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Mobile Websites: Where it’s at

24 Jan

Even if you’re not tech-savvy, you’ve probably heard the buzz about Flash versus “Standards” based websites. If you own an iPad or iPhone, you know that Flash-based websites (or flash enabled components, like slideshows) don’t load since Apple doesn’t support Flash, which can be a real pain, both for the website owner and the user.

So how does this impact photographers specifically?

Well, to start off, statistics from early last year showed that nearly one-third of American adults owned a smartphone of some kind and preferred using it as their primary Internet connection. As these numbers are growing.

This instant access to the web lets them be quick and spontaneous – and in most cases is immediately gratifying. So if a potential client visits your site from their iPhone and can’t load your beautiful portfolio of images, they’ll move on to a site that does work. It’s possible that they’ll return to visit from a desktop computer, but is it worth the gamble?

The big question is: How important is having a website that works on a mobile device?

The nice folks over at Internet Marketing Grind recently released an infographic which has some pretty interesting data:

"Why You Should Have A Mobile Website" courtesy of http://www.imgrind.com

Not only do the numbers make a convincing point, but having a mobile friendly site says something about your brand, that you’re a skilled professional who’s up-to-date with technology and the web.

What options are out there?

Baby Steps

If you’re looking to make your current site more mobile friendly and don’t want an overhaul, there are small things you can do, some with the help of a Web Developer. Here’s 5 steps to get you on the right path.

Refresh

If you’ve been considering making a small-scale change and updating your site but don’t have the know-how, connections or money to spend, there are a few companies out there who specialize in customizable templates.

One place that’s ahead of the curve is iFolios, whose affordable, WordPress-driven, customizable sites are clean, smart and stylish, and work without flash. They also look as stunning on your desktop computer as they do on an iPhone screen. Check out the samples on their site.

Want to know how do they do it? Check out their handy dandy video:

What Is iFolios? from Site Admin on Vimeo.

Another cool company is Cliqbooq – which offers lower pricing through monthly installments rather than larger up-front payments. With a slew of benefits including SEO, unlimited design changes and a 14-day trial – it’s a worthwhile option.

Redesign

If you’re looking for more customization and can spend a bit more, companies like Livebooks offer mobile-friendly sites as well, and have the benefit of a larger pool of designers and years of experience in the wedding and portrait photography industry to lend. They offer a free trial too.

If you’re a comfortable with customizing a site yourself, you might like Squarespace, who boasts “Templates That Aren’t Templated” and hand over structured creative control, customization and data access. Worried you can’t handle it? They assure visitors that there’s “No experience necessary… You don’t need to be a professional to create a powerful website with Squarespace. We handle all the technical details, so you can focus on what matters most to you. With our easy-to-use controls, your site will be up and running in minutes.”

So, there’s the rundown of why we think mobile-friendly sites are beneficial and some useful ways to make yours mobile-compatible. What do you think? Are you hip to the movement or still have passion for sexy flash slideshows and effects? Don’t think it really makes a difference? Let us know!

Tips on Tuesday: Preparing for your destination wedding!

23 Aug

So you’ve booked a destination wedding – and you’re totally pumped. You’re thinking about all the amazing and inspirational new spots you’re going to see once you arrive at the wedding resort and your mind is racing with ideas! The one thing you’re probably not thinking about? The boring logistics on how to prepare yourself AND your business for a smooth and successful trip worth every single awesome photo you’re bound to take home with you. I know, because when I booked mine, I certainly wasn’t.  So here are some helpful hints that I learned firsthand (some of them, the hard way) that will hopefully arm you with all the wisdom necessary to make your next destination wedding a smooth sail.

If you are traveling to a destination by air, this ups the ante significantly. When you are hitting a destination wedding by car, you have that wonderful, roomy trunk to fill with back-ups and emergency kits and step ladders and props and, well, just about anything else that you fancy to aid you in pulling off the perfect wedding. You also get to avoid pesky airline regulations that are bound to pose a problem no matter what you do. With luggage restrictions and the need to simplify your packing list, your planning needs to start well ahead of take-off. The following is a checklist you should review in advance of your trip – and is tailored to the international traveler – but still most tactics apply no matter where your fabulous destination happens to be!

  • Call your airline in advance to make sure there are no weight restrictions on your carry-on luggage – well-packed camera bags are heavier than you think – and you don’t ever want to be separated from your gear.
  • Make sure you have a sturdy, international airline approved rolling bag to transport your gear that will keep everything well protected in the overhead compartment and in the event of severe of shifting or turbulence (I used my ThinkTank Airport Airstream – FABULOUS).
  • If you are traveling for an international gig, you must document your gear (anything that has a serial number i.e. camera bodies, lenses etc.) with the customs department nearest to you (Note: you can do this at the airport customs office on your day of departure, but make sure you allow for extra time before your flight to accomplish this) otherwise, you risk paying a hefty tariff when it comes time to re-enter the states.
  • Bring additional folded bags incase you have to redistribute weigh or bulk for your carry on bags at check-in- this happened to me – now I know why all collapsible vendor bags at WPPI are so valuable!
  • If you can, travel with a partner – it lowers the stress level by leaps and bounds!
  • Triple check that you have as many back-up batteries, CF cards, and rechargeables that you can fit in your bag – depending on where you are going it may be impossible to find replacements.
  • Do the proper research and find out what voltage you’ll be dealing with at your destination – and make sure you have converters for your battery chargers, laptop etc. if necessary.
  • Back it up, Back it up. back it up, back it up. Don’t leave that wedding on your CF cards and then travel with them. If possible, upload your files to an FTP for back up, use your laptop for temporary storage and if possible, travel with a portable external hard drive.
  • If you are shooting in a tropical location – where the temperature and humidity will differ significantly between inside and out – bring gallon sized ziplock bags to keep humidity out of your lenses and bodies as you travel between the two environments – allow for 15-20 minutes when you first embark outdoors into the heat and humidity to give time for your lenses to defog.
  • Pack one change of clothes (in addition to the outfit you plan to shoot in) in your carry on luggage.
  • Check to make sure that you insurance policy covers you outside of your domestic domain – and purchase travel insurance as an additional safety measure.
  • Finally – remember that you are going to be shooting in a totally different environment – one that may present unusual challenges – whether it be uncommon weather patterns, different sunrise/sunset times, language and/or cultural barriers or a infinite number of things. Expect the unexpected and do as much research ahead of time as possible!

Finally – enjoy the amazing experience of being able to travel as a photographer! It’s exhilarating and an incredible way to infuse new inspiration into your work and portfolio!

Tech Tuesday: Apple’s OS X Lion

12 Jul

A few weeks ago we reviewed Apple’s new mobile operating system iOS5 and the introduction of iCloud – and how they’re going to make photographer’s digital lives more streamlined. Today, we’re covering the new version of Apple’s desktop operating system, which according to Apple should be available for $29.99 – any day now.

OS X Lion – a whole new animal

Multi-Touch Gestures

Inspired by the tactile functionality of the iPhone and iPad, Apple has integrated the gestures that mobile device users have grown to love. Now you’ll be able to use the same fluid and realistic gesture responses, including rubber-band scrolling, page and image zoom, and full-screen swiping, right on your desktop.

What does this mean for photogs?

- You’re in Photoshop or Lightroom, and want to get a closer look. No need to mouse over to activate the zoom tool or hit a keyboard command, simply pinch to zoom in or out. Get a closer look in your favorite web browser by simply double tapping.

- Within an application, like a word document, or several open tabs in your browser, just swipe, like turning pages of a book, rather than mousing over to scroll the scroll bar.

- If you have multiple apps open, you no longer will need to mouse down to the dock or hit COMMAND+Tab on your keyboard to browse the other open apps. When viewing an application at full screen (another new feature we love!), it’s as easy as swiping with three fingers, which shuffles your full-screen apps like playing cards.

What you’ll need:

If you don’t already have one, you’ll need a Multi-Touch Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad to take advantage of gestures.

Full-Screen Apps

Now instead of resizing your browser windows to fill up as much space as possible to hide that messy desktop, you’ll be able to clear away the clutter and see one App and nothing else – instantly – by just clicking the new full-screen button in the upper-left corner of your app window. BAM!

Mission Control

Mission Control is simple – it helps you get all your ducks in a row and see what you have open, with a highlight window for each App. So instead of just glancing down to see my dock, and trying to recall what I have going on in Lightroom, iChat, Photoshop, Word, Illustrator, Safari (etc.) I’ll just be able to swipe up with three fingers on my trusty trackpad, and get the lay of the land. Kinda like this:

Launchpad

Launchpad is kind of like Mission Control’s orderly cousin – which lets you see a neat grid of all your apps as icons on your desktop (accessible from your dock) rather than having to navigate to your Applications folder and view them in a dialogue box. Clean, simple and right there. Functionality is the same as the iPhone or iPad, so you can:

- Hold down an icon with by clicking on touch pad to activate all the apps, and click the “x” in the corner to quickly delete an app

- Drag an app icon onto another icon to categorize them into folders like “Business”, “Post-Production”, “Games”, etc

- Swipe across your trackpad to move between pages

- Open any app with a tap or click

Mac App Store

If you’re an iPhone user, this is not a new concept. But the fact that the App Store will now be integrated into OS X Lion, letting you browse, download and install immediately – rather than buying discs (in person or online… which equals time and/or waiting) is pretty cool.

In addition to quick downloads, you’ll also get easy integrated updates, and fast, simple installation across devices.

It’s not the sexiest update – but it’s certainly pretty darn sensible. Think about the big apps. Like Lightroom. Or perhaps when you get a last minute word doc from a client and don’t see it until 1 am the night before big the event – and you don’t have the most recent version of Microsoft Office! No worries! Just search, click, download, and viola! It’s open. Maybe now the App Store looking a little sexier?

Auto Save and Versions

Sometimes I’m groovin’ on an edit or retouch, music blaring, feelin’ inspired, and suddenly remember “Oh yeah – I haven’t saved yet…” after 20 minutes of work. Then I quickly save my .psd and breathe a sigh of relief. Well, with OS X Lion, Apple’s got a fancy new update that will let me edit to my heart’s content, without having to worry.

Auto Save automatically saves your work, while you work, during pauses and every five minutes. This is what I’m most excited about – and can’t wait to see in action.

Why’s it so great?

- It saves versions within the same file, rather than multiple versions of your file (therefore saving room on your hard drive).

- If you’re editing an email or shotlist, for example, and halfway in, realize you erased something important- no problem! The Revert feature returns your document to the state it was in when you last opened it, and Versions shows you the current document next to a cascade of previous versions which have been saved. And if you just want to grab a section from an earlier version, you can copy and paste between versions.

Mail

Last but not least for the OS X Lion updates, is a fancier, shinier version of Mail that offers a widescreen, two-column view of your emails, one-click access to folders, quick drag-and-add folder functionality, detailed preview (so you glance at your list of emails and get an idea of content before opening), enhanced search, and best of all Conversations.

This new feature (which gmail users enjoy) automatically groups messages from the same conversation, in chronological order. Why’s it great? It removes redundant text from previous message threads to save time scrolling and searching for old emails and details, in an easy-to-follow, linear format. Not too shabby.

What’s next?

So there you have it – all the updates – some which are a bit more “fluff” but others that will certainly save time and make life easier when you’re on your desktop. Which, let’s face it – is a good portion of the week. If you’re interested in upgrading (for just $29.99 – it’s a great deal) you’ll need to:

1. Make sure your Mac can run Lion

- Click your Apple icon in the top-left of your screen, choose “About this Mac” and find out if it has an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, or Xeon processor. if so, you’re good to go.

2. Make sure you have the latest version of Snow Leopard

- Click your Apple icon in the top-left of your screen, choose “Software Update” to install version 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) if you don’t already have it

3. Download OS X Lion from the App Store.

- It’s not ready just yet, but you can sign up for a notification when it is.

Tech Tuesday: Free at Last!

22 Jun

It may seem odd to some of you that Tech Tuesday is being posted on a Wednesday. But this week there is a good reason – I found my FREEDOM. Now, what may appear on the surface as an anti-technology topic is actually a true tech-worthy tidbit in disguise.

As photogs, we spend hours upon hours editing in Lightroom on a weekly basis. Now, if you had to be honest with yourself, how many of those minutes within each of those hours are attributed to sneaks to Facebook, checking email, responding to a quick one, tweeting about your editing progress, web-surfing for a sleek new pair of shoes for your next date-night, distracting yourself with a new blog post that just popped up in someone’s status…. I could honestly go on forever here listing all the things I know I do while I’m trying to barrel through post-production. We can’t help it – it’s in our nature! Or, can we…

Introducing Freedom, a PC productivity software that restricts your internet access while you perform certain tasks – and you set the boundaries. Absolutely have to finish a wedding by 5PM tonight? Set Freedom to curb your desire until delivery time. This program will keep your mitts off the internet for up to 8 hours at a clip – forcing you to find the will-power that always seems scares if left to your own devices. Can’t you just turn the program off, you ask? Well, that’s the beauty. If you really find yourself overcome with desire, the only way to reverse the process is to REBOOT. Yeah, I don’t know about you, but that’s not happening while I have a catalog open and am blowing through images.

“Endless digital distraction” – that’s what Slate terms this sickness we all suffer from in a quick video review here. Almost every major publication has given this app a shout out and you can review them all on the Freedom landing page.

So, many apologies for this Tech Tuesday coming a little late, but I had to try it out for myself. And that meant, waiting until this morning to give myself the internet green light. And no matter how disciplined you think you are, no matter how efficient you believe your workflow is, trust me when I say we can all use a little Freedom.

Tech Tuesday: The burgeoning art of iPhoneography

14 Jun

I think it’s fair to say we all share the sentiment that the iPhone (even for those who don’t have one) was revolutionary. For more reasons than just one – it completely reshaped the way we think about a mobile device. Well, for some photographers, it has also reshaped the way they think about photography. And if you really think about it, I’m sure in some way, it has done the same for you. With all the amazing apps out there that help us create more captivating images than ever thought possible with a camera phone, who wouldn’t think about how to turn it into a craft of it’s own?

Glyn Evans Founder of iPhoneography, and Editor of the iPhoneography blog, the worlds #1 iPhone photography website.

Take iPhoneography. Here’s a blog entirely devoted to iPhone imagery featuring artists that take the medium very seriously. iPhoneographers share their experiences with iPhone camera apps and showcase (in most cases) the AMAZING images they are able to create with them. Images on this site will blow your mind – and seriously make you question whether they were truly taken with an iPhone. There is even a free forum for folks to share ideas, comments and questions about achieving cool photo results with the featured apps.

(Even if you don’t find this concept worthy of press, at the very least, you can browse the imagery and check out what’s new in the iphone app library and test them out for yourself.)

Beyond the ambition to elevate camera phone technology to a reputable genre, pro-photogs are using apps like Instagram and Hipstamatic, two totally awesome digital apps with an analog feel, to communicate their brand on social networking sites. In particular, Instagram, an app built specifically to link directly to your Facebook, Twitter and Flickr accounts, makes it effortless to snap a cool, stylized photo on the go and post it to your online presence. I, myself, use this technique to not only stay connected with my clients and “followers”, but more importantly to try to show how I see life through a lens everywhere I go. I love the convenience of being able to make a photograph no matter where I am – whether in the middle of mundane daily tasks or spending time off the photog-clock with family and friends – because you never know when you just might see something worth capturing… such as these:

 

(That last image holds a special place in my heart…)

I know I have joked in the past about shooting a wedding exclusively with an iPhone. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who has considered the absurd notion. The truth is, we’re probably not far off from someone taking this challenge by the horns and making it a reality – opening up a whole new realm of possibility with little, accessible technology.

How do you use your iPhone camera?  Have you seen someone making “iPhoneography” work for them? Tell us about it!

Tech Tuesday: iCloud and iOS 5

7 Jun

Apple’s commitment to user experience, function and design was summed up in Steve Job’s opening statement at yesterday’s WWDC 2011 Keynote: “If a hard drive is the brain and sinu of the computer, the software is the soul.”

If you didn’t watch the 2-hour video, and haven’t made sense of all the articles and posts that have bombarded the interweb, you’re in the right place. We’ve got the highlights that photographers will appreciate – with big visuals* and details on how it’s all going to make your digital life easier. It’s a lot of ground to cover – so today we’re going to start with the mobile benefits you’ll get from iCloud and iOS 5.

Farewell MobileMe. Hola iCloud!

Apple has replaced MobileMe and it’s $99/year fee with iCloud, which syncs all your documents, photos, books, music, videos and app data automatically, and backs them up over wifi.


- Works on Mac, iPod touch, iPhone and iPad
- Seamlessly integrates your apps – including iTunes, Photo Stream, Apps, Books, Documents, Backup, Contacts, Calendar and Mail – so all your content is available and up to date on all devices
- Keeps your email, contacts and calendars up to date across all your devices
- Manages and backs-up your content effortlessly – no syncing required
- Includes 5GB of FREE storage when you sign up, which excludes any purchased music, apps, books or your Photo Stream

Better, faster, smarter – with iOS 5

The newest version of Apple’s mobile operating system has over 200 additional features. It’s available this Fall and is compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone4, iPod touch (3rd and 4th generation), iPad and iPad2.

Camera: Never miss the shot again

When not wielding fancy dSLR’s, chances are we’re grabbing inspiration or special everyday moments with our phones. Apple’s updates to the Camera app make it possible to capture a photo at a moment’s notice, instead of fumbling to unlock, load the home screen and then open the app.

- Access the Camera directly from your Lock screen with the new Camera button
- Zoom in and out, take a photo using the volume-up button
- Use the new Photos app editing features from the same screen to enhance, remove red eye and crop

- If you have Photo Stream enabled in iCloud (more on that in the OS X Lion section), your photo will automatically download to your other Apple devices

Reminders: A smarter way to get things done

There are tons of to-do list apps out there, each with their own benefits and caveats; I mentioned my love for Teux Deux in a recent post on iPhone apps. And it rocks. But Reminders is different. It isn’t just a simple list making app. It’s smart. Super smart. Say you need more Compact Flash cards and batteries. Next time you are near your camera store, Reminders will send you an alert based on your GPS location. How cool is that?

- Create tasks from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
- Specify due dates and locations for your tasks
- Create location-based alerts that remind you to perform tasks when you’re in a specific place
- Works and automatically syncs with iCal, Outlook, and iCloud

Notification Center: Everything in one spot

No more jumping from app to app to check your new messages, listen to client voicemails, check Saturday’s weather for your upcoming shoot or see what’s on your plate for the day. Now you’ll get all of your notifications, alerts and updates in one place, including Weather, Stocks, Reminders, Calendar, Mail, Messages and more! How it works…

From the Lock screen:

- Notifications appear right on your lock screen so you can see what’s happening at a glance
- Easily swipe any item to view it directly in the app

From the Home Screen:

- Wwipe down from the top of your screen to view the list
- Tap on an item – like a new email – to be taken directly to that email in the app

From an Application:

- A subtle notification bar appears up top when you have an alert
- Tap to view it, swipe down from the top of th screen to view your entire list, or do nothing – and quickly it disappears
- Customize which notifications you want to see and which you don’t

Twitter: Native integration for easier tweeting!

- Enter your twitter account information once in Settings, and every application and device links up
- Tweet directly from Safari, Photos, Camera, YouTube or Maps
- Add locations – no matter where you are
- Take a photo and tweet it in three simple taps; take a photo, tap tweet and send!

PC Free: No Mac? No PC? No problem!

Apple has finally cut the cord. Now users will be able to use the iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch right out of the box!

- Activate and set up wirelessly
- No more cables required; OTA (over the air) software updates can be downloaded directly on to device
- Back up and restore automatically using iCloud

iMessage: Now iPad and iPod Touch can chat too!

- Chat with friends between iPhone, iPod touch and iPad
- Works over Wi-Fi and 3G

Other Great Stuff

With over 200 new features, we could go on and on. Here’s just a few more great updates worth noting:

+ Safari reader strips out ads and other distractions for easier reading.

+ Mail now offers rich text editing and a system-wide split keyboard option.

+ Newstand lets you keep all your magazine and newspaper subscriptions in one beautifully designed spot – and organize it to your liking.

The only thing we’re bummed about – is that it won’t be available until the Fall! Good thing we have summer to keep us distracted…

If you want to check out the complete list of iOS 5 features, visit Apple or watch the video.

* All content was sourced directly from Apple’s website and YouTube page, and includes links to learn more.

Tech Tuesday: Adobe Nav

17 May

Looking for a way to improve workflow in Photoshop? Not ready to invest in the Motiboto Skin system or a Wacom just yet? Got an iPad? Well, Adobe may have just come up with a suitable stop-gap. Introducing Adobe Nav for CS5 – an app released last month to make using Photoshop just a little bit easier – and more intuitive.

Adobe Nav is a touch app designed with customizable features that allow you to turn your iPad into a toolbar for Photoshop with the commands and tools you use most often right at your fingertips!

Features include:

•Use your fingertips to select Photoshop CS5 tools from your iPad screen.

•Customize the way the Photoshop CS5 toolbar appears on your iPad screen to make your most-used tools easily accessible. You can save one Adobe Nav toolbar configuration with up to 16 tools.

•Browse, reorder, view, and zoom in on up to 200 open Photoshop documents on your iPad screen.

•Tap any open document in Photoshop on your iPad to make it the active document in Photoshop CS5.

The app is priced at $1.99, so in some respects you may get what you pay for. Some reviews have noted that the features are somewhat limited for pro use, while others rave about the ease with which you can now breeze through workflow. The verdict will come down to you – and how you use Photoshop individually. In the end, it’s a darn good price for a product that just might save you some time in post.

So if you have CS5 (system requirement) and are looking for a new way to make your iPad earn it’s keep, try Adobe Nav. And tell us what you think!

Tried Adobe Nav? Got any tips or feedback? Post comments you comments below!

Tech Tuesday: Improving Load Times

10 May

While most photographers’ websites are often built with fewer images per page and are formatted to load quickly, blogs are a different animal. We upload many photos to a post – sometimes dozens, and if those files are large, it can take web browsers several seconds to load them all, resulting in a less-than-impressive user experience, and often times, sending bored/frustrated/unhappy visitors off to another site.

Loading is time. And time is money.

The best way to keep visitors on your blog, checking out your lovely photos, reading your witty posts and getting to know you better, is to make their experience fast, easy and enjoyable.

Kissmetrics just posted a fantastic infographic on the topic: How Loading Time Effects Your Bottom Line, and found that “a one-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.”

How fast are you?

Industry standard varies, but many web developers recommend that load times not exceed 5 seconds. Obviously pages with rich content (ie. photos and video) take slightly longer and visitors will be a bit more patient on those types of websites. If you’re wondering how fast your own page loads, check out loads.in, a nifty site that offers a free test drive! Enter your URL and you’ll get:

  • The load time of your webpage
  • Snapshots of the webpage as users experience it at different intervals of the load process
  • Errors or warnings if they occur
  • A complete timing break down of all elements of your page in a waterfall chart
  • Downloadable timing results in the Http Archive (HAR) format
  • Go ahead, give it a try. It only take a few seconds. See what you get!

    How’d you do? Our site was 6.4 seconds. Not bad!

    If your numbers were a bit high or in the double digits, talk to your web developer and see what they can do on the back end to improve things.

    Roll up your sleeves!

    There’s one thing you can do on your own that won’t cost any money, and will take just a few minutes: Optimize the photos you’re uploading to your blog.

    Even correctly sized and exported at a lower setting they may not seem big, but they’re often larger than they need to be. Your best bet is to optimize them to reduce the file size while retaining quality – making the files quicker to load – and the experience even sweeter.

    There’s a few ways to go about optimizing your photos, but Photoshop is my tool of choice since I can preview each image and see exactly what I’m getting, rather than batching the whole group at one standard setting.

    Why take the extra time?

    Well, a close-up portrait of a bride and photo of the reception venue will have completely different color, information and details. And I’d rather take the time to make sure each image is fine-tuned and lovely, since they will live forever on my online portfolio. It’s a matter of a few minutes, and super simple:

    1. Open your photo(s) in Photoshop.

    2. Select File>Save for Web & Devices.

    3. Once the dialogue box opens, choose your preferred file type (mine is JPG) and adjust the Quality slider at right to make the file size smaller.

    The image window will automatically preview for you – and you’ll want to make sure to find that delicate balance of smaller size and good quality. This always depends on the image content, detail, and number of colors, so there’s no hard rule. Try 60%-80% quality, depending on the dynamic range of the image, and see what works best for each.

    If you’d like to compare different quality settings, click on the 2-Up or 4-Up tab in the top left corner to preview one or several options alongside your original. You can click each section which will highlight with an outline, and then change that specific version’s pixel preview and file size.

    4. Once you’re happy with your selection, click the Save button and rename the file (so you don’t overwrite your original).

    The image I started with (at 700 pixels wide, 72 dpi) was 512K, and once optimized, it was 183K. We’re not talking a huge difference, but it adds up quickly when you have dozens of images loading on your page!

    There are hundreds of other articles and tips for shrinking page load times; if you have any helpful ones to share please leave a comment!

    PS: One last reason to care about load speed: Google search results.
    Google wants to promote pleasing user experiences, and therefore takes site speed into account with their search rankings. The faster your load time, the better chance they will send people your way!

    Tech Tuesday: iPhone App Love

    26 Apr

    Aside from my gear – the most helpful tool I have with me is my iPhone. And I’m constantly searching for helpful apps that will make me do my job better, smarter and more efficiently.

    The problem is when you google “photography app” you get all kinds of fun, iPhone camera specific stuff like Hipstamatic or Instagram, and tools to tweak or edit your iPhone photos, but there’s very little out there that’s geared towards professional photographers. So… I thought I’d share my list of favorites to start a conversation. And if anyone out there has more – please comment and share the love!

    Sunrise Sunset Lite: FREE!*

    Great for when a client has me on the phone and wants to schedule a portrait 7 months from now. I can quickly search the location and date and viola! I know when sunrise and sunset will be – in less than a minute. Then I can pick the perfect time so I know I have lovely light.

    Pocket Scout Lite: FREE!*

    No more emailing iPhone pics with addresses to remember a great spot. Pocket Scout to the rescue! This wünderkind lets you snap a photo and automatically grabs a GPS location and street address, lets you enter a name/title, add notes, share with ease, and even gives you directions back when you’re ready to visit.

    The only thing I wish it had was a map view of locations closest to where I am (rather than a line list of each). Still, a great resource and tool!

    Dragon Dictation: FREE!

    Press. Speak. Send.

    That’s the simple tagline for Dragon Dictation and it’s spot on! I find this voice-to-text tool incredibly helpful for car rides when inspiration hits, or at a wedding when I want to remember specific details like the story behind the bride’s dress or the best man’s witty joke.

    There sometimes are slight errors – punctuation drops out for me at times – so make sure to proof before copy/pasting. You can also push to Twitter, Facebook, email and SMS.

    TeuxDeux: $2.99

    If you haven’t read it, The Design of Everyday Things is an amazing book, about how you experience and interact with, well, everyday things – and why we naturally like those that are better designed; they feel right and make sense.

    This is why I love TeuxDeux.

    Smart design, intuitive interface and simple function. It actually makes me excited to view my lists and start knockin’ things out. I tried other apps that were OK, but this one is just so lovely!

    TripAdvisor: FREE!

    OK, so it’s a travel app, not really a photography-focused app, but it’s fantastic. User-generated reviews about restaurants, hotels, sights, anywhere you want to go.

    Booking a hotel for a gig that’s overnight, but aren’t sure which mid-range hotel kayak.com served up is best? Want to stop for a bite or coffee before a session but don’t know the area well? Trip advisor’s got your back.

    Worldwide reach. 28 languages. Real reviews, photos and ratings. Need I say more?


    *Upgraded paid and/or pro versions available with more fancy features

    What are your favorite apps? iPhone, Blackberry, Droid… don’t be shy! And if you have some cool ideas to share that are Tech Tuesday worthy, give us a shout! Email info@phillyphotobetties.com and send us details. We’d love to hear from you!

    Tech Tuesday: Get Your Film On

    19 Apr

    There’s the purists who still shoot portraiture and weddings on film; they’re dedicated to the artform, the beautiful detail and grain, the mystique which film provides.

    Then there are the adapters who traded-in their darkroom for a Lightroom years ago (some reluctantly – myself included), and embraced the new, the faster, the digital.

    And finally, there’s the newest wave of photographers who rock the digital, and have had a very different upbringing from the old school crowd.

    It would seem in this world of hyper-newness; of fancy software, plug-ins, gadgets and gear coming out at warp-speed, that the end of films existence would be in sight. But no! There are some photographers out there who are dedicated and passionate about keeping it alive and well – and Jonathan Canlas is taking it a step further, by sharing his love for film with the masses in The FIND Guide.

    (click to enlarge)

    Rather than paraphrase, I’ll just let Jonathan tell you in his own words:

    You’re ready to start shooting film but don’t know where to start. Or you used to shoot film and would like to take up the habit again, but don’t know what’s available in today’s market.

    You’re a little intimidated by the hows and whats and thingamabobs involved in making film a part of your life — whether in a professional or personal sense.

    You’ve heard about film’s magic: the ease of use, the toning, the ways it can nearly eliminate post-processing and make your workflow simpler.

    You’re not looking for a magic bullet. You’re willing to learn, experiment and grow as a photographer.

    I’m Jonathan Canlas, and I created the FIND guide to help you enter the world of film shooting with just a teeny budget and a desire to learn more about my favorite topic of all time. FILM.”

    (click to enlarge)

    So what’s the deal? For $149 The FIND Guide gets you a look inside Jonathan’s bag, beautiful image samples for inspiration, and detailed descriptions and tips to get started shooting film yourself. Once you hit submit it’s a digital download, so you could read and put the tips to practice the same day. And photogs who’ve used it, rave about it, like this one from Kim Orlandini:

    “The Film is Not Dead guide is a staple every photographer should not be without. I don’t care if you shoot digital or film, it will make you a better photographer by inspiring you to find your voice, to shoot what you love, and to add a little film back into who you and what you are trying to say to the world. Sometimes seeing who you are can be difficult when you are staring at the back of an LCD screen.”

    The FIND Guide doesn’t include specifics on shooting weddings or any business tips, so keep that in mind. If you’re curious you can download a free sample and explore the site to see for yourself.

    If you’re looking for something more submersive, Jonathan also offers workshops dedicated to the craft, which you can check out on his Film is Not Dead blog. The next one coming up is this November in Hawaii, and covers a much more detailed list cirriculum including: Film – who/what/when/where/why/how, Getting Published, Story-telling through Details, Loving Family Formals, Instaproofs – How it will change your life!, Making Every Event Publishable, Hands-on Flash Demo, Posing, The Power of a Blog, How to Define Your Vision and more… All that and a trip to paradise for $1500 (plus your transportation).

    Do you love film too? Or are you a die-hard digital guru? Would like to write a post to share your thoughts or ideas with the Photo Betties? Give us a shout! Email heather@ or jenna@phillyphotobetties.com and send us details. We’d love to hear from you!

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