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With a terabyte of free storage, it's easy to think of Flickr as the hall closet where you stuff all your photos. But consider its immersive audience and sharing tools; you may want to revisit your approach.

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For example, if you click on the Photo Gallery button of The Digital Story, it takes you to my Flickr Photo Stream. Once Flickr redesigned their site, I felt that the presentation was strong enough to showcase my images.

In my latest article for lynda.com, Use the New Flickr to Promote the New You, I advocate the following points for increasing your online presence with Flickr.

  • Think of Flickr as a showcase, not a dumping ground
  • Use Flickr as a tool to help you develop your photographic style
  • Stay out of ruts
  • Post-processing is a good thing
  • Don't be afraid of filters
  • Follow interesting people
  • Look at the metadata of the images that you like

You can still use that terabyte of free storage. Just keep the bulk of those images "private" and only make public the interesting shots. By doing so, you can begin to project your style as a photographer, and hopefully attract others to it.

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Flickr Essential Training 2013 - I explore the entire Flickr universe, mobile and computer, in my lynda.com title, Flickr Essential Training. Stop by and take a look.

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I've tested a variety of ways to add watermarks to my mobile photos, but Tagg.ly is the easiest. And the iOS app is free.

Your options include a single text field (I added my name and URL), timestamp, location, and logo. The text information is elegantly placed in the lower left corner. The logo, if you choose to add it, goes in the upper right. I found it a bit intrusive for my tastes. But I like the text placement.

Tagg.ly doesn't rely on metadata. It's part of the image. So unless someone intentionally crops it out, your name won't be accidentally stripped from the photo by a rogue app.

You can use the app's built-in camera function. But I prefer to shoot with my regular camera app, then open Tagg.ly to apply the watermark to images I plan to share. Since it taps your Camera Roll, it's easy to pull up a shot, tag it, then have the new version saved to your iPhone or iPad (Yes, it works with the iPad too).

And since the text field is so easy to change, you could use this app for adding captions to photos before publishing them. So, even though it's quite simple, it's very handy. And I anticipate that will see more features in future versions. I think it's terrific.

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Join me on my Instagram site as I explore the world of mobile photography. And now Instagram features 15-second movies too.

You can edit portraits on an iPad with Photoshop-like power and the ease tapping and pinching with Facetune by Lightricks ($2.99).

With the tip of your finger, you can whiten teeth, smooth skin, remove blemishes, adjust tones, add filters, and even frame your subject. The final version can be saved to your Camera Roll or shared online using any of the popular social network sites.

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After just a few minutes of editing, I felt comfortable with the app. One technique that I think is important, is to magnify your view when using the retouching tools. This provides more precise application of the effect. There is an erasure tool if you overstep.

I also advise checking your work as you go with the before/after view. This helped me realize when I had become a bit heavy-handed with my edits.

Facetune is an incredible value. And if you shoot and share portraits, this is certainly an app you want on your iPad.

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Join me on my Instagram site as I explore the world of mobile photography. And now Instagram features 15-second movies too.

The New Mobile Flickr (again!)

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This time Yahoo got it right. Flickr 3.0 for iOS is an app of beauty.

In Instagram styled fashion, we now have full screen images in a single stream for browsing. Tap twice on a picture in stream view to mark as a Favorite.

Tap once to switch to a lightbox view. You can enlarge the image in Lightbox view by tapping twice. Tap the "X" to return to the stream. Easy to use and works great.

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Two areas that Flickr has been traditionally strong is: editing and displaying metadata. You can edit your pictures by going to camera mode and tapping in the thumbnail icon in the lower left. Choose the image by tapping on it, then tap on Next in the upper right corner. You'll have a complete set of adjustments and filters to choose from.

I really like having the levels adjustment complete with an RGB histogram. Tap and drag markers for highlights, mid tones, and shadows to fine tune the exposure.

To see the metadata for a photo in your stream, tap once on it to switch to Lightbox mode, then tap on the "i" for the metadata display artfully overlaid on the image. This is possibly the best metadata view I've seen on my iPhone.

Overall, I'm very impressed with this version of the app. Hats off to the team at Yahoo for sticking with this project.


Flickr Essential Training 2013 - I explore the entire Flickr universe, mobile and computer, in my lynda.com title, Flickr Essential Training. Stop by and take a look.

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Loom Woven into Dropbox

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After the unraveling of Everpix, many of us turned to Loom for backing up and sharing our mobile photos. We learned yesterday that the thread-bare startup will now be woven into Carousel by Dropbox.

The good news is that free space you had accumulated on Loom will be transferred and honored by Dropbox. I've already tested this, and my 10 GBs of Loom storage have been added to my Carousel account.

The bad news is that Carousel is young and doesn't have many of the features that Loom had so carefully designed. The biggest drawback for me is no iPad integration. My iPhone is my only connection to Carousel.

The two companies have designed an easy migration path. Basically, you click a button and give Loom permission to connect to your Dropbox account. If you don't have one already, you can set it up. The other option is to download a zipped archive of your Loom library. I opted to migrate and will report on how that went in next week's TDS podcast.

Either way, you have until May 16, 2014 to decide what to do. After that, Loom will be no more.

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The announcement of Carousel by Dropbox presents a new and interesting option for viewing your complete photo history stored on a Mac, iOS, and Android devices. If you're already a Dropbox user, this new capability is particularly intriguing.

What Carousel does is create a more practical interface for viewing and sharing Dropbox-stored images. It creates a chronological stream of thumbnails that you can browse by swiping up and down on the iPhone screen, or by swiping left and right on the timeline scale at the bottom of the interface. This sounds simple, but it actually works very well.

Photos are presented as collections with location and date as their title. Up to eleven thumbnails from the collection are initially displayed. If there are more pictures in that collection, a number is shown that you can tap on to reveal the remaining photos.

When you first log in to Carousel with your Dropbox account information, the app integrates all the photos it can find in your existing Dropbox account with those currently in the iPhone's Camera Roll. Additionally, if you're using Dropbox to automatically archive your iPhoto library, those images become part of your Carousel as well.

In a short period of time, the bulk of your photo history is available on the iPhone with very little effort on your behalf. Moving forward, the Carousel is automatically updating itself via these sources.

From that point, you can easily view your collection, or share via email, Twitter, and Facebook, or open in an app for editing. Images that you want to retain, but don't want visible in the scrolling Carousel, can be hidden from the stream and viewed only through an option in the Settings menu.

Using Carousel will require ample storage on your Dropbox account, but frees up space on your mobile device. If you have available space on Dropbox, this is a solution worth considering. Of course, you can always purchase more if necessary.

Currently, Carousel is not compatible with the iPad, and is an iPhone and Android app only. I'll keep you posted as this service evolves.


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Carousel has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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Folded Foldio Studio

We take a lot of pictures with our smartphones. But product photography? Yes you can, and I'll prove it.

This quest started when I learned about Foldio through a Kickstarter initiative. I ponied up $45 (Kickstarter early adopter price) and received a foldable, portable studio, two LED light strips, and four sweep backdrops. I can fold up the studio, lights, two batteries and one backdrop and fit it in an 11" x 11" carry bag. And with this little studio, I can take some pretty good shots.

Foldio Studio in Action The Foldio studio in action. One LED light strip on top, and another at the base.

Foldio will fit in any messenger bag that can accommodate a laptop. I can set it up in minutes thanks to the magnets that click everything into place. I have one LED light strip adhered to the inside top of the studio, and the other is free floating so I can position it as needed.

For the images captured with my iPhone, I use Camera+ ($1.99) because it has an effective exposure compensation slider that makes it easy to compensate for the bright white background. Without exposure compensation, your phone will underexpose both the subject and white backdrop. (My kit also included a black, gray, and green backdrop. Exposure will change with each of them.)

Because the LED lights are color balanced, you can use auto white balance on your phone or camera, and the rendering should be pretty accurate.

I photographed two different products with the Foldio. One item was shot with the iPhone 5S and Camera+. The other item was photographed with a Pentax K-5 and 50mm f/1.8 lens. Can you tell which is which below?

product-shot-in-foldio.jpg Product shot #1 captured in the Foldio using the two LED light strips.

product-shot-2-in-foldio-studio Product shot #2 captured in the Foldio using the two LED light strips.

If you really want to know right now, you can download one of the images and look at the EXIF data. Otherwise, I'll post the answer tomorrow on the TDS Facebook page.

The point is, you can create some lovely product shots with very simple tools. The folks at Foldio will open their store soon. You can get on their mailing list and be notified once they're selling kits. It's a nifty setup that's fun, easy to use, and produces good results.


Nimble Photographer Logo

The Foldio has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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Lightroom Mobile for iPad

Lightroom is now available for the iPad.

You can download the app from the iTunes Store for free, upgrade your existing desktop version of Lightroom to 5.4, then share Collections across devices... for 30 days. After that, you'll need a Creative Cloud account to maintain functionality.

lightroom-mobile-ipad.jpg Lightroom on the iPad.

On first impression, the tools and user interface for Lightroom Mobile seem useful and well thought out. There are a number of editing tools and filters. And when synced with desktop Lightroom, you have lots of flexibility when on the go. Pocketlint has published a good article about the specifics.

lightroom-5pt4.jpg Synced file in Lightroom 5.4 for the Mac.

Since Creative Cloud for Photographers is still on sale for $9.99 a month, this mobile version of Lightroom might be just the thing to encourage current fence-sitters to make the jump.

I follow up after a bit more testing.

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The Eye-Fi Mobi is already one of my favorite WiFi-enabled memory cards. With the recent addition of Desktop Receiver, it's become even more interesting.

Versions of the beta software are available for both Mac and Windows platforms. When enabled, you computer goes into "listening mode," on the lookout for images available from the Mobi card. If you take a picture, the file is transferred to a folder.

In my tests with the Fujifilm X20 compact, which doesn't have built-in WiFi, the process worked smoothly. I shot Raw+Jpeg. The Jpegs were copied to my Mac and the Raws remained intact in the camera.

One thing to keep in mind about the beta software: if you also use the Mobi card to send images to your mobile device, be sure to exit the software on your computer first. My experience was that the iPad couldn't recognize the Mobi when Desktop Receiver was active.

You can download the beta software for free from the Eye-Fi Labs site. There's also a handy FAQ there that handles the most common questions.

For me, this capability will be handy for blogging. I can shoot a subject and have it appear immediately on my computer for posting. What about you? If you have an Eye-Fi Mobi, give this software a spin and see where it takes you.


Join me on my Instagram site as I explore the world of mobile photography. And now Instagram features 15-second movies too.

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Handy Photo for iPad Image Editing

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One of the apps that generated chatter at the recent Macworld/iWorld event was Handy Photo for iOS ($1.99). And for good reason. This image editor is chock-full of powerful tools, is easy to use, and sports an attractive user interface.

When you first launch the app, you're greeted with a friendly welcome screen that asks you what you want to do: take a picture or open one from your gallery. I selected a shot from my Photo Stream that I had captured this morning with the iPhone. The image appears onscreen waiting for you to tap the hand in the upper right corner to select your next action.

I typically start with cropping, so I picked the Magic Crop tool. By doing so, options for that tool are available in the lower left corner. Pick the particular action you want, and apply it with your finger tip. Image editing categories to choose from include: Tone & Color, Retouch, Clone Stamp, Move Me, Filters, Textures, Magic Crop, and Frames.

They're all relatively easy to figure out, but if you need help, return to Handy Photo Home, and tap on the Tutorials button. They've posted YouTube videos for their tools that show you how to proceed. Once you've learned a new technique, you can return to the app and apply it.

Depending on the device and the processing power that you have on it, Handy Photo has some pretty robust file handling features. For example, they list: 100% size image editing, up to 36 MP image handling, RAW format support. Here's the breakdown listed device by device:

  • 5 MP - iPod touch 4th Generation / iPad
  • 10 MP - iPhone 4 / iPhone 4s / iPod touch 5th Generation
  • 15 MP - iPad 2 / iPad mini
  • 36 MP - iPhone 5 / iPhone 5s / iPhone 5c / iPad 3 / iPad 4 / iPad Air

The images of the resolution higher than maximum allowed will be automatically resized.

The Bottom Line

Handy Photo is an excellent value for $1.99. The image editing tools are powerful, and there's quite a variety of them. The application itself is easy to use. And you can save the pictures back to your camera roll or upload them to Twitter or Facebook. All in all, I really enjoyed the app and I'm going to keep it on my iPad.


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This product has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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