Photo Marshmallows

I’m always on the lookout to do something different with my photos and have just seen an advert for boomf, who print your photographs onto marshmallows. At £15 for a box of nine marshmallows I think it is a great idea for a promotional item or an unusual gift and may even get some done for Father’s day!

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The only question is, are they too good to eat?

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Website Feedback

I have valued the feedback that I have received from others on the course, all of it has been very positive and I have included many of their suggestions in the site.

Feedback has included:

  • I like how when you click on the photos they become larger
  • The bright colour backgrounds are eye-catching!
  • Good that you have separated your photos into groups
  • Very independent work, I love it!
  • Writing/text is a bit small – I have since increased the font size
  • Good idea, instead of pages have different urls.
  • Why orange? – because this is the colour I designed my commercial stationary in last semester.
  • Wow, very mature – I am a bit old!
  • I like the icons and the colour themes
  • You should put your logo on the corner of pics so no one can steal them – I have begun to do this and will go back and watermark the older photos on the site.
  • Travel ‘Buy Now’ images link to Photobox (put favourites first) – I have added a ‘Buy Now’ button to some of the travel photos and linked it through to my SmugMug account where the photos can be bought and printed by a pro lab.
  • Contact details on each – at first I was loath to do this as I really wanted a simple site with as few pages as I possibly could and I have included contact icons on the bottom of every page but I relented and have included a contact me page near the Journal
  • Nice neutral background
  • Very spacious, not overcrowded
  • Very interesting website, lots to look at.
  • Cute cheery music for the video
  • Cool that you can buy books and prints, makes it look professional
  • Love the separate website for each section
  • Love the range of images
  • Video, comparing to website, not enough ‘you’ in it. Your experience is too colourful for one minute!
  • Great website but a little too busy, especially the travel section, could you add a side bar for each section – I’m looking into this.
  • Love the colours for each page, especially the wildlife, it really compliments the photos
  • Logo looks really neat
  • Maybe put email button in a separate place as its under ‘follow’ and may confuse stupid people – good point. I’ve re-labelled it.
  • Good ‘shop’
  • Videos are so cool!!!
  • All pages show that you can do anything.

That last comment has really boosted my confidence.

Artist Statement

I have chosen not to write a single artist statement for my website but instead to include specific statements for each area of the site.

In writing the statements I have firstly considered who will be reading the information and what they may wish to know. I have explained what services I can offer, why they should consider me to take their photographs and what style of photographs I take.

For example the wedding and portrait site is targeted at couples planning to get married and so my statement on this page includes information about where I am based and where I am prepared to work and how I am prepared to journey with the bride and groom throughout their day.

I have written very little about my experience as I don’t feel that I have a lot of experience to write about on the weddings site but I hope this will be something that I can include when I review the website in a couple of months. On the documentary and commercial site I have included a short list of previous commissions.

For each statement I have reviewed and re-worded the paragraphs until I am satisfied that they are clear, concise and easy to read and understand, even cutting out whole paragraphs that do not add anything to the main message.

I have found this quite difficult to do. I don’t really like writing about myself or ‘bigging myself up’ but as that it what is needed here, I’ve had to do it. I have asked friends to read and critique what I have written and made adjustments after taking their feedback into account. Generally their feedback has been that I need to blow my own trumpet more

SEO and Website Keywords

Optimising the website so that it can be found easily by websites feels really complicated but it has been made easier by the Moonfruit software I have used.

First, I checked through the whole website and made sure that all the links were working. Broken links can cause search engines to hit a dead end and stop searching.

then I typed a few search phrases into Google and noted the page titles and descriptions of the websites at the top of the results. I used these as inspiration for my own page titles and descriptions.

A couple of examples I liked include:

Hendenweddings.co.uk

Page title: Wedding Photography Lincolnshire, Scunthorpe, Hull …

Page Description: Henden are among the top wedding photographers within Lincolnshire. Covering nationwide. Wedding photography in Scunthorpe, Doncaster, Hull, Grimsby.

and

andysweddingphotos.co.uk

Page title: Andy’s Wedding Photos: Wedding Photographer in Lincoln …

Page Description: Are you looking for a wedding photographers in Lincoln, Scunthorpe? Great prices on wedding photography and event photography. Call 01724 764 134.

For each of the page titles I described the page, included keywords and my website name as this is used by every search engine listing. As well as appearing in search engine listings the page title also appears at the top of the browser window. The optimum page title length being between 65 and 75 characters.

On the home page I have used the following title: Wedding, portrait, documentary and travel photography by AJR Photographs.

The page description doesn’t really have an impact on search engine listings but if i say the right thing in it, it may inspire someone to click on my link as they look through the listing. Between 150 and 160 characters is ideal for the page description.

In the home page I have used the following page description: AJR Photographs offers friendly and professional documentary wedding and humanitarian travel photography in Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, around the UK and overseas.

I can set these for each page and I can also set these for the site as a whole.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 18.08.52I understand that keywords are used less by the search engines these days but there is still an option to include some that are relevant to my site. Keywords are also useful if I choose to do some online advertising. Using two or three-word phrases improves your chances of ranking highly as these phrases attract fewer competing companies and sites, and can be more specific to your market. The goal is to find keywords and terms relevant to what I offer, that have a high search volume and low competition.

To help me choose the best keywords, I logged into Google Adwords and chose Tools / Keyword Planner and then Search for new keyword and ad group ideas. Going to the ‘Keyword Ideas’ tab there was a list of relevant keywords and phrases that people have been searching for on Google along with information about how many people had searched for each phrase and what kind of competition there is from other businesses.

I looked through the results searching out phrases that have a high number of people searching for it and low competition. Many times it is a compromise as the more familiar search terms are usually faced with lots of competition. But by tweaking the search terms I came up with the following list for use on the home page:

  • Wedding photography
  • Wedding reportage
  • Lincolnshire or Yorkshire
  • Travel photography
  • Commercial photography
  • Documentary photography

I used this information to help me create unique names as well as descriptions and keywords for each of the pages across the site. I will be able to monitor and track the success of this using Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools which are all free pieces of software.

Watermarking and Resizing Photographs

A few weeks ago I asked the tutor to tell us about how to watermark our photographs and whether it was a good idea to do so or not. He suggested that a watermark is a good way of promoting ourselves or our business but that it wouldn’t guarantee that they would be safe from people determined to steal them.

To watermark my photos using Lightroom (my preferred programme) I need to be in the Library section and then Export.

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In the export box there is a watermarking section, in this section the drop down gives an option for a simple Copyright Watermark, any pre-loaded watermarks and Edit Watermarks…

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In the Edit Watermarks… box there are two options, an image or text watermark. I wanted to use my logo so under Image Options I choose a .png version of my logo from my computer. Then I went through the other options until I was happy with opacity, size and positioning of the logo and clicked Done.

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When the watermark has been set, all I need to do is click on that Watermarking section each time I export a photo. However, in order to export photos for my website I have set up a preset called Website Ready.

In the Export Box I prepare all of the settings exactly how I want them, paying particular attention to the image sizing. 72 pixels is good enough for on screen and I choose 1,000 pixels along the long edge as this is a good size for fitting on the screen. I find these settings to be a good compromise of photo quality v download size.

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When the export settings were ready all I did was click on the Add button under the Preset box and name the preset. Now, every time I want to export images for my website I can click on the Website Ready preset and the settings will automatically adjust leaving me with perfectly resized and watermarked photos ready for upload to my website library.

 

Making a Movie Portfolio

On my website I want to include a short ‘movie’ of some of my photographs to demonstrate the type of photography that I enjoy. The movie will be no more than a minute in length.

I have chosen to include the photographs that I used in yesterday’s Location Based mini portfolio blog entry as I think these give a good overview of my style.

I started by importing the photographs into a new event in iMovie, then created a new project with a modern theme as this will work best with my website. I dragged the photos into the project in the order that I wanted them and adjusted the length that each image is to be seen to 2.8 seconds to ensure the film was no more than a minute in length.

I then checked the transitions and adjusted the Ken Burns effect where necessary. Finally I removed the credit at the end of the film and renamed the title at the beginning.

I want people to focus solely on the photos and not to be put off or influenced by the music I choose but for the purposes of this course I am required to include some background music, so for the time being I have included a piece of royalty free music that is available within the iMovie software.

iMovie automatically saves my work as I do it so all that was left was for me to share it to my YouTube site. I was already logged into YouTube through iMovie so I simply double checked all of the settings and ensured the movie was set to private (just in case something went wrong or I wanted to make changes after it was uploaded) before pressing ‘ok’.

When the upload was complete I went to YouTube, double checked all the settings, added a few tags and gave it a final run though before making it publicly available. Once it was made public I was able to get a link and post it into my website and include it here.