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Find Detail in Your Photos That You Thought Was Lost… in Five minutes or Less!

Josh holds an invisible cameraIf you’ve ever wrestled to get a decent shot of the outside and inside when shooting indoors on a sunny day, or been disappointed to find your subject silhouetted when shooting into the sun, we have your fix.

Our pal Josh, shown here holding his imaginary camera, has a nifty trick that will let you fix those shots in a jif. All you need is a copy of Photoshop (almost any version will do) and about five minutes.

You can use his technique to improve nearly any photograph where extreme lighting fools your camera into underexposing your image.

Watch our quick video to learn how to do it!


Photo Project: Tell a Story With Your Photos

A story in five photosWhen you were small, you got to read books full of big, beautiful pictures.

But as you grew bigger, the pictures grew smaller. Eventually, words replaced them altogether.

If the rise of the graphic novel is any indication, we still like our stories better with pictures.

Here’s a fun project that marries our love of words and photography: Go through your photos and find an event with lots of shots (your friends hanging out, a party, a vacation, whatever.) Now pick five photos, give or take, that tell a story when put in sequence. Ideally, it should make sense without any words.

Your story may be true or made up, silly or serious. The point is to look at your photos as narrative building blocks. To put a new spin on it, next time you’re out with your camera, consider how the photos you’re shooting would look in sequence. Or start with a plot and take the photos necessary to illustrate it.

For inspiration, check out Isuru’s Moon Day Massacre or this story of Homeland Security told using stormtroopers and care bears.

Flickr Visual Storytelling Group

The Blender Pen — Magic Wand of Image Transfers

blenderpen.jpgWe love putting photos on stuff. Now if only dining room tables, tiles, backpacks, and notebooks would fit in our inkjet…

Behold, the Blender Pen.

It won’t exactly let you cram a backpack into your inkjet, but it’s close enough. Thanks to the miracle of modern science, and powerful-yet-safe-if-used-correctly solvents, all you need for quick-and-dirty photo transfers is a photocopy of your image and a $4 blender pen.

A blender pen transfer works great on all kinds of fabrics, tile, paper, wood, copper, linoleum, and a variety of other materials. And it won’t leave that plastic texture that old inkjet transfers sometimes did.

Check out the moleskin notebooks, fabric pouches, and quilts people have personalized with this purty pen.

Cheap, fun, and easy–our favorite words.

How to Make Photo Transfers with Blender Pens [via our friends at DIY:Happy]

p.s. Get your (clear) blender pen at a local art supply store or order it online. (If they sell out, try these guys.)

Panographies: Panoramas on Steroids

A Panography by Mareen FischingerIf you like Hockney, you’ll love this.

Do you ever look up at the sky, a towering office building, or an expansive landscape and wish your photos could capture everything you can see with your eyes? We do.

Our pal Mareen does this neat thing she calls panography. Taking dozens of photos of a scene, she assembles a patchwork of images that more accurately represents what your eyes see when you’re not looking through a viewfinder.

Call it super wide-angle panorama or call it panography, we think it’s awesome.

Read on to learn how you can make one yourself!


3 Easy Ways to Make Postcards from Your Photos (And Brighten Someone’s Day)

Photo Postcard SamplesPostcards are a lost art.

If you’re like most people, during your last trip you either: a) Dashed off a quick “Wish you were here” on a cheesy card you found at the airport, or b) bought a stack of beautiful cards but forgot all about them until you got home, or c) forgot about postcards altogether.

Hey, it’s okay. Vacations are stressful.

But who says that you can only send postcards when you’re away from home? You’ve got great photos, and it’s a simple task to turn them into postcards.

Take our advice: Spend 10 minutes today to scroll through your photos and pick three that make you smile. Print ‘em out, follow our instructions, and send off some beautiful just-thinking-of-you postcards. You’ll make the world a brighter place for a few of your favorite people.


Bubblesnaps: Add Snap to your Snaps!

BubblesnapsYour candid snapshots of friends mid-sentence just scream to be vandalized with suggestive speech bubbles, while pics of Fido beg for anthropomorphic embellishment (via thought bubble.)

Bubblesnaps to the rescue! Just upload a picture, add thought or speech bubbles, and email your creation to friends. They can even respond in kind, triggering a visual meets verbal tete-a-tete.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But which thousand? With Bubblesnaps, you get to decide!


The Simple Secret to Guaranteed (Real!) Smiles in Your Vacation Photos

couple-jumping.jpgWe’ve seen your vacation albums.

You and your brother/mother/significant other, squinting in the sun and staring glumly at the camera, pleading for it to go off.

What if we told you that there’s a magic word that will make any posed photograph leap off the page? Four magic letters that will bring a smile to the most tightly pursed lips?


Yes, jump. Don’t believe us? Check out the Jump Project for proof: gleaming mid-air grins from Vegas to New Zealand, Moscow to the Moab.

The project’s curator puts it simply, “It’s been a long time since any of us jumped for anything… jumping makes people smile.”

Jump Project Gallery
[via reader Adam Varga]

The $11 DIY Wide-Angle Lens

When we were in college, we wanted to build something we dubbed the anti-peephole lens. See, you’d position it on top of the peephole outside your pal’s door, enabling you to see inside. Just imagine the practical jokes!

We have no idea if the anti-peephole is possible, but if you know, please email us!

In the meantime, here’s a peephole-related project that gives you a wide-angle lens for your digital camera.

Wide-angle lenses are really fun, but they can cost hundreds (assuming you can even get one for your camera.) This project is super simple and only sets you back $11!

DIY Wide-Angle Lens
[via reader Tracy Cristal]

See also… A little more geeky, and a lot more detail.

11 Tips for Sparkling Fireworks Photos

fireworks.jpgHere in the States, we celebrate our independence every 4th of July by blowing up things in the sky.

In fact, ever since Taoist monks created fireworks, cultures around the globe have used them to ward off evil spirits, pray for happiness, celebrate birth, death, weddings, the new year… just about anything.

Consider it a basic truth of the human condition: we like things that go boom.

And for almost as long as fireworks have been around, photographers have been taking dark and blurry photos of them.

But listen up: Firecracker photography may seem difficult, but follow some simple rules and you’re virtually guaranteed good results.


Lensbaby 2.0 Review: Old-School, Manual-Focus, Retro Novelty Lens Fun

If you’ve admired the lo-fi beauty of your bud’s Holga shots but dread returning to the pre-digital dark ages, we’ve got the answer.

Craig Strong invented the Lensbaby to give his snazzy digital SLR shots an aesthetic similar to a Holga’s. The tiny lens fits most popular camera bodies, and it’s decidedly old-fashioned: no auto-focus, no light-metering on many modern cameras, no zoom, no camera-selectable aperture.

Instead, your $150 buys unadulterated photographic fun–a cool effect reminiscent of a Holga or a tilt-shift lens, but totally unique.



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