It's official: photographs are the new memories. We just said it, and we're from the Internet, so it must be true. For your delight we've picked a few of the sites, services and software that have been turbocharging our photographs lately, including the much-anticipated Phoenix, Flickr, JPEGCrops and the improbably named Qtpfsgui.
Phoenix has risen from the ashes of an invite-only beta this week. Part of a suite of avian-themed graphics programs, it's an online image editor that packs many of the powerful features of Photoshop, such as layers and masks. If you don't know your blend modes from your unsharp masks, there's a selection of tutorials to bring you up to speed.
Because it's entirely online, you can pull in pictures from sources such as Flickr and Facebook. You don't need to pay to sign up, but you will see ads and can only save up to 50 watermarked creations. Paid versions cost around £3 or £7 per year, with no ads or watermarks, and no limits on what you can save.
This being the age of the social network and that, Phoenix even boasts a profile page where you can show off your creations and explore other users' artwork.
We've highlighted our favourite online image editors before, and Phoenix looks like a worthy addition to the ranks. Click 'Continue' for more sites and software that have been getting the most out of images in recent days, including a new look for our favourite photo-sharing site. -Rich Trenholm
Flickr has also recently rolled out a new home page to users, designed to place a clearer emphasis on photographs. When you sign in, the first page to greet you now makes your photostream, and that of your contacts, more prominent. Adverts have been shifted downwards, and the explore feature foregrounded too. Click continue to see how Flickr has also become easier to access on the go.
The new Flickr iPhone mobile site also puts photostreams front and centre, cleverly pre-loading thumbnails and iPhone-optimised pictures to cut down on lag times. Recent comments are also at your fingertips. The option to upload images by email is just a finger-swipe away.
There are assorted options to process a bunch of images, perhaps when resizing for the Web -- like this story 'ere. JPEGCrops, a free download for Windows, uses the clever approach of cropping via thumbnails. You quickly work your way through a batch of mini-images, then crank the handle and stand back as the excised file data is discarded for each picture. The remainder of each file is unaffected, so you don't lose any data in your finished image. Other options include a range of preset file sizes and ratios, and straight-up resizing.
Images processed to achieve high dynamic range have a gloriously colour-drenched vibrance. You can achieve this effect by capturing a number of exposures of the same image, known as bracketing, and combining them in a program such as Qtpfsgui. You can open raw and JPEG files, among others, to create and edit HDR images. It's a free download for Windows, Mac and Linux.
The name, incidentally, is a nerdgasm of coding references, and oddly enough is also very similar to the sound you make when you trap your testicles in a dictionary.