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Debugger
Every gadget has a story. A new publication from Medium about consumer technology.

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TECH SHORTCUTS FOR LIFE

Choose the right agency, upload your work, and master your metadata

Tech Shortcuts for Life is a weekly column from Thomas Smith on Debugger exploring the apps, automations, gadgets, and other tech tricks that can make your life more efficient.

After more than a decade spent in the field, I can tell you that breaking into photography isn’t easy. I’m a professional photographer, and the owner of a news photography agency. I get to work with a wide variety of photographers and historical archives, and my own work routinely appears in publications like the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and many others. I also sit on the board of…


Use this free Photoshop tool to clone yourself on Instagram

When the pandemic hit in 2020, many aspiring photographers found themselves unable to buy new cameras and had to rely heavily on their smartphones. And that’s not a bad thing. Smartphones can capture great images, but with a little bit of extra planning and effort, you and your smartphone can create beautiful, high-end art projects. Here’s one way to create an image that will make your Instagram followers stop the mindless thumb-scrolling and rave about your photo.

Let’s show the world what it would be like if there were two of you. You know? Clone yourself into a scene. For…


A brief history of the iconic photography app

The next time you fire up the Instagram app to post a masked selfie or a close-up of the food from your socially distanced car picnic, pause for a moment and take a look at the app’s logo. What do you see? The app’s logo is clearly a stylized camera.

Instagram’s logo is an amalgam of several analog film cameras, dating back to the 1950s. And the connections between today’s ‘gram and the analog cameras of yore are more than skin deep — several iconic film cameras inspired the app’s basic functionality, its format, and its very reason for existing.


Never underestimate the power of photographing technology

Much of the stock photography depicting the tech world is terrible, or at least highly inaccurate and staged. An infamous stock photo shoot from 2016, for example, shows models of various genders and racial backgrounds using a soldering iron to repair a circuit board.

The photos look great. Except the models are holding the iron by its element, not its handle. The element of a soldering iron gets to about 300 to 800 degrees Fahrenheit when the iron is in use. If the photos were real, the soldering iron would have scalded the models. They’re also soldering the wrong side…


Tech Shortcuts for Life

Selling your stuff? Photos matter.

Tech Shortcuts for Life is a weekly column from Thomas Smith on Debugger exploring the apps, automations, gadgets, and other tech tricks that can make your life more efficient.

Are you doing some New Year’s cleaning and selling off your unwanted items on eBay or Letgo? Maybe you’re using your lockdown time to launch a new product on Amazon or start a shop on Etsy? Or maybe you’d just like 2021 to be the year where you finally photograph every member of your antique Kewpie doll collection. Whatever your reason, at some point, you’ve probably needed to take high-quality photos…


How photojournalists share critical photos so quickly

In photojournalism, speed has always been critical. Back in the film era, newspapers had bustling in-house darkrooms so they could process photos quickly. Many issued their photographers specific types of film that were easy and forgiving to develop. Some photojournalists even carried small darkrooms with them and developed their film in the field.

Today, getting photos of a breaking news event to the public as quickly as possible is still crucial. But today’s photojournalists have a range of gadgets and tech tools in their arsenals that allow them to publish photos within seconds of taking them. When attackers invaded the…


How to take great pictures of the Moon with the iPhone 12 Pro Max

Padding down my steps one morning, I noticed the brightly lit reflection of my casement windows on the den floor. It was before sunrise and I quickly surmised that this was sunlight streaming through my window.

Approaching the windows, I could see the Waning Gibbous Moon still high in the crystal-clear sky. I grabbed my DSLR and shot a few photos of it from the vantage point of my window. My 200 mm lens lets me get quite close, but I also tried to get a shot that captured the window frame and put Earth’s satellite in context. …


Archive all your memories in case of disaster

Reports from the recent fires in California include many stories of families who lost their photographs and other heirlooms to wildfires. In a best-case scenario, insurance can make a family whole again financially after a disaster, and help them find new housing. But it can never replace these lost treasures. In rare cases — like an inspiring story of a wedding photo returned to its owners after a wildfire, or a project to restore photos damaged in Hurricane Harvey — families get some portion of their history back. But after many natural disasters, entire family histories are lost forever. As…


And what it says about the problems with trusting your smartphone camera

If you live on the West Coast and woke up yesterday morning to our aggressively orange, smoke-tinged, apocalypse sky, you may have thought “Wow, this needs to be on Instagram.

But when you stepped outside with your phone to capture some pics to scare your East Coast friends, you were probably disappointed. A sky that appeared horrifically Martian in reality looked washed out and white-ish on your phone.

Why is that? The reason comes down to how your phone captures images. But even deeper than that, it comes down to something physical and fundamental: the color of white light.

If…

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