fun app. It offers good value for no money – particularly after the latest update. Now it has also crossed into ‘traditional’ media – television to be more precise. But first, the update.
The latest incarnation of Instagram offers several enhancements, most notably the ability to create tilt-shift images. Overnight, just like that, a relatively new and until recently niche technique has gone mainstream. Obviously there’s no comparison between a real tilt-shift lens and a digitally applied effect, but it’s now out there for everybody to use and abuse. Watch it become the next HDR.
Another enhancement is the revamped news feed. You can now see who your friends follow, what images they like and left comments on. Through that I’ve already discovered a few great pictures I would have not seen otherwise – and users I would have not noticed. Separately, you can now see what happens with your profile and images – who follows you and what they like.
What I think Instagram is missing is the ability to revisit the images you liked. I often ‘like’ or bookmark images I find inspiring or original to look at them in more detail later. Instagram doesn’t offer such functionality. And because you can’t go back go what you liked a few days ago, everything feels temporary and disposable.
Now, the TV bit. For an app which is just over six months old to strike a big deal with a major TV network must be huge.
A few days ago Instagram and CBS, the producer of NCIS: Los Angeles, announced their “Flaunt Your City” campaign. It’s a mutual promotion. Instagram users can access behind-the-scenes images taken on the set of NCIS: Los Angeles, but their own images can become part of the series too. Users are encouraged to take images of unique or iconic places in their cities and share them via Instagram using the hashtag #NCISLA. One photo will be chosen by the cast and producers and the winning entry will be featured in the season finale on May 17.
That’s a massive publicity win for Instagram. At this rate, it’s likely to quickly expand its existing base of 2m+ users, who collectively upload over 290K images a day.
Good luck to Burbn, the makes or Instagram and good luck to whoever takes the winning image. Hope it’s not tilt-shift.
I remember doing an image search a few months ago and seeing a copy of a picture I own. The image was posted on a site I didn’t recognise, so my first reaction was anger – somebody stole my picture! On closer inspection it turned out it was my friend who posted it on his Posterous blog with an appropriate credit.
So I was lucky. But how many of you have had your images stolen? I take thousands of pictures, but I don’t publish thousands online. Neither am I a professional photographer living exclusively off the income from photography sales. But if you are, how do you protect your images online?
You can make them small and reduce the quality to prevent people from printing them. You can use watermarks and overlays to minimise the risk of republishing your images online. You can built Flash-based galleries to bypass the right-click “save as” issue. But if someone wants to steal your picture, they will. Then you need to track it down somehow. A needle in a haystack springs to mind.
There are services like TinEye which help track down your images, but yesterday another site, Image Rights, already present on the market with its paid-for tool, joined the game with a free version of its powerful image tracking service.
I caught up with one of the co-founders of Image Rights, Ted VanCleave, to find out more about the service. I’ve asked him to explain in simple terms what Image Rights is:
ImageRights International, Inc., is a company that helps professional photographers and illustrators discover the illegal use of their intellectual property on the Web.
Our advanced visual search and crawler technology continuously scans websites and blogs to protect images for professional photographers and illustrators. The crawler indexes millions of new images every month and uses powerful image recognition technology to compare customers’ photos and illustrations against images found on the Web.
It then detects where the customers’ images have been used, even if the stolen photos have been altered, cropped, rotated or color adjusted. The customer receives a full report, including a picture of the original image, its use online, and the URL and ownership information for the website where it was found.
Nobody has come up with a really convincing way of tracking stolen images. Are you different? What is your unique selling point?
ImageRights was built from the ground up to help photographers find instances of their images being used on the internet and then helping them recover fees for unauthorized use. It’s is an extremely easy to use service. We have multiple web crawlers browsing business, blogs and news and media sites in North America and Europe looking 24/7/365 at images on these types of web sites.
I’ve been using Tin Eye to track down some of my images, last time a ran a search through TinEye they went through over 1.5 billion images for free. Why would I switch to Image Rights or even pay subscription?
Tineye is a reverse search engine. That’s their term. You can only load one image at a time. And they don’t help you recover lost revenue, which we will with the launch of our Recovery program in July. While TinEye has 1.5 billion images in their database according to their site, they don’t say where all of those images came from. It’s a good service but of limited use since you can only upload one image at a time. With ImageRights, you can upload 10,000 images and we’ll send your reports all year long as we find matches.
Do you differentiate between published and unpublished photos and if so, are you able to track down the latter too?
We don’t differentiate between published and unpublished. We don’t actually track images, we are pulling images randomly off of business, blogs and news and media sites in North America and Western Europe.
What happens when you actually find an image that has been illegally used, do you provide any legal help too, or just point to the website which violated a photographer’s copyright and leave it up to him to chase the culprit?
We have developed a recovery program for the USA to start, launching it in July. We will help any photographer from any country collect lost revenue from an image of theirs that has been used without authorisation, without a licence in the USA. We will also be rolling out this recovery program in different countries throughout Western Europe over the next 6-12 months.
Who is behind Image Rights?
ImageRights was co-founded by myself and my business partner Joe Naylor. I’m a photographer and entrepreneur and I have found my images being stolen on a regular basis. Joe is the former President of Web Messenger and comes from a technology background. Over the last two years we researched all of the best technologies available to help stop image piracy. ImageRights is the result of our research and findings. Even if one of your images has been cropped up to 80%, rotated, colors stripped out of it or it’s used in a collage, we can still match it against your original image.
You’ve partnered with, among others, American Photographic Artists and American Society of Picture Professionals. What does it mean to you? What kind of support or endorsement are you getting from them and your other partners?
Each partner chooses what level of partnership is right for them. Many offer discounts to their members for paid subscription services at ImageRights. All of our partners are strong advocates of photographers rights and would like to help stop image theft and help enforce copyrights and educate the public about the need to license images to use them.
So that’s what Ted has to say about Image Rights. I have to admit that it’s great that someone offers a service allowing users to bulk upload their library for free, even if it means giving up 50% of their compensation if they choose to participate in the Recovery Program Ted mentioned (it drops to 35% if you pay for the service).
I’d like to hear from you if you are a photographer and are worried about image theft. Would you use a service like Image Right? Is this a solution for you? Have you used them – or any other similar service before? Do you think anyone is able to create a database big enough to provide meaningful and robust support? Really curious to hear what you think.
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