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Lounging on a beach chair in Tipumungo, margarita in hand, the waves lap at your feet. The far-off sun wanes, painting everything in brilliant color. It’s a postcard-perfect scene that any photographer would drool over.
And then there’s Sunburnt Stan.
There’s nothing like a pesky tourist with a sunburnt nose to ruin a beautiful vacation shot. What’s a photo-loving vacationer to do? It seems like everywhere you go, Stan’s there too, wading into the sea with his arm floaties or building a sand-castle on the beach. (Stan’s a persistent chap, he is.)
Never fear! An ordinarily grim situation turns to triumph, with just a bit of techno-whoozical magic in the form of these three nifty websites/programs. Vacation photos will never be the same again.
Sorry, Stan â€“ we love you, but you’ve got to go.
Using layer masks (Photoshop required), photographer Darby Sawchuck shows how to combine the best of several vacation photos into one great photo, blissfully tourist-free.
It couldn’t be simpler: take a batch of imperfect photos, run them through the Remover, and voilÃ¡ â€“ not a tourist in sight.
Plug a series of photos into this free program, then select your favorite parts from each photo; in an instant, you’ll have a perfect composite photo with the best of the whole series.
p.s. The holidays are almost here, and our friends at Moo are running a holiday card design contest. Submit your favorite photos for a chance at $8,000 in prize money!
Linus is sure somebody to sympathize with.
Brimming with childlike faith and optimism, his belief in the Great Pumpkin never falters — Every year Linus waits to catch a glimpse of the Great Pumpkin on Halloween, but every year he just misses it.
Man, we feel for him.
If pumpkin cheer is a bit elusive in your life right now, too, we’ve found the perfect something to make up for it — DIY Pumpkin Photo Holders. Putting ‘em together couldn’t be simpler:
Step 1: Get a pumpkin
Rescue a gentle gourd from your nearest pumpkin patch, grocery store, or the shady-looking guy on the side of the road.
Step 2: Pound some nails all around
With your trusty hammer, tap small nails in (not quite all the way!) around the top of your pumpkin, about an inch apart. Alternate between the top row and another row slightly below it, to offset your nails â€“ all the way around you go now. Repeat along the bottom of your pumpkin.
Step 3: Thread string in-between
Thread some thin string between your nails to finish things! Try alternating colors â€“ dark on the outside nails, light on the inside ones. Play with patterns. Experiment to see what you like.
Step 4: Insert photos, show off!
Plop your pumpkin in the middle of the table, stick some photos behind the string so they hug the pumpkin, and marvel longingly as you wait for the Great Pumpkin to appear.*
Thanks to reader Camille for this great tip. That’s her photo up above too!
* Disclaimer: Will only appear in the most Sincere of Pumpkin Patches.
Green and yellow, orange and blue! We like popsicles, yes we do!
The fantastic flavors, the clever riddles on the stick, the menagerie of colors (and how they turn your tongue red/green/purple too)… IOHO, popsicles are the best.
Plus, we always use the popsicle sticks after all is said and done to make nifty stick people with our photographs. Cut head out of photo, paste onto popsicle stick. Easy, see?
Well folks, you now have one more thing to thank the Information Superhighway for. No longer is licking, cutting, and pasting required to get your friends’ fine faces on something with which you can perform Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice.”
We’ve gathered of bucketload of shiny websites that let you use your photos to create talking avatars, dancing digital puppets, and singing telegrams — technology at its finest, yessir. Just don’t stop eating popsicles because of this — we’d hate that.
p.s. We’re very happy to have Kari, a Mom with a Camera, join the Photojojo team. Don’t be shy — Stop by and say hello!
Jinkeys! It’s a… it’s a… gh-ghost be-behind you! Run!
Wait a minute, that’s no ghost! Before booking it back to the Mystery Machine, take a closer look: That’s just a man. In a bed sheet. In mid-air. (And he would’ve gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids.)
William Hundley’s “Entoptic Phenomena” photography series might look haunted at first, but trust us, it’s not. Hundley snaps shots of people as they jump while completely covered in sheets or fabric.
The results? Decidedly paranormal. Best of all, it’s just begging to be tried at home.
Scooby Doo, I guess we didn’t need you after all.
p.s. Gonna give this a try? Show us your results!
p.p.s. If jumping underneath a bedsheet just ain’t your thing, check out this nifty disposable camera that will automatically add a ghost to your photos! Like, zoinks!
p.p.p.s. Amit’s gonna be at PhotoPlus Expo in NYC for a bit on Thursday and Friday. Email him if you want to meet up!
Fall has up and arrived kamikaze leaves crash down on unsuspecting passersby, leaf peeping is a thing again, and reports of rumbles coming from the Great Pumpkin have spread throughout the nearby towns and villages.
Any time of year is a great time to snap a photograph, but Fall is, of course, at least twenty times more so. (IOHO, of course.)
And since last year we wrote about how to get those perfect Halloween shots, this year we’re tackling Fall. We’ve jam-packed this edition with tips for photographing our leafy friends and fun ideas for fresh-new Fall shots.
Grab your camera and enjoy this Autumnal Equinox to its fullest!
We’re not big fans of following the rules, and we have a hunch you’re not, either.
But we know a good thing when we see it, and this list of 12 photography suggestions from our friends at Popular Photography came up on our phodar* more than once over the past couple weeks.
Photography’s as much a science as it is an art, so consider this a brush-up of your fundamentals. Of course, we know you know that we know that you know how fast a shutter speed you need to freeze a person running across your frame versus running at a 45-degree angle to you, or how to expose a sunset so it looks like it’s a half hour later than it is.
But a little review never hurt.
* Yeah, it’s like radar, but for photography. It’s strong with us.
The first time we saw seam carving in action, we thought it was an optical illusion. It isn’t.
For those of you who saw the demonstration video and academic paper (see links below) a month back, you know why we were so amazed. Alas, it was but a proof of concept at the time. But now you can finally use seam carving on your own images!
First, a quick summary of the technique: Typically, when you resize a photo, you just make everything in it smaller. Simple, right? Well seam carving is like a smarter version of resizing. Your computer analyzes the photo and figures out what’s important and what isn’t, then it eliminates the less important areas first as you shrink the image.
That means you can resize a photo to be half as wide without shrinking everyone in it, or even make a photo wider without making it look stretched. You can even pick areas you definitely want to leave alone, or areas you definitely want to lose, making it a super easy way to remove an ex or a stranger from a otherwise lovely photo.
Well, we’ve said enough. You need to give it a try for yourself. (Or watch the amazing demo video!)
Picutel Smart Resize
$95 Seam Carving Photoshop plugin (PC-only)
Liquid Resize for GIMP
Free Seam Carving plugin for GIMP
Actionscript sourcecode and examples
For you Flash cowboys and cowgirls who want to build this yourself.
Seam Carving academic paper (PDF)
Dr. Ariel Shamir and Dr. Shai Avidan describe their technique in detail. (Fun fact, Dr. Avidan was hired by Adobe shortly after this hit the web… look for seam carving to pop up in a future version of Photoshop!)
Photography being the ultimate populist art form, we’re extra super special keen on people who come up with ways to bring photo fun to everyone.
Here’s two we’ve come across recently that we really like:
Snap-Shot-City, September 29th
Snap-Shot-City bills itself as an urban photographic treasure hunt. The idea’s simple:
- Sign up with your friends in teams of up to 6.
- On September 29th, head down to the meeting place in your city to get yer clues.
- Start snapping!
- Share your adventures at the after-party. Exhibitions and awards to follow.
Run from the U.K., they hit 35 cities last year and the adventure begins again this weekend!
A Million Little Pictures, October 10th
A Million Little Pictures is a photo exhibition run by an art coop. Everyone’s photos are welcome, everyone shoots with the same camera, and the exhibition might come to you! The deets:
- Send in $16 by October 10th, and they’ll send you a disposable camera.
- Snap photos on the theme (“Adventure”) and send it back by Nov 20th.
- They develop the photos and ready them for exhibition.
The twist: They haven’t decided which city the exhibition will be in, and every camera counts as a vote for your city. Get friends to join in the fun to increase your city’s odds! (This one’s only open to people in the USA)
(Thx to reader Cara Bedick for the tip!)
As more and more of the world starts to skip breakfast, we figured this was a good time to focus on that most important meal of the day.
So here’s one more reason to enjoy some hearty oats or a breakfast burrito* tomorrow: Jon Huck’s Breakfast series.
Pairing portraits with porridge, his project shows people alongside their morning sustenance. We find it surprisingly addictive to flip through and draw fanciful conclusions on the connections. (Warning: It’s hard to do so without making your mouth water.)
Fun Photo Project: Take your camera with you to the breakfast table tomorrow morning and bring us back a portrait and a plate. Then post the results here.
Need more enticement? Follow that link to learn all sorts of fun breakfast factoids… like 308 ways to enjoy toast, all about breakfast in space or the amazing banana, and the history of breakfast cereal.
* Speaking of which, did you know Tony the Tiger goes by “El tigre ToÃ±o” in Mexico? We kid you not. Mr. Breakfast.com has the scoop.
Picture 487 of your Jamaican vacation photos fading by as some Caribbean muzac plays in the background. Yeah, photo slideshows can be kind of a snore.
The solution? Animoto!
Think of it as a little black box filled with film & TV producers, techies, indie rockers, and robots.
You put your photos and a song in one end, shake it up, and a photo music video pops out the other end… with pro-level post-production, animated cuts synced to your music’s beat, and oh-so-much style.
And it only takes a few clicks. (Really!) The robots do all the work.
The 30 second videos are free and they’re perfect for mailing to friends or posting to your blog, MySpace, Facebook, etc. Longer videos cost a few bucks. Special for Photojojo subscribers: Sign up for free by Sunday using this link and the swell lads at Animoto will put a credit in your account for one free full-length video. (It’s okay to tell your friends.)
p.s. Here’s a fun Animoto video we made from photos taken at a photobooth we recently set up.