Marksta

Watermark Your Photos Right from Your iPhone

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It seems like just about everyone has an iPhone these days. Everywhere you turn you see someone texting, chatting, facetiming, and yes, taking pictures with their beloved iDevice. With the awesome camera on these things, along with all of the amazing Apps it seems that everyone is (or thinks) that they’re a photographer. “First kiss” photos from weddings are uploaded, tweeted, Facebooked, and Instagramed before the couple walks back down the isle now. With this increase in the number of photos taken come with an increase in the number of people that want to watermark their images. Whether it’s because they’re afraid that people are going to steal their images and use them without permission, or just because they want to attach their photography information to the image, people enjoy watermarking. The traditional way of watermarking an image is taking it into the computer, loading it into an image editing software like Photoshop or Lightroom, and adding the overlay there. This process takes time and also prevents people from uploading and sharing at the time that the image was taken. Marksta fixes ALL of that. With Marksta you can watermark an image with text OR a graphical overlay right inside of your iPhone or iPad and upload the image immediately!

 

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How Marksta Does What it Does

Marksta is a very unique and well laid out App. Upon launching the App you can provide images to be watermaked in two ways. You can either us the camera function (built into the App) or you can import images from your camera roll/folders. Once the image is imported you simply tap the screen where it says “Tap Here” to display the text.

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This brings up a box that allows you to input your information. From here you will either type whatever it is that you want to say on the screen (I used “Jason Lykins Photography”) or you can add a graphic watermark if you already have one saved in your pictures by tapping the small picture icon to the right of the text box. once you have added your text/picture you simply tap the screen to hide the keyboard. From here you can position the watermark wherever you would like on the screen. (A quick tip: if you want to resize your text, while the keyboard is still showing use a pinching motion to increase or decrease the size).

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Next we can tap the small painter’s pallet at the bottom of the screen (second from the left) to bring up the opacity sliders for the watermark. Most people don’t like to do in your face full on opacity watermarks, rather they’d like to have about a 35%-50% opacity setting so that you can see it still but it doesn’t take away from your image. Here is where you would go to do that. From this tab you can also change the watermark hue and shade.

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The next tab we come are the heavy controls. By this I mean from here you can add a drop shadow to your watermark, you can make the watermark (if text) act as a boarder and go all of the way around your image, you can left, right, and center justify it, as well as a few other specialty options. This is where you would go to really tweak your watermark and how it interacts with your image.

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The next important tab is (to me) the coolest thing about this App. The third tab from the right indicated by three small lines is the layers tab. This tab will let you undo or remove certain parts of your watermark. For example, if I added text, then an image, and decided that it looked too cluttered (because it would) I could go and delete just the text and leave the image overlay completely alone. This is cool! It’s non destructive watermarking for your iPhone!

The Bottom Line

If you like to post images to the internet from your iPhone or iPad, and you want to watermark them, there is no better way to do that than with Marksta. About the only thing that I would like to see added is the ability to batch watermark images from my camera roll, but that’s just nitpicking.

 

 

You can get Marksta for both the iPad and iPhone for $1.99 from the iTunes store here:     iTunes

Adobe® VideoBite- Your quick and fun movie maker

Adobe VideoBite – Free Video Editor for iPhone

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I find that I’m capturing more and more video with my iPhone 5 these days. It captures decent 1080p Video provided that you have decent light. In most cases I’m capturing something quick that I want to share with others, but it may require a little editing to assemble multiple clips together. This is where Adobe’s new VideoBite App comes in. This free iPhone App does just that. It lets you trim your captured clips, assemble them into a finished video and then share that video with others. You can mark in/out points on clips and then rearrange those clips to make a complete video. It’s easy to use and provides a fast way to do simple edits. Best of all it’s free.

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Dropcam

Dropcam for iPhone and iPad

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On my techblog I just reviewed the Dropcam HD WiFi Wireless Video Monitor Camera for home security. One of the benefits of this camera is that you can monitor it from an iOS or Android device. After I got the Dropcam HD setup I downloaded the iOS App for both my iPhone and iPad. Once you have the App installed you simply log into your Dropcam.com account (the one you setup when you setup the camera) and you’ll will have the ability to view a live feed from your Dropcam HD(s). The video quality over WiFi was great and I could even hear the sound of what was going on in the room. If you have a DVR plan with Dropcam.com you can even review recorded events. However, if all you have is the free account you can still setup your push notifications to alert you if there is movement going on in front of your Dropcam HD so that you can start viewing.

Watch Live or Watch Recordings

The App lets you tap and watch full screen views of any of your configured Dropcams even if they are in different locations around the world. You can see either live views or clips that recorded due to motion events. You can even share still images directly from the App. The App also allows you to change the settings of your Dropcam HD remotely. You can change the settings for your microphone, status light, or 180° rotation when mounting from the ceiling. If you have multiple Dropcam HD’s you can also rename them so that you can easily pick which one you want to watch.

The Bottom Line

The app works as advertised and you’ll like it even more on iPad. I’d love to see a “mute” button right on the main display, but otherwise the App works well. If you have a Dropcam HD, then you should definitely have this app!
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Get the Dropcam HD here.

Scanner Mini - scan documents into PDF for free

Scanner Mini for iPhone and iPad

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I love my Fujitsu ScanSnap that sits on my desk in my office, but more often than not I need to scan documents on the go and when I’m traveling. That’s when my iPhone and iPad comes in. Each of my mobile devices has a camera and sure you can take a picture of just about anything including documents. So why do you need a scanning App? The camera takes a picture at whatever angle you’re at and it’s often hard to get right on top of the document to get a perfect shot. Scanning Apps take that not so perfect picture and straighten the document out, get rid of the distortion and make it fit to a standard paper size. My scanning App of choice is Scanner Pro by Reedle. It’s a paid App. Recently they released this FREE version called Scanner Mini and I decided to check it out to potentially recommend it to my budget conscious friends.

Scanner Mini performs, but is bare bones

What you get with Scanner Mini is the great document recognition features that clean your scans up and make them look like “documents” instead of photos. However, once you’ve got that great looking scan sitting on your device you’re pretty much stuck there until you get back to your computer to transfer it via a USB cable or WiFi via WebDAV. That’s right. In the free version there are no sharing abilities, not even email. Now this is probably fine for the ones scanning documents for themselves. If you are a business traveler needing to scan receipts as you go and then do an expense report when you get back to your Mac or PC, this App will be great. However, if you need to email someone a PDF while you’re still on the go you’re going to need to upgrade to the Pro version.

While I want to rate this App higher, I can’t because of the limited ways of getting the scans out of it. If you’re serious about scanning from your iPhone or iPad, then you should probably just go ahead and get Scanner Pro.
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LensProToGo

LensProToGo App

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As a photographer I learned a long time ago that this is one of those hobbies or careers that there will always be something new to buy! No photographer that I know of has everything they want. However, sometimes it’s just not cost effective to actually “own” certain equipment. For example, there are lenses that I use every day and some that I would only use rarely. It’s those rarely used lenses that are usually the most expensive. So why have all that money lying around? I discovered LensProToGo.com a couple of years ago and I use them whenever there’s a lens that I want to try before I buy or use for a special occasion. I’ve had nothing but success with their shipments and returns. Before I bought my 14-24mm f/2.8 lens, I rented it first from LensProToGo.com. I wasn’t shooting many landscapes back then and didn’t want to buy it up front before heading to Antelope Canyon in AZ. I rented it before my trip, used it and returned it when I got home. Now you rent lenses, cameras and other gear via their iPhone App. The App is pretty straight forward and easy to navigate. You can search or just browse by category. Although I haven’t yet used the App to go through the full rental process I have used it often to check prices. I read that a few folks are having crashing issues during check out and I can’t confirm or deny these issues at this time. Since the App is free, you have nothing to lose by trying it. My only complaint is that there isn’t a native iPad version. I do more browsing/shopping on my iPad than I do on my iPhone. This App would be a natural on the iPad.

If you’re a photographer, you should have this App in your arsenal. Case in point, here’s a lens that I would definitely rent instead of buying! :-)

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