Monthly Archives: January 2012

nextgen or Photocrati galleries for WordPress website?

 

Nextgen galleries or Photocrati for your website?

Chances are when you build a photo site you’re going to add some galleries. So you’ll have to choose a tool to make them. I had to. When you build your site with WordPress, there’s a bunch of free gallery plugins you can choose from. Check here to see a few of them. However, the one that seems to have won the popularity contest is the Nextgen gallery plugin. It’s amazingly diverse, easy to use and it comes with a truckload of options. One option I liked in particular was that Nextgen lets you edit gallery thumbnails. Like that you won’t end up with a pare of feet or a beheaded model in your gallery overview. So Nextgen comes highly recommended. You can easily download it from your wordpress dashboard.

There’s a ‘but’, however, and a big one if you ask me. When you build your galleries with Nextgen your photographs won’t be picked up by Google very easily. This is an old problem that seems to be difficult to solve. Allegedly the latest nextgen versions are fully compatible with the Google search engine. Especially if you use the Yoast SEO to make your  website’s sitemap. But I tried all that and didn’t get very excited by the results. After several months only very few of my pictures got picked up by Google. photocrati template wordpress website nextgen gallery blog photography site

When I got tired of fiddling with file titles, descriptions and photo tags, I decided it was time for something new. And after a short search on the net I ended up on the Photocrati site. They offer a set of 15 templates for your wordpress site that also includes a gallery tool. I got interested because the site stated their gallleries were compatible with Google. That was exactly what I was looking for. Would it really work? Only one way to find out and that is to purchase the template package. I did and reworked my site with one of their templates. It took me around two days and I have to say that the results are great. Only one month after the makeover all of my photographs now get picked up by Google. That’s really a big difference. Buying Photocrati sets you back 89$, but it’s really worth it. There’s a little downside though. The Photocrati gallery tool offers less customising options as Nextgen. It doesn’t let you edit the gallery thumbnails. But what’s more important? Customisation or outreach? Right, I thought so. If you’re interested in Photocrati, check it out here. highly recommended stuff.

 

 

 

Posted in design, gallery, photography, technique, wordpress Tagged , , , , |

How to shoot flowers

A cool way to shoot flowers

red amaryllis speedlight outdoor flower close up photography tungsten white balance cto gel

End of year is flower time. Flowers for New Year, flowers for X-mass, flowers in pots and flowers in boxes. If you like to photograph them it’s a great time. I do.  Great. But how to shoot a picture of a  flower so that it catches the eye? Let’s try a couple of things and find out.

First we need a flower. The nicer the flower the nicer the picture. That’s obvious. I got lucky when guests showed up with a big bunch of deep red Amaryllis flowers. They were big enough to shoot with my 70-300 telezoom lens. Now, what kind of light do we need? Inside the house was too dark to make a nice picture. The sky outside was grey overcast. Better make the photograph outside in this case. Because of the clouds the light was very soft light. That works well for flowers.

red amaryllis speedlight outdoor flower close up photography tungsten white balance cto gel

Now, how about the background? The book sais flowers look nice on black and white backgrounds. But I didn’t have any of those laying around. I had a grey wooden wall outside though. How about a neutral grey then? That will let the green and red pop. So we had a deep red flower, overcast sky and a grey wooden background. I also dialled -1 in the exposure compensation to make the red deeper. The focal length was 200mm and shutter time of 1/2 second. Result: nice photograph, but can we make it more exciting?

Sure, we can.  What if we could turn the grey to blue so that it looks like water? In fact that’s not difficult to do. Just change the white balance setting of the camera to tungsten and everything will turn blue. The texture of the water even look like waves. One slight problem: our red flower will turn blue as well. And that’s not what we want. There’s away to fix that though. We can take an off camera flash and turn it into tungsten light. Simply by taping a CTO gel on it. If our white balance is on tungsten, and we shoot with a tungsten light, we’re back on neutral. Except that our background and will remain nice and blue. By the way, you have to shoot manual at a low shutter speed, so that you catch the day light on our background. And the nicest part is that the flash makes it look that the picture was taken at sunrise, near a lake or so.

Posted in flash, flower, photography, technique, white balance Tagged , , , |