Mark Myerson loves photography, and in particular, hanging around waterfalls! Landscapes and nature have always been his staple, but he relishes any opportunity to take pictures. He also works closely with many local charities, regularly providing photographic coverage of fundraising events.
Mark is also a self-confessed tech-head and OSX lover – Apple is his favourite fruit!
Mark is the owner of Zillion Photography, a Devon-based business that provides a large variety of photographic services to the local community and beyond. Whilst Zillion Photography specialises in event, commercial and pet photography, almost every type of photographic assignment has been covered by the company.
If you have any photography or OSX-related questions, you can contact Mark via the links given below.
Company: Zillion Photography
Photo Credit: © 2011 Mark Myerson
Be sure to check out all of Mark’s great articles below.
Whilst you can just go out and buy a frame for printed pictures, digital images need the help of some software to make them stand out. LightFrame uses OSX’s in-built textures to superimpose digital frames around your pictures, but is it a presentation improver or degrader?
As a photographer, my main focus is landscapes, and my style is to try to keep my images realistic. Often, this means just using one well-balanced exposure, but at times, I need to use more than one exposure to capture what my eyes saw. Personally, I prefer to blend multiple images in Photoshop, by hand, but other photographers like the effect that HDR brings. For these folks, Photomatix is currently the king of HDR apps; amongst the challengers for Photomatix’s throne is Hydra – but is it regal material?
MacPhun is now releasing SnapHeal version 2.0, complete with new features and better processing. But do the upgrades take SnapHeal from Photoshop wannabe to Photoshop rival?
Since the dawn of time – well, of Photoshop, anyway – photographers have taken pictures, loaded them into their photo editor, and then seen the tempting “art” filters, only to be disappointed by them time and time again. Alien Skin’s Snap Art 3 is a plug-in for Photoshop, Elements and Lightroom, which attempts to deliver a better in-computer art experience to photographers. But is it a Caravaggio, or more of a crayon?
I often come back from photoshoots with a bucketload of pictures, which all need sorting through. And whilst the reams of metadata can be useful for re-finding pictures at a later date, sometimes you just want to sort your pictures in a simple but fast manner. This is the idea of PhotoSweeper – a lightweight image sorter.
Upsizing, with current technology, is one of the thorniest tasks you can perform on an image. In this review we’ll take a look at AKVIS Magnifier to see how well it performs.
Some of you will upload your pictures to Flickr or Facebook, but many of you will have your own website. And some of you with some technical nous may prefer to self-host and will be aware of the limitations on storage space web hosts often impose. This means that the number of high quality images you can upload to your website can be severely limited. JPEGmini is a service which is likely to relieve these pains…
Aren’t panoramas dramatic? I think so, certainly, and given the number of images which I see online that are as wide as a bus, there are plenty of other photographers out there who like the format. Panoramic images do come with a down-side, however – you have to spend hours stitching them together. Photoshop does a reasonable job, but what about if you want a simple, quick stitch? This is the niche which the app DoubleTake is aiming to fill.
Photo, all-rounder that it is, has a fine slideshow builder, which is getting better with every edition of iLife. iPhoto’s effort, however, isn’t comprehensive, and so there is room for other apps to fill the void. Xilisoft Photo Slideshow Maker is one such app, but is it the offering you should invest in?
When you take a photo, what do you do with it? I imagine you upload to your Mac, tweak it in iPhoto/Aperture/Lightroom/Photoshop, and then share it in some way – either digitally or in print. But what happens when you prepare your images for sharing online? You’ll no doubt resize them, and many photographers like to protect their images with a watermark. It is these two functions that Photora aims to make simple and easy, but is it just an unnecessary step in your workflow?
It is a given that most photographers who are Mac users will, at some point, use iPhoto to organise their images and perform simple edits. And whilst iPhoto is a polished product, it is by no means perfect. Shoebox, by KavaSoft, is a simple alternative to iPhoto, but is it realistic as a replacement?
Photos look great on paper, but if you need to display your images on-screen, or using a projector, you’re going to need an app that will showcase your photos beautifully. Boinx, the well-established software company most famous for animation app iStopMotion, has its own entrant into the slideshow market – PhotoPresenter 4 – but will this app be the answer to your slideshow requirements?
Many of the apps I review in this column are stacked full of features and, seemingly, developers seem to think that more really is more. ACDSee Photo Flash is as far from these do-it-all apps as it’s possible to be, but will the traditional adage of “less is more” ring true for this minimalist app?
I have reviewed a number of simple editing apps in this column, many of which are effects-based. But suppose you don’t want to make your picture look like a badly exposed polaroid, yet still would like the simple operation that apps like CameraBag 2 have? Today’s app is cf/x photo, which aims to fit just this description – but will it fill the niche?
What’s better than a great photo? Lots of great photos on the same sheet of paper, of course; and so the collage creation app is born. Or should I say, “apps,” as this is not a niche market. Today’s app, Picture Collage Maker Lite, is one of many, but will it be this app that is the remedy for all of your multi-photo cravings?
Look in the Mac App Store photography section, and you’ll see a number of tilt-shift apps but not so many dedicated to standard blurring of fore- and backgrounds. Perhaps this is because of the relative complexity involved in making depth-of-field blur look realistic in software. Can Big Aperture for Mac be the go-to app for this task?
Unlike many of the apps I review in this series, today’s is neither new on the market, nor new to me. In fact, I have been using it for years now, so it’s about time I shared the brilliance of The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE) with you.
So you have a Mac? And you want to make your images look better? But you can’t be bothered to use iPhoto’s manual editing controls? And you want to use auto-enhancement on batch images? And you’re willing to pay two-thirds of the price of Photoshop Elements to get something that performs this function only (which, of course, Elements can do – a lot better)? Well, whilst I would suggest that you are a fairly niche target market, the market that you represent is catered for (or so the makers, VeprIT, hope anyway) by Photo Sense for Mac.
The original CameraBag was one of the first style and edit apps, not only on Mac, but on iPhone too. It was well built, and performed well, but since then it has been trumped by FX Photo Studio Pro (see my review) in this category. Now, however, the folks at NeverCenter have come back fighting, with their new offering, CameraBag 2.
“DAMN!” – you’ve taken a world-beating image, but just as you’re about to Google “Wanderlust photo competition,” a terrible reality dawns on you. There is some pesky passer-by’s blurred head in the bottom corner. What are you going to do?
Teorex, the makers of Inpaint, would no doubt suggest that you head for their app.
For whatever reason, all photographers at some point need to play around with digital image sizing. Photoshop is often used, mostly due to its already prominent place in most photographers’ workflows, whilst hardcore upscalers invest in Genuine Fractals (now known as Perfect Resize). BenaVista hopes that some may turn to their own contender in this market, PhotoZoom Pro…
For some time now, I have admired and used Pixlr-o-matic for adding style to my images. Only now, however, can I feature it in this column, as a Mac version has recently been released.
MacPhun have been pretty prolific recently, and not to the detriment of app quality – FX Photo Studio and Color Splash Studio were both highly polished releases. Now, they have a new offering, SnapHeal.
I, for one, am a fan of the tilt-shift effect. From miniaturisation of objects in images taken from on high, to Lensbaby-style artistic focus targeting, the results are always interesting. The only problem is that tilt-shift lenses are very difficult to operate. Many photographers have turned to Photoshop to recreate the tilt-shift effect digitally. The “does-what-it-says-on-the-tin” TiltShift (for Mac) tries to persuade that it is a better option.
Colour or monochrome? Always a tough decision, but sometimes you don’t need to make that call – you can have a bit of both. Colour-popping – the retention of colour saturation in one part of a monochrome image – is becoming more and more popular. Recently, a number of colour-popping specialist apps, particularly on touch-screen devices, have emerged, and the newest kid on the block is Color Splash Studio
The charm of grain and of other imperfections adding to an image’s character is but a distant memory. Now, grain, dirt, burnt-out whites and blacks, and an inaccurate white balance seem to be a staple part of the photographic experience of most iPhone users. Grungetastic for Mac aims for cater to those who like this type of stylising in particular, and who either don’t have an iPhone or don’t want their iPhone to be part of the process.
The concept of CloudApp is one of seamless sharing of virtually any file, and from a photographer’s point of view, is a quick and simple method of sharing images online.
There are many simplistic collage apps out there, allowing for images to be slung onto an imaginary piece of paper. Many of these produce results that are less than attractive. Posterino tries to raise the bar in this genre.
Many swear by the grain-combating qualities of Noise Ninja, but this isn’t the only app that does a fine job of reducing noise – Neat Image should also be considered as an option.
I have reviewed a few effects apps for Mac in this series, and used many more. Some have been good, some limited, some very average. Having used FX Photo Studio Pro, however, I can say that anyone who purchases this app may never need another effects app again.
Back in the heyday of film photography, the effects of light leaking, blue flash and print yellowing were often bemoaned by many photographers striving for the best quality. As digital camera image quality has become exemplary, however, many people are using phone cameras and apps to recreate these effects to reignite their creativity – an example app being Lo-Fi.
Most Mac users use iPhoto to organise and view pictures, or an alternative such as Picasa. These work beautifully with jpegs and other similarly small files. If you want to shoot in RAW, however, these apps start to struggle when you want to flick through your latest uploads. Does Photon provide the solution?
Instagram, and Hipstamatic before it, made both the stylizing and sharing of photos on iOS devices easy. What the Mac needs is a unique photo-styling app of its own; enter Poladroid.
Often, the simple and humble slideshow is overlooked in these days of Instagram and Flickr, which is criminal given how great they are for sharing a group of pictures. One of a growing field of apps that aids the building of slideshows is ePic.
I came across the app PhotoEffectsLite at the top of the free photography downloads. As I often do, I decided to download and try it, in the full knowledge that it may be another tacky technicolour-adding photo app.
ImageConvert is a simple app that allows drag-and-drop file conversions. ImageConvert is probably one of the simplest apps available in any genre, providing the user with just two options – preferences or quit.
HDRtist is freeware, and as you might expect, doesn’t come with that many options; this is very much a “plug & play” app. But for occasional or first-time HDR users, the results are reasonably impressive.
Anyone who shares their images online does so at the risk of their images being downloaded and used by pesky image thieves. Professionals, of course, aim to prevent this by watermarking their images, but considering it is such a routine thing, there are only a few Mac applications that deal with this task well.
There are innumerable iOS apps that calculate hyperfocal distance – the distance where the focus must be in order to achieve the maximum depth of field. OptiCalc provides this service on OSX, as well as calculating the size (in meters) of the depth of field, and the minimum shutter speed needed to prevent blur.
My quest when writing my Mac App reviews is to clarify the selection process for those who want an App that ‘just works.’