The Digital Photo Guy

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New Year, New Look

by on Dec.29, 2009, under Articles, Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing, Photos, Photoshop CS2/4, Photoshop Elements, Schedule, Webcast, Website, WordPress, Workshops

The Digital Photo Guy Blog Gets a Facelift

This is the 6th year for this site. During the first 4 years, it was a static site that was rarely updated because making changes was excruciatingly slow, complex and costly. In 2008, I resolved to fix the problem and commissioned a web developer to develop a new site that I could easily and quickly update myself. He recommended WordPress and the initial implementation took just 6 weeks. As soon as he was done, I started making changes and quickly learned how to do just about everything by myself. I’m no rocket scientist but WordPress makes everything simple and straightforward.

Now, a year after the initial launch, a new static home page has replaced the previous dynamic home page. A dynamic home page was fine in the beginning but, now, with so many articles and posts, it was quickly becoming unwieldly. Readers couldn’t easily find the information they sought. A static home page can act as “street signs” to help point readers in the right direction. As you can see, some of the signs are still not working. That’s because all the MMTs, posts and articles weren’t always correctly or fully tagged.

Tagging the material at this time would be counter productive because each update would generate an e-mail notification of an update and readers wuld be innundated with e-mails.

Starting in 2010, I’ll be more careful about tagging each MMT, post and article so readers can quickly find all material pertaining to Cameras/Lenses/Gear, Photo Editing and Photography.

In the meantime, the existing tags (right side of main blog) can help you find specific articles or MMTs. You can also use the Seach box along the right side of the main blog.

A website is a never-ending process. If you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment here. Good light, good memories and good luck in 2010.

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Monday Morning Tip – 08/24/09

by on Aug.23, 2009, under Articles, Monday Morning Tips, Photoshop Elements, Schedule, Webcast, Workshops

Rob Sheppard to Teach Photoshop Elements

On Saturday, November 14 from 9AM until 1PM, Rob Sheppard will teach a 4-hour Photoshop Elements class jam-packed with tricks, tips and shortcuts used by professional photographers. Whether you are a complete newbie or an experienced PSE user, you will learn more about Photoshop Elements than you ever imagined possible. After this class you will be able to enhance and edit digital photos faster, easier and more precisely than ever before. Most of the material from this class also applies to Photoshop CSx.

If that’s not enough, you’ll receive 60 days of e-mail support after the class. That’s right, for 60 days, if you encounter a problem and just can’t figure out how to apply Rob’s tips, send me an e-mail and I’ll get you an answer. What class have you ever taken that offers that kind of help?

Anyone with the slightest interest in photography knows the name Rob Sheppard. He’s the editor of Outdoor Photographer magazine and editor/founder of PCPhoto as well as author of over a dozen books on photography.

I literally ran into Rob at the NANPA (North American Nature Photographer’s Association) summit earlier this year and asked him to teach a Photoshop Elements class for my readers. He was enthusiastic but, understandably, his schedule was filled.

Rob is now available to teach that class on November 14 via webinar. Even better, the cost is just $59.95 ($49.95 early bird special until Sept 30). If you had attended Rob’s class at NANPA, you would have paid $155 plus hotel, meals & travel to Albuquerque so this is a screaming deal!

Click below to register today. Seating is limited.

Monday Morning Tip

When I first converted to digital in 1998, almost everyone used JPEG. This was reinforced for me because I was a sports photographer who came home from events with upwards of 1000-1200 frames. All the frames except total disasters were quickly processed for levels and sharpness before resizing and uploading to my web site for people to order. As orders came in, I reprocessed each photo for printing but, during the initial rush, there wasn’t time for messing about with RAW files.

 

Today, one of the most frequent questions I hear is, “Should I shoot in RAW or JPEG?” Even rank newbies are pressured into thinking they should be shooting RAW because “that produces better photos.” Let’s set the record straight. It’s just as easy to capture crappy RAW photos as it is to capture crappy JPEGs.

 

Today’s MMT addresses this question head-on for newbies. This MMT will answer this age-old question once and for all. As always, the MMT is in the Tips & News page of this site.

Quick Tip

One of the trickiest things to do in Photoshop or PSE is selecting hair when you’re trying to knock out a person’s head from a photo. Let’s say you took a family photo at the reunion but Cousin Ernie couldn’t attend. You try to paste Cousin Ernie’s photo from last year into this year’s photo but it’s nearly impossible to get a good selection of Cousin Ernie’s curly blonde hair which was photographed against a white wall.

Whenever you have friends and family together, take several head shots against a contrasting wall. Cousin Ernie’s blonde locks will stand out nicely against a dark wall while Aunt Ruthie’s mousey brown hair contrasts with the standard Navajo White found on most interior walls.

Next time you want to knock out Cousin Ernie from a busy background, use hair from the easy photo. You don’t want to use too much because the light and angle probably won’t match but little wisps here and there will help fill out areas where his hair blends into a white object in the background.

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Yee-hah! RSS Made Even Easier!

by on Mar.18, 2009, under Website

Another major milestone in making my website easier to use and maintain. The bottom line benefit to you, the reader, is that I can spend more time writing useful and fun things for you instead of futzing around with techie, geekie things.

In a previous post, I explained what RSS does for you and how to subscribe to my blog via RSS. At that time, I had to use a manual subscription process because the automated system wasn’t working quite right. Well citizen, it’s now fully automated. Sure, you’ll still have to make a few decisions like where you want the articles to show up but, for the most part, it’s a matter of clicking the RSS icon on my Home page and selecting the RSS reader you use.

rssIn the top right corner of my Home page, you’ll find an RSS icon like you see to the left. Clicking on that icon will bring up a page with the latest articles and a dialog box in the upper right corner that looks like the image below.

rss_choices

If you don’t see this, click the link that says, “Show All Subscriber Options” and that will bring up the Subscribe Now! box. Notice that 2 of the choices are My Yahoo! and Google. Since most people already have Yahoo! or Google accounts by virtue of having an e-mail account with them, this is probably the path of least resistance. If you use Microsoft Outlook, you can drop down the menu titled (Choose Your Reader) and select Newsgator for Outlook. For this, you need to download and install Newsgator Inbox

Now that you’ve successfully subscribed to my feed, add My Yahoo! or Google Reader to your favorites and check for new posts whenever you like. Any site that displays an RSS icon can be added as a subscription. Let’s assume that, along with photography, you have an interest in gardening, drag racing, military history and pregnant toads. You can add all these sites to your reader as long as they offer RSS feeds. Think of RSS as a way to create a custom newspaper. Only the news that interests you will be displayed.

But, I Want It Automagically!

What if you’re waiting with bated breath for every pearl of wisdom that flies off my keyboard? (I wish!) Seriously, what if you want to know the moment new material is posted? That’s pretty easy.

On My Yahoo!, you’ll find a set of 3 icons along the top right of each feed, as shown below.

yahoo1

Click the center icon that looks like a gear and select Alerts and then click Add an Alert. That will give you options for being notified via e-mail, Yahoo! IM or a text message to your cell phone. I use e-mail to my Yahoo! account but if you use IM or text message to your cell phone, consider yourself promoted to full blown Geek or Geekess.

The point to all this is that you’re automatically notified when a blog is updated. You can set up different schedules for different blogs. On my blog, you might want to know as soon as new material is posted. On other blogs, you can set it to notify you once per day.

Repairing the RSS link on my site was made possible by Amin, a really, really smart guy who publishes a blog for WordPress users titled Tips and Tricks. If you’re considering your own WordPress blog, you should check out Amin’s blog.

Please try setting up your RSS reader because I’m going to drop my e-mail newsletter as soon as most people have switched over.

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