How Mylio Helps Keep This Photographer’s Work and Life Balanced

Our Story: My wife Caroline and I run Quiver Tree Photography, based in Washington, North Carolina. We weren’t always in the photography business – we were doing missionary work in Scotland when we got married, then moved back to my native South Africa to start a non-profit. That’s when taking pictures  started being more than just documenting our growing family: when you run a non-profit, you’re the CEO, you’re the Secretary, and unless someone else steps up to do it, you’re the photographer, too. By the time we moved back to North Carolina, we were, to be brutally honest, struggling financially. I needed to make something work to put food on the table for my family. Fortunately, a professional photographer invited me to second shoot a wedding, and on the strength of that experience, my wife and I decided to start Quiver Tree. We jumped in with both feet, opening a gallery, and offering lifestyle sessions — basically chasing two- and three-year-olds around in the humidity, trying to capture something. (Being from South Africa, I’ve had plenty of practice shooting wildlife in the heat. This was a lot like that). Things were tight at first. If you’d asked me then… Continue reading How Mylio Helps Keep This Photographer’s Work and Life Balanced

How to Download and Backup Facebook Photos

I post a lot of pictures to Facebook because it’s the quickest way to share with my friends and family. But now that I am getting older, I’m realizing a few things. First, Facebook changes things up all the time, and I’m starting to get a sinking feeling that I have no idea what that means for the future of all the photos I’ve entrusted them. And second, now that I’m a new father I’m realizing just how important those photos are to me. I want access to them on my own devices so I can tell my personal story to friends, family and baby boy as he grows up. So I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t trust Facebook to preserve these memories for me — I need to back them up for myself. And I bet I’m not the only person who wants to backup Facebook photos. In the past, I’d grab photos from Facebook by browsing through my albums, then downloading each one individually. But those days are over. A cross-platform app called Mylio can import and backup Facebook photos, maintaining the same album structure and tagging, and do it all in minutes. And best of all, Mylio is FREE! What is Mylio? Mylio… Continue reading How to Download and Backup Facebook Photos

These Are the 8 Ways Apple Tracks You — and Their #1 Security Flaw

This is the next installment in our ongoing series about the choices we make about our personal data, and how these choices relate to the online products and services many of us use daily.  Recently on these pages, I wondered: what does Google know about me?  The short answer: a lot. The detailed answer: 8.75 GB of search history, browser history, emails, GPS locations, voice searches, voicemails, a few short YouTube videos, and an ad profile built from my behavior with all of the above. Kinda creepy, though to be fair actually also kinda transparent — I found all this data because Google has a handy tool for downloading everything at once. This, in theory, allowed me  to see what I’ve been giving  the company since my google account was created in 2008. Creepy? Yes. And, just maybe, also cool. So now I want to know what Apple knows about me. How does the company store my information? And how transparent are they about what they’re doing? Starting With the Man in the Mirror First, full disclosure: I’m a Mac guy. I bought my first one, a 17″ Aluminum Powerbook G4, in 2005. A few years later, I traded in my Palm Treo 700wx for my first iPhone. Apple devices always felt… Continue reading These Are the 8 Ways Apple Tracks You — and Their #1 Security Flaw

Secrets of the Pro Photographers: Video Tutorial Series, Part 3

Welcome! I’m photographer Matthew Jordan Smith, and I’ve worked as a celebrity/fashion and beauty photographer for the last 29 years, capturing subjects from Samuel L. Jackson, to Britney Spears, to Aretha Franklin, to the Future American Presidents. If you’d like to discover how I’ve created a career working with some of the top celebrities, advertising and fashion clients, come check out this FREE 3-part photography training series. I guarantee you will learn something new that can help you on your journey of being a photographer. If you’ve ever wondered if you can make a career as a photographer, or worried about the competition, then this video series is just for you. Happy holidays! Part 3: Tools to Help You Excel in Photography If there’s one question I get more than any other, it’s about the tools I use. People often want to know which camera I use, or which lens is my favorite, or even what’s in my camera bag when I travel. In this video, I go deeper into the tools I use, and explain why each is critical in helping you have a better life as a photographer  — and become more productive. You definitely don’t want to miss this informative video.… Continue reading Secrets of the Pro Photographers: Video Tutorial Series, Part 3

Secrets of the Pro Photographers: Video Tutorial Series, Part 2

Welcome! I’m photographer Matthew Jordan Smith, and I’ve worked as a celebrity/fashion and beauty photographer for the last 29 years, capturing subjects from Samuel L. Jackson, to Britney Spears, to Aretha Franklin, to the Future American Presidents. If you’d like to discover how I’ve created a career working with some of the top celebrities, advertising and fashion clients, come check out this FREE 3-part photography training series. I guarantee you will learn something new that can help you on your journey of being a photographer. If you’ve ever wondered if you can make a career as a photographer, or worried about the competition, then this video series is just for you. Happy holidays! Part 2: 5 Rookie Mistakes Photographers Make (and How to Avoid Them) When I first started my career as a photographer, I did what most photographers do: went out and purchased as much gear as I could afford. The problem with that is that I didn’t know exactly what to buy, so I wasted money buying the wrong gear, then had to buy some things over again. In this video, I’ll share more of the mistakes I made so you can avoid them, and have success faster in your career. Click here to… Continue reading Secrets of the Pro Photographers: Video Tutorial Series, Part 2

How Mylio Helps Natural Exposures Manage a Million (!) Images

Our Story: I’m an outdoor photographer who heads up a small business called Natural Exposures. We take small groups of people on photo tours in some of the most spectacular places on earth – from the Arctic to Antarctica, South Africa to South America, Croatia, to Madagascar, to New Zealand. Up to 18 trips per year. As you can see from some of my own pictures, we’re known for bringing our guests up close to amazing landscapes and wildlife; along the way we also help them learn more about conservation, how to take great photographs, and maybe even something about themselves. We promise memories you’ll never forget – and the pictures to prove it. (We must be doing something right – in 2014 the World Travel Awards, an organization that acknowledges excellence in global travel and tourism, named us the World’s Leading Specialist Holiday Company. We were pretty proud). Why Mylio? I use Mylio for finding images quickly via the rocket-fast search tool, and the super simple calendar tool. I recommend it to any small business for three reasons: volume, speed, and support. Volume. Our heavy travel schedule gives us a lot of stamps in our passports — it gives us… Continue reading How Mylio Helps Natural Exposures Manage a Million (!) Images

Escape The Rule of Thirds

A few weeks ago, I came across a Reddit post where someone asked for a simple technique that would improve their photography skills. The most upvoted response was “use the rule of thirds.” Tragically, the rule of thirds has become one of the most widely accepted myths in photography, and one of the worst habits you can find yourself trying to break. If you’ve never heard of the rule of thirds, count yourself lucky, skip this blog post, live well, be awesome, and never let anyone tell you what it is. The rest of you? Keep reading. Look, I get it. Some subjects placed right in the center of the frame are boring or awkward. When you’re starting out, there’s so much to learn and a ton of tech to keep straight in your head. Adopting something simple like the rule of thirds helps some beginners at least think about composition before snapping the shutter — and that’s good, right? Sorry, I have to disagree. There are no shortcuts to experience and developing a bad habit will actually make your work suffer longer. Once you start leaning on a crutch like the rule of thirds, your own sense of composition… Continue reading Escape The Rule of Thirds

Why Is My iPhone Storage Full? (And What Can I Do About It?)

I love my iPhone. It’s not only a great phone, but a great texter, video- and photo-taker and -viewer, gaming device, and so much more. But all that wonderfulness has a silicon ceiling: storage capacity. If you’ve ever seen regular messages with variations of iPhone storage full, you know what I mean. Apple offers a variety of options for iPhone memory capacity, but show me the biggest iPhone SSD out there (like my iPhone 6s+ with 128 GB of storage) and I’ll show you a way to fill it, fast. How? iPhone’s Worst Space Hogs: Photos & Camera Videos Music Messages (especially if you send/receive a lot of photo and video messages) Games Other Apps Tip: You can see what’s stored (and where) on your iPhone by opening Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage > Manage Storage. iPhones Are Chock Full o’ Pictures Like other smart phone users, those of us with iPhones like to take a ton of pictures. But apparently we’re even more snappy than most: a 2015 study showed that iPhone users took an average of 250 photos per month — 65% more than the average Android user. That leaves a lot to be managed (not to mention a quickly… Continue reading Why Is My iPhone Storage Full? (And What Can I Do About It?)

24 Juicy Mobile Photo Apps You May Never Have Heard Of (Part 2)

Ready for more smart phone photo app deliciousness? We know you are, so let’s get right to it. (And if you haven’t checked out Part 1 of this series with apps 1-12, you can see it here). 13. Snapseed Platform: iOS, Android Price: Free What it is: Snapseed by Google simply is a robust, professional photo editor with features like a healing tool, brushes, filters, frames, HDR effects, structural and perspective edits, vignette, lens blur, “glamour glow,” and focus enhancement. What’s cool about Snapseed is it opens both JPG and RAW files for editing. 14. Photo Editor by Aviary  Platform: iOS, Android Price: Free, with in-app purchases What it offers, what’s special: This app allows you to enhance and stylize your smartphone photos using filters, stickers, overlays, vignettes, a sharpening tool, a focus tool, a blemish removal tool and a teeth whitening tool, as well as apply editing tools like crop, rotate, straighten, contrast, brightness, and shadows. Aviary tells us that some of these effects are even “made by artists around the world.” The app also lets you draw your own photo captions and doodles. One differentiator here: you can sync your photos to Adobe Creative Cloud (requires Adobe ID) to access filters and tool packs… Continue reading 24 Juicy Mobile Photo Apps You May Never Have Heard Of (Part 2)