Get a Deeper Understanding of Photography with Computational Photography

Feel like taking your photography hobby to the next level? How about geeking it up by combining your love for programming and photography?

If this is your thing, then Dr. Irfan Essa’s online course on “Computational Photography” is something you should take. Unfortunately, the course, which is offered in Coursera, has no upcoming sessions in the near future. Still you can add it to your watchlist to be informed of any openings as soon as you can.

Taking the course will surely teach you a lot about digital photography and image post-processing, but in terms of stuff like resizing images or working with layers. Instead you will learn about photography concepts in depth, looking at it from the Physics and Math point of view, as well as pre- and post-processing techniques “with emphases placed upon point processes, smoothing, convolution, cross-correlation, gradients and edges.”

And yes, while college-level math, general physics, basic probability and computer programming are required skills, they are not insurance that you’ll understand everything taught in the course.

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In-Camera Photo Editing

Most digital cameras in the market, including the basic compact cameras, come with in-camera photo editing features. While these features are limited and cannot perform complicated tasks like Photoshop can, the quick fixes that they provide suffice the needs of ordinary folks.

Some of the most common in-camera photo editing features include removing red eye, beauty shots (results in smoother looking skin), basic filters, cropping, and more. Note though that the name for each feature varies with each camera brand so as to fit their marketing spin.

Aside from the in-camera photo editing features, camera manufacturers also sometimes provide free editing software when you buy their cameras, especially for the high-end models. These software may or may not offer more than your basic editing features but is still a pleasant bonus. Of course, if you take your photography seriously enough to take out a loan to buy equipment, chances are that you won’t settle for a basic editing tool and buy one that gives you more advanced features.

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Top 3 Most Awesome Korean-Made Photo Apps

Selfies have taken over the world, and nowhere is this more apparent than in South Korea, home of Samsung, whose NX Mini has been called The Ultimate Selfie Machine, with features built right in to the camera such as “Beauty Face”:

Flipping the NX Mini’s screen automatically boots the camera straight into “Self Shot” mode. In what can only be called a sneaky (in a good way) move, Samsung smartly has the “Beauty Face” feature turned on by default. For those unfamiliar with the feature, Beauty Face essentially airbrushes off any facial blemishes — acne, wrinkles, large pores, etc. — so that faces end up looking smoother and, consequently, younger.

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It’s no wonder, then, that some of the best photography apps in the world were created in South Korea, with more being launched everyday for both Android and iOS platforms. Today, we’re looking at three of our favorite ones:

Cymera

For all-around photo taking, collage-creation, and editing, Cymera is a wonderful app that’s often mentioned quite positively by mobile photographers. The camera functions include the usual Focusing, Anti-Shaking, and Timer options, and the the filters are many and quite natural-looking. A feature not found on other apps is Cymera’s “Facepop”, which allows you to blow up your head-size, then share it with all your friends for giggles.

PicsPlay Pro (iOS / Android)

From South Korean developer JellyBus is the excellent PicsPlay Pro, available for both iOS and Android, which on the whole feels more professional than Cymera. There are over 200 filters included, and powerful editing features that are targeted at both beginning and advanced mobile photographers. Because this is a Korean-made app, there are cutesie “photo decoration” features included, such as stamping and painting- but PicsPlay Pro won us over immediately with their easy user interface, which you can see in the video below:

Beauty Booth (iOS / Android)

South Korea catches a lot of flack for what’s been called their obsession with beauty and cosmetic surgery. In a country where their own women are filing lawsuits against their own government for sexual slavery as US comfort women, the nationwide need for all women to adhere to a certain kind of beauty is unhealthy and something we strongly disagree with. However, this photo app, another creation by JellyBus, is simply fun, allowing you to change your eyes, add speech bubbles, and choose from presets such as Goddess, Art, Femme Fatale, and- of course- Cute. And, because it allows women to retouch their photos without the need for real plastic surgery, we’re all for it.

Free Photo Editors for Making Facebook Covers

facebook coverFor many, Facebook’s timeline format means obsessing over their cover photos. With no photo editing background to speak of, ordinary users end up using raw photos that often does not fit in the space. Those who are a little more savvy, on the other hand, are able to use photo editing software such as Photoshop to get the look they like or even make nice collages.

The good news for photography non-enthusiasts (Is that even a word?) is that you don’t have to learn how to use Photoshop or deal with the financial drain of having to hire a professional designer just to get a nice collage, because there are plenty of free photo editing software that is specifically designed to make Facebook covers. You can find online Facebook cover makers or download free apps. However, many of these photo editing tools place their watermark on the final image, so choose one that won’t.

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