With the unofficial start of Summer — Memorial Day — inching closer, we're plotting how to throw an outdoor soiree that lasts hours into the balmy night. There's a wireless speaker with sound that can keep up with the pace of a booming party, a portable battery that can keep two devices juiced up for up to 12 extra hours, and, we can't forget, an easy-to-use phone lens that'll bring out the bright colors of the season with each snap. Prepare for months of adventure with our must-have outdoor gadget picks.
Photojojo University has just opened its virtual doors to students interested in having fun with the fundamentals of mobile photography. The pros at Photojojo are offering a four-week course ($5 to enroll) on the principles of photography, sent right to your inbox.
Each "bite-size lesson" is taught in a magazine-like format optimized for mobile device, and the course starts on the first of each month. There's no homework (lucky you) but there is a challenge at the end of each lesson, prompting you to use the skills you just learned.
Master camera basics, composition, lighting, editing, and more, and earn a $5 Photojojo gift card when you finish. Ready to get schooled? Head over to Photojojo University's website to enroll in its first undergraduate course.
Want a new way to display your Instagram prints and Polaroid collection without getting frames involved? Have plain, white walls looking sharp in no time with this DIY photo ledge from Photojojo. Not only is this a quick and easy weekend project, it doesn't require a large down payment to make it happen. The idea is that decorative molding isn't just for wall trim, make it work double duty as a picture ledge!
To create a new picture display of your own, follow Photojojo's step-by-step instructions to add some 3D photo texture to an otherwise-plain wall space
There's nothing better than spending Summer outdoors, and it's icing on the cake when our oh-so-necessary tech gear works overtime as camera caddy and cold cuts chiller. Whether you're enjoying a picnic in the sun or capturing unforgettable moments at a barbecue, Photojojo's camera cooler bag ($50) works for every situation. The burnt-orange ripstop fabric is durable and resists dirt for those who are particularly adventurous.
In addition to the main compartment that holds your camera or grub of choice, the bag includes two side pockets for extra storage. With all the different storage possibilities with this bag, how can you resist?
Clumsy confession: every time I remove my camera's lens cap to scramble for a photo before a Kodak moment passes, it's instantly lost in the abyss that is my, admittedly adorable, camera bag. The magic solution? A lens cap holder ($15) that slides on to any basic camera strap.
From its early days on Kickstarter, the plastic lens cap holder fits over any strap that doesn't include fancy hardware on the end of it. Snap the cap on the holder and never again feel the urgent scramble that is losing a lens without its cover.
Ever wanted to have a camera crew follow your every move? The iPhone Swivl from Photojojo does just that. Thanks to a motion-tracking iPhone base and a wearable, three-in-one sensor, you can shoot videos with smooth panning and crystal-clear audio — in other words, none of those jumpy, headache-inducing shots you might see when the phone's in your hand. Here's how it works: the base receives signals from the sensor, which serves as a motion-tracker, a microphone, and a remote. From there, the base can rotate or tilt up and down to follow the sensor.
Although the Swivl operates on its own, it also has a free companion app that lets you customize the panning speed. Even cooler? As long as your digital camera or Android phone weighs in at less than six grams and is under 11 millimeters thick, you can use those devices on the Swivl too.
Underwater iPhone photos are now a reality! The iPhone Scuba Suit ($60) from Photojojo is a 100 percent waterproof case that will keep your device dry and protected — even when it's totally submerged. Thanks to the airtight liquid barrier, you can dive right in and shoot photos underwater.
Thanks to a touch-sensitive gel screen, you can easily shoot pictures with your iPhone all Summer long. Plus, the beauty of that HD iPhone 4S lens won't be lost while it's dressed in its protective swimsuit since the lens cover is optical-grade, preserving the clarity of images. So whether it's while swimming laps in the pool, snorkeling during a tropical getaway, catching the view on a stand-up paddleboard, or just hanging out on the beach, memories will be captured without breaking your go-to gadget.
If you're planning to take some artistic weekend snaps, then try this faux tintype tutorial from the Instagram blog to create gritty, unique portraits. What's a tintype, exactly? First developed in the 1850s, tintype photos are taken on metal plates. Below, you can see an actual tintype on the left and a digital version on the right.
Photojojo's Lisbeth Ortega outlines a few quick steps to help you create a faux tintype:
- Add a tilt-shift effect.
- Darken and add contrast.
- Add some warmth.
- Use a thin, black border.
Hoping to try it for yourself? Check out the full tutorial to create your own faux tintype.
Photo courtesy of Photojojo
What do you give a photography pal who already has every camera, lens, and accessory under the sun? Gift skin ink of the nonpermanent variety in the form of the Tattly Camera Tattoo Set ($25). Since the photographers we know are rarely without a camera, a tattoo of any duration seems like a natural next step.
The illustrations by three Brooklyn designers are not your average grocery-store toy-machine temporary tattoo. The set of 12 tattoos in six different designs — including an old-school Polaroid, Rangefinder, TLR, SX-70 Polaroid, and black-and-white aperture shutters — are so beautifully crafted that we almost hated having to use them during our real-world testing. A breeze to put on, each tattoo is about three inches in size and surprisingly long-lasting! Many of our testers weren't able to clear the ink for several days, scrub as they might (I'm going five days strong with my tat).
Sure, temporary tattoos may not seem like the most practical use of $25, but as a just-for-fun gift or party activity to show off your photography cred, this new scene of high-end washable tattoos is something we're ready to stick to.
Get back to your SLR days by adding the one traditional piece of camera gear missing from your iPhone to make it a true do-anything camera: a push-button lens shutter. The Belkin iPhone Shutter Grip ($40) from Photojojo slides into the charging port and adjusts to fit over most cases to keep dirty fingers away from the screen while capturing every memory.
The Shutter Grip has both video and still buttons to easily toggle between each function, even in the midst of recording a video. Press the shutter again while filming video to take a still image, which will auto save to the library. The reason an external shutter is the answer to our iPhoneography prayers? Maybe, just maybe, having a handy grip will keep our smartphone butterfingers at bay and lead to quality, shake-free pictures.