How to Use your Phone or Laptop as a Quick ‘n’ Dirty Softbox

iphone softbox

We love tips like these.

Our pal David over at Strobist has been using his iPhone along with the MyLite app (free) as a teeny-tiny, palm-sized, always-there softbox.

It’s no strobe, and it’s sure not gonna light up a room, but for a gentle kiss of light at that key moment, it does just the trick.

Use a cell phone, a game boy, or a laptop screen to softly light a face, hand, or anything that needs a bit of extra attention.

Works great in long exposures (think light painting), or when the light’s just fading away at twilight.

Use your iPhone as a Soft Box

Photo Credit: Jess Baumung

p.s. Do you follow @photojojo on twitter? We use it to post up nifty photo finds the instant we see ’em!

Super-Secret Photo Projects Just for Kids! Back Off, Grownups.

superhero kid

Attention adults:

This week’s Photojojo is for kids. If you know any kids, send it their way.

If you don’t know any kids, you’re out of luck for today. Or you can pretend to be 8 years old and see if that works for you. Either way, no grownups allowed.

Attention kids:

This newsletter is just for you. If you catch any grownups reading it, we give you permission to make them sit in the corner until they’ve learned their lesson.

Just because you’re shorter than adults doesn’t mean you can’t be just as good a photographer as them. In fact, being kid-sized lets you get shots they never could.

Prepare to discover your secret photographic superpowers, small one.

Super-Secret Photo Projects Just For Kids

Photo credit: JPhilipson


Pay It Forward: Portraits of Other Photographers

family bed

We love hearing from our adoring faithful Photojojo fans. And what we’ve heard lately is that you kids love the photo projects, but you really love the short photo projects.

Good news, everyone! This project will only take you one day.

Here’s the plan:

  1. Find another photographer.
  2. Take a portrait of that person with whatever matters most to them, be it their family, their cat, or their first-edition copy of Molecular Quantum Mechanics.
  3. Give them a copy of their portrait, on one condition:
    they have to do the same for another photographer.

There you go: one day of shooting, and you’ve set the wheels in motion for an ongoing (possibly never-ending) project. Get everyone to post their photos online, and see how long you can keep the project rolling.

We’ve started a special forum thread just for all of you, so let’s see what you’ve got!

Pay It Forward Portrait Project

p.s. Thanks to Joel Weibner for tipping us off about John Michael Cooper’s original Pay It Forward project!

Photo credit: sesame ellis.

Make Your Own 3D Camera for $15 or Less

roosevelt on a horse

Depth perception: wonder of evolution, miracle of sensory perception, and envy of the cyclops.

It’s one of those things you wouldn’t miss until it’s gone, like toes, toothpaste, and trees. That’s why 3D photos amaze us: they remind us about this incredible superpower we had totally forgotten we had.

But it gets even better! 3D photography is surprisingly easy to do on your own and doesn’t even require special glasses. We’ll show you how to make your own 3D camera for less than $15 and enter the fabulous world of the 3rd Dimension.

Make Your Own 3D Camera for $15 or Less

p.s. Put yourself on an Obama poster (just in time for the Inauguration)!


Backblaze: Backup Software You’ll Actually Use


Backing up your computer is like brushing and flossing. The ole Sonicare looks funny in the pocket, so most people just don’t floss every day or brush after every meal.

But don’t backup, and someday, inevitably, you will lose your files, music, and lose your photos! And that hurts worse than a cavity.

Online backup software makes it easy — continuously backing up your whole computer automatically. Set it up once and go about your life.

Backblaze is the best online backup tool we’ve ever used.

Why we love it:

  • No DVDs, no hard drives to mess with
  • Backups happen invisibly as soon as files are added
  • $5/month, no matter how big your hard drive
  • Won’t slow down your computer. Really.
  • Your online backup can’t be lost or stolen
  • Download your backed up files anytime (of course) or have them overnighted to you on DVDs or a hard drive (spiffy!)

We’ve tried Mozy, Carbonite, and CrashPlan. We’ve used Amazon S3, we’ve used hard drives. Backblaze is the first one that’s stuck.

Please, for the love of photography, sign up for this thing. Your photos are worth saving!

Backblaze: Online Backup You’ll Actually Use
Mac or PC (The Mac version’s in private beta, but we scored invites for all of you.)

The Perpetual Photo Wall Calendar

perpetual photo calendar
Extra photos for bloggers: 1, 2

One of our readers, Sandy Weisz, sent us this idea for a calendar made out of number photos. He said it sounded perfect for us because:

  • It’s a photo project.
  • It’s a DIY project.
  • It’s functional.
  • You can use it forever.
  • AND it looks amazing on the wall!

What, are you kidding? We LOVE this!!

It’s typography! It’s photography! It’s design! And it looks freakin’ stunning.

Plus we can rearrange the numbers each month, so we’ll never need to buy a calendar ever again. We’re so in love right now.

The DIY Perpetual Photo Wall Calendar


Sensor Dust Is Evil. Here’s How to Banish It.

dusty camera

First, the good news:

If you have a point & shoot or a film camera, keep it clean and dust specks will never plague you.

And now the bad news: digital SLR sensors are magnets for dust.

Cleaning a digital sensor is nerve-wracking and risky, with enough methods, products, and gimmicks on the market to flummox a rocket scientist.

And that, dear friends, is why you have Photojojo.

We’re breaking it down right now: what works, what doesn’t, and whether the annoyance of having dust spots is worth the trouble of cleaning them. Let’s roll.

Sensor Dust Is Evil And Here’s How to Banish It.

Photo credit: sgoralnick.


What We Love(d) About JPG Magazine

JPG magazine

New Year’s Day brought crummy news: JPG Magazine is calling it quits.

Ever since husband and wife duo Heather Champ and Derek Powazek founded the picture-filled print pub to create a truly democratic photo magazine, it’s been something very special.

The good news: last-minute efforts to save the business mean the site will be live for a few more days. That’s just enough time to check out some of their greatest hits and download their back issues in PDF.

Here’s a smattering of our all-time favorites to get you started:

Thanks to everybody at JPG for the great work you’ve done over the last two years. What’ll we do without you?

JPG Magazine
Get it while it lasts!

The Top JPG Photographers
From editor-in-chief Laura Brunow Miner.

Every Issue of JPG (PDFs, 223.4MB)
All in one handy zip file, thanks to Derek Steen.

Save JPG
Keep up on the efforts to help JPG stay afloat!

p.s. There’s hope that JPG could be acquired and carry on. Our fingers and toes are crossed.

New Year’s Just Ain’t New Year’s Without Photo Resolutions. Happy 2009!

Happy New Year!

We didn’t do any of our resolutions from last year, did you?

The problem is, we always pick stuff we ought to do, not stuff we want to do.

Here’s the thing- if it’s not fun, you won’t stick with it. Our advice is, pick ONE resolution that really sounds awesome, and do that one. Why commit to a whole bunch of things that you don’t want to do?

Need help picking that single resolution? Have a look through our humungous list of 22 photo possibilities* for the upcoming year.

(Although one resolution is the strict limit, we invite you to dabble frivolously, irresponsibly and noncommittally with anything else on this list.)

22 Photo New Year’s Resolutions for 2009

*Three more than last year! Holy mackerel!

Photo credit: włodi.


120 of 2008’s Most Amazing News Photos

Getting a pal with a new camera to subscribe to Photojojo makes an awesome (and free!) gift.
news photos 2008

Due to sporadic distractions this year (sailing the world in our pedal-powered yacht, abduction by hyper-intelligent lemurs, a case of the hantavirus) we missed out on some of 2008’s major headlines.

Luckily, the end of December is our chance to catch up on the news we missed this year.

But which “2008 in Review” article is best? Is it the New York Times? The Economist? The East Weedpatch Herald Tribune?

We just pick the one with the best pictures.

We scored big this year when we found 120 huge photos of practically everything that happened in 2008.

It’s not all fires, floods and wars either: it’s everything from hundreds of performers beating gold drums at the Beijing Olympics to a solar eclipse darkening the afternoon sky into night.

Sure, we may miss some news in 2009 (the old yacht’s a-callin’ and the lemurs are nigh), but at least we’re caught up on 2008.

2008 in Pictures, Part I

2008 in Pictures, Part II

2008 in Pictures, Part III

p.s. Seen it all before? Try the Odd News Review for the news you’ll wish you hadn’t seen.

Photo credits: NASA, Carlos Gutierrez, John Kirk-Anderson, Alex Brandon READ MORE