Photography Apps for the Smartphone, Part 2

Earlier this week, I started diving back into active blogging with a review/write-up of a smartphone app called SetMyCamPro.  You can read more about it here, but I’d like to continue the theme of some photo app reviews, because the best camera truly is the one you have with you, and for most of us, that happens to be the camera built into our phones.  With practice and a photographic eye, you can get some pretty excellent images from these cameras.  Case in point, here’s one I got of an Ohio sunset just a few nights ago:

Ohio Sunset
Ohio Sunset

Granted, not going to win any contests, but something worth remembering for me.  Anyway, enough of the shot that I took, instead it’s time to dive into the second App I am reviewing here on the blog.

I actually reviewed this app before but it was part of a promotional giveaway article for the vendor – and it’s called Easy Release!  The concept is pretty simply – use your phone, ipod or iPad screen to generate a model or property release, have the individual sign from your touch-sensitive device (which most phones are these days anyway), and you’re done.  It’s a handy app to have for those “on the go” kinds of shoots where it’s not in a studio, or something last minute.  For those, you’d probably want to have a more professional setup in place with actual pens and papers to have clients sign off on.  (In addition to an event contract, licensing and usage, and much more.  In fact, I have a two-Ebook combo that gives you all the paperwork you need to get started in photography, including model releases (adult and minor), event contracts, and a how-to guide…you can get it here for only $30:

Add to Cart

Now, for those that prefer the digital mobile on-the-go style of releases for your business, then let’s dig into Easy Release!

On downloading it, the first thing you’ll want to do is configure add an image or logo of your business to your device – this is to add it to your logo/branding to the header that will be used when emailing a copy of the signed release to your clients! (Yes, that’s right, you can email them a copy right from your phone!)  If you want to set up multiple brands, the option is there from their Pro Pack (only $3.99), but if one is enough, then you are set with just the base one in the app.  Enter your logo, the company name, and your contact info, and that’s all you need:

Photo Jul 31, 8 11 23 AM

 

 

 

 

The rest is pretty straightforward – you’re simply selecting the release type (model or property), taking the image, and then the most tedious part – where you enter all their contact information, including phone, address, email, and other pertinent data.  For my own two cents, I wish they would add the option of making an audio recording of this data for later transcription so you can get to the signing quicker.  I’ve gotten fairly proficient at creating these, and actually used it on more occasions than I can count off the top of my head – probably in the scores by now (that’s 20’s for those speaking in layman terms!  LOL).

You can check out the app on the iTunes or Android Google Play stores here and here.  No commissions to be had by me here, so feel free to either buy or go another route, but I think this is the benchmark that any digital model release has to stand up to, because these guys are top notch!  This is, of course only my opinion, so I’d like to open the floor to others.  What are your experiences with Easy Relase?  What about alternatives?  Are they cross-platform supported like this is (Android and iPhone)?  I know it’s a bit pricier than the average app, but for a working professional, the cost does seem justified to get something this robust and portable.

To that end, I am also open to suggestions for additional apps to review.  I’ve got 3 more in the bank, but that doesn’t mean we can’t re-visit later if needed.  Throw your suggestions for other apps in the comments section too, and I’ll add to the list!  Have a great weekend everyone and keep on shooting!

Software Review: PrintKey2000

Many times I have been asked what kinds of software I use to do various things for the blog, especially things like videos, screen captures, audio recording, and all that sort of stuff.  One thing that I’ve never really talked about is screen captures…not the videos but actual still shots of things as seen directly on my screen.  There are many programs available to do this, some paid for, and some open-sourced, with some being Mac or Windows specific, and a few scattering that cross both platforms.

Well, today, I am going to give a little nod to a Windows-only program, called Printkey.  Specifically titled PrintKey2000, and under specific note that this is a freeware program (meaning it is not supported – to use at your own risk.)  While I have never had problems with it, the mentality of “let the buyer beware” should always be a consideration when downloading applications, especially freeware.

Those in Apple-land know that there are keyboard shortcuts to do a screen capture of either your entire viewing area, or a specific window, and these can either be copied to the clipboard memory for inserting in an application like Photoshop, or saved outright to your desktop.  While in Windows you can always use the Printscreen and ALT+Printscreen to copy either a full screen or active window to your clipboard, the ability to save directly to your desktop does not exist natively.  Instead, you have to capture the screen to memory, paste into an image editor, and save out as a JPG if you want to use it.  What PrintKey does is fill that void of directly saving to the desktop.  This is especially handy if capturing things for posting in a blog, in creating documentation, and other useful learning resource outlets.

To use Printkey, simply download the free application from here, run the executable, and let the program start in your system tray.  The entire packaged zip file is half a megabyte, so the footprint is super for those that are space conscious.  Here’s a capture of the software itself in action (don’t ask me how I got it – that took a few minutes to figure out!  LOL):

Printkey200o Interface

While there are many features wrapped up in this handy little application, the ones I use most often are the Save, Rectangle, Print, and then the dialog screen at the bottom of the screen (click the image above to see a larger view).  These should be pretty straightforward to those who are familiar with the concepts, but here we go regardless:

  • Save – saves the current capture to an image file…you can specify whatever format you prefer (jpg gif, etc.)
  • Rectangle – gives you a + sign that you can drag and drop around a custom area for capturing only part of your desktop
  • Print – sends the captured image to your printer…(hope that was explanatory enough)

The last one is the bottm details area…I am talking about this little section here:

Details

It’s very handy because it will tell you the dimensions of the image, how large the file is in terms of storage space on your computer, and how much free memory is left out of the total memory.  While some many not need all this info, the geek in me likes to have this!

So, there you have it, Printkey2000 in action.  I feel that I should also mention another really good counterpart and that is the program, SnagIt from the folks over at TechSmith.  With that handy application, you can not only capture images on both Windows and Mac, but you can edit them on the fly, including inserting text, arrows to call out an area, and other fun stuff.  Alas, it’s not free though – 30 day trial is allowed before you gotta cough up the $50! (Which for me is not worth it for something like this.  I have some friends that use other applications too, especially for video screen captures on both Mac and Windows platforms which include names like IShowU, Camtasia, and much more.  Here though, was just a little scoop on a little known application for the Windows crowd out there.

Got your own favorite little unknown program?  Have you used PrintKey?  Like it, love it or hate it?  Sound off in the comments as new little handy utilities are always welcome.  Happy shooting all and we’ll see you back here again tomorrow! 🙂

One last thing all – don’t forget the Height themed contest for the month of February – get your photos in while the gettin’ is good!  Deadline is a week from Friday!