Posts Tagged

photography

I’ve long said that the best tools are the ones that do one thing well. There are some app categories that really benefit from this, but something I’ve been learning with all my photo-taking tools is that photography apps often benefit the most from it. I love my all-in-one kits like Photoshop and Aperture, but they’re not perfect. There’s certainly room for improvement in certain areas.

One of those areas, at least for me, lies within vignettes and focus points. I like to tinker with them, and they often cause really cool effects, but I never like to keep them — they never turn out well. For the longest time, I thought it was just me, but I’ve come to realize it’s also the tool. It should be no surprise to many that MacPhun, one of the kings of photography apps, has come up with an incredible solution for this problem called Focus 2. Read on to find out what makes this a must-have for photographers who love a little focus in their lives.

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I take a lot of pictures — not just professionally, but also for fun. That being said, I don’t think there’s such a thing as a “perfect” image editor. I’ve tried everything over the years, some of which I’ve reviewed here on Mac.AppStorm, but I have yet to run into one tool that can singlehandedly replace all the others.

But when MacPhun, the folks behind Snapheal, reached out to me, I was intrigued. Their newest app, Intensify Pro, looked like it could be a real game-changer, and I was eager to put it through its paces. Read on to find out if Intensify really brings anything new to the table.

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I do some professional photography work when it’s called for (engagements, product shoots and sometimes event work), but I feel the need to clear the air even before it starts. I am as absolutely sick of terrible photo apps as you are. I hate all the photography apps that claim to be “the next big thing.” There’s a special place of disdain in my heart for photography apps that don’t do what they claim to do, or are, in effect, more time-consuming than doing similar work in Photoshop.

It is with this negative attitude that I apprehensively downloaded Beautune, a photography app meant to make cleaning up portrait shots as simple as possible. I expected to hate it. At the end of the day, I ended up falling in love with this app. Beautune is singlehandedly one of the best options I’ve ever seen for professional portrait retouching. Read on to find out what makes Beautune so, so good.

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I do a fair bit of photo editing — everything from screenshots to engagement and wedding shoots — and there are some things that take way too long to do in Photoshop or any of its equivalents. One of those things is collages. Another one is setting up a background image.

In Photoshop, you’d have to create a background layer, adjust the colour, adjust the size of your next layer, and drag them around until it fit right. That’s great if you’re really particular and know exactly what you’re looking to do. But sometimes, you just want a really cool and quick way to show off your weekend at the beach. And you want it to take about ten seconds from conception to Facebook sensation. This is where Diptic comes in.

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When it comes to editing photographs on OS X, Apple users are quite spoilt for choice. Those who just want to remove those ghastly devil eyes from their holiday snaps and turn them into a fancy scrapbook for the rest of the family to coo over can use iPhoto, part of the iLife package, which is bundled in with all new Macs. Photographers looking for a few more advanced features often turn to Apple’s offering, Aperture, or Adobe’s Lightroom — both offering a feature set that keeps most semi-professional and professional photographers happy.

You’ll notice my use of the word “often” in the above paragraph — this is because that for most, Aperture and Lightroom seem to be the de facto options. Funnily enough, there are other professional photographic programs out there for Mac users that offer a feature set that rivals both Aperture and Lightroom. To see whether this statement was true or not, I took a look at Capture One Pro, from Danish developers Phase One. What is interesting about these guys is that they are both a hardware and software manufacturer — the company sells camera bodies for professional use and lenses to match — much like Nikon does with its Capture NX 2 software.

Let’s see whether Capture One Pro lives up to the reputation of Aperture and Lightroom and, perhaps more importantly, if it is worth that €229 ($300) price-tag.

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I’m always a little bit bemused when I see reviews characterizing one app as the absolute best compared to another. I’ve been writing software reviews for a while now, and I’ve been a tech junkie for a significantly longer period of time. I’ve learned that there is rarely such thing as an absolute proof in the software world. In fact, there are usually compelling reasons to use as many apps you can get your hands on.

Photo management and editing software is the perfect example of this. I like Aperture and Lightroom — I recently gave Lightroom 5 a glowing review here at Mac.AppStorm. Professionals are also divided: Many use Aperture, but many others use Lightroom. There is no clear winner, and since the programs are mostly mutually exclusive, I decided to do a ton of workflow comparisons and some sleuthing to see if I could make them work together. (more…)

In May, Adobe announced that it would be discontinuing the Creative Suite line and focus solely on Creative Cloud. While this decision left the creative professionals somewhat frustrated, it doesn’t really affect the average consumer since Photoshop was already priced out of reach.

However, May also ushered in two bits of news with particular interest to the everyday user — both Acorn and Pixelmator received major updates. While not the powerhouse that Photoshop is, don’t be too quick to dismiss them, since they’re very capable and affordable apps.

I decided to pit the two against one another to see which would fare best and was somewhat surprised by what I found.

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At any time you care to look, the App Store’s Photography chart is filled with image editors. Editing, however, is only part of the digital processing workflow – nearly all of us organize, and make minor adjustments to, our images with an all-in-one library app such as Lightroom, Aperture, or Capture One, some time before any image editor gets a look-in. Yet for some reason, the range of apps available to perform this archiving role is very small, and the theme shared by all of them is a premium price-tag.

In spite of this lack of choice and the expense associated with purchasing a library app, the open source community hasn’t felt the need to develop its own alternative. Or at least that was the case until darktable arrived. Put together by a team of photographer-coders, darktable shares many features with its more expensive competitors – multiple image sorting options, tethered shooting and a suite of editing options – but is it in the same league?

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There are tons of reasons you might need to make a photo collage. Maybe it’s for a work project, a presentation at school or you simply want a good way to cherish some special photos. You can always choose to print out the photos and glue them to a surface, but that’s so old-fashioned (and who even has a glue stick anymore?) If you’re looking for a digital alternative to sticky fingers and glue smudges, Choco is a newer collage making program that is perfect for a variety of uses.

In Choco you have a lot of options to choose from. You can take the easy way, importing your photos automatically into one of the more than 100 existing templates. You can work a bit more, adding images yourself and editing the basic template. For the most ambitious among us, you can even choose to make your own collage, entirely from scratch. I took Choco for a test-drive, so stick with me after the jump to learn more about the program and what kind of collages I was able to produce.

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Panoramic photography has become wildly popular in recent years, due in no small part to the smartphone market getting flooded with devices that have the functionality built right in. These sorts of shots have never been a staple of professional or amateur photography, but they can help give a broad perspective on interesting scenes.

Stitcha, by Florian Denis, gives you the ability to merge several different photographs or video clips into a single wide-angle shot. This simple app aims to keep the process as straightforward as dragging and dropping.

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