Hi everybody—-it’s time for my 2nd annual “Best of 2010 Awards” (Well, it’s not actually my 2nd best of 2010; it’s my 2nd “Best of” awards but you know what I mean).

It’s important to note once again that I didn’t say “Best photography gear” or “Best Photoshop stuff” (though both of those are represented). Instead, this is just my favorite “bestest” stuff from 2010, (including things like songs, movies, travel stuff, food, etc.) presented in no particular order. Hope it starts off your New Year right! (By the way; make sure you read my disclaimers at the end of the list). Here we go:


Best iPad App: Flipboard. It brings Facebook and Twitter to life.

Best software utility of 2010: 1Password

Best iPad fun App that’s not a game: D-Jay. It’s amazingly like the real thing and lets anyone play “mix master.”

Best new Photoshop plug-in I saw in 2010, but it’s not shipping until around now: Perfect Layers from OnOne Software (brings real layers, layer masks, and layers power to Lightroom).

My most-used plug-in of 2010: Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro 3

My guess for most-used plug-in of 2011: OnOne’s Perfect Layers

Best new lens of 2010: It’s a tie between my new Nikon 85mm f/1.4, or the new 28-300mm zoom.

The Best five photographers you might not have heard of (not in any particular order):

  1. Regis Lefebure (link)
  2. Markus Schwarze (link)
  3. Tim Tadder (link);
  4. PetrKlapper (link)
  5. Stephan Cooper (link)

Best thing in 2010 for photographers that’s not a camera, lens, or lighting: The iPad (maybe the coolest way to show your images ever).

Best iPhone/iPad App for presenters: pClock (the ultimate timer–from Shawn Welch).  

My favorite iPhone/iPad game of 2010: Tie: Word Warp Extreme or Angry Birds
Both responsible for untold hours of my lost productivity

Best iPad stand for travel: Arkon’s IPM-TAB1 (link)
(Horrible name—yet fantastic super-lightweight fold-up stand).

Best game ever: Call of Duty: Black Ops for XBox Live
I would have written two more books if not for Black Ops.

Best iPhone App for Photographers: Plastic Bullet Camera (link)

Best airline: Delta. (In-flight Go-Go Internet, and adding power plugs and USB ports to all its gates, plus TV on many flights; the best FF program, and great clubs. Plus, I think they have the best and friendliest flight attendants).

Best hotel chain: Hilton Garden Inn. Free in-room wireless. Big, clean rooms, with a microwave, fridge, and free bottles of water in the room. Great hot breakfast in the morning, and 24-hour mini-store, at half the cost of a regular Hilton (which charges for Internet, and bottles of water, among other things.

Best way to manage RSS feeds: Pulse app. It’s visual layout rocks.

Best new blog: Larry’s Cheap Shots (link).

Best new printer for working pro photographers: Epson Stylus Pro 4900

Best new HDR software: Nik’s HDR Efex Pro, and Photoshop CS5’s built-in HDR

Best other gadget of 2010: Verizon MiFi (wireless anywhere)

Best steak of 2010: Ocean Prime (link)
Their New York Strip with a Bleu cheese crust is insane!

Best burger of 2010: Hands down it was Milt’s in Moab, Utah

Best hotel deal in Manhattan: I’ve tried them all, but this one is the best: Hilton Garden Inn Times Square (great location, price, and great restaurant attached to it).

Best gift idea of 2010: an MPIX.com Gift Card

Best thing I added to my Mac in 2010: DropBox (link)

Best App that saved me money in 2010: Tom Tom Navigation for the iPhone 4 (Saved me $14.99 a day on having to rent a GPS system for my rental cars)

Best business book of 2010: Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

Another that comes close: “Making Ideas Happen” by Scott Belsky

Best addition to my Photoshop arsenal: Wacom’s Small-sized Intous 4 tablet. Fits perfectly in my laptop bag, so it goes wherever I go.

Best thing to put in front of your studio strobe: Elinchrom’s Deep Octa softbox

Best romantic comedy I saw in 2010: She’s Out of My League

Best really lame movie of 2010: Skyline
So bad it was almost good. Almost.

Best movie of 2010: The Book of Eli
I think I was the only one who didn’t “get the surprise” thing until two weeks after the movie when a friend told me. It made the whole movie even better for me.

Best remake of a classic Motown song: I Want You Back (iTunes Session), by Colbie Caillat (iTunes link)

Best really old song I added to my iPod: Tumblin’ Dice by Linda Ronstadt (iTunes Link)

Best (and first) Beatles song I bought on iTunes: Paperback Writer (iTunes Link)

Best old soul song I added: It’s Only Takes a Minute Girl by Tavares (iTunes Link)

Best classic rock song I added: Ah! Leah! by Donnie Iris (iTunes Link)

Best new song: California Gurls by Katy Perry (iTunes Link)
Any song with Snoop Dogg sayin’ “West Coast. West Coast!” has got to be good (“Who could it be, it’s the Dee-oh-dubba gee!”)

Coolest kinda-jazz but yet kinda alternative song I bought in 2010: The Sound of Muzak by Porcupine Tree (iTunes Link)

Best song I bought after hearing it on my son’s iPod: Hero by Skillet (iTunes Link)

Best New Band I learned about in 2010: Rock Sugar (Link)

Best guitar-related gift I got in 2010: A Rocktron Banshee Amplified Talk Box (link)

Best new reason to love Germany: Calvin Hollywood
This guy is insane (in a good way!). He has “Freaky Detail!”

Best new photographer to learn from: Frank Doorhof
He’s teaching stuff I don’t see anybody else doing out there

Best new gadget for DSLR video shooters: Hoodman’s Cinema Kit.
Makes your DSLR feel like a video camera, and it’s affordable. (Link)

Best way to start a fight since mentioning HDR: Mention the iPad and Flash in the same sentence


I could be totally wrong about any of these—they’re just my opinions

(2) Some of these things could have actually come out in 2009, or even 2008. I’m old and lose track of time easily.

(3) If you disagree with any of my picks, that’s OK.

(4) If some of my picks make you seething mad, and you want to post mean comments to me, remember—you can start your own blog today, for free, and by this afternoon you can post your own list (don’t worry—everybody will agree with all your picks). Here’s a good place to start (link).

Well, that’s it gang. I’m always on the lookout for great anything (songs, movies photo gear, iPhone/iPad Apps, restaurants, travel tips, etc.), so if you have something I missed on my list, just let me know. :)

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About The Author

Scott is the President of KelbyOne, an online educational community for Photographers, Photoshop and Lightroom users. He's editor and publisher of Photoshop User Magazine, Conference Technical Chair for the Photoshop World Conference, and the author of a string of bestselling Photoshop, Lightroom, and photography books.