Photography

GoPro App

GoPro App that is as Good as the Camera it Controls

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Last winter I was preparing for a trip to the Keys of Florida with some friends for some much needed relaxation.  The plan was to do some scuba diving, snorkeling, and boating and me being me, I decided that I needed to have an awesome camera to take some photos of it all. Up until this point I didn’t have much experience with underwater or extreme sports cameras but my buddy Frank had a couple of GoPros so I figured I’d start there. After doing some research I decided to pick up a GoPro Hero 3 Black along with all of the accessories that go with it. I figured that this camera would be fun to take along when I was doing something that chanced breaking a normal camera. What I expected was an average camera that took decent quality photographs and would work well enough to capture some crazy activities. What I GOT was a camera that is capable of some amazing photography and equally amazing video. With the ability to shoot 12mp stills and 4k video, these little things pack a punch! When I realized that I could control the GoPro with an App on my iPhone and iPad, I was hooked. I have since bought 2 more and use these things for everything from Wedding photos, to crazy extreme activities! Since we’re just talking about the App here, suffice to say that this is a camera that you SHOULD have. They are awesome and if you love taking cool photos you need this camera!

 

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What It Can Do

 

Really we should list what it can’t do because that would be the shorter list. Let’s back track for a second and talk about why you would want this App. First, the interface is a little cumbersome on the GoPro itself. It’s easy to switch between modes but when you dig into the menu systems it’s a bit tedious to change things especially if you go past what it is that you’re trying to adjust because the menu system makes you circle all of the way back around to get back to it. With that being said, the App is AMAZING at picking up where the camera interface falls short. You can adjust any setting withing the GoPro from your iOS device. Want to change from video to stills? Done. Want to adjust the resolution of the video from 720 to 1080, easy. Want to set the camera to do a time lapse with photos every .5 seconds and then start the time lapse? Done and done. The GoPro doesn’t come with an LCD to frame your shots (that’s optional) but you can use the FREE iOS App to frame, preview, and watch right through your GoPro! How cool is that?!

 

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But that’s not all it can do! GoPro just announced a MAJOR update to the App itself. They’ve made it faster, and added functionality to it. Now you can copy images and video strait from your GoPro to your iOS device in either low resolution or high resolution quality and share it RIGHT FROM THE APP! Now you don’t have to wait until you get home to pull your cards from the GoPro to see if you have the shot that you wanted. You don’t have to wait until you get home to upload the images to Facebook or Instagram. Do it right from your iPhone.

That’s still not everything that this App can do. Want to watch the GoPro video of the day? It’s in the App. Want to check out the GoPro photo of the day? Guess what? Yep, it’s in the App!

 

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Viewing Your Photos

Once you’ve taken a bunch of photos and video with your GoPro, you can view them right on your iPhone or iPad. To do this you attach to the camera with your iOS device by turning on the WiFi on the GoPro and selecting your network name. Once connected, you will see the preview show up on the screen along with some options below. The box that looks like a small grid of squares is to see your captured video or stills. Selecting this will bring up a grid display like you see above. From here you can select the image to make it larger. Photos load quickly here. There is little to no lag and even the video is surprisingly fast to load. I was very impressed with the way that this App performs in this area.

 

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Frame Your Shots

 

Like I mentioned before, the GoPro doesn’t have a LCD on the back of it so sometimes it can be hard to frame the shots. With the App you can not only frame the shot, but you can start and stop the video, snap the still, or begin and end the time lapse. I have some temporary house guests in the form of kittens right now. These kittens are cute, adorable, and easy to startle. I have tried to do a few photos of them but they don’t like the camera too close to them and while I could just put a long lens on my D4, I thought putting a GoPro up next to them and snapping photos remotely would be more fun! I attached an Icelight to a Manfrotto magic arm and suspended it out over them on my bed. Then I put a GoPro on a small GorillaPod near them. I just let them do their thing (which was mostly sleep) and I snapped some stills, and took a little video. All of this without touching the GoPro or disturbing their slumber!

 

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Another example of framing the shot up. I was walking around a local car show a couple of days ago and decided to use the GoPro as to not stand out too much. I can hold the GoPro in my hand with relatively no “camera” visible and snap away on my iPhone. But it’s not just for snap shots…

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Not Just for Snap Shots and Extreme Sports

 

I wanted to test what a GoPro could really do so about 6 months ago I started using them at weddings. This is a shot from a recent wedding where I took the bride and groom out at sunset to to enjoy some golden light. I used a Sunbounce Pro 4′X6′ reflector to light my couple and again, used my GoPro App to frame this up for a great sunset shot. Besides shots like this, I use the GoPros for remote cameras mounted above where the bride and groom stand, behind the unity candle, and more! These things do such a great job that I use them wherever and whenever I can!

The Bottom Line

The performance of the GoPro camera is second to none, but more important for this review, the GoPro App is also second to none. I can’t think of anything that I would add to the App that isn’t already there. The only little thing that I could nitpick would be the 3-4 second lag of the preview. When you move the GoPro or the subject there is a delay before you see it on the App preview. I can’t recommend this App or these cameras enough. If you don’t have a GoPro, you should get one! If you’re going to get one, this is where I got mine.

 

Get the GoPro App for your iOS device from the App store for free here: iTunes

Get the GoPro Hero 3 from Amazon HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

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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Mpix Tap To Print

3 Apps That Let You Order Prints From Your iPhone Photos

A friend of mine asked me was there an App that would allow her to get prints from the photos on her iPhone? She doesn’t have a printer at home and basically just wanted to be able to upload the pics she took and go pick up the physical prints somewhere. Of course the answer is yes, there’s an app for that. Actually there are a few Apps for that and here are my 3 choices.

CVS Pharmacy

The CVS App keeps getting better. They recently updated it to the iPhone 5 display size and streamlined the interface. You can log into your account and even display your CVS card at checkout with it. It of course has the ability to upload your iPhone pics and then pick them up at a CVS of your choice. CVS also seemed to have the lowest 4×6 Print price!
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Walgreens

Like the CVS App, Walgreens offers the same features, but in addition to allowing you to display your Rewards card in the App, they also support Passbook and you can add your Rewards card to Passbook too. (CVS not sure why you haven’t done this yet?). However, the Walgreens App has not been updated to the iPhone 5 display size yet. Go figure. The Walgreens app will also let your grab photos from Facebook to print.
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Mpix Tap to print

The pros use Mpix.com and while you can’t walk into an “MPIX” and pick up your prints, you can use their App to order prints and have them sent to you. If you’re looking for a bit of added quality and paper options, then MPIX is going to be your App.
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The Bottom Line

If you’re looking to snap, edit and print right from your iPhone the Apps above will deliver. This holiday season this could be useful as many of you will be traveling and away from your traditional printers. Enjoy!

Adobe Photoshop Touch

Apps From My “Using An iPad in a Digital Photography Workflow” Class

I’m about to head into my session at Photoshop World Vegas 2012 on “Using the iPad in a Digital Photography Workflow”. As with most things the iPad and Digital Photography Apps are fast moving and get updates all the time. So I figured I would list the Apps I recommend and will show in the class here so that attendees not only see my recommendations from the workbook, but also the newer ones I’m using that didn’t make it into the workbook. In no particular order here they are:

Adobe Photoshop Touch

Version 1.3 brings the Retina Display support and high resolution file support that you’ve been asking for:

  • Retina Display Support: See your images like never before with the Retina display on the new iPad.
  • Higher resolution capabilities: Work on high-resolution images while maintaining the highest image quality. Supports images up to 12 megapixels.
  • Two new languages: Russian and Brazilian Portuguese.
  • Two new Effects: Shred and Colorize
  • Smoother animation and scrolling in the organizer, tutorial browser, and file picker
  • New gesture to toggle 100% view and fit screen (three-finger tap)
  • New pixel nudging mode for precise movements
  • Support for Apple Photo Stream
  • Various bug fixes

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Easy Release

My model release App of choice for both iPad and iPhone.

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Contract Maker Elite

I use Contract Maker Elite for my other contract such as my Print Release. It’s the most customizable App that I know of and basically lets you create a contract with virtually as many fields, popups, images, signatures as you need.

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Sylights

I use Sylights for making Lighting Diagrams on my iPad and sharing them with others.

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ShutterSnitch

Every time I show shooting with my Nikon D7000 and the EyeFi Mobile Pro X2 Card wirelessly to my iPad, someone always ask which App is that. It’s called ShutterSnitch. I use it both with the Eye-Fi Card and the Nikon WT-5a module on my Nikon D4. Sure Eye-Fi has their own Free App, but it’s just not as functional as ShutterSnitch.

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Photosmith

It’s the closest thing to having the Lightroom Library Module on your iPad. Import, manage, organize, rate and then sync to Lightroom.

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Adobe Revel

Adobe Revel is a cloud service that lets you sync your photos between all your Macs and iOS devices. I now use the iPad app as my portfolio app as it works directly with Lightroom 4.

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PosePad

PosePad let’s you create a visual shot list containing images of poses that you want to remember to capture during your next shoot.

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DSLR Remote HD

Although there is no way to directly connect your camera to your iPad to shoot tethered, DSLR Remote HD let’s you do it with a computer in the middle. You connect your compatible DSLR to your laptop via a USB cable and then you can remotely control it wirelessly with your iPad. See your Live View, make setting adjustments, and fire the shutter. See your recently captured images right on your iPad and share them.

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PhotoSync

I use PhotoSync on a regular basis to wirelessly transfer images from my iPad to my computer or from iOS device to iOS device.

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Dynamic Light

HDR for Any iPhone Image

I recently read a story about sports photographer Brad Mangin and his use of the iPhone to take photos for Sports Illustrated. Of course me being me I was very interested in seeing what Apps Brad was using to edit his images, particularly what he was using to get the vibrancy out of the skies. It seems that Brad is using a pseudo HDR App called Dynamic Light. Dynamic Light takes any image and gives it the HDR look without combining two photos like traditional HDR Apps. Just like any HDR App for the iPhone Dynamic Light works best when applied to images that already have some contrast. Also, images that have people in them tend to look a little funky because of the saturation and shouldn’t be used unless attempting a specific effect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazingly Simple

What struck me when I launched Dynamic Light for the first time was the amazingly simple interface. You are given two options to bring in photos to edit. Option one is to use the built in camera button and take a photo from within the App. The second (and my method of choice) is to choose a photo from one of my folders on my phone. Once you have your image loaded there are two main options for adjustment. The first is the giant dial right below where the App name is. Rotating it left to right increases and decreases the effect. The red dial on the left of the screen rotates the control to the (newly introduced) light ball. This light ball adjusts the radius of the effect.

Below that, is the FX button which gives you access to 11 predefined filters/effects. I found these effects to be useful but when in used in conjunction with the settings menu’s finite controls, this App really shines. Within the settings section you will find a radius slider, surface smoothness slider, and color boost slider. Also housed there are quick preset levels adjustments low, medium, and high. Below all of these controls is the option to save images as full sized. I toggled this option to on because I like to have my images the highest quality possible.

 

 

Bottom Line

When it comes to making your images really pop a little bit of HDR mapping is the quickest, easiest way to do it. Dynamic Light is one of the best I’ve found when it comes to giving images the HDR look without the need for multiple photos like a traditional HDR.

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