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Book Review: Photography Applications For Cloud Computing by Matthew Bamberg

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Traditionally photography has been at the forefront of the technology movement, and with the advent of digital photography this has become even more so. Now, with all of these images that take up our hard drive storage space, people are looking for ways to not only share their photos, but also to make sure that their images are taken care of in case of disaster.

That solution, at least for today, is the cloud. While hardly perfect, it is convenient, easy to access, and fairly dependable when you pick a reliable company. Photography Applications for Cloud Computing uses a step-by-step process to discover well known platforms for storing, organizing, sharing, and editing photographs. This book is 256 pages and is divided into 24 chapters and 8 parts.

Part I, “Cloud Features Today,” looks at the fact that even if you don’t understand what “the cloud” is, chances are you are using it if you are using Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, or any of a host of social networks to share your images. This effectively means anything online like your webpage, blog, or anything that houses your images externally.

This part will take you along so that you can understand what the cloud is, what parts there are to it, and how it can be used as a system. It also looks at the infrastructure of the cloud and how it keeps the internet moving seven days a week, 24-hours a day. Finally you will look at where and how your images are stored in the cloud–the servers, how data is transferred, and how you connect to it.

Part II, “Cloud Use Today,” examines the state of cloud technology today, what is available for your use, and what the potential problems are. Photo sharing sites have been around for over a decade, and while much has changed, these sites still have to make money to stay in business.

This part begins by looking at both photo hosting sites as well as photo storage sites–the former is for displaying or sharing your images, and the latter is for offline backup in case of disaster. Next are issues of security. When you post an image online it has ability to be stolen and used for other purposes. There is a chapter on what risks may become of your photos, and some of what can be done about it. This part finishes off by defining some of the file types that are used in the cloud.

Part III, “Cloud Access,” starts off by looking at how you can get to the cloud. There are many ways depending on where you are. At home you may have a direct connect. Away from home you perhaps can use WiFi or Cellular. Here you will consider some of the different kinds of access.

Most photographers have multiple ways to access the cloud. You might upload from your portable device and have it sync to your computer automatically. One popular way is using a service called Dropbox where you drop images into one location and they are automatically copied to the cloud. From there you also have the ability to sync to other locations such as portable devices and other computers.

Part IV, “File Storage,” examines the various ways that you can store your images. The first item looked at is Dropbox for the iPhone. Here you will see how to get this free app and how to set it up. The second one is Adobe Revel which, at least at this point is an Mac only product for managing your photos.

Another product looked at is iCloud – a streaming storage product for the iPhone. Here you will learn about the options that you have when you want to use iCloud for storing your images. This part finishes up by comparing storage costs across the various products that are available.

Part V, “Backing Up in the Cloud,” explores some of the differing ways that moving your files from your computer to the cloud can take place depending on the platform that you are using. Because there are different pricing, the amount and kinds of movement will be different. Two of the products considered here are Carbonite and Mosy.

Part VI, “Storing and Organizing Files in the Cloud,” now looks at what you can do with your photos online. There are several places that you can move your images too depending on the goals that you have for them.

The first one is moving them to Picasa Web Albums which is a Google photo sharing service. Here you will learn about the service and its benefits and limitations. The next is Flickr which is a photo sharing and storage service. Again you will learn what it provides for you. The final is Amazon Cloud Drive which is a storage only service.

Part VII, “Postprocessing in the Cloud,” shows you a number of ways that you can manipulate your images online. Now you will see what is out there for you work with you images as well as some of the changes that are coming because of new, emerging technologies.

Some of the products considered are Pixlr where you will learn step-by-step how to process your images. Adobe Photoshop Express where you will see what options this service has available as well Adobe’s Revel Online photo editor.

Part VIII, “Printing in the Cloud,” finishes up the book by considering your options for getting your images into hard copy. The two main ways that are looked at are outsourcing your printing to a company that specializes in printing – many times this is connected with a photo sharing site, and choosing a printer so that you can do it yourself.

Photography Applications for Cloud Computing is geared for the new photographer who is trying to make sense of all the new technology. The author takes you through all the steps to make sure that you are successful in your navigation through the use of the cloud.

By gently leading through all of the options that the new or inexperienced photographer will need to be successful in sharing, storing and presenting their images online, Photography Applications For Cloud Computing gives you everything that you will need to know and so for that reason I can easily recommend this book.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.