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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Good, Cheap Software

At a recent gathering of photographers I swapped knowledge with a bunch of other people. I was able to pass on a fair bit of information on studio lighting, which is an area I am pretty competent at.

In return - I was clued into some interesting pieces of software, pitched at the consumer on a budget.

I was aware of ACDsee's Photo Browser, but had never seen their print studio software demonstrated before. It turns out to be quite a convenient tool for positioning multiple images on any size of page and adding template components such as frames and calendars.

The second package I saw was Breeze Browser Pro, a sophisticated photobrowser that amongst other things, generates web & thumbnail pages very easily.

Both pieces of software have time-limited free trials, so you can decide if they are going to do the job you need before purchasing... I am tinkering with them at the moment.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

America 24/7 and Britain in Pictures

From a bargain book store, I picked up the dead trees version of this online photography project, the result of which was an truly impressive collection of photographs, one collection per state and a super-set covering the whole of the USA.

Its not a new project to be sure, but I was very impressed by the book and I am happy you can see it online.

Meanwhile, I caught this TV series on BBC4 recently. Tom Ang provides professional photographers with unfamiliar cameras, in each case consumer grade digital cameras, then challenges them to take photographs of their local environment.

The show is a companion piece to a program about British architecture and as such, each episode takes us to a new region within the UK and features three different photographers from that area. The most interesting part of the show for me was comparing their differing styles, tastes and ways of working. Personally though, I think I would have preferred a program with a greater emphasis on instruction - still its nice to see any kind of TV program on photography.

There is a flickr group accompanying the series, where members of the public can contribute.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Jessops in financial difficulties

So Jessops is struggling. I can't say I am massively surprised. What happened to Dixons previously is now happening to them

I rather liked Jessops, for the single reason that the staff I met always seemed to know their stuff gear-wise, though it seems my experience may have been unusual.

Around two years ago I noticed that Jessops were making big changes to their stock, massively simplifying it. The unusual bits and bobs one tends to collect as a serious photographer started to disappear from the shelves and only be available on pre-order. This left Jessops bricks-and-mortar stores with a core set of products and services - printing, consumer and prosumer grade digital cameras and a much reduced selection of accessories.

Unfortunately, the stuff they chose to focus on can be bought from plenty of other outlets, including online where price competition is fierce. Result - Jessops went from a fairly specialist camera retailer to being just a more expensive place to get a memory card.