My new website

However

For many months I have been “bugged” or “reminded” by various web designers, either from India or local, when they are trying to drum up business, telling me that my website was old-fashioned and not Google friendly and that it was impossible for clients to find me.   Which is not correct, because weekly I got new business from and through my old website And of course that they would put me on number 1 position on the 1st Google page.   I was already on the 1st page for Google using my meta tags et cetera.  

Over the years I have been able to maintain my website that was once designed by a talented New Zealand web designer.  However I did lack the knowledge to create a website that was user-friendly for the current trend to use mobile apps.

I tried to work out a way to do it in Dreamweaver but it just didn’t work out very well.  In one of my newsletters that I receive to stay up-to-date with the various advances in technology relating to web design and photography and similar fields  there was a new software program mentioned that allowed you to build your own website from templates.

I’ve seen many of those, and most templates are too simple, and the choice to create something that is more personal and different from all the other ones is almost impossible.  99% of those free websites things I do not touch, you are not able to host it where you want to host it and the limitations to make it your own are almost overwhelming.  However this software program was delightfully different, it was created in Holland, I have to mention that because I’m Dutch too!

Dutch people almost never give anything away for free (my apologies to those who do), so I was a bit suspicious of how this system could work for me.  They apparently make their money from selling certain components to build your website in a more advanced and clever and attractive way so you can include more special aspects that are not available in the free version.

I downloaded the free version, and started working on it.  At present that is the website you can see at www.albanystudios.co.nz

It still needs refining, after all this is my 1st time I used the program and it is seemingly not too bad (in my eyes).  Over the next couple of weeks I will change a few things and as I can see the traffic from my website improving with more clients assigning me work I may be tempted to buy a few of those specialist “blocks” to build my website into a more refined and more complicated website.

I’ve got a problem that I’m a photographer and not a web designer, I’m very close to my own work of course and it is not easy to see it through “other eyes”. However, with so many years of experience in visual communications I am usually spot on in my design and layout. If you can spot a “glitch” – be my guest.
So, if you happen to read this, why not try to be those eyes?  Look at it from an impartial view, imagine you are my client and you want to give me some work to do.

My website gives you the confidence that if you give me work to be photographed you will be happy because your sales will increase or whatever desired effect my photography for you should have! If you do have a different opinion – and suggestions on how to improve it even more – you are welcome to let me know to reach an even higher standard.

I’m really pleased, it downloads very fast, on my iPhone and tablet and desktop all the images display correctly and quickly.
I have been trying to put links on each page so you can contact me from each page so you don’t need to go back all the way to the home page to send me an email or contact me.  In hindsight there are possibly too many words on it, after all it should be a visual medium so watch this space, well not this space but my website!

Anybody interested who is the maker of this software program it is within the body tag of the index HTML of my website.  Contact me if you don’t know how to get there, and don’t forget I love feedback on that site!

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Made 2 “X mas” cards

I started with this idea, the shattering of the glass meaning the vibrant “explosive” atmosphere of X mas in the sun – wel kind off.

xmas-photo-S.jpg

Well, it may seem a bit busy and I always advocate less is best, and not every body may think like me.

Hence this version below, with a few words to make sure most people would “get” it….

xmas-photo-plain Both have their merit – I do find the top one more creative but harder to understand.
If you have an opinion, please share it here?

Anyway, just bought Affinity Photo for windows, it is a fantastic alternative to Adobe CC subscription model.  My X mas present….:-)

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Understanding your client, the big why

It’s one of my first questions for my client.

It answers why he or she needs the image.

Keep asking all the “why’s” and you find out how to make the image effective.

Typical questions  are:

·    Who is your audience / viewer

·    What is your goal – sell, illustrate, tempt, explain the object or concept.

·    What is your expectation

·    What is your budget

·    Where or how do you place your image _ web, print, billboard, bus, TV etc.

·    Why did you choose me

Some clients walk in and tell me it takes only one hour to make the photos and how they want it to be made. Those clients are not for me, some one else can have this nightmare.

Some clients come with a detailed brief from their agency explaining in detail all the ins and outs of the image, and in that case my questions are superfluous. The client has already considered all possibilities and presented me with a brief that allows me to use my abilities to fulfil their requirement.

Some clients have no idea or little at all, those clients are my favourite. Based on my long experience in this industry I can give them excellent advice and make their assignment very profitable and economic.

If you get asked to make photos of objects you do not like – for instance I do not like furniture except chairs – I refuse to make those images.

You can not make the best possible images of what is not within your interest.

So do ask, but stay true to yourself.

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Sleek lens review workflow

Sleek lens offered me recently the “through the woods” presets for Lightroom.

In order to give a fair review I would like to give a little background information about myself so you know how I have evaluated this product.

 I made landscapes on my  Linhoff Technorama film camera (http://linhof.com/en/technorama-617s/), I was the first photographer in New Zealand to use this camera . As it uses transparencies on a film format of 6 x 17 cm on 120 film you have to be very careful making your photographs as it only takes four images on one film. Everything was carefully considered before making the photograph as it was imperative to get the right image on film you could not afford to take 10 or 15 images as people do now with the digital format cameras and stitch them together in a panoramic format.

Hence all my landscapes are made when the light is just perfect, everything is fine, nothing needs to be changed (photo shopped) as the transparency is the final result for my landscape image that will be printed in a book.

Now, in this digital age we can make images of landscapes when the light is not just exactly the way we wish it to be, we have so manyEdit tools available to make the photograph look good or better after capturing the scenery. Hence the abundance of perfect looking landscapes on the Internet, all the trees are gloriously lit with the perfect brightness and contrasts, water looks like you want it to look, the skies are moody or fantastic et cetera. Most of these perfect images are so perfect that I have not any interest in looking at them they are not real. Not saying all images are like that, there are exceptions. But the majority of published landscapes on the Internet are very flawless and lack emotional integrity.

Hence my reluctance using presets or any other preconceived settings to change the light or contrasts. In my workflow, I adjust the contrast, fine tune the exposure, lighten or darken certain areas and that is about it because my image is already the way I want it to look. I do not make landscapes when the light is not right, so there is no need for me to add some glorious sunlight or other shadings. Haze, and all those other things I do not need because they falsify my landscape.

However as a photographer I have those tools available to me in case if I need so I was quite interested to receive the Sleek Lens Presets for lightroom workflow for this review.

Easy to instal , and then the trouble started. The naming convention of these presets is very space consuming, the names start with “through the woods” (the name of the preset set I received) and then an indication of what it does, lighten dark and saturate et cetera. So it is a very long name with a lot of information that absolutely says nothing about the functional action of the preset itself.

I can’t recall exactly all the names but they were very long. So I renamed all these presets deleted all the ” through the woods” and other prefixes and just call them light and dark and saturate et cetera whatever the function was of the preset.

All these presets were placed in a sleek lens folder preset so I knew that I was using a sleek lens preset. I did this because when you want to find out what the sleek lens preset effect was, I had to increase the width on the left panel where the presets are presented in lightroom. Of course you can hover with your mouse or pen over the preset and the navigator will show you the effect of the preset.

Not easy for me, holding your mouse over one line of words and then looking up into the navigator panel to see what it does, that is not efficient. The same with the adjustment brush, the name of the presets from sleek lens were also far too long with too many prefixes that were absolutely not necessary, I renamed all the preset names into one word that defined the action of the preset, which was actually the last word of the preset name of sleek lens.

To test the presets out: I had a few plain landscapes that actually could do with some enhancement. When I looked at these images I knew what I wanted to add, colour, contrast, a deepening of the blue sky. It was easier for me to actually do this with my own brushes and creating my own adjustments instead of looking through all these presets to find if there was something that would do what I wanted.

Conclusion:

Pro: Excellent presets, very versatile, you could stack them, you could change them, you could save the altered one and so on. And some nice effects that possibly would not easily exist in nature.

Con: The naming convention of the presets is far too long.If you sell a tool, it has to work efficiently. Change the names of the presets.

Note:

If you make landscapes taken at a time that the light is not perfect, the scenery does not look at its best, then these presets will work very fine for you, you rummage around and you will find many delightful settings that will make your image pop like all the other thousands on the Internet. I could imagine as a wedding photographer you could very happily use these presets as you have to make images outdoors in light conditions that are not always optimal .

Many thanks to the sleek lens company for providing me with these presets for this review. Here is a link to Sleek Lens: (https://sleeklens.com/product/landscape-lightroom-presets/ and https://sleeklens.com/product-category/lightroom-presets

Some spelling mistakes came through through a software  problem, apologies.

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