Posts Published in November 2009

3 Ways to Connect with PP on Facebook

onfacebook

We’ve been on Facebook ever since launching this blog six months ago. However, we’ve only had a normal account rather than a page or a group. Yesterday we opened up a Facebook page, and today we just started a new group. Thus, there’s now three ways you can connect with, follow, and support us on Facebook:

  1. Friend: This is our “person” account. Add us as a friend, poke us, send us a message. We’ll friend you back!
  2. Page: If you like what we do, you can support us by adding yourself as a fan of PetaPixel!
  3. Group: Connect with other PetaPixel readers and photographers by joining our official group!

Thanks to everyone who has connect with us already! If you haven’t already, we hope to see you on Facebook!

Flickr: The Game? Co-founder Butterfield’s Social Media MMORPG

Stewart ButterfieldMany many years ago, in 2005, the rapidly expanding social photo-sharing domain, Flickr was purchased by the larger web empire, Yahoo!

Three years afterwards, Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield left his kingdom, returning to his original life as a “tin-smith,” as he called himself in his resignation letter.

Now, Butterfield’s back in the game–literally.

According to reports by Canada’s Globe and Mail and the Business Insider, Butterfield’s revisiting his original project, Game Neverending, which is a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG).

Apparently, Butterfield and his group, Ludicorp, now Tiny Speck Inc., dreamed up the game and even had a closed Beta version up and running a year before Flickr launched.

Flickr was originally going to be an element of the gameplay, says the Business Insider–but whether the photo-sharing feature will exist in the new version is unknown.

The Game Neverending site is up, but outdated, with sparse information.

GNE Museum also has some cryptic information, including prototype screenshots that bring to mind 1980s video game artwork and a subway map:

box_map

According to GNE Museum, the game involves the ability to travel to cleverly named locations, a humorous array of collectible items, and paper (as in reams, sheets, etc.) currency.

While there isn’t much information on the game itself, it’s probably the most honestly titled MMORPG out there–I mean honestly, when does anyone ever ‘finish’ playing WoW or DoTA, or Mafia Wars for that matter?

In any case, casual and social gaming like Facebook apps by Playfish/EA and countless iPhone games are prolific and easily accessible to a mainstream audience more than ever nowadays.

But after letting the project sit idly for so long, only time will tell whether Butterfield’s still got what it takes to ride the waves of Internet trends.


Image Credits: Stewart Butterfield by Wikimedia Commons and GNE Screenshot from GNE Museum

How to Make an Audio Slideshow

multimedia1

The journalism industry is going through particularly tough times, with revenue from ads and subscriptions declining considerably.

However, during the harshest economic climates, innovative ideas flourish more than ever, and news outlets are tapping into the power of convergence: mixing forms of communication to create multimedia packages that deliver stories that are accessible by the “Web 2.0″ generation.

Fortunately for photographers, visuals are an integral part of the multimedia wave.

Hopefully, you’ve had a chance to check out our August post on some of the best newspaper photo blogs out there, as well as some of the multimedia features on most newspaper sites, like the New York Times, SF Gate, the San Jose Mercury News, and some college newspapers, including my alma mater, the Daily Bruin.

Many sites feature audio slideshows, which are one of the simplest and easiest forms of multimedia storytelling–if you’ve got the right tools and elements:

1. Photos that tell a story.

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Whether you’re photographing a family holiday, sporting event, or documentary news, try to shoot a variety of images from different angles of different moments. Take close-up and wide photographs.

After the shoot, pick photos that have a narrative or chronological order of events and happenings.

2. A recorder and quality audio that matches the story.

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Use a digital recorder that can transfer sound files onto your computer. I usually use a MicroMemo attached to my iPod video (ancient, I know). I’ve also had some hands-on time with the Olympus DS series, which capture very crisp audio. The higher end model, the DS-61 has different modes to capture directional sound, which is very useful when recording specific types of sounds such as ambient noise versus a single person speaking.

When recording audio, find a quiet place to capture interviews and voices, to reduce distracting background noise.

3. Audio editing software.

Audacity is a free audio editing program that can be used to cut, edit, splice, and record audio–all very straightforward.

You can also use programs like Adobe Audition for more in-depth editing.

4. Slideshow software.

Several publications use Final Cut Pro to put together an audio slideshow. iMovie also can do the job.

For fast production and ready web publishing, try Soundslides. A free demo is available on the site.

Soundslides is a very intuitive program for uploading photos and audio, and adjusting timing points and transitions. It also has a feature for exporting to web if you have an FTP set up.

5. Share.

Share your project on your website. If you don’t have one, check out Weebly.com to make a free customizable site.

6. Be inspired.

Check out some of the links above and explore a bit for ideas.

One of my favorite examples of the simple, yet powerful integration of photography with another medium is the package by New York Times, One in 8 Million.

1i8m

The project tells one story each week, focusing on one central character, someone you might brush shoulders with on the subway of New York. The subject describes, in his or her own words, anything from their own personal struggles, triumphs, daily life or something that defines them. The images work to visually capture the story with a timeless quality, in black and white.

Together, the two mediums form a very intimate local human-interest story that fosters a sense of community–which is quite an impressive undertaking considering the expansiveness of New York City.


If you’ve got a favorite multimedia site or an audio slideshow to show off, share a link!


Image Credits: Shure SM58 by laffy4k, Shot Glass by S. Su, rage by murplejane, IMG_0864 by emkladil

Adding a Subtle Vignette with Photoshop

vignettesubtle

Adding a vignette to a photograph can add depth to the composition and draw attention to interesting details.

However, a cautionary word: overdoing post-processing and editing techniques like vignetting can be at best distasteful. At worst, it might seem to over-compensate for what might simply be an otherwise uninteresting photograph.

Generally, the less editing needed on a photograph, the better the photograph. And naturally, the better the photograph, the better the photographer.

The same idea can apply to using vignettes: less is more.

Most editing programs like Photoshop and Adobe Camera Raw have a setting that adds vignettes, but I prefer the freedom of selecting my own areas and levels to add the effect.

Here’s a quick how-to guide on manually making a subtle vignette in Adobe Photoshop to complement an image:

1. Use the marquee tool to select the part of the image that you want to emphasize.

The default shortcut key: ‘M’*

*Windows shortcuts denoted in (parenthesis) when different

2selection

Depending on the area you want to emphasize, you may want to use a shaped marquee.

In this example, I’m using a rectangular marquee because the photo has a lot of horizontal lines and I want to focus on the farmers in the general center of the photograph.

2. Select Inverse.

Default shortcut key: Command (Ctl) + Shift + I

3inverse2

Now, the area to be edited is selected.

3. Feather generously.

Default shortcut key: Option (Alt) + Command (Ctl) + D
Note: If you’re using a Mac, you may need to turn off the default keystroke shortcut for toggling the Dock; the shortcut is the same.

5featherwideThe Feather Radius depends on the size of the original paragraph, but for most photos, it’s best to feather generously, above 60 pixels.

Note: In Photoshop CS4, the option will be listed as “Refine Edge” or a feathering option will show up on the menu bar while using the select tool. CS4’s Refine Edge mode is useful because it shows how much of the image will be selected when feathered.

5featherwide2

By feathering, the selection will be rounded and blended more naturally with the rest of the photograph. The larger number radius, the more blended the feathered area becomes.

4. Create a new layer for levels and adjust the midtones.

6levels2It’s usually a good idea to create a new layer for each type of adjustment. Once they’ve been made, they can be toggled back and forth to compare the original to the adjustments made.

To create a new adjustment layer, click the half-shaded semi-circle at the bottom of the layers window.

The layer will only affect the currently selected area.

Move the mid-tones slider towards the whites to darken the mid-tones to the desired effect. Toggle the preview button to compare.

6levels

5. Hide the marquee to see the vignetted area.

Default shortcut key: Command (Ctl) + H

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By hiding the marquee, the overall photograph is more visible and the effects of the adjustment are more apparent.

Continue to adjust the mid-tones to the desired darkness. In this case, I’ve only moved it from the normal 1.00 to 0.73 for a subtle, yet clearly present vignette effect.

The Final Product:

Mouseover to compare to the original.

vignettesubtle

Another example of vignette editing, with the marquee drawn closer to the subject:

molly_edit

8 Video Games that Feature Photography

Frank West of Dead Rising

Seldom do the wonderful worlds of video games and photography meet, but when they do, fun often ensues.

Photography has had a relatively quiet but constant presence in video games over the last two decades, usually featured in video game titles as a mini-game or bonus mode. A few incorporate photography into the main storyline.

Here’s a roundup of some of my favorite photo-related titles over the years, ranked by their incorporation of photographic elements into the gameplay.

#1. Pokémon Snap (1999)

Developer: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo 64
Genre: Action

Pokemon Snap

Gotta photograph ‘em all doesn’t quite sound as snappy, but Pokemon Snap is the first and arguably most successful Pokémon spinoff console-based title. Aptly named amateur photographer Todd Snap ventures through seven different landscapes, on assignment by Professor Oak to be the very best Pokemon photographer–like no one ever was.

For nostalgic gamers who want to party like it’s 1999, Pokémon Snap is now available for download on Wii’s Virtual Console.

#2. Dead Rising (2006)

Developer: Capcom
Platforms: Xbox 360
Genre: Action/Survival horror

Dead Rising Screenshot

Freelance photographer Frank West is out get the scoop in a small suburban town that seems to have a slight zombie infestation. Fortunately, Frank West happens to be remarkably in shape–like most seasoned war photographers, apparently. Not only can he gain experience points as he takes unnaturally zoomed photos with what looks like a 17-35mm, Nikon D1X, West can use almost anything as a weapon: mall benches, lawn mowers, chainsaws, trash cans, other zombies–you get the picture.

#3. Fatal Frame Series (2002-2008)

Developer: Tecmo
Platforms: PlayStation 2, Xbox, Wii
Genre: Survival horror

Fatal Frame II

The protagonist of Fatal Frame combats angry spirits of the dead with a camera while roaming around creepy environments. The gameplay is very similar to a first-person shooter game, except the main character wields an antique camera in lieu of a shotgun. Published at the onset of the digital photography era, this game pays an homage to film photography, as ammunition comes in the form of special types of film.
Fatal Frame is the first in its series, which includes Fatal Frame II, III, and a Japanese version of IV for the NintendoWii.

#4. Beyond Good and Evil (2003)

Developer: Ubisoft
Platform: PC, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube
Genre: Action Adventure

Beyond Good and Evil

Much like Frank West in Capcom’s Dead Rising, the protagonist in Beyond Good and Evil is an investigative reporter with above-average athletic prowess–she knows her martial arts. Set in a rustic future, young journalist Jade tackles the tough issues of human trafficking and propaganda, armed with her camera and a jō staff.

#5. Spider-Man 3 (2007)

Developer: Treyarch, Vicarious Visions
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PSP, Wii
Genre: Action

Spider-Man 3

Even Spider-Man has bills to pay. In Spider-Man 3, freelance photojournalist Petey goes on assignment around the city, occasionally taking self-portraits. Is that ethical?

In any case, at least his thin wallet is true-to-life.

#6. Bully (2006)

Developer: Rockstar
Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, Wii
Genre: Action/Adventure

bully

Never had the time to take a photography course? In Rockstar’s schoolhouse adventure, Bully, a photo class is in the required curriculum. Jimmy Hopkins, the anti-hero, roams the halls of Bullworth Academy to complete his homework assignments.

#7. Metal Gear Solid (1998), Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (2001), and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (2008)

Developer: Konami
Platform: PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3
Genre: Third Person Action

Metal Gear Solid 4

Amidst Hideo Kojima’s thought-provoking storyline, an excellent soundtrack, and groundbreaking graphics, Kojima gives a nod to photography in several Metal Gear Solid titles.

Special espionage commando Solid Snake uses a camera in the Tank Hangar basement in the first Metal Gear Solid.

In MGS 2, Solid Snake and sidekick Raiden sneak stealthily around industrial settings, avoiding exclamatory guards and disabling weapons of mass destruction. Solid Snake uses a spy camera in a mission, which can be unlocked and equipped after the game is completed once.

Metal Gear Solid 4 contains a bizarre photo shoot Easter Egg. While fighting the Beauty bosses, avoid combat for three minutes and the photo shoot mode will be activated.

#8. BioShock (2007, 2008)

Developer: 2K
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Genre: First-Person Shooter

Bioshock

Released initially for the Xbox 360 and later as a port to PlayStation 3, BioShock’s silent protagonist makes his way through a submarine 1940s dystopia that has been ravaged by the excesses of its vain, idealistic society. Along the way, he collects a research camera with which he can photograph enemies to improve fighting ability in future encounters.

Honorable Mentions:

Grand Theft Auto 4

Photography plays a very minor role in the gameplay of GTA 4, appearing in an assassination mission. Protagonist Niko uses a camera phone (no fancy SLR in this gritty game) to take a photo of and confirm a hit via photo messaging. How convenient!

Myst IV: Revelation

The last installment of the Myst series provides a camera for collecting clues to solve hair-pulling puzzles.

Screenshot Photography Modes, Various Titles

Other games include a photography feature, separate from the gameplay. Most recently, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves includes a screen capture, or photo mode (Visit The Sixth Axis for a screen capture forum here).

More titles with a screen capture mode include Gears of War 2, Halo 3 (for tips on capturing boast-worthy screenshots, visit Paradox460 ) and Gran Turismo 4, which has its own flickr group. Additional racing titles also have this feature, such as Forza 2, MotorStorm Pacific Rift, Wipeout HD, Tourist Trophy, and more.

Game Face Feature, EA Sports Titles

This past September, EA Sports introduced a new feature, Game Face, an upgrade of Photo Game Face, which works with games such as FIFA 10, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10, Facebreaker and Fight Night Round 4 on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. Game Face incorporates photography into character customization by letting players upload their own faces into different games as well as while creating their own avatar. The program is an interesting, though fluffy feature, akin to the PlayStation Eye and EyeToy, neither of which fared particularly well on the market. Game Face is still in its BETA stage, so we’ve yet to see whether it takes off.


We hope you enjoyed our virtual photo roundup. If you’ve got a favorite video game photo op moment, please share it with us!


Image credits: All images credited to their respective developers.

Interview with Anne Archambault of wideangle.ca

Anne Archambault is the photoblogger behind wideangle.ca.


anne

PetaPixel: Could you tell me a little about yourself?

Anne Archambault: My name is Anne Archambault and I’m a French-speaking Québécoise. After living in most provinces in Canada, Indonesia, India and Belize, I now reside in Seattle, WA. I love the outdoors and mostly pursue my photography on climbing and backpacking escapades in the Cascade and Olympic ranges. When my limited vacation time allows for it, I also like to travel to more exotic and far flung venues. My last trip was to the Italian Dolomites and I’ll travel to Ecuador later this year.

I retouch all of my pictures – from mere cropping and tonal adjustments to more radical perspective shift or artifact removal. My goal is to create compelling images and I’m not attached to the ideal of accurate representation – at least not in my own work. I also like to dabble with infrared and panoramic photography. Next on my list is kite aerial photography!

steamboatprow

PP: Why have you lived in so many different places around the world?

AA: I’ve always had a fascination for other cultures, places and languages. I discovered quickly that I much prefer to live in the same small community for months on end than to do a whirlwind tour of the tourist sights. I was lucky enough to be able to line up volunteer work overseas on a few different occasions. My projects ranged from planting trees in the Himalayas to setting up an environmental education program for a nature reserve in Belize. Living and working in a foreign country has afforded me access to unique situations and experiences — which I truly relished as a photographer.

palousesilo

PP: How did you first get into photography?

AA: I showed an interest for photography and started shooting at a young age. My father was a film director and we had a darkroom at home. I remember borrowing my mom’s Kodak instamatic camera in grade 1 on a school trip to the zoo!

But my passion for photography didn’t really take off until the digital era. In the mid-nineties, I worked for the Banff Centre for the Arts (http://www.banffcentre.ca) where I had access to a digital camera for the first time. The possibilities that having an instant preview opened up were instantly clear to me and sparked my renewed experimentations with photography.

Most recently, I worked for Microsoft’s Rich Media photography group where I had the privilege of working alongside world-renowned photographers Art Wolfe, Bambi Cantrell, John Shaw, Matthew Jordan Smith and many others. Their tremendous talent has been a great source of inspiration and motivation for me.

skis

PP: What is your goal in photography?

AA: I shoot and process my photos for the sheer love of creating what I consider compelling images. The very act of framing an image forces you to look at your surroundings and to uncover a unique element or moment in what could otherwise be a very mundane situation. The most satisfying images are not the obvious sweeping views that anyone with a point and shoot could equally capture (who cannot make a half-decent shot of the Grand Canyon at sunrise?). Rather, they are the ones that even surprise you as the photographer as you release the shutter. As Ernst Haas said: “Don’t take pictures, be taken by pictures.”

PP: What was your first camera?

AA: I honestly cannot remember – it’s been too long!

waterpainting

PP: What equipment do you use now?

AA: I currently shoot with a Canon EOS 40D and an IR-converted Canon EOS Rebel XT. I also typically carry around a pocket Panasonic DMC-LX3 — which I love for its size, its wide and fast lens, and its ability to shoot RAW. It’s a great little camera for climbing and mountaineering trips where a DSLR would be too heavy or cumbersome. I also use a Gitzo 1540T Traveler tripod, a Canon Speedlite 580EX and an array of lenses (10-22mm, 18-200mm, 70-200mm, 50mm, 1.4 extender, LensBaby) and filters. I carry all this equipment in a LowePro Vertex 200AW backpack.

I import, tag and develop all my photos through Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.0. I enjoy working in Lightroom so much that I now only use Adobe Photoshop CS4 when absolutely necessary! Finally, I print on an Epson Stylus Photo R2400 with Ilford Gallerie Gold Fibre Silk paper.

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PP: Can you briefly explain what it means for a camera to be IR-converted?

AA: A camera that has been converted to infrared is sensitive to infrared light but blocks most of the visible light spectrum. In practice, this translates into dreamy images with very dark skies and bright foliage. You can get an overview of the process on Wikipedia. Several outfits can permanently convert digital camera sensors to only shoot infrared images. Based on conversations with Reed Hoffman at Blue Pixel, I chose to use LifePixel to convert my Canon Rebel XT and have been very happy with my choice. Although landscape photography lends itself particularly well to infrared photography, I have also found myself experimenting with portraiture and wedding photography.

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PP: What’s on your wish list?

AA: A new Canon EOS 5D Mark II has been on my wish list since before it was even on the market – though the newly announced Canon EOS 7D sounds like a great option with its improved focus system, HD video, wireless flash system and electronic level. The extra reach that comes with the cropped sensor is also useful in many shooting situations (wildlife photography, sports photography, etc…). I’m still curious to see how it behaves at higher ISOs and might be willing to wait a bit longer before moving to a full frame sensor…

Some sharper and faster glass including the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II and the 24-70mm f/2.8L lenses are on my list – especially once I move to a full frame sensor. I also want some neutral density filters to slow down the shutter in bright conditions and the Singh Ray Vari-ND filter (http://www.singh-ray.com/varind.html) would be a sweet choice. Finally, I’m on an elusive quest for the perfect backcountry shooting bag. I had thought that the F-Stop Tilopa was going to be a great choice – but unfortunately, it doesn’t fit my smaller frame…

PP: How would you describe your photography to someone who has never seen it?

AA: My photography is a combination of nature, landscape and travel photography. I like to look for the incongruous and odd juxtapositions. And as my blog’s name suggest – I am partial to wide focal lengths!

waves3

PP: Do you have any personal tips or tricks for landscape photography?

AA: A lot has been said and written on this subject! At the risk of stating the obvious — be prepared and be patient! Do your research up front to understand when is the best time to shoot your subject and what kind of equipment you’ll be needing (lenses, tripod, filters, etc…). Scout ahead of time or at least arrive early enough to setup ahead of the best light, tide or feeding time. And then, just be ready to frame the shot and wait out the perfect moment: whether it’d be the human silhouette that crosses the frame and gives perspective to the surroundings, the sudden gust that creates a dreamy effect as flowers swirl in the wind, the spectacular colours and cloud formation, or the mountain goat that timidly approaches you.

munichcafe2

PP: How long do you spent post-processing your photographs?

AA: That varies wildly from one image to the other. Adobe Lightroom, especially version 2.0 with its local adjustments, really has revolutionized the way I process my pictures. I now spend less time than ever on post-processing. I typically do a quick pass in Lightroom to scan the images from a shoot and delete any clear rejects. I batch meta-tag everything with copyright information, location and keywords. I then do a quick edit and rate my favourite images. I may tweak them in the Development module as I go as a way of assessing the potential of an image. For instance I may quickly convert an image to black and white or change the aspect ratio to 16:9. I tag blogging candidates and process them more thoroughly in the Development module before exporting them as JPG’s. I occasionally open up the image in Photoshop CS4 for some effects I can’t reproduce in Lightroom. My best images get posted on wideangle.ca and I tweet about new entries (@wide_angle). I typically only post a single image from a given shoot – it forces me to be highly selective and keeps the blog fresh.

PP: Who are your favorite photographers?

AA: Surprisingly, given my own photographic style and choice of subjects, my favourite photographers mostly fall within the photojournalist tradition. Folks who documented the events of their time like Henri Cartier Bresson, Robert Frank, Sam Abell and Jay Maisel. Their ability to capture truly ephemeral and often poignant moments is captivating…

bluedunes

PP: Who is one person you would like to see interviewed on PetaPixel?

AA: I would love to see an interview with Jimmy Chin. He’s an extremely talented adventure photographer who has achieved recognition as both a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and a sponsored North Face athlete. His work combines my personal passions for travel, mountaineering and photography. It’d be fascinating to read more about the behind the scenes of his photo shoots…

Chase Jarvis would also offer an insightful perspective for Petapixel readers. He’s been a tremendous supporter of the Seattle amateur photographer community and is a pioneer in bringing together photography and social media. And of course he’s now the iPhone photography guru!

PP: Anything else you’d like to say to PetaPixel readers?

AA: Close the browser and go shooting! And thanks Michael for this great opportunity to share my work with the PetaPixel readers!

A National Geographic Photographer’s Incredible Antarctic Experience

Here’s a video that’s going viral on YouTube. National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen traveled to Antarctica to photograph leopard seals in the water. After arriving, they came across one of the largest leopard seals his experienced guide had ever seen. What happened next you’ll have to see to believe:

For more on this event, you can read this interview with Paul Nicklen, and check out the photographs that resulted in this gallery.

Extracting Web Colors from Photographs

Have you ever come across a website where the colors of the page are based on the photograph being displayed? Here are some examples of what I mean:

color2

color1

color3

Notice how the background color of the gallery isn’t fixed, but instead depends on the dominant color in the particular photograph being displayed. Now, you could use the colors extracted from photographs for a variety of purposes depending on your level of expertise and the purposes you have in mind.

In this post I’ll briefly cover a few ways you can extract useful web colors from your photos.

The Color extract PHP Class

Difficulty: Hard

colorextractIf web development is you’re thing, and you’re comfortable with PHP, there’s a great PHP class over at phpclasses.org that you can download called Color extract.

Download it, upload it to your web server, include the class in your PHP file, and it can turn an image file path that you give it into an array of the most dominant color tones that appear in your photograph.

You can then use these color tones however you’d like. In the examples above, I simply took the most dominant color tone, as determined by Color extract, and used it as the background color for each page.

Though this is one of the more difficult ways to extract colors from your photographs, you can use it to make your web pages dynamic, automatically setting the background colors based on the colors in your photographs.

Similar classes or functions probably exist for your scripting/programming language of choice. Just do a Google search to find them!

Manual Extraction

Difficulty: Medium

A second way you can extract web (hex) colors from your photos is by eyeballing it and doing it manually. If you have Photoshop, you can use the eyedropper tool to select a color, and then open up the color picker to view the hex color code of that color.

photoshoppicker

Most image editing programs should have a way for you to view the hex color of selected colors. Another option for manual extraction is to use a lightweight program designed specifically for extracting colors. Do a quick search on download.com for “color picker“, and you’ll find what you need for your operating system.

The downside to this method is that it might be more difficult to find a suitable color that works well, since colors can differ greatly from pixel to pixel. On the other hand it gives you a much greater degree of flexibility in choosing the color you’d like, since automated methods often fail when the color distribution in photographs is abnormal/non-uniform.

ColorSuckr

Difficulty: Easy

colorsuckr

Finally, there’s quite a few web services that are more than happy to do all the work for you. ColorSuckr is one such service. All you need to do is enter the URL of the image you’d like suckr the colors from, and the service will return the hex color codes of the dominant colors.

If you extract web colors from your photographs in ways I didn’t mention in this article, please share it with us in the comments!

21 Awesome T-Shirts for Photographers

I’m a big fan of Threadless and the seemingly infinite stream of hilarious t-shirts designs that are constantly being created by its dedicated community. However, I haven’t been able to find many shirts designed specifically for photographers on the service. Yesterday I tweeted a request for links to photography related t-shirt designs, and received quite a large number of interesting responses. After looking through all the links tweeted in response, here are my favorites (click the shirts to go to where they’re sold):

#1: I Can’t Draw

One of the few photography-related t-shirts I was able to find on Threadless.

icantdraw

#2: Spray and Pray

Who cares what or how you shoot if you can put it through Photoshop it afterwards?

spray

#3: Beware of the Photographer

If you’re not careful around me, you might get shot (or Photoshopped).

bewarephotog

#4: Camera Display Panel

A great shirt to confuse non-photogs. See if you can trick people into believing they’re all math symbols.

displaypanel

#5: Smile Baby

smilebaby

#6: Instant Pool Party

Threadless shirts are always top-notch.

poolparty

#7: Flasher

Hmmm…

flasher

#8: Aperture

Another minimalistic design. Maybe it’s saying “Shoot from (or at) the hip”?

aperture

#9: 18% Grey

Amazing! A shirt that doubles as a gray card…

18percent

#10: photographer’s friend

Give this to your assistant and have him or her simply stand in for a picture.

photographers friend

#11: Photographer Grrl

photographergrrl

#12: I Like To Flash People

flashpeople

#13: You are here, But I can fix that in Photoshop

youarehere

#14: oh, crop

This shirt is a chance to show just how nerdy you are.

crop

#15: photographr

For those of you who are obsessed with Flickr.

graphr

#16: Hassel

hassel

#17: What the f-stop

whatthef

#18: Camera Girl

cameragirl

#19: Photographic Memory

memory

#20: Lens

A pretty minimalistic design by Chase Jarvis. Become the lens.

aperturechase

#21: Sunny 16 Rule

If you ever forget the rule, just look in the mirror.

sunny16

Hanging Cameras

Many of the shirt designs I found simply had a camera hanging around the neck. Here are six of them:

hang1   hang2   hang3

hang4   hang5   hang6

Clever, but Text

Most of the shirts I found were clever, but only contained text. I’ve collected some here, since I didn’t want to waste space displaying too many shirts with only text on them:

Online Stores

Here are a list of online stores, shops, and merchandise pages that offer photography-related t-shirts:

Update: Received another interesting design via email, called Photoshoplifter. Check it out!

Update 2: Here’s yet another design emailed to us: Still Need The Vision


A big thank you to everyone who helped us put together this list by sending us links via Twitter! You guys are awesome! If you know of any funny/awesome/cool shirts that we didn’t include, please share it with us by leaving a comment!

Why You Should Never Let Browsers Resize Your Photos

Everyone wants sharp images when they post their photographs online. After all, who wants to look at a blurry photograph? (Unless it’s intentional, of course). What many people don’t realize, however, is that displaying your images incorrectly in HTML can have a big negative impact on image quality.

Here is the main rule of thumb you should always remember: never, ever do image resizing using HTML.

For example, lets say I have the following 620px photograph:

threecolors620

The image is pretty sharp right? Now, lets say I want to display the same image as a 500px wide photo. The wrong way to do this would be to change the width=”620″ attribute in HTML to width=”500″. Here’s what would result if I did the resizing this way through HTML:

threecolors620

That’s the exact same image file. I simply copy-and-pasted the HTML, and changed the width from 620 to 500. This means the browser actually loaded the same 620px image, and then reprocessed it to display a 500px image to the viewer. Notice how the photograph instantly loses much of the sharpness it had when displayed in its actual dimensions.

To further illustrate my point, here is the same photo displayed at 500px. However, instead of telling HTML to shrink the large version, I used Photoshop to resize it down to 500px.

threecolors2

You can hover your mouse over this last image to compare it to the browser-resized version. If you’re using a browser that renders it correctly, try hovering over this link to see how other less-capable browsers render the same image (you might have to wait a couple seconds for the image to load). That’s a pretty big difference, huh?

The lesson to be learned is that you should always display your images in their exact dimensions. Even a single pixel difference can cause the photograph to become noticeably more blurry in most browsers.

Finally, another reason why you shouldn’t leave resizing to your browser is that the original, full-sized image is loaded anyway, regardless of what size you’re displaying the image at. This means that if you have a large, 1 megabyte, 1024×682 photograph that you’re displaying at 500px in width, the whole 1 megabyte image is downloaded by the visitor before the browser resizes it down to 500px.

Some of you might have thought that using larger, higher-resolution photographs and having them resized in HTML produces higher quality images, since there’s more information or detail in the file. It doesn’t. For best image quality and fastest loading time for your visitors, always resize your images to the desired size prior to uploading!

Update: I’ve added a second link under the mouse-hover comparison for those who are using more capable browsers. If you don’t see any difference in hovering over the image, try hovering over the new link to see how other browsers render the image.

Update 2: Just for your info: This doesn’t apply to uploading full-sized images to photo sharing services like Flickr or SmugMug. These services take your large resolution photograph, and reprocess it into multiple images of various sizes. Thus, when you’re viewing the 500px image on Flickr, it’s actually a 500px image that Flickr resized and sharpened using your original large image.