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Photo Inspiration: The Best of the Best of 2013

Happy 2014! The future is now.

We love Januaries. They’re a great time to look back at the amazingness of the previous year, and make resolutions for the new one.

We’ve done our fair share of looking back, poring over every “Best Photos of the Year!” list we could find on these here internets.

Then, we resolved to let all the great shots we just saw inspire us to improve our photo skills in 2014.

We’ve compiled a handy list of the top of the tops: our favorite “best photo” lists and what we’ve learned from them.

See the Very Best of The Best Photos of 2013


Photojojo’s Holiday Gift Guide 2013, Part 3!

It’s our last all-new gift guide of the year! So we’ve brought out our very finest photo gifts – beautiful camera bags, photo-themed décor and more.

Plus, we’re showing off our top selling products of all-time, that are sure to be a real hit on Christmas morn’.

Order quick and we’ll be sure to beat Santa down the chimney for ya.

Carry your gear in style! The Brooklyn camera bag is handcrafted out of full grain leather, with a plush interior and plenty of room. Nothing but the finest, for your trusty camera.

In the Shop for $329



Everything you need to shoot the most creative roll of film you’ve ever shot. A camera, two lenses, rainbow filter and a book of inspiration will spark your love for analogue photography all over again (or, for the very first time).

In the Shop for $25



Finally! A huggable camera lens. These limited edition jumbo-sized lens pillows. They’re hand-made with all the detail of your favorite lens (from the f-stops to the auto-focus switch) carefully embroidered by hand into fuzzy fleece.

In the Shop for $80



Get awesome technicolor patterns, lens flare and swirly rainbow hues in-camera without an app! These coated glass gradient filters twist and stack for infinite color combinations. And, their sturdy aluminum mount fits on any phone.

In the Shop for $35



Take your camera on any and every expedition, in this full-sized adventure proof messenger camera bag. It’s made of water repellent waxed canvas, and has enough pockets and interior space to hold all your gear.

In the Shop for $269




Hang your love of analogue on the wall for all to see. The Vintage Film Roll Print features 20 vintage film rolls in their bright and colorful glory. The perfect décor for any photographer’s home or office (just not their darkroom).

In the Shop for $15




Your phone cam is great, but you can give it one that’s super-duper. Sony QX series pro-quality lenses that are also full-fledged cameras! They use your smartphone as a viewfinder, settings panel and shutter release. Then, send the pix they’ve taken wirelessly onto your phone.

Starting at $250



Lots more amazing gifts…


Everyone Loves Them!We’re sure those folks on your gift list will too.

Photojojo Classic Lens Series

$49 → BUY

Camera Lens Mugs

$24 → BUY

Macro Lens Band

$15 → BUY


iPhone Telephoto Lens Kit

$35 → BUY

Bamboo Solar Phone Charger

$35 → BUY

Smartphone Spy Lens

$20 → BUY



Even more amazing gifts…

Free Coupons for All!
Plus, Gift Ideas For Your Camera

We’re giving away $2, $5, $7 and $10 coupons all day long!

Simply follow us on Twitter (we’re @Photojojo), give us a RT and visit the Shop to collect your coupon.

Not sure what to spend your free Photojojo bux on? We’ve talked to your camera and have its wishlist right here.

Check out our gifts for DSLRs, Androids, iPads and more …

Snack Cap Lens Caps

Your camera looks hungry. Give it a tasty (protective) treat. → More

Gorillapod for SLRs

This bendable tripod will hold your DSLR to any surface. → More

The Triggertrap

Turn your phone or tablet into a remote for your DSLR. → More


Send photos from your DSLR to phone or laptop as you shoot! → More

iPad Telephoto Lens

See 10 to 12 times farther, with adjustable focus. → More

Sony Wireless Lens

Give your iPad a massive sensor and professional optics. → More

A charger + built-in battery

The Bolt Charger doesn’t need an outlet to charge you up! → More

Wireless Shutter Remote

Take photos from 30 feet away. Perfect for photobooths! → More

The Instax 90 Instant Cam

The newest from Instax w/ double exposure and bulb modes. → More

Print straight from your cam!

The Polaroid 2300 takes digital photos and prints on the go. → More

Rare Film Pack

Three rolls of rare, imported, or discontinued 35mm film. → More

Mini Instagram Projector

Project a slide wheel of your IG photos anywhere. → More

Polarizing Smartphone Lens

Cut down on glare to up contrast and color saturation. → More

Instagram #Necklaces

Sport your very own #nofilter, #selfie or IG Like symbol. → More

Instant Camera iPhone Decal

A tribute to an old fave, for your phone. → More

Olloclip 4-in-1 iPhone Lens

A fisheye, telephoto, wide angle and macro lens, all in one. → More

Super Fisheye Phone Lens

The widest angle lens in the shop! For fishey phone photos. → More

Phoneography Starter Kit

Everything a new phoneographer needs in a giftable case. → More

Smartphone Spy Lens

See the world from a whole new angle (on the sly). → More

The USB Chargecard

A charging cable that fits in your wallet. → More

Glif+ Phone Stand


$25 BUY!

Egg Carton Film Case


$15 BUY!

Memory Card Speed Reader


$35 BUY!

Instax Mini 50s Camera


$110 BUY!

Handy Dandy Hand Strap


$35 BUY!

The iPhone SLR Mount


$180 BUY!

Photojojo’s Holiday Gift Guide 2013, Part 2!

We’ve got gifts galore: A hyper-intelligent camera that takes photos all on its own, deliciously cool looking lens caps, #jewelry for the Instagram lover in your life and more.

With 7 ALL NEW items, it’s our brand newest gift guide yet!

Plus, we’ve just introduced a new shipping option, that we think your nose is really going to like…


The Autographer is a super intelligent wearable camera with 6 sensors (GPS, compass, accelerometer, thermometer, color sensor and motion detector). It logs your life as you live it. Then uploads the photos and data straight to your iPhone.

In the Shop for $399



A juicy burger or delish donut protect your lens from scratches and add a bit of fun to your favorite gear. *Warning* Snack caps are not guaranteed to protect your lenses from being licked. In fact, they just might invite it. Yummy. Yummy.

In the Shop for $15

The latest and greatest Instax Mini Camera straight from Japan gives you more creative control than ever before. It has six shooting modes including long and double exposure that no other Instax cam has!

In the Shop for $225



The dreamy look that Diana lenses have been bringing to 120mm film is now available for your DSLR. This glass version of the iconic Diana lens gives you all the dreaminess higher contrast.

In the Shop for $60



This remote let’s you take photos on your Android or iPhone from up to 30 feet away! Perfect for outstretched-arm free selfies and starting/stopping videos without wiggling your phone.

In the Shop for $40



Bring back the family slide show! The Projecteo Gift Box comes with one mini projector and a gift card to order a wheel of slides from your (or a pal’s) very own Instagram pix.

In the Shop for $35 



You’ve hashtagged all of your photos. What next? Your friends! Give them a laser-cut acrylic #selfie, #nofilter or Like icon necklace.

In the Shop for $25



If you love something you pin it, right? So pin your love for Photoshop, Instagram and Pinterest onto your sweater, hat, bag or friend.

In the Shop for $12



Tiny gifts starting at $6They’ll fit well in your budget and in a sock!

Phone-o-Chrome Filter

$15 → BUY

Instant Camera iPhone Decal

$6 → BUY

The iPhone Wrist Strap

$35 → BUY

Smartphone Spy Lens

$20 → BUY

Super Fisheye Smartphone Lens

$25 → BUY


Polarizing Smartphone Lens

$25 → BUY

















Guide to DIY Photo Booth Backdrops

Extra photos for bloggers: 1, 2, 3

Party time! Excellent!

‘Tis the season for some serious partying and these days no party is complete without a photo booth.

Setting up a photo booth is as simple as providing a backdrop and encouraging your pals to point their smartphones toward it.

We’re here to help you with that first part (you herd your own friends in front it).

We’ll teach you three easy-peasy ways to craft a party poppin’ backdrop.

Give your party photos that extra schwing and have your friends chanting “we’re not worthy! we’re not worthy!”

Learn to Make 3 Simple Festive DIY Backdrops


Photojojo’s GIF Guide: Your Giffiest Questions, Answered

Our friend Margo (dancin’ on the right there) has a real gift for making gifs.

She can crank out a masterful gif, in a jiff.

Margo has made some jolly good gifs for the Photojojo Shop (and points beyond).

So, we grabbed our most giferiffic questions, and sat her down to gab gifs.

We’ve gathered her answers in The Ultimate Gif Guide. Read it to find how she makes gorgeous gifs, how you can too and just how to pronounce “gif” in the first place.

Read The Ultimate Gif Guide, Then Go Forth And Gif

10 Editing Tips for Making Killer Instagram Videos

Extra vids for bloggers: 1, 2, 3

When it comes to movies, editing is kind of a big deal.

Without it, we wouldn’t have twist endings. (Looking at you, M. Night.) We wouldn’t have out-of-order movies to entertain our brains (Marty McFly 4ever). We wouldn’t even have beginnings, middles, and ends!

Frankly, movies would be pretty weird and probably not very good at all without editing.

Thanks to Instagram’s 4.1 update, you can now upload videos to Instagram, meaning a whole new world of video editing has opened up!

Sound, filters, transitions, sequencing — there is so much you can do to an Instagram video before uploading it. And awesomely, you can do it all on your phone.

Consider this guide an editing workshop that’ll turn your Instagram videos into cinematic artworks served 15 seconds at a time.

10 Tips for Editing Instagram Videos

Light that Fire: A Guide to Finding Photo Inspiration at the Library

Photos for bloggers: 1, 2, 3

Dear Mr. Dewey,

Please point me in the direction of the photography books.

Thank you.

Love, A photographer in need of a little inspiration.

If dust is settling on your camera and your creative juices need some stirring, the library is a great place to explore photographers and books on photography that’ll light that photo bug inside you. It’s always in there… sometimes it just needs a a little push in the right direction.

Learn some super simple tips on finding the photo books in your library and what to do once you’ve found them.

If you’ve got yourself a free afternoon, strap on your sneakers and head to the library to peruse the photo books and get inspired!

Find Photo Inspiration at the Library


Find your local library.
This is a handy website to discover where to locate the library in your hood.

Walk into the library and breath in the musty and awesome smell that is special only to a public library.

Lots of people have been in this institution and many of them have come out of it knowing something they didn’t when they walked in. Or they went in, used the restroom, and left.

But not you! You are going in to be inspired by photography and all of the wonder that comes along with looking at a photograph in print.

What’s great about the library is that you have access to all kinds of photo catalogs that aren’t available online.

You are part of this storied piece of public learning now.

Go forth brave photographer. Inspiration is now shooting out of your fingertips.



Thanks to Melvil Dewey and his Dewey Decimal System there is a super simple way to find the photo books in most libraries.

When at the library head straight to the stacks labeled 770.

All nonfiction books have a 3 digit number in front of them that corresponds with their subject matter. The 700 section of the library is The Arts section. All photo books start in the 770 section of the library. Anything with the numbers 770-779 on the binding is a photography book.

If you happen to be in a library that uses the Library of Congress system, then you’ll find the arts in section N.

Once at the photo stacks it’s pretty darn fun to run your hand over the books and see a name or binding that strikes your fancy.

Pull some books off of the shelf and find a cozy place to peruse what you just picked out.



If you like to have a little more direction when you are searching for books here are some awesome books to look for.

Names of Photographers to Look for at the Library

  • Wegee (aka Arthur Fellig)
    Scandal! Intrigue! Awesome black and white photographs from a man who beat the police to the scene of many a crime!
  • Lee Friedlander
    Magic street photographs, idiosyncratic landscape photos, and bizarrely awesome self-portraits.
  • Francesca Woodman
    Beautiful and sad stories told through images of the artist herself. If you love taking self-portraits, take a look at Ms. Woodman’s poignant images.
  • Since there are so many amazing photographers out there, here’s a starting list of 100 of the most influential photographers of all time.

 Books on Photography

  • The Photographer’s Eye by John Szarkowski
    A formative guide to the visual language of photography.
  • The Flame of Recognition by Edward Weston
    A fascinating glimpse into the life of a photographer who was constantly on the lookout.
  • The Education of a Photographer edited by Charles T. Traub, Steven Heller, and Adam B. Bell
    A great collection of essays about what it means to be a photographer now.

How-to Photo Books

  • Photography by Barbara London, John Upton, and Jim Stone
    This book guides you to be your own photo teacher!
  • The Art of Photography: An Approach to Personal Expression by Bruce Barnbaum
    Barnbaum explains photography in a way that won’t leave you saying “what?!!”
  • Image Transfer Workshop: Mixed Media Techniques for Successful Transfers  by Darlene Olivia McElroy and Sandra Duran Wilson
    Learn how to turn your photos into fun mixed media pieces.
  • Photojojo!: Insanely Great Photo Projects and DIY Ideas  by Amit Gupta and Kelly Jensen
    Lots of DIY ideas to help you inspire yourself and others with photo projects. From your favorite photo people: us!

Magazines Have Photos, Too!

Books aren’t the only sources for your photo research.

Magazines are full photos, and the amazing thing about the library is that they’re subscribed to basically every magazine ever.

Exploring magazines will introduce you to photography besides the kind you’ll find in the Arts section of the book stacks. You’ll see nature photography, fashion photography, interior design, and portraiture.

Magazines are also a great place to discover emerging photographers. PDN Magazine in particular does a fantastic job of featuring up and coming photogs.

Some more awesome magazines to check out: National Geographic, PDN, Vogue, American Photo, Kinfolk Magazine, Popular Photography, B&W, Wallpaper, Time, Vanity Fair.


beforeBring a notebook, sketchbook or your phone to the library with you.

While you are joyfully perusing the books you’ve picked off the shelves take notes on photographers, photo tips, or quotes.

Write down words that come to you while looking at photographs. You don’t have to get crazy or put pressure on yourself… free associate as you flip pages. This is all for the joy of photography.

If a photo really grabs your attention write down what you are feeling as you look at the photo. Why did this one photo jump off of the page and into your heart?

Remember how you felt when you looked at the specific image while you are out taking your own beautiful photographs.

When you find you are in need of a little inspirational kick in the pants you can look through your notes and see what inspired you.


Start  an inspiration archive by designating a folder or binder for all things photography.

We feel it important to note that this is a compilation of things you love and is only for personal reference. We don’t believe in stealing artwork or infringing on copyrights.

Once you’ve found something that strikes your fancy make some photocopies of images that you really love and put them in your binder. You can categorize them into sections, like street photography, portraiture, or landscape. Think of it as a Pinterest board, but for your eyes only.

You can also put the notes you have taken in the binder as well.

Organize the images by photographer’s name, subject matter, however you like to look at later and get inspired whenever you are feeling a creative lull.

Dog Days of Summer: Tips for Shooting in the Midday Sun

Extra photos for bloggers: 1, 2, 3

Whoever said “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen” probably wasn’t aware we would be making such a liberal interpretation of the saying.

Heat comes from sun. Summer sun is bright. Bright light is tricky to photograph.

It’s no secret that bright midday sun is one of the more challenging types of light to expose properly. We’re talking blown out highlights, harsh shadows, squinty subjects… oh my!

Don’t sweat it, friends. This guide will show you how to get the best shots in the midday sun.

We can wrangle those top-down rays with quick easy fixes to soften harsh light, resolving your bright light issues before you even have time to hashtag them.

How else are you going to document that tan you’ve been working on all summer?

Pro Tips for Midday Shooting

Why It’s Cool

Summer is a great season for shutterbugs… between the golden mornings and evenings we’ve got, like, 2 extra hours of daylight to bask and snap in. And nothing says summer like bright, colorful, high-contrast photos! So why are you spending this extra shooting time inside?

Light is everything to photographers, so take the camera outside and stop actin’ like it’s not. It’s always high noon somewhere, so you might as well turn down those ISO settings and learn how to beat the heat.

Use these tips and tools to improve your lighting skills by shaping, bouncing, blocking, and even adding it back afterwards. You’ll perfect your sharp shootin’ so you can keep exposing when bright light is unavoidable, anytime of year.


  • Any kind of camera
  • Lens filters – polarized, neutral density (ND), or your own DIY
  • Fill light – a reflector, foam board, or flash
  • Shade
  • Photo editing software or app
  • A friend or model



Think of lens filters like a sweet pair of shades for your camera. They come in all shapes and sizes (including phone sized), so no man or machine will be left squinting in the sun.

Generally – exposing for bright daylight requires some combination of small aperture setting and high shutter speed. Your camera’s sunnies… or, er… filters are one of the easiest ways to reduce the amount of light entering the lens and re-gain creative control in harsh lighting conditions.

Yep. That means shallow depth of field and slow shutter speeds are no longer out of the question! Since they’ll reduce your exposure by a few stops – neutral density (ND), polarized, or DIY filters will be your best bets for softening a case of the midday brights.

Need a FILTER hack? Try using your own sunglasses as a filter on your phone, point & shoot, or DSLR (depending on the size of your lens). Play with the composition a little and use your glasses as a frame within your photos.



There are two great ways to fill in and break up harsh shadows caused by overhead light: Bouncing light and flashing it.

Yeah… we said “flash”.  Sure, the concept of fighting light with more light may sound like an idea from another galaxy, but it’s actually necessary to get the right exposure on a backlit subject. Oh, and diffusing said flash will help to produce a more flattering end result!

Similarly, a reflector or white foam board will bounce the light, filling in shadows caused by an overhead light source (like that giant one we call “the sun”.) Pretty much any flat, white object can bounce light. You could even use a pocket-sized version in your phoneography.

Need a FILL hack? Look down! Lightly colored surfaces (like sand or concrete) will bounce a nice glow on your subjects. Scout out a spot near one of these bright patches when you’re lacking the extra arms to hold a reflector in place.



When you’re getting scorched or just plain fed up, scour the area for a patch of shade. It can be manmade or au naturale, just watch out for spotty light! Buildings and trees are a good place to start your quest.

When there’s no shade to be sought, there are a couple easy ways to create your own. Keep an umbrella or a sheet on hand for such occasions. Not only will you soften that pesky light, you may even earn yourself a cool nickname like “MacGyver of the Shadows”.

Once your shade is in check, position your subject in front of an equally shaded background (near the edge of the shadow they’re under). Now when you shoot you’re getting the best of the shade AND the light. Like a boss.

Need a SHADE hack? Try using a bed sheet as a scrim. Throw it over something tall and place your subject beneath it. Or have a photoshoot while your beach towel is hanging out to dry!


beforeKinda like a bad sunburn – there’s not much you can do after the fact to fix it an overexposed picture. No… not even with aloe vera.

It’s much easier to recover underexposed areas of a picture using photo editing software. That’s like photography SPF, dude.

To underexpose photos on your phone, tap the screen to focus on a bright area of your shot before hitting the shutter. Snapseed and VSCOcam are great apps that will help you edit your photo. You can change your exposure, adjust fill, and fix your photo’s highlights all from the comfort of your palm.

When shooting from your camera, play it safe by bracketing for exposure, underexposing back-lit subjects, and shooting RAW.

Two great ways editing software can help recover a photo taken in tricky bright light are:

1) Adjusting the levels to take back the shadows in the foreground of your photo, and

2) Using layers and masking tools to combine 2 images of a correctly exposed foreground (with an overexposed background), and vice versa.

Taking It Further

  • When you salvage important details (like eyes), deliberate overexposure can give your photos a surreal, dreamy look.
  • When your background is interesting and noteworthy, silhouettes are a great way to add drama and tell a story.
  • Some filters can reduce your exposure enough stops to create a really long exposures… wait for it… in the DAYTIME. Check it these out and give it a go!

Jenny Sathngam is a tutorial writer/photographer for Photojojo. She is based in Austin, TX – where cloudless, triple-digit summers last most of the year and shooting in the midday sun is more practice than theory. (Model: Sanetra Stewart)

How to Photograph a Kiss without the Awkwardness

Is this real life or are you in a Taylor Swift music video? You’re in the middle of one of the best kisses of your life!

Amidst the fireworks, stars, and confetti, you catch a glimmer off a camera lens five inches from your face, followed by the sound of a shutter. Moment. Ruined.

Cameras might be notorious kiss-ruiners, but they don’t have to be! Our pal Haley Sheffield is a fantastic wedding photographer who’s a master at capturing kisses that look real, natural, and downright beautiful.

Haley’s tips will show you how to get your couple comfortable and how to direct them to get the best kissing photo possible. Most couples aren’t used to kissing in front of a camera, but they’ll be on-camera kissers in no time.

Now you can have the best kiss of your life and catch it on camera, too.