For those of you who’ve ever wondered what it takes to get your work into National Geographic, here’s a hint: not “creative” software filters. According to a set of guidelines laid out in a message from the magazine’s Director of Photography, certain minor post-processing is ok with the exception of filters. Minimal dodging and burning, black and white, hand tinted images (if you’re experienced), and cropping are ok when done well; fish eye lenses are discouraged; but filters are a definite no no.
How much of a no no? Well, the photo director’s exact words regarding filters boil down to: “No. Please stop.” So even though the current trend in photography, spearheaded by Instagram, is towards filters, don’t expect Nat Geo to jump on the bandwagon anytime soon.
A message from the Director of Photography of National Geographic (via Reddit)
What do you get if you apply every Instagram filter to a single photograph? Belgian blog Appelogen decided to find out, starting with a normal photo of a pathway and applying one filter at a time. The resulting image is pretty abstract, and prompted them to ask the question, “is it art?”
Instagram experiment: all filters on a photo [Appelogen]
Although everyone has an opinion on Facebook’s purchase of Instagram for $1b, I think we can all agree: Instagram is terrible for photographers (Gotcha). Why? Let’s count the ways.
Instant is a newly launched Mac application that brings an Instagram-esque, Polaroid-faking app to your desktop. It allows you to turn any digital photograph into a Polaroid picture look-alike, and offers 28 different filters for giving your images vintage looks (8 of which are designed to look like Polaroid films). You can even add classic Polaroid frames to images and jot notes onto them. The app costs $7 and is available from the Mac App Store.
Instant (via Photojojo)
Did you know that you can use Photoshop’s Match Color feature to turn old paintings into “filters” for your images? James Delaney of Unfocused Brain explains,
Adjusting your photographs to get the color ‘just right’ can be a chore. Think about this: The Old Masters of painting spent years of their lives learning about color. Why let all their effort go to waste on the walls of some museum when it could be used to give you a hand with color correction?
Simply load both your photo and the painting (or whatever image you’d like) into Photoshop. Make sure your photos is the active window, and then go to Image->Adjustments->Match Color. Select the painting as your source, and tweak the sliders to suit your taste. Whenever you find a painting you like, keep them in a directory to slowly build up a collection of “filters”. You can also mimic the look of different films by using film photos as the source!
Improve your photography with classical art [Unfocused Brain]
Holga is selling an iPhone Lens Filter Kit that packs 9 separate “retro” filters into a single accessory using a rotary dial. While the design itself is pretty clever, the resulting photographs are a bit… strange. They sell for $25 over in the Holga store.
Holga iPhone Lens Filter Kit (via Boing Boing via Gizmodo)
The Fader has published an interview with Instagram founder Kevin Systrom that reveals how Systrom first got into photography, and how the service’s now-ubiquitous filters came about:
[...] my teacher handed me this plastic Holga camera and said, “You’re going to use this and learn to deal with imperfection.” I remember developing the first roll and the feeling I got from the vignetting and the light leaks that came from the blurry plastic lens. That transformed the way I looked at photography—from trying to replicate reality into taking a scene and creating some kind of interpretation of its mood.
Instagram started as a mobile check-in app, but after creating his first filter (XProII), Systrom realized they could do more with the concept. He then began creating new looks and spending a couple hours at a time trying to mimic the look of different photos.
Oversaturated: Is Instagram’s Popularity Changing Photography? (via A Photo Editor)
Image credit: 2011.02.10 Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom by Gerard’s World
Using a filter is a great way to protect your lens from damage, but if you accidentally drop your camera and smash the filter, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to remove the filter from your lens’ threads. Here’s a quick video that shows how you can remove a stuck filter — all you need is a strong pair of pliers.
(via ISO 1200)
The success of Instagram has shown that photo filters are very much in demand with the general population. Facebook is rumored to be working on its own retro filters, but Google has beaten it to the punch: today the company introduced a wide range of creative filters to Google+’s Creative Kit. The filters (called “Effects”) include looks that mimic daguerreotypes, Reala 400 film, Polaroid pictures, Lomo, Holga, and even cross processed film.
Product developer and part-time wedding photographer Joel Malone has come up with a product called “Lens Filter Coasters“: 4 colored or UV filters and an indestructible steel coaster holder. The coasters are actual 86mm filters made of optic polycarbonate resin (similar to plexiglass). Malone is currently raising funds for the project through Kickstarter: $40 will preorder you a UV set, and $50 will land you a colored one.
Lens Filter Coasters [Kickstarter]