Throwback To #Untitled

It's officially Thursday so surely I can be forgiven for posting a throwback blog so early in the morning. This evening I was sat in my dining room enjoying a family meal, the view from our front window overlooking a peaceful and calm landscape, however I wasn't looking out of the window; instead I was staring at the dining room wall and the huge 2A0 print hanging upon it. 

I've never been one to shout my achievements from the rooftops, but you know what, #Untitled was a project which took so much of my soul to create that I can't help but be proud of what it helped me to achieve. Finishing my degree with a 1st in Media, Moving Image and Photography wasn't an easy task, however hard work and perseverance paid off. 

Liverpool One. 1/8 of #Untitled. 

Liverpool One. 1/8 of #Untitled. 

2017 has so far been without doubt a spectacular year for me personally. It has provided an opportunity to grow and strengthened desires for change. I have further developed my photographic practice and found a love in a genre which I had not previously explored. However, I have faced some fairly significant challenges over the past twelve months, completing my degree whilst exploring a position of photography lecturer was a huge strain on both myself and my close network of support and I thank everyone who pushed me to achieve what they knew I was capable of.  I would encourage anyone who wants to make a change, to do so. It's never too late to make any sort of life changes and if you're like me and make the best of those changes, you certainly won't regret it. 

I intend to continue 2017 with a firm focus and systematic and organised approach to ensure I continue to develop.  My journey isn't over yet, in fact I'd go as far as to say, it's only just begun. 

Daniel  

Website Update

My photography website has long been neglected and it was the cause of much internal anxiety. Through the years my site has morphed and changed a number of times. I started with a simple template site and moved on to a very expensive custom site then went back to a template gallery with a Wordpress blog. You’re going to get sick of hearing about me trying to simplify my life but it’s the damn truth. I need as much simplicity as I can get right now and my website is no exception.

Over the years I have run sites and blogs on WordPress and that was fine but something always came up that was a pain in the ass for me to fix. I can’t even spell CSS let alone program it. If a plugin or update broke, I was at the mercy of the developers and their helpful nature, or lack thereof.

Wordpress Blog

Wordpress Blog

My last site was on the Smugmug platform and it was a decent enough site but it did not have an integrated blog so I had to develop a Wordpress theme that had a vague resemblance to my main site. I’m a big believer in consistency and wanted my blog and my site to be seamless.  It never happened.  Many portfolio platforms suffer from this so it really narrowed my choices. If I changed the template in Smugmug for my site then I would have to re design and change the blog.

Smugmug Design

Smugmug Design

At the end of the day I need a site that showcases my photography. Not my design aesthetic.

The companies that ended up on my shortlist were PhotoshelterA Photo Folio500pxSquarespace, and Tumblr (Yes. Tumblr), and finally, The Grid (I’m not even giving them the benefit of a link. Don’t bother with them at all.) At the end of the day it came down to Squarespace for having the best blog integration, most options for layout and design, and simplicity of use.

From updating galleries, to writing a blog post, to tracking traffic and stats, adding e-commerce, and building custom pages within the backend, Squarespace was the clear winner. There are always issues when going with a template service though. The two issues I have right now with Squarespace is I really like the galleries from one template but the blog design of another template. I know there’s a lot that you can do under the hood if you know a bit of CSS and the like and that was one reason I went with them. At some point if I do want something tweaked beyond the options I’m given with drop down menus and sliders I can hire someone to make those changes for me.

Since I have been shooting new personal work I have wanted two things on my site. One is a simple way to sell prints and the other is to have space to advertise myself as a working photographer.  Squarespace makes both of those things a breeze to set up.  The next thing I wanted to setup was a blog, and wow how easy was that!  It's is not quite where I want it to be yet but it’s working and is easier to use, IMHO, than WordPress. I still have some tweaks to do and might pull someone in with a bit more knowledge than I have to get it where I want it to be. For now though it feels SO GOOD to have an updated site with updated work and I’m putting new content on a new blog. It felt freeing and liberating to absolutely nuke my old site into oblivion and start fresh. I may have taken a hit on SEO by doing so but I’m not really that concerned about it because I’ve never been that concerned with SEO.

Again. It feels awesome to have a fresh site. I still have tweaks to make. I still have some editing to do for the galleries. I might try a different font here or there. The blog layout needs some work but it’ll get there. If I kept waiting for the perfect site then I’d never ever ever ever ever launch one. Ever. Don’t wait for perfection because you’ll never find it. Please go take a look and let me know what you think! Which company or service do you think I should have put on my short list? Want to buy a print? Check them out here!

Is It Time You Updated Your Headshots?

This handy list will help you check to see if it's time to get a new set of headshots!

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1. You have a job

Many professionals these days can benefit from having a good quality corporate headshot. I’m not talking about the obvious ones like real estate agents, actors and models, who all must have a headshot in order to succeed. I’m thinking more of people like doctors, lawyers, architects and executives. Basically, anyone who is entrusted with high levels of responsibility should have a professional quality headshot to represent them. Making do with a cropped scan from a family Christmas party photo just doesn’t project the kind of professionalism you aim to exhibit every day in the workplace.

2. You don’t have a job

Looking for a job? As shallow as it might seem, people make snap judgments about each other based on appearance. It doesn’t mean that you need to look like a supermodel to get a job, but making yourself presentable online is a must in the modern competitive job market. Just as you wouldn’t show up to an important job interview in ripped jeans and with dirt all over your face, why would you show potential employers a photo of you at anything less than your best? A professional-looking headshot might not land you a job, but it might give you the edge you need to get your foot in the door, or get some actual face-time so you can really show them what you’ve got.

3. You’re single

Hey there’s nothing wrong with that. Being single can be fun. But if you’re single and you don’t want to be, your online emissary to the world of potential partners is your dating site profile picture. It works 24/7 for you, advertising your gorgeous mug to the world. A lot of people will say that you only need snapshots on your dating profile. Obviously, I have a different opinion. A professional profile photo can round out your gallery of more casual photos by adding an element of contrast and quality. A great-looking profile photo lures the viewer in for a closer look. Come hither!

4. You use social media

Do you want to elevate your social media presence? A professional portrait or headshot can really have that effect. No matter what network you’re on, you can tailor your profile picture to really show what you’re all about. Your profile pictures for various social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter might have different goals and purposes. Do you want to highlight your professional side? Your fun-loving side? Your goofy side? Your all-encompassing sexiness? A good professional photographer can help you share your best traits on social media....... besides, a new professional photo will harvest you a ton of likes!

5. You are getting older

Let’s face it, we’re all getting older. That’s not necessarily bad, it’s just the truth. Your headshots need to reflect this. There isn’t anything sadder than seeing someone clinging desperately to a photo that was obviously taken in 1998 and pretending that’s what they look like now. A great way to respect your age and the wisdom that comes with it is to get a spanking-new headshot that beautifully captures your increasingly mature and elegant look!

6. You have a face

If none of the above apply to you, then congratulations. You belong to an extraordinarily tiny minority of people. However, you’re not out of the woods yet, because you probably have a face, and belonging to such a select group while still owning a face is really a major accomplishment. You should celebrate by getting your headshots done!