Photojojo finds the best photo DIY projects, tips, and gear.
Sign Up for Our Newsletter
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.
Our friend Judy runs a one-woman shop making the most beautiful handmade journals we’ve ever seen.
Naturally, when we saw the photographs she used for her covers, we ran straight to her apartment, video camera in hand.
So today we’ve got two special treats for you:
1) A how-to video of Judy showing you how you can make your own perfect-bound journal using two 4×6 photos for the cover, some paper, glue, and a few other tools.
2) Two special edition journals made with pages of sugarcane fiber and reclaimed paper by Judy herself. Created for writers, illustrators, artist and designers, her notebooks have unique features like an inner pocket for looseleaf notes and a spine that opens flat for writing or drawing across the pages. Exclusive designs on the Photojojo Store for a limited time. Buy now
p.s. Help us out, Digg this tutorial!
There’s something special, even magical about the printed page. The Internet makes anyone a publisher, but seeing yourself in print is a whole ‘nother story.
But that’s just one of the many reasons why we adore flattenme’s custom photo children’s books.
Flattenme’s storybooks are full-color and have a thick, hard cover just like the kind you’d find at the bookstore or the library.
Except these books feature your kid (or niece or nephew or 8-year-old version of your pal.) Just send them a photo (online or by mail), your child’s name, and a dedication message, and they do the rest — creating a personalized storybook where your kid’s the star.
The result is stunning and endearing. The storyline is fun, and their magical elves do a topnotch job working with any skin color or hairtype. It’s a gift that would make any youngster smile.
Books cost $33 + shipping. They ship to the U.S. and Canada but will do their best to accommodate other destinations if you email them.
When we were little, we hated going to bed more than anything.
Sweet slumber is a much more appreciated commodity nowadays, but we still find ourselves wishing there were more hours in each day. If only we could race across the skies in a private 767, outrunning the sunset and never seeing darkness.
Well, we’ve found the next best thing.
Eternal Sunset is a website that tracks 250 webcams across 49 countries. At any given time, the sun’s setting somewhere, and Eternal Sunset will show it to you.
It won’t add hours to your day (quite the contrary) but if you’ve always dreamed of seeing the perfect sunset in Napoli, Egypt, or from atop Mount Fuji, park yourself in front of your ‘puter and watch that fiery globe fall. Over and over again.
p.s. If it’s as beautiful in your neck of the woods as it is here, do yourself a favor and go out and shoot this weekend. Here’s a list of photo projects to get you going!
p.p.s. Amit’s in the midst of a move. Apologies in advance if it take a bit longer than normal to get back to you!
If you don’t have one of our snazzy Electric Pocket camera cases, chances are your digi-baby spends its life swaddled in black nylon and TKK zippers.
Not the most nurturing or colorful of environments for your little one, is it?
But don’t despair! If you’re feeling crafty, our friends at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories have a tutorial that shows you how to make your own camera pouch from scratch. Well, from scraps. And they take you through it step-by-step, so even those of us who fear the needle can give it a go.
p.s. If you’re the sort that’s gonna be up early this morning (we’re gonna try), we recommend skipping the denim and using space-age reflective mylar instead.
Late night host Conan O’Brien has been combining celeb snaps to produce hypothetical images of their offspring for years.
Finally finally finally, we can do it with our own photos right at home — pictures of you and Dr McDreamy, you and your girl, or you and whoever!
Follow the image suggestions, upload a couple photos, and let your imagination run wild.
Advance warning: It doesn’t work with robots. We tried.