Tag Archives: apps

Tech Tuesday: Apple’s OS X Lion

12 Jul

A few weeks ago we reviewed Apple’s new mobile operating system iOS5 and the introduction of iCloud – and how they’re going to make photographer’s digital lives more streamlined. Today, we’re covering the new version of Apple’s desktop operating system, which according to Apple should be available for $29.99 – any day now.

OS X Lion – a whole new animal

Multi-Touch Gestures

Inspired by the tactile functionality of the iPhone and iPad, Apple has integrated the gestures that mobile device users have grown to love. Now you’ll be able to use the same fluid and realistic gesture responses, including rubber-band scrolling, page and image zoom, and full-screen swiping, right on your desktop.

What does this mean for photogs?

– You’re in Photoshop or Lightroom, and want to get a closer look. No need to mouse over to activate the zoom tool or hit a keyboard command, simply pinch to zoom in or out. Get a closer look in your favorite web browser by simply double tapping.

– Within an application, like a word document, or several open tabs in your browser, just swipe, like turning pages of a book, rather than mousing over to scroll the scroll bar.

– If you have multiple apps open, you no longer will need to mouse down to the dock or hit COMMAND+Tab on your keyboard to browse the other open apps. When viewing an application at full screen (another new feature we love!), it’s as easy as swiping with three fingers, which shuffles your full-screen apps like playing cards.

What you’ll need:

If you don’t already have one, you’ll need a Multi-Touch Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad to take advantage of gestures.

Full-Screen Apps

Now instead of resizing your browser windows to fill up as much space as possible to hide that messy desktop, you’ll be able to clear away the clutter and see one App and nothing else – instantly – by just clicking the new full-screen button in the upper-left corner of your app window. BAM!

Mission Control

Mission Control is simple – it helps you get all your ducks in a row and see what you have open, with a highlight window for each App. So instead of just glancing down to see my dock, and trying to recall what I have going on in Lightroom, iChat, Photoshop, Word, Illustrator, Safari (etc.) I’ll just be able to swipe up with three fingers on my trusty trackpad, and get the lay of the land. Kinda like this:

Launchpad

Launchpad is kind of like Mission Control’s orderly cousin – which lets you see a neat grid of all your apps as icons on your desktop (accessible from your dock) rather than having to navigate to your Applications folder and view them in a dialogue box. Clean, simple and right there. Functionality is the same as the iPhone or iPad, so you can:

– Hold down an icon with by clicking on touch pad to activate all the apps, and click the “x” in the corner to quickly delete an app

– Drag an app icon onto another icon to categorize them into folders like “Business”, “Post-Production”, “Games”, etc

– Swipe across your trackpad to move between pages

– Open any app with a tap or click

Mac App Store

If you’re an iPhone user, this is not a new concept. But the fact that the App Store will now be integrated into OS X Lion, letting you browse, download and install immediately – rather than buying discs (in person or online… which equals time and/or waiting) is pretty cool.

In addition to quick downloads, you’ll also get easy integrated updates, and fast, simple installation across devices.

It’s not the sexiest update – but it’s certainly pretty darn sensible. Think about the big apps. Like Lightroom. Or perhaps when you get a last minute word doc from a client and don’t see it until 1 am the night before big the event – and you don’t have the most recent version of Microsoft Office! No worries! Just search, click, download, and viola! It’s open. Maybe now the App Store looking a little sexier?

Auto Save and Versions

Sometimes I’m groovin’ on an edit or retouch, music blaring, feelin’ inspired, and suddenly remember “Oh yeah – I haven’t saved yet…” after 20 minutes of work. Then I quickly save my .psd and breathe a sigh of relief. Well, with OS X Lion, Apple’s got a fancy new update that will let me edit to my heart’s content, without having to worry.

Auto Save automatically saves your work, while you work, during pauses and every five minutes. This is what I’m most excited about – and can’t wait to see in action.

Why’s it so great?

– It saves versions within the same file, rather than multiple versions of your file (therefore saving room on your hard drive).

– If you’re editing an email or shotlist, for example, and halfway in, realize you erased something important- no problem! The Revert feature returns your document to the state it was in when you last opened it, and Versions shows you the current document next to a cascade of previous versions which have been saved. And if you just want to grab a section from an earlier version, you can copy and paste between versions.

Mail

Last but not least for the OS X Lion updates, is a fancier, shinier version of Mail that offers a widescreen, two-column view of your emails, one-click access to folders, quick drag-and-add folder functionality, detailed preview (so you glance at your list of emails and get an idea of content before opening), enhanced search, and best of all Conversations.

This new feature (which gmail users enjoy) automatically groups messages from the same conversation, in chronological order. Why’s it great? It removes redundant text from previous message threads to save time scrolling and searching for old emails and details, in an easy-to-follow, linear format. Not too shabby.

What’s next?

So there you have it – all the updates – some which are a bit more “fluff” but others that will certainly save time and make life easier when you’re on your desktop. Which, let’s face it – is a good portion of the week. If you’re interested in upgrading (for just $29.99 – it’s a great deal) you’ll need to:

1. Make sure your Mac can run Lion

– Click your Apple icon in the top-left of your screen, choose “About this Mac” and find out if it has an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, or Xeon processor. if so, you’re good to go.

2. Make sure you have the latest version of Snow Leopard

– Click your Apple icon in the top-left of your screen, choose “Software Update” to install version 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) if you don’t already have it

3. Download OS X Lion from the App Store.

– It’s not ready just yet, but you can sign up for a notification when it is.

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Tech Tuesday: Free at Last!

22 Jun

It may seem odd to some of you that Tech Tuesday is being posted on a Wednesday. But this week there is a good reason – I found my FREEDOM. Now, what may appear on the surface as an anti-technology topic is actually a true tech-worthy tidbit in disguise.

As photogs, we spend hours upon hours editing in Lightroom on a weekly basis. Now, if you had to be honest with yourself, how many of those minutes within each of those hours are attributed to sneaks to Facebook, checking email, responding to a quick one, tweeting about your editing progress, web-surfing for a sleek new pair of shoes for your next date-night, distracting yourself with a new blog post that just popped up in someone’s status…. I could honestly go on forever here listing all the things I know I do while I’m trying to barrel through post-production. We can’t help it – it’s in our nature! Or, can we…

Introducing Freedom, a PC productivity software that restricts your internet access while you perform certain tasks – and you set the boundaries. Absolutely have to finish a wedding by 5PM tonight? Set Freedom to curb your desire until delivery time. This program will keep your mitts off the internet for up to 8 hours at a clip – forcing you to find the will-power that always seems scares if left to your own devices. Can’t you just turn the program off, you ask? Well, that’s the beauty. If you really find yourself overcome with desire, the only way to reverse the process is to REBOOT. Yeah, I don’t know about you, but that’s not happening while I have a catalog open and am blowing through images.

“Endless digital distraction” – that’s what Slate terms this sickness we all suffer from in a quick video review here. Almost every major publication has given this app a shout out and you can review them all on the Freedom landing page.

So, many apologies for this Tech Tuesday coming a little late, but I had to try it out for myself. And that meant, waiting until this morning to give myself the internet green light. And no matter how disciplined you think you are, no matter how efficient you believe your workflow is, trust me when I say we can all use a little Freedom.

Tech Tuesday: The burgeoning art of iPhoneography

14 Jun

I think it’s fair to say we all share the sentiment that the iPhone (even for those who don’t have one) was revolutionary. For more reasons than just one – it completely reshaped the way we think about a mobile device. Well, for some photographers, it has also reshaped the way they think about photography. And if you really think about it, I’m sure in some way, it has done the same for you. With all the amazing apps out there that help us create more captivating images than ever thought possible with a camera phone, who wouldn’t think about how to turn it into a craft of it’s own?

Glyn Evans Founder of iPhoneography, and Editor of the iPhoneography blog, the worlds #1 iPhone photography website.

Take iPhoneography. Here’s a blog entirely devoted to iPhone imagery featuring artists that take the medium very seriously. iPhoneographers share their experiences with iPhone camera apps and showcase (in most cases) the AMAZING images they are able to create with them. Images on this site will blow your mind – and seriously make you question whether they were truly taken with an iPhone. There is even a free forum for folks to share ideas, comments and questions about achieving cool photo results with the featured apps.

(Even if you don’t find this concept worthy of press, at the very least, you can browse the imagery and check out what’s new in the iphone app library and test them out for yourself.)

Beyond the ambition to elevate camera phone technology to a reputable genre, pro-photogs are using apps like Instagram and Hipstamatic, two totally awesome digital apps with an analog feel, to communicate their brand on social networking sites. In particular, Instagram, an app built specifically to link directly to your Facebook, Twitter and Flickr accounts, makes it effortless to snap a cool, stylized photo on the go and post it to your online presence. I, myself, use this technique to not only stay connected with my clients and “followers”, but more importantly to try to show how I see life through a lens everywhere I go. I love the convenience of being able to make a photograph no matter where I am – whether in the middle of mundane daily tasks or spending time off the photog-clock with family and friends – because you never know when you just might see something worth capturing… such as these:

 

(That last image holds a special place in my heart…)

I know I have joked in the past about shooting a wedding exclusively with an iPhone. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who has considered the absurd notion. The truth is, we’re probably not far off from someone taking this challenge by the horns and making it a reality – opening up a whole new realm of possibility with little, accessible technology.

How do you use your iPhone camera?  Have you seen someone making “iPhoneography” work for them? Tell us about it!

Tech Tuesday: iPhone App Love

26 Apr

Aside from my gear – the most helpful tool I have with me is my iPhone. And I’m constantly searching for helpful apps that will make me do my job better, smarter and more efficiently.

The problem is when you google “photography app” you get all kinds of fun, iPhone camera specific stuff like Hipstamatic or Instagram, and tools to tweak or edit your iPhone photos, but there’s very little out there that’s geared towards professional photographers. So… I thought I’d share my list of favorites to start a conversation. And if anyone out there has more – please comment and share the love!

Sunrise Sunset Lite: FREE!*

Great for when a client has me on the phone and wants to schedule a portrait 7 months from now. I can quickly search the location and date and viola! I know when sunrise and sunset will be – in less than a minute. Then I can pick the perfect time so I know I have lovely light.

Pocket Scout Lite: FREE!*

No more emailing iPhone pics with addresses to remember a great spot. Pocket Scout to the rescue! This wünderkind lets you snap a photo and automatically grabs a GPS location and street address, lets you enter a name/title, add notes, share with ease, and even gives you directions back when you’re ready to visit.

The only thing I wish it had was a map view of locations closest to where I am (rather than a line list of each). Still, a great resource and tool!

Dragon Dictation: FREE!

Press. Speak. Send.

That’s the simple tagline for Dragon Dictation and it’s spot on! I find this voice-to-text tool incredibly helpful for car rides when inspiration hits, or at a wedding when I want to remember specific details like the story behind the bride’s dress or the best man’s witty joke.

There sometimes are slight errors – punctuation drops out for me at times – so make sure to proof before copy/pasting. You can also push to Twitter, Facebook, email and SMS.

TeuxDeux: $2.99

If you haven’t read it, The Design of Everyday Things is an amazing book, about how you experience and interact with, well, everyday things – and why we naturally like those that are better designed; they feel right and make sense.

This is why I love TeuxDeux.

Smart design, intuitive interface and simple function. It actually makes me excited to view my lists and start knockin’ things out. I tried other apps that were OK, but this one is just so lovely!

TripAdvisor: FREE!

OK, so it’s a travel app, not really a photography-focused app, but it’s fantastic. User-generated reviews about restaurants, hotels, sights, anywhere you want to go.

Booking a hotel for a gig that’s overnight, but aren’t sure which mid-range hotel kayak.com served up is best? Want to stop for a bite or coffee before a session but don’t know the area well? Trip advisor’s got your back.

Worldwide reach. 28 languages. Real reviews, photos and ratings. Need I say more?


*Upgraded paid and/or pro versions available with more fancy features

What are your favorite apps? iPhone, Blackberry, Droid… don’t be shy! And if you have some cool ideas to share that are Tech Tuesday worthy, give us a shout! Email info@phillyphotobetties.com and send us details. We’d love to hear from you!