FindTheBest is the latest startup founded by Kevin O’Connor, the guy who started the online ad company DoubleClick and sold it to Google for over $3 billion. It’s a human-powered comparison engine consisting of “comparison apps” in which various things of the same category are compared side by side with comparison points specific to that category. For example, the camera lenses comparison app allows you to browse lenses from a number of manufacturers, filtering and ordering them by things such as focal length, minimum aperture, and weight.
The site needs to gain a lot more traction before other photography-related apps turn up (e.g. tripods, photo labs, etc…), but the site could potentially be very useful for browsing camera gear and other photography-related categories in the future.
DropMocks is a new photo sharing service designed to help you share photographs online as quickly and easily as possible. Created with HTML 5, the service has a minimalistic homepage that invites you to drag and drop photos into the browser. It then adds those photos into a simple gallery, and provides you with a short URL you can share. It’s a bit like file hosting service DropBox, except for photos and done through the browser.
You don’t need an account, though you can create one to keep track of the “mocks” you create. Here’s an example mock we created using some photos from PetaPixel’s Flickr account. Keep in mind that since the galleries are publicly accessible through private URLs, don’t upload anything you wouldn’t want to be made public.
A Day in the Life of MIT (ADITL) is a neat project in which members of the MIT community take pictures on a particular day and then pool the photographs together to provide a snapshot of what life was like on that day. ADITL 2010 happened yesterday, and hundreds of people contributed images to the collection. Read more…
San Francisco-based photographer Michael Jang has worked in the business for over 30 years but wanted to have this personal website stand out — so he decided to clone Google. Most visitors to his page will probably think they somehow landed onto a Google search results page until they give the text a closer look. Every link on the page points to something on the web that showcases Jang or his work, whether it’s a photo of his in the SFMOMA, or an interview with him by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Even the links at the top that normally provide different Google search methods are links to Jang’s various social media presences.
The various links in the “search results” aren’t pulled out of thin air — most of them seem to be pulled from actual Google searches. However, cloning the search results page and displaying it on his own site allows Jang to have full control over what appears and where things point.
When we featured Strobox back in 2009, it was a simple idea: provide an easy way for photographers to create lighting diagrams and share them with others. Since then, they’ve upgraded their website to include a gallery where you can browse photographs done by others, view their lighting diagrams, and comment on them.
If you don’t have a full arsenal of lightning equipment, you can filter the photos by what kind of lighting equipment was used to browse photos that are more relevant to you. Read more…
Google has a useful account on YouTube called GoogleWebmasterHelp that publishes short video answers to search engine optimization (SEO) questions submitted to them. If you have a website promoting your photography, then thinking about SEO can help you drive more visitors to your photography.
Here are a couple videos that are relevant to photographers:
How can a photographer’s image-focused site gain PageRank?
Takeaway points: include text relevant to the image(s) inside the img tag and around the image to help the search engine understand what the page is about. For example, you could include a description of the photo in the name or title tag of the image.
Secondly, allow visitors to comment on the image. This often leads to users describing some aspect of the image for you (i.e. “I love the light falling on the barn door”), which helps search engines understand what’s happening on the page. Read more…
Tilt-shift lenses are usually pretty pricey, so many people fake the effect during post-processing by selectively blurring sections of their photographs. There’s even simple web-apps that can add such blur to give your photographs a miniature scale model effect.
If faking the effect isn’t legit enough to satisfy your photo-geekiness — and you’d rather not drop big bucks on it either — there’s a nifty do-it-yourself solution you need to check out: Bhautik Joshi over at cow.mooh.org has a new DIY Tilt-Shift project that teaches you how to convert an old lens into various kinds of tilt-shift lenses. Read more…
Here’s a pretty cool idea: StudioShare.org is a website through which individuals can rent studio gear or space from each other. Members can either simply sign up to rent, or if they’re a studio owner, they can sign up to both rent and to rent out their studio space. All members can rent out their gear if they wish, though it’s probably a good idea to get equipment insurance first.
Photographers can also set up collaborations with each other using the site, as well as offer their creative services for studio shoots — and services aren’t limited to photographers, it could include stylists, makeup artists, and other creative talents.
The site streamlines all the prep for a photo shoot, from the creative services to the gear, lighting, and space. The site also emphasizes the human element of photo shoots, allowing users to network with each other and to share portfolios and resumes.
Membership starts at $49 and StudioShare takes a 20% commission on rates set by resource owners.
One drawback to the service is that it is relatively small right now, with less than 2,000 members in the United States with a rather thin distribution. Since the available stock and resources depend on that number and location of members, it might be a bit early to jump in as a renting member until the pool of studio and equipment owners grows.
We wrote about Snapsort at the beginning of this year, when it was still a newly-launched, bare-bones website for comparing digital cameras. Though it was spartan, the service was useful for comparing the specs of cameras and seeing how they stack up against each other.
The service has gotten even more useful in the past few days, with a massively updated website taking the place of the first version. In addition to the sweet new design, the service now offers much more than simple comparisons. New features include detailed camera pages, customized advice (i.e. by budget), and a learning section filled with bookmarkable material. You can even compare cameras that haven’t hit the market yet.
If you’re currently in the market for a digital camera, you’ll definitely want to give this page a peek.
Sylights (short for “Share Your Lights”) is a new website that makes it easy for you to create and share lighting diagrams.
Created by Paris-based photographers Pierre-Jean Quilleré and Olivier Lance, the service is quite minimalistic, with the main pages being a diagram editor and a browse section to check out other photographers’ diagrams. Here’s an example diagram created on the service:
The site is designed quite well, and the editor is actually easy and fun to use. You simply right-click to add elements to the canvas, and then drag, resize, and rotate them as needed. The editor uses HTML5 and CSS3, so it should work fine on devices made by companies run by CEOs who hate Flash.
If you want to try out the editor, we made a test account so you don’t have to create a new one. Use the email address “email@example.com” and the password “password”.