The gifting season is here & if you’ve to gift something to a photographer friend, colleague or better half of yours, things can get bit expensive. Most of the photography gear is expensive & if you have a modest budget things can get sticky. Here I list some gift ideas for photographers which will appeal to the photographers & not even burn hole in the pocket of one who is gifting.
Tag Archive: Photography
The boom in high quality camera’s & mobile phone photography has been remarkable than ever. Around the globe, people shoot & upload tons of photographs from their mobile devices. Most like to quickly edit the photos on the device itself before showcasing them over their online portals. However, when it comes to photo-editing apps there are tons of them & choosing the best one can become a challenge. I’ve tried several of them in past but nothing has come close to the user experience & the results provided by Aviary Photo Editor.
Aviary Photo Editor is a free download from Google Play store & comes without any ads. To begin with, it has a nice easy to navigate interface which is done beautifully. There is no clutter & the transitions across various screens are buttery smooth. There are even smooth old radio style scroll wheels which give the interface a cool look. As usual, there are quick fixes(filters) which we all have come accustomed to from the onset of Instagram. But there is more to Aviary, one can write text over an image, put stickers, frames etc. The default installation comes with only a handful of these but one can download as per his liking from the Google Play store.
If you’re the one who likes to take control of every aspect of image-editing, then Aviary will surprise you with almost all essential features like cropping, sharpness, contrast, warmth, focus, colour splash, blur, straighten, meme & much more which is plenty for one’s need. There is also a one touch fix, high definition & illuminate effect which work remarkably well. I’m particularly delighted with the High Definition effect which sort of works like clarity & pumps up the contrast a bit which allows one to see even the minutest details captured. For the average camera on my Motorola Defy, this effect has turned many dull photos into one I never thought. I highly recommend you to play with these manual controls instead of presets which will give you total control over the editing process.
Every feature of Aviary screams quality. The selection of tools, the filters, the stickers are all high definition & carefully selected by the team. This has reduced the clutter of filters(often useless) which we have often seen in other applications. The extra filters, frame packs available on Play Store are also bundled with quality in mind as most have only half a dozen filters in a single pack. What’s more, Aviary does not resize the photos as it saves them after editing. This is a huge bonus. To sum up, for anyone who is looking for a easy to use quality photo editor on Android(or even iOS), look no further than Aviary. Actually this is the only photo editor you’ll ever need. I’ve stopped using others since I’ve installed Aviary. No doubt, the team proudly proclaims “The World’s Best Photo Editor”. Accolades to the Aviary team. :)
GIMP is a good free software for photo-editing. It has most of the capabilities you will require of its commercial counterpart Adobe Photoshop. What’s more with the right plugins, you can extend its capabilities. Here I’ll tell you about some GIMP plugins which will primarily be of interest to photographers. They will make your photo work-flow easier & faster.
Vignette – As the names suggests, this adds a vignette to your photo. Vignette can be used creatively to allow viewer’s eye to stay within the frame. Most of the photos will benefit from a small amount of vignette. The vignette plugin allows you to choose parameters like vignette colour, softness, darkness etc. It does its job very well.
Lomo – Want to mimic the look of a LOMO camera? This plugin will do it for you. It saturates the colour, adds a vignette(there is also an option for double vignette) & some other parameters for fine-tuning the output. Have fun!
Split Tone – Split toning is another beautiful effect. This plugins lets you select the two colours for split toning(as oppose to just two offered by most other programs) & end up with results beyond your imagination. Give this a try.
Darla Contrast Fix – This plugin aims to normalize the contrast in the photograph. With the right settings, it can make a photograph. However, this plugin requires some practice & knowledge of the parameters before one can get consistent results regularly.
National Geographic – Have you always wondered at the quality of the photos published by Nat Geo? They are sharp, contrasty & look as if edited by professionals. This simple plugin will put the same power in your hands too. This is a great plugin & as Darla Contrast Fix, this too requires practice before you’re able to get consistent results on a regular basis.
G’MIC – Stands for GRECY’s Magic for Image Computing. This is a grand-daddy of plugins. It is so packed with various image manipulation tools that I wonder even if someone will discover all of them in lifetime. Right from the basic sharpening, noise reduction to advanced like soft glow. This covers it all. And did I say, each of the tools come with several more options to fine tune the output? Yes, this is one hell of a plugin.
Off-course, there are many more plugins in the GIMP repository but these are the few I use on a regular basis & find to work properly. If you have your favourite GIMP plugin not listed here, do share it below. Will benefit all. :)
Mobile phone photography is the latest craze. Millions of users around the globe have been shooting away with their camera phone and uploading to Instagram & other social networking sites. However, the more serious photographers have still not embraced mobile phone photography wholeheartedly as they prefer shooting with a standalone camera. Nothing wrong with the attitude, however I feel the time has come when the camera’s in these mobile phone have reached a point where they are capable of producing good results once the user gets familiar with them. Here are some reasons, I feel one should embrace photography using a camera phone.
# Makes you think – Till now, mobile phone camera’s have evolved a good deal but still most doesn’t give the photographer control over the technical aspects(like shutter-speed, aperture etc). Neither there is optical zoom(As I write this, there are phone camera’s cropping with this functionality) or the fancy AF system you so love of your DSLR. This means you have to use the grey cells. Exert them to find out a workaround to create a photograph envisioned as in your mind. Getting past your cell phone limitations will make you think creatively. This will push you to try out things you haven’t done before since you were able to achieve everything easily on your standalone camera. For me, this is the most important reason one should embrace cell phone photography as you’ll improve remarkably as you think & shoot with your mobile phone.
Star-trail photographs are mind boggling to look at. Its one of the most beautiful vista of nature. However most of the times when it comes to post-processing the photos after shooting a star trail can be a pain. Here is a small GIMP plugin which will help you elevate all that pain & concentrate more on shooting part of star trails. The plugin is known as ‘gimp-startrail-compositor‘. You can download it here.