Photoshop tutorials

My favorite way to learn new Photoshop techniques is by watching the Phlearn YouTube channel. I’ve learned how to remove objects, remove backgrounds, touch up skin, remove glare from eyeglasses, and my favorite: how to use the clone stamp tool. — MF

PhotoClaudia Dawson
Instant photo prints

I will never go back to analog film, no matter how retro hip it becomes. Digital photography is just better in all respects — except for one special case. When I shoot in exotic localities I carry a Fuji Instax Mini which produces small — quite small — instant prints, similar to Polaroids. Portraits done with these and instantly handed out are wonderful icebreakers. Popular at parties as a mini photo-booth, too. — KK

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Best photobooks

Every year for the past decade I’ve made 2 or 3 commemorative photo books to mark an anniversary, or document a vacation. I’ve tried just about all the different brands and modes of making photobooks and keep coming back to Blurb. It’s not the cheapest, or most expensive; but it’s the highest quality and very versatile. You can make a Blurb photo book three ways: 1) Use a layout program like InDesign to custom design your book, exported as a PDF; 2) use the Blurb function built into Lightroom to handily use photos in your LR library, or 3) use Blurb’s own fancy app, Bookwright, which will let you grab off-the-shelf templates, or completely customize your own templates. This year so far, I’ve make a small 20-page book, and a huge 400-page book, and am working on another one. — KK

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Truly free photos

Unsplash is an online collection of high quality photos that are free to use for any reason, even commercial purposes. You aren’t required to credit the author, but you can if you wish. A good resource for bloggers and designers. — MF

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Pretty framing

Framebridge has the best looking selection of affordable frames that I have seen online. I ordered a digital print framed in gold bamboo, because I wanted to break up all the wooden frames we have hanging, and it looks fantastic! The print quality was great and it was delivered within 7 days. — CD

PhotoClaudia Dawson
Screenshot tip

This tip comes from Andy Baio (@waxpancake). He tweeted: “Did you know that you can paste screenshots straight from your clipboard into Twitter or Slack? On macOS, capture any part of your screen to the clipboard with Shift-Ctrl-Cmd-4, then Cmd-V to paste it into your tweet or Slack message. I use this constantly.” — MF

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Download all images from a website

I have a massive “swipe file” of illustrations from online portfolios. I use them for inspiration when I design or draw something. Owidig is a website that can suck every image file from a website and save it to your computer. It’s easy to use once you get the hang of it, but here’s a good video to get your familiar with it. — MF

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Best way to find photos

I use Google’s AI to find particular photos out of the 200,000 photos I have taken. First I uploaded all my 200K photos to Google Photos using their app so the upload runs in the background; new photos will automatically be uploaded in the future as well. Then I search through the photos using keywords. I have not labeled, categorized, or captioned any of the images. I type in basic terms, like “barn”, or “procession” or “sailboat,” and Google will find and display all the pertinent images. It can do simple compound queries like “barn + snow” or “procession + umbrella” that are more selective. It is free. — KK

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Best cheap prints

I use my local Costco to get good photo quality prints from my photo files. They are usually ready to be picked up overnight once uploaded to their website. An 8 x 10 costs $1.79. A huge 20 x 30 inch poster is just $10. The quality is surprisingly decent. — KK

PhotoClaudia Dawson
Instagram cliches made beautiful

Insta_Repeat is an Instagram account that beautifully highlights common cliches on Instagram. Like view through tent hole, or standing on white van. Hey, travel and outdoor Instagramers, don’t do these! Try something different. Yet I follow it because arrays of the cliches are mesmerizing in their nearly identical images. — KK

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Pixel art utility

Piskel is a web-based utility for drawing “pixel art” in the vein of retro video games. You can create static or animated images, and download them as animated GIFs. The interface is intuitive. It’s surprisingly powerful and fun to use. — MF“

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Legal images

I use Google Images Search anytime I need pictures for a talk, website, presentation, or idea scrapbook. It’s not obvious, but you can filter the search results for those images that let you legally reuse them. Click the Tools button (to the right of Settings) beneath the Google search box, select “Usage Rights” and then choose your filter. (You can also filter by color, size, type, etc., in addition to license directly from Advance Image Search page.) The results will be a pile of select images that have Creative Commons or other fair use status. — KK

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Upload to Instagram

I’m old school. I take photos with a camera that I process on my Mac. That makes it difficult to post to Instagram — the new home for photographers — because Instagram insists you upload photos only from a phone. Flume Pro is a $10 app for Macs that lets you drag and drop photos from your desktop directly into your Instagram stream. (The free version is a handy Instagram stream manager.) Works for me. — KK

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Fast photo resizing

Upload any image to Web Resizer and shrink it to a manageable size. You can also round the corners, tint or sharpen the image, or apply other filters. It’s faster than Photoshop, and free. — MF

PhotoClaudia Dawson