I’ve set up a photography shop here. Took me a lot of time to hash out the technical issues (I’m using yak and WordPress), so I’ve only posted one photo for sale so far. I’m selling 4*6′s only (you’d be surprised how artful they can look), matted on white card-stock. This is different from my deviantART shop, because I oversee the entire production and shipping process (my standards are high), keep more of the profits, and can offer my art at affordable prices. The prints are 95¢ each, plus $1 shipping in the USA, $3 shipping to Canada and Mexico, and $5 to Australia and the UK (no other countries yet). Shipping is flat-rate, encouraging my customers to purchase more of my work.
The shop integrates well with my blog too—I can post an “Add to cart” button right in the text of my entries, as I will be doing for most upcoming photos.
All the payments go through PayPal since that’s simple and easy to set up, though they take a chunk off the top (30¢ + 3% per transaction). Check it out and buy something sometime so I can have more money for photographic equipment.
I added WordPress plugins to cross-post my entries to LiveJournal, MySpace, and Xanga from this blog. The LiveJournal and Xanga ones work best as they link here for comments and duplicate the content. The MySpace one only posts a link to the entry here.
Tomorrow, I’ll start adding new photos instead of fluff like this.
2008-08-17 Update: I’ve only kept the LiveJournal one. The other ones failed when I switched to WordPress MU.
I added comment threading, similar to deviantART. deviantART lets comments nest infinitely and after each ten levels, you must click a link to view the deeper levels. Mine stops at four levels though, so the page indent doesn’t become too great. But at the fourth level, you can continue posting replies like normal (they’ll just stay on the same level), and it will still be easy to keep track of the conversation, as other commenters will be on different threads. Try it out on this entry. Click “Comments” in the bottom-right, and then on my comment, click *REPLY TO THIS*.
I don’t know how to get comment previewing to work with the plugin, so it’s gone for now. 2008-01-10 Update: It’s back!
Also, each entry has a printable version, which you can view by clicking “Printable Version” at the bottom. Above this, there is a ShareThis button, so you can share my articles with friends and strangers alike, by email or through Facebook, digg, del.icio.us, et cetera. Finally, there is a dynamically generated list of three similar entries at the end of each entry, and a “random page” link in the sidebar. Both of these features will become useful as I add content.
A brilliant red sunset I saw while my chauffeur (a.k.a. Dad) was driving me home from work. I whipped out my Canon Rebel XTi (you should always keep a camera with you for scenes like this) and got this shot. Our windshield is scratched up, so the oncoming car’s headlights appear streaked, but I like the effect.
These ones are my derivative versions of the WordPress defaults:
There is a row of these smilies above all comment boxes; click one to insert its code into your comment. No smilies will appear until you post or preview the comment. I set up multiple smiley codes and have listed them below.
I finally got around to getting a display colorimeter—an old ColorVision Spyder that only works with CRT monitors, which I found on eBay. I was pleased to find that my colors from calibrating by eye were accurate, though I had the brightness up too high. I do have a ViewSonic Q19wb widescreen monitor, but I don’t trust it to photo-editing as its colors are not near the accuracy of an old-fashioned CRT. A reviewer on Amazon.com sums it up well:
“Colors are not truly natural. But if you are looking for a big screen to browse Internet and not a photographer who is really concerned about colors, then this is a good buy.”
Unfortunately, while this one is considered low-end at about $150, the same can be said for most LCD monitors. Even after endlessly fiddling with the settings on my video card and LCD monitor, it still retains a bluish cast and clips the next-to-white colors in calibration charts. For $50, you can pick up a used CRT screen that will serve you better for photo-editing than most $500 LCDs, even in 2007.
Regardless of your monitor, display calibration is very important, because if the colors on your monitor aren’t standard, you can trust that they’ll be noticeably different when printed or displayed on other monitors. All the photos that you’ve carefully edited will have to be fixed once again if your screen was too blue, too bright, or off in some other way. Even if you don’t want to pay for hardware-based calibration, calibrate by eye, as it’s better than nothing.
One thing about digital photography, a short-coming compared to film, is that you can’t recover from over-exposure (except somewhat using RAW format). So be sure to get it right the first time, because you can’t edit the detail back in. Note that in that photo, the white highlights in the sky aren’t actually clipped (if they were “clipped,” they’d be pure white), but if your monitor is too bright, you won’t be able to tell by sight. Same goes for you camera’s LCD screen. This is why you have the histogram (hopefully, anyway; I used to have a Fujifilm A360 camera that completely lacked it). If the bars trail off to the right, you know your photo has pure white areas (over-exposure), and if it continues to the left, you have pure black areas (under-exposure). If it does both, as it often will during mid-day, there is too much contrast in the scene. Usually, clipped shadows, like the ones in the black areas here, are more pleasing than clipped highlights. The sun (below) is an exception, as we expect it to be bright (same goes for the sky, but not in sky-centered photos like sunsets). The photo also has clipped shadows (the flower buds on the left), but it looks nice still. However, I increased the contrast carefully on the computer (the second image is the original); it wouldn’t look that good straight from the camera.