Dr. Hook has a folksy old rock song that verbalizes what's no doubt on the mind of every aspiring rock star: There's nothing cooler than being on the cover of Rolling Stone.
And that doesn't just apply to musicians. From time to time, we'd all like to be famous enough to land on the cover of a magazine. Equipped with your digital camera and a little creativity, you can create your own fun fake. This week, I've found a Web site you can use to make your own personalized magazine covers in just a few moments.
The Old-Fashioned Way
Before I get to that, though, remember that making your own magazine covers using a photo editing program is pretty easy, and makes for an entertaining afternoon project. A while back I explained how to do that using Corel Paint Shop Pro in "Put Your Loved One on a Magazine Cover."
Do It Automatically
If you prefer instant gratification, then check out MagMyPic. This site takes the fast and simple approach: Just upload a photo, choose one of 20 different cover options (including Rolling Stone, GQ, People, and Life), and you're done.
Resize Your Photo First
One caveat: MagMyPic limits uploads to about a megabyte. If your image file is any larger, the site will display an error. To resize your digital photo in Adobe Photoshop Elements, choose Image, Resize, Image Size and make sure the Resample Image check box is selected. Then set the Width or Height (whichever is smaller) to 1000 pixels.
If you don't have Photoshop Elements, another way to resize your photo is to right-click the photo and choose Send to, Mail recipient. Windows will open the Attach Files dialog box. Set the picture size to Large and then click Attach. A smaller version of the file will appear as an attachment in an e-mail message. Just drag the attachment out of the message to your desktop, and you have a small version of the photo you can use on the MagMyPic site. You can also use the free Windows Image Resizer; it's very handy for jobs like this.
Displaying Your Magazine Cover
When you follow the instructions on MagMyPic, you end up with a magazine cover made from your custom photo. You can't customize the text on the cover, but MagMyPic gives you a slew of options to post your creation on a wide variety of Web sites.
You could also just right-click the photo and choose Save Picture As in Internet Explorer (or Save Image As in Firefox), then select the JPEG option. Now you can share it in e-mail or any way you like.
Hot Pic of the Week
Get published, get famous! Each week, we select our favorite reader-submitted photo based on creativity, originality, and technique. Every month, the best of the weekly winners gets a prize valued at between $15 and $50.
Here's how to enter: Send us your photograph in JPEG format, at a resolution no higher than 640 by 480 pixels. Entries at higher resolutions will be immediately disqualified. If necessary, use an image editing program to reduce the file size of your image before e-mailing it to us. Include the title of your photo along with a short description and how you photographed it. Don't forget to send your name, e-mail address, and postal address. Before entering, please read the full description of the contest rules and regulations.
This week's Hot Pic: "Shadow of the Vulture," by Janna Silverstein, Seattle
Janna writes: "I visited Tsavo, Kenya last fall. This white-backed vulture perched on a branch, posing like a model for 15 minutes while I clicked away with my Nikon D80 from the back of our expedition truck. I couldn't have asked for a more cooperative subject."
This Week's Runner-Up: "In the Wake," by Mickey Kosloff, Durham, North Carolina
Mickey says that he took this photo with a Canon SD800IS while on a cruise on the Noosa River in Australia. He writes: "I remember the peaceful feeling of the cruise, moving slowly along the perfectly still river and looking at the scenery, when suddenly I noticed the amazing effect that the boat was making on the reflections in the river. I leaned over the side and took as many pictures as I could, while trying desperately not to fall into the water."
See all the Hot Pic of the Week photos online.
Hot Pic of the Month: Each month we choose one of our weekly winners to be the Hot Pic of the Month. For March, we chose "Lightning Storm," by Tom Barclay, from Lisbon, Connecticut.
Congratulations to Tom and to everyone else who won a Hot Pic of the Week last month. To see all the Hot Pic winners for March, view the slide show. Keep those entries coming!
Have a digital photo question? Send me your comments, questions, and suggestions about the newsletter itself. And be sure to sign up to have the Digital Focus Newsletter e-mailed to you each week.