So What’d You Get?


photo compliments of

It's that time of year again. My annual "So what'd you get?" I've been reviewing my favorite gadgets, services and photo gear all year long. Now it's your turn! Tell us what you got this holiday season (tech wise) that you're excited about? Use the comments section below. Tell us what it is, why you like it and provide links if you can? Did you get or give anything from my holiday gadget gift guide?


Hey! If you got an iDevice as a gift, check out 20 Must Have Apps here.

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All My Readers!

I just wanted to take a moment to not only wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season, but also to thank you for all your support and encouragement throughout the year! Looking forward to a great 2012!

May all your tech holiday wishes come true!





Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas

Last minute gifts

You forgot _______________. It happens. That relative or friend walks through the door that you totally forgot to get a gift for and you feel bad. Yep, it happens. Personally, I wouldn't sweat it. However, for those of you who do (you know who you are) here are a couple of things you can do to save the day.

First off it may not be too late to get overnight shipping! Be sure to check out my Holiday Gadget Gift Guide here.



iTunes Printable Gift Certificates


When you go to hang up their coat, head to your computer and fire up iTunes. Then go to the iTunes Store and buy a "Printable" gift certificate. You can print it (quietly) on your printer, fold it and stick it in one of those emergency cards that you keep around. Oh yeah, you forgot those too. OK, a handwritten envelope will do. You can then explain to them that with this they can download music, books, movies, apps and more. Whew!


Amazon Printable Gift Certificates


OK, so the person that just walked in is not into digital entertainment. I get it! No problem. Head over to (here's the link to get you directly to the gift certificates. This way you won't be out of the room any longer than you have to be) and buy a gift certificate and print it out. Now they can go order whatever they want since Amazon sells just about everything.


Lastly pride yourself on avoiding the mall 🙂


Happy Holidays, Merry Christmast and get back to your guests 🙂



You might want to avoid shipping those big gadgets anyway 🙂


My Top 20 Picks for the Photographer On Your Holiday List

While I've already published my massive 2011 Holiday Gadget Gift Guide, I realize that I have quite a few photographers following me here. Therefore, I thought I'd share my Top 20 Picks for Photography Gift Ideas. These are among my favorite and most used products. 



So here they are in no particular order:


Westcott 7' Parabolic Umbrella (White Diffusion)


Nikon D7000 DSLR Camera (Body Only)


Westcott 5501 Modern Vintage Background (9 x 12', Onyx)


X-Rite ColorChecker Passport


ExpoImaging Rogue 3-in-1 Honeycomb Grid


Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Zoom Lens


Wacom Intuos4 Digital Tablet (Medium)


Nikon SB-700 Speedlight Shoe Mount Flash


Nikon SB-910 AF Speedlight i-TTL Shoe Mount Flash


Westcott Spiderlite TD6 2 Light Perfect Portrait Kit Deluxe (110V)


Elinchrom BX-Ri 500/500 To Go Set – 2 Monolight Kit (90-260VAC)


Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Software for Mac & Windows


Canon EOS 7D SLR Digital Camera (Body Only)


Nikon Nikon 1 V1 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 10mm and 10-30mm Lenses (Black)


Canon PowerShot S100 Digital Camera (Black)


Lastolite EZYBox Softbox – 24 x 24"


Lastolite TriFlip 8 in 1 Grip Reflector Kit – 30" (76 cm)


Lastolite Kickerlite Floor Level Softbox – 3×4' (91x122cm)


Lastolite Triflector MkII Kit – White/Silver


ExpoImaging Rogue FlashBender Kit



A Rewarding Experience At Help Portrait on Saturday


This past Saturday I got to participate in the world-wide Help-Portrait event! Although I knew that Help-Portrait would be worthwhile event to participate in and donate my time, I didn't realize just how special it would be. While it's easy to say we should help the needy, the help usually comes in the form of the basics, food, shelter, etc. Of course food and shelter are MOST IMPORTANT, but there is very little done to replace the other/smaller things that people lose or in some cases would otherwise never have. I saw families that lost EVERYTHING due to the tragedies in their lives. I saw mothers that never had any pictures of their children. 

photo by TV News Reporter/Host/Anchor – Iris Pérez


I was thinking about hosting my own Help-Portrait event at my studio, but then I got an email from Miriam Olsen asking if I wanted to participate in their event taking place in Lansing Michigan. I figured since this was my 1st official Help-Portrait event that it would be best to go to one that was already established.


Miriam did an EXCELLENT job coordinating all the volunteers and the event went off perfectly. We photographed 196 guests! There were 20 photographers, 62 volunteers, 63 families and over 50 CDs provided in addition to the prints there were done on the spot.


It was very rewarding photographing families that were in many cases having their photos professionally captured for the 1st time. Seeing their faces light up when they saw their images and knowing that these photos would be cherished for years to come.

I definitely plan to host my own event next year and I encourage you to host one, participate in one or simply photograph someone in need! I want to also thank Jeremy Cowart for not only coming up with this great idea but also growing it into a world-wide event.

photo by TV News Reporter/Host/Anchor – Iris Pérez

Looking Forward to Volunteering at Help-Portrait This Saturday




If you're a photographer and you want to give back to your community. You should definitely check out the Help-Portrait opportunities in your area this Saturday. I'll be volunteering/shooting in Lansing Michigan on Saturday. If you're local I hope to see you there shooting with me. If not, I hope you take the time to participate where you are. Last year I wasn't able to participate due to work travel, this year I plan to make up for it!

Portrait Retouching: How To Use The Photoshop CS5 Patch Tool To Enhance Your Portraits



In this episode of the Adobe Creative Suite Podcast I'll show you How To Use the Photoshop CS5 Patch Tool to Enhance Your Portrait Retouching. 

Also don't forget that Lightroom 3 is currently ON SALE for HALF OFF here.

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

PS. My iOS App just got an update that fixes the iOS 5 video playback problem and adds the following features:

  • Retina Display Graphics
  • A new tab bar interface
  • Swiping to the left and right from the episode detail page will go to the next or previous episode
  • UI enhancements
  • Faster show loading
  • Minor bug fixes


Review: Kindle Fire – A great tablet for the price!


When I reached out on my social media channels for ideas of what gadgets you'd like to see me take a look at, overwhelmingly the response was "Kindle Fire". People also wanted a comparison of the Kindle Fire and Color Nook. I'll say more on that in a minute. First of all, as many of you already know, this is not a general review site. The guys over at Engadget do a great job of reviewing ALL things tech. My goal has always been to talk about the products I actually use. Luckily I do have a use for the Kindle Fire and it's actually more to do with my day job at Adobe. We are bringing the Kindle Fire into our list of supported devices for the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. With that in mind I figured it would good to have a Kindle Fire to test on and while I've got it, it couldn't hurt to review it.


People really want to compare it to the iPad

While it's easy to want to draw comparisons to the iPad (and I will), I look at the two as aimed at two totally different markets. To keep it simple I would say that if you are primarily looking for a general purpose tablet to run lots of Apps on and possibly use instead of a laptop/desktop computer then the iPad is probably going to suit you better. If you're looking primarily for a digital book/magazine reader that can also run Apps/play content and you don't want to spend a lot of money, then the Kindle Fire is a PERFECT choice!

What about the Nook? I don't have one, have never held one and therefore have no comparison to give you. I have no plans to get one at this time, but if I do then I'l compare it with the Kindle Fire.


How do I like it?

Now that I got the iPad vs. Kindle Fire piece out of the way, let's concentrate on the goodness of the Kindle Fire. It's a 7" color Wi-Fi tablet. The display is very vivid and easy on my eyes. The design is a bit on the thick side (7.5" x 4.7" x 0.45"), but still very comfortable to hold and use (14.6 ounces).

It has 8GB's of storage (not a lot) and only 6GB of that is available to you for content. You can expect to get about 7-8 hours of continuous use out of it. I was impressed with the out of the box experience. What I didn't notice during the ordering process is that Amazon knows me! Therefore when my Kindle Fire arrived it was already configured to my Kindle/Amazon account and all my books were already there. That gave me a definite "aha" moment, because I then realized that since Amazon knows me that my Amazon Cloud music was also there for streaming/download. Don't worry, if you're buying one as a gift then you can specify that it's NOT for you during the ordering process and it will ship unregistered. Navigation seems pretty straight forward and out of the box there really wasn't anything that I struggled with not knowing how to do or having to refer to a manual. It asked me to log on to my WiFi network and I was off and running. The battery had enough charge in it out of the box for me to set it up and play. 

More than books and magazines! While the Kindle line has been traditionally targeted at only those interested in reading, the Kindle Fire breaks away from this mold nicely. It can browse the web, do email, run Apps (yes games too), play music, play movies, and play TV shows. Amazon is giving away free cloud storage for your digital content this helps combat the limited storage on the device. Also Amazon offers up their Kindle Lending Library so that you can actually borrow free books with no due dates.  


What could be better?

The Kindle Fire can run Android Apps and that's a great thing! However, there is one small problem and that is that there is no built-in way to access the Android Market. That's right! No Android Market. If you want to buy or download free Apps you have to do it from the Amazon App Store. To a new Kindle Fire/Android user this won't be a big deal at all, but in my case I have a few Android Apps that I've paid for and unless I do some hacks, I'd have to buy them again from Amazon. It's not the end of the world because I don't have that many, but it kinda blows! While WiFi is great I would have loved to have seen a 3G offering too even if it costs more. 

The built-in stuff – This will likely be another source of disappointment for anyone who has looked at or used an iPad. The quality of the built-in Apps vary. For example, the email App, while not stellar is functional. The web browser is OK too, but when I tapped on the Facebook "app" it merely took me to the Facebook mobile page. In other words what appear to be Apps in some cases are merely bookmarks. 


The Bottom Line

The Kindle Fire is an excellent choice for those of you that kinda want a tablet, but don't want to spend $500 on one. At $199 the Kindle Fire is priced right and will definitely keep the guys in Cupertino on their toes. Best Buy recently announced that the Kindle Fire was the first and only tablet they've sold to outsell the iPad and at that price it's a no brainer. However, for the heavy tablet user you will probably be disappointed in the Kindle Fire App selection at this point. This will hopefully only be a temporary problem. I've already bought a second one as a gift for an immediate family member who has never wanted an iPad and who has an older Kindle. 

You can get the Kindle Fire for $199 here.

Review: iTunes Match Finally Delivers What I’ve Been Wanting

I've been an iTunes user since day one (and even SoundJam before that). I've been an iPod user since day one too. I have a decent sized *music collection (6,649 songs) with a mix of tunes ripped from my CDs, purchased from the iTunes store and purchased/downloaded from other sources such as While Apple has always done a good job in allowing me to sync my music/playlists to any number of iDevices, for some reason the company never saw fit to allow automatic syncing of music between multiple computers. I've complained about this on my blog in the past as well as going with 3rd party work arounds. 


The NEW iTunes Match Solves My Problems

In addition to iOS 5, iCloud and iTunes 10.5, Apple rolled out a new service called iTunes Match. iTunes Match is a paid service ($24.99/Year) and the idea behind it is that once you sign up (via iTunes 5) your music collection will be analyzed and "matched" with the music currently available on the iTunes store, whether you originally bought the music from the store or not. Tracks that are matched are then available to up to 10 of your devices (Macs, PCs, iDevices running iOS 5, or Apple TVs) via the cloud.

This also includes your playlists! Tracks that were not matched (in other words songs you have that aren't on the iTunes store) are then UPLOADED from your library to the iTunes cloud (iCloud). This means that ALL of your music is now available in the cloud no matter where you obtained it originally. 


Problems this solves for me

Once it did the initial "match" on my dedicated iTunes media server (a dedicated iMac running iTunes 24/7). I then went to my MacBook Pro and deleted all the music from that library. Once I deleted all the songs and playlists, I turned on iTunes Match on that computer as well. After a few moments ALL of my Playlists appeared on the MacBook Pro that are on the iMac. Any song/playlist that I want to listen to can now be streamed via the cloud. Also any music/playlists that I actually want to be physically on the drive say for offline listening can be downloaded with a single click. As long as my MacBook Pro has an internet connection I have access to ALL of my music at all times. Those times that I don't have access to the internet I can still enjoy the music that I've downloaded. 

On my iPhone, iPod touch and iPad – we know that these devices have limited storage. Therefore carrying around a large music collection means giving up something else. Once I turned on iTunes Match on these devices the music that was stored on them was immediately wiped and just like on my MacBook Pro, after a few moments I had access to ALL of my Playlists and All of my songs. The difference here is that any song you play is not only streamed initially but also stored so that it won't have to stream a second time. And yes you can proactively download any song(s) playlists that you know you'll want to be stored on the device for offline listening.


The Bottom Line

The benefits of iTunes Match are clear! I have access to ALL of my Music on any of my devices at all times (with an internet connection). I now use less space on my iDevices because I don't have them loaded up with music that "I may want to listen to someday". The other advantage is QUALITY! Some of my original CD Rips were at a lower bitrate. With iTunes Match you get everything at Unprotected AAC, 256Kbps (iTunes Plus) Quality. The other slick feature is that now it doesn't matter where I make organizational changes or new purchases. If I change a playlist on my MacBook Pro it's updated everywhere. If I buy a new song and add it to a playlist on my iPad, it's updated and available everywhere. This is one of those services that's worth every penny to me!

You couple iTunes Match with the new iTunes WiFi Sync for iOS (iPod touch in the car) and I'm completely in music heaven! I pull into my garage and it connects to the WiFi in my home and syncs the iPod with the latest changes. 

Now let's get iTunes Match for video/movies!

*Note: If you have more than 25,000 songs in your library that you did NOT get from the iTunes store then you exceed the limit of iTunes Match. iTunes Match only works for songs, not audiobooks, videos, ringtones, podcasts, etc.