Penguin Splash. Video with a Galaxy phone.

I don’t do a lot of video, and even less using a smart phone but I wanted to see how my Galaxy phone would tackle the task. So,back at the end of September, I was in Calgary and took a few minutes to shoot a small video in the Penguin Splash area of the Calgary Zoo.

I came home and played around with the short footage in Photoshop, and then, as one does with other things going on, I completely forgot about it until watching the weather channel a couple of weeks ago when they showed the penguins at the zoo.

This was my first time using the new video editing tools in Photoshop CS6 and once I play around and experimented a bit, I found it fairly intuitive. That is to say you can manipulate layers and add adjustment layers such as curves etc. just as you would a static image.

It had been really noisy in the small area so this meant playing with sound and adding music. A big thank you goes out to Dexter Britain, http://dexterbritain.co.uk/ . for the use of his music “The Tea Party.”

You can watch Penguin Splash on You Tube.



Photoshop World 2012 – Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, Nevada

Last week was a blast!

This was my first time at Photoshop World, and my first time staying in Vegas. Blown Glass Captivated by the blown glass showcase in the newly renovated US boarding lounge, I left Edmonton International Airport with anxious anticipation. One stop in Denver and another short flight to McCarren,Las Vegas and I walked out into what felt like a blast furnace. 9pm at night and it was still 37°C/100°F!

Mandalay Bay Hotel and Convention CenterThe next morning I took the time to explore. First off I found the Convention Center. Then I went on to explore the rest of the hotel. Lots of good restaurants, a huge gaming floor, my point of interest though was the pool. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the Mandalay Bay has one of the biggest and best swimming pools in North America, (Well actually its several pools) complete with sandy beach for use by hotel guests.

Time to venture outside. Now although I’ve lived in Canada almost all my adult life, I was brought up in England and in true British style my first instinct is always to “get a bit of fresh air” and walk. From my bedroom window I could see the Luxor, Excalibur, New York,New York, Monte Carlo, Cosmopolitan and many more. So covered in SPF50, with my Camera and lenses in my backpack, and my Galaxy Nexus in hand I set off. By the time I got to the Luxor I was pleasantly hot, by Excalibur I was baked. It was at this point that I discovered that not only is there a free tram between the three hotels but a covered walkway.

Photoshop Conference WorkbookI had been looking forward to the first time attendees orientation session, so by 3pm I made my way back to the Convention Center. Larry Becker imparted words of wisdom to those of us embarking on our first conference.The most important of which (and of course, this is only my personal opinion) was leave your Photoshop World Conference Workbook in your room and take notes on paper. (The book weighing in on my home scales at 2lbs 6ozs/1.8kgs.)

The other excellent piece of advise…bring snacks!
Ballons at the Bellagio

I was like a kid in a candy store. Which session do I go to?

Please bear with me as I use such superlative adjectives as:

  • awesome
  • amazing
  • enlightening
  • entertaining

and just plain fun!

The next three days were packed with too much to do and see, and as the time went on the sessions just seemed to get better and better. Just a few of the sessions I attended were:

  • Lightroom 4 Crash Course – (Matt Kloskowski) – Enlightening – OK I will finally give up Bridge.
  • Getting Creative with 3D in Photoshop CS6 Extended – (Corey Barker) Exciting – I’m grabbing my pen tool but I still have issues with crashing in 3D.
  • How Do I Use These Brushes – (Pete Collins) FUN!!! – Erodible tips, drag me from the computer.
  • Sharing Socially Bringing People Back To Your Website – (RC Concepcion) Awesome and Entertaining – This was a last minute change of plan, I’d originally intended to go to another session but I enjoyed RC’s teaching style, loved his anecdotes, marveled at his Star Wars Images, (My family are all Geeks) and will no longer be ignoring Flickr.
  • Gold Statue

  • Live Food Photography Shoot – (Joe Glyda) Amazing I went to this session because by chance I came in midway on his Design Session on the Expo floor, which reminded me of all those things that you learn, way back when but that overtime you forget. One of the best tips from the whole conference,(and I’m paraphrasing here)
    “Walk around back, you’ll find things that others miss.”
  • Getting Started with Premiere® Pro
  • – (Rich Harrington) Best in Show – Amazing! – Another one of those lucky accidents. I was walking around the expo floor and was in the book store, (To anyone who knows me this is not a surprise) and there was a session just about to start so I sat down.

    Now I was taught when adjusting your photo’s you use levels, then play around with curves until you have a sort of “s” shape that looks good, then sharpen your image. I think my jaw literally dropped open as I saw the proper use of curves. This was an instructor worth following. What else was he teaching? Premiere® Pro? I’ve used the video in Photoshop and Camtasia Studio for the odd project.A lot of my clients love my slides on Animoto. When I came to the conference I had no intention of even looking at Premiere® Pro but I bit the bullet and now I can’t wait to get started.

Yes, I am on information overload. Every session had something in it. If you want a glimpse into just some of what went on you can go to the Photoshop World official site and You Tube.

I will be touching back on some of the things that I learned, in blogs to come. In the meantime I can say with no reservation whatsoever, that if you are interested in improving your images, meeting friendly, helpful and inspiring photographers, Photoshop and other Adobe product users, and are dying to see and learn about the latest and greatest plan to attend Photoshop World.
To see a few more of my Las Vegas images please visit my Safe 2 Pin “Las Vegas” Board on Pinterest.
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Fun with fonts and typefaces.

Image

I love playing with fonts. There are designers who have made careers simply by designing fonts. Fonts can make or break a design or stand alone to evoke a mood. There are hundreds of thousands of fonts to choose from but only a relative few that are in common use.

Whats the difference between a typeface and a font?

Examples of script, sans-serif and serif fonts.

The Business Dictionary definition of a typeface is:

“Letters, numbers, and symbols in consistent type-weight and typestyle that make up a complete set (type family) of a distinctive design of printing type such as Ariel, Helvetica, Times Roman and thousands others.”

And a font as:

“Complete set of all characters that comprise a given typeface in a specific point size: capital (uppercase) letters, common (lowercase) letters, small caps, numbers, and mathematical and other symbols.”

Comparing fonts using pangrams:

A pangram is a sentence that contains all the letters of the alphabet in a given language.
In English the sentence best known and most often used is:

“The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

Examples of fonts.

(My French isn’t fluent but I’m told that the French equivalent is:

“Buvez de ce whisky que le patron juge fameux.”

which translates to: Drink some of this whiskey, which the boss finds excellent. )
French Pangram

Serif and Sans-serif.

All fonts can be broken into two groups Serif – such as Times and Sans-serif such as Ariel.
Serif and Sans-Serif fonts
A serif is the small line,decoration or “curly que” that is at the end of an individual letter. Fonts with out serifs are called sans-serif (without serif).

Usable fonts.

The font you use depends on your medium, print and/or the web,and your good or bad taste.

Conventional wisdom is that a sans-serif font is easier to read on screen and serif fonts are easier to read in print but it’s generally agreed you should never combine the two.(However rules are made to be broken.)

There is a growing number of overused fonts that Graphic Designers love to hate. You will find numerous blogs on why you should never use Comics Sans MT, or Papyrus but I bet you can’t go a week without seeing one of the “Terrible Ten” which are:

Overused fonts.

(OK, so “Chiller isn’t on the list, that’s my own personal peeve!”)

  1. Comics Sans MT
  2. Papyrus
  3. Courier
  4. Impact
  5. Curlz MT
  6. Bradley Hand, (infact almost all script fonts hit someones hate list)
  7. Frankenstein
  8. Trajan
  9. Bank Gothic
  10. Garamond

The other two fonts that nearly always hit peoples lists of overused and most hated are:

  1. Ariel (in all its various forms)
  2. Times New Roman

The trouble with Ariel and Times is, if you are designing for the web you almost have to use one or other as a default.

Fonts on the web

If you want to make sure that your text appears exactly the same way on all browsers, and platforms you have to make an image. Otherwise, you are at the mercy of your audiences browser and have to guess how your text will appear. Guess? Well yes. It is an educated guess but let me explain.

Back in the early days of HTML the only way to place your text where you wanted it was to use a table.(This practice is now frowned upon.) Then the W3C (The World Wide Web Consortium) decided to split content from design. HTML takes care of the text content and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) takes care of the text design or “style” of your text. (For many reason I won’t go into here this was actually a good thing.)

Style (for web typographical purposes) covers:

  • font
  • color
  • spacing
  • positioning

So what’s the problem? I don’t know what fonts my audience has installed on their devices! I’ll say that again.

“I don’t know what fonts my audience has installed on their devices!

I can specify what ever font in whatever size I like but, if for whatever reason your computer/tablet/phone doesn’t have that font installed, your browser will render its default serif or sans-serif font.

For just that reason CSS allows you to choose a list of alternatives. Having said that even two very similar fonts can display dramatically differently on two different devices. This is why you see so much of Ariel and Times, they are safe because almost all computers have both fonts installed. You will have plenty of pre-installed fonts on your computer but if you’ve been installing your own you can run into problems.

Slightly geeky bit over.

Fonts for Photography, and Images.

If none of the fonts on your device convey the image or message you want or you just want to have fun playing there are lots of places to find fonts. Many are free but some specialty fonts you will have to pay for.
Here is a list of places to start looking:

not to be confused with…


Feel free to pin this blog and follow Lyn’s “Safe 2 Pin” board on Pinterest.
Follow Camera Photo Art and Lyn Safe 2 Pin on Pinterest

A really basic introduction to Color Space.

Color is a whole science unto itself. Most people are aware of the color wheel, hue (adding black to a color) and tint (adding white) but what is color space?

Color Space

In its simplest terms a color space is:

An ordered list of numbers that represents specific colors.

That’s why you have numbers when you use a color picker/tool. Anyone familiar with HTML may have used the standard HTML (Hexadecimal) Color Space part of which is pictured below.


Example of Web Color Names and Hexadecimal Values.

Color Management.

Why do we worry about color space? Color space is really all about color management. In most cases I want the colors I see on my screen to be as near as possible to the color of the that images I print.
There are lots of color spaces but the most well known are RGB and CMYK.

RGB and CMYK

RGB stands for Red, Green, and Blue and CMYK for Cyan, Magenta,Yellow and Black. RGB and CMYK are the two color spaces that most people are aware of but they are many color spaces, in fact you can even make your own.

RGB

When you view an image on screen you’re viewing RGB color. Three color guns project Red, Green and Blue onto the screen.
RGB Red, Green and Blue combined.

A few years ago if you were designing your images for use on the web you were advised to use the 256 web safe colors. That was because most computers could only accurately reproduce those 256 colors. Nowadays most computers and devices can see in millions of colors.

Note:

256 Colors is also known as 8 bit color. Each pixel is made up of one 8 bit, byte. (A byte being made up of the amount of information it takes to store 1 character on a computer.) A 16 bit system gives thousands of colors, and 24 bit system renders millions of colors.

RGB also has sub groups or think of them as different flavors of RGB color.

For example:

  • sRGB is a color space that came about in 1996 when Microsoft and Hewlett Packard got together to decide on a standard for their monitors, and printers.
  • Adobe RGB was created by Adobe in 1998 to coincide with the release of Photoshop 5.0.

CMYK

CMYK is used in printing. The four inks are applied in the order Cyan, Magenta, Yellow then Black. I always thought that they decided to take the last letter of black, because the B for blue was already taken but the K actually stands for Key. The four printing blocks were originally “keyed” in alignment with each other the key plate on the bottom being black.

CMYK - Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.

Other Color Spaces.
Greyscale
Greyscale is exactly what it says
If you are a Photoshop user and you look under the Image Menu – Mode You will see a list including Lab (Pronounced L-ab and not lab) This is a quite interesting color space based on the human ability to see differences in colors opposite to each other on the color wheel.

This has barely touched the surface of color so for those of you who have a need to satisfy your inner Geek further reading can be found at:

International Color Consortium

Adobe RGB (1998) color image encoding

Right click to download a PDF version of this blog.





To Pin or not to Pin? That is the question.

I admit it, I love Pinterest. Part of my daily ritual for the last few months has been to browse my favorite photography sites looking for inspiration. Then a post in one of the photographers groups I belong to made me stop and think.
Pin / Thumb Tack
The photographer in question stated that:

“I cannot support a social media site that does not respect photographers rights.”

Quite frankly I was taken aback. My thoughts went;

Surely she’s misread their Terms of Service. I’m not stealing your photographs, I’m simply looking at and sharing, in a controlled environment which ones I like.

I reasoned, Pintrest couldn’t work if they were violating your rights.

I thought nothing more of it until this week, when on another forum, the subject came up again. This time there was an interesting long and detailed blog attached to the post. You can read the blog post here: http://tinyurl.com/PinterestBoards.
Pin / Thumb Tack

This blog also suggests that Pinterest Etiquette says that you don’t pin your own work. Click here to read the Pinterest Etiquette Guidelines. I read this carefully but can see nothing that says or even suggests you can’t pin your own work. Infact, Pinterest has a page devoted on how to set up your Brand! You can find Brand Best Practices here.

Then I did something I should have done in the first place, I went and read the Terms of Service for myself. (Yes I know we all should read them fully at the time we sign up but how many people actually do?)

Terms of Service

The Terms of Service have actually changed since I originally signed up by the important parts can be found in part 1. ii

“To third parties. Pinterest values and respects the rights of third party creators and content owners, and expects you to do the same. You therefore agree that any User Content that you post to the Service does not and will not violate any law or infringe the rights of any third party, including without limitation any Intellectual Property Rights (defined below), publicity rights or rights of privacy. We reserve the right, but are not obligated, to remove User Content from the Service for any reason, including User Content that we believe violates these Terms or the Pinterest Acceptable Use Policy. It is important that you understand that you are in the best position to know if the materials you post are legally allowed. We therefore ask that you please be careful when deciding whether to make User Content available on our Service, including whether you can pin or re-pin User Content on your boards.”

OK, so the onus is on me as a Pinner. This is good news!

I repopulated my boards using only my own and my daughters works then adding friends work, and finally repining those images with a Creative Commons license, from Yahoo and Flickr. (The amazing photographer Trey Ratcliff of Stuck in Customs has his own boards (with a creative commons license) on Pinterest so I have been quite happily repining his work.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons allows others to use your work with some restricrtions:

Here is an example of a Creative Commons image. You may use it for any non-commercial use as long as you attribute me as the photographer and link back to this website.
A cast of a dinosaur's skull
Creative Commons License
Dino Skull by Lyn Tuckwell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at www.cameraphotoart.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.cameraphotoart.com.

There are six different levels of Creative Commons Licenses. Creative Commons is a different form of copyright allowing the photographer, artist, musician or writer to state what the consumer can do with their creative work and make allowance for how their work can be shared.

So what you say is the flip side of the coin? What about all those photographers who didn’t want their images pinned. Well they have two choices first of all they can take one of two small piece of code available from the Pinterest website telling people that they do not want their images pinned. You can find the code here. Secondly they can report the misuse of their images to Pinterest. If your image has been used without your permission click here for the procedure.

I see both sides of the argument but of all the sites out there, I still think that Pinterest is the most innocuous and the best for positive feedback. Pinners, for the most part, are looking for inspiration and photos that make them feel good. If my photo or artwork fits that slot I’ve only won as long as all the Pinner is doing is sharing.
The problem of course comes when someone abuses the system and, as we all know, people will abuse the system. If someone wants to steal your images they will; Flickr proved that.

I believe the big picture (excuse the pun) being missed here is the huge opportunity for photographers to show their work to people who would otherwise not only not have bought from them anyway but would not have known of the photographers existence.

There is a reason why Pintrest has taken off. In North America one of the fastest growing hobbies is scrap-booking. (Right behind Genealogy and Ornithology /Birdwatching). Pinterest is simply a form of scrapbooking on line. What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below.

Download this Post as a PDF






Oh, and yes you can…

How far should we go in retouching Grad. Photos?

My daughters graduation photo’s arrived along with a quote to retouch the blemishes.

After my first thought of,

“She hasn’t any blemishes and if she does, I’m going to be the one to retouch them.”

I began to think… What about all those parents who are now faced with that choice? Even if you don’t buy the photographs, at least one will end up in the school year book.

In a graduating year do you want your son or daughter to be the only child with the acne marks typical of so many teenagers? Personally I think if you are going to retouch blemishes on one kid you do it for them all. But then where does it go from here? Do we offer to:

  • Straighten teeth?
  • Take a crook out of a nose?
  • Pin back ears?
  • Shape eyebrows?
  • Add highlights?

Don’t we want to remember our friends as they really are? What does it do to a child’s self esteem if they are the only one who doesn’t look “perfect”?

Do we as Photographers or Image Editors have any moral responsibility?

Growing up in England we never had this problem. The last day of our equivalent of High School, we simply went into assembly, sang Jerusalem and left with promises to keep in touch. (In the UK you don’t “graduate” until you leave University or College.) On this side of the Atlantic things are very different.

Over the last few years there has been a movement to ask the media, and in particular magazines aimed at young girls, to state when an image has been altered or “Photoshopped”.

“Oh…that’s been Photoshopped.”

Is generally not a compliment.

Long before Photoshop we looked at altered sketches in catalogs and airbrushed photos of models. (I can remember my mother pouring over Vogue Pattern Books.) Did we ever believe that people really looked like that? I don’t know if we did back then but obviously, in North America at least, we do now.

The US numbers from the petition to “Protect our Girls” and pass the “Media and Public Health Act” are alarming.

  • 42% of girls in grades 1-3 want to be thinner
  • 51% of 9-10 year old girls feel better about themselves when they’re dieting
  • 53% of 13 year old girls are unhappy with their bodies; by the time they’re 17, 78% of them will be
  • By the time they’re 17, these girls have seen 250,000 TV commercials telling them they should be a decorative object, sex object or a body size they can never achieve.
  • 7 million girls and women under 25 suffer from eating disorders (myNEDA.org)
  • 40% of newly identified cases of anorexia are in girls 15-19 years old. A rise in incidence of anorexia in young women 15-19 in each decade since 1930. Anorexia has the highest rate of mortality of any mental illness. (myNEDA.org)
    80% of women feel worse about themselves after seeing a beauty ad. $20B is spent on beauty marketing in the US annually. That’s a lot of money being spent making women feel worse about themselves.
  • Nearly 25 million people – male and female – are suffering from anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder (myNEDA.org)
    3-12% of teen boys use anabolic steroids in pursuit of a lean, muscular ideal

Up until recently it simply never occurred to me that anyone would take any of those images as reality. Women’s magazines are for the most part, about fantasy and always have been.

I mean yes of course, there is always the one person who really is that thin and that beautiful naturally,

(Alison if you weren’t so nice I would hate you every time you have two portions of fries covered in gravy, followed by a chocolate bar and a can of pop then complain you can’t gain an once.)

and for every nine people who want to loose weight their is that one who is desperate to gain but when did we stop looking at the real people around us? For most magazines it would be simpler to say all photos have been retouched or to simply point out any image that hadn’t been.

Photoshop isn’t to blame, nor is any other form of digital manipulation but for those who don’t know the difference it is obviously disastrous.

Dove’s Self Esteem program has been running for quite some time, and in my opinion does an excellent job. Watch the Dove Evolution add here. (In some areas you may have to search on You Tube for Dove Evolution.)




I’m a Control Freak!

Following on from last weeks blog, Where do I build my Portfolio you’ve looked at the options of hosted sites but you have decided you want to do it yourself.

Building your own website.

You’ve looked at the options and decided you want complete control over your website but….you don’t know where to start.

You have choices, in fact probably too many. Don’t worry let’s look at your options.

First of all:

  1. You can hire someone, ie a Web Designer
  2. You can do it yourself

But wait! Even before you make this decision you need your own domain name.

Choosing a domain.

Your domain name is your brand. (What you want to call yourself and how you want to be known.) Even if you are hiring someone else to do the work for you I strongly suggest you register your own domain name. In fact, even if you are hosting your site at one of the photography sites mentioned last week, your own domain name is always a good idea.

Note

About ten years ago, before I knew better, I found myself in the situation where the designer I had hired for a company I was with, allowed the registering company to register our domain in their name. It took several months to get our name back and then only because the designer was being nice and had other clients in the same position. You may not be so lucky.

When possible your name should be short, easy to spell and descriptive. This is probably the most important decision you will make. Remember you are going to have to live with this. If you already have an established name by all means use it.

Buying your own domain is relatively easy shop around as deals and special can change weekly.

Try any of the following:

If you have the option, go for .com but don’t be bullied into getting the .net, .info, .name etc that will be offered unless you know that you actually want to use them.

The exception to this might be if you can’t get the name you want but you can get your country. For example: your name is John Smith you try
JohnSmithPhotography.com but it already belongs to someone else, try, for example:

  • johnsmithPhotography.co.uk if you live in the UK
  • johnsmithPhotography.ca if you live in Canada

The other exception for buying multiple names is if you have a name that is commonly spelled more than one way. JaneMcdonaldPhotography.com, and JaneMacDonaldPhotography.com would be an example of this. You can have the wrong spelling set up to point to the other site.

At the time of writing You should be able to get the name of your choice for under $20.00, in most cases under $10.00. It is a good idea to add privacy to your listing but you don’t have to if you don’t want to at this point.

You do not have to host your sight where you buy your domain although this can be a good idea. (If you subscribe to the Creative Cloud domain hosting is included for up to five domains.)

Hiring a professional

There are lots of good reasons to hire someone to do the work for you but don’t expect it to be cheap and don’t expect that you’ll be completely off the hook for as far as making decision are concerned. A good web designer can be worth their weight in gold. If you’re not technically inclined and you don’t want to do the web work yourself, (and you have the budget) by all means hire someone and concentrate on your photography.

Expect to sit down and discuss, colors, styles, logos, fonts and feel. Look at sites you like for ideas. Be prepared to spend at least a couple of hours talking to your web designer. Ask your designer what he/she has done before and ask for references. (Just because you don’t like some of the sites a designer has done you shouldn’t rule them out if they have good references; their client may have wanted lime green with fluorescent pink and orange spots. Your choices may seem quirky to others too.) Don’t be frightened to get more than one quote but don’t necessarily go for the cheapest option.

Ask for a breakdown of services and costs before you start. Make sure that you will be able to change and add to your images. If you are going to sell from your sight look at the options for shopping carts. Make sure that SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is included.

Hiring a Student

No, I’m not talking about your next door neighbors ten year old (although they may be really good). Schools and collages often have students that will make your site for you at a reduced cost as part of their curriculum. Expect to go through exactly the same steps as you would with a professional web designer but expect the process to take longer. Make sure that the Teacher or Professor will also be available if they run into problems.

Doing it yourself.

I’m going to presume that if you have got this far you are fairly comfortable with the idea of either coding, using templates, including blogging platforms such as Tumblr or WordPress or using a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor such as Adobe Dreamweaver or Microsoft FrontPage.

There are literally thousands of templates that you can download for free or a small fee. Places to start looking are:

Most hosting sites also offer templates/themes as do WordPress.org and Tumblr.

With the launch of Adobe’s Creative Cloud subscribers can now host up to five websites. Depending on how many photographs you have this may be an option for you. If your subscribing to the cloud you also have access to Dreamweaver and Muse for designing your site.

For tutorials on web design and html coding try Lynda.com, Web Monkey, IWA/HTML Writers Guild, and, of course, the W3C.org (World Wide Web Consortium).

With a little research, you can find your comfort level and soon have the site you want.

The Mystery of the Dissapearing Duck.

OK, so its not much of a mystery but I am just having so much fun with the Content Aware Fill that I thought I’d share.



Creative Commons License
The Disappearing Duck by Lyn Tuckwell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at www.cameraphotoart.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.cameraphotoart.com.


To follow along with this tutorial download Quakers, (the duck) by right clicking on the image.
Quackers the duck.
Creative Commons License
Quackers by Lyn Tuckwell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at www.cameraphotoart.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.cameraphotoart.com.

Where do I build my portfolio?

I see this questions again and again in the forums. “Where do I build my portfolio?”

There are so many places to choose from that the choice is simply mind boggling. As with so many things it really depends on what you want to use your portfolio for. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I want to:

    • Sell photographs?
    • Book portrait sittings?
    • Make prints?


    • A canvas print, framed print and an art print.


      Prints and Greeting Cards

  2. What are the features I’m looking for?

    • Do I want a slide show or do I want static images?
    • Can I have control over who sees which images?
    • Am I selling from my site, do they have payment options for my clients or do I have to set that up myself?


  3. What are my associated costs?

    • Will a free site work for me?
    • Should I host my own site or use a subdomain?
    • If I have my own domain do I have to have a third party source to monetize my site?

    • NOTE:


      A subdomain is a site that is hosted under another sites domain name. For example: www.yourname.hostsname.com.

These are just a few of the questions you should be asking. Remember that you don’t have to have only one portfolio, you can separate your images depending on what you want to do with them. (I have several different portfolios for different kinds of images and different clients.)

Looking at the options.

So let’s look at a few of the options out there.

Pay Sites:

If you are a professional or serious photographer I suggest you look at these options first. Pay sites do a lot of your work for you. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is built in as are shopping carts for products, (but do watch their markup). Do your homework. Decide what you want. Set up an excel spread sheet with your must have options and then decide what’s best for you.

SmugMug

Again and again in customer service satisfaction surveys SmugMug comes in either first or second place. You can try them free for two weeks and then you have the choice of three levels of membership Basic, Power, and Pro. Starting at $40.00 a year and going to $150 (monthly payment options between $5 and $20) this site has all the bells and whistles.

Photoshelter

Photoshelter and SmugMug usually battle it out for first and second place in the favorites game. They also offer a two week free trial and have three levels of membership basic, standard and pro. Photoshelter has a month to month option starting at $9.99 and going to $49.99

Zenfolio

Also has a free 14 day trial period and you can upgrade to one of four plans. Their Basic Plus starts at just $30.00 a year, Unlimited at $60, Premium at $120, and Premium Business at $250.00 per year.

Start out for free with the option to upgrade.

So… by this time you’ve looked through some of the options and your mind is completely boggled. You love the look and feel of the paid sites but you don’t want to commit. There are good free sites out there. Don’t overlook sites that you already belong to. Don’t forget that you are not committed for life.

Photoshop.com
Yes that’s right, create your free Adobe account at Photoshop.com and you have also have a free web gallery with 2 GB of storage. You can upgrade later if you need more storage.

Behance.net

Have a LinkedIn account? You also have access to Behance.net create a free portfolio and show your work on LinkedIn.

Deviant Art and Deviant Art Portfolio

Deviant Art is a social site for artists and photographers where you can display and talk about your work. Aimed mostly at a younger crowd it does have a free portfolio site for members at Portfolio.DeviantArt.com.

Other sites to consider.

Fine Art America

Fine Art America sometimes gets overlooked by photographers. Start off with a free site and upgrade for only $30.00 a year. Sell your images and set your own price.
They have lots of tools at your disposal and the chance to interact with fellow photographers. A great place to start if you are on a limited budget.

Carbonmade

Carbonmade is a nice easy to use site. When I first started out with graphic design this was the site I used. I still use the free version for demonstration purposes.


Sample of portfolio at Carbonmade
You get up to 5 portfolios and can use up to 35 images for free. Upgrade to 50 projects of 500 images and 10 videos for $12.00 a month.

What about Flickr and Picassa?

Absolutely have an account on both but don’t use either of them for your professional photography. Why because if you read the Terms of Service both Yahoo (Flickr) and Google (Picassa) have the right to do what they want with your publicly accessible files. So go ahead and make private albums to share with your family and friends, photo groups and clubs but keep control of any image you might want to use exclusively.

Conclusions or Confussion.

These are just a few of the options available, and I’ve mentioned them because either I am now or have in the past used their services, and because these are the sites that again and again come up in third party recommendations. What if none of these are right for you? You want to do your own thing and have total control. You’ve been told that WordPress, Tumblr, or Blogger are the sites to be on. Well next week I’ll look at the options for setting up your own site from scratch.

Footnote/Disclaimer: All prices quoted are in US Dollars and were correct on the 17 May 2012. It is the readers responsibility to check current pricing and terms of service.