I said it last month but it bears repeating: “Never was there a time when it was so easy or inexpensive to create a great-looking website than right now.” Yet one emerging trend is to pack as much text onto the opening screen as possible and if a picture must be used it should be tiny and maybe show a portrait of the photographer. There’s an old joke whose punch line is, “First, you have to get their attention.” That’s true of websites as well. That landing page should be your signature image—that gasp factor—that makes the viewer look, linger, and want to see more. Give it a try.
Never was there a time when it was so easy or inexpensive to create a great-looking website than right now. I created my own site (www.joefarace.com) using a WordPress template from Obox (www.obox-design.com) that’s hosted on GoDaddy.com and the whole magilla cost a little over $100—along with lots of my own time. What about your site? If you read Web Profiles regularly you know that from time to time I like to feature Shutterbug readers and if you would like to see your website or blog featured here, click my site’s Contact button and tell me about it.
The new year is a good time for a creative rebirth, so instead of trotting out all of those same old New Year’s resolutions why not try something to help you grow as a photographer? A few years ago I created an online gallery called “2011 Photo of the Day,” which was one of the hardest things I ever tried yet at the same time was rewarding because the commitment forced me to make a new image every day, even when I didn’t feel like it. Last October I introduced you to four photographers and their individual approaches to producing a photograph-a-day blog. If you missed it, you can read it on Shutterbug’s website. This year, I resolved to try a photo-a-day project in 2012 using the free Tumblr (www.tumblr.com) platform so there’s no excuse that you can’t do the same thing. If you follow me on Tumblr (http://joefarace.tumblr.com), I’ll follow you back so we can see how each of us does during the year.
One of the nicest gifts that anyone can give is a photograph. It can be a portrait of yourself and your loved ones or it can be the gift of a fine art print that you can proudly hang on the wall. Submitted for your approval this month are four photographers whose fine art work spans different genres, but what they have in common is an uncommon vision and a commitment to quality.
Thanksgiving Day is celebrated in the United States and Canada, although up North it’s the second Monday in October. Other places around the world observe Thanksgiving celebrations as well and I’d like to celebrate it here by thanking the people who make this column possible. Big thanks goes to Editorial Director George Schaub and Managing Editor Andrea Keister, who occasionally suggest sites for the column but mostly just make me look good. A big thank you goes out to all of the magazine’s readers for their support over the years. In recent issues I haven’t had as many Shutterbug Reader-of-the-Month sites but I’ll make up for it this month, starting with…
Last year I tried a picture-a-day project and was surprised how difficult it was, but also found that it was a great way to stimulate creativity. In 2013, I’ll begin a similar project, this time using Tumblr (www.tumblr.com) because it’s free and the simplest way I know to create a photoblog. To get you inspired, I’ve rounded up four different photo-a-day blogs to show the diverse ways these talented photographers created their sites and blogs. Give it a try because it forces you to think—every day—about making new photographs. And the best way to improve your skills is to practice, practice, practice.
This month I am privileged to present four of the best fine art photographers working in the country. Bill Schwab’s introspective classical images made on collodion plates, the sweeping majesty of Michael Kahn’s handmade silver gelatin prints, and Lane Wilson’s lush images show why they are masters of monochrome photography. Even Cole Thompson’s Blog-of-the-Month resonates with expertise and vision that is at once traditional yet as new as a sunrise. Join me as we take a look at their websites and blog, and prepare to be inspired.
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.