Thursday, September 28, 2006

New Web Design...Or Keep What I Have...

I have been thinking...about a new web design. Could be a very dramatic change from what is there now. I kinda like what I have because it is easy to maintain and I can quickly make changes. The new idea I have would be very dramatic and ... well ... simply GREAT! Overall the design would be dramatic but more simple, but may be harder to maintain. And once you make that change, it will be difficult to go back and a whole lot of work.

I am still pondering what I will do. It will be such a big step and a HUGE deal. I may wonder why I didn't do it sooner, as is usually the case.

I found out I will still be able to link the WebShows, Album Showcase, etc. so that will not change. It will just be a bit overwhelming for some people in the beginning. That is the real issue for me.

I may create a whole new website for the Blue Moon Gallery so I can experiment with a different web design for that first, without loosing what I have now in the photography website. That will get my feet wet for what I really want to do with the studio site.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Yes, it is 2:59am and I have been messing with a new toy. After wasting at least 10 CDs (and a few hours) trying to get everything correct, I have mastered the software, more of less.

This will be so cool. Now when a bride calls wanting information, I will send her this CD that contains all the information she could ever need, PLUS a copy of the sign...(it could happen).

Right now I have buttons to view the letter I send out; view a WebShow sample; view the Choosing a Photographer newsletter; View the Catalog (price list postcard); view and print the contract; click to link to the website; or send me an email.

I have been working all evening on this trying to get a sample WebShow burned on the CD so people can view a sample if they do not have access to the internet. All the documents were no problem to link. Had a few issues but after actually reading the...ummmm...first page...ummmm...of the directions, everything sort of became clear.

The best news is, brides keep asking me for a copy of their WebShow and I have always had to tell them the software was limitations, in that it would not allow me to burn it to a CD or DVD. Well, now I can with this 3rd party software. There are a few issues, but it will work on a CD only...sorry no DVDs, yet. Right now if you want a DVD I can try and mimic the WebShow but it will be different.

This is similar to the splash screen you get when you are loading new software on your computer. Same concept.

This will be so great at bridal shows or just in the studio presentation. Plus, I can do a CD with just WebShow samples and list them and they just click to watch which one they want.

If I don't calm down I may see myself getting in the car and going to Wal-Mart to by CDs...Sunday is burning CD day!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Website is Growing!

I always like to check the stats after a wedding to see the traffic on the website. Since I had 2 weddings in a row I knew the numbers might be a little higher, but I was not prepared for these. Another new record, I believe. The numbers in red boxes are the most relevant ones.

The server-to-client bytes is the data being transferred down to a computer. In my case the WebShows, Album Showcase and clicking on pictures to look at, is averaging 203.37 megs per day. The "All Days" column has almost doubled to 9.14 gigs! That is a lot.

From yesterday at 11:35am to this morning at 6:40am there were 202 new visitors.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

New Wedding!!

I previously posted the announcement about Beth Mask & Jacob Engel's wedding but wanted to post a picture I just took of them this morning. I just hurried and doctored it up.

They are to be married on November 25, 2006, at Fendall Hall in Eufaula, Alabama. This beautiful home was completed in 1860, and is one of the great Italianate-style houses surviving in Alabama. It should be a wonderful place for wedding photographs.

I will post the rest of the engagement pictures this evening or tomorrow sometime, hopefully.

Congrats to the couple on their upcoming wedding. I am looking forward to photographing the event.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Amy & Robert's Album Showcase is READY!!

Okay, boys and girls, the Album Showcase is ready. Very beautiful album and in record time.

If this is your first Album Showcase viewing, this is called the pre-design. The bride and groom get to help in the design of their album, if they want this type of coffee table style album.

This one turned out really well. Try to get some work done today, but view it often. Hope you enjoy it.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Two New Weddings!!

Signed-up 2 new weddings today. One for November of this year and the other for July of 2007.

Beth Mask and Jacob Engel will be getting married on November 25, 2006, in Eufaula, Alabama at Fendall Hall. I am told it is a very nice victorian-style house.

Stephanie Phillips and Wesly Wilkerson will be getting married on July 7, 2007, in Selma, Alabama at the 1st Baptist Church. The reception is to be held at Brownstone Manor. Seems like a long time away, but I have weddings booked well into next year. In fact I could have booked May 26, 2007, 3 times!


I am on page 58 of the Amy and Robert Tate Album Showcase. I thought maybe I was going to finish it tonight...I might...but I doubt it. It looks like it might be tomorrow sometime...perhaps.

Ausborn & Tate Album Update

I am now up to 42 pages so far. I am at the pre-ceremony photos. I think this will be a really nice album. Just keep checking back.

I may get this done this evening, which will be a new record. I don't know if I could beat it. This is very quick.


I cannot sleep again so I thought I would get started on Amy and Robert's Album Showcase. So far I have 29 pages completed. 29 pages and it is still Sunday (actually Monday AM). That is excellent time management. Usually I can't even start until Monday evening or so, following the wedding. I will finish everything then go back in and add quotes, etc. to make it more personal.

The cute couple are headed to Italy. I offered to go and photograph their adventures but they declined, actually just kinda laughed... Bummer. I think they thought I was kidding. Would make really nice coffee table album photo additions.

I may do a couple more layouts then try to go to sleep. We will see. Later.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Amy & Robert's Wedding!

Photographed Amy & Robert's wedding Saturday at Dalraida United Methodist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.

Very beautiful time. It is so nice to see two people who love each other. The ceremony was attended by close relatives. Family and friends attended the reception at La Jolla restaurant in EastChase. You can view some of my past wedding photos at La Jolla, kinda neat to see that.

You can view the WebShow or some of the photographs online in the Gallery. I will be working on the Album Showcase this week. It make take a few days to complete, but will announce it here, when it is ready. I will post the photos after that and everything should be up in 7-10 days (or less).

And yes, that is her engagement ring. Robert has made it extremely difficult for all the single guys out there. This is even more beautiful in person. All the girls will want one of these...

My daughters always want to see pictures of the rings...hmmmm

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Varner/Alderton Album Showcase is READY!

The Varner/Alderton Album Showcase is up and ready.

I had a couple issues earlier. I left out a whole 2-page spread plus some spelling errors. I think that is all taken care of.

Hope you enjoy.

Varner/Alderton Album Showcase Update...

Okay...84 pages so far and I am into the ceremony.

I am really going to try and knock this out today or early this evening. The rest of the Album "should" go pretty fast.

Check back late this afternoon. If the album is completed and uploaded the word "Gallery" under the Wedding Spotlight page entry and Featured Bride graphic will be highlight in blue. Back to work, all of you!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

New Wedding...THIS SATURDAY!!!

Amy Ausborn and Robert Tate will be getting married this Saturday at Dalraida United Methodist Church here in Montgomery, Alabama.

I suspect this may be a really nice wedding. The reception is to be held at La Jolla restaurant in EastChase. A very nice place. I have photographed another reception held there last year.

We will be taking some photos Friday afternoon, before the rehearsal.

Bride-to-be is beautiful, haven't met the groom yet, but I am sure he is...handsome. Should be a great way to spend a Saturday evening! La Jolla is a great place for a reception/PARTY.

Watch for their WebShow online!!

I guess I will need to do double-time and finish-up Kathryn and Christopher's Album Showcase by Friday (if not sooner). So far I have 56 pages done. I should be getting to the actual wedding and reception...shortly. It will be worth the wait, I promise.

Varner/Alderton Update...

I am still working on the Album Showcase. So far there are 30 pages. There will probably be in excess of 75 pages, maybe somewhere in the 100 page range, when I am finished.

I hope to have it completed by Friday. That will depend on any other workload that needs to get done.

And if you are wondering...yes, this is a photograph of Kathryn getting ready. Sort of a spontaneous shot when she picked up her mirror and lipstick.

In case you did not read a previous post, I have a new webpage that will spotlight all the current weddings I have taken. It is called Wedding Spotlight. Here you will be able to view the most recent weddings from one location. No more clicking around different pages to find what you want to view, or not knowing where to click.

You will be able to link to the wedding's WebShow, Album and Gallery from a single location. This will make finding what you are looking for a lot easier. When you get to the homepage you can see the new Wedding Spotlight graphic in the lower, center section of the page. So enjoy!

Monday, September 11, 2006

NEW Web Page!

Hopefully this will make accessing wedding stuff a lot easier. Now you can click on the "Wedding Spotlight" link on the homepage (on the left margin) and go to this page.

Every wedding I shoot will be listed here in alphabetical order from left-to-right. This will provide one-stop, corresponding links to all the areas relating to a specific wedding.

Under each animated graphic you will see: "WebShow Album Gallery". You will now be able to click from one place to view anything related to that wedding.

This will make life a lot easier for those that may have difficulty navigating a website and not knowing where to click to view something. Now you can get to it from a single location.

Plus, if you are planning a wedding and you want to look at samples, this is the perfect place. Just go crazy clicking away.

Of course, you will still be able to get to the individual pages the old-fashioned way, at least for a while. I am still trying to determine if those links will just be redundant.

Gezzummm Pete!!!

For everyone that wants to keep count, I believe we are setting a new record for web site visits since the Varner/Alderton wedding this last weekend.

So far there have been 369 visitors in a little over 36 hours. I have not checked the actual hits, but it must be very high.

I am working on the Album Showcase right now. So far I have 20 pages completed. I suspect this is going to be another BIG album.

I have no doubt the count will go up once the album is finished and uploaded.

Also, once the album is finished I will upload the rest of the photos in the Gallery for viewing. I usually wait to do that last since there are so many photographs that I enhance, retouch and generally make more beautiful. There are several that will make you almost cry... Later.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Oh My Gosh...Kathryn!

Kathryn and Christopher's WebShow is up and running. You can get to it from the "Featured Bride" graphic on the homepage, from the "WebShow Spotlight" on the homepage, from the "Web Shows" link on the homepage, or by clicking HERE!

Beautiful bride and a wonderful wedding. Hope the WebShow doesn't make too many people cry. It contains a very inspiring song by Joy Williams called "Every Moment." When sync'd to the photographs...oh my gosh! Make sure you have some tissues handy.

I will be working on the Album Showcase this week. That takes quite a while longer to put together, so I will be brain-dead by the end-of-the-week.

Thanks go to the Varner family for giving me the opportunity to participate in their daughter's wedding!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

New Homepage Feature

With the Varner/Alderton wedding this Saturday, you will be able to view a sampling of pictures (Bridal Formal) on the Homepage. I can't post it yet, but I will on Saturday evening. Where you see the words "Coming Soon" there will be a quick (small) slide show of some of the photographs.

You will also be able to easily click to the area you want to view from the links below the show: WebShow, Album Showcase and the Photographs. If the links are active they will be a different color and underlined. The WebShow and the Album Showcase will still be accessible from the "...Spotlight" graphics on the homepage.

This way, everything can be easily viewed from one location. This will help those that are internet novices and those that may be unsure exactly where to go to view the various wedding venues for that bride.

So you can tell your family and friends to just go to the homepage. Look for the "Featured Bride" graphic, then view and click away!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Varner & Alderton Wedding This Saturday!!! is almost here!

6:00pm on Saturday, September 9, is the magic hour for Kathryn and Christopher. I think we are supposed to get started at 3:00pm. Always a lot to shoot before the wedding. I am looking forward to doing a lot of special things with the photograghs. I truly hate boring wedding photos.

Kathryn's dress is beautiful and I can hardly wait for you to see it.

I have decided on the music for the WebShow. I will be making the template in the next couple of days. That takes time to do. Plus, I will try to have the template done for the WebShow I like to do at the reception. If not, I will come back to the studio and get the final WebShow with the music I have picked out. Should be very nice.

I actually start preparing for a wedding no later than the Wednesday before. Charging batteries which power everything and getting the photos I want to include at the Reception WebShow, downloaded to my laptop. I actually do a dry-run with those pictures to view how the WebShow will begin and the general look. I will also include some of the photographs I have taken during the pre-ceremony and ceremony. Getting the WebShow put together quickly at the Reception can be tricky, but it gets done as long as I have everything in the proper folders and have a general idea of what I want to do with it. People always love them and appreciate it. I am always amazed at the response.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Javaris Thomas

Well, I had no idea that today was a holiday. I am so out-of-touch sometimes. I was wondering why there were no cars parked out on the street.

Anyway, I shot Javaris' headshots for his acting composite card today. He has actually had some acting experience in Hollywood. I wish him the very best in his endeavors. There is nothing like pursuing your dream. If you don't try you will never know and you will ALWAYS wonder what might have been.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Gee Wilikers!!!

I was checking my website stats this evening and, wow...I am amazed. In the period from July 21 - September 3, I had 873 visitors to my site. But, even more amazing are the hits and the average hits per day. For a website that is a small town photography studio, that is HUGE!

People must be watching a lot of Webshows, Album Showcase entries and DVD Slide Shows since the server-to-client bytes are 9.06 GIG!!!

I am getting visitors from:

  • Canada
  • China
  • Ireland (the motherland)
  • Australia
  • Puerto Rico
  • France
  • Sweden
  • Germany

A while back I had a few hits from the Islamic Republic of Iran...Hmmm. Right up front now...I will not travel to Iran to shoot a wedding, sorry.

Looking at the stats can give me a lot of information, like referral links from other websites, what people are clicking on, etc.

Since I have no life outside the studio, I find this information very entertaining.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

New Linen Proof Books...Sort of

I have had some terrible issues ordering these linen proof books in the past. These have been the most popular item I carry.

I have had to go through a company that would not always forward the order in a timely manner, if at all to the company that actually made them. Thus, it would take forever to get any of these made.

Their published time frame would say 3 weeks but I would have to tell brides to count on 6-8 weeks...maybe.

Well, now I have a direct link to the company that makes them.
These books have proven to be the most wanted item in the studio. They are bound like a real book and can be imprinted on the cover. Each one holds 25-100 photos and can be purchased with or without the slipcover case. These are a superior alternative to the very boring slip-the-picture-in-an-album-sleeve type of photo album....yawn... you can get a 5x7 book!

These are great for weddings but can be used for just about anything. They are great for baby and baby parts photography sessions.

Call the studio for more information.