photo app

Photo Gear Reviews: Canon, Leica, Fuji and Apps

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There is news on the photographic equipment market. Canon announced the new entry-level photo camera Rebel T5i and the tiny new Rebel SL1 DSLR. Read a detailed review of the T5i and the 18-55 mm kit lens by PetaPixel here. The Canon Rebel T5i can be a nice entry-level camera suitable for photographic safaris. Maybe a basic one or two hour photography course would do good to learn about the camera features and to get started operating it, to make sure its right from the start fun!

Fujifilm’s XP200 and S8400W are under review by PetaPixel as well. Read the complete reviews
here and learn about their ruggedness and zoom. The XP lets you conquer any outdoor adventure and the S8400W is ideal when you shoot usually from a great distance.

For all who are phone-photo-snapping enthusiasts there is the new Digital Native App, that lets you shoot raw images with your iPhone. They claim to be the first to do that and the results look great. Have a look

And last but not least there is a comparing sensor review by DxOMark of the Leica M Typ 240 with Sony, Canon and Nikon. The Leica is not doing so well, but Leica lovers say that the sensor is already great for a digital Leica. See yourself

Have fun!

Ute Sonnenberg for

The Downside of Photo Apps: Instagram

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It was so much fun, snapping away with Instagram, having fun choosing a fancy filter and sharing it right away with your social network. That was almost a year ago and many has change since then.

It started with the photo app getting slower with every update. Somehow they managed to make the app more complicated with the same features. Just so many steps have to be completed and decisions to be made before being able to shoot the next photo.

Then Facebook bought Instagram for an astronomic amount of money and the updates felt more and more like Facebook strategy of tightening up the service for total control and merger with the social network. Now the next step was taken with the new user terms and conditions with as a result a huge outcry of the Instagram users from photo journalists to
National Geographic and everyday snappers. Instagram can sell your images without telling you for advertising, and you won’t see any payment, you won’t even know.

It is a very confusing and disturbing matter. National Geographic as paused their Instagram account and might erase it, if the terms are indeed of that meaning. People went onto the streets to protest against it and a whole wave of blog posts is trying to explain what’s going on.

Most worrying is also the mention that the Instagram terms are pretty much the same now as the Facebook terms, which would mean that Facebook can sell you photos without telling you and mostly using them as they wish.

Where is this going? It is like anything people like, enjoy and love is kidnapped, held hostage and abused by greedy powers or going more the psychological path, narcissistic powers?

Read more about it in the listed blog posts below:

Instagram changes terms of service, but will pro photographers flee anyway?


No, Instagram can't sell your photos: what the new terms of service really mean

Why I Quit Instagram

Instagram Clearly Hates You, So Quit

New Terms of Use for Instagram: Selling Your Photos Against Your Will 

Why Instagram is Great for Photographers, and Why You Shouldn’t Use It

Facebook Poisons Instagram For Its Most Valuable Users: Real Photographers

Ute Sonnenberg for

Andy Warhol: The Visual Arts and Photo Apps

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When Andy Warhol created these images nobody even thought that there would be a thing like Instagram one day. He brought the visual arts to new heights by playing with “filters” and color distortion and created the most appealing pop art paintings millions still love today.

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Nowadays we all can be Warhols by using apps like Instagram and Hipstamatic to give our images the on the snap arty touch. Would he have liked it? Most likely he would have wielded the apps like nobody else, creating visual art at its best. So what can we learn from him? Probably the use of yellow, a color that screams at you and yet you keep looking. It’s that unrestricted use of color that strikes and that might also be the secret behind the success of photo apps like Instagram and Hipstamatic. You can go wild!

Keep enjoying it and add some Warhol to your

Ute Sonnenberg for

Make a Photo Book & Photo Magazine with Your iPhone

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Not that long ago I was wondering when there would be online tools to make eBooks with easy templates and sharable immediately in social media. I haven’t found yet something to work from the computer, but there are two cute iPhone apps that get very close to the idea.

Mixbook has a new app called Mosaic that allows you to make a photo book with your iPhone. You choose 20 images from your photo library and the app creates a virtual photo book from the selection. Then you choose a background color and shuffle the cover images and that’s it. Mixbook gets your photo book printed and delivered to where you want it.

The other app is
Beamr. It allows you to create a photo magazine from your iPhone. Just select images from your photo library, choose a cover, the app will add some text (you can change the cover text) and create your magazine.

Probably the nicest part is that you can share your magazine immediately and the recipients can save the images in full resolution. This app has still room for improvement, like the images cannot be arranged in any way and there is only one cover, but it’s already great to make this little cute magazine.

Check it out, its quick and easy done and its fun.

Ute Sonnenberg for

How to Use Photo Apps in an Intuitive Way

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How many photo apps do you have on your iPhone and how do you use them?
Lets look at I
nstagram, Hipstamatic, 645 Pro and Polamatic. From the technical-practical point of view I must say that the process of finalizing an image in Instagram takes to long for my taste and in Hipstamatic the preparation process of choosing a film, lens and flash is rather complicated. Both technical aspects are somehow disturbing for the intuitional and creative workflow. Yet the filters are a highly intuitive tool, expressing how the photographer experiences the moment.

645 Pro



By observing myself in using the different photo apps I realized that the choice of the app depends on the subject and how I see and experience it. Already the choice of the app is intuitive, connected to the feel and look of the photographic subject. Imagine you are walking through a big garden with different sections. One part is forest like with huge trees, another one is with ponds and water features and again another one is a rose garden. For the forest like and open sections I tend to use 645 Pro with the different ratio options. Only occasionally when some objects in the garden asked for attention I changed to Instagram. The rose garden became an entirely Hipsatmatic experience, giving it the old English rose garden feeling. I did not use the Polamatic app, although it is a great tool to create images with descriptions in the old Polaroid style. Probably it’s the right tool when one needs additional words to say something.
Anyway, when using Instagram and Hipstamatic I preferred to choose one setting for all shots, because otherwise I couldn’t just shoot away and let the seeing of subjects flow. At least Hipstamatic lets you shoot away once you choose your settings. Instagram asks processing decision once you took the image and I find this disturbing, which makes it not an easy to shoot away tool.

So, how to use the apps the intuitive way and how to make the right choices? First of all know your apps and what they can do for you. Be familiar with their workflows and know what which setting means for your photographs. Then tune it to the place where you are and understand how you feel about it. Then choose the app that can translate your feeling the best way. And now shoot away.

Happy intuitive app snapping!

Ute Sonnenberg for