I Made My New Website Last Night With Adobe Portfolio

Embarrassing confession: for the past 4 years we haven’t had a portfolio. We were no longer shooting portraits, and spending all our time teaching, so a portfolio wasn’t exactly necessary. But yeah, we should have had one. I tried a couple times: playing around with Squarespace and WordPress. But nothing really stuck, and we had no place to show our work.

Finally creating a portfolio was on our list of things to do this year, and I sure wasn’t looking forward to it.

Then last night I saw something pop up in the news: Adobe had just released a portfolio builder, creatively called “Adobe Portfolio“.

I clicked through, the templates looked neat, so I held my breath and clicked on Pricing.

“For you, Lauren, it’s free.”

Oh what sweet, sweet words! Yes, that’s exactly what the site said. Since we have a subscription to Adobe’s Creative Cloud for the bajillion Adobe programs we use, (and I was currently signed in, so it creepily knew my name) Portfolio is free. Sold!

So I started to see what it was like. Lo and behold, an hour of poking around, a few clicks and uploads and I found myself with a portfolio! Another hour of fine tuning, and I had something published and ready to share.

I present to you, the first portfolio of our personal work ever!

Now I say that it’s ready to share, but it is certainly far from complete. This was done in one evening of work (an evening broken up by watching some Netflix and going in about half a dozen times to put the baby back to sleep). But with a few more evenings of work, I’m sure I’ll have something pretty comprehensive.

So what do I think of Adobe Portfolio? I really enjoy using it! It’s simple, for sure. If you’re looking for a really complex website, this isn’t it. There’s no blog, or shopping cart, and it won’t do any crazy slideshows or blast music out at your unsuspecting viewers. But it does what it’s supposed to do very well: build a portfolio of your best work.

Using the editor takes a tiny bit of getting used to, which is true of anything really. For the most part it’s very intuitive, and I didn’t need to read any instructions or look up tutorials to get it to do what I wanted. Sometimes I’d find myself scratching my head, wondering how to do something (like remove dates from the project grid) but once I understood how the system is designed (you click into something to pull up all the options) then it was easy enough to figure out.

The best part is that it looks really good out of the box, and it’s hard to make it look bad. The spacing and typography are top notch, and that goes a LONG way to creating a beautiful presentation. Those kinds of things aren’t easy to do either, so I appreciate them handling the setup for me there. It’s linked into Typekit so you can add lots of lovely fonts to put your own twist on it.

Adding photos and text is easy, you can put in captions, have the images pop up in a lightbox for bigger viewing, reorder them and remove them with ease and even embed videos and contact forms from Wufoo and other such things.

There are 5 different templates to choose from, each quite clean and minimal, because, again, this is supposed to be about showing off your work, not dazzling with fanciful web design. I really appreciated that it saved my adjustments to each template when I switched to another one, so I could tinker, try out something different, and come back to what I had first made without worrying about losing my adjustments.

And, of course, everything is optimized for mobile so your site will look good on any device. There’s even a nifty little preview at the bottom so you can check to see how it looks on different devices with different orientations.

Other Nifty Features:

  • Use your own domain name
  • The editor is “live” meaning you can see your adjustments as you make them. This makes the whole process much quicker and easier
  • Things like padding and spacing and size are all adjustable with sliders, so you can really fine tune the layout
  • Allows global style adjustments to everything from link colors and hovers, to image rollovers and other nerdy web design stuff (global means you can adjust everything at once, keeping the design consistent, and saving time)
  • Ties in with Behance if you use that service to show off your work

All in all, it was a very enjoyable and fun process, and I was pleased as punch with the outcome.

It’s nothing insane, but it’s exactly what I need right now. And I’m sure many many others will find it’s just right for them.

Adobe Portfolio is included with both the full Creative Cloud membership ($49.99/month) AND the Photography bundle, which gives you Lightroom and Photoshop for $9.99/month.

My biggest piece of advice for using Adobe Portfolio?

(Other than just finally sitting down and using it to make that portfolio you’ve been putting off?) Put your personality into it. Hard. As I’ve said, these templates are simple. They look like a billion other templates out there. There’s nothing wrong with that, because these designs sure do work well – they are easy for your viewers to navigate, and show your work off.

But you have to do something to make your site stand out from the billions. Whether it’s the colour, logo, titles of your projects, what you write in your About page, or whatnot. Have fun with it, be yourself to the fullest, and find a way to take these templates and make them yours!

New Instax Mini 70 Review + Giveaway!

We’ve long been fans of the Fuji Instax line, even taking them all the way to the Peruvian Amazon. They are instant cameras, letting you quickly share a photo, and bring some of the magic of instant photography everywhere you go. (Fun fact: the Instax Mini film was the most popular item on Amazon this past holiday season! We’re not the only ones who love this stuff!)

So when the fine folks at Fuji asked if we wanted to try out the new Instax Mini 70 we said YEP! And then they said “Hey, we can give one to one of your readers!” and we said “YEP YEP!”.

We used the Instax to take some photos of our holidays, and it was, as usual, a blast. It was so much fun to see our little stack of shots piling up, and at the end of it all it made such a wonderful momento.

Here’s our quick review of the camera, and then the giveaway is at the end! Enjoy!

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Moment Smartphone Lenses Review

The smartphone is one of the most popular cameras of our time. It’s small, always with you, packed with features, and rapidly improving in quality. It’s a whole new wave of photography, and one that’s super exciting.

However, it can be, well… a bit boring after a while.

The trouble with a smartphone is that you get one focal length, and that’s it. It can be a fun creative challenge, don’t get me wrong. But one of the joys of photography is using different lenses to capture different perspectives.

Enter the world of smartphone lenses – something I never thought I’d be interested in, until I saw the Moment lenses. High quality, beautiful design, and with three different options (wide, telephoto and macro), suddenly there was a whole new world of smartphone photography to explore. So we did just that, and here’s what we discovered.

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We have a winner!

Hey team!

Ok so I hope you were hanging out with us the past couple weeks, because things on the site were FUN! A huge sale, a great course, and a TON of giveaways!

Today we wanted to thank everyone who followed along, entered a giveaway, or grabbed one of our tutorials. We are so grateful for your time and support!

And I also want to announce the winner of our grand prize $500 giveaway – Emily!!! Congrats my friend, we hope you get something fun!!

We also had 14 more giveaways (wowzers!) and congrats to all of those winners as well!

Have a wonderful day, and happy photographing!

8 Landscape Photography Tips For Wall-Worthy Photos

I have a confession for you today,

I am NOT a landscape photographer.

But when I find myself in situations where beautiful landscapes surround me, I want to be able to take a good shot that will do the scene justice. I want to be able to capture more than a quick snapshot – I want to take a photo I’d be proud to hang on my wall. So here are 8 things I’ve learned in my quest for those wall-worthy photos.

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Let’s Stop Telling People They Aren’t Photographers, Mmmkay?

For many, many years I’ve seen something going on in the photography industry that isn’t just mean, it’s plain wrong. Does this sound familiar?

“Just because you own a camera doesn’t make you a photographer!”

“These newbies buy a camera, start taking lots of photos, and think they’re photographers. They’re not!”

“Everyone and their dog thinks they’re a photographer nowadays. There should be rules and requirements and TESTS, yes, TESTS! You should have pass a test to be able to call yourself a photographer! That’s what we need!”

Here’s what the term “photographer” means…

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Don’t Worry. It Gets Easier.

We ran into some old clients the other day while we were out with our boys. We had shot their wedding years ago, and they now had two kids of their own. They asked how things were going since we had doubled the number of children in our home.

“It’s challenging sometimes,” I said, though I secretly wanted to yell “How on earth does anyone manage this??”

“Yes, it’s tough. But don’t worry, it gets easier,” was her reply.

And instantly, with those very simple words, I felt lighter. It was sweet, sweet reassurance that the things I find so hard right now won’t always be hard. It won’t always be so tough to get out of the house, or make a dinner that isn’t frozen, or get more than 40 minutes at a time to work.

Then I came home, and opened up my email to see a note from a reader. She was going through one of our tutorials, and mentioned that she was really wanting to get into photography, but just finding the technical stuff overwhelming.

My reply?

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