The Latest Tech Trends in Real Estate Photography

6324 Castle Drive, Oakland, CA

Earlier this week I was checking out a new listing that Kelly and Marvin Deal with Grubb Company here in Oakland, CA have up for a home for sale in the Oakland Hills. Kelly and Marvin helped mrsth and I buy our home in Piedmont a few years back and are excellent real estate agents if you are looking to buy or sell in the East Bay, especially near Piedmont or Oakland.

In looking at the listing, I was struck by how sophisticated real estate photography is getting. I’d seen interactive home tours online before, but with the convergence of things like 360 degree cameras and drone photography, real estate photography seems to be moving to a whole new level. In this case they used drone cameras to get unique views of the property including dramatic aerial views showcasing the parklands around the property.

They also used a company Continue reading "The Latest Tech Trends in Real Estate Photography"

Priime, The Best iPhone Photo Editor I’ve Ever Used

Priime is Liive -- Get It While It's Hot

Disclosure, I am an advisor to Priime and have styles included in their style marketplace.

Boom. Just a few hours ago Priime went live in the Apple iTunes App Store and already on launch day Apple is featuring it in their best new apps section.

What is Priime?

Priime is the best mobile phone editor I’ve ever used. I’ve been using it behind the scenes for the past few months and am blown away by how much better it is than anything else out for mobile editing today. The free app features a powerful suite of editing tools allowing you to enhance a lot of the basics around your photos: brightness, structure, contrast, warmth, tint, saturation, sharpness, highlights/shadows, vignette and fade. The app can also save photos up to 50 megapixel in size! I don’t know of any other app that can let you output such high res photos.

In addition to these tools, Priime has currated some of the best mobile photo styles available. These are styles developed by photographers for photographers. I have two styles for sale in the Priime marketplace — Americana and Neon. Neon can be a particularly tricky thing to shoot sometimes. I’ve taken over 10,000 photos of neon signs and this is my best attempt at an overlay that works especially well for signs.

The app gives you some great free starter styles. It will also make suggestions for what styles may work best with your photo after analyzing it.

In addition to my styles, Priime features styles developed by 30 other insanely talented photographers, each with their own unique way of processing the world through their iPhone.

Daniel Krieger, who shoots for the NY Times, is probably the best working food photographer in the world right now. If you are going to

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My Styles in the New Release iPhone App Priime
Priime Featured in the Best New Apps Section of the iPhone App Store
Continue reading "Priime, The Best iPhone Photo Editor I’ve Ever Used"

What TechCrunch Gets Wrong About Ello…

Pardon My Whiskers Mr. Mingus
Photograph of the hippest hipster cat around, Mr. Mingus, by hipster Daniel Krieger

Writing for TechCrunch, Josh Constine penned a hit piece yesterday announcing the end of Ello. I was disappointed to see TechCrunch, a publication that I long viewed as being supportive of the start up community, using their pulpit to tear one down. Not only do I think Josh got a lot of the story on Ello wrong, but the dramatic tone of his article was unnecessarily disparaging and that is disappointing.

I’m not sure how much Josh uses Ello, but I use it every day and it’s currently my favorite social network.

I thought I’d take a few minutes to address some of the things that Josh said about Ello and add my own commentary.

1. Josh says: “Here in September gone in September, Ello hoped to dethrone Facebook by … not having ads.”

I’m curious about Josh’s comments saying Ello hoped to “dethrone” Facebook. Nowhere have I ever seen the founders of Ello saying that they hope to “dethrone” Facebook. In fact, the founders have gone out of their way to say that Ello and Facebook are two entirely different things. Ello is a social network and Facebook is an advertising network.

If you pull up Ello’s mission statement, does it say that their goal in life is to “dethrone” Facebook?

On the “What is Ello” page, Ello states:

“Ello is a simple, beautiful, and ad-free social network created by a small group of artists and designers. We originally built Ello as a private social network. Over time, so many people wanted to join Ello that we built a public version of Ello for everyone to use.”

Huh? So why the wild hyperbole from TechCrunch stating that Ello hoped to dethrone Facebook? Continue reading "What TechCrunch Gets Wrong About Ello…"

What Ello is to Me

Bob Ello

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” — Steve Jobs

Nathan Jurgenson is getting a lot of attention today for asking what was Ello? Link baiting headlines always seem to drive the most traffic.

This is what Ello *is* to me.

The other day I was having a friendly debate (on Facebook of all places) with my good friend Robert Scoble, about why I participate so heavily on Ello and not so much on Facebook. Robert told me that I should post what I write, or at least links to it, on Facebook.

I do post links to some of my Ello stuff on Facebook, but I don’t really participate on Facebook much except maybe to check in with a few friends who are on there from time to time. I do post to Facebook every day still, but I view Facebook mostly as a distribution channel for my photography and less as a social network to engage in. I post my work to a lot of places where it’s just meant to be displayed and enjoyed, but 95% of my interaction online these days is at Ello.

I’ve been thinking a bit today about why I like Ello so much more than the other social networks and because I like to

:)
Continue reading "What Ello is to Me"

‘Tis the Season for Flickr Wall Art

Tis the Season for Flickr Wall Art

Look what showed up in the mail yesterday: a beautiful 16 x 20 premium photo mounted from Flickr’s new Wall Art service.

The photo is mounted on a one inch board and looks beautiful both on the wall as well as being held my daughter Kate, whose photo I printed.

The process of ordering the print was super easy and I was able to order it directly from the Flickr photo page.

In addition to ordering your own photos as wall art, there is also a huge library of wall art photos that you can purchase from other photographers on Flickr. Flickr recently revised this fine art program and now shares sales proceeds with all photographers involved in their wall art project.

What a wonderful way for Flickr to partner with their photographers who make the site a more beautiful place.

Ello vs. Facebook for Photographers

Ello vs. Facebook

Are you an artist or photographer? Do care about the integrity of your images? Do you dislike ads and sponsored posts shoved in your face? Do you dislike having 99% of your feed filtered out of view for those who follow you?

Look at the above and answer this question: where does my photograph of the St. Louis Arch look better, Ello or Facebook?

By the way, Ello is not just a social network for photographers. I’ve met some amazing creative writers, thinkers, and purveyors of all sorts of culture there.

There are communities there building on things like finance, tech, science, politics, etc. It’s an open inclusive community.

It’s also where I spend almost all of my online time these days. So, if you notice I’m quiet on Facebook and other networks, it’s not that I’m being quiet, per se, it’s just that I’m hanging out over there at Ello.

Like most new communities online or IRL, it takes some time and energy and effort to make Ello work for you, but it’s a far more rewarding experience and worth it and I’m happy about doing my own part to participate in something better.

If you are new to Ello here are some tips for you.

You can find me on Ello here.

Mophie… the Best thing to happen to the iPhone since the iPhone

Mophie... the Best thing to happen to the iPhone since the iPhone

I’m a huge fan of Mophie. I started using the juice pack plus about a year and a half ago and since using it have never once ran out of battery power on my iPhone 5s. Even using it during a long day out shooting, somehow the I always end up making it through an entire day of heavy use. The great thing about the juice pack plus is that it is also a case for your iPhone. I’ve dropped my iPhone a few times and was happy that I had my juice pack plus on it to help protect it.

Last week Mophie sent me one of their new powerstation plus charging units. You connect this device up to any USB port and it holds up to 2 full charges for your iPhone. It’s super small and lightweight and is another perfect complement to my iPhone. Even though I’m not worried about running out of power with my juice pack plus case on, it will be convenient to have this unit around in case my friends (right Mr. Mingus?) run out of juice on their phone while hanging out with them.

It will also be a convenient thing to have around if I’m too lazy to go plug my phone into the regular wall charger. I will keep this new Mophie powerstation plus in my photo backpack and take it with me everywhere I go.

Like a lot of places, Mophie is having a black Friday 40% off sale today. Use the code POWER. If you’ve been waiting to pick up a Mophie, today’s the day. :)

Thanks Mophie, you guys rock!

The Controversy Around Flickr Selling Creative Commons Licensed Photos

Douglas MacMillan has an article out in the Wall Street Journal today about the controversy surrounding Flickr selling prints of Creative Commons photos and not paying contributors for these images. It should be stressed that Flickr is only doing this on Creative Commons licensed photos where free commercial use is permitted by the license. If you license your photos Creative Commons Non-Commercial, this does not include you.

In the article he quotes Flickr founder Stewart Butterfield: “Yahoo’s plan to sell the images appears “a little shortsighted,” said Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield, who left the company in 2008. “It’s hard to imagine the revenue from selling the prints will cover the cost of lost goodwill.”

In addition to the Creative Commons photos that Flickr is selling and not paying photographers for use (legally), they are also handpicking other photos for this sales effort and here they are offering photographers 51% of the revenue on sales of these images who have agreed to participate.

My two cents:

I think it’s important that each photographer fully understand how the license that they are using with their photos online works. It is first and foremost the photographer’s responsibility to understand licensing. Creative Commons is a wonderful and liberal way to share your photos. It’s not for everyone though. You choose how your photos are licensed on Flickr though. By default Flickr licenses images “all rights reserved,” the most restrictive license available. So only photographers who have gone in and changed their license to a more liberal license would be affected by this.

I license my images Creative Commons Non-Commercial. This is one of several variations of the Creative Commons license. This means that people can use my images for personal use or non-profit organizations can use them, but folks like Yahoo/Flickr and others Continue reading "The Controversy Around Flickr Selling Creative Commons Licensed Photos"

10 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Ello

10 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Ello

Ello is the most exciting new social network to appear in years. It’s a vibrant place full of interesting thinkers and artists — I spend more time on Ello than any other network right now. Every day new and interesting people are signing up, plugging in and joining. Although Ello is a social network like many others, it is also unlike many others as well. Ello has it’s own way of organizing things and after spending a few months on the site I thought I’d share some best practices for getting the most out of Ello.

1. NSFW. As a community with a lot of artists as early members, Ello seems to have a healthy tolerance for all forms of expression, including fine art nudes and other adult oriented material. I’m a big fan of the human body as form and expression and think this is great.

You won’t be bounced off Ello or censored (like Facebook) because you express the beauty of the human body in your art. If this sort of work is your thing, then Ello asks that you set your account as NSFW. I’m guessing that if you don’t do this voluntarily, they can/will do it for you.

Similarly, it is up to you whether or not you want to *see* this sort of work on Ello.

These are two independent settings.

So there are two things for you to consider. Do you want to see NSFW content AND do you yourself in fact post NSFW content. A lot of people get this setting wrong. They check NSFW for both when they produce work that is entirely SFW. Be sure to understand the distinction and manage your settings (you can do that here: https://ello.co/settings) accordingly.

If you are not posting nudes or other adult

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Continue reading "10 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Ello"

Ello, My New Favorite Social Network

ello-40715fdd-0669-4999-bedd-419b07886886

I just spent $40 on a t-shirt.

I don’t think I’ve ever spent $40 on a t-shirt in my life. The t-shirt is a limited edition threadless Ello t-shirt designed by @nopattern.

I’ve been given t-shirts in the past by many social networks and sites. I have a Google+ t-shirt, I have a Facebook t-shirt, I have a Flickr t-shirt, I have a friendfeed t-shirt from back in the day. Twitter never gave me one, but that’s ok. The Ello one I bought for myself though. I like to think that this is some small way that I can help contribute towards the ad-free social experience that quickly has become my favorite of all the networks.

Over at the Atlantic Alexis Madrigal has an article out today titled “The Fall of Facebook.” In the article he describes a certain “soullessness” of Facebook and writes about the unease that people increasingly have with Facebook’s advertising network.

A few weeks ago, when the San Francisco Giants clinched the World Series, my wife took a photograph of our children and family celebrating the win. Not being particularly privacy conscious when it comes to social media, she added a name for the location, “Hawkville” without realizing that through this process she was creating a new permanent “place” on Facebook that was geotagging our home.

Friends quickly liked both the post and the new “place” and in a matter of hours we were much more public on Facebook than I wanted to be. After realizing that she’d made this mistake, my wife removed the location tag from the photo – but what she couldn’t remove was the new permanent “place” on Facebook, “Hawkville,” which geotagged our home’s exact and precise location against our wishes.

Because I’ve had issues with impersonation on Facebook in the Continue reading "Ello, My New Favorite Social Network"

The Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM, My New Favorite Wide Angle Canon L Series Lens

My Friend Chihuly Says Hi

I almost didn’t purchase the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM lens. I remember a conversation when I bought it a few years back on Google+ with my good pal Gordon Laing where I was really debating buying it. It was in pre production and I had an order in with B&H but it hadn’t shipped yet. At around $1,400 the lens felt expensive for what I worried might be an oddball lens, a lens useful for making a few high impact fisheye shots but not good for much else.

I’m happy to say that I did buy the EF 8-15mm fisheye lens and that I couldn’t be more happy about that decision.

My main dilemma with the EF 8-15mm fisheye was that I already owned the excellent EF 24mm f/1.4 lens and EF 14mm f/2.8 lens, and so I felt like I had the whole wide angle world covered. Now I find that I use this lens at 15mm much more than either my EF 24mm f/1.4 lens and EF 14mm f/2.8 lens and get what feels to me to be a remarkable more normal non fishy looking wide angle shot. Yes, you can tell it came from a fisheye lens at 15mm, but barely and I love the slightest degree of distortion I get there artistically speaking.

Welcome to Caesars

Of course I have way more fun shooting this lens at 8mm and have found that beyond traditional fisheye subjects, this lens has opened up a whole new world to me when it comes to shooting more abstractly — especially with architecture. I find these days my EF 14mm lens stays in my bag and instead I put on my EF 8-15mm fisheye lens for almost every ceiling photo I take.

I find this lens gets me

Underground
Meet You at the Cosmopolitan
You Give Your Hand to Me
If You Can Find Her
Your Love is My Favorite Color
Time for a Beer?
Your Love is My Favorite Color
Penchant
Continue reading "The Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM, My New Favorite Wide Angle Canon L Series Lens"