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Every year I write a series of several posts that note special contributions to the photo community. I name persons, products, etc. that I think were particularly valuable during the past year. This time I’m doing it all in one post. You may not agree with my choices, but you should at least be aware of them.

In no particular order:

Photo Educator of the Year
Scott Kelby – Scott wins this award every year because I can never find anyone who comes close to offering so much information for so little in return. He loves the photo community and deserves our thanks.

Best Non-Commercial Photo Sharing Site of the Year
Flickr – yep Flickr. With their new iPhone app and a renewed sense of purpose Flickr continues to offer what I think is the best mix of features for those who want to share their pictures online. Well-organized and easy to use, Flickr has been around a long time for a reason. It works.

Photo Technology of the Year
Micro Four Thirds Cameras – the MFT community is growing and with spectacular lenses and bodies being brought out every few months, MFT did more technologically for photography this year than anything else.

Photo Software of the Year
Adobe Creative Suite/Cloud – Adobe gave us a really significant update to Photoshop and Lightroom and instituted Creative Cloud which I happen to think is both brilliant and helpful. It makes Adobe products easier to update and more affordable and offers special access to features that would take longer to roll out if they relied strictly on boxed versions.

Photo Social Media Site of the Year
Google+ – I hate to admit it because I still think the numbers are grossly inflated (like by a factor of about 100) and Google seems Hell bent on screwing photographers about half the time (using our photos in search without compensation,) but you can’t deny that the photo community seems to have agreed that G+ is the place for photographers to interact with each other. That last part is an important distinction. I think G+ may be the worst place for photographers to interact with their clients and non photography fans.

Photo Hardware of the Year
The Smart Phone – iPhones and Android phones have completely changed the way people think about photography. The mobile device with a camera has turned the photo world upside down and inside out. People are shooting weddings on phones and even making feature films using these devices. There’s no doubt that the trend has been building but this year it exploded.

Best Photo Plugin/Filter of the Year
Perfect Photo Suite 7 – I have every photo plug-in known to man but since onOne updated Perfect Photo Suite to version 7 I find myself using it more than anything else; even Nik – which used to be my favorite. The new interface, tools, and speed of this plug-in/filter make it an easy choice for best of.

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