I’m often asked how photographers can have their website appear in this column, so I decided to offer some advice that even if it doesn’t get you featured in Web Profiles will improve the quality of your site.
Don’t use Flash. It may be fun, but why spend time and money to limit the number of people who can view it? Using Flash means literally millions of iPhone and iPad users can’t see your site.
Avoid the temptation to fill the site with graphics that compete with your photographs. First impressions count and you want visitors to focus on your images.
This month marks the anniversary of a column that began in July 1999 as Website of the Month and has evolved into Web Profiles. Along the way, I’ve tried to include tips and trends to help readers improve their own web-based activities. Take Pinterest (http://pinterest.com), for example. It’s a virtual pinboard that lets you organize and share images, among other stuff, with people on the web. It’s like Twitter (www.twitter.com) for your photographs! I’m going to give it a try and so should you. In the meantime, I’ll continue to seek out new websites, to boldly go…sorry, I got carried away. I try to include at least one Shutterbug reader’s site in each episode but I can’t always tell that from your site, so click the Contact button on my website, www.joefarace.com, and tell me about it. You could find yourself featured in an upcoming column.
While National Photography Month may be the entire month of May, Camera Day is celebrated on June 29th. That day is also the 126th anniversary of the birth of James Van Der Zee, the African-American photographer of the Harlem Renaissance that occurred during the 1920s and ’30s. It’s also a day when photographers of all ages and abilities should venture forth into the world to capture all the beauty that surrounds us. Follow the examples set by the four photographers who are featured in this month’s column and I’m sure they’ll serve as great sources of inspiration for your images.
National Photography Month started in 1984 as the week-long American Photography Celebration but now runs the entire month. May was also the home of “Take Your Camera to Work Day” that was funded out of my own pocket but faded after a few years because of the cost of creating a user-friendly site. If anybody’s interested in helping relaunch the website I could restart it next year, depending on whether the Mayans were wrong or not. May is also my birthday month and I’d like to thank all of Shutterbug’s readers for their support over the years.
Tumblr (www.tumblr.com) is a free microblogging platform that lets you post text, images, videos, quotes, and audio using a short-form blog called a tumblelog. Using free or modestly priced templates, it’s the easiest kinds of photoblog to produce and you can literally have a blog up and running within minutes. With 6.8 million weekly visits the site ranks as the 10th largest social network so it’s a good way to keep clients and friends up-to-date about the kinds of photographs you’re making. You can see my own attempt at http://joefarace.tumblr.com. Give Tumblr a try and send me a link to your blog because I plan to have an all-Tumblr Web Profiles in the near future.
Maybe it was the 17th Earl of Oxford (www.shakespeare-oxford.com) who really wrote the above line but it’s a nice thought nevertheless. The quote’s actual authorship was the concept proposed in the film Anonymous as well. (Look for a review of the film on my movie blog www.ihatepopcorn.com.) What’s for sure is that the creative endeavors of the four wedding photographers featured this month display work that transcends the genre, producing images of beauty, sensitivity, and love. And isn’t that what weddings are all about?
In January I featured the work of Thomas Lee (www.thomasleephoto.com) in this column and while researching for this month, I came across the outstanding work of Ralph Lee. This coincidence got me to thinking: why not have an entire Web Profiles featuring photographers named “Lee,” a surname derived from Old English leah or meadow. The most interesting part of my search was discovering that these photographers are a diverse lot, stylistically and geographically, even though they all have the same surname. I’ve introduced them here in alphabetical order with Jeff Lee last as the custom for “Blog-of-the-Month.”
Many people’s New Year’s resolution is to lose weight and since, as of this writing, I’ve lost 53 lbs, that’s low on my list of possibilities. Last year in this column I announced a resolution to make a new photograph every day and post in a gallery called “2011 Photo of the Day” (http://farace.smugmug.com). If you visit it, you’ll see that I’ve only partially succeeded. The project turned out to be much harder than I expected and only heightened my appreciation of some of the Picture-a-Day blogs and websites featured in Web Profiles during 2011. Instead, my 2012 New Year’s resolution is to update all of my websites and blogs and I’m well on my way, including a long-overdue update to www.joefarace.com. In the meantime, you can draw some inspiration from the websites and blogs that are featured to kick off the New Year.
I want to extend holiday greetings to Shutterbug readers during this special time of the year. While the sites and blog presented this month do not have an overall theme—holiday or otherwise—they represent the work of talented photographers who are using the Internet to communicate and display their work. These sites come to me in many ways: sometimes a site is recommended by a reader, other times by the photographer themselves, but most times through research. This month I’ve expanded my search tools to include photographers who are following me on Twitter (www.twitter.com/joefarace), where every Monday through Friday I pass along tips, tools, and techniques that will hopefully improve your photographs. This is all done in the same spirit of giving that pervades this time of year but is offered by me on Twitter throughout the year.
It’s hard for me to believe that it’s November already. As I write this, the trees and plants on Daisy Hill are still in full bloom but this column gives me an opportunity to thank a few people who have helped me over this year. Thanks to Tim Fiedler (www.dracophoto.com) who is responsible for the redesign and implementation of my car photography website and blog (www.joefaraceshootscars.com). He also implemented my movie blog (www.ihatepopcorn.com) with an assist from Ralph Nelson (www.ralphnelson.com) who designed the header. Thanks also to Kevin Elliott (www.digitalmd.net), the computer guru who keeps my systems running. And finally I am thankful for the continuing friendship of my pal Barry Staver who started having monthly breakfasts with me 20 years ago ostensibly to share Photoshop tips but has evolved into much more than that.
Barry Steven Greff’s photography is showcased in an elegantly designed website from FolioLink (www.foliolink.com). The site appears one way on my desktop computer and another, better I think, incarnation on my iPad, where captions and other information appear as well. Images are arranged in four portfolios and Atmosphere displays images representing the majesty of nature, especially his monochrome image of Niagara Falls photographed like you’ve never seen it before. It’s a quiet allegory of the power of nature vs. the insignificance of humankind. It’s one of his few images that have people and here they are infinitesimal in size compared to the roar—you can almost hear it while looking at the photograph—of the falls.
Steichen was always one of my photo heroes. A true Renaissance man, along with Alfred Stieglitz he opened the Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession in 1905, won an Academy Award for his World War II film The Fighting Lady, and became director of the Department of Photography at New York’s Museum of Modern Art where he curated the legendary “Family of Man” exhibit that traveled to 69 countries and was seen by 9 million people. A companion book sold 2.5 million copies. Yet, many photographers today don’t even know his name. One of this column’s goals is to bring future “Steichens” to the attention of Shutterbug’s readers and I’m especially proud of the group of photographers that I’ve assembled for this month.
Edward de Bono is a physician, author, and inventor who originally came up with the concept of “lateral thinking.” He wrote Six Thinking Hats and is a proponent of the teaching of thinking as a subject in schools. I’ve often said that the most useful photographic accessory is the one that’s between a shooter’s ears, and while lenses are important to accomplishing your goals as an image-maker, it’s your brain that will ultimately help realize that vision. This month’s featured websites are a perfect example of that kind of thinking, including a blog by a Shutterbug reader who has taken the concept of a photo a day (http://farace.smugmug.com) into an entirely new direction.
This month’s column marks a special anniversary since this column, originally called Website of the Month, was originally launched in July 1999. In a much more recent column, I mentioned not hearing from Shutterbug readers about their own websites and since then the dam burst and I’ve been flooded by e-mail. Thanks to all of you who took the time to write. Working through all those e-mail messages takes time but for this month I’ve selected four reader sites that are “submitted for your approval,” as the late Rod Serling often said. Look for more readers’ sites to appear on a regular basis as well as a photographer’s blog of the month, which started unofficially last month.
I’m spending the next few days working with Tim Fiedler (www.dracophoto.com) on the latest incarnation of my how-to blog (www.joefaraceblogs.com). This new version features a WordPress (http://wordpress.org) structure and theme. WordPress originally started as a free blogging system but soon evolved into a full content management system, including access to thousands of plug-ins, widgets, and themes. In January, my blog was restructured to feature a different topic for each day and since this issue’s theme is Travel & Location Photography be sure to check in on Tuesday. There are subjects for the rest of the week, too, including Macro Monday, Landscape Wednesday, Automobile Thursday, and Portrait & Glamour Friday.