TWiP #197 – For Rent: Photoshop

Audio MP3

This week on TWiP: Adobe jumps into the subscription model business, Instagram escapes the Matrix, and are film cameras dead?

Hosts: Frederick Van Johnson with Alex Lindsay, Derrick Story, and Moose Peterson

Adobe Announces CS 5.5 and Subscription Pricing for the Creative Suite
Along with updated tools to handle HTML5 and Flash authoring, Adobe’s release of version 5.5 of their Creative Suite also introduces a new subscription-based pricing model for the software.  For example, instead of paying $700 up-front for Photoshop, you can pay $50/month to subscribe to it instead.  This could be attractive to folks who use the software on a project-by-project basis or to people who always want to have the absolutely latest version.  Derrick says the math works out to almost the same pricing as if you paid the one-time pricing and upgraded every year, but he sees how this could be convenient for people who need lots of flexibility. Alex loves this idea because his team sometimes needs additional software licenses for just one job, which severely eats into his profit if he used the traditional pricing model.  Frederick would love to be able to subscribe to certain sub-components of product features for specific projects or jobs. Moose prefers to keep things simple and just buy the software all at once so he can be sure to have it when he needs it without worrying about the subscription running out.

Postagram Transforms Any Instagram Into a Postcard And Delivers It For $0.99
Postagram plugs into Instagram‘s API, letting you choose images you took to send via snail mail as a physical postcard.  The postcard costs you $0.99 and the recipient receives it in about 2-5 days within the U.S.  An added bonus is the square-shaped Instagram image can pop-out of the postcard to become a stand-alone picture.  Frederick asks the panel if it’s relevant to use something like this when we are so focused on digital-only images these days.  Moose says photographs have always been about inspiring people, so whatever you use: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, your blog, just keep sharing your images.  Alex hates generic postcards so he is intrigued by Postagram and even had a similar idea for this business model about 20 years ago.  And he still says there’s something about a physical photo that digital can’t replicate.  Derrick points out that is already an application called Bill Atkinson’s Photocard that does something like this.

Another Concept Design for Digital Film
As briefly discussed in last week’s episode, one of the best April Fools’ jokes to go viral this year was a site for RE-35 – a “film” cartridge with a flexible digital sensor that you can “unroll” into a traditional 35mm film camera.  If it was real, it would’ve let you use your old film camera in a new, digital way, saving all the images to flash memory that you can offload later. Peta Pixel posted another digital film concept design by students at Hongik University in South Korea for the iF Design Awards this year,  so check it out.  Also of note is the fact that a company called SiliconFilm tried to do this almost 10 years ago and even had working prototypes but didn’t release it. Frederick asks the panel if they would want to shoot digital images with their film cameras.  Moose sees no economic advantage of doing this because of the outdated technology in film cameras, such as auto-focus.  He says he prefers to avoid added, unnecessary obstacles that get in the way of being able to focus on capturing strong images.  Derrick might play with this technology if it ever comes to fruition, just from a nostalgia perspective, because he is still a fan of old-school film cameras.

Every week our producers scour the TWiP forums to find the best questions for us to answer on the show.

Here are this week’s questions:
Question #1: Listener Richard_Will wants to know the best way of protecting camera gear from sand when shooting on the beach. Moose’s take is that if it’s a photo he really needs and the price he is charging his client covers the loss of equipment, he doesn’t really worry too much about damaging his gear because he cares more about getting the image than babying his gear. But generally speaking, Moose says to avoid most sand damage, he constantly wipes his hands off with a towel that he keeps on his person when at sandy locations. That way, the sand doesn’t migrate from his hands into his gear. Derrick also suggests: to always blow any dust off a lens before you mount it so it doesn’t get onto the sensor, use a multi-coated filter, always use a lens hood, carry a good gear bag, and not change lenses unless you really have to.

Question #2: Noah from Illinois wants to get into film photography but says he knows absolutely nothing about it.  What are some good resources/books to learn about film and how to shoot with it? Derrick says to start with black and white film, which makes it easy to have the full experience of shooting and developing your own film, from end-to-end. It also lets you focus on composition and shooting instead of being distracted by color. He also recommends checking out the course offerings at your local community college because they often still offer courses in film photography and darkroom developing. Speaking of developing, Frederick asks Moose about his post-processing workflow and Moose says he has his own software he helped develop called Digital Pro that he uses as part of it. For his RAW processing, he uses ACR in Photoshop but doesn’t spend more than 2 minutes on edits. If an image takes more than 2 minutes to tweak, he considers it as a missed shot and deletes it.

Question #3: Listener lloydchughes from Aberdeen, Scotland has a Canon 550D (aka Rebel T2i in the U.S.) and wants to take photos of an office’s facilities and conference rooms.  The rooms’ capacities could range from 4-50 people and could have windows or no windows.  Any suggestions for a lens that will be able to capture the detail up close and get good shots of the rooms without resorting to using a flash if possible?  Moose says if he is trying to capture the venue, the wider the lens the better.  If it’s the people who are using the venue that are the focus, then he recommends using a 50mm f/1.4 so the people can be sharp with the venue in the background blurred nicely.  Finally, if it’s just the people the shooter wants to focus on, then Moose advises to get a 70-200mm f/2.8 to get more working distance.

Derrick: the Rogue 3-in-1 Honeycomb Grid that fits over your flashhead and gives you 16°, 25°, and 45° spot lighting control.

Moose: the Nikon S9100 Coolpix camera that lets him shoot great images without having to lug around a larger DSLR.  It also does beautiful 1080p video.

Frederick: The Craft & Vision eBook: The Power of Black & White in Adobe Lightroom & Beyond which goes into the nuts and bolts of how to bring out the best in black and white photos using Lightroom.

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Producer: Suzanne Llewellyn
Show notes by Ernest Aguayo: or
Photo above by Quinn Dombrowski
Bandwidth provided by Cachefly
Intro Music by Scott Cannizzaro

  • Moose Peterson was outstanding! But the best part of the whole interview was when Alex Lindsay’s Skype was cut off!

  • I’m a 100% film only shooter (my iPhone is my only digital camera), and while I would not say that “film is dead”, I would say that 35mm film is close to dead. There really aren’t many advantages to shooting 35mm vs. just about every digital (except for the pleasure of shooting film). If you’re a commercial photographer, 35mm is completely dead and buried. I suggest contacting a film photographer to interview on your show to get a different perspective on the topic (I’m available).

    I shoot medium and large format film (mostly large format). I enjoy the effort, the uncertainty, and the (frankly) magic of shooting film. I like the limitations that film places upon me (I need them. I don’t want to “spray and pray”). Plus, for the volume of photos that I take, film is orders of magnitude cheaper than digital for the resolution that I need.

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