Fast photo resizing

Upload any image to Web Resizer and shrink it to a manageable size. You can also round the corners, tint or sharpen the image, or apply other filters. It’s faster than Photoshop, and free. — MF

PhotoClaudia Dawson
Best photography blog

The best photographer blog and/or photo magazine for both pros and newbies, and for all photographers in between, is on the web as PetaPixel. Sure, they have the latest nerdy camera gossip, but they also have plenty of features about the million different ways people actually capture and use images. Every day I am amazed and informed. Add it to your RSS feed. — KK

PhotoClaudia Dawson
The camera I use

I’ve been a very serious photographer for 45 years (!!!). Even though I’ve had one book of my photos published by Taschen, I have never used a state-of-the art professional camera. I have always relied on good-enough amateur level cameras. For the past 10 years, I’ve used Panasonic Lumix superzooms. They suit my cultural photography perfectly. They are silent. They are featherweight (I carry them all day, weeks on end.) They have flip out screens so I can shoot stealthily, with subjects unaware. They are cheap. They super zoom from wide angle to telephoto, very fast. The model I’ve used for the past 3 years, the FZ 300, has a super zoom (600mm equivalent) with a constant 2.8 lens. It’s been great. For my subject — recording the vanishing cultures and peoples of Asia — this camera is perfect. — KK

PhotoClaudia Dawson
Unique photo filters

I needed to make a cartoon thumbnail portrait of myself so I used a free app for iOS and Android to render my photo into artwork. Prisma uses artificial intelligence to “redraw” any photo on your phone into a painting done in 20 different artistic styles, including cartoony ones. (It’s similar to a previous app Prizmo, but renders the art almost instantly.) — KK

PhotoClaudia Dawson
Digitizing old photos

A friend who took a mountain of photos in the last century (1950s-90s) recently asked me how to get all his old analog photos digitized, cataloged, online, and printed. Here is what I told him: I get all my old stuff (slides, negatives, prints) scanned at ScanCafe because the price is right. They have the cheapest yet most reliable scanning service. I box them up quickly and sort them after they are scanned. The files are returned on a DVD or a thumb drive. But you need time, several months, since they send them overseas (with incredible care and safety). For faster service, when needed, I use Costco. They scan at 600 dpi which is more than enough for most purposes. Costco is fast, but they don’t scan negatives any more. Only slides and prints. And they save to DVD, but not everyone has a DVD reader these days. If you need mild retouching on the old photos, Wirecutter makes some good recommendations of scanners who retouch. To manage and organize all my scanned photo files I use Lightroom. It’s standard issue for any serious photographer; I couldn’t work without it. (I currently have 230,000 photos in Lightroom.) Its image processing interface is better than Photoshop 99% of the time. You don’t need the subscription cloud version; the standalone version of Lightroom is still available and fine. — KK

PhotoClaudia Dawson
Photography lessons

I’ve done a lot of photography but I am still learning. A favorite teacher is Peter McKinnon’s YouTube channel. He is the usual hyperactive YouTuber (thus his millions of followers) but he does convey very useful info by showing how he works. For instance his lesson on product photography was neat and satisfying. — KK

PhotoClaudia Dawson
Metal prints from Costco

Everyone is now a photographer and our audience is on the small screen. But there’s a real joy in seeing a large image on a wall. The best way to do that is via the Metal Print from Costco Photo. You send a digital file to Costco online and then you pick up the piece at your local store. Your image is printed in gorgeous quality on a thick piece of aluminum sheet so that it is 100% flat and glossy – much flatter than can be done by framing. No glass or plastic cover required, which makes this style very light weight even for big pieces. And since it is frameless, and hung with an internal French cleat, it is cheap. A huge 24 x 36 inch picture, printed and ready to hang in your room or gallery, is $120. A large 11 x 14 is only $34. These show pieces really wow. Even a decent shot from a new phone will work. — KK

PhotoClaudia Dawson