A compendium of Recomendo




Unique photo filters

I needed to make a cartoon thumbnail portrait of myself so I used a free app for iOS and Android to render my photo into artwork. Prisma uses artificial intelligence to “redraw” any photo on your phone into a painting done in 20 different artistic styles, including cartoony ones. (It’s similar to a previous app Prizmo, but renders the art almost instantly.) — KK 

Lightroom tips

These amazingly great tips for using Lightroom are each presented in 1 minute or less. I’ve been using Lightroom to edit my photos (better than Photoshop) for years and didn’t know any of these. — KK  

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

The camera I use

I’ve been a very serious photographer for 45 years (!!!). Even though I’ve had one book of my photos published by Taschen, I have never used a state-of-the art professional camera. I have always relied on good-enough amateur level cameras. For the past 10 years, I’ve used Panasonic Lumix superzooms. They suit my cultural photography perfectly. They are silent. They are featherweight (I carry them all day, weeks on end.) They have flip out screens so I can shoot stealthily, with subjects unaware. They are cheap. They super zoom from wide angle to telephoto, very fast. The model I’ve used for the past 3 years, the FZ 300, has a super zoom (600mm equivalent) with a constant 2.8 lens. It’s been great. For my subject — recording the vanishing cultures and peoples of Asia — this camera is perfect. — KK

Best photographer blog

The best photographer blog and/or photo magazine for both pros and newbies, and for all photographers in between, is on the web as PetaPixel. Sure, they have the latest nerdy camera gossip, but they also have plenty of features about the million different ways people actually capture and use images. Every day I am amazed and informed. Add it to your RSS feed. — KK

Photo canvases on demand

I’ve used Canvas on Demand twice now and I am very satisfied with the quality of their premium thick wrap canvases. Sign up for the newsletter and wait for their 50-70% off promos, which happen about once a month. — CD

Handy photo app

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 let 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

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

I use Google Image 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

Experimental photo search engine

I’m trying out Splash, a cool free experimental photo search engine from 500Pixels. You sketch the rough contours of a photo you seek in color, and it will display two dozen images that “match” your sketch. The match is mostly in color, mood, and rough shapes, but it does present you with some interesting images, all licensable. — KK

Compact photo printer

My favorite use for the Fujifilm Instax printer is for printing out small photo gifts. It’s portable, so you can take it to parties and it only takes a few minutes to wirelessly connect and print out photos straight from your phone. — CD

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 

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

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

TechClaudia Dawson