Posts Tagged ‘Photo’

Photo story of the week: A spectacular wedding shoot in Norway

19 Nov

The bride and groom, Tim and Kylie, were married two years ago in Long Beach and between all the formalities and rainy weather they were left feeling a little empty handed and did not get the photos they imagined. They wanted to remarry and to be intentional about making their day about everything they could ever imagine.

They are both very into fitness and outdoorsy people and love hiking locally around Laguna Beach, CA. They were intrigued about writing their own vows and going to one of the most magical places on earth that has recently become very popular: the Trolltunga in Norway.

None of us had been to Norway prior. We were worried about there being crowds at the Trolltunga or the visibility upon arriving to the top. We checked the weather every day for a week before arriving and every day it said it would be sunny. But on the day of their wedding, heavy rains were in the forecast. Although it rained throughout the hike, we miraculously had somewhat of clear skies with epic clouds that added a little bit of drama to the composition of the photos.

The hike took us a little longer than it typically would: 14 hours total. We all had backpacks weighing around 35lbs. We also had rogue weather… it would be windy, raining and then just stop. Although it was definitely physically difficult, your brain is so stimulated from being surrounded by such beauty that it makes it enjoyable. There is some out of this world scenery and half the time you can’t even believe what’s around you.

It is our instruct as humans to want to capture what is around us to make it last and sink in. So as you can imagine being in an unbelievable place with something around every corner you want to snap every second. But on this particular hike the main goal was to be intentional in capturing the story of what was happening, really zoning in on the dialog between the couple and place.

For me, this particular wedding and photos represent one of the biggest challenges I’ve come across in shooting photography: the mental game. I literally had to jump over obstacle after obstacle, but pushing through always pays off. There’s nothing like being at the top of an immense landscape or mountain, literally or figuratively, looking into your viewfinder, and knowing that everything that came before was so worth it.

Nick Falangas is a professional photographer, half of the husband and wife duo that make up Priscila Valentina Photography. He is constantly striving to push the boundaries and create exceptional photography.

He has shot hundreds of events all over the world. You can follow along on Instagram @PriscilaValentina_Photography, Facebook, Website and Blog.

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ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate: Efficient RAW Workflow for Professionals

16 Nov

A good workflow is such a powerful, time-saving and inspiring thing. There is even a certain romance to it – a routine of steps melting into the background that lead to a finished photograph. This creates a result to be proud of, one to inspire you to go out and photograph more, be it a product shot, an image from a recent trip to Iceland (everyone seems to be going to Iceland), or an artistic portrait.

It can also be an inexhaustible source of frustration or an excuse for procrastination. I know it’s certainly been all of these things for me, and the latter much more often in the past. The people behind ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate must have had a similar experience, too, but they created tools that set up a solid workflow foundation for any photographer.

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate: Efficient RAW Workflow for Professionals

Somehow, my desktop really is this clean. I don’t know how.

Mind you, ACD Systems faces an obvious, towering obstacle by the name of Lightroom, a piece of software that has been the industry standard for nearly a decade now. I’ve used it extensively and exclusively for just about every project in the past seven or eight years. And let’s be honest, for all of its faults, Lightroom has been the most popular choice with good reason. It does many things right.

In light of Adobe’s recent (or was it really recent?) change of policy regarding payment (among other things), however, I have felt the need to take a look around and see if perhaps there are alternatives. ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate is certainly one.

In this article, I will go through a workflow that I’ve been using with Photo Studio Ultimate as I got myself properly acquainted with it. While I realize it’s an entirely subjective approach to managing and editing photographs, I hope that it will at least give you a good starting point from which to individualize.

An important disclaimer: The license to this copy of ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2018 has been provided by the company; I did not purchase it. Having said that, it’s my subjective opinion and findings that you are reading here. ACD Systems (rather happily, I must add) had next to no say in it. My words are always my own.

What is ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate?

Quick Overview

Many have heard – or even used – some version of ACDSee. No surprise there as it’s around two decades old now and actually precedes Lightroom. But there are few areas where Adobe does not have a monopoly, and while many remember ACD Systems, it’s not nearly as popular as Lightroom. Perhaps undeservedly so, because pretty much everything Lightroom does, ACDSee does too.

First and foremost, Photo Studio Ultimate 2018 is an image management software. It started off as a lightweight viewer and organizer and has not lost the idea over the years. But powerful metadata and organizing capabilities are now complemented by some very useful post-processing tools for both RAW and graphic image files. More so in this high-end version than any other (and there are plenty, which explains the mouthful of a name).

Photo Studio Ultimate 2018 has been specifically designed to cater to pretty much every need you may have while editing – from culling to doing extensive graphics manipulations with layers and masks. In essence, it should be the only software you need. In that sense, Photo Studio’s ambition stretches beyond that of overthrowing Lightroom. It actually has Photoshop in its sights, too. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Going against Lightroom is hard enough already – the newly updated software throws a large shadow. We’ll see if Photo Studio can shine through.

Learning the Environment

As I have mentioned before, ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate was created to address all the needs of a working professional photographer or artist. As such, it incorporates powerful image management tools as well as those meant for post-processing images and specifically, RAW files.

Naturally, having such vast capability meant a lot of thought has to go into the interface and user-friendliness. After all, having all the tools crammed into a single screen would leave little to no room for an actual image. Let’s briefly overview the ACDSee Photo Studio interface before we get started.

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate: Efficient RAW Workflow for Professionals

Even this Ultimate version is immediately friendly upon launch, but there is a whole lot going on here. Thankfully, not much is beyond customizing. By going to the Mode Configuration in the General section of the Options dialog, you can get rid of modes you find less useful. I’ve immediately unchecked every mode except Manage, Photos, View, Develop, and Edit. After a second thought, I got rid of Photos, too, as I did not seem to use it at all.

Much like with Lightroom Modules, ACDSee has several different environments for different tasks you may want to accomplish. All of these environments (or modes) are accessible at the top-right of the screen at pretty much any time.

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate: Efficient RAW Workflow for Professionals

If you look through the screenshots carefully, you’ll notice how the mode buttons in the top-right corner of the interface keep changing. ACDSee offers plenty of options to declutter the interface, and hiding access to modes that you don’t find yourself using is very convenient. In the end, I even disabled the View button since View mode is very easy to access by double-clicking on any image thumbnail. I’ve found the button to be redundant.

Manage Mode

The first mode – that opens by default each time you launch Photo Studio – is Manage. This mode is meant for navigating your hard drive, importing images (which by itself is never necessary, but rather handy all the same), applying keywords and filters, and so on. You will likely spend a lot of time here and start your work in this mode more often than not.

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate: Efficient RAW Workflow for Professionals

Manage mode screen.

You will be spending a lot of time in Manage mode and thus a view similar to this (after some tinkering) should be immediately familiar. The interface is dominated by the Image Grid, as it should be. But that’s not to the detriment of other information, such as metadata and even the Histogram. Navigation is easy and there are some useful quick-access tools at the bottom of the screen for image rotation and comparison.

Photos Mode

Photos mode is similar to Manage in that it can be used to find and view images. However, rather than letting you navigate to a specific folder on your hard drive, it shows every image that you have on your computer in chronological order, similar to how Gallery works on your smartphone.

You can choose a specific year to be shown using the Timeline panel (positioned on the left by default), and further narrow it down from there if you need to. Hovering over any given image will show an enlarged preview with some basic information next to it (where the image is stored, its dimensions, and more).

View Mode

The View mode is at the core of ACDSee and as the name suggests, is meant specifically for viewing images one by one, full screen. In addition to the View mode, which is launched whenever you double-click on an image within ACDSee, there is also Quick View. This is an even lighter image viewer that, by default, launches when you double-click an image anywhere on your hard drive.

It’s part of ACDSee, but also isn’t. For the purposes of speed, Quick View does not launch the full ACDSee software. As is, View mode is already very speedy and gets on with displaying images very well once the software is up and running. A simple task, but one Microsoft has not managed to do well for decades and ACDSee always seems to get right.

Develop Mode

An important mode that you are likely to end up using as much as Manage is Develop. This, as the name suggests, is designed for post-processing images. Specifically – it’s the RAW converter environment (similar to Adobe Camera RAW). It offers tools to fine-tune exposure, white balance, noise reduction, and sharpening, along with some immensely powerful tools, such as Tone Curves. I will be paying a lot of attention to this mode as Develop, along with Manage, is what ACDSee simply must get right.

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate: Efficient RAW Workflow for Professionals

Develop mode holds few surprises to anyone who’s used any RAW converter before, as the fundamentals are usually the same. The screen is dominated by a large image preview and there is a useful Filmstrip underneath for quick navigation within the selected folder. Notice the conveniently presented exposure and camera information right next to it (bottom right corner of the image above).

The left side of the screen is where the main tools are placed by default, but the whole panel can be relocated. See those blue circles? They show which settings have been altered from their default values. Clicking on the blue circle will temporarily disable those adjustments, but not completely discard them.

Edit Mode

Complementing the Develop mode is Edit. This is where ACDSee starts to target Photoshop in addition to Lightroom. For some users, it will more or less replace Adobe’s best-known software. It offers layers, masks, and sophisticated retouching tools – suffice to say, too much to cover in this article.

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate: Efficient RAW Workflow for Professionals

Edit mode is a whole new piece of software, it’s so capable and complex. While some elements are similar to those you will find in Develop mode, a lot is different. There is a Layers panel on the right side, while the left and top portions of the interface are absolutely packed full of tools.

We will cover all of the modes in more detail in upcoming articles. For the purposes of this one, however, we will mostly focus on Manage and Develop, as these two modes are crucial for RAW file management and post-processing.

Image Management and Post-Processing Workflow with ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2018

Importing Files from a Memory Card

Import is convenient even if it is ultimately not a must-use feature. It’s still very much an option to just move files from the card to your hard drive the drag-and-drop way if you so wish. But the ACDSee Import tool offers to apply metadata, rename, and backup files and is simply very useful. You can even save import presets to speed up the process further if you regularly do photo sessions of specific types, and it’s easy to classify them. This I like very much as it saves plenty of time once you set them up.

But there is a caveat – the Import tool is really only meant for images that are not yet on your hard drive, but stored somewhere on an external device, be it a USB drive or a memory card. And while you can “import” image files that are already on your hard drive (select Disk from the Import drop-down menu using the top-most toolbar), there is little point to do so as ACDSee does not use a catalog system and you can already see all the images on your computer.

So, after popping a memory card in hit Alt+G (or select Import from the toolbar at the top-left corner of the screen). At this point, you will be asked to select the source device (an external one, such as a USB drive or a memory card) and, once that is done, you’ll be greeted by the Import dialog box.

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate: Efficient RAW Workflow for Professionals

Once inside the Import dialog, there’s not really much control over the source directory. No way to select all images from a specific sub-folder, either. You can choose to show only images taken on a specific day or those that are new (not yet on your computer), but, other than that, you’ll have to select images manually.

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate: Efficient RAW Workflow for Professionals

The Import dialog gives access to metadata presets, along with everything else. This is a powerful feature that can potentially save you a lot of time. In some cases, it may take your mind off keywords for good. Very handy, but beware of the seemingly infinite text fields in there. Importing itself is refreshingly simple on the eyes.

Using the main Import dialog is rather straightforward. Select the destination via the Location section of the dialog, where you can also specify a backup location for a second copy of the files to be saved. There is an option to rename files and it’s infinitely customizable. So is the metadata changes that you can apply upon import. I try to take care of this particular part of my workflow during import as it means I won’t have to assign all the necessary metadata information to so many files later on.

Organizing Images by Applying Filters

The import process itself is swift. More so than with Lightroom, as ACDSee does not need to add the RAW files to an internal catalog, and can instead display them immediately. Once the images have been copied to your hard drive (or, alternatively, you’ve navigated to a set of images already on it) with basic metadata hopefully already applied, it’s time to do the tedious task of culling.

Culling your images

I prefer to leave out as many images as I can before I move on to post-processing (during which I tend to drop a few more images), and ACDSee has plenty of filters to make the task easy.

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate: Efficient RAW Workflow for Professionals

Part of the reason why import is as swift as moving images manually from memory card onto your hard drive is that it is pretty much all that’s happening. ACDSee does not add files to a catalog like Lightroom does. Another important aspect is the image preview – rather than render its own previews immediately, ACDSee uses embedded JPEGs before any edits are applied. Basically, at first, you see the exact same image as you would on the back of your camera. This can be changed in the options, as shown in the screenshot, but I’m not sure why you would. Proper previews are rendered once you start developing the files, but for the initial sorting? Embedded is probably the best way to go about it and saves so much time.

It’s always been a real struggle for me to sort through the initial batch of image files – it’s never easy to judge your work fairly, is it? So breaking the process into several steps has helped me a lot. First things first – ratings. Photo Studio permits a numeric rating ranging from 1 to 5 to be assigned to any file. It’s as straightforward as you think – the lower the rating, the less you like the image.

My routine involves going through images and only assigning a 5 (Ctrl + 5) to the files I find good enough, and 1 (Ctrl + 1) to images that are safe to delete with certainty. Once I’ve done both and the lowest rating images are off my hard drive, I select a rating 5 filter to only see photographs that passed the initial sorting. You can do that by selecting the Filter drop-down menu above the image grid.

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate: Efficient RAW Workflow for Professionals

73 product shots of a printed catalog. And as much as I enjoyed taking the photographs and then doing the layout… I am not sure I am ready to edit 73 images of it. Let’s get to culling.

See that? Ratings applied, filter turned on, and we are left with 20 images. Much better, but not quite enough. The second sorting resulted in just 8 out of the total 73. I obviously still need to dial down the trigger-happy (can’t really show how I sort through images if I pick 9 out of 10, right?), but at least I don’t struggle with choice quite so much.

Now, I said rating 5 goes to images that are good enough for a reason – by removing a large number of similar images during initial sorting, I make it that much easier for myself to see the photo shoot as a whole and judge which photographs don’t fit. At the same time, I don’t pressure myself to only keep the very best images after the initial sorting, as that may take too much time. So I sort through the 5 rated photographs one more time. This time around, I assign a rating of 4 to images that are not quite what I was trying to achieve. These files get dropped, but should I change my mind, I know they are marked with 4 and are always easily accessible. I may end up deleting unrated files at some point, but I always keep the 4 rated ones just in case.

Hopefully, the second sorting has left me with a small number of photographs that I really like. Now that there are much fewer files remaining, I can give each one a lot more attention. At this point, I tend to go through the files one by one in full screen view (double-click on any thumbnail or select a file and hit View mode) and pre-visualize the final result that I want to achieve as I did while photographing. What sort of editing will I need to do to each one? Will it require conversion to black and white? Is extensive retouching or complex local adjustment of tones and colors going to be necessary?

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate: Efficient RAW Workflow for Professionals

ACDSee has a lot of filtering, sorting, and grouping options. And I do mean a lot. They can all be used to narrow down which image files you want to be shown. It’s not just the Filter menu, but the ones next to it, too.

More often than not (the photographs I used for this article are a strange exception, which is why I won’t bore you with additional screenshots), around half the images will end up being monochrome as I tend to photograph in such a manner, and they need to be separated from the color images for easier batch processing. For that, I tend to use a color label.

Assigning a label to any given file is just as simple as rating images, only this time you need to use Alt instead of Control in combination with a numeric key. So, for example, Alt + 1 will result in red label (hitting Alt + 0 will reset label to none). I tend to assign the first color label (red) to images that will require conversion to monochrome and the second one (yellow) to those that are part of a panorama and will need merging. The rest of the labels still get used. If there are images of several separate panorama shots located next to one another, I use the remaining colors to separate them for easier visual discerning later on.

Finally, there is one final sort that needs to be done. Using the Tag filter (the \ key), I mark images that will require more complex, graphic retouching than simple RAW converters are rarely designed for. Usually, that would mean moving on to Photoshop at some point. With ACDSee, the built-in alternative in the form of Edit mode is all many people will need. Either way, tagged image files would end up undergoing considerably more complex editing.

Post-Processing with the Develop Mode

To anyone who has used Lightroom (or Camera RAW, or any other RAW image processor for that matter), the Develop mode will be instantly familiar. Perhaps not in the fits-like-a-glove sort of way, at least not at first, but there are definitely no big surprises to be had.

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate: Efficient RAW Workflow for Professionals

Ignore the identical color scheme. Develop mode is an entirely different environment to the Manage mode that we’ve already got to know a little bit. See how many of the toolbars at the top are now gone? The menu is different, too. Importantly, there are a bunch of sections and tools designed for local adjustments hiding just above the histogram. These are easy to miss. Don’t, because they are also very useful and sometimes absolutely necessary.

The filters I apply to sorted images – color labels and tags – are extremely helpful for batch post-processing. As selecting a certain filter hides image files that are to be developed in a different manner, I am not only able to apply similar adjustments to several images at a time but I can only see color or black and white images in the Filmstrip too. How is that relevant? Simple – it helps with achieving consistent luminance, contrast, and color of the photographs, as I am able to compare them and notice differences that need compensating for as I work.

While photographing, I tend to leave white balance in Auto as I know my camera will get it more or less right. As for exposure, I tend to work in manual mode, especially in high-contrast lighting where prominent highlights and shadows are plentiful (as was the case with these product shots). Manual mode means my composition does not affect the exposure when dealing with the same basic scene, so while there is always the chance I may end up under or overexposing, (having gotten used to setting up my own exposure, it does not happen often), there is also more consistency shot-to-shot.

And that makes adjusting exposure in post-production much simpler, as I can apply the same corrections to a few images at a time. That’s made easier by the Filmstrip in Develop mode – just select a few images and apply the adjustments as needed. Alternatively, you can process a single image and then copy/paste the settings onto a different image. Both actions are accomplished by right-clicking on the thumbnail in the Filmstrip to first copy, and then paste settings to a corresponding file.

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate: Efficient RAW Workflow for Professionals

Adjusting exposure and white balance to taste gives me a good starting point from which to dive a little deeper. But since I’m using the General adjustments anyway, I might tweak a few more sliders while I’m at it.

After adjusting the white balance and exposure sliders (which, strangely and inconveniently enough, only allows 4-stops of adjustment, 2-stops each way), I had a solid starting point from which to move on to more specific tone and color adjustments.

ACDSee has plenty of tools for that, perhaps even too many. In the General section of Develop tools, there’s Highlight Enhancement and Fill Light sliders. Both of these can only be set in one direction, meaning a positive adjustment or nothing. What’s more, Fill Light encompasses a very broad range of tones, from dark ones all the way to highlights. So if you’re used to Lightroom adjustments of highlights and shadows, you’ll find it a little sensitive. On the other hand, Fill Light might just save you if you’ve underexposed your RAW file by more than the 2-stops the exposure slider allows you to compensate (with modern image sensors, you may find yourself doing that on purpose, too).

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate: Efficient RAW Workflow for Professionals

I expected the Fill Light slider to only really “fill” the shadows, but it did a bit more than that. I find this a little too close to how fill flash works while photographing. That said, it’s not without uses and ACDSee does have alternative tools, should you require finer tweaking.

Either way, it’s a good thing there’s an alternative tool in the shape of Light EQ, which is much more akin to the blacks/shadows and whites/highlights adjustments Adobe’s software incorporates. Using it is also very easy – simply select the tool and click on any area of the image. Light EQ will adjust the tones automatically – brighten them up if you click on a shadowy area, and bring the tones down should you click on a bright, highlight-intensive bit of the image.

Want more control? Choose Standard (which I prefer), or Advanced mode (a touch confusing), which will allow you to click-and-drag on the photograph itself, in addition to using the sliders. Clicking on any tone will adjust it across the whole image – drag up to increase brightness, down to deepen the shadows or restore highlights.


In case Light EQ is also not to your liking, there’s the trusty Tone Curves tool. These tools tend to work pretty much the same everywhere. In simplicity lies its strength, as the Tone Curves tool is immensely versatile.

Before Curves.

After a Tone Curve was applied.

I can’t stress enough how powerful (and sometimes complex) the seemingly boring Tone Curves tool is. As you can see from this before/after comparison above, not only does it affect tonal contrast, but also color. Pull down the shadows and you’ll notice saturation increase. You may find yourself needing to compensate for the increase in saturation via the Saturation slider or the Color EQ tool. Either way, Develop mode offers plenty of control over all the tones in your image.

If I had to single out a favorite tool of mine in Develop mode, it would be Color EQ. Much like HSL panel in Lightroom, it allows very precise control of color. I was able to bring down the orange hues of the table while keeping the beautiful reds and greens just so (for my taste). It helped me achieve decent consistency across the whole selection of images with minimal effort.

This particular product shot only really needed so color adjustment, which was achieved using the Color EQ tool more than anything else. I’ve also pushed the mid-tones a bit using Tone Curves, but not enough to burn out the highlights.

For the images I tasked myself with editing, I mostly used a combination of Light EQ, Tone Curves, and Color EQ, setting up each one to taste. The latter is, again, extremely versatile and works much like HSL panel does in Lightroom. It allows you to adjust the saturation, brightness, and hue of each individual color channel (see screenshot above). As you may notice in the screenshots, I went for a very desaturated look (mostly the red, orange, and yellow channels). Whatever you choose to do, Color EQ offers plenty of control and is perhaps by far my favorite tool in the Photo Studio Ultimate Develop mode.

Lastly, I added a little warmth to shadows using the Split Tone tool (Shadows Hue set at 44, Saturation at 4, and Balance at 24), and adjusted Sharpening in the Detail tab of the Develop Tools panel.

The Geometry panel is accessed via a tab at the top of Develop Tools. Here, you can crop and adjust an image for distortion. It’s great that ACDSee has lens profiles to take care of distortion for you, though any vignetting you may want to fix, is up to your own judgment for now.

Before image.

After processing.

There’s a Whole Lot More

Scratch the surface, I told myself when I started writing this article. At least scratch the surface. I am still unsure if I managed to do that.

There is more luck than planning involved in my choice of images for this article. Should I have gone for something more demanding – an artistic portrait, perhaps – it would have been at least twice as long. ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2018 (to use its full set of names) is immensely packed with tools and settings. So much so that I used only a small fraction of what Develop mode offers for my product shots.

Black and white conversion was left untouched, so were the local Develop Brush and Gradient tools. These edits required next to no Geometric correction or attentive use of noise reduction, not to mention Edit mode. Even so, it has proved to be an exceptionally versatile bit of software. My hope is this article has provided you with an insight into how ACDSee works and how it can be used as part of an efficient, stress-free workflow for your business and artistic needs.

Disclosure: ACDSee is a paid partner of dPS.

The post ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate: Efficient RAW Workflow for Professionals by Romanas Naryškin appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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Affinity Photo for iPad Review

13 Nov

Affinity Photo for iPad
$ 20 | | Buy Now

We’ve come to expect less from iOS software on the iPad compared to desktop applications because, in most cases, they’re mobile—and “mobile” has traditionally meant “limited.” A lot of that has been due to hardware: even as the iPad’s main processors improved, most models included a minimal amount of RAM that made it difficult to pull off operations expected of a modern image editor, such as smoothly dealing with many layers and real-time effects.

The arrival of the iPad Pro, along with a commitment in iOS to take advantage of the hardware, has opened the door for more powerful applications. One of those apps is Affinity Photo for iPad, a full-fledged image editor that doesn’t feel as if the developers had to remove features from a whiteboard to make the app a reality. Whereas some companies have chosen to make multiple apps that specialize in a few image editing features—a big photography shop that begins with an A comes to mind—Serif has packed the gamut of features into Affinity Photo for iPad. It’s not a literal translation from the desktop version, nor should it be.

Key Features

  • Full suite of image editing features
  • Sophisticated layers enable compositing
  • Projects can be edited in Affinity Photo for iPad and desktop
  • Interface smartly designed for touch operation

Allow me to head off a common talking point at the outset: Yes, devices such as the Microsoft Surface give you a mobile tablet experience running desktop applications, including Serif’s Affinity Photo for Windows. That works for some people, and not for others, for various reasons. A few readers commented in our review of Affinity Photo for Mac that the performance of the Windows version lags on some systems.

Affinity Photo for iPad runs on the following models: iPad Air 2, iPad 2017, iPad Pro 9.7-inch, 10.5-inch, and 12.9-inch.

Importing Photos

If you’re importing photos from a camera’s memory card, they must still be transferred using the default method of copying them first to the Photos app. However, you can also import from cloud sources, such as iCloud Drive, Dropbox, Google Drive, and others. Under iOS 11, this is made easier by tying into the architecture used by Apple’s Files app, which also acts as go-between for other apps that support it. For example, Affinity Photo can copy images directly from the app Cascable, which is a utility for transferring images using the Wi-Fi built into some cameras.

We’re accustomed to simply opening an image file to work on it; as long as your files are stored on some cloud platform or a compatible app, you can do the same on the iPad

This seems like a pedestrian point to make—ooh, thrilling, opening files!—but Apple’s traditional insistence that everything pass through the Photos app has always been just awkward enough to be annoying. In Affinity Photo, it’s possible to open images, including Raw files, without going through the Photos workflow. On the desktop, we’re accustomed to simply opening an image file to work on it; as long as your files are stored on some cloud platform or a compatible app, you can do the same on the iPad.

Interface and Workflow

A long list of features is impressive (and there are plenty of features), but if using them is frustrating, people won’t stick with the app. Affinity Photo has wisely tailored the interface for a small-screen, touch-based experience. The layout of tools and modes prioritizes visibility of the image you’re editing.

Tools are arranged around the edges of the screen, taking up minimal space.
The main tools, called out by pressing the ? button.

It’s an efficient use of space that may seem confusing at first—and occasionally requires some exploration until you’re familiar with it—but the interface has been well thought out.

For instance, the controls for adjusting brush sizes and other tool properties seem almost clumsy at first. Instead of customary sliders for everything, a tool’s options appear at the bottom of the screen as configurable circles. To make a brush larger, for example, drag from the middle of the control up or to the right; the pixel dimensions appear in the middle, and a solid border snakes around the perimeter to indicate how far the value is from the maximum or minimum value. The same mechanism controls opacity, flow, hardness, and other attributes. Tap the More button there to reveal a screenful of other options, such as blending mode, wet edges, and custom dynamics that affect Apple Pencil interaction.

That’s not intuitive if your brain has been wired to use Photoshop, or even Affinity Photo on the desktop. But it’s no coincidence that the control is finger-sized. Since it’s occupying a small portion of the bottom of the screen, you get control without sacrificing a lot of screen real estate. That said, using the gesture seems almost sloppy at times, because the sensitivity depends on the speed and distance you move your finger or Pencil.

Controls are easily available using your left hand, leaving the right hand for applying edits or making selections.

As with the desktop version of Affinity Photo, the app is split into multiple personas (modules). The Photo persona contains most of the editing tools, layers, and the like. Opening Raw files brings you into the Develop persona to apply Raw edits, which you must apply before you can access the app’s other personas and editing tools; you can also edit individual layers in the Develop persona. The Liquify persona gives you control over pushing, pulling, and warping pixels for retouching purposes. And the Tone Mapping persona applies HDR style effects to a layer.

Additionally, “studios” along the side break out tasks and other tools, such as Layers, Adjustments, Filters, Color, and so forth.

Different from the desktop software is a Selections persona that’s dedicated to making selections. It’s a bit odd to switch to a new persona just to select areas of an image, but after a short amount of time I appreciated that its 11 tools were all exposed by switching personas, versus tapping and waiting on a tool to reveal its alternates (which still happens for many of the basic tools), or digging through menus, as in the desktop software.

One thing you’ll find yourself doing often is working two-handed. For instance, with an Apple Pencil in my right hand and working in the Selections persona, I can quickly toggle between the Add and Subtract modes of the Smart Selection Brush tool using my left hand, just as if I were using Option or Alt on the desktop. Commands such as Deselect or Invert Selection are a finger-tap away at the top toolbar. Turning on Left-Handed Mode reverses the interface.

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Photo story of the week: Sunrise in Burren National Park

11 Nov

The warm colors of a sunrise or sunset in a wide open landscape, the foreground gently touched by the orange hues, and the sun throwing a nice aperture star—that is what the romanticizing cliché of landscape photography looks like in the heads of many people these days I reckon. Rightfully so, since it is one of the most atmospheric times of day to shoot: the light is soft, and partial illumination of the foreground is desirable for tonal separation and visual flow.

Almost every landscape photographer has at some point of his or her creative journey chased the intensity that comes with the golden hour. Still, even after all these years of shooting mainly landscapes, going after the elusive sunset and sunrise light is one of my favorite things to do while out in the field. One of the reasons is simply because depending on where you live it can be a rare sight—it is not an everyday sight for most of us.

For all who don’t do this already I would highly recommend using satellite and radar data to scout your location ahead of time

Whenever I am out on a road trip or hiking trip I keep a constant eye on the satellite data—if I have cell reception—to check the cloud coverage in order to find spots right at the edge of a field of clouds to get good conditions for a sunrise or sunset shot. To take this shot, I took a look at the radar over the western parts of Ireland—over the Burren National Park to be exact—and monitored the satellite forecast before I was catching some shuteye.

The predictions for the following morning showed the clouds would most likely pass in the next couple of hours, being carried further north, leaving only a field of scattered patches behind. Furthermore, there would be no clouds at the eastern horizon blocking the sunlight. It is not hard to do these sorts of things if you know the sources for reliable weather data in the area you’re in, but it can be the difference between getting a good shot or none at all. So, for all who don’t do this already I would highly recommend using satellite and radar data to scout your location ahead of time.

When I woke up next morning it was still dark as I made my way out to the karst landscape of the national park grounds which are dominated by limestone ground speckled with shrubs and grass. I had scouted the lake before while I was preparing for my trip by looking at hiking maps of the area, and knew the sun was at the right angle to rise next to one of the limestone hills I had hiked to a day before. With this in mind, I was spending much of the blue hour finding different foreground compositions for the moment the clouds would light up and sun would make its way past the horizon line.

It seemed like the country had saved the best light for last

Originally, I intended to include a bigger patch of the lake in my image, but ultimately scrapped the idea for the shrubs and stones for three reasons: A) because the unique feature of the landscape is not the lake but rather the limestone, B) because the clouds were almost entirely gone by the time the sun rose and only covered a narrow strip of the sky, logically much of the reflection would have been just empty sky, and C) the morning light on the shrubs made for a warm and cold color palette with the rocks still in the shade.

I tried to balance out the double sun star in the upper right corner by placing some of the little bushes near the lower left corner of the frame. Due to the perspective, the gaps in between the shrubs appear to becoming shorter the further away they are from the camera, creating a visual flow and implicitly drawing the viewer into the image towards the sun, much like the curvature of the shoreline and the slim layer of mist above the lake. To me the leading lines were appealing in their subtlety, not being too obvious, yet present.

After I walked back to my sleeping bag I was very content, feeling like I did the landscape and the sunrise justice. This was also one of the last shots I took on my two week road trip through Ireland and it seemed like the country had saved the best light for last.

Pure bliss for a landscape photographer

Now I have another cheesy sunset in my portfolio. And sure, for some it may be nothing more than a cliché, but for me it represents a morning alone in Burren National Park, one of the most beautiful areas of Ireland, sitting in the warm morning light and enjoying these sights and taking a couple of shots while eating breakfast—pure bliss for a landscape photographer.

EXIF: Nikon D800 – Nikkor AF-S 20 mm 1:1,8 G ED | FLM CB-48FTR & CP30-M4S | 20mm | 4 Exposures for DRI | f/13 | ISO 100

Nicolas Alexander Otto is a semi-professional landscape photographer based out of North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany. He writes for different online and print media, teaches workshops for several agencies, sells prints and calendars and offers post processing sessions. You can find more of his work on his website, Facebook and Instagram.

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ON1 Photo RAW 2018 takes on Lightroom with more features and improved Raw processing

10 Nov

After releasing it in beta last month, ON1 has officially announced the latest version of its image editing and organization software: ON1 Photo RAW 2018. With this newest version, ON1 wants to establish its application as a viable alternative to Adobe’s Lightroom, and says most of the improvements to the new version are a direct result of community input.

The new app comes with an updated raw processing engine and a new HDR function that merges a bracket of photos for increased dynamic range. Pano Stitching combines multiple photos into a single panoramic image and a host of new masking tools allow for precise selection of image areas and background masking.

ON1 has also updated the UI for a cleaner and more modern look, and has added support for the Nikon D850, Olympus EM-10 III, Panasonic DMC-G85, preliminary support for Sony a7R III, and a range of new lenses.

Other features include: re-editable adjustments for exposure, contrast, color, shadows, highlights, lens correction, and transform tools, as well as hundreds of customizable photo effects.

ON1 Photo RAW 2018 for Mac and Windows is available now for download as a free 30-day trial from the ON1 website. Previous owners of any ON1 app (or ON1 plug-in) can upgrade to the new version for $ 100, while new users will have to pay $ 120. However, a single license can be activated on up to five computers.

For more information and a full list of updates, check out the video below and read the full press release below that.

Press Release

Portland, OR – November 9, 2017 ­– Today, ON1, Inc. announced ON1 Photo RAW 2018 is officially available. Along with the essential tools and features needed in a photography workflow, ON1 Photo RAW 2018 includes key updates to the fast, non-destructive raw processing engine. Photographers now have an integrated tool with accelerated photo management, precise photo development, hundreds of customizable photo effects, fast and beautiful HDR, pano stitching, masking and blending adjustments, layers, and much more – in one app.

From the beginning the ON1 community has driven the development of ON1 Photo RAW based on what’s most important to them. Almost every feature and improvement made to the app in version 2018 is a direct result of community input through the ON1 Photo RAW Project.

This type of transparency is what customers can continue to expect from the ON1 team. This process has solidified ON1 Photo RAW as the app designed by photographers for photographers and a great alternative to Adobe® Lightroom®.

ON1 Photo RAW 2018 includes major updates and enhancements in many areas. Key new features include the following.

  • ON1 HDR – Create stunning HDR photos that merge all tonality from a bracket of photos in a fraction of the time (test results have shown up to seven times faster than other HDR apps). Automatically aligns photos and removes ghosting from motion between exposures. Includes full non-destructive editing with natural results and can be turned up to 11 for a surreal look.
  • Pano Stitching – Combine multiple photos into a single panoramic or matrix photo. Automatically aligns photos, even if they are not shot on a tripod, and blends them together seamlessly. An option to embed panoramic metadata for Facebook panning is also available.
  • Global Mask Editing Tools – These include new mask Density and Feather sliders to allow for changing the density or opacity of masks as well as blur masks for softening.
  • Luminosity Mask Updates – Adjust the levels of a mask to increase the contrast or brightness as well as set a tonal window to only affect a certain zone. These updates allow users to target just the area they want, based on the photo.
  • Color Range Masks – Create a mask from a color range selection.
  • Blur and Chisel Mask Tools – In ON1 Effects, the Blur and Chisel mask tools are now included. The blur tool is perfect for softening or feathering a mask selectively. The Chisel tool lets the user push or pull the edge selectively, to remove halos. All of these new masking options are re-editable and non-destructive.
  • Versions — Versions are virtual copies of the same photo. Each version created can include non-destructive settings, including crop, retouching and adjustments. Versions work just like any other photo without taking up more space on your computer.
  • Updated UI — Clean and modern UI where your photo is the center of attention. Custom name filters and layers to easier keep track of work. Also select your own UI accent color.
  • Paint with Color Brush — Painting with color can be a solid color, perfect for skin smoothing and making annotation layers, or paint with just the color and leave the underlying luminosity in place to change the color of objects like eyes.
  • Selectively Add or Remove Noise — Brush away noise in areas like skies or add noise for an artistic effect.
  • Improved Highlight Recovery –– The algorithms for highlight recovery have been improved.
  • ON1 Photo for Mobile — Take the best shots with you on the go with the free ON1 Photo for Mobile app. It’s a great way to share portfolios. It can also sync new photos taken on phones back to the desktop so those photos are ready for editing.
  • Additional Camera & Lens Support — Added support for the Nikon D850, Olympus EM-10 III, Panasonic DMC-G85, preliminary support for Sony a7R III, plus a ton of new lenses.

ON1 Photo RAW 2018 differentiates itself from other apps by allowing photographers to both browse and catalog their photos from the very beginning of their workflow. This hybrid system provides one of the fastest digital asset management tools available today. The ultra fast photo browser is perfect for quickly viewing and culling through photos without having to wait on an import process. Once the culling process is complete, the ability to create and catalog those photos is the next step in common workflows.

There is plenty more available within the app’s non-destructive photo development. These features include re-editable adjustments such as exposure, contrast, color, shadows, highlights, lens correction, and transform tools. The hundreds of unique photo effects are also perfect for finishing off your photos to add that extra punch. Photographers have complete control of how each effect is applied using masking brushes, gradients masks, and local adjustments. Each effect is also completely customizable to save any look as a custom preset.

Photo editing technologies such as live blending options, apply to, smart layers, smart photos, and mask refinement tools also make ON1 Photo RAW 2018 a more advanced pixel editor without having to launch a separate app. The ability to combine photos together with layers, masks, and selectively apply filters and effects to raw photos gives users a big advantage.

ON1 Photo RAW 2018 isn’t just for raw files. Supported file formats include JPEG, TIF, PSD, PSB, PNG, and DNG are supported and benefit from the speed, performance, and abundance of editing tools in the app. Photo RAW 2018 also continues to work seamlessly within current photography workflows. The app integrates as a plug-in for Adobe® Lightroom® Classic CC and Photoshop® and further builds its case as a complete standalone photo editor or alternative to the Adobe Photography Plan. Version 2018 also integrates with the major cloud services to allow for uploading, managing and editing photos across multiple computers. This also allows users to sync photos and their edits across multiple computers or in a studio setting.

Price and Availability

ON1 Photo RAW 2018 is available for download as a free 30-day trial from the ON1 website. Previous owners of any ON1 app (or ON1 plug-in) can upgrade for $ 99.99. Those who don’t own an ON1 app can order for $ 119.99. ON1 Photo RAW 2018 is also bundled with some excellent bonus materials which include: Three ON1 Photo RAW 2018 Courses by Product Director Dan Harlacher, and all of their 2017 and 2018 Loyalty Rewards. ON1 Photo RAW 2018 works with both Mac and Windows and includes activation on up to five computers.

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Photo story of the week: Fire and Ice

04 Nov
?A striking 2 a.m. sunrise in Disko Bay, Greenland

This photograph was taken at 2AM on Disko Bay in Greenland. I had been sailing for several hours between immense icebergs, and the clouds were building in such a way that it was becoming clear that the sunrise was going to be something special.

Upon approaching a patterned iceberg floating between smaller pieces of ice, the light struck it from the side in a way that accentuated its texture. The smaller ice pieces provided the foreground, and it all really came together wonderfully.

The image won a gold medal on the 2015 Arctic Awards.

Photo taken with a Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 16-35mm f/4L IS.

Erez Marom is a professional nature photographer, photography guide and traveler based in Israel. You can follow Erez’s work on Instagram, Facebook and 500px, and subscribe to his mailing list for updates. Erez offers photo workshops worldwide.

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Affinity Photo 1.6 released: faster processing, new features, and free stuff

04 Nov

Serif has updated its image editing software Affinity Photo with ‘a huge performance boost’ to make it faster to use and more capable with large files. The step to v1.6 also brings a new ‘light’ user interface option for those new to the program or those who don’t need the full range of features.

Additional feature enhancements include a stroke stabilization mode for brushes and pencils, as well as better support for its Photoshop plug-in. Here’s a full list of the new features you’ll find in Affinity Photo 1.6:

  • New light user interface option
  • New stroke stabiliser for all pencil and brush tools
  • New “Edit In” integration with Apple Photos
  • Metal 2 accelerated view optimised for macOS High Sierra
  • Improved view pan/zoom performance and
  • Improved performance with large documents
  • New font chooser dropdown with recents, used fonts and favourites
  • New Glyph browser
  • Align to key items
  • Text frame vertical alignment options
  • Fit frame to text
  • Custom brush wet edges
  • Outlier stacking mode
  • Improved Photoshop Plugin support
  • Improved Live Filters performance
  • Many PDF export improvements including vector export of multi-stop gradients
  • Numerous bug fixes and other improvements

Additionally, the update gives new and existing users what the company describes as ‘bonus content’ worth around £120, including:

  • Dirk Wüstenhagen Fine Art Texture Collection: 99 beautifully crafted, high-resolution textures
  • Uplift Epic Skies Overlay: A versatile collection of 50 striking cloud overlays
  • Macro Pack: A stunning set of image styles, light leaks and distortions

Affinity Photo costs £49 / $ 50 / €55 and can be downloaded directly from the Affinity website.

Press Release


Affinity 1.6 updates and free bonus content available now

We are thrilled to announce that both Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer have just received a fantastic new update. And to celebrate for the next two weeks we are giving away a huge bundle of creative content free with every purchase!

Our apps continue to push the boundaries of professional creative software and this latest update raises the bar once again with a huge performance boost making them faster, smoother and more powerful than ever.

We’ve added valuable new features including a light UI mode, brush stabilisation and tons of useful performance improvements and enhancements. For more details check out our brand-new product pages and the 1.6 feature video below, all created using artwork submitted by our very talented users.

Affinity apps are all about enabling you to work faster – whether it’s a quick design draft or photo edit, or a painstaking, complex document involving hundreds of layers or stacked images.

Our apps are already a trusted part of the workflow for creative professionals around the world. The latest versions build on those proven capabilities to deliver lightning speed, pinpoint accuracy and incredible processing power like never before.
Along-side the v1.6 update you will also receive:

Affinity Photo bonus content worth around £105

  • Dirk Wüstenhagen Fine Art Texture Collection – 99 beautifully crafted, high-resolution textures
  • Uplift Epic Skies Overlay – A versatile collection of 50 striking cloud overlays
  • Macro Pack – A stunning set of image styles, light leaks and distortions

Affinity Designer bonus content worth around £60

  • Frankentoon Texturizer Pro Brush Pack – Over 70 brushes created exclusively for Affinity Designer
  • Tom Chalky Handcrafted Fonts & Textures – A huge bundle of stylish fonts and over 80 textures
  • Grade UI Kit – More than 1000 fully-customisable elements, icons, panels and buttons

If you already own Affinity Photo or Affinity Designer this update is completely free, and to thank you for your support we’ve also made the free content available to existing users until 16 November when the special offer ends.

Mac customers can download the update right now from the Mac App Store and Windows customers will be prompted to update the next time they open their app. Once installed a link to the free content will appear on the app welcome screen (go to Help and select Welcome if it does not appear at start up).

If you don’t own them yet now is the perfect time to buy. The apps are available priced at £48.99 / $ 49.99 / 54,99€ each, which we think is great value for money ? the free content alone would cost more than the app, if bought separately. And remember there’s no subscription and future updates like this one are also included in the price!

It’s also worth noting our free trials have now been reset, so if you downloaded a trial in the early days and would like to see how far our apps have come, you can now download the trial from our website for a second time.


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Photo of the week: I Am Legend

29 Oct

At first glance this image seems much akin to “Wanderer above the Sea of Fog,” a lonely hiker standing at the edge of a cliff. This is no coincidence as Caspar David Friedrich’s paintings have always been a great inspiration to me. Their striking iconography and atmosphere are unparalleled; however, this image was not taken in Germany, Friedrich’s home country, but in Japan.

Most might not be able to tell, since the fog doesn’t allow for our gaze to wander off into the distance. But some might have heard of the location it was shot before: the isle of Yakushima. It is a small island about 100 kilometers south of the southern most main isle of Japan called Kyushu. Its great expanses of temperate rainforest have since 1993 been part of the UNESCO World Heritage due to their diverse endemic flora and fauna. Some of the island’s Japanese Cedars are up to 7,000 years old.

The forest is often engulfed by clouds hanging in the mountains which reach up to almost 2,000 meters in altitude. To explore the woods was one of my main goals when I travelled to the island earlier this year. Even though it’s the rainiest part in all of Japan I just couldn’t help to go. What awaited me was beyond what I had expected.

It was much like what I had seen in Princess Mononoke—a movie the setting of which was largely inspired by the forests of Yakushima. Actually so much so, that there is now a small part of the forest titled “Mononoke no Mori,” which translates as “Mononoke’s Forest.

For four days I hiked with my friend Philipp Lutz along the Yakushima traverse, witnessing the forest’s and mountain’s beauty. Part of the allure of the place was the fact that it is not very well known in the western landscape photography realms; something which comes as no surprise, given the language barrier and its distance to Europe and the US mainland. Luckily my friend and I do speak some Japanese, so it wasn’t as hard for us to obtain the information we needed to get around.

This specific image was taken on the third day on the island on our way up to Miyanoura-Dake, the highest elevation of the island. Originally we had planned to get up that day, but the islands paths were quite long and winding, offering so many photo opportunities such as this one, that we spent much time just shooting the forest scenery instead of treading on, arriving a day later than anticipated.

Due to the topography of the island the upper slopes of the mountain ranges are almost always engulfed in fog. When we went through the undergrowth for some time we came to a cliff where I almost stumbled down the slope as the path was taking us through the ravine you can see on the right side of the image. The old cedar trees were omnipresent and lend the forest its distinct, primordial character. With this image I tried to combine the aforementioned iconography of “The Wanderer above the Sea of Fog” with the island’s unique fauna and mood to forge an atmospheric rendition of what it was like to hike through this one of a kind landscape. It is times like these where I feel like telling people that I am inspired much by landscape painters is more than just a educational phrase to encourage students in my workshops to look beyond photography to find meaningful inspiration. I for myself might not have taken this image had I not looked at so many of Friederich’s works.

This is something with may be lost on the younger generation and the myriads of instagram selfies on cliffs, but the image type is not even a product of out post-modern, self-referential crave for admiration. Instead it is part of a long tradition dating back hundreds of years.

Nicolas Alexander Otto is a semi-professional landscape photographer based out of North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany. He writes for different online and print media, teaches workshops for several agencies, sells prints and calendars and offers post processing sessions. You can find more of his work on his website, Facebook and Instagram.

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Fujifilm announces square-format Instax Share SP-3 SQ photo printer

25 Oct

Fujifilm has announced its first square-format standalone printer, the Instax Share SP-3 SQ. The SP-3 can crank out a 318 dpi photo in just 13 seconds and has a battery that will last for about 160 prints. The updated Share app includes templates for creating collages, magazine covers and CD jackets. Users can also search for hashtags on Instagram to select photos they wish to print. In addition to the Share app, photos can also be printed directly from Fujifilm’s X-series cameras.

You can pick up the Instax Share SP-3 SQ next month, in your choice of white or black, for $ 199.


Newly designed smartphone printer provides high quality images in square format; improved app offers new features for greater artistic expression

Valhalla, N.Y., October 24, 2017FUJIFILM North America Corporation is excited to announce the new INSTAX SHARE™ SP-3 SQ printer, the latest line in the instax SHARE series of printers that can print photos taken with a smartphone on INSTAX SQUARE film. The SP-3 is an expansion of the INSTAX product line to give users even more ways to get creative with their instant pictures that can be shared in an instant, both in-person and online with #myinstax.

Square Format Provides More Artistic Potential

The square format has been widely popular among smartphone users. With a 1:1 aspect ratio, this format is an effective artistic style and a long-standing favorite among photography lovers. Recent years have seen a rise in the sharing of square photos on social media platforms, such as Instagram, with users putting great care into every step of the process, from composition to editing and processing. With the SP-3, users can print beautiful, high quality square images in just 13 seconds to be used in DIY crafts, to decorate with or to give as a gift.

Updated SHARE App Allows for Greater Creativity

The new and improved SHARE app comes with additional features, making every step easier and more fun. Users can print up to 9 photos on one sheet using the “Collage Template”, a feature enabled by the square format of the SP-3, or use “My Template” to add text to printed photos. “My Template” comes with 11 templates ranging from magazine covers to CD jackets. Users can also adjust the color and size of text. The end result is a stylish print that users will be proud to display and share. Additionally, the app’s display screens have been designed to make the entire process easy for novice users. The app can be downloaded from Google Play on Android devices or from the App Store on iPhones free of charge.

“Hashtag Print” Feature

In addition to Instagram and Facebook, the app is compatible with Dropbox, Google Photos and Flickr. Through the “Hashtag Print” option, users can access Instagram directly through the app and select images under a chosen hashtag. This function makes it easy for users to find the photos they want and print them with ease, perfect for printing a collection of photos from any event where guests use a hashtag, like a wedding or party.

Sleek Design

The SP-3 comes in white or black with a sleek, sophisticated look. The printer is also compact and lightweight with a sharp, multi-sided structure. The SP-3 is suitable in a wide range of situations.

This product is the latest in Fujifilm’s ongoing plan to share the inherent joy of taking, printing, displaying and sharing photos to expand the world of the instax instant photo system, allowing users to enjoy instant photos by printing photos that they have taken with their smartphone.

Instax SHARE SP-3 Key Features:

  • Available in White and Black body colors.
  • Create instax photos by printing images from iPhones and Android phones via the instax SHARE app.
  • Printing is also compatible directly from X Series digital cameras to the SP-3.
  • High-resolution images with print pixels of 800 x 800 dots and 318 dpi to show detailed gradations and facial expressions of a full-length portrait, character or objects clearly.
  • Printing time of just 13 seconds.
  • Printing capacity of up to 160 prints per battery charge.
  • Comes with image Intelligence, proprietary image processing technology that automatically sets the optimum brightness during printing.
  • New Templates added to the instax SHARE app:
    1. My Template – A template function where users can add text as desired and adjust the text color, size and darkness by moving sliders left and right, broadening the range of photo styles available to them.
    2. Collage Template – A template function allowing users to print 2-9 photos together on one sheet to print a collection of memories from a special day or to tie together photos with a particular theme.
    3. Split Template – Transform one picture into multiple instax photos. This allows all kinds of unique photo styles, such as dividing a beautiful landscape across two instax photos to make one big print.
    4. SNS Template – Template for printing images that were uploaded to a social networking service (SNS). This social media-linked printing feature allows users to include their profile photo or number of likes in the photo.
    5. Real Time Template – When the “Real Time Template” is selected and a photo is taken, the date, place, weather, temperature, and humidity are indicated in the frame, making it great for travel photos or watching your child grow.

Availability and Pricing

The new INSTAX SHARE SP-3 SQ will be available in November 2017 for USD $ 199.95 and CAD $ 249.99. Instax SQUARE film is sold separately for USD $ 16.99 and CAD $ 15.99.

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Flickr switches photo book printing to Blurb, shuts down wall art

20 Oct

The photo sharing platform Flickr was officially acquired by Verizon in June and it appears we are now seeing the first changes after the takeover. On its blog Flickr has announced that it will cease to offer its existing photo book and wall art printing services.

However, printing for Flickr users won’t be completely shut down. Instead photo books using Flickr images can now be printed in numerous ways via the third-party service Blurb. To make this work your Flickr account needs to be connected to Blurb which then allows you to browse your Flickr stream in Blurb’s online book-making tool.

Book size, paper quality and image layout can be chosen and it is of course possible to add image captions and text. The final product can be distributed via Amazon, Ingram and the Blurb Bookstore. That said, there is no replacement for the wall art printing service.

Current Flickr Pro account holders get a $ 35 credit for their first Blurb order, and $ 35 when you renew your subscription (with a minimum purchase $ 70). Book or wall art orders that are currently in progress with the old system should be finished and sent before December 1, 2017. Afterwards your project will be lost.

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