Websites Aren’t What They Used to Be – Try SmugMug!

Six years ago I started a website showing my photography. It wasn’t easy. My husband had to program the site. He designed it and then put my images onto it. I always felt the need to redesign the site, but it was a lot of work for my husband, who was already bogged down with other work. Even when I wanted to put up an image, I had to ask him to do it for me because I don’t know how to program.

As the years went on I realized that I wasn’t putting up new images into my photography website. There were images on my site that I wanted taken off too. I just got tired of asking for help. I wanted a site that I could have total control over.

My husband got commissioned to do a website. So, he and I did some research and found a hosting site called SmugMug . Hallelujah!! This hosting site looked great. All my husband had to do was set up the basics for me, which required some programming. The rest is a breeze. I have total control. I put up images when I want to. I could take off images when I want to also.

Since SmugMug is a community, there’s more of a chance that other people will see my work. I also enjoy surfing the SmugMug community looking at other photographic web sites. SmugMug also has a feature called “keywords”. On their home page you can type in a keyword and everyone in the SmugMug community who has the same word for a specific image will show up in a gallery.

My website on SmugMug is fairly new. It’s only been up a month and a half. I think it looks great. It’s much better than my old site. And the best part is that I’m finally in control.

Don’t be Afraid to Take Pictures in Bad Lighting

It was a very overcast day.  It was actually pretty dark, and it was getting ready to rain.  I saw a nuthatch on a branch, so I decided to shoot, anyway.

I put my camera on a high ISO of 640, and the F stop was 5.6.  I had nothing to lose.  Either I would get an acceptable shot, or I wouldn’t.  If I decided not to shoot because of the bad lighting, I wouldn’t have anything.

This image is straight out of the camera.  I dropped it into Photoshop for some corrections.  The first thing I usually do is some simple cleanups.  In this image, I want to remove the white speck on the beak, and maybe a few dust spots here and there:

The next thing I do when I look at an image in Photoshop is to open up the levels pallete (Image / Adjustments / Levels).  See the right side of the levels box where the black line stops?  This is where I’m going to push the white triangle slider to the left to meet the black line, in order to increase the brightness:

This is how it looks after I made that level adjustment.  Already the image looks brighter:

The next thing I do is go into selective color (Image / Adjustments / Selective Color).  Because of the lighting conditions with this image, and the darkness of the image, there was a green cast.  Play with the sliders, because every image is different.  In this image, I want to get rid of the green cast.  I’ll pick green from the drop down color selection.  I did the same thing with white.  Because each image is different, you’ll have to experiment with these settings to get it looking the way you want:

Next, I go into brightness / contrast (Image / Adjustments / Brightness/Contrast).  For this image I added a +24 brightness and +7 contrast:

This setting added brightness and contrast to the whole image.  I wanted to make the bird a little brighter, and keep the background a little on the dark side, to emphasise the bird, so I took the history brush at 50% opacity, and just brushed around the outer edges of the image:

Here are the before and after images.  Not bad for bad lighting on a crappy, rainy day!

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