• ImprovePhotography.com Suggestions for Photographers

    Great article about working with models from ImprovePhotography.com:

    How to Make Photography Less Awkward for the Model

  • Nearly Civilized Guide to iPhone Photography Apps

    A couple people have asked me what apps I use to edit photos on iPhone. Here is a list of photography apps I use most frequently, and a brief description of what they do. My friends passed them on to me, so hopefully this takes some of the mystery out of it for you as well.

    Instagram - quick, effective overall filters
    Squareready - fitting/reducing an image to square formats (like Instagram), without cropping out details...works well for vertical (portrait oriented) photos
    PictureShow - great filter presets and additional tools like light effects, noise, vignetting, frames, tilt-shift (blur), HDR (clarity) effect
    Lo-Mob - good vintage filter presets, as well as blur and vignette
    MonoPhix - must have for black and white adjustments
    PS(Photoshop) Express - good for cropping and saving
    Filterstorm - advanced editing, more Photoshop-like
    ProHDR - takes the guesswork out of taking multiple exposures (HDR), merging, etc.
    Camera+ - must have for white balance and light presets, as well as well as vintage, modern, and analog filter presets, crop, borders, etc., and user-friendly interface
    PhotoForge2 - most comparable iPhone app to Photoshop, advanced editing, curves, levels, ability to work with layers and masking
    Noir - achieves professional looking black and whites with great contrast, etc. tools, accentuating highlights/shadows, vignetting
    PicFX - presets for texture, grunge, cracks, etc., as well as light leaks and frames
    LensLight - great light effects to play with
    LensFlare - amazing lens flare effects
    ColorSplash - selective color/black & white for dramatic color splash photos
    TiltShiftGen - advanced tilt shift (selective blur for depth of field)
    DXP - makes interesting double-exposure shots and more
    Diptic - adds panes and panels to your photos
    Rays - amazing light ray effects for more dramatic shots, move light around, behind, beneath, etc. within a photo
    Dynamic Light - take normal photos and add HDR effects without having to use multiple exposures

  • In Defense of Editing

    Of course I jumped into a recent debate in facebook's photography interest section titled "Shouldn't Obviously Photoshopped Pics Be in a Separate Category". It centered around a photography contest in which there was speculation about the unfairness of raw photos competing against edited ones. This was my reply:

    "I agree with John...it'd be like the supreme court definition of art vs. "obscenity"; extremely subjective at best. The purist or elitist mentality of some (mostly old-school/film) photographers bugs me. Whether or not someone uses editing programs and capitalizes on available technology doesn't make them any less of a photographer. The raw photo still has to be there - no matter how much you edit, a bad photo is still a bad photo.

    I don't feel I'm cheating at all...enhancing & correcting perhaps. (Editing is) A personal preference that still has negative connotations and tends to bring up the same debates as plastic surgery. For me, it's a means to an end...I can experiment freely and achieve a result similar to someone who has the resources for high-end lenses and equipment or has been shooting for 30 years and has perfected their technique and lighting.

    'It's not fair to judge them against someone who has composed a beautiful shot as is'. You are not your camera, your camera is an extension of you and what you see. Photoshop is simply another tool at your disposal, an extension of you and your camera. Like non-addicts don't just one day decide to start using heroin, someone who lacks talent, passion, a gift or an eye is not going to magically get it through Photoshop."

  • We Are Nearly Civilized

    Hello and welcome to Nearly Civilized Photography. We're official, live, legit and open for business! When I say "we're", I really mean "I'm" but that's just semantics...the point is you're here and reading this. First off, thank you for visiting.

    You may or may not be wondering "why a website?", "why now?", or "where'd the name come from?" Since this is something I have become fairly serious about, I needed a "home" or platform to display my work in a more focused (and stylish) manner and be able to direct others to it. Especially if they happen to be receiving submissions from me. Besides, however painful it may be to admit, not everyone is on MySpace.

    For a time, the majority of my postings had been limited to social networking and artsy photography sites like Retrokitten, Nerve and Blogger but another of the deciding factors had to do with diminished image quality. Speaking of which, I recently wrote a mini comparative study about the unfortunate side effects of posting hi-res images to MySpace in particular. You're welcome to read about it here if you like.

    Part of my upbringing centered on responsibility or, more accurately, avoidance of being labeled irresponsible. Not that creative endeavors were discouraged per se but let's just say that it was hard to justify my own artistic website until I had a bulk of decent work to display and the bills were paid.

    Regarding the Nearly Civilized moniker, although I've been using it consistently as an online identity for the past few years, I did not come up with it and must give credit where credit is due. Nearly Civilized is a song by the enchanting Esthero and the title more or less reflects how I perceive myself and what I'm about. Honestly, it just sounded cool and so I took it on as a creative persona. It helps that a very influential teacher once told me "good writers borrow, great writers steal."

    Hopefully I've answered some lingering questions and always feel free to contact me with others. I don't bite, am open to all kinds of feedback, suggestion or critique and would love to hear from you, even if it's just a quick note saying "hey, that one picture..."

    Thanks again for visiting and to all my friends for their support, encouragement, participation and willingness (to let me inflict my practice upon them). Enjoy!

    - tommy kabat