Mpix: Professional Results at a Fraction of the Cost!

For the last few years I have been seeking a competent online photography printing lab that would offer excellent quality but also provide the convenience of a local business. Some of my students have used a site called Printroom with varying results.

Last year I heard a rumor that a professional printing company located in Pittsburg, KS (that has been around for decades and caters to professional photographers all over the country!) was opening its services to everyone. Well, after a bit of research online the rumor was, it turns out, false. BUT, the company has started a website called Mpix that offers all the same services that they offer to professionals....so, I guess, the rumor is a bit true!

I looked through the tour offered on the website and liked the services that they offered but I haven't had time to check out the quality of their prints.

The very next day I spoke to Mrs. Dekat (Topeka West journalism teacher) about Mpix. Unbeknownst to me she had used their services that same evening. She informed me a few days later that she had uploaded her images on a Thursday evening and had received her prints in the mail by Saturday! What a turn-a-round!! Mrs. Dekat proceeded to show me one of the wallets that she had ordered and the quality was fantastic!

So if you are looking for an economical online printing service that offers more than high quality prints (they also offer mounting boards, canvas wraps, calendars, standouts, puzzles, magnets......) browse over to www.mpix.com and check out their tour.

Their motto: "Shoot today. Upload tonight. We ship tomorrow."


Obama Official Family Portrait

[from www.msnbc.msn.com] "President Barack Obama and his family released their official first family portrait [last] Friday, shot by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz.

The president and first lady are shown smiling, with the arms of their daughters, Sasha and Malia, draped around them. The picture was taken Sept. 1 as the first family sat in an informal pose in the White House’s Green Room.

Leibovitz has frequented the White House in the last few months for a series of portraits for Vanity Fair. According to the magazine, the photographer’s relationship with the first family goes back to 2004, when Barack Obama was running for the U.S. Senate. She shot his family at the campaign headquarters, long before he was in the running for the presidency."

To download a copy of the First Family's official portrait visit the White House Flickr page.


Corey Holms: Graphic Designer & Photographer

[from www.coreyholms.com] "Located in Southern California, Corey Holms has juggled working for large agencies and running a private practice for a decade. Focusing on the fields of identity, type and entertainment design, his clients range from small boutiques to large multi-national firms.

His work can be seen internationally in books and design magazines, for which he also writes articles on typography and type history.

Corey’s commercially available typefaces are distributed through YouWorkForThem.com and Veer.com.

Corey's commercially available photography is distributed through Getty Images."

(The following images were created using primarily food dye, vegetable oil, and water.)

To view more of Corey's Food Dye images, view his Flickr photo set here. Or, look at the rest of his photo stream on Flickr.


FREE Photo Editing Tools!

With more students shooting digitally and having easier accessibility to the internet (both at school and at home), there are literally hundreds of online tools that students can use to edit their photos.

Back in March of this year I wrote about Picnik, which I heard about from my photography students. It has now become a photo-editing tool that many of my students use in advanced photography. Picnik is a cool site that has lots of possibilities but it is also limiting it what the student can do to their images (unless you have the funds to pay for the "premium access").

So in this post I thought I would also introduce several other sites that have popped up (or at least gained in notoriety) that budding photographers can use...for free...to edit their images, or at least have fun playing around with them!

Fun Photo Box is less of an image editor and more of a fun place to insert your images into pre-existing images...like movie posters, covers of magazines, on the side of a building, or a gigantic billboard. The results can be surprisingly funny and realistic!

(created at funphotobox.com)

TiltShiftMaker uses selective focus to give the illusion that your photo is actually a recreation of a miniature scale model of the original image. [From Wikipedia.com] "Miniature faking is a process in which a photograph of a life-size location or object is made to look like a photograph of a miniature scale model. Blurring parts of the photo simulates the shallow depth of field normally encountered in close-up photography, making the scene seem much smaller than it actually is; the blurring can be done either optically when the photograph is taken, or by digital post-processing. Many faked-miniature photographs are taken from a high angle to simulate the effect of looking down on a miniature." To completely understand the effect you need to look at examples, and there are plenty on the site, but I have provided an example below from an image that I took at the Continental Divide in Colorado this past summer.

(created at tiltshiftmaker.com)

Mozaiq doesn't add special effects to your images, rather it rebuilds your image out of thousands of other images that are already loaded onto the site. Zoom in closer to see the images that make up the collage. This could be a fun way to share images or to create a unique desktop image for your computer!

(created at mozaiq.org)

Another unique way to display your images, without using any special editing tools, is to create a different kind of collage with Photovisi. Start with selecting one of fifteen layouts, upload your images, crop or rotate them, move them around, and then let Photovisi do the rest!

(created at www.photovisi.com)

Big Huge Labs is another online site where you can select from dozens of filters to make your photos into motivational posters, jigsaw puzzles, add a border to your images, or use the Hockneyizer to create an image collage made famous by American artist David Hockney (see below).

(created at bighugelabs.com)

Of course I have saved the best for last! For those of you (or parents) who own an iPhone, www.photoshop.com has just released (for FREE!!) Photoshop.com Mobile App for the iPhone. [from www.maclife.com] "The new app is free and gives you access to your Photoshop.com gallery and gives you the ability to edit photos on your iPhone and upload them to Photoshop.com (up to 2GB of storage). Adobe states the storage equals over 1,500 photos. That's a lot of cat pictures. The new app allows user to crop, rotate, flip and adjust the color of photos on your iPhone, including the ability to transform the image to black and white. Most of these controls are utilized via gestures. Slide your finger to the left or right to adjust the exposure for example."

Oh yeah!! I've already downloaded the app and started playing with the photos in my iPhone library!


Galleries Submitted by Photosynthesis Viewers

Photography enthusiasts that have been viewing the Photosynthesis Blog have been emailing to inform me of photography galleries that they have viewed while exploring the tens of thousands of websites that are available online.

Another huge thanks to Mitch Montague who earlier this semester submitted a link to new images by photographer Michael Bosanko. This time Mitch found some really awesome "painting with light" images by a group of photographers who call themselves LAPP (Light Art Performance Photography). Their images are mind-boggling!! Take a look at a few of their "performances" and check out the rest of their images at http://www.lapp-pro.de/.


Mrs. Avery Ayers-Berry (who teaches art at Shawnee Heights High School) shared a link to an online gallery located at www.deviantart.com. The gallery belongs to an artist who calls herself Sugarock99. Not much information about her on her DeviantArt page...but I believe her images speak plenty for her! Underwater photography is so extremely difficult. I hope you enjoy her images as much as I did!! To see all of Sugarock99's gallery click on this link. And to read how Sugarock99 creates her images click here.

Thanks again Avery and Mitch! If any readers of the blog see anything photographically cool that they would enjoy sharing with the rest of our viewers please feel free to send me an email: jberryma@topeka.k12.ks.us.


Toy Camera Look for the Digital Age: the Lensbaby!

Late last year I ordered a new lens for the advanced photography students to use...possibly adding some diversity to their portfolios. I took it home over the summer to "put it through its paces"....and it stayed in my photography bag all summer. So today, on this beautiful fall afternoon, I decided to go out an take some images with this new lens and see what I could come up with. May I introduce......the Lensbaby!!

The Lensbaby is a selective focus lens for use with either a film or digital SLR camera body. With most lenses the greatest area of focus is directly in the center of the lens. But with the Lensbaby the lens actually moves (!!) allowing the photographer to creatively control the area of focus.

Some photographers like the "look" or "visual feel" of a camera with a cheap lens...such as the Holga. But, those same photographers may not want to shoot with film when it is hard to come by and expensive to process. The Lensbaby creates a visually appealing image while still allowing the photographer to work with their favorite digital/film SLR.

Lensbaby offers three different lens systems all based on control and price. The Muse lets you shoot fast and loose and won't dent your savings account at $100-150. The Composer (what I bought) offers a lot more control without having to lock the lens into place ($270). While the Control Freak is for the photographer who wants to sacrifice nothing for ultimate control ($350)!

There are a ton of sample images on the Lensbaby website that you can check out here. But, before you go, take a look at the images that I took around campus. I only shot for about an hour and I can already tell you: "I love this lens!!"


Wow! Check out this comment made about this post on the same day that it was published: "Hey Mr. Berryman I love your images as well as your enthusiasm about the Lensbaby! My name is Angela Morris and I work in the Education department of Lensbaby. I don't know if you have heard but we do have a great student and educator discount at 25% off all our products! Very sorry if you missed out on this but if any of your students or colleges want one let them know. Again it's great to have another fan!!" (How cool is that??)