Photo Projects

How Street Photography Can Turn into Astrophotography


Those Star Trek special effects guys are going to feel pret-ty foolish when they find out about Adam Kennedy.

Turns out you don’t need years of computer-generated image training to create breathtakingly detailed alien planets.

Adam finds his planets on the street! Fire hydrants, my friends.

He photographs, the rusted, peeling spheres that sit atop fire hydrants and edits them into wonderfully awe-inspiring habitats.

The best part about Adam’s planet project is that it started with a single imaginative thought.

It’s what inspires street art, photographers, and artists of every kind.

So the next time you think, hey that thing looks like that other thing, you know exactly what to do.

(Make art!)

Planets Made Out of Fire Hydrants

p.s. Wedding season is here! Get 40% off pro photo prints from Nations Photo Lab with code PHOTOJOJO.

p.p.s. We’re hiring A WEB DEVELOPER and AN EVANGELIST/BIZ DEV HERO. If you love photography and San Francisco, APPLY HERE.

How to Photograph Electricity without a Camera


You’ve always wanted to catch one awesome photo of lightning striking down on Earth’s surface.

Turns out we’ve been doing it wrong this whole time.

Phillip Stearns figured it out: Step 1 — throw out your camera. Step 2 — expose your film with 15,000 volts of electricity.

Inspired by the science between cameras and our very own eyes, Phillip turned to experimenting with peel-apart instant film.

He starts by pouring household chemicals (like bleach) onto the film to manipulate color and then touches a neon tube ballast to the film to electrocute the surface.

The result is a dreamy rainbow of lightning-like images emblazoned onto a final print.

It’s no wonder that Phillip’s main work has dealt with digital glitches. You might call this the ultimate analog equivalent of a glitch.

You can watch how it all goes down in this awesome video.

Extra cool thing: Learn how to make emulsion lifts with instant film!

Phillip Stearns’ Electrified Instant Film

p.s. WE ARE HIRING A WEB DEVELOPER. If you love photography and San Francisco and codes, APPLY HERE.

p.p.s. WE ARE ALSO HIRING AN EVANGELIST/BIZ DEV HERO. Creative deal-maker types, APPLY HERE.

Macro Photographer Teresa Franco Shares Her Best Phoneography Tips!

Scenario: A ladybug turns your shoulder into its new resting spot. What do you do?

Some might say Make a wish. Teresa Franco? She’d say Take a photo.

Snapping a photo of something so tiny can be a challenge. Do not let your camera phone deceive.

You can use your phone to get great macro shots of the tiniest objects, from crystal-ball-esque dew drops on a leaf to a caterpillar snacking on a blade of grass.

Teresa Franco is living proof. Have you seen her macros? They’re the best of the best on Instagram!

We asked her how she does it, and she shared all her favorite phone lenses, apps, and tips for getting fantastic photos of nature’s tiniest details.

So the next time a bug takes a liking to your shoulder, you’ll be set.

Phoneography Tips with Teresa Franco

Who’s Teresa?

Teresa first caught our eye with her undeniably legit macro skills.

Once we realized she wasn’t using a DSLR or a 3-piece lighting setup — that was when we were really impressed.

Teresa’s a nursing student who happened upon her awesome talent for macro while perusing Instagram one day.

That’s when she discovered the Olloclip, a three-in-one phone lens that lets you shoot fisheye, wide-angle, and macro photos on your phone.

When she’s not studying up on medical stuffs, she’s chasing grasshoppers and fungi to get the best macro photos ever.

The advantage to shooting macro on your phone?

Its small size and light weight makes it very easy to maneuver around tight spaces like under a tiny mushroom or between blades of grass.

It also allows me to free up one hand to use to stabilize a flower or a branch when it’s windy.

What’s in your phoneography camera bag?

before

  • Microfiber lens cleaning cloth — gotta keep my lenses clean
  • Snacks
  • My iPhone
  • Squidcam, Photojojo, and Olloclip macro lenses
  • I love my i.Trek Super Mount (a phone tripod adapter). I use it by itself. It’s great for stabilizing your iPhone when you’re very low on the ground.
  • iPhone charger
  • iPhone earphones with remote

What apps do you use? Do you edit your photos?

beforeMy go to camera app is Camera Awesome (for iOS).

It has a “Fast Burst” option that comes in very handy when I’m taking photos of flying/jumping/crawling bugs. I also love that you can lock in the focus. I use both of these features all the time.

The biggest problem I have with macro photography is lighting. So when I edit my photos, I usually just increase the “brightness” in Snapseed (works for both Android & iOS).

I also like VSCO CAM (iOS) and Vintique filters (iOS). I try not to edit my photos too much because I lose a lot of important details.

How many shots does it take to get that one photo? before

Before, I used to follow a bug and blast the camera button like crazy and just hope that one of the hundreds of photos that I took will come out decent.

Now, I’m more patient and can usually anticipate their next move. I’m proud to say that I can take 1-3 photos of a bug and walk/run away very happy.

Your top 3 fave Instagrammers?

before

  • @tanaka_tatsuya creates miniature worlds using household items and tiny little figures. I just want to shrink myself and live in his world.
  • @alozor lives in the same city as me, but when I see his photos, I always think “Where in San Diego is this??” “I’ve been living here for fifteen years, how come I’ve never seen this??”. He also knows when and where to catch the best California sunset.
  • @movable takes us behind the streets of Shanghai. He knows how to make grungy post-apocalyptic street alleys look so elegant.

What are your top 3 macro things to shoot?

I love sharing photos of the little things in nature that people don’t usually pay attention to. Photographers tend to go for the most colorful flower.

I want to show people that beauty can be found in the most mundane. My favorite subjects:

  1. Little seedlings and sprouts
  2. Dry petal curls
  3. Mushrooms- there’s something magical about them

Your advice for aspiring macro photographers.

beforeDon’t be discouraged if your first few photos come out blurry.

Everything in life takes practice. 

If you want to take photos of flying/crawling/hopping bugs, experiment with different camera apps that have fast shutter speeds. 

Have patience. A lot of it! I promise it will yield rewarding results.

So like, any extra editing tips?

beforeI would suggest to try as much possible to keep the tones of your photos consistent.

It makes for a pretty and attractive gallery. If you like using filters, use photo editing apps such as “Vintique” that let you adjust the settings of each filter — that way you can still make a style of “your own” even when you’re using pre-set filters.

Your top 3 places to shoot macro photos.

beforeIf I want to take photos of mushrooms, usually go to the park early in the morning before sunrise.

I also love going to local nurseries because they have a wide variety of flowers, plants, and trees on display.

The best thing about living in California is that there is green EVERYWHERE you go, all year round. If you’re ever in San Diego and you see a girl with an iPhone out in public on her elbows and knees, it’s probably me.

How do you get out of a creativity rut?

beforeI look at photos of my favorite photographers — Instagram, Flickr, online portfolios, photography books.

I also love watching sci-fi and japanese animation. Hayao Miyazaki is definitely the inspiration behind my whimsical photographs of moss forests and toadstools.

More Phoneography Tips & Inspiration

before

A Twist on the 365 Project: One Second a Day Video Project


Extra photos for bloggers: 1, 2, 3

Doesn’t it feel like 2012 was just a couple weeks ago?

Maybe your New Year’s resolution was to start a 365 Project where you snap a photo every day.

Well, what if we told you that you can make a time-lapse of your life by taking a one second clip every day? That’s what Photojojo pal, James Bernal did for all 366 days of 2012.

Think about how awesome yours would look — it’d be a 6-and-a-half minute mosaic of your year!

James put together an awesome guide detailing how to shoot, what to shoot, and how to keep going when you’re ready to set the camera down.

A Guide to Shooting One Second a Day

p.s. Win a traveling photo booth! We’re giving away an Instax camera & more with Brit+Co. Enter to win right here.

p.p.s. Even moar giveaways! Our pals at SnapKnot (the wedding photographer directory) are giving away a Nikon D800 or Canon 5D Mark III. Here’s how to enter.
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Get Glitchy with Your Phone’s Panorama Function


Glitching is the digital equivalent of throwing a roll of film into water and seeing what happens.

While you might not want to dip your phone in H2O, you can get experimental with your phone photos other ways.

And by other ways, we mean panorama glitching.

All you need is a sweep of the arm to get your panorama to stitch a scene in really strange and awesome ways.

(We used iOS 6’s built-in panorama, but you can try this with pretty much any auto-stitching pano app.)

1) Stitch totally different parts of a scene

  • Sweep your phone to capture one part
  • Stop, then quickly move your phone to another part of the scene
  • And sweep again

The result ends up looking like a diptic with sweet transitions that vary from wavy edges to smooth stitching or black edges.

2) Make a jagged composition of a single subject by jerking your hand as you shoot the pano. This makes for a choppy, mosaic-like image.

Try other experiments like twisting your phone as you shoot. More examples at the link below!

BONUS: Another trick to try is getting your model to show up multiple times.

Make Panorama Phoneography Experiments

p.s. Show us your panoramas! Post it to our Facebook wall, and tomorrow (4/9) we’ll pick 4 favorites to feature on our Facebook page.

DIY: Steel Wool Lightpainting for Under $10


Extra photos for bloggers: 1, 2, 3

Johnny Cash famously once sung, “Love is a burning thing.”

Whether you’re in a committed relationship, a fledgling romance or recently unattached this Valentine’s Day, one thing is certain: love is like a flame.

To honor the fires of love, Mike Benson of Wed Over Heels is showing us how to light paint with steel wool to visually ignite the frame!

This stunning effect costs less than $10 in supplies and requires no Photoshop or post-processing.

With the right precautions, you and few friends can certainly pull it off and keep your eyebrows. (Be sure to read the Safety Notice in the tutorial!)

How to Lightpaint with Steel Wool

p.s. Heads up! creativeLIVE has a free live online course to brush up on your digital photog skillz. Everything from the nitty-gritty to pro tips!
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DIY: How to Make a Photogram Wreath!


We spotted this fantastic Inkodye wreath project over at Design*Sponge, and we just had to share it with you guys!

If you haven’t heard of Inkodye, it’s fabric dye that’s light sensitive.

That means you can print photos onto fabric in all kinds of colors – blue, orange, red or mix them to make new colors! You can print photos onto scarves, dresses, bags, furniture, canvas, satin, even leather.

Here’s what you need:

  • Inkodye (light sensitive fabric dye)
  • A paintbrush
  • A plastic cup
  • Solid colored cotton fabric
  • Pine branches or a small wreath
  • Cardboard (the size of your fabric)
  • Thumbtacks
  • Laundry detergent

And here’s what you do!

1. Get your fabric ready

Cut your fabric to a size that will fit your wreath and pin it to your piece of cardboard in each corner. If you don’t have a wreath, you can use a few sprigs from a holiday tree to form a small wreath. You can also get creative with objects or make photo transparencies on your printer to create an image on the dye.

2. Prep your Inkodye

Shake your Inkodye bottle for 10 seconds, and then pour it into a plastic cup.

3. Paint the dye onto your fabric

In a dim place, use the brush to paint the Inkodye onto the fabric. It’s up to you what shape you want the dye to make. Just make sure it’s big enough to fit your wreath.

4. Lay down the wreath

Place the wreath onto the painted fabric while it’s still wet. Use your thumbtacks to pin down the parts of the pine branches that are sticking up. This will help you get a sharper, more detailed outline.

5. Expose it!

Take your fabric as is outside, and expose it to direct sunlight for 5 to 10 minutes. Your exposure time will depend on how strong the sunlight is, so gauge on how dark the dye is getting over time until it’s how you want it.

6. Wash it

To stop the dye from darkening more, wash it. Remove the wreath and wash the fabric with hot water and detergent two times (15 minutes by hand or in a washing machine). You can then dry it in a dryer or on a line. Fin! You have a lovely wreath photogram.

Thanks to Maxwell Tielman & Design*Sponge for this great project! See their full write-up.

Our Most-Fun-Ever Holiday Photo Ideas 2012!


Last year, we showed you how to one-up those mall elves in the holiday photo game.

This year, we’ll show you how to spin circles around them. Pretty soon those guys are going to be asking *you* for photo tips (and who knows, maybe Santa will hire you as his new photog).

We’re sharing a slew of photo ideas that your family will actually have fun doing! Even the most stoic of teens will crack a smile.

From creative backgrounds to great group photos that take less than 5 minutes to all the holiday lights fun you can imagine, you’re bound to find an idea that’s both creative and a blast.

Those mall elves might have speedy printers, but you have JoJo on your side.

10 Fun & Original Holiday Photo Ideas

p.s. The Super Fantastic Photojojo Lookbook is here. Share with your pals for $5 off any order, TODAY ONLY! READ MORE

DIY: Make Instagram Holiday Cards


Extra photos for bloggers: 1, 2, 3

Holiday Cards + Instagram = HoliGram?!

No, not like Tupac’s hologram, silly.

We’re talking about Holiday-grams. Real life cards from your favorite ‘grams.

Make and send holiday cards from your favorite Instagram pics or pretty much any photo on your phone.

This guide has a card-making style for everyone, from the super app-savvy to the DIY-ers.

Making holiday cards has never been so instant … and awesome!

Make DIY Instagram Cards!

p.s. Come on a photo walk with us! We’ll be meeting this Sunday 12/2 at the Photojojo Secret Store in San Francisco with cider and cameras. READ MORE

DIY: Keep Your Turkey Company with Beautiful Photo Place Holders


Extra photos for bloggers: 1, 2, 3

The Holidays are quickly approaching, and it’s time to get crafty.

So what are you bringing to the table?

It may be all about the turkey, dressing and casseroles, but these handmade table place holders are sweeter than pumpkin pie.

This DIY tutorial incorporates some of our favorite things: photos (duh!), tiny pumpkins (yay!) and Thanksgiving (yum!).

They’ll make your dinner table look *awesome*, and they’ll show your loved ones how much they mean to you.

Now isn’t that what Thanksgiving is all about?

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