We buy books on photography, we take classes, we watch tutorials, we ask the photographers we admire for tips. We do this constantly because every photographer wants to be a better photographer. I haven't met a photographer yet that says, "I'm perfect and there's nothing else that I need to learn." We're always looking to learn new ways or better ways of capturing an image. I'm here at Photoshop World in Orlando and of course I'm surrounded by some of the best photographers in the world. So needless to say, I'm learning! I ran into Rick Sammon during a break and we started talking Apps. I was reminded that Rick has an App that is geared give you tons of photography tips to make you a better photographer right in your iPhone or iPod touch.
It's like having Rick Sammon in your pocket
Rick's App is very well organized with practical tips and techniques about various aspects of shooting AND editing your images. Rick's App is aimed at one thing, making you a better photographer. The content in the App is organized into 5 major sections, Seeing, Making, Editing, Tips, and Help. It's one of the first Apps that has a section on "Seeing". What this means is learning how to see a picture in your mind before ever picking up your camera. I know lots of people that take pictures, but they lack vision! This simply means that they don't have a good eye. I'm not sure that this is something that can be learned, but if it can this section of the App will definitely help you! There is over 100MB's of content in this App. While that may sound like a lot to take up room on your device, the good thing is that once the App is installed you can use it offline.
As great as cameras are today, they all seem to have one problem. They're not as good as the human eye. Your eyes can distinguish between shadows and highlights very easily. However, most times when you take a photo the camera tries to expose the photo based on the available light. If you have two extremes such as a very bright sky and and person standing under a shade tree, the camera is going to choose one or the other to expose for. This also happens with people. Say you have a person of color, but they're wearing a bright white suit. The camera makes a guess between the two to expose for. So either the person's face looks great, but the suit is totally blown out or the the suit looks fine, but the face is too dark. HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography is all the rage today with the pros. Pro shooters are shooting landscapes and other subjects with their DSLRs and shooting in bracketed exposure mode to produce 3 or more shots of the the same scene at 3 or more different exposures. Then they use software to blend the 3 or more images together into one composite keeping the detail between the range of exposures.
You can do HDR with your iPhone photos too
The iPhone seems to even have a harder time distinguishing between the two extremes. Now that's no longer an issue thanks to Apps like Pro HDR. Pro HDR lets you take two photos with your iPhone camera (or choose from your library) and it walks you through the process as you take the photos of exposing for the highlights and shadows by simply tapping on the screen in the light and dark areas. Then it automatically aligns the two shots and blends them together producing an HDR image. I was amazed by the results in my testing.
Last week I reviewed a similar app called mRelease. The App had all of the promise of allowing a photographer or other artist the ability to create, sign and email Release Forms. As a Photographer I deal with Model Release forms all the time. I have two custom ones that I use personally and a 3rd one that my employer has me use when I do interviews. While I loved the idea of mRelease, the one problem with it is that there was no way to put in your own release/legal copy. While I can probably get by with a generic release most of the time for my personal photography, I can't when it comes to my employer's release.
Photographers Contract Maker lets you roll your own
A reader of my other review turned me on to this App. It has the one thing that the other App was missing and that is the ability to create CUSTOM RELEASE FORMS. I was able to easy copy and paste each of my release forms into an email message and send them to my iPhone. From there I was able to copy and paste the exact text I needed right into the App creating the 3 separate forms that I needed. I was blown away by the ability to insert "fields" with the text that would automatically pull content from the App such as client name, shoot date, photographer's name, websites, phone numbers, etc. Wow! Just what the doctor ordered. It took me about 15 minutes of tweaking to the get the layouts just the way I wanted them and I had my first test release created. I also love the fact that you can build your client list from your existing contacts on your iPhone/iPod touch. You can even go in on a case by case basis and edit the verbiage. This allows you to customize a release to a specific shoot adding or removing terms. Lastly I was able to sign it and do a test email. It all works!
You can get it here:
If you do any kind of photography, video or other projects involving actors, models, a crew or location, then chances are you need a release form signed. The problem with paper forms is remembering to bring them with you. It seems I forget all to often. Now I have a model release with me at all times and it's in the device that I always carry. It's in my iPhone. This App is very cool by design. You enter some basic information about the shoot/project, then you enter some info about the model, property, etc. and lastly you can even take or use a photo from your library. Once you've entered this info a release is generated and can be signed right on screen. At this point the signed release will be generated as a PDF that you can email out to all that need it.
Never forget your model release forms again
I love the idea behind this App. It's brilliant! The thought of whipping up a release form right in the palm of my hand and having the model sign it with their finger sounds soooo 2010 Also being able to add a photo right there on the spot is helpful too. A lot of photographers will use this to take a photo of the model's drivers license as proof of age/identity.
Get it here: