SmugMug’s 9 Must-Haves for a Successful Photography Website

SmugMug’s 9 Must-Haves for a Successful Photography Website

  Having a website to showcase your work on, or to allow potential clients to contact you through, is essential. Whether your website is simple and self made, a completely customized WordPress, or a template from SmugMug, there are some basics that all sites need to include in order to be successful. Here are SmugMug’s 9 must-haves for any photography website. SmugMug’s 9 Must-Haves for a Successful Photography Website reprinted with permission  These days, everyone has a website and we think they’re great. But how do you know exactly what your friends, family and fans are really thinking when they see it? And if you’re a pro making money from your craft: Are you sure that your site is doing everything it can to get you clients and seal the deal? How much business are you losing from silly mistakes? After browsing tons of sites and hearing the advice from our marvelous team of Support Heroes, we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you get the best, most effective and appealing website you  possibly can. Period. 1) Your Contact Information Omitting or hiding ways for people to reach you is a grave mistake, one that you may not even know you’re making. Think it through: If someone finds your site and wants to talk with you, how would they do it? If you forget to include your contact information (or hide it several clicks deep), would you expect them to spend more than 5 minutes hunting for it before they give up? Chances are you don’t even have that long before they move on. It’s true that putting your email address...
5 Lies Your Camera Likes to Tell

5 Lies Your Camera Likes to Tell

Think your camera is your best friend? Think again. Heed these 5 warnings and better equip yourself with the knowledge needed to walk away with better images! Your camera is a marvel of amazing technology but you still need to use your brain when you shoot. Even if you’re in full Auto mode, don’t assume your camera knows what’s best for you! Here are five common bloopers and how to avoid getting tripped up on your next shoot. Lie #1: It’s Exposed Your camera has several automatic metering modes to help you catch the right amount of light without you needing to whip out the calculator. Are you using the right one? Spot, center-weighted, and multi-zone metering are great for many situations–so be sure you know which one is best for you. For example, you may want to over-expose when shooting in situations like snow to be sure you get that fluffy, clean white stuff you’re used to seeing. No one likes gray snow. Finally, let your artistic creativity be your guide. There’s no shame in flooding your summer portraits with light or even leaving in a bit of flare if you’re going for a sun-soaked, dreamy mood. Similarly, underexposing your shots is your key to super-dramatic clouds, abstract shadows, and gritty street shots. Click here for more info on metering modes and how they affect exposure. Lie #2: It’s in Focus Despite the reassuring “beep-beep!” of your AF system, there’s still a lot that can foil your focus. The most common culprit is motion blur if it’s too dark in the room. As a rule, you want your shutter speed to be...
Three Key Methods For Backing Up Your Photographs

Three Key Methods For Backing Up Your Photographs

Zach Egolf is an IT professional and freelance photographer in the Baltimore area. In this guest post, he explains three methods for backing up your files in preparation for the worst possible scenario. The Importance of Back…Back…Backing Up reprinted with permission by Zach Egolf Wandering into the world of photography without a backup plan is a lot like wandering into…well, just about anything blindfolded!  You might think you know the terrain, how to navigate it, and where you’re going, but the next thing you know you’ve wandered into a forest, caught yourself on some thorn bushes, and lost your pants.  And much like losing your pants in an evil forest, losing your photos can be a frightening ordeal. Think of this scenario: You spend 10 hours shooting the perfect wedding.  The colors are all perfect, the lighting is spot-on, the bride and groom photograph like the two greatest love birds in the world.  You get home to your computer, pull all of the photos off of your memory cards, and then go to bed.  A wedding is a long day, after all, and you want to get your rest so that you can wake up the next morning and start working your magic! The next day comes along and you start to edit the photos.  Two days pass, you’re halfway through the photos and, all of a sudden, a freak storm rolls through town and zaps your house, frying your external hard drives, and wiping out 10 hours worth of photos.  You have nothing to deliver to your clients except the crisp shell of metal and magnets.  You have...
Get Striking Photography Tips and Inspiration from 10 Pro Photographers

Get Striking Photography Tips and Inspiration from 10 Pro Photographers

In a world saturated with images, we want our work to stand out. It takes a lot of time, practice, and–sometimes–a little luck to get striking photographs. Here are 10 examples of striking photos we love from photographers working in the field today. We hope the images inspire you and the tips and tricks help you improve your portfolio. Benjamin Von Wong: “Exploring the multiple exposure function on my Nikon D700 unlocked some creative potential never before explored in this fiery shot of pyrotechnician Andrey DAS.” See Von Wong’s full tutorial to find out how this striking image was achieved. Troy Paiva: “There are pops of purple-gelled strobe between each car and through the windshield–snooted red LED in the tail lights and onto the ground too. I also added a few seconds of natural LED on the right trunk-lid edge and bumper, the reflection carefully placed to balance the moonlit reflections on the left side of the trunk. This is a stack of two 4-minute exposures–focused on ∞ for 8-minute star trails, and a 2-minute exposure focused on the tail lights for increased depth-of-field.” See ‘Thunderbirds Are Go!’ and more striking light-painted work on Lost America. Julia Kuzmenko McKim: “I believe great photography starts with the photographer’s thorough understanding of the main principles of light behavior and the basics of visual arts such as composition, visual balance and color theory. Everything else is just regular tasks and problem solving at each photo shoot: getting great experienced models with flawless skin, the crew of highly skilled creative professionals and the equipment and accessories that will help the photographer to achieve the results he or she...
Quick Video Tip for Beginners: Use a Rubber-band for Smoother Pans

Quick Video Tip for Beginners: Use a Rubber-band for Smoother Pans

If you’re just getting started with shooting video with your DSLRs, there’s a better than even chance that you’re not quite used to making smooth movements with your camera. Here’s a quick tip to help you get started with making one of the most basic moves in cinematography: a side-to-side move with the camera locked down on a tripod with a fluid head (like this Manfrotto kit, available from BorrowLenses.com now) meant specifically for video. Gear used Video tripod and fluid head (I used my own, but you can rent a Manfrotto video head and tripod here). I also used my own 15mm rail system, but you can rent one like the Redrock Micro Eyespy from us. This is completely optional. HD-DSLR. I used the Canon 5D Mark III with a 24-70mm lens. A rubber band First, find yourself a rubber band. You want one that’s a bit sturdy, but not so stiff that it has no give at all. Then, set up your tripod and camera and make sure your focal length, exposure, and focus and are all adjusted to your liking. To execute the pan, slip the rubber band around your video head’s handle and pull in the direction you want. Keep a smooth, even pressure on the rubber band, and stop pulling at the end of your pan, allowing the natural tension of the band to bring the pan to an end (or fade it to black in post, as I did here). Here’s a video that lays the technique out. The footage is ungraded (i.e., no post-production techniques have been applied to it as yet). It’s...
Behind the Scenes Crossfit Shoot with Photographer Ian Coble

Behind the Scenes Crossfit Shoot with Photographer Ian Coble

If you like photographing athletes, here is a little inspiration for you from Ian Coble. “Every once in a while I like to put together projects where I have complete creative freedom and can shoot whatever style I ‘m feeling like.” Watch the video below to see the results! Ian Coble : Behind the Scenes : Crossfit from Ian Coble on Vimeo. Interested in trying out some of gear he used on set? Here is what he used:  Nikon D800  Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8  Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 PocketWizard Flex and Mini Elinchrom Strobes & Modifiers Manfrotto Stands See more of Coble’s work...
Tips for Setting Up Your Kino Flo BarFly

Tips for Setting Up Your Kino Flo BarFly

ABOUT BARFLY Our Kino Flo BarFly 200D 2-light kits and BarFly 400D 1-light kits are professional, energy-efficient lighting systems ideal for filmmakers and photographers alike. They produce 3200K and 5500K (daylight) temperature lighting from florescent, dimmable 55W lamps inside Kino’s signature modular fixtures. Each bank can be switched on and off for full stop exposure changes. The kits also come with: Gel Frames (2 for the 2-light kit, 1 for the 1-light kit). Note that these kits do NOT come with gels. You will have to apply the gel yourself to the provided gel frame using a non-destructive adhesive (also not included). 90 Degree Grids (2 for the 2-light kit, 1 for the 1-light kit) True Match Quad Fluorescent Lamps with padded mini case. 55QK32 55W KF32 Quad Lamps with padded mini case. Light stands (2 for the 2-light kit, 1 for the 1-light kit). AC Power. Heavy Duty Kino-branded  Case. These kits are a fantastic option for those seeking all-in-one kits that produce very natural-looking light that is intuitive to shape because what you see is, generally, what you get. However, they are less intuitive to set up. Please take note of the following tips to prevent bulb breakage and other kit issues. SETTING UP THE BARFLY Kino Flo lamps are aways shipped from BL outside the lamp fixtures to prevent breakage. Inserting lamps into fixture: Insert lamps at a 45 degree angle. It will feel unnatural at first but if you feel any tension at all inserting the lamps, you must restart and try inserting at an extreme angle. They should drop in smoothly. Once down, push the lamps...
One Strobe, One Trigger, One Camera, and a lot of Luck: Behind the Scenes with Von Wong Photography

One Strobe, One Trigger, One Camera, and a lot of Luck: Behind the Scenes with Von Wong Photography

Photographer Benjamin Von Wong set out to the Salton Sea with some dart rope and a crew of chance encounters who were excited to make the trek to help out with this dramatic shoot. Check out the spectacular results below! Luck, Fire, and a Failed Ecosystem by Von Wong Photography, reprinted with permission. Equipment Used Lighting Gear: Profoto B2 Acute PocketWizard Plus III Camera Gear: Sirui Tripod T2205X, sponsored by LOVINPIX Nikon D800E Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 To see more great behind-the-scenes images and some of the technical notes for this shoot, please visit the full Inspired by Fire post HERE. Special thanks to Von Wong Photography for sharing this experience with us! Benjamin Von Wong will be speaking and doing a demo at at Profusion in Toronto on June,...