If Apple’s iPhoto seems to take over your photo collection and organize it in such a way that takes up three times more space on your hard-disk than it has to, or if you simply have a whole lot of photographs on your computer still in their DCIM folders in no order whatsoever, then Exiftool is for you.

Exiftool by Phil Harvey

Exiftool Screenshot

Exiftool is an command-line (AKA command prompt) basedapplication that allows one to read, write, and edit meta information stored in the EXIF data of every image. EXIF data can retain every single piece of information about a photograph taken with a digital camera including date, time, lens, focal length, shutter speed, ISO rating, camera name, camera owner name, last edit date, and much more.

My favourite use for this program would have to be its ability to automate a folder of images into new folders determined and labeled by date, or to automate different labels for each image file by date, or what-have-you. Depending on one’s knowledge of command-line environments like Terminal the options are virtually endless.

In fact, Exiftool does much more than help you organize your photographs, and there are probably a ton of features that I don’t even know about just yet. The fact remains, this application is robust with features and is pure gold for anyone trying to manage their photographs and for anyone who wants to edit, write, and read meta information.

A simple, command-line based application, Exiftool is a little difficult to jump into, or rather, it can be. Command-line interfaces are never the most accessable, but for photographers that don’t mind learning a little bit, the Exiftool webpage is actually a tremendous resource.

Installation on Mac OS X is as simple as most programs, but running it is a little different in that you must open a Terminal window and find the directory that contains your photographs, and then implement Exiftool using the commands found at the Exiftool webpage. Getting into all of the commands within this post would surely make this very lengthy so I recommend you visit Phil Harvey’s Exiftool webpage and take your time going through the various sections so that you can get a good understanding of how it is implemented.

While I don’t own a PC, the installation instructions for PC are straight forward, yet they could be a little unfamiliar to those used to just double-clicking an install file. Again, with this it is very important to take your time and read what’s relevant to your platform (be it PC or Mac).

If you are absolutely clueless about command line interfaces and are on a Mac using OS X then check this link to learn more. If PC is your platform and you are also in need of some command-line information then check this link to learn more on that.

In scoring this program for a rating, I have docked .2 simply because there is no GUI (graphical user interface) which would really make this program accessible to everyone. Still, for an open source power house of an application, no GUI and all this ability is okay by me.

Reviews: Exiftool by Phil Harvey – 4.8/5
WebpageOS X DownloadPC Download

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I, like many who like to take photographs, am addicted to Flickr. I love it. I want it near me always. I want to bask in the billions of amazing photographs and in the short, segmented dialogue offered by a “Post a Comment” field. I love being able to look through groups so I can find a specific kind of image, I love being able to wade through hundreds of photographs at the slide of my thumb without any end!

Sadly a lot of that is missing in the Flickr app for the iPhone. You can access a meager three of the many different components of the actual Flickr webpage, and while this may be a ploy to get us to our desktop for the regular Flickr webpage, it may also limit the more serious Flickr user from components he or she could use on the webpage.

iPhone Flickr App > Recent Activity screen

On the webpage we find the ability to upload images. The app also has this functionality. The Flickr webpage allows you to browse images, groups, images by groups, and to add your photos to sets and collections of your own, view Favorited images and Gallery images, and gives you the ability to submit your images to groups. The Flickr app lets you view Favorited images, your own and your contacts’ photostream and sets, but lacks the Gallery images, collections, and group submissions.

This app delivers but is similar to having a fully functioning body when you’re at home, and having a less functioning body when you’re out and about. It simply is lacking some components that may easily be overlooked by the less anal consumer, but that have been noticed in my observation. I love Flickr, I love the iPhone, but I also love robustness and the Flickr app is not exactly a specimen of robust iPhone app development.

Although you may expect a really low rating given my post, I believe I’ve given the app a decent grade in that I simply docked .8 for lack of robust features that would appeal greatly to Flickr’s user-base, and I’ve kept the rating above 4 because the app does deliver with the features it does have.

App Reviews: Flickr – 4.2/5
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Adobe Photoshop steps in again to help you get that cross-processed look on your images and photographs. Simply put, what you want to achieve, is what traditional dark-room techniques achieve when slide film chemicals are used to process print film, and vice versa. Check out this wiki link to learn more on that.

Straight out of the camera (left), cross-processed using tutorial (right)

Before and After

What I found works best I actually came upon on a Flickr tutorial. A quick google search for “getting that cross-processed effect” lead me through several links and eventually Flickr was where I hit the jack pot. It was titled “Vintage Film effect,” but I’ve heard some people refer to cross-processed images that way because it does look somewhat like old film. I will sum up what I think about the steps found in the tutorial, but click here to download the PDF that I found on Flickr. Also, be sure to check out the Photoshop Action so kindly included for us on the Flickr tutorial page.

First off, this tutorial is brilliant. By using adjustment layers in the tutorial, the instruction is simultaneously transforming your photograph while teaching you the power of adjustment layers. Now the experienced Photoshoper has known that adjustment layers are terrific for a long time, it’s a banal detail, but to all who don’t be certain to take in and really sop up the info the tutorial has to offer.

Next the tutorial spirals you through the intimidating world that is the Curves interface. Within this panel you can stretch and compress tones at will, selectively by colour channel, or with all colour channels selected, as well as do many, many other things. I could go on about what those other things are, but instead I’ll recommend that you visit this link on Curves to learn more on that. At any rate, I like the integration of this Curves step because it gives less experienced Photoshopers a chance to learn something new.

The rest of the tutorial involves setting a low opacity layer of solid magenta over your other layers, and flattening the image; a simple step, and just as such, it is simply effective. Playing with the opacity of the final Magenta color cast layer may be something to look at. I’ve set the procedure up into three actions: labeled Hi, Med, Lo, which finish with 22%, 17%, and 9% opacity, respectively, on the Magenta color cast layer. It works. you’ll flatten your image and you’ll love it.

I encourage you to post your results!

iPhone camera > Mill Colour > Looks > Cross processed

The Mill has always been known for amazing visual-effects and the iPhone is fortunate enough to have a free app out there for professional grade colour timing in a “touch and slide,” iPhone-way.

Setting out to help you turn any image, imported, or taken with the iPhone’s built-in camera, Mill Colour  does exactly what it says it will. Importing a photo is a simple tap and touch process, the functionality and accessibility of the interface clearly considered, while still looking the part of a slick imaging app. Additional controls would have been great, and of course that would mean a bigger, perhaps less user friendly app, but with what the app does allow you to do, it is a great, great app. That said, nobody should be holding their breath for any Photoshop-esque app to show up; not a free one at least.

Once you’ve brought an image into Mill Colour, you are given two different things to manipulate: the colour controls, and the looks. The looks refers to all the popular processing techniques and colour timing combinations including a cross-processed look, an instant camera effect, and bleach bypass. Once your image is loaded into the Looks interface, you slide through the different processing effects and save the settings when you feel you’re happy with the result. No problem there. You can also use the colour controls interface to enhance or decrease saturation, lift, and gamma, in red, green, and blue channels.

Concise controls and ease of use really give this app, which is free, a big thumbs up. The app does what it says it will and once you’ve downloaded it, you simply won’t look back. I’m going to have to dock .2 simply because it would have been nice to have a bit more control over the different colour timing effects found in the Looks interface of the app, but other than that, a top pick, and a strongly recommended app for all who are interested.

App Reviews: Mill Colour for the iPhone – 4.8/5
Website: http://www.the-mill.com/
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