20 Free Ebooks For Photographers

Posted by Harshad

20 Free Ebooks For Photographers

20 Free Ebooks For Photographers

Posted: 11 Mar 2014 08:01 AM PDT

Photography is an incredibly rewarding hobby, and with the wealth of digital cameras available nowadays, is one that’s well within most people’s reach. But as any budding photographer will tell you, there’s a lot more to good photos than having a nice camera. There’s a lot of skill and technical knowledge required to really succeed at photography, some of which you can’t learn just through trial and error. That’s where ebooks and tutorials come in.

The Shy Photographer's Guide To Confidence

The following is a list of 20 free ebooks that are prefect for beginner or intermediate-level photographers looking to take their photography to the next level. Whether you want to shoot better family photos, learn to appreciate landscape photography or start getting down and dirty with street photography, there’s probably an ebook here for you.

Digital Photography Basics: Taking The First Step Off Full Auto by Kat Sloma

A great book for budding photographers or for anyone who’s starting to feel restricted by shooting on auto. Kat Sloma touches on basics such as capturing light, working with aperture and shutter speed as well as some intermediate-level photo editing.

Digital Photography Basics: Taking The First Step Off Full Auto

Craft & Vision 1 by Craft & Vision

Craft & Vision 1 is jam-packed with writing and photographs that will definitely inspire you to take your photography to the next level. The articles deal with topics such as making your images more dynamic, shooting stronger portraits and refining your composition.

Craft & Vision 1

Craft & Vision 2 by Craft & Vision

Craft & Vision 2 is a collection of articles aimed at helping you improve your photography. The nine articles in Craft & Vision 2 touch on topics such as shooting in manual mode, experimenting with black & white photography and learning to develop your own style.

Craft & Vision 2

Ten by David duChemin

Ten is an ebook consisting of ten techniques and ideas that photographers can look into to improve their photography. Through these techniques, David duChemin tries to show that you can indeed take better photos without the latest and most expensive camera gear.


Ten More by David duChemin

As the title suggests, this ebook contains ten more photography techniques, ideas and exercises that try and help you improve your photography without having to spend big money on top-shelf lenses, gadgets and accessories.

Ten More

Insights from Beyond the Lens – Inside The Art and Craft of Landscape Photography by Robert Rodriguez Jr

This ebook explores landscape photography from a somewhat different perspective. Instead of focusing on technical and equipment-related topics, the author takes you through a journey to discover the art, craft and passion that lies behind landscape photography.

Insights from Beyond the Lens - The Art and Craft of Landscape Photography

Before The Shutter: Planning Your Next Travel Photography Adventure by Anne McKinnell

There’s more to taking great travel photographs than just bringing a camera along during your next trip. Travel photography takes a lot of planning; from making sure you have a creative vision to planning your trip, give this ebook a read before you head on your next photography trip.

Before The Shutter: Planning Your Next Travel Photography Adventure

15 Incredible Bird Photography Tips For Beginners by Prathap

If you’re at all interested in bird photography, this ebook is for you. Over the course of 50 pages, Prathap touches on 15 general topics that beginners in bird photography should be aware of. The rule of thirds, camera settings and post-processing are all touched on in this ebook.

15 Incredible Bird Photography Tips For Beginners

The Adorama Guide To Sports Photography by Adorama

Sports photography can produce some striking images of athletes in action, but there’s more to it than just shooting randomly at a sporting event. This guide to sports photography by Adorama lets you in on some sports photography secrets, including tips and guides for specific sports.

The Adorama Guide To Sports Photography

Urban Exploration Photography by Neil Ta

If you’ve ever been interested in taking photos of abandoned or rarely-seen buildings and ruins but never knew how to get started, give this ebook a read. Neil Ta guides you through the basics of urban exploration photography, from suggested equipment to planning your exploration to composing and framing your shots.

Urban Exploration Photography

Going Candid by Thomas Leuthard

Thomas Leuthard’s Going Candid is an exhaustive introduction to the world of street photography. This ebook features a great balance between technical discussion of equipment, workflow and post processing and other concerns such as traveling and making the most out of Flickr.

Going Candid

Collecting Souls by Thomas Leuthard

This ebook has a clear and definite focus on street photography, but here the author focuses more on issues related to mentality and motivation. Topics discussed in this ebook include how to handle criticism, the importance of passion and general street photography practice.

Collecting Souls

31 Days To Overcome Your Fear Of Shooting Street Photography by Eric Kim

Eric Kim’s ebook is perfect for those of you who’ve always been fascinated by street photography but have always been too shy to try it out. The book is structured as a day-by-day guide aimed at helping you overcome common beginner issues and blossom into an awesome street photographer.

31 Days To Overcome Your Fear Of Shooting Street Photography

Lighting 101 by David Hobby

David Hobby’s Lighting 101 is probably the best place to start if you’re interested in using off-camera flash in your photography. From the most basic bare essentials all the way to advanced artificial lighting techniques, this ebook has got you covered.

Lighting 101

The Adorama Guide To Getting Started In Studio Lighting & Backgrounds by Adorama

Proper knowledge of lighting and studio backgrounds is essential if you’re interested in studio work, and this ebook is a great place to start. Topics discussed include selecting and using light sources, triggering strobes and choosing studio backgrounds.

The Adorama Guide To Getting Started In Studio Lighting & Backgrounds

8 Types Of Natural Light That Will Add Drama To Your Photographs by Anne McKinnell

Taking advantage of natural light can turn a good photo into a great one, and this ebook focuses on helping you do just that. From backlight to reflected light to twilight, Anne McKinnell describes each type of lighting and shows you how to take full advantage of these different types of natural light.

8 Types Of Natural Light That Will Add Drama To Your Photographs

The Shy Photographer’s Guide To Confidence by Lauren Lim

As the title implies, this ebook doesn’t concern itself with matters of equipment and technique. Instead, it focuses on how to build confidence in yourself and your photography, particularly when it comes to commercial photography. Essential read for new and experienced photographers alike.

The Shy Photographer's Guide To Confidence

The Adorama Guide To Family Photography by Adorama

There’s no better way to commemorate family events than photography, but bad family photos can ruin what should be good memories. From your baby’s first day to his or her first birthday party to family portraits, this ebook is packed with advice on taking better family photos.

The Adorama Guide To Family Photography

Exposure Blending: The Complete Guide From Camera To Process by Christopher O’Donnell

This ebook is a step-by-step guide on blending multiple exposures to create perfectly-exposed photographs. Techniques and methods discussed include auto-bracketing on camera as well as basic and advanced exposure blending techinques in Adobe Photoshop.

Exposure Blending: The Complete Guide From Camera To Process

Lightroom 5 Quick Start Guide by Victoria Bampton

Victoria Bampton’s Lightroom 5 Quick Start Guide is an essential ebook for digital photographers. It’s easy to get carried away by all the options available in Adobe Lightroom, so this ebook is a good place to start if you want to familiarize yourself with Adobe Lightroom 5.

Lightroom 5 Quick Start Guide


11 Do’s and Don’ts of Tor Network

Posted: 11 Mar 2014 06:01 AM PDT

The Onion Router aka TOR is a free software and open network that allows people to improve their privacy and security on the Internet. There is nothing better than Tor when the fear of ongoing large-scale surveillance by NSA haunts those concerned about the privacy of their digital communications. Tor secretly routes your system’s Internet traffic over several places on the Internet, thus hiding the real source of the communication, and securing your personal identity.

Tor itself can’t guarantee your privacy and security if you’re not concerned enough. It’s like carrying an umbrella. You can have it with you but there’s no protection from the rain if you don’t use it correctly. In the same manner, you need to know and understand Tor’s usage tips and guidelines to keep your privacy and security in complete control.

Fortunately, we have compiled a list of tips and tricks for using Tor to strictly protect your online communications. Keep on reading to learn how to better protect your digital identity and information using Tor.

1. Do use Tor

Anyone concerned about online privacy should never trust the people at the back of the Internet such as internet service providers, government agencies, web service providers, etc. Tor network is well known for providing online anonymity, and that’s the biggest reason why you should use it.

Tor can be used for any and all kind of sensitive browsing including, but not limited to, reporting abuse or corruption; serious business activities; inter-state or inter-country communications; publishing anonymous posts; sharing personal secrets with family and friends, etc.

2. Don’t use Windows

Windows is simply not the best choice of platform to use Tor in an attempt to improve one’s Internet privacy because of the security bugs and vulnerabilities present in the system may compromise your privacy, even when using Tor.

(Image source: whonix.org)

That is why you shouldn’t be browsing websites through Tor on Windows systems. You should consider running Tor-configured Linux systems such as Tails and Whonix, or you can set up Tor on any of your favorite Linux distribution.

3. Do Update your System

Tor client is simply a software which runs on top of your operating system. That means Tor is only as safe and secure as the system running the Tor client. You must regularly, or preferably daily, update Tor client, Tor-secured applications (browsers, instant messaging clients, email clients, etc.), and the operating system of your computer.

If an attacker is able to get hold of your computer’s operating system, then even running Tor can’t protect you or your digital communications. Always keep your system up-to-date for Tor usage.

4. Don’t use HTTP Websites

The Onion Router, as the name suggests, is only a traffic router and not a tool to encrypt the network traffic throughout the Internet. That means Tor anonymizes the origin of your network traffic and encrypts everything inside the Tor network, but it doesn’t encrypt your Internet traffic outside the network.

This implies that the exit nodes of the Tor network can read your Internet traffic if it’s in the form of plain unencrypted data. That is why you should always use end-to-end encryption such as SSL or TLS when doing sensitive online communications, and that requires you to use HTTPS websites.

You should also consider using add-ons such as HTTPS Everywhere to automatically switch to HTTPS-mode browsing for supported websites.

5. Do Encrypt your Data Storage

Tor does anonymize your Internet traffic’s origin location but it does nothing in securing your digital data on your computer. Security of your data on your system can only be achieved when the information is encrypted using strong cryptographic algorithms.

LUKS or TrueCrypt can be used to encrypt your data to protect you from various threats. LUKS offers a reasonably safe data protection on Linux systems while TrueCrypt also proves to be handy in protecting your data.

6. Don’t use Tor Browser Bundle

Tor Browser Bundle should not be used to protect one’s online privacy and security. FBI’s recent takedown of Freedom Hosting (an anonymous web-hosting service running as a hidden service on the Tor network) was possible due to vulnerabilities in the Tor Browser Bundle.

That is why you shouldn’t use Tor Browser Bundle for browsing websites anonymously through Tor.

7. Do disable JavaScript, Flash and Java

Tor cannot protect your data with active content such as JavaScript, Adobe Flash, Java, QuickTime, ActiveX controls, VBScripts, etc. because these binary applications run with your user account’s privileges, and may access and share your data.

JavaScript is a powerful browser language which websites can use to track you in ways which is not possible to protect using Tor. Java and Adobe Flash run in virtual machines which may ignore your system’s configured proxy settings, and thus bypass Tor’s protection to share your data directly with the websites.

Moreover, they may also store cookies and site’s data separately from the browser and operating system, which may be hard to detect and delete. By disabling these technologies in your system using Tor, you can achieve a greater level of protection.

8. Don’t use P2P

P2P is unwanted in Tor network because it is simply not built for peer-to-peer file sharing. Exit nodes of the network are set up to block file sharing traffic. You abuse Tor network if you download torrents and it slows down other users’ browsing. Moreover, using Tor with BitTorrent is not secure and is a threat to your online anonymity.

Due to the insecure design of BitTorrent clients, using Tor with them doesn’t make you anonymous because those clients send your IP address directly to the tracker and other peers, thus compromising your anonymity.

9. Do delete Cookies and site’s Local Data

Tor does route your network traffic through many relays in order to protect you from traffic analysis. It hides your real identity from the websites using network packets to prevent them from gathering information about you. But websites may use workarounds such as cookies and local data storage to track your online activities, analyze your Internet usage, and detect your real identity.

That is why, you must always drop cookies and site local data while using Tor to protect your privacy. You can also consider using add-on such as Self-Destructing Cookies to automatically delete cookies.

10. Don’t use your Real Email

You should not use your real email on websites while using Tor. Tor is used to protect online privacy and hide real identity. How can you hide your real identity if you’re giving out your real email on the websites? It’s like going to a mask party but wearing your name tag on your costume.

If you’re really privacy-conscious and don’t want to leave your mark anywhere on the Internet while using Tor, then you must consider a virtual identity which includes no matching information from your original, real-world identity.

11. Don’t use Google

You should not use Google to search the Internet if you care for your privacy. Google is known for collecting information on users’ browsing and search data to facilitate the growth of its ads revenue.

You should consider using alternatives such as Startpage and DuckDuckGo. These services offer search results without logging your IP address and storing cookies on your computer. In simple words, these search engines are anonymity-compliant services, and that is why you should use them while using Tor instead of Google.

Final thoughts

Anonymity is not easy when everyone is after your privacy. Tor, in spite of many known vulnerabilities and weaknesses, is still the best tool we have to protect us from malicious people and organizations. Tor can protect your digital privacy and you can browse the Internet without revealing the real you!

Technology itself can’t simply protect you if you’re not willing to strictly follow the rules and comply with the regulations. Human error may disable your identity protection and reveal your information to the outside world. What good is the alarm and CCTV system in your home if you forget to turn it on?

You need to use Tor and duly comply with the usage rules to completely protect your online privacy. Just follow the above given Do’s and Don’ts of the Tor network for better personal security online.


Create Videos For Your Startup Effortlessly With Videolean

Posted: 11 Mar 2014 03:01 AM PDT

Videos are an important part of marketing, and may just be one of the best ways to attract attention to your business, startup or crowdfunding initiative. But making a video that’s good enough to attract potential customers or backers is easier said than done. Coming up with an attractive video requires some level of skill, talent and expertise. If you’re just starting out, you probably don’t have the time to teach yourself, and don’t have the budget to hire professionals to do it for you. If this sounds like you, worry no more; say hello to Videolean.


Videolean is a service, currently in beta, that helps you create short promotional videos for your business without needing any video editing skills or having to record any footage yourself. Just choose a template, fill in the required information and get an eye-catching video in no time. Interested? Read on.

Getting Started with Videolean

You can use Videolean without registering or logging in, but if you want to keep track of all your videos then you’ll want to log in. You can create a new account or login using your Facebook account.

After logging in, you can start creating videos. Click on either the Start or Go To Gallery buttons. You’ll be taken to Videolean’s list of templates. You can either browse the whole list or browse by category.

Video Gallery

Once you’ve found a template you like, just mouse over it and click on the Make your video button in the pop-up. The pop-up also has a video preview of the template, so you can see how it looks like.

Selecting A Video

Making Your Video With Videolean

Videolean’s video creation process differs depending on the type of video you want to make. But the process is fundamentally similar: you pick a template, fill in information and upload any required images, while Videolean will take care of the heavy lifting, including rendering the actual video. Here’s a quick run-through of the process with a tweet roundup template.

First, you start off with your video’s introduction. Usually, this is where you upload your company or website’s logo. In the case of this template, this is also where you include your Twitter handle.

Video Intro

Then, you move on to the content of your video. This differs from template to template; in this case, the content is a selection of five recent tweets that you want to show off in the video.

Video Content

Once you’re satisfied with the content, you move on to the closing segment of the video; here, it’s just the intro segment repeated, to remind viewers of your logo and Twitter handle.

Video Closing

The final step for all templates is choosing your video’s soundtrack. Videolean lets you choose from a few different musical tracks, both electronic and instrumental. They’re perfect for adding that finishing touch to your video.

Video Sound

Exporting Your Video

After you select a soundtrack and press Save & Exit, you’ll be taken to what Videolean calls the Post Production Profile. This is where you can have Videolean render a low-quality preview and edit your video’s details such as title and description. This is also where you can download the full HD version for uploading onto your own website or onto YouTube. If you’ve used one of the paid templates, this is also where you pay for the template.

Videolean Post Production Profile


Videolean has a few free templates, but most of the templates are paid templates, ranging from US$15.00 to US$49.00. One good thing about Videolean’s model, though, is that you only have to pay at the end of the process. You aren’t charged for the video preview either, so you can put your video together and watch a preview before you decide whether the template is the right one for you.

All in all, Videolean is a great tool if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to create an eye-catching video for your website or blog. Startups, especially, will appreciate the multiple templates and ease of use. Sure, most of the templates are paid, but if you don’t have the ability, time or equipment to create your own videos, the pricing doesn’t look too bad.


Designers: Why Flat Rates Can Raise Your Value

Posted: 10 Mar 2014 10:01 PM PDT

Plenty of designers have a set pricing strategy when it comes to charging clients for their work. Many prefer to charge an hourly rate, which is specific and ensures that you won’t be undone by scope creep or other issues.

But what if you feel undervalued by your current clients, and hourly fees just aren’t cutting it anymore? Today, we’ll explore the sticky issue of properly valuing and pricing your design work, so that both you and your clients will be totally happy with every exchange.

What Is Valuable?

Value is one of those things that has a different meaning for everyone. Some clients you work with will find your personal design aesthetic quite valuable and worth paying extra for, while others will value your flexibility and problem-solving skills and will pay you more for that.

Ask yourself what you value most about the work you do. This will serve as your guide in determining what type of client to go after.

A Difference Of Values

If the majority of clients you work with are primarily concerned with the functionality of your deliverables and don’t care about your other attributes as a designer, that may be a sign that you’re not hitting on a large enough pain point for them.

People value solutions to problems that really bother them. If you really care about visual aesthetics, for example, but your clients don’t, it’s time to either find new clients, or shift your priorities toward solving the problem that’s really keeping your current clients up at night.

Flat Rates Equal Higher Value

Obviously, there are pros and cons of both flat and hourly rates, and variations within different design industries. However, when you charge a flat fee, it tends to indicate a certain level of trust and confidence on your part, which is attractive to higher quality clients.

When you charge an hourly rate, it can often lead to disputes about times and other annoying “nickel and dime” minutia that can sour a relationship with a client.

Keeping Up With Yourself

An obvious problem more experienced designers still charging hourly rates tend to run into is maintaining the same value for their work as they increase their skill level, and thus their speed. When tasks start to take you significantly less time than they used to, how do you maintain your income? Do you lie and pretend you still require the same number of hours? Or is there a better solution to be had?

You could take on more clients to make up the difference, but that can be stressful and not worth the headache. You could raise your hourly price, but you can only charge so much per hour before you price yourself out of your market. Who’s going to hire a designer who charges $1000 per hour when they can find one who charges a reasonable flat fee?

$20K For A Website?

You may know you can get jobs done faster thanks to your greater experience, but your client doesn’t know that. They’re going to assume that the project will take a certain number of hours, and if they’ve never worked with you before, it’s going to be rather off-putting to see such a huge price tag.

Knowing what your work is worth in a global sense will help you give an accurate and fair quote every time.

Fishing In A Smaller Pool

The problem many designers have when deciding how to charge their clients is that they serve too many different markets. One client might own a small dental practice, and another might be a Fortune 500 company. This type of variety can be crucial to your survival during your first few years of freelancing, but it can wreak havoc on the way you value and price your own work.

Do you charge a small business the same rate you’d charge Coca-Cola or Microsoft? Of course not. It’s important to start specializing in a certain type of client as soon as possible. The more specific you can make your niche, the better.

Focus On Design, Not Money

With flat rates, you have a payment expectation that’s reliable and hassle-free. Flat rate designers prefer to focus on providing the best solution for their clients, trusting that their clients value their work enough not to balk at the sum.

You may have heard the saying: “When you don’t need the money, people are eager to pay you.” Confidently charging a flat rate removes the edge of desperation and fussiness that can sometimes characterize the hourly designer.

When you perceive your work to be worth a certain amount no matter what, clients will translate that as higher value.



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