DPS 6-08: "Strut Your Stuff" -- Going Beyond Prints for Sharing your Images

 

Since you're reading this newsletter then it is certain that whatever else you did you took plenty of pictures this summer. And you probably want to share them with your friends. So about now you may be sifting through all your options for the best way to post, publish, print or otherwise make sure everyone knows what a cool time you had and what a great photographer you are.

You're in luck. This issue of DigitalPro Shooter goes beyond simple printing and is chock full of tips on . As always we'll also recap the latest photo news & give you some workflow tips. First we have a quick safari update for you:

2009 Photo Safaris Update


Mother Grizzly Bear & Cub,
Nikon D300, 18-200mm lens hand-held. f32 @ 1/45s, -1/3 E.V.
Our 2009 safaris are announced and starting to fill up. We've announced our (July 8-15 & 14-21) and these very popular trips are already half full so sign up soon!

Our . It's a little more unusual and harder to convince people to go, but everyone who has come along has been delighted. We've also just announced our 2009 South Texas Bird Photo trip for April. This trip has sold out the last two years and is already mostly full for 2009, so !

The best news  for the many of you who have been asking is that we'll be returning to Africa in November, 2009 for another . As those of you who have been with us before know, there is nowhere else in the world that compares to a small group specialized photo safari to the private concessions in Botswana. Not only is the wildlife abundant, but the camps are gorgeous. Most importantly there are strict limits on the number of people and vehicles in each concession--and for our photo safaris, a strict limit on the number of people per vehicle. Many days we may not see anyone except the handful of people from our group.The year 2009 will mark my 7th photo safari to the concessions in Botswana. Every trip we've seen not just plenty of lions, hippos, giraffes and antelopes but also cheetahs, leopards and wild dogs. Truly a special trip. Note: The camps in Botswana are very popular so we need to confirm our book space very far in advance so if you're interested please act soon by or emailing us at safaris [at[ cardinalphoto.com. Thanks!--David 

Strutting Your Stuff: Sharing your Images

Photo Books--Packaging your Prints


entry for our Book

All of us have had the experience of handing over a stack of prints--whether in a casual envelope or a fancy box--to friends so that they can flip through them. Nothing can replace the emotional impact of a custom-printed image but nothing damages more easily, whether it is worn corners or spilled coffee. Photo Books represent a recent, excellent alternative that have become economical for both sharing and even as "leave-behinds."

 

Apple initially popularized the simple photo book but companies like Blurb have gone way beyond the early product offerings and provide you with the ability to print either simple or complex books of any length. With dozens of different pre-built styles and templates and a friendly system for inviting others to contribute to your book Blurb's Booksmart software is a state of the art offering for both Mac and Windows.

Equally important is the ability to order books one at a time. We've been using it to print books commemorating our photo safaris for the participants. You can see some of them on our .

Online Photo Albums--Spreading the Word Cheaply & Easily


Brown Bear Cub Clamming
Alaska Bear Safari 2008
Nikon D300, 200-400mm, f6.7@1/350s
 

If you want to share your images more widely than handing out or mailing a photo book allows, online photo sharing sites are an obvious alternative. There are literally dozens of them and you've probably used at least one or two. If you take care to prepare your images well they can look quite nice even on simple, free sites like Flickr & Picasa. .

 

By now I'm sure all of you have uploaded your images to an online site as an album for sharing. You can do this using your desktop software to create web pages you can upload. The advantage of a specialized site is you can let your friends make their own prints--if you want to. If you're more concerned with licensing or selling your images you'll either want to watermark them or use a pro-oriented site that offers online selling, like or . Putting your images online is simple, but doesn't provide always provide a very compelling experience. Sure you're sharing your images but without much sizzle. Fortunately there are a couple ways you can upgrade your slideshows without too much work.

Online Slideshows & DVDs--Show Off Your Prowess


On our bear safari this July we saw as many as 4 young adult bears wrestling together.
As you can see the light was awesome and so were the photos.

 
Fortunately some of the "Web 2.0" online sites are providing great tools for creating compelling online slideshows. In particular I wanted to pass along a recommendation for the amazingly cool site I use frequently for simple, high-impact online albums.

has a great combination of powerful online display tools (you get a great "Ken Burns-like" slideshow simply by uploading your images), support for audio and video (you can freely mix in video clips and it allows for flexible soundtracks) and a PC front-end to allow quick editing and batch submission of your images. Phanfare also provides a domain aliasing tool so you can make the album URL look like it is on your site. I link all my albums to , for example.

Phanfare is a great site for serious photographers because it stores your full size images. And if you'd like to let your friends download and print the images without bugging you you can enable your albums for image downloading or image printing through any of the major online printers. The result is a quick and easy "1-stop shop" for preparing simple online slideshows. As a bonus Phanfare handles video as well as it does still images. As an example of a couple Video Album I did with Phanfare you canor the .

If you want that same "sizzle" wrapped into an e-Commerce offering so you can sell your images at the same time, then and are great options. They're not free but if you have a market for your images they can help you sell. However if you don't already have buyers looking for your images don't expect that publishing them on the web--either on your own site or one of theirs--will suddenly create demand.

Fancier Slideshows & DVDs--To Impress your Friends or Make some Money

If you want to have more control over your slideshows, run them on a PC or burn them to a DVD to share with your friends you'll want to invest in some specialized slideshow software. I've been using products from for several years and they keep getting better and better. Their ProShow Gold product is a great offering for anyone who wants to build a compelling slideshow with a soundtrack that can be uploaded, played on your PC or burned to a DVD. It makes it easy to add captions, transitions, and even caption effects to your slides, and to put multiple shows together into a single "project" with a menu you can put on your DVD or online show that allows your viewers to pick and choose what they want to see.

You can view the online show I made from my using ProShow Producers Flash video export feature.


is the best tool on the market for
Windows users to make Pro quality Videos and DVDs

ProShow also offers presets for outputting video suitable for all different types of mobile phones and other media player devices.

For the ultimate in power and control their product provides full professional level DVD and slideshow creation capabilities including watermarking, registration & templates.

Separately we're pleased to announce that Photodex & ProShow have signed up as a Premier Sponsor for nikondigital.org. We're particularly excited since we've been fans and users of ProShow for several years.

"Mobile" Video

The latest thing in showing images is turning them into small videos suitable for viewing on your SmartPhone, PDA, Photo Viewer or iPod. I'm still having a bit of a hard time finding slideshows on tiny screens all that exciting, but they're certainly portable and on a reasonable screen like the iPhone or iTouch or similar device or photo viewer they off enough resolution to get the point across.

I've been playing with the mobile device presets in . Producer makes it simple to create not just Flash Videos for the web and DVDs but also various sizes and qualities of video for different mobile devices. It is kind of cool to put a full "DVD" complete with menus on my phone and be able to share it with people without a laptop.

Summing Up


Our is a unique opportunity to safely
capture the images of a lifetime.
The real key in deciding how to share your images is getting your priorities straight up front. Are you looking for the easiest solution so you have something quick? Then a ubiquitous online gallery is a no brainer. Or the most compelling end result to impress people? Than a photo book from Blurb, a higher end online site like Phanfare or ZenFolio or slideshow software like are your best bet. And of course you can always just keep carrying around a box full of prints--personally I love the large folios fromfor that--or use the Slideshow feature of your image management software to display them on your laptop. Whatever you decide make sure your photography doesn't end when you capture the image and that you remember to spend the time to finish and share them!

DigitalPro Software Tip

Memorized or "preset" Submission templates can make it much easier to create images for use with whatever online sharing site or slideshow software you wind up using. DigitalPro ships with a couple submission templates for use with PowerPoint or other "medium resolution" solutions, but with the popularity of HD-TV compatible output we've created an HD output preset you can download from the .

Recent Photography News from

August 28:Nikon agrees to pay Microsoft to cross-license patents, allowing both companies to share and use each others innovations. This is pretty standard for computer compannies but certainly illustrates to what extent the photo and computer industries have converged.

August 27: Nikon introduces the exciting D90: A break-through in "convergence" the D90 can capture both 12MP still images and HD video clips (in 720p which Nikon calls D-Movie Mode). Like the it also features Live View, 11-point AF & a high-rez 3" LCD. At 4.5fps the camera is quick, and it comes with the new 18-105 AF-S/VR lens. MSRP will be $999 for the D90, $1299 for body plus lens--both available in September. The D90 will work with the new GP-1 GPS unit, available in November. See for more details.

August 14:DPS 6-07 is now online:

August 7: Nikon introduces flagship Coolpix P6000--featuring integrated GPS, optical viewfinder and tons of other features and a new Raw format (NRW) for use with Nikon ViewNX software & in-camera Picture Control. It will be available in September for $499 MSRP. .

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. New to the COOLPIX product line and present in each of the new cameras is the Scene Auto Selector Mode, which automatically selects the right scene mode for the image you are shooting for carefree photography. Also "Smile Mode" for portraits, which automatically triggers the shutter when a subject is smiling [ED: We've got to see this!] and Blink Warning, which displays a message when it detects that a subject has blinked. Some models also feature technologies such as a TOUCH-SCREEN interface, Wi-Fi transmission and GPS capabilities. Models include the Coolpix P6000 (above), Coolpix S60 (), Coolpix S610c (Wi-Fi & Wayport Integration).

 

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Good shooting!

--David Cardinal, editor DigitalPro Shooter

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