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Most photos can be improved with just a few adjustments... especially if you know which levers to pull. In my Macworld article, The 7-step edit in Aperture 3.4, I walk you through an easy image editing workflow that will improve 90 percent of your pictures.


Aperture Tips and Techniques

To learn more about Aperture, check out my Aperture 3.3 Essential Training (2012) on Also, take a look at our Aperture 3 Learning Center. Tons of free content about how to get the most out of Aperture.

The Digital Story on Facebook -- discussion, outstanding images from the TDS community, and inside information. Join our celebration of great photography!

Flickr 2 Updated

The folks at Flickr are not resting on their recent laurels. They've released Flickr 2.1 for iOS, and it includes a handful of terrific new features, including:

  • Faster uploading
  • Easily save photos from your Photostream to your camera roll
  • Automatically saves your original, pre-filter photos to your camera roll
  • Quickly tag your contacts in photo comments and description by simply typing @screename
  • Get notified when your contacts mention you
  • Higher resolution photo display in lightbox view
  • Take photos in a snap using your iPhone's volume up button

In my testing, images do process faster during uploading. And I love the fact that I can save shots from my Photo Stream to my Camera Roll, especially since I have more than 1,100 images posted on Flickr. I'm also happy to see the Volume Up "+" button making its way back as a shutter button in our photo apps.

If you haven't tried the new Flickr for iOS app, I highly recommend it. You can download it in the iTunes App Store.

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Real Time Reporting Workflow

I posted a photo of Andris Biedrins of the Golden State Warriors blocking a shot on my Instagram page just moments after it happened using this workflow with an OM-D, FlashAir card, and an iPad mini

warriors_defense_phoenix.jpg Andris Biedrins blocks a shot in the Warriors 108-98 win over the Phoenix Suns at Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA.

I captured the original image (shown here) with an Olympus OM-D and a Zeiss 85mm lens. I had a Toshiba FlashAir SD card in the Olympus that fed the images to my iPad mini. From the iPad, I uploaded the photo to Instagram.

The image looks fine on my iPhone 4S, but it isn't a top quality rendering. That's why I capture in RAW+JPEG for this workflow. The JPEG goes to Instagram, then I process the RAW file in Aperture 3.4 when I get home. That's the image I've posted here.

I like being able to share images in real time, yet still have top quality files for printing and publishing. I'll continue making adjustments to this system, but thought you might find it interesting.

Take a look at the Olympus Micro Four Thirds Gear Guide for an overview of cameras, lenses, and accessories.

Wood Camera for iPhone

Chocolate Heart

If you're in the mood for a new photo app to play with on your iPhone, you may want to take a look at Wood Camera - Vintage Photo Editor. Currently on sale in the iTunes App Store for 99 cents, Wood Camera provides an array of imaging tools to capture, edit, and share your pictures.

The app features 32 lenses, which you'll recognize as filters similar to those found on Instagram and Flickr. You can capture with a filter turned on, or apply the effects afterward while editing. A nice touch is the ability to control the intensity of the lens via a slider. There are lots of other tools too, such as brightness, contrast, sharpen, saturation, hue, cropping, frames, and effects. Plenty here to keep you busy while waiting in line for coffee at Starbucks.

Once you have the image to your liking, you can save to your Camera Roll or post online to Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter. I had good luck posting to Instagram, but wasn't as successful sharing to Facebook and Flickr. Maybe the network gods were against me at the moment.

The quality of the output from Wood Camera seems somewhere in between Instagram and Flickr. OK on the iPhone, but not as good as Flickr when examined on a computer screen.

All in all, though, Wood Camera is a blast to play with and a great deal at 99 cents. You might want to see what you can create with it.

Join me on my Instagram site as I explore the world of mobile photography.

Top stories this week on The Digital Story: Five things you can do when you want a new camera, but can't afford one; The Lomography Smartphone Film Scanner; workshops update.

Story #1 - No New Camera! - I talk about 5 things that you can do to protect your credit card when a new, and expensive camera gets under your skin.

Story #2 - The Lomography Smartphone Film Scanner - This is not the solution for the thousands of negatives you have shoeboxed in the closet. But for digitizing a favorite image every now then, this is a cool device.

Story #3 Workshop reservation forms for the June workshop, "Movie Making for Photographers," are going out this week. The April workshop, "iPad for Digital Photographers," has only one slot open.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (30 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

The February 2013 photo assignment is Furry Friends.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper -- Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to save 20% at check out.

Photographer James Duncan Davidson has been carrying the Sony RX1 since the early days of its release and has published his findings in the article, Sony DSC-RX1 Review.

sony_rx1_w_viewfinder.jpg Sony RX1 with optical viewfinder photographed at Photokina by Derrick Story.

A few things to note about Duncan's review. First, he's a working photographer who travels a great deal. So his perspective is very fitting for a full-frame sensor camera that fits in your jacket pocket. Also, if you have a Retina Display Mac, the sample images in his post take advantage of the pixel density of those laptops, and they are absolutely beautiful.

The Sony RX1 lists for $2,800, so it's not an impulse buy. But after reading Duncan's review and enjoying the pictures captured with it, you might find it a bit harder to resist.

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We're just about finished with the cover design for iPad for Digital Photographers,and I thought you might enjoy the "inside story" about the model who graces the front cover.


Her name is Lovely LadyJ. This was my first shoot with her. (I'm hoping she will be available for the TDS workshop in April.) Those portraits of her holding a photo umbrella were captured at Schulz Museum, across the street from the TDS headquarters.

I liked how Lovely LadyJ had prepared her hair and makeup on that rainy day she showed up at the front steps of the studio. After we finished the first series of photos inside the portrait room, I asked if she would be OK posing for a second series outside, even though the conditions were a bit challenging. She loved the idea.

By using the photo umbrella to protect her from the rain, it also served as a light diffuser and white background. I set the Olympus OM-D E-M5to ISO 800 and mounted the Olympus 60mm f/2.8 portrait/macro lenson the body. We shot in the rain for about 20 minutes, then dashed back to the studio.

When it came time for me to create the front cover image for the book, I loaded Lovely LadyJ's portraits on an iPad and an iPad mini. I set the devices on stands in the studio with an Olympus Pen mini and a few lenses, then shot the set live. In other words, the images were not "dropped on to the iPads" in post. What you see is how I shot it. I sent the cover image to Wiley Publishing, and designer Michael E. Trent took it from there.

My philosophy is to "walk the talk" with this book. I've written big chunks of it in Pages on an iPad, and shot most of the images with an iPhone or micro four thirds camera. If I can't do it in real life, it doesn't go in the book.

iPad for Digital Photographers,is scheduled for release on May 7, 2013. I'll have more behind the scenes anecdotes to share between now and then.

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Here's an ode to the Super Bowl Chrysler ad, "Farmer," created by the Richards Group. But this time the subject is "photographer."

I enjoyed this. Hope you do too.

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In an attempt not to undermine the sales of its popular EOS 5D Mark III, Canon may have constrained the features a bit too much on the promising EOS 6D. At least that's the viewpoint of DP Review in their test of the 6D DSLR.


Even though you get built-in WiFi and GPS, which they like, they were unimpressed with the 11-point autofocus array, slow burst rate, and average video performance. You can purchase the 6D new for $2,100, compared to $3,500 for the 5D Mark III. That's a substantial price difference. But you still might want to look at the feature comparison closely before making a final decision.

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You can create attractive portfolio pages and share them wirelessly with others around you -- all served securely from your digital camera. Sounds crazy, right? It isn't.

Renee Light Table Portfolio page served from an Olympus OM-D to an iPad mini using the Toshiba FlashAir memory card.

In short, what I do is create the portfolio pages using Light Table in Aperture 3.4, then write those files to a Toshiba FlashAir Wireless SD Card($55). After that, all I have to do is insert the card into my Olympus OM-D and turn on the camera.

If I want to display this portfolio page on my iPad, or someone else's iPad, I have them log on to my FlashAir card and it will serve the page wirelessly to their device. If they want a copy of it, they can save the page to their Camera Roll.

This is all made possible by the FlashAir card's ability to create its own secure web server. I talk about how this works on this week's podcast, Ingenious Toshiba FlashAir. Not only can this wireless-capable SD card share images from your camera to computers and mobile devices, it can actually serve web pages, PDFs, and other content.

I created the portfolio page in Aperture 3.4 using the Light Table tool. Once the page was designed, I saved the Light Table as a PDF, then converted it to a JPEG to reduce file size.

Print Light Table I created the Light Table in Aperture 3.4, then saved it as a PDF using the Print command.

Once I have the JPEG version of the portfolio page, I copy it to the FlashAir SD card via drag and drop on my Mac. I then eject the card from the computer, insert it into my OM-D, and turn on the camera.

As soon as the camera is powered up, it turns on the web server in the Toshiba FlashAir card. Now, all I have to do is open Settings on the iPad, choose the FlashAir WiFi Network, and direct my web browser to http://flashair/

I can share pictures on the camera, plus any additional files that I've added to the card. It's secured by WPA2 Personal security. So only those I give a password to can access the content on the FlashAir card.

It's the perfect combination of geeky technical plus design using the elegant Light Table tool in Aperture. And best of all... it' easy!

Aperture Tips and Techniques

To learn more about Aperture, including how to build Light Tables, check out my Aperture 3.3 Essential Training (2012) on Also, take a look at our Aperture 3 Learning Center. Tons of free content about how to get the most out of Aperture.