Get 40 or maybe only 20 free prints from snapfish.ie

Michele blogged that Snapfish.ie are offering 40 free prints to new users. Always game for free prints I clicked the registration link and was shocked to discover that they’re only offering 20 free prints. WTF! The lying cheating marketing scum! How could they do that?

I signed up anyway. It’s 20 free prints and I wanted to get a few 6×4 prints made of family shots.

This is the original email Michele was sent which clearly states the offer is for 40 prints.

HP Snapfish 40 free prints

The registration page says 20 prints. Strange isn’t it?

HP Snapfish 40 free prints

So, HP, can I have an extra 20 prints?

Photowalking around The Lough

What: Photowalk.
When: Sunday March 9th at 3pm.
Where: The Lough in Cork City. (Google Map)
Who: Anyone with any sort of camera.

On Sunday March 9th, we’ll visit The Lough in Cork City on a photowalk around the lake. Of course it’s also a social occasion when we can swap camera tips and photography advice. Sunday is a slow day for many people so let’s aim to be there at 3pm near the bird feeding (south) end of the lake. Weather permitting, that gives us plenty of light for about 3 hours, and if people are still around later, sunsets over The Lough can be quite stunning. Bring family and friends too if you like, but remind them that they will probably be photographed and their photos may end up online. If you bring a dog, remember that they must be kept on a lead.

Nearby is the Hawthorn Bar. It’s literally right next to the lake and a nice place to go for a drink or a bite to eat.

All are welcome to come. It doesn’t matter what type of camera you have, or how good or bad you think you are. Photowalking is the perfect opportunity to practice and improve your photography and chat with like minded individuals. The Wikipedia page on photowalking has a good overview of what it’s all about:

Photowalking is the act of walking with a camera for the main purpose of taking pictures of things you may find interesting.

So far I have confirmed that Ryan and Donal will go, and sort of confirmed that David will be there. David was kind enough to announce the walk at the last meeting of Mallow Camera Club so I hope that a few members will participate.

I would be very happy if 5 or 6 people showed up. If there are more that’s even better. We’ll have plenty to talk about and there is so much to photograph you’ll be kept busy. Leave a comment on this post if you’re interested in going or have any questions!

If you’ve never been to The Lough, here are a few links that may interest you:

Don’t forget, if you’re in Dublin this weekend, Redmum is organising an Irish Blog Awards Photowalk on Saturday. I won’t be there but it should be fun to photowalk through Dublin City Centre!

How DIT’s “Iomha ’08” photo contest can hijack your rights

So, you’re all fired up and ready to enter a new photography content? Dublin Institute of Technology are holding a worthwhile photo content in the run up to Seachtain na Gaeilge this year. They are “seeking photographic entries on the theme of An Ghaeilge Bheo – Irish: The Living Language from both Ireland and abroad”. There’s a first prize of €1,500 which is not to be sniffed at!

Unfortunately if you enter, you’re giving up some of your rights as a photographer. From the rules:

14. Entrants will retain copyright in their submitted entries. However, by entering the competition all entrants grant the competition organisers a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual licence to use and publish each entry in any and all media (including print and online), for exhibition, publicity and any other purposes which the competition organisers in their sole discretion deem appropriate. DIT reserves the right to use the entries in the promotion and publicity campaign for the competition including exhibition and publishing of the images. All entries and entrants’ details will be securely stored.

What does that mean for you? Let’s say you have some beautiful shots of the West of Ireland, in an area where Irish is spoken. Like many people you’d like to make a bit of money out of your hobby. Who will buy your image? Tourists might, but competition is fierce and it’s hard to get the shelf space for your art work. What about Government bodies? Maybe one of those departments advocating the Irish language will buy it?
Good luck if you’ve entered that image in this competition. You’ve just handed DIT, Foras na Gaeilge, Oideas Gael and who knows who else the right to use your image in whatever way they like. You never know. Check the DIT Prospectus next year. Instead of paying money for a professional photographer they will have a ready made library of free photos to use, forever.

OK, before you scream, “Nutter! They wouldn’t do that!” I agree, they probably won’t, but DIT aren’t the only ones to do this. National Geographic have a Your Shot page every month where they invite photographers to submit their best images. Guess what’s buried in the tems and conditions of that contest? They’re not the only well known brand to do it.

Jim reminded me that even Facebook have some dodgy wording in their terms and conditions. How would you like that drunken picture of you singing and laughing at a bar with beer bottle in hand to appear in a Facebook advert? It could happen ..

Many photography contests have similar terms and conditions. Before submitting a photo, read the small print. Even if you never want to sell an image, it won’t be nice to discover a treasured photo used in an inappropriate way.

GIMP For Photographers: Levels

GIMP Colors Many people find using the GIMP or Photoshop a daunting prospect but in fact those packages are quite easy to use once you’ve practiced a few times. This will be the first in an occasional series to help photographers use the GIMP to post process their photos.

The Levels tool (right click on your image, select Colors, then Levels) is used to adjust the levels of the colours in your image by manipulating a histogram representing the image. In simple terms, you can make broad changes to the Red, Green, Blue and overall “Value” parts of your image.

The single most useful function of the Levels tool is the “Auto” button. Click that button and the histogram will be stretched out. Your image should look better. If the photo lacked contrast, it can suddenly become a lot “punchier”!

Here’s an example which will make things clearer.

GIMP Levels before example

This is a nice photo I took in Galway in 2005 with a Sony 717. Unfortunately, there’s a nasty yellowish sheen to the image. I probably shot this with the white balance set to cloudy. That can give a pleasing golden look to images but it’s not always welcome. The image also lacks contrast and looks under exposed. How do I fix that?

GIMP Levels

Fire up the GIMP Levels tool. Right click on the image, go to Colors, then Levels. This is the histogram for the image above. See how it’s all bunched into the middle? Now, click on the “Auto” button.

GIMP Levels after example

Wow! One click did that? The image looks so much better now! The swans actually look white and it’s brighter and shiny!

GIMP Levels

I opened the Levels tool again, just to see what effect “Auto” had on the histogram. Sure enough. It’s stretched from side to side.

Levels before and after
Before and After Auto Levels

Wasn’t that easy?

Advanced Usage
You may have noticed the eyedropper buttons next to to the Auto button. Those are “Black”, “Grey” and “White” selectors. Click on one of those, your cursor will change to a eyedropper and then click on the corresponding colour in your image. They work pretty well, but can be confused. If it all goes wrong, just click the Reset button, or CTRL-z to undo if you’ve clicked OK.

You can also manipulate the histogram manually. Just drag the sliders left and right until your image looks ok. You can change the channel with the drop down at the top of the Levels dialog. Changing individual channels does interesting “cross processing” things to an image.

External links:

  1. The Levels tool on gimp.org docs
  2. Levels Tool – white, black and grey to the rescue! – a tutorial I wrote about the levels tool back in 2004!

Want to know more? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear what you’d like to know and learn about the GIMP.

Sneak peak at the Canon 450D

DPReview have a hands on preview of the new Canon 450D DSLR! Specs look impressive, and as the Canon 400D is still being manufactured and sold I’m sure there’ll be some great deals on the older camera.

They also have a report listing what has changed since the Canon 400D. 12MP sensor, spot metering, 3″ LCD, auto lighting, something called highlight tone priority and more. Are you tempted yet? Must keep credit card in wallet …

Canon 450D

No, I’m not that tempted. The Canon 20D will do me for at least another year! (via Treasa)

Flickr Pro Stats

flickr stats If you have a Flick Pro account, check out the new Flickr stats. You have to activate it first but it only takes 10 minutes or so for it to generate your stats.

What surprised me was that my Pink Flowers photo was the most viewed image yesterday. It’s a nice photo but by digging into the stats I see that search engines sent 71% of the traffic. Just goes to show that you should set the title of your photos carefully!