All posts tagged photography

→ Kelby Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Serge Ramelli!

Take a few minutes and good look at these pictures. Seriously. Go enjoy them.

→ Some of the Recent New Photography Gear Announcements

New stuff from Canon, Sony, and Fujifilm.

What I Have Been Up To

My blogging on this site has always been somewhat erratic, but it has been even more so lately. Unlike the previous life events that kept me from writing here as frequently, these new developments have been very positive.

First, and most importantly, Elyssa and I got married in May and then went on an epic, 11 day honeymoon at Walt Disney World.1 As you may have guessed, it was a fantastic month.

Speaking of Walt Disney World, I am happy to announce that I am now a blogger on TouringPlans.com. Unlike the Disney-related posts on this site, where I normally link to a news item and provide some kind of brief commentary, my TouringPlans posts are in-depth, analytical pieces about things at Walt Disney World that I am interested in. One of my main goals is have an on going series about staying off-site while visiting the World. I have already posted one article in that series and have also done three other posts that deal with value-based analysis of Walt Disney World vacations. To no one’s surprise, Elyssa has been editing my articles, and she is greatly helping their quality.

The other recent drain on my time has been the launch of Kivus & Camera, a photography business that Elyssa and I are starting together. Both of us have a love for photography, and we both really enjoy capturing the moments in peoples’ lives where they are at their happiest and their best. It serves as a nice counterbalance to our work as attorneys, where we do not always see the best side of people. As part of the launch, Elyssa posted a video and a photo album of a wedding that we shot last month.2 (Of course, if you are interested in our photography services for weddings, family, or even portraits for social media, please feel free to contact us through the new site.)

Speaking of Elyssa, you might notice that both of these new activities are things that her and I do together. That is by design. Our skills really do complement each other in a lot of areas, and it makes working on projects with her super fun. For example, though I have put a good deal of time and effort into launching Kivus & Camera, my efforts pale in comparison to the work Elyssa has done to get everything off the ground. I leveraged some of my technical experience to get the website functioning, but Elyssa has spent nearly all of her free time making sure all the details on the website, the recently shot wedding, the logo, etc… are in order. That is the type of work that I am not a fan of, and she does it very, very well. I am looking forward to working with her on all of these things going forward.

Finally, I do still intend to update this site. I am not sure the exact schedule yet, and my upcoming court calendar might impact things, but I think I’ll always come back to this place. This site just always feels like my true home on the internet.


  1. The honeymoon itself could and should be the subject of post. It included Star Wars Weekends, 24-Hour Days, and a sampling of Disney Dining beyond anything we have ever experienced. Of course, some of the items that stood in the way of me writing on this site also kept me away from finishing up a trip report and associated photo editing for that trip. 

  2. I also relaunched my photography website, which was formerly available at Johnkivus.com as a sub-site of Kivus & Camera. It is now available at photography.kivusandcamera.com. I have been wanting to redo my old site for some time, and the launch of the new business finally gave me the motivation to get it done. I am still not 100% sure on the divide between this site and that one, but I anticipate that most of my photography news will be posted over there

Choosing an Everpix Alternative

The shutdown of Everpix has left some people scrambling to find an alternative photo backup service. It appears Apple may have solved part of the problem by removing the limit on the amount of photos you can store in Photostream. As Shawn Blanc points out , howver, it is unclear what this KB and new FAQ page actually means, and, regardless, it does nothing to address the photo re-discovery problem. Furthermore, this solution would only work for iOS photos and the photos that you upload to your photostream from iPhoto or Aperture.1 Consequently, there is still a need for a photo backup solution that both

  1. easily backs up your photos; and
  2. helps you re-discover the photos that you have previously taken.2

Examined Alternatives

Loom

I believe I first heard about Loom via a tweet or post from M.G. Siegler, and I am pretty sure that said discovery occurred within the last month. Consequently, I think of Loom as the “new kid on the block,” even if that is not actually the case.

Loom has both an iOS application and a Mac uploader. The iOS application is nicely designed and allows for easy uploading of all the pictures you take on your iOS device. The Mac uploader allows you to specify locations that wish to backup and, as of October 4th, 2013, allows for the uploading of RAW files.3

Loom does not have any direct backup support with any of the photography centric social networks like Facebook or Instagram.

Loom provides a “Timeline” view of your photographs, but does not provide any way to easily see photos from “1 year ago today” or similar such “re-discovery features.”

Pricing for Loom comes in three tiers:

  • Up to 5GB – Free
  • Up to 50 GB – $3.99 per month
  • Up to 250 GB – $9.99

Picture Life

Picture Life is a service I had heard about here and there, but, because I was so happy with Everpix, I never really looked into it.. Obviously, that situation has now changed.

Picture Life has an iOS app4 and a Mac uploader. The iOS app is functional, though it lacks the UI polish of Loom.5 Like Loom, however, Picture Life does automatically upload all of your iOS photos from directly within the iOS app. As with Loom, the Mac uploader allows for the selection of locations from which you wish to backup your photos. It also supports the upload of a ton of RAW photo formats.

Unlike Loom, Picture Life does include direct connection to your various social networks. It includes backup from a number of services, including Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, and Tumblr. This is especially nice for seeding your Picture Life account with your most important photos without taxing your personal upload bandwidth.

Picture Life has a “Memories” feature, which is very similar to Everpix’s “Flashback” functionality, and allows you to see photos taken from today’s date in previous years. At this point, however, I am unable to determine if Picture Life is as good at picking out the “best” photos from given date as Everpix was. Instead, it seems like Picture Life just displays all photos from a given day in straight chronological order.

Pricing for Picture Life comes in three tiers:

  • Up to 1,700 Photos or 5GB – Free
  • Up to 34,000 Photos or 100GB – $7
  • Up to 100,000 Photos or 300GB – $15

Mosaic

Mosaic take a different approach to photo backup: it backs up photos by reading your Lightroom catalog. This means, of course, that if you are not a Lightroom user, then Mosaic is not the solution for you.

Because Mosaic is based on backing up photos from Lightroom, there is no direct backup of photos from your iOS devices.6 Instead, all backup to Mosaic occurs on the Mac.7 Though there are obvious disadvantages to only being able to backup photos from your Mac, however, Mosaic leverages the Lightroom catalog to provide some advantages as well. For example, Mosaic allows you to do selective backup based on Lightroom ratings, flags, and collections. This can be especially useful for photographers with extremely large photography libraries and for those who do not care if every shot of his or her palm between HDR sets is backed up to the cloud. Also, since the uploader is based on Lightroom, any file format, RAW or otherwise, that can be processed by Lightroom can be uploaded.

As you would probably expect from my description of Mosaic so far, Mosiac does not feature any direct connection to social networks. Mosaic also does not feature any re-discovery features to help you remember you old photos.

Pricing for Mosaic comes in a number of tiers, including:8

  • 2000 JPG Previews in the IOS app, but no backup of original photos – Free
  • Unlimited JPG Previews in the iOS app, but no backup of original photos – $7
  • Unlimited JPG previews in the iOS app, and 400GB of original photo backups – $12

NOTE: In an earlier version of this post, I incorrectly stated that the free tier allowed 200 JPG Previews instead of the 2000 it actually provides.

What I Am Doing

Though I prefer the iOS experience in Loom and feel that its $9.99 for 250 GB of storage is the quite reasonable, Loom’s lack of any photo “re-discovery” features keeps me from making it my Everpix replacement of choice. Instead, I have already started uploading my pictures to Picture Life and anticipate that I will soon be using the $15 a month for 300GB tier. Also, between the photos I have uploaded and the photos Picture Life has sucked in from my social networks, I am already starting to see some good results in Picture Life’s “Memories” feature.

I do really like what Mosaic is trying to do with the Lightroom integration, but, at this point, it does not really have any compelling functionality that makes me want to invest in the service. If a new version of the iOS application comes out with two-way sync I definitely give it a shot. Of course, by that point, Adobe might have released Lightroom for iOS and knocked Mosaic completely out of the game.

The loss of Everpix was disappointing. I really enjoyed the service, and its price was unbeatable. Of course, it appears the price was unbeatable because it was too low for what it offered. My hope is that paying the slightly more a month fee to Picture Life will help keep that service alive significantly longer.


  1. This upload process has always been a little clunky, and, more importantly, does not support the upload of the RAW versions of the photos. 

  2. Though this article focuses on photo-specific backup services, that does not mean a general backup service cannot also be used to backup photos. For example, my entire photo library is backed up both to various external disks and to the Crashplan cloud. NOTE: That Crashplan link is one of their “20% of friends and family offers. I don’t think it actually gets me anything, but it is somehow tied to my accounts. 

  3. Well, the release said that during my first revision of this article, but the new version of the release notes seems to have pulled it. 

  4. The iOS Icon is terrible. I bury it in a folder just to avoid having to look it. 

  5. The app was just updated today, however, and does work a little bit better. 

  6. There is an iOS application, but, at the moment, it is just used for viewing photos that are currently backed up. Mosaic has announced plans for some level of two-way sync between the iOS app and Lightroom, but that has not be released yet. Also not released yet is Adobe’s Lightroom for iOS, which was previewed earlier this year. Lightroom for iOS is especially interesting since it would, most likely, leverage Lightroom’s Smart Previews feature and allow for on-the-go editing of photos without having to transfer the large amount of data associated with the original RAW files. UPDATE – 11/11/13 – Mosaic has contacted me and informed me that it intends to submit the iOS App update with 2-way Lightroom sync this week. 

  7. Of course, if you are so inclined, you could setup a workflow to automatically import your iOS Photostream into Lightroom

  8. There are extremely large plans for professional photographers and studios. Those plans are beyond the scope of this review. 

→ Joe McNally with the Story Behind the SI World Series Cover

An excellent story by an excellent photographer. Sports Illustrated definitely picked the right guy to capture these shots.

→ Photomatix Pro 5 is now in Public Beta

Photomatix1 has just released the public beta of the next version of its software. A couple of years ago, when I was doing HDR work almost daily, this would have been like Christmas to me. Sadly, I am not as active with my photography as I was in those days.


  1. In my opinion, Photomatix is the gold standard when it comes to HDR photography. 

→ SmugMug Unveils Massive Update

SmugMug has long been my preferred method for archiving my photography online. Unfortunately, it was really starting to feel out of date. With this update today, however, SmugMug is back in contention as the best photo sharing site available.

→ Trey Ratcliff’s Updated Camera Recommendations

Trey recently shifted to Sony. As someone who has followed his career closely for years, I am going to have to consider following in his footsteps.

→ Matt Kloskowski points out an Alternative to Watermarks

I have previously mentioned that I am not a fan of watermarks on photos1, but this alternative that Tamara Lackey uses is not that bad.


  1. DISCLAIMER: This post may contain some discussion about legal issues, but (1) it is not legal advice, (2) it does not establish an attorney-client relationship, and (3) it is not advertising for legal services. The full disclaimer can be found on the Disclaimer Page

→ What happens when you fire all your photographers?

The Chicago SunTimes fired all their photographers. The Chicago Tribune did not. Take a look at the result.

→ Trey Ratcliff on Why He Doesn’t Use Watermarks

One of his reasons stands out to me:

We do register our images with the copyright office, so if someone uses an image commercially without a proper license, it is an easy lawsuit. Easy. We’ve had many many wins (often which happen even before you go to court), but we can’t talk about them because it’s always in the paperwork. But there are many online articles you can find out about our lawsuits… everyone from Time magazine to the Sydney Newspapers.

Keep that in mind when you are trying to decide whether or not to slap some awful watermark on your photos.1


  1. DISCLAIMER: This post may contain some discussion about legal issues, but (1) it is not legal advice, (2) it does not establish an attorney-client relationship, and (3) it is not advertising for legal services. The full disclaimer can be found on the Disclaimer Page

→ Chicago Sun-Times lays off entire photo staff

If this is true, and it looks like it is, what a devastating hit to the photojournalism profession.

→ Scott Kelby’s Take on Adobe’s Announcements Yesterday at the MAX Conference

A really good, level-headed explanation of the pricing changes coming to Photoshop and other Adobe products. I am pretty sure I will be subscribing to Creative Cloud once the new versions of photoshop show up in a couple of weeks.

→ Gaming Girls Photoshoot

Molly McIsaac and friends get together for a geeky photoshoot about girls and gaming. Anyone who knows Ms. McIsaac knows she is about as you can get from the fake geek girls that were chastised by certain parts of the internet a fews months ago.1


  1. Of course, I would argue that there is no such thing as “fake geek girls” in the first place. I will point you to John Siracusa’s now defunct podcast Hypercritical for more discussion about that. 

→ Instagram Attempts to Monetize, World Doesn’t End

Matt Alexander, writing at one37.net:

We, as the early-adopting public, should be accustomed to the systematic deconstruction of our most favorite services. Once a safe-haven for general geekery, Twitter has forsaken our third party apps and has embarked upon a path to become a media-centric company. For all of our argumentative whining against this shift, we are simply not the target demographic any more. Having helped the service gain critical plaudits, our purpose and role has been subverted by the ongoing deluge of the hashtag-using, TV-watching, web-interface-appreciating public.

I think that sums up the most depressing part of this whole story.

→ Tip of the Day

Do not Instagram your ballot, especially in North Carolina.

→ New Mexico Supreme Court to Hear Elane Photography Case

The intersection of the law and photography: Can a wedding photographer refuse to photograph a wedding of a gay couple or is that a violation of New Mexico’s statutory ban on sexual orientation discrimination?

→ TechHive with some tips on getting more out of the iPhone Camera

Camera Awesome1 has two burst-mode settings: One that captures two full-resolution (8 megapixel) photos per second, and a “high-speed” mode that rattles off six shots per second at a reduced 640-by-480 (0.3 megapixel) resolution.

That’s how I took my engagement photo. Also interesting:

And finally, there’s Cinemagram, which lets you add a bit of motion to an otherwise still photograph. You launch the app and record a short video clip, then you select a portion of the video clip to use for your “photo.” The next step involves drawing a “mask” over parts of the image with your finger; anything within those regions will remain in motion while the rest of the image stays still. Cinemagram also offers an Instagram-like sharing community, but it also outputs your work as a 360-by-480 animated .gif that you can embed or share via Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, or e-mail.


  1. Affiliate Link (as are the rest of the iOS app links in this post.) 

Discount Code for Trey Ratcliff’s New Course

Since my photography blog is currently undergoing a “behind the scenes” upgrade (hopefully to be released in the next month or two), I figured I’d post this here as well as there:

Trey Ratcliff is offering a brand new online seminar called Discover the Art of Photography1 During this final week of registration, Trey is offering 20% the registration code when using the code DiscoverArt20.

The course description is:

Discover the Art of Photography is a video tutorial series made specifically for individuals interested in learning the basics of photography or have recently invested in a new camera but do not fully understand how to use it.

Register for the Course


  1. Affiliate Link 

→ Jorge Quinteros Explains how he Processes his Instagram Photos

A true pro shows how he gets the most from Instagram. Of course, I’m one of the people he mentions who dislikes Camera+ 1. I’m a Camera Awesome guy instead.


  1. Affiliate Links