REVIEW: online photo editor

Picasa was the first online editing software that I heard people rave about, but I was left out of the fun; I couldn’t use it from my Mac. I still can’t, because I haven’t upgraded to 10.4, so I’ll never know what all the fuss was about. However, now I can play with, so I’m a happy camper.

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Postal Pictures: Gifts by Mail

If you want to delight your friends and family, send them a picture by snail mail. While I am a great fan of online photosharing websites, especially, I have discovered that people are thrilled to receive a nicely presented print. Yes, you can always stuff a snapshot into an envelope, but a frame makes it a gift. Frames also allow recipients to display pictures on a table or shelf.

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REVIEW: Digital Portrait Photography and Lighting

Digital Photography and Lighting book cover“A portrait is a likeness.” Digital Portrait Photography and Lighting by Catherine Jamieson and Sean McCormick (published by Wiley) starts with this simple definition and premise and goes on to declare that “the photographic portrait may well be one of the more important social tools we have.” It’s no secret that I love making portraits—it’s probably my favorite type of photograph. So I was excited to finally find some time to read this book.

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Adobe Lightroom Beta 4

So I’ve been using the Adobe Lightroom beta for a couple of weeks now and I really like it. It’s shaping up to be a very nice application and it’s clear that the designers have put a lot of thought into managing a workflow that involves a lot of photographs.

I was using Raw Shooter Premium (RSP) to process my RAW files but I’ve made the switch completely to Lightroom even though it is still in beta. For one, RSP isn’t being updated anymore. It was acquired by Adobe and they’ve promised RSP users a free upgrade to Lightroom 1.0 when it becomes available. Second, even now it provides a lot more fine-grained control over image adjustment than RSP does. The Develop panel looks like a 747 cockpit. But importantly, every one of those controls does something meaningful and there are no less than two basic adjustment panels you can use instead. Plus you can save as many presets as you like.

It’s certainly slower than RSP. You’ll need a semi-modern machine to run it properly. But if your computer has the horsepower, Lightroom is a lot of fun to use.

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I had the opportunity a couple of weeks ago to try out, a unique site that allows photographers to not only sell stock licensing rights to photos (like iStockPhoto) but also to sell event prints at prices you set through a turnkey, customizable e-commerce system. The combination makes it a one-stop solution for selling event photos and also the “left overs” from events that could be used as stock.

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REVIEW: Tokina 12-24mm f/4

I rented this little beauty from and I’ve been shooting with it all week. It’s a fun lens if a bit of a specialty item. There are a lot of very technical and in-depth reviews of this lens on the internet (here’s a good one that compares all of the wide-angle offerings) so I’ll stick to my impressions rather than delving into charts and graphs.

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Review: Ziplens online lens rental service

As I mentioned last Friday, my first rental arrived from ZipLens is an online lens rental service that opened last month. The service, like competitor, rents lenses for periods of one, two, or three weeks at a time for the fraction of the cost of traditional rental services. Shipping both ways is prepaid and all of the return packing material is provided so returning a lens is as simple as packing it and dropping it off at your local post office (or even just giving it to your mail carrier).

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Review: online photo backup service

I’ve been testing out an online photo backup service called The idea is simple: upload your photos to their service and they’ll store them for you securely for as long as you like. Then if anything happens to your originals, you can use the service to retrieve the backups.

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ZipLens online lens rental service launches

ZipLens, a new online lens rental service with shipping within the United States launched today. The service is almost identical to which I’ve reviewed previously. At first glance, the services appear almost identical in functionality and price, offering a variety of Canon and Nikon mount lenses. One advantage ZipLens has is the ability to reserve a lens that is out of stock. I’ll have a full review of the service soon.

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