Got a digital camera? Good.
Taken hundreds of photos? Great.
Discovered that most of them sit on your computer, gathering digital dust? Yech.
– from the back cover of Photojojo! Insanely Great Photo Projects and DIY Ideas.
I’m a fan of Photojojo, a website devoted to making photography fun. They offer photography tips, ways to hack your camera, and crafty things to do with all the photos you take. Just last month, Amit Gupta and Kelly Jensen published a book collecting some of the best tricks and tips from the site. They kindly sent me a copy to review.
The book, published by Potter Craft, is (as you would expect from a book about photography) slick, glossy, colorful, and filled with fun photos. It is also very funny, something you might not expect from a book about photography. From the foreword, which claims that this book will bring you ultimate happiness, to amusing side notes (“Chuck Norris cannot be turned into a photo stand. DON’T EVEN TRY.”), the book is chock full of things to help you take better pictures and have more fun.
I’ve always liked taking photos, and in college I started trying to take interesting photos. Things other than a bunch of people standing in front of a landmark or, worse yet, people standing in front of nothing in particular. (I’m Chinese, and my family’s tendency is to take a lot of these, whenever we get together.) When I had a film camera, I was really good about sorting all my photos and getting them into photo albums quickly. But then, when we switched to digital, I started taking a lot more photos, and doing a lot less with them. They just sit on my hard drive—sure, it’s really easy to track down a particular photo quickly, but how often do I just sit and flip through them? Gathering around a computer screen is just not the same as thumbing through a photo album, or admiring framed photos on a wall.
Enter the Photojojo book: Gupta and Jensen’s biggest goal is to get people to start doing something—anything!—with their photos. Part One of the book is devoted to this: “do more with your photos.” They’ll show you how to display photos with a magnetic chain, CD jewel cases, old eyeglass frames, and bent forks. There are instructions on making a photo laptop sleeve (with a matching messenger bag), and how to make your very own photo snowglobe. Part Two is called “Have More Fun With a Camera,” and provides an assortment of camera hacks, camera tricks, and several ideas to get you motivated to take photos. One of my favorite inspiring ideas: the “DIY Time Machine,” where you find a favorite photo of yourself as a kid, and then try to pose for the same photo now. As for the camera hacks, they show you how to turn a bottle cap into a tripod head, and how to use a piece of string as a monopod to hold your camera still.
I’d recommend this to anyone who likes taking photos and needs some inspiration for what to do with them. You can get a lot of this for free on their website (or by signing up for their free newsletter), but if you like having a physical book to flip through, they’ve done a great job putting it together. (As somebody who thinks there’s no such thing as “too many books,” I’m a sucker for the dead tree version, but your mileage may vary.) Photojojo! sells for about $22 (with a discount on multiple books) on the Photojojo site, and is also available at Amazon, Urban Outfitters stores, and various other bookstores.
Wired: Easy, fun do-it-yourself crafts show you how to finally do something with all those pics sitting on your hard drive; plenty of snazzy photos and silly humor.
Tired: Turning websites into books always feels just slightly redundant.
Images from Photojojo.com, used with permission.