Decades-Old Lenses May Be Radioactive

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Decades-Old Lenses May Be Radioactive, Especially if They’re Made by Kodak


Do you think your Facebook Images are safe without a Watermark?

Have you heard of the new app Photos at My Door?  This app gives individuals the opportunity the ability to print any image, from any user’s album.  Through this site, you can select from different prints (prints, mugs, phone covers, key chains, ..) using YOUR IMAGES.

Copyright Your ImageIf you look at the above images, this is how you should be copyrighting/watermarking your online images.  A Watermark should be over a hard to edit part of your image and with your copyright information on the footer if you want.  Some photographers feel that the footer copyright is enough, however that can easily be cropped off.  Protect yourself – now even more with apps that can print your images without your permission.

How would you like to see someone walking down the street with your photo on a keychain?  Am I going too far with this thought?  Or is Facebook and Photos at My Door…


Aspect Ratio

Have you ever ordered a print and you have to crop your image to have it re-size to the print size you want? The reason this happens is the aspect ratio of your original image is not proportional to the size you would like. Aspect ratio is the proportion of an image’s height to its width. Most SLR cameras are able to produce an images at an aspect ratio of 2:3. This basically means that the height of the image is 2/3′s the width.

To re-size an image that is 2:3, you basically need to multiply the height and width with multiples of 2. For example, the proper re-sizing options for an aspect ratio of 2:3 is

2×3 multiplied by 2 = 4×6
2×3 multiplied by 4 = 8×12
2×3 multiplied by 6 = 12×18
2×3 multiplied by 8 = 16×24
2×3 multiplied by 10 = 20×30

If you wanted an image, let’s say, as a 5×7 you would basically need to crop a portion of your image off. Unfortunately, there is no way around this.

Aspect Ratio


2013 a year for organization : DIGITAL PHOTOS into PRINTED MEMORIES

2013 A Year for Organizing

1. To easily sort through your images, place them all into one common folder. If you have multiple computers, you can enable File Sharing between them, Your devices can be plugged in and the images can then be uploaded quickly.

File Sharing:



2. Next, you will want to chronologically sort your images and the best way to help you do that is to use an application you may already have on your computer: Adobe Lightroom or Apple iPhoto. Both, Lightroom and iPhoto allow you to sort your images by date, which is how you should now have your images sorted – First by Year, next by Month.

3. Purging through multiple takes of the same image will help you clean up your folder. We all know that we take too many images of the same thing, but do you really, really need 12 identical OR almost identical shots? Ask yourself that question a few times while you are looking at how many Megabytes, Gigabytes, Terabytes you have of your digital images.

4. Now it’s time to backup your images on Archival DVDs and begin printing. It’s best to keep in the theme of working in chronological order so you don’t get overwhelmed. There are many different ways you can print your photos, in a Photo Book since now your images sorted by Year/Month.  You can now have yourself an annual Yearbook of your family life.


Photography Organizations and Associations

Being part of a Photography Organization or Association is a great tool to have in your Camera Bag, this helps you socialize with your fellow photographers as well as learn since a lot of these Associations/Organizations have classes to help keep up with the changing times of photography.  Here is a great list of some we know about:

Advertising Photographers of America (APA)

  • Mission is “successful advertising photographers,” and goal is to establish, endorse and promote professional business practices in the photographic and advertising industries.

American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP)

  • The leading trade association for photographers who photograph for publication.

American Society of Picture Professionals (ASPP)

  • A community of photographers, picture researchers, editors, photo buyers and picture agencies that offer educational tools, industrial support and networking opportunities.

American Association of Museums (AAM)

  • The only organization representing the entire scope of museums and its staff.

The Association of Independent Architectural Photographers (AIAP)

  • Connects photography buyers with architectural photographers.

The Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD)

  • Dedicated to creating and maintaining high standards in the business of exhibiting, selling and buying photographs as art.

Editorial Photographers

  • Dedicated to improving the health and business practices of editorial photography.

En Foco

  • Dedicated to promoting cultural diversity in photograph.

International Association of Architectural Photographers (IAAP)

  • An online community for architectural photographers from around the world can meet, share ideas and enhance new business.

International Freelance Photographers Association (IFPA)

  • Focuses on the business of photography and how to make money with your camera.

International Industrial Photographers Association (IIPA)

  • An international organization for professional industrial photographers.

National Press Photographers Association (NPPA)

  • Dedicated to visual journalism: its practices, training, editing and distribution.

North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA)

  • Serves the field and practitioners of nature photography.

Photographic Society of America (PSA)

  • An organization that promotes the art and science of photography.

Photo Marketing Association International (PMAI)

  • Helps worldwide photo imaging community achieve business success and adapt to new technologies.

Professional Photographers Association (PPA)

  • The world’s largest nonprofit association for professional photographers, seeks to increase its members’ business savvy and creative scope.

Society for Photographic Education (SPE)

  • Promotes wider understanding of photography in all its forms and seeks to foster development of its practice, teaching, critical analysis and scholarship.

Society of Sport and Event Photographers

  • The only trade association of its kind that focuses on helping sport and event photographers become more successful.

Royal Photographic Society (RPS)

  • An educational charity whose aim is to promote the art and science of photography.

Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI)

  • Devoted to the needs and interests of wedding and portrait photographers.

Wedding Photojournalist Association (WPA)

  • An organization of professional journalists and wedding photographers dedicated to the practice of the documentary style of wedding photography.

Women in Photography International

  • Serves the needs of photographers, photo educators, photography students, gallery owners and photographic organizations around the world

Did They “Borrow” Your Image?

I recently found out of about a wonderful extension to the Google Chrome browser that will make the job of knowing if anyone is using your images with our without your knowledge much easier.  This extension is called Search by Image (by Google).  Once this extension is downloaded, all you need to do is right-click on your image and select “Search Google with this image” and Google will search for any image that looks like this, in addition this can also be used to in reflection to see how unique your work is as it will show you images that will have similar design.

Below is an example of how well this application works if your image is being used.  This is an image from a great teacher of mine, Ralph A. Clevenger, at Brooks Institute of Photography, his image is constantly being used without his consent.  Here you can see the many pages (at the time I research this, it went on to 50 pages of people using his image) as well as an example of a similar image at the top that Google thought looked like this Iceberg (the heart).

Stolen Image


Featured Photographer: Will Futch

Being in the photo book business, we’re lucky to see lots of amazing pictures from our customers. We love to take inspiration from our creative community, and always try to be supportive of the images and ideas you share with us. That’s actually one of the reasons we worked hard to launch our new Viovio Premium line of photo books. After all, we don’t just want to help you make great photo books – we want to make it easy  for you to explore, celebrate, showcase and benefit from your creative talents.

Today we’d like to share with you a series of photographs from Will Futch, a local North Carolinian and close friend of one of our Viovio team members.  A graduate of Appalachian State, Will is a constant traveler having visited 5 of the world’s 7 continents. Most recently, Will joined One World One Rope on a trip to Kenya to teach jump rope to children as a means of fostering confidence, teamwork and leadership. He brought along his trusty DLSR camera and captured some images that just blew us away. Below are a few of our favorites. Click on the image to see a higher resolution version.

Will Futch - Kenyan Photographs 1 Will Futch - Kenyan Photographs 2 Will Futch - Kenyan Photographs 3

Will Futch - Kenyan Photographs 4 Will Futch - Kenyan Photographs 5 Will Futch - Kenyan Photographs 6

Will Futch - Kenyan Photographs 7 Will Futch - Kenyan Photographs 8 Will Futch - Kenyan Photographs 9

Will Futch - Kenyan Photographs 10 Will Futch - Kenyan Photographs 11 Will Futch - Kenyan Photographs 12

Will Futch - Kenyan Photographs 13 Will Futch - Kenyan Photographs 14 Will Futch - Kenyan Photographs 15

What do you think? Pretty cool, eh?

If you have images to share, or know of a photographer that you think should be highlighted, please leave us a comment. We’re aiming to make these features a regular part of our blog. Have fun and keep creating!


Digitizing Your Old Film Negatives

If you’re like many photographers, you vividly remember the days of film. Even in today’s digital world, the allure of film photography continues to draw enthusiasts who have a passion for the particulars of the format. Just explore the world of Holga photography and you’ll get the idea. Chances are that if you’ve been a photographer long enough – amateur or pro – you have hundreds if not thousands of film negatives stored here and there. Well, in the spirit of Spring cleaning we thought it’d be fun to help you digitize and store your old film negatives.

Its actually a question we get regularly from the Viovio community. Before the prevalence of computers and the Web you had only one good choice for showing off your photos – create prints. However with today’s technology you have a wide range of options, from creating a custom photo book to sharing them with friends and family on Facebook. And its never been easier to turn your film negatives into digital files to make sharing and creating even easier.


Perhaps you’re someone who has kept negatives organized over the years. However if you’re like most of us you have some work to do as you revisit your negatives. Its helpful that as you go through the negatives that you organize them by a certain criteria that is relevant to you (e.g. year, event or person) as well as jot down ideas for captions that you can use later.

Also, please remember to be careful when handling your negatives. Hold them near the edges as they can tear easily. Also wash your hands with a mild soap and do your organizing in a dust-free (or as close as you can get) area. This will help you minimize damage to the negatives caused by skin oils and dust.


The great thing about technology is that it only getts better and less expensive over time. Today’s at-home scanners benefit from this trajectory and allow you to produce very high resolution scans of your negatives without ever having to leave your house. There are special film scanners such as Nikon’s Super Coolscan 9000 ED, however these specialized scanners can get a little pricey. Thankfully, today’s multi-purpose flatbed scanners offer a nice balance of quality and cost. Some flatbed scanners even offer a film negative mode that can help you get high quality scans. You can read reviews of some good scanner options here and here. Just keep in mind that the key to producing great digital scans of your negatives is to scan in super high resolution and to a lossless image file format such as RAW or  TIFF. 6400 dpi (dots per inch) would be ideal, however with some experimenting you may be able to get away at a lower resolution.


Now that you’ve scanned in your negatives, its time to turn them into something you can use online. The first thing to do is import the files into an image editor such as Adobe Photoshop (although a free editor like will work with TIFF files). Assuming you’re working with Photoshop, to import create a new file and place your scanned images into the Photoshop document. This will be your digital roll of film, but you can also split them into multiple files based on the individual image. Please note that due to the high resolution you used to scan in your negatives that this file will be rather large. You can resize the individual images (taken from the negatives) based on your needs, but please keep in mind that the image should be 300 dpi or greater if you intend to print them in a photo book.

Once you have a set of negatives imported into Photoshop, its time to straighten. You can learn more about the proper way to do this from our previous blog post, Straighten Up! Correcting Your Horizon. Once you have the straightening taken care of, use the Marquee Tool in Photoshop to highlight part of the blank film at the front of the role.  This will be used to create a color profile for your photos.  Otherwise, your photo’s color balance will be off as a result of the natural color of the film.  After you have created a sample by copying and pasting a section with both the blank black and film colored areas, blur each area heavily with the Gaussian Blur Tool under Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur to blend any off colored specs of dust.

Gaussian Blur Tool

Notice the how blur tool eliminates and smoothes the image

When you feel you have blurred each sample color thoroughly, open up the Color Curve Tool under Image>Adjustments>Curves. Keep the channel set to RGB color negatives.  If you are working with black and white negatives, you can work in grey scale IF you scanned the film in greyscale. On the bottom right, you will notice three eye dropper tools; one black, one grey, and one white. Pick the white tool on the right and move it into the blurred orange area.  This will set your white balance and compensate for the film color.  Do the same with the black tool and select the black sample you blurred.

Color Curve Tool

This sets the point where color is totally saturated: Red 255, Green 255, Blue 255. You can also learn more about color profiles by reading our earlier blog post about Understanding Color.


Under the Image menu, move your cursor to Adjustments>Invert.  Release your mouse and watch the magic happen. ;)  You may need to adjust the colors for each indiviual photo frame, but if you followed the earlier steps correctly, your negatives should look like positives.  If you’re interested in automating the process, and are using Photoshop, you can use a plugin such as the Kodak ROC to help you speed up this process.

Now that you have your old negatives scanned in and looking beautiful, start sharing your favorite pictures with friends and creating your photo books. Please also feel free to post your best images and stories in the comments section below too. We love to see what you’re creating.


4 Tips for Creating a Family History Photo Book

Every day we’re impressed with the creativity and variety of the books that our customers create. We love helping breathe life into your unique ideas and this is a big part of the reason we started Viovio in the first place.

Recently we’ve seen a number of our customers creating fantastic photo books that map out their family tree. Think genealogy in picture form. For those of you who are new to the concept – but are interested in capturing your family history in a keepsake book – below are a few tips and tricks to help you get started.

Tip #1: Research & Learn

Let’s start with the obvious – you’ll need to spend time researching your family history and gathering photos. The easiest way to begin this process is to speak with your relatives. You’ll be amazed to found out the little (and no so little) details about your family.  Was one of them a world-renowned arctic explorer, a talented artist, or something else?  Take the opportunity to talk to your living relatives, listen to their stories and gather photographs.

In addition to speaking with your relatives, there are numerous useful tools available on the Internet that will allow you to research your family history. Resources such as,,’s Genealogy page and even the United States National Archives provide helpful guides and databases that will make your research easier.

Tip #2: Make a Map

Once you have a pile of great family photos (and the stories behind the photos!), it’s time to start mapping out relationships.  The simplest way to do this is to organize your photos by generation, although there are many other options such as dedicating pages to a significant family events or family relationships.

As you’re organizing, showcase the photos that tell your relatives’ story exceptionally well. For instance, if your great-great uncle Ernest happened to live a colorful life as a great writer, highlight the photos that capture his uniqueness. Pairing your photos with the details of the research you’ve conducted will also help to fully round out the story of your relatives’ lives.

Tip #3: Find Your Perfect Template

So here’s how we come in.  Our communities of designers have created beautiful and incredibly helpful photo book templates that are perfect for family history albums. Of course you can pick from our large (and always growing) catalog of templates or even upload your own PDF; but the designer created templates make it easy for you to create your genealogy photo book without the fuss.

Here are a few examples of genealogy templates from the Viovio community designers:

Family History & Genealogy - Set 1 Family History & Genealogy - Set 2Victorian Beauty
Tip #4: Learn From Others

In addition to the designer community, Viovio has a fantastic community of creators that have designed family history photo books for themselves. Below is an example from Jeanne Shimokawa that may spark a few ideas. Also, please feel free to share your other examples and designs in our comment section on this blog.

Jeanne Shimokawa

Jeanne Shimokawa Jeanne Shimokawa
A family history photo book is an incredible way to not only learn more about who you are, but to showcase to your friends and loved ones your family’s heritage. As you’re getting started with creating your very own family photo book, please let us know your questions and we’d love to see your final creation as well. So get started and have fun!


Straighten Up! Correcting Your Horizon

One of the more common mistakes we see when customers are creating a photo book is the use of crooked photographs. Rotating the camera even slightly can make a cruise ship look more like a submarine ready to dive off the edge of the paper. It is very easy to do, and surprisingly easy to miss. Our brains focus on the image, and have no trouble reorienting to the coordinates of the photo. However, it is one of those things that once you start to notice it, you can’t stop seeing it everywhere! I went through my old photographs and was shocked how many crooked photos I took that I had never noticed before.

The good news is this is very easy to fix. Many photo editors have a very nice straightening tool that display a grid to help you align your images.

Pro Tip: Use *vertical* lines to straighten if possible. For example, the building of a roof may not be parallel with the horizon because of your perspective to it. However, a chimney, or door will offer a great vertical reference. Get the vertical lines straight up and down, and the whole image will look much more natural.

Below are two examples of images before and after straightening. Do you have any other tips on correcting the horizon to share?


House Before


House Straighten


Straighten After


Beach BeforeStraighten:

Beach StraightenAfter:

Beach After