Yearly Archives 2011

I figured after doing my Holiday Gift book picks, it’s time for some App picks that would make great holiday gifts for photographers (especially the free ones!).

By the way: you can send an iPad or iPhone App to someone as a holiday gift: just tap the “Gift this App” link in the top right corner of the App Store screen. You just type in their email address and then Apple does the rest (including charging your account for the App purchase). If you want to give them more than just one App, then it might make more sense to give them an iTunes Gift Card (you can send them via email), and then they can redeem the card on the App Store by clicking the “Redeem” button at the bottom of the App Store home page on their iPad or iPhone.

OK, let’s get to the Gift App list (not in any particular order).

1. Photo Manager Pro
Although Apple’s own Photos App got better in IOS 5, putting your files in order after they’re imported is still a pain (and I finally gave up on using iPhoto to arrange them on my computer and then syncing), but this inexpensive App ($2.99) works great, it’s easy, and it’s got lots of nice features so this is what I’m using now and really liking it (and I’ve tried almost every Portfolio App for the iPad, and most of them have a major flaw or two, but this one just seems to keep it simple, which I love). For iPad and iPhone. (App Store link for iPad)

2. 500px (for iPad only)
Their site has become “The” site for serious photographers, and their iPad App is absolutely gorgeous. The folks at 500px know that how things look really matter to photographers, and everything they do has a great UI, and this App is no exception. This App is my #1 spot to go for photographic inspiration. Beautiful! Oh yeah, did I mention it’s free? (Yay)! App Store link.

3. Plastic Bullet Camera
When you’re in a totally creative mood, this is the App for you. It could not be simpler, and you don’t have to know a thing about editing—-it will generate lots of cool effects, and you just choose which one you like the best. The effects are varied, the previews are big so you can see what the effects look like, and the whole thing just feels like fun (which is why the App has so many fans). It’s only $1.99  For iPad and iPhone. (App Store Link for iPad)

4. Snapseed 
I know, I know, picking the App that Apple themselves chose as their “App of the Year” is a no-brainer as for a Gift lists go, but this App is so brilliantly designed, and has such great effects, that I couldn’t leave it out. If I had to be on a desert island with just one Photo App for the iPad, this might be the one. The quality of the effects are absolutely top notch, and the control is as useful as it is fun. Apps like this are what the iPad is all about. Only $4.99. Worth 10-times as much. For iPad and iPhone. (App Store Link for iPad)


5. TrueHDR (for iPhone only)
Moose Peterson turned me on to this App, and if you love HDR, you have got to have this App. I use it in Manual Mode where I take one shot exposed for the Highlights, one for the shadows, and it combines the two into a single HDR image, and I am constantly amazed at what a great job it does with just two shots, taken it two seconds. Wish I had something this fast, and this easy, for Photoshop. Just a $1.99.  (App Store Link)

6. Filterstorm
If you an editing App that’s Photoshop-like, this is it. It doesn’t look like Photoshop, but it has a lot of the functionality, with everything from Curves to Hue/Saturation to Cloning to Sharpening, and loads of other Photoshop-like features, all presented in an easy-t0-use interface. Absolutely that they can do something this sophisticated for only $3.99. For iPad and iPhone. (App store link for iPad)

7. Photogene
This was the App that made me realize that the iPad could actually be a great image editor. It does a lot of the same things that Filterstorm does, but since it does a few things that Filterstorm doesn’t, I still keep it in my editing App bag. If I had to choose either it for Filterstorm…..well….can’t I keep both? Please! How can it be only $1.99? For iPad and iPhone. (App Store link for iPad)

8. StuckOnEarth (iPad only)
If you’re a fan of beautiful photography and a beautiful interface, man are you going to love this App from Trey Ratcliff. It’s very clever, very useful, and very fun (everything you’d want in an App). It’s a visual photography adventure around the world and if you’re going anywhere on a shooting vacation, this App should be your first stop, and your companion along the way. Very clever, and amazingly, it’s free! (App Store Link)

9. Camera+ (iPhone only)
If I want to create HDR-looking effects with just one click (or maybe two) to a single image, this is the app to reach for. Their Clarity effect preset is the worth the price of admission alone (and I love their simple frame borders), but as far as Camera Apps go, this one’s the best. Perfect for folks who want to apply simple effects quality without really having to learn an editing App, plus it’s a great, fast-launching camera, too! (put that combination together, and you have an App that has downloaded more than 5-millions times)! Best of all, it’s only 99¢. What’s not to love? (App Store Link)

10. Diptic
All I want for Christmas is a Photoshop plug-in that makes multi-image layouts as easily as this one (yes, I know Lightroom can do this, but you pretty much have to create the templates yourself, where Diptic has a bunch all ready to go). I’ve also tried different scripts for actions for Photoshop, but this simple 99¢ App still beats them all hands down. Very cleverly designed, with lots of functionality, all at an insanely low price. For iPad and iPhone. (App Store Link)

It’s Hero Time!
If you bought the photographer on your App gift list every one of the photography Apps I’ve listed above, your Gift Basket you’d be under $20.00 (OK, not a lot under, but under) and you’d be a Holiday Hero!

But wait….
If you’re thinking something along the lines of  “Scott, how could you have left off [insert your favorite photo App’s name here]?” then just add your favorite App picks here as a comment (just remember to leave a short description of why it’s your favorite, cause everybody (me) wants to find a cool new App this Holiday Season). :-)

Above: our crew at Help-Portrait on Saturday. From LtoR: Pete Collins, Me, Matt Kloskowski, RC Concepcion, and Erik Bernskiold. Photo on laptop by Scott Krebs. 

On Saturday morning a group of us from Kelby Media Group (including Matt, Pete, RC and Erik Bernskiold [our buddy visiting this week from Sweden]) and were very fortunate to be a part of the wonderful Help-Portrait movement founded by our friend and entertainment photographer Jeremy Cowart, and once again it was a very special day for everybody involved.

Above: Here’s the main shooting room, with four shooting bays set-up side-by-side.

This year, RC organized our local Help-Portrait event, which consisted of photographers and assistants, make-up artists and hair stylists, IT wizards, and Photoshop retouchers, who call came together to make portraits for moms and their kids living at Operation PAR, a women’s drug abuse treatment center in Pinellas County, Florida. The women and their children live in a ‘village’ operated by the center, and for most of them this was their first and only portraits of them with their children (or even just photos of the kids by themselves).

Above: Here’s one of their first stops—make up. 

RC was out front coordinating the shooting, and Matt, Pete, Erik and I were in a separate room doing all the retouching and outputting 8×10″ finished prints right on the spot, and thanks to RC’s excellent planning and execution, the whole thing worked amazingly well.

Above: RC did an amazing job organizing our local Help-Portrait shoot, and here he is telling us how the workflow is set up, and just generally picking on Erik for being an industrial spy from Volvo.

Honestly, the retouching job itself was fairly easy, and we were in a completely separate room, and we had Christmas music playing all day, and it was actually a lot of fun to be a room with all these guys in the “retouching zone” but we needed to keep things light because every time you open a photo of a mom and her children in Photoshop, your heart breaks a little for them.

Above: Our buddy Erik Bernskiold (more affectionately known as “Erin Brockovich” or just “Brocky” during our retouching day), was in town this week and he volunteered to be one of the retouchers. We took him in this week like he was one of our own, even though we knew he was just here secretly spying for IKEA. 

I have to take my hat off to Jeremy for being behind of all this, because until you experience what this does for people yourself, you’ll never realize what it means to these people who are struggling in such a difficult chapter of their lives.

Above: Matt Kloskowski was just a few workstations down from me, and all day long Matt and I would sing our own versions of Christmas songs where we kept substituting Swedish phrases, Erik’s name, and some really lame Swedish jokes just to mess with Erik.

Ours is just one story in many of thousands around the world that Jeremy and Help-Portrait touched that day and I’m just so happy that we got to be a small part of it. Anyway, here are a few more behind-the-scenes shots from our day.

Above: That’s me at my workstation before the retouching zone got ramped up to full speed.

If you took part in a Help-Portrait shoot, and you’ve posted your images or stories from your day, I encourage you to post them here as a comment. Thanks to Jeremy (and locally to Dr. Michael Sheehan from PAR) for giving us a way to do something we love and get to give something back in such a meaningful way. For more info on Help-Portrait, follow this link. 

I knew it. Nik SO gets the iPad experience that it’s no surprise that Apple named Nik Software’s photo editing App Snapseed their “iPad App of the Year.” I looked back in my email to this summer, and dug up an email I sent to a friend who works for Nik when he asked if I had tried out the Beta of Snapseed. Here’s what I wrote to him back then:

“It feels like this is what Apple was hoping somebody would finally do in an App for the iPad. You leveraged the things that make the iPad great, and combined it with the creative power that makes Nik [Software] plug-ins so great. I would tell you I’m impressed, but that doesn’t go nearly far enough for what you have guys have managed to pull off.”

My congrats to Nik Software You guys did it! :-)

OK, they’re not “technically” High-Def prints—-I call them ‘high definition’ because to me they look like the difference between an HD television and a regular television (they are that good!).

These are the prints on metal (aluminum) from Imagewizards (I talked about their prints quite a bit last year—here’s the link), and even though I’ve seen other prints on metal, I’ve never seen metal prints like theirs (don’t confuse these with printing on metallic paper—this isn’t printing on paper at all—your image is printed on Aluminum (they call it AluminArte). The detail is insane!!!).

Since the detail is insane, we asked them for some insane deals. Here they are:

Today through Sunday, ImageWizards is offering a couple of special deals:

FREE Shipping on AluminArte, any size up to 24×36 in a corrugated carton (3 piece max)*

And / OR

20% off any size framed to edge piece of AluminArte, NO LIMIT! *

*Special Does not apply to Recessed Framed AluminArte. Cannot be combined with any other offer.
*Shipping Special limited to the contiguous 48 states. Proof shipping is additional.

To send your files, just go to and send your file to In the comments section, add your order specs and the Kelby promo code SKB1211 along with your contact information. ImageWizards will be available to answer your questions at 1-800-849-3390.  They will review your files first thing Monday and get in touch with you to finalize your order!

Hey guys, Brad Moore here with some exciting news… Scott Bourne over at Photo Focus has named Scott Kelby as the Photographic Educator of the Year for 2011! Scott (Kelby) was super excited, and of course very honored to find out about this. When I saw it, I was really happy for him and wanted to share it with you all as well.

Please join me in congratulating one of the most entertaining, talented, and engaging teachers I know, Mr. Scott Kelby!

Hey gang, Brad here with this week’s pimpy goodness :)

3 Free DVDs with Down & Dirty Tricks Purchase!
Corey Barker’s
new book, Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks for Designers, is officially sold out on Amazon, but we still have some available here! The elves in Kelby’s Workshop have put together a cool holiday deal…  From now until December 31st, when you buy Corey’s new book, you’ll get 3 free DVDs whether you’ve been naughty or nice.

No codes or special links necessary. Just purchase Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks for Designers and our elves (aka shipping team) will select 3 DVDs to include in the box – no catches!  Well, ok, there are a few catches… We get to choose the DVDs, they will be from our sale-priced DVD selection, Santa’s watching so no returns, trade-ins, special requests or whining is allowed. But hey! That’s still a whole lot of extra training. Plus, if you already own one of the DVDs you get, you now have an instant re-gift!

Corey’s also been busy signing books, so if you order his book this month, it will come autographed!

Retouching Week
There are still two more sessions you can check out during Retouching Week! Tonight at 6:00pm EST, The Photoshop Guys will be answering all of your questions. Then tomorrow RC Concepcion will be joined by special guests Calvin Hollywood and Evangeline Cooper to talk about studio photography and retouching “with a European flair.” You can tune in live over at If you’re a NAPP member, all of these videos will be available on the NAPP member site :)

Just a reminder that this coming Saturday, December 10 is the official day for Help-Portrait all around the world! If you haven’t already made plans to host or be part of one, check out the Help-Portrait Community site to find out where you can help. And if Saturday doesn’t work for you, don’t let that keep you from doing something another day!

Westcott Contest
Our friends over at Westcott are giving away a Bag Of Westcott (BOW) gear right before the holidays! Anyone can enter before December 21, and winners will be announced the next day. All you have to do is go over to the Westcott Blog and fill out an incredibly short/easy survey!

Lastolite Rebates
To help promote Joe McNally’s new book, Sketching Light, Lastolite is running rebates (up to $50 back in Visa gift cards) on his entire line of products. And, later today they’ll be posting more rebates on all of their TriGrip products and all of their Ezybox Hotshoe products (up to $30 back).

B&H Rebates & Promotions
Speaking of rebates, did you know that you can shop the B&H website through their special rebates and promotions page? Pick a category and start browsing to see what kind of deals you can get on gear (you know, like that new camera your significant other totally wants for Christmas that you swear isn’t for you ;) )!

That’s it for today. Have a fantastic Thursday!