What You Need To Get Started With Photo Printing

Creating your own photographic prints is incredibly rewarding and efficient.

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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!

Don’t Do a Pro Shoot Without These 3 Things

The scariest thing to happen to me during a shoot wasn’t my knee dislocating. It was my camera breaking, right as my couple was about to go frolicking in the ocean in their wedding clothes. Instantly I felt sick to my stomach, my heart lept into my chest, and the sweat rolling down my face had nothing to do with the hot Mexican sun.

But instead of calling a halt to the session, I walked over to the camera bag, pulled out my backup camera, and kept shooting, without them ever noticing.

(Ok, to be totally honest I think I went and took Rob’s camera and made him walk over to camera bag, because I’m kind of a diva like that sometimes. But if I was by myself that’s how things would have gone!)

However things went down, the lesson is simple: if you’re doing a professional shoot (and I count shoots that aren’t for money per se, but for portfolio building or trade of service in there too), you need backup.

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I’m (Slowly) Becoming More Productive. Here’s How.

There’s a problem with the word productive (a word that everyone is very obsessed with these days). It just means creating. To be really productive means you are simply creating a lot.

The real value lies in being efficiently productive. 

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Infographic: 36 Ways to Make Money as a Photographer

 

Making money as a photographer can be a struggle. And a significant challenge to making an income out of your images is simply not knowing where to start.

So today we’re sharing this gorgeous infographic with you, as inspiration. There are a lot of ways you can make money as a photographer – probably a lot more than you ever thought. (Did you know that “scientific photographer” is a career?? We didn’t!). This list is the result of our research and brainstorming, and, as thorough as we tried to be, we’re certain there are even more. But these will give you a great jumping off point, and get your brain thinking about new ways that could help you bring in some income with your passion!

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How to Write Effective Client Emails

It’s as easy mistake to make. You’re writing an email to a client late at night. You’re sending them the link to their files, and you type out something quick without giving it much thought.

I mean, you created great images, and got them done on time. That’s what should matter right? A quick email isn’t worth worrying about.

Wrongo.

Or maybe it’s the text you’ve put up on your website. After spending days, or even weeks, meticulously choosing all the images, the template, and the colours, most photographers leave the text as an afterthought.

We’re picture makers, after all, not wordsmiths. Our clients will judge us by our photos, not our words.

Wrong again.

As much as your images matter, your words matter as much, if not more.

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3 Secret Ways To Make Lightroom Smart Previews Even More Useful

There’s an important new feature in Lightroom 5 that you might not be taking full advantage of: Smart Previews. We’ve been using Smart Previews over the past year and there’s a big tip that I want to share with you.

About Smart Previews

First, a little bit about Smart Previews: You can create Smart Previews of your photos in Lightroom 5. Once you have the Smart Previews, you will be able to view photos in your library, even if they are not currently connected to your computer. You can even edit photos that aren’t currently connected! It’s like magic!

Once you re-connect a hard drive or storage system that contains the photos, the adjustments you made to the Smart Previews will then be applied to the original image.

Smart Previews work by creating a low resolution compressed DNG file from your original raw or JPEG photos in your Lightroom library. This all happens behind the scenes, and you may not even notice that you’re working with Smart Previews in Lightroom (except that the hard drive containing the original files isn’t connected). (For reference Adobe states that 14GB of original photos will take up about 400MB of space in Smart Previews).

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