My personal website, hosted by Zenfolio
There's a lot more to the internet than just Facebook and Instagram. While these are great outlets for your photographs, they are not the same as having your own website - a personalised space where you can display your best photos and videos for people to see or your clients to find.
I've had a number of different websites over the years. My URL (www.petereastway.com) has stayed the same, but the websites themselves have ranged from a self-coded attempt to a custom build. The former had limited features compared to other photographers' sites, while the latter was expensive to develop and maintain.
Then I saw an advert for Zenfolio. Zenfolio lets you design and maintain your own website for as little as $7 a month (although I'm using Zenfolio's Advanced AU package at $420 a year), plus it's so easy to use. I can upload my photos at any time, change the look and feel of the site with a few clicks, write a blog and even email my subscribers.
If you can use a mouse, you can navigate your way around the Zenfolio interface easily!
What this means is that you can have your own website for a very modest annual fee, and then if you want to add in some extra features like an online shopping cart to sell your photographs, it's not a huge expense.
When I boiled down the main features I wanted in a website, it was a clean design that allowed visitors to quickly and easily see my portfolios. Zenfolio has dozens of creative and elegant designs which you can customise so they look unlike anyone else's. You have extensive control over the layout, colour, typeface and size of your photographs, plus you can add in your own logo (Pro and Advanced versions only). Or you can do what many photographers do and just choose one of Zenfolio's many superb design themes.
However, an effective website is more than just a smart looking collection of photographs. It needs to represent you and your work, so Zenfolio includes extra pages where you can introduce yourself, a blog which can be formatted with a variety of cool designs, and there's also a direct link to NuShots or Nulab for turning your photographs into prints and other products.
Look at it this way. Imagine you have a new body of work you want to show to the world. Upload your finished photographs to Zenfolio, place them into a gallery, choose one of the photos for your website's home page, and then write a short blog about the photographs. Immediately your photographs and words are live. It's that easy.
Importantly for a website, it needs to be fast and responsive. Zenfolio sites load pages quickly so your viewers are not kept waiting and both photographs and video clips are optimized for presentation at any display size.
Once your new work is up, you can send beautifully packaged email invitations to notify clients or friends and family when galleries are ready to view. And even better, your Zenfolio website is mobile friendly for viewing on any smart phone or tablet.
While the public face of your website looks smart and professional, the administration side is just as efficient and easy to use. Called 'My Zenfolio', the simple administation of your website's options hides the complexities of website design, allowing you to focus on the content.
When you first open a Zenfolio account, you'll want to spend a little time looking at all the different design options, but once you've settled on the look of your website, then it's quick and ultra easy to upload photographs into various galleries, write your blog posts and, if you're going for a business account, setting up your price list.
Zenfolio will let you sell both digital files or a range of prints and other products. In Australia, Zenfolio has an arrangement with NuShots and Nulab for printing and delivering your work to your customers - all you do is sit back and watch the profits deposited to your bank account. Of course, you can also print and deliver yourself.
There's so much more to Zenfolio, such as password access for clients, SEO optimisation and even email campaigns.
When Zenfolio approached me to be a Zenfolio ambassador, I was more than happy to oblige. I liked that they asked someone who was already using their services, and I also liked the fact they were prepared to offer Better Photography readers a 30% discount on their first year's subscription.
To access this special offer, visit www.zenfolio.com/au and have a look around. There's lots of information there.
(Also feel free to check out my personal website to see how I use Zenfolio - you'll find it at www.petereastway.com.)
Then, if you like what you see, sign up for a year and use the coupon code PETEREASTWAY for your 30% discount. Click here for more information.
If you're ready to share your photographs with the world, then you're ready for Zenfolio website.
Zabriskie Point, Death Valley, USA.
Join Tony Hewitt and Peter Eastway on a photo tour that includes this location.
23 Jan - 2 Feb 2017, so you need to book now!! See website shop for details.
What a great Christmas present for yourself!
You're too late!
It's not really what you want to hear when you're running up the hill with a full bag of cameras on your back and a tripod in your hand.
We had driven for several hours and only stopped when we absolutely had to (because the light was so good), but those are the decisions you make. Do you photograph something now and risk missing something later, or do you keep driving with no guarantee there will be anything worthwhile later? We did a bit of both and fortunately we were bang on time.
Around half a dozen photographers walked down past us from Zabriskie Point lookout, all with a self-satisfied, knowing little smiles on their faces. They were convinced that they had captured the shots we had missed. And there’s no doubt they had photographed the last rays of sunshine because the sun had disappeared just five minutes earlier.
And so they packed up while we unpacked.
Full Moon, Scoresby Sund, Greenland.
200mm lens, 1/800 second @ f4.5, ISO 2200
Next year I'm returning to Scoresby Sund in Greenland on a wooden schooner! It sounds incredibly enterprising, but all the arrangements are being handled by Better Moments in Denmark, a provider of world-class photography tours and workshops. I'm being hired with Magnus Elander to lead the voyage which is entirely within Scoresby Sund, so no fear of rough weather or sea sickness (we fly in from Iceland and I have another shorter tour there as well)!
As this photograph shows, the sound is surrounded by towering peaks and dotted with icebergs - it's an incredible location to shoot. I shot this from Aurora's Polar Pioneer a few years back when we were lucky enough to have both perfectly clear weather and a rising full moon. Mind you, the sun doesn't go down until very late, so this was probably taken at around 10 p.m.
The challenge we have as photographers is retaining detail in the moon. As you will see from the original photograph before processing in Capture One, the raw file retained a hint of detail in the moon, but it required a number of adjustment layers to darken down the sky and, in so doing, darkening the moon as well.
To see the original file without any processing, click through to the website for the full article.
Congratulations to Graham Morgan for his amazing Revealing Nature photograph which won not only the category, but the $5000 cash first prize in the 2016 Better Photography Magazine Photo of the Year awards.
There are six categories into which photographers can enter and each entry is given a score by three judges. The highest aggregate is deemed the category winner. However, to win the overall prize, the six category winners are presented once again to the judges and asked to nominate first, second and third (even though there is only the first prize on offer). Interestingly, all six entrants were nominated by at least one of the judges to be in the top three. And all three judges nominated a different photograph as the overall winner!
So, what does this all mean? Well, we’re pretty sure Graham will agree that the other category winners are extremely good and that there is an element of luck, especially when it comes to taking out the main prize. The same could be said for winning the category because second, third and even tenth place were often only a few points away. Let’s face it, it is difficult to say categorically that one photograph is better than another – better in what way or for what purpose? In the end, there is an element of personal bias and that’s why we prefer to have three judges, not one, so that any individual bias is removed. Interestingly, three of our category winners (Graham Morgan, Kath Salier and Krzysztof Browko) have been previous winners or category winners of the Better Photography Magazine Photo of the Year award, so there is an element of consistency in the winning photographers.
First of all, they enter competitions, because unless you enter, it’s rather hard to win! Second, over the years they have developed a style and approach to photography that is of a high standard – and no doubt entering competitions has assisted them. Third, they don’t enter just one photograph, because who knows exactly what the judges will like? By entering a number of photographs, they have a better chance of finding themselves at the very top.
There are a couple of differences in the way the Better Photography competition is run. First, the competition uses the same judges each year, again for consistency. Peter Eastway, Tony Hewitt and David Oliver are all AIPP Grand Masters of Photography with 30 to 40 years’ experience. This certainly makes them dinosaurs, but hopefully dinosaurs with the type of experience that makes them good judges. All three have won major photography awards as entrants, have judged nationally and internationally, for both amateur and professional awards, and have a huge breadth of experience. Even better, they have quite different views about what makes a strong photograph, meaning a wider range of photographs are likely to receive awards.
Another difference is that every photograph entered receives a judge’s comment. Sometimes that comment is simply well done because the entrant has won a Silver or a Gold Award. And it’s true that the comments are predominantly pre-set suggestions, but it allows the judges to give entrants invaluable feedback. Sometimes it’s as simple as the photograph is too light or too dark, or encouragement to look at the framing or composition. When entrants look at their score and personalised comment, it’s fantastic feedback for any photographer wanting to improve his or her work.
So, what about the awards? Out of 981 entries, there were 547 Bronze awards, 385 Silver awards and just 10 Gold awards. That is the majority of entries winning something, so what does this mean? The judges were instructed to give photographs that showed ‘signs of promise’ a Bronze award. In other words, reward the entrant if they are on the right path. And when you think about it, people entering photography competitions are likely to be quite good photographers, so a high number of Bronzes is expected.
However, Silver awards were handed out a little more frugally. Around one third of entries earned well-deserved Silvers and these are genuine scores. So if you managed to get a few Bronzes this year, then maybe your challenge is to get some Silvers next year!
And what about those 10 Golds? Well, Golds are very difficult because although there might have been 50 or more photographs where one judge scored it 88 or higher, you really need at least two judges in the Gold range to make it happen. And given the judges are quite different in their outlook when it gets to the higher scores, this is challenging. It’s interesting that the judges are generally all within the same range when it comes to Silver, Bronze or no award, but Golds are something else!
Congratulations to all the entrants and we hope you enjoy viewing the winning photographs.
To see the top 20 images in each category, visit the competition website here: http://www.betterphotographyphotocomp.com/index.php/2016-winners
Moving sheep, Middlehurst Station, South Island, New Zealand.
Phase One XF 100MP, 55mm Schneider lens, 4 seconds @ f8, ISO 200, 3X ND
Regular newsletter readers may recognise this location as I posted a colour version a couple of months ago, after Tony Hewitt and I had run our exclusive Art Photography Workshop at Middlehurst Station in New Zealand.
I confess that at the time I wasn't overly concerned about the photograph - there's an image in there for sure, but I felt there was still room for improvement with a different camera angle. It's a good reason to go back again, of course (and we are next year if you're interested), but it also points to how much influence our current thinking has on how we view our work. Or maybe I should only speak for myself.
When I took the photo, I had an image in mind, but I didn't quite get what I had in mind. It was something different. However, with the passing of time, I returned to these files with fresh eyes and thought, maybe it's not so bad after all.
Certainly that panel of five wonderfully sophisticated and educated judges at APPA this year scored it well (yes, a Gold he modestly writes), so you can be lucky every now and then.
So, what did the image look like before I started work on it? And does the finished edit look better with a little introduced colour? You'll have to click the Read More link to the website to find out!