Photoshop Elements 9 on the Mac App Store

Aside from already being a great bargain, there's is a side benefit to having Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 on the Mac App Store. Like all Apps from the Mac App Store, you'll now be able to install Photoshop Elements on as many Macs as you own for the one price. That may not mean much for some, but for those that found the license  limit of two computers a bit too limiting, you'll now be able to install Photoshop Elements on each of your Macs. Of course this only applies to newly purchased copies via the Mac App Store and not existing shrink wrap licenses. 

You can get your copy of Photoshop Elements 9 for $79.99 here from the iTunes


Already own Elements?

Here are several free videos on how to use Adobe Photoshop Elements.

How Much Do You Use Keywords vs. Albums/Collections?

I would dare say that the vast majority of my readers are using some app to manage their photos. I was in a meeting at work yesterday and I got into an interesting discussion of the use of keywords vs. albums/collections. While I use both and know the advantages of using both keywords to tag photos and collections/albums to organize photos, I'm guessing that the majority of "every day consumers' DON'T use keywords. However, I could be wrong. So I decided to ask you? Do you use keywords to tag your photos? If so why (yes I know what keywords are for, but I'm curious as to what your reasons are for using them?). Do you just use albums/collections to manage and organize your photos or do you just use a simple folder structure? This is your opportunity to tell me/Adobe what's important to you and your photography workflow and influence the development of new products and features. Let me know in the comments how you tag or organize your photos and why you do it the way that you do. Also it would be helpful to state whether you're a pro photographer or a consumer?

Another Dual USB Charger that does Even More!


Last month I reviewed this dual USB charger that not only let's you charge two USB devices at once, but it has the higher 2.1Amp output on one of the ports for your more demanding USB devices such as the iPad. Well leave to to blog reader Mike to show me one that he insisted I would like even better. I took him up on his challenge and checked out the ReTrak dual USB charger. The one advantage that this one has over the others I've reviewed here in the past is that it works both as an in home AC charger as well as a Car charger too. That's right. Once charger that charges the iPad and one other device such as your iPhone, Android phone or other USB device and it works in either a standard home/office outlet or the cigarette lighter in your car.

That makes this the one to have for travel. I had been carrying separate chargers. One for the hotel room and another car charger for those times I get a rental car. Now I can carry just one and charge any USB powered device I carry. As an added bonus the ReTrak comes with a retractable iDevice sync cable. Cool! Thanks Mike

You can get the ReTrak Charger for $19.99 from B&H or here for $19.99 from Amazon.

My shoot with Don Pham of DP Slider fame


Every now and then I get a break from the beauty and fashion photography that I do as a hobby and I get to do a product shoot. This time it was for my buddy Don Pham. Don has an invention that is a must have for video shooters. It's called the DP Slider. The DP Slider is a glide track for your video camera or DSLR to allow you to record sweeping shots that as smooth as butter. While Don wasn't the first one out of the gate to invent one of these, his is by far the smoothest in operation and most flexible from all the ones I've seen.

Don is an engineer by trade and he spent a great deal of time perfecting his DP Slider. One thing that makes Don different from most engineers that are tasked to create a product is that Don is also a videographer. This means that he knows what the product needs and what it doesn't.

Also Don didn't rest on his laurels with the first one out of the gate. He has come up with new models (the Prime & Mantis) and refined his original concept to make it even better.

Check out the Video that Don shot during our photo shoot:


Prime & Mantis promo for EDU from Don Pham on Vimeo.


Now see a video shot using the DP Slider:


DP Slider from Don Pham on Vimeo.


Get more information, see more pictures and more videos about Don's invention here.

In case you were wondering, yes this entire shoot was lit with Westcott Spiderlite TD6's.

Get lower and shoot higher

As I mentioned in my post last week, I certainly enjoy having the opportunity to attend seminars and workshops. However, this usually comes at a price. I'm not talking about the price of attending. I'm talking about the fact that I almost always see a piece of gear that I want. Attending Scott's seminar last week was no different. It was actually a piece of gear that he didn't even mention one time during his talk. Although he did talk about shooting at lower angles for fashion, but what I realized was that my current background support system just wasn't tall enough. When the background isn't tall enough and you're down low shooting up you'll more than likely see the top of the background and worse, whatever's above it or behind it.

I asked Brad

During one of the breaks and while I was helping swap out rolls of seamless paper I asked Brad (Scott's photo assistant) which stands he was using and he told me. I ordered them and set them up side-by-side with my existing stands, both at their maximum height just to compare.

As you can see the Avenger stands go the extra mile enabling you to get lower and shoot upward without the fear of hitting the top of your backdrop.


The stands are here

The crossbar is here.

Thanks Brad! You've cost me money once again :)

InDesign CS 5.5 from Start to Finish



In this episode of the Adobe Creative Suite Video Podcast I'll start with no document open and show you how easy it is to go from nothing to a good layout in a matter of minutes.

See more of my Adobe Creative Suite Videos on my Adobe Creative Suite Podcast and get the App here. It features EXCLUSIVE CONTENT that no one else gets to see. This episode has a BONUS CLIP that is available only in the App:

Learn Adobe Creative Suite with Terry White - Wizzard Media


I bought a New Point & Shoot Camera


I thought my days of buying point & shoot cameras were over. I've written posts here in the past where I stated that I either use my DSLR or my smartphone. I really don't see much of a need to have a point & shoot camera. Recently I discovered a need and a great way to solve it all at the same time. There are situations where you want to take the best photo that you can, but at the same time DSLR or "pro" level cameras aren't allowed in. A classic example of this is concerts. If you walk in with a nice big lens and DSLR, chances are you'll be turned right back around and told that "you can't bring that in." However, you see a sea of cellphones and point & shoot cameras going off all night long. While I have certainly taken my share of concert photos with my iPhone 4 (for my personal enjoyment), I would like something better. This lead me to seek out the smallest, most full featured point & shoot camera that I could find.


This shot of his royalness was taken with the iPhone 4 and while it came out OK, I was sitting there wishing I had something better for this moment.


The Canon PowerShot S95

The S95 is one mean little machine. Not only does it offer full manual mode, but it also shoots in RAW. Best of all it can easily slide into a pants pocket without a big bulge. Whoa! Wait a minute, did you say Canon? Yes I did. Does this mean I've switched from Nikon? No it doesn't. As a matter of fact let me answer a few questions now:


Q. Did you switch from Nikon to Canon?

A. No not at all. Actually I've owned and used cameras from both manufacturers for years. With the exception of a couple of Sony video cameras, I almost always went with Canon for my video needs (pre-DSLR video). My DSLRs have all been Nikon and most likely will continue to be. However, I've always liked the feature set of the Canon P&S cameras. So to answer your question, I use the best tool to fit my needs. Neither company has ever paid me a dime, so I don't "have to" use either one or I can use either one.


Q. Wasn't the iPhone 4 a good enough camera?

A. For my day to day P&S needs I'll most likely still reach for the camera that's on my belt and that's my smartphone. However, when I want the image to count, I do want to use a "better" camera and that means either my DSLR or now my S95. 


Q. Why didn't you go with the G12?

A. The G12 is a fine camera and probably beats the S95, the only problem I have with the G11 is that it's about twice the size and does NOT easily slide into a pants pocket. 


Q. How do you think the S95 image quality compares to other cameras.

A. This is more of an announcement post than an official review. The honest truth is that while I've had the camera for a few days now I haven't done much more than charge the battery and set it up. Sure I've taken a test shot here and there to make sure it works, but haven't even looked at the images on my computer yet. So I'll have to do another post once I have some "real" images to look at and then you can be the judge.


Q. Doesn't shooting manually defeat the purpose of a "point and shoot?"

A. Yes if all you want to do is "snap a picture". At that point my iPhone 4 is good enough. However, when the built-in scene modes and program modes aren't capturing the image I want, then I love having the ability to switch to manual and dial in my own settings.


Q. Why do you need RAW?

A. Nice try, but I'm not going to get into a RAW vs. JPG debate here. If you use one over the other great! Use what you want. :) However, I prefer to shoot in RAW for maximum image quality and not having things like white balance burned into the file. While I could have certainly lived with JPG only, having the option of going to RAW is what pushed me to the S95.


Q. What don't you like about the Nikon Point and Shoots?

A. Nikon used to offer a Point & Shoot (the P6000) that shot in RAW. However, they no longer offer that model, nor did they replace it with one that does. Otherwise, their point and shoot cameras are probably just as good. Also even if the P6000 was still around it's more on the same size/form factor as the larger Canon G12.


Q. Seems like you won't be using this camera very often?

A. You're probably right. It hasn't left the table since I unboxed it. However, I like having the option of a better camera than my iPhone if and when the opportunity presents itself. 


Stay tuned for some sample shots. I have a couple of concerts coming up soon!


You can get the Canon Powershot S95 for $399.95 here from B&H and for $393 here from Amazon (note: prices fluctuate on Amazon)

Trip Report: Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It with Scott Kelby


What do I do on my week off? I hop in my car  and drive 4 hours up to Toronto to see Scott Kelby do his "Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It Seminar".

It's not often that I get a chance to actually sit in on someone else's classes. I go to Photoshop World twice a year and I see a list of great glasses, taught by world class instructors and then I sigh because I know that either the class I want to take is happening at the exact same time as one of the classes I'm teaching or I have some other show duty that prevents me from attending.


This means that when I have an opportunity to take another instructor's class, I grab it! 


I would dare say that I've learned most of what I know about photo retouching through my buddy Scott over the years and although I'm quite comfortable doing portrait retouching I'm always eager to learn something new.


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Lightroom: Dude! Where are my car photos?



In this episode of the Adobe Creative Suite Video Podcast we'll tackle one of things that confuses most new Lightroom users and those switching from Adobe Bridge to Lightroom. The question of "where are my photos and what has Lightroom done with them?" will be answered.

See more of my Adobe Creative Suite Videos on my Adobe Creative Suite Podcast and get the App here. It features EXCLUSIVE CONTENT that no one else gets to see. This episode has a BONUS CLIP that is available only in the App:

Learn Adobe Creative Suite with Terry White - Wizzard Media


I went with CrashPlan and it’s Finally Done!


A while back I did a guest post on Scott Kelby's blog about my photography workflow. In that post I also talked about backup and offsite backup. At the time my offsite backup method was simply rotating two external hard drives to/from my safe deposit box at the bank. While this method certainly works, it does require me to actually make the trip to the bank. As much as I would have liked to do this on a weekly basis it was turning more into a monthly or bi-monthly trip. Although an old backup is better than no backup I wanted something a little more automated. It was suggested in the comment section of that post that I look at cloud backup, so I did. The first company I looked into at the time was Carbonite. However, Carbonite was a non-starter for me because of their stupid policy (at the time) of not allowing you to backup an external drive from a Mac. Really? Seriously? What difference does it make if the data is on the internal drive or an external drive? Charge for the amount of data being backed up and be done with it! I confirmed this stupid policy with their customer service and ended up going with CrashPlan instead.


CrashPlan gets it right

My initial experience with CrashPlan was excellent. I had no problem getting setup with their CrashPlan+ Family Unlimited Plan. This allows me to backup every computer I own and there are no silly limits on which drives the data has to be on. I knew going in that backing up TERABYTES of data over the internet would take a long long long time and well it did! It took MONTHS to backup my two servers. These two Macs (with Drobos attached) contain all my photos, music, movies, documents, etc. In other words, my digital life. 


How long did it really take?

I signed up for CrashPlan on January 13, 2011. I set it to backup both computers, but I did limit the bandwidth that it uses AND I set it to only run at night while I was sleeping. This way it would have no impact on my day to day internet use. By having it run only half the day and at a limited bandwidth, it took about 6.5 months to complete the backup of 1.7TB. Now I have it backing up another computer now that the main backup is done.


There are other options for the initial backup and restores

I was in no hurry for this backup to complete because I already had an offsite backup solution in place. However, if you want your initial backup to not take weeks or months then you could pay for them to send you an external hard drive. This way you could backup your data in a matter of hours instead of days,weeks or months. Once you return the drive to them they will add your data to their servers and give you instructions on how to connect your account to that data for continued backup. 


What's the advantage of cloud backup?

Now that my initial backup is done, my new/changed files are backed up every night automatically and OFFSITE. If a disaster strikes my home (flood, fire, theft, etc.) I would be able to get my important data back once I'm up and running again on a new computer/hard drive Yes they offer the ability to send you a drive with your data on it so that you can be backup and running sooner). Another advantage is having web access to ALL of my files no matter where I am in the world. If I need an import file off my server at home I could of course access my server via the internet because I have remote access setup. However, even if I didn't have remote access available I could always log into my CrashPlan account via the web and download any file that I want. 


The Bottom Line

There is no such thing as being too backed up when it comes to irreplaceable files such as digital photos. I backup my computers internally with things like Time Machine and SuperDuper!, but I also like having a backup that is offsite too. CrashPlan offered the most bang for the buck with unlimited data plans and no restrictions on where my data had to be stored in order to back it up. You can find out more about CrashPlan here.

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