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Updated: 3 hours 14 min ago

So You Want to Make a Website? Part 2: How to Create a Website

Sat, 01/05/2019 - 13:00

The post So You Want to Make a Website? Part 2: How to Create a Website appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Carl Spring.

In Part 1 of the So You Want to Make a Website? Series, we looked at which platform was best for your needs. In Part 2, we delve into the setup process. There may be small differences with WordPress (depending on who you choose for your hosting), however, things will be very similar whoever you choose. 

1. Squarespace

Choose a template and off you go. Whilst not as expansive in choice as WordPress. Squarespace offer some very stylish templates.

With Squarespace, setting up your website is as easy as going to squarespace.com, choosing a design and clicking ‘start with this theme.’ Squarespace is a great platform that allows you to try before you buy. You get a 14-day free trial of the platform without the need for a credit card, allowing you to take the platform for a test drive.

When you go on the site, start with the template section and look for one you like. Squarespace has a search option to help you choose a theme that’s relevant to what you want your website to do. Once you find a theme you like the look of, you can preview it across multiple platforms at the click of a button. There are also links to real life websites that have been built using the theme you are previewing. That way you can test its functionality.

Once you have chosen your theme, click ‘start with this design’ and Squarespace creates your website. After a simple login and hello, you can get down to business.

Starting your build

In Squarespace, you work with seven tabs. Each is clearly labeled and easy enough to get your site design started intuitively. By default, all pages get set as demos. To create your unique pages, click on it and Squarespace creates a working page for your site.

From here, you can add text and photos. You can also style the page as you desire. It is an intuitive platform, but if you get stuck, there are some great tutorials to help you. Squarespace also has a dedicated support team you can contact.

The Styles Editor is the main menu where you can tweak several options of your site. These include options such as fonts, color, and text size. These options enable you to personalize your site and make it match your style or brand. Switching templates is easy if you find you aren’t happy with the one you started with. Again, this is a simple, hassle-free process.

 

Within the styles menu you can change your site styles, complete with realtime previews.

Domain names and Email

Finally, in the settings page, you can register your free domain and access a free year of Google’s G-Suite email. You can set up your domain name and personal email address ([email protected]) quickly and with minimum hassle. As a paying customer, domain registration (your web address) is free and becomes automatically linked to your account. I recommend this option when you start because it keeps things simple from a setup point of view.

Extending your trial

Once your Squarespace trial is up, you can extend it for a further two weeks if you need to. However, if you like the platform, pay for your chosen plan, and your site can be live within minutes. If, after your trial, you think the platform is too restrictive (some do), you have lost nothing.  You won’t even have the annoyance of canceling your credit card.

Finally, there are several vouchers out there for 10% off your first purchase. Make sure you take advantage of one when you purchase your site.

2. WordPress

 

This looks daunting, but it is simpler than you think.

While this may seem a like a more complicated option – it isn’t. WordPress installation is quite simple, as most hosting companies have a one-click install option.

In regards to hosting companies, there are many, and they vary in price, speed and customer support. Some are better than others, so do your research. A quick Google search will help you out immensely here. The main three things to look out for are security, support, and speed. Site loading time is a factor Google takes into account when ranking sites, so speedy hosting helps. Having security is essential so that your site doesn’t get hacked. Support comes in handy when you get stuck with any issues in regards to your site being offline. Similar to Squarespace, you can register your domain name with your hosting company (usually for a small fee). Doing this makes the setup process more straightforward.

Creating an Email address

Creating an email is incredibly easy using your hosting CPanel. Just click on the email button, choose your email address and password and click ‘OK’. It really is that simple.

Fill in this field and you will have a personalized email. It really is that simple.

Installing WordPress

With your hosting purchased, you now need to access your control panel (CPanel) to install WordPress. CPanel is daunting on first look, but you soon get used to it. This area is where good support from your hosting company can be useful. I can’t give specifics as this varies by company, but all good hosting companies will have guides to help you. Once you have WordPress installed. It is time to start creating your website.

Building your site

Once you are set up, you need to login to your admin area (AKA backend). In the Admin area, you’ll find the tools you need to create your site. Once you are logged in, you have access to all the tools to control your website.

The three main options you will use day to day are posts, pages, and media. When setting up your site, you may also need to use a couple of other options — appearance (where you choose your theme of the website) and Plugins, where you can add plugins for specific things such as SEO. There are a lot of different options with WordPress, but like everything, using it becomes more comfortable over time.

It may look a little daunting, but it isn’t as scary as you think.

Installing a theme

Once you have installed WordPress, it is time to choose your theme/template. There are thousands of fully-customizable WordPress themes that range from free to $$$. Check out the free themes first, but these often have less functionality and features than the paid ones. Free themes can be prone to things such as poor coding (meaning your site will not load as fast) or may be outdated. Lastly, free templates generally will not offer great support. I am not saying there aren’t some great free ones available, but it takes more to find a good one. However, you do get what you pay for.

On the other hand, paid themes tend to be more feature-rich. They also tend to have better support, which can be invaluable if you run into a problem. Updates also tend to occur more frequently and are less prone to bugs and errors (this does not mean they do not suffer from these problems though). I can guarantee there is a WordPress theme you will love. The hardest part may be choosing.

Installing a theme is just as simple. Go to the Appearance tab and upload the theme you have purchased. Alternatively, choose directly from the themes offered. Depending on the template, things vary from here. Work with the support team on your particular theme to get the best from it.

Now that you have your theme installed, it is time to start to create your content. You’ll learn how in Part 3 of the series.

You may also find the articles helpful:

So You Want to Make a Website? Part 1: Squarespace versus WordPress

How to Find the Right Website Platform that Works For You

Free Versus Paid Photography Portfolio Websites – Which is Best for You?

The post So You Want to Make a Website? Part 2: How to Create a Website appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Carl Spring.

How to Edit Landscape and Nature Photos with the Lightroom Gradient Tool and Range Mask Features

Sat, 01/05/2019 - 08:00

The post How to Edit Landscape and Nature Photos with the Lightroom Gradient Tool and Range Mask Features appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

Lightroom has always had a rich set of tools to allow photographers to get the most out of their images. However, until recently the ability to edit landscape and nature photos was a bit lacking.

While, global adjustments, like changing white balance and exposure have always worked great in Lightroom, fine-tuning edits can be problematic. Recent updates have seen incredible improvements to the Filter tools in Lightroom. An added tweak called Range Mask makes all the difference for photographers who need complete control over the precise implementation of their edits.

Lightroom Gradient Tool and Range Mask

The three most common ways to edit specific parts of an image in Lightroom are through the use of the Graduated Filter, Radial Filter, and Adjustment Brush. If you want to smooth the skin on your portraits, increase the saturation of your skies, or change the color cast of your clouds these tools can be just the ticket. But what if you have a tree that sticks up into the sky or an uneven horizon dotted with buildings and power lines?

The usefulness of the filter tools is somewhat restricting when you want to limit your edits to particular sub-parts of a picture. Until recently the Auto-Mask option was the best way to confine your edits to certain colors or locations within an image. Landscape and nature photos are especially tricky because of the uneven edges and jagged borders that exist between sections of the photo that need editing. However, the Range Mask option solves almost all of these issues with ease.

How it works

To illustrate this, I’m going to walk you through the editing process of the following image. My brother Andy took it while he was on a tour of the swamps in Louisiana, USA, with his family last summer. The initial image has a nice composition but feels dull and uninteresting, which is a far cry from the real experience.

Adjusting White Balance with a Graduated Filter

One change to punch things up is altering the white balance of the sky to bring out the bright blues and make the image more vibrant.

The first step is to click over to the Graduated Filter panel. Dial in a white balance that skews more towards the cooler end of the spectrum and reduce the exposure just a bit. Next, click and drag from top to bottom on the image to put the filter in place.

The sky is now a rich blue, however, a big problem becomes evident: the color cast of the trees has changed too. This result is not what I want. Clicking the Show Selected Mask Overlay button in the bottom left corner under your image reveals that the graduated filter has been applied to everything including the trees as well as the sky.

Fine-tuning the Graduated Filter using the Range Mask

Fine-tuning a tool such as the Graduated Filter, used to involve a series of steps. These steps included brushing out the mask in places you didn’t want it in combination with the auto-mask feature. It worked, but results were often a little sketchy. They also required a great deal of tweaking and fine-tuning. That’s not to say the brush option is useless-far from it! I have an example later in this article that shows how useful it can be.

However, all this has changed in recent versions of Lightroom. You can now use the Range Mask to apply any of the three filter tools to specific parts of an image based on lightness or color similarity.

The default value for Range Mask is Off, but with one of your Filter adjustments selected you can then choose to enable Range Mask for Color, Luminance or Depth.

  • Color applies the filter to specific parts of the image based on how similar they are to color values that you select.
  • Luminance applies the filter to specific parts of the image based on how light or dark those parts are.
  • Depth works only with cameras that record depth information and applies the filter to specific parts of the image based on how close or how far away they are. Some mobile phones have this feature but most traditional cameras do not, so Depth will often be disabled unless you are editing images taken with certain mobile phones.
Range Mask – Color

For this image, I’m going to use the Color option, though Luminance works great in many nature and landscape photos as well.

With Color selected, you can either click and drag on your image to select a range of colors or can click multiple points by shift+clicking. This selection is where the mask gets applied. I find that shift+clicking generally works better, although your mileage may vary depending on your editing goals and the type of picture you are working with.

You can click up to five spots on the image to refine your color selection. Use the slider in the Range Mask panel to fine-tune things further. This slider hones the edges of your Range Mask. If you find that the border between the edited and unedited portions of your image is a bit stark, adjusting the Amount slider will help mitigate this issue.

The result of this one Gradient Filter, along with the Range Mask, is an image that is already much improved from the original.

Looking at a 100% crop of a portion of the image reveals just how precisely the Gradient Filter has been applied thanks to the Range Mask. Here is a portion from the top-right of the original unedited image.

Here is the same portion with the Gradient Filter applied, using the Range Mask to apply the Filter to only selected color ranges. In this case, the color of the sky.

Notice how precisely the edits were applied, and how intricate the edges around the tree leaves are. This illustrates why the Range Mask option is so useful for landscape and nature photos. There are many tricky edges and small parts of the image that can take a very long time to fix without it.

Range Mask – Luminance

Another way to use the Range Mask is with the Luminance option. This option only applies the mask to the brightest or the darkest portions of the Gradient, or other Filter, that’s applied.

The overall idea here is the same, but the implementation is a tad different. Instead of selecting colors where you want the Range Mask applied, you use the Range sliders to concentrate the mask on the lightest, darkest or mid-range parts. One of the most useful things here is the Show Luminance Mask box which gives you a real-time preview of where your mask application. This helps you as you are adjusting the sliders.

Here’s an image I shot while hiking in the mountains near Seattle. It’s not bad, but a few edits would help improve the picture. Edits may help it look a little closer to how it appeared when my wife and I were tromping around in the wilderness that day with my cousin.

I want to bring out the color in the foreground trees in this image. A Graduated Filter with Luminance Range Mask is perfect in this scenario because the edits can be applied just to the darker portions of the image. With the filter in place and the mask tweaked to be applied only to the darker parts, I can ensure my edits are going to show up just where I want them to by checking the Show Luminance Mask option.

Fine-tuning using Brush

As demonstrated above, the Range Mask is extremely useful for nature and landscape photographers. It applies the Graduated Filter to just the right portions of the image and not the entire picture evenly. If you want to customize your Graduated Filter further, click the Brush option (not the Brush Adjustment Tool) and proceed to add to, or erase, the Filter wherever you want.

In this case, I’d like to remove the Graduated Filter from the lake in the foreground. Even though I can tell from my Luminance Mask overlay that it’s not being applied too heavily to that area, removing all traces of it with the brush will help me get the exact picture I want.

The end result is a photo with much warmer green tones in the trees and a lake that reflects the blue sky above, which is just the look I was aiming for.

Conclusion

Hopefully, these examples give you an idea of how powerful the combination of Graduated Filters and Range Masks are for nature and landscape photographers. I’m always eager to hear from the DPS community. Have you found this particular tool useful? Are there any other tips you’d like to share about using the Lightroom Gradient Tool and Range Mask? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

The post How to Edit Landscape and Nature Photos with the Lightroom Gradient Tool and Range Mask Features appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Simon Ringsmuth.

Weekly Photography Challenge – Unusual Objects

Fri, 01/04/2019 - 13:00

The post Weekly Photography Challenge – Unusual Objects appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

This week’s Weekly Photography Challenge – Unusual Objects!

This challenge can cover a broad range of objects, big or small. They can be indoors or outdoors. You can shoot them using macro, zoom, or with prime lenses. They can be color, black and white or anything you like.

I can’t wait to see them!

Check out these images for insta inspiration.

 

 

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A post shared by Pavel Andreievich Chekov (@where_chekov_boldly_goes) on Dec 27, 2018 at 2:56am PST

 

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A post shared by markus (@dehellmark) on Dec 25, 2018 at 11:10am PST

 

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A post shared by Petite Surface (@petite_surface) on Dec 27, 2018 at 12:09pm PST

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Tracy Glover Studio (@tracygloverstudio) on Dec 27, 2018 at 10:07am PST

 

The following articles may be helpful for the challenge:

How to do Extreme Close-Up Photography with a Macro Bellows

Creative Macro Photography – A Guide to Freelensing

How to Make Funky Colorful Images of Ordinary Plastic Objects Using a Polarizing Filter

Making the Mundane Magnificent: Finding Inspiration in Everyday Objects

26 Imaginative Images of Inanimate Objects

 

Weekly Photography Challenge – Unusual Objects

Simply upload your shot into the comment field (look for the little camera icon in the Disqus comments section) and they’ll get embedded for us all to see or if you’d prefer, upload them to your favorite photo-sharing site and leave the link to them. Show me your best images in this week’s challenge.

 

Share in the dPS Facebook Group

You can also share your images in the dPS Facebook group as the challenge is posted there each week as well.

If you tag your photos on Flickr, Instagram, Twitter or other sites – tag them as #DPSUnusual_Objects to help others find them. Linking back to this page might also help others know what you’re doing so that they can share in the fun.

The post Weekly Photography Challenge – Unusual Objects appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

13 Creative Exercises for Photographers [video]

Fri, 01/04/2019 - 08:00

The post 13 Creative Exercises for Photographers [video] appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

In this great video by B&H Photo & Video, photographer David Flores, along with the help of B&H’s Todd Vorenkamp, discuss 13 ways you can get your creative photography juices flowing.

In the video, David outlines the following 13 creative exercises for photographers.

13 creative exercises for photographers 1. 2 Dozen

Find a spot and stand in it. Take 24 photos while in that spot.

2. Ten of One

Take 10 photos of one small object. You may need to use close-up or macro.

3. Four Corners

Choose one subject and place it in each for corners of your frame.

4. Set artificial restrictions

Set yourself restrictions of using one of only the following: Color, black and white, photographing while lying down, shadows, only one location, one lens, over-exposing, under-exposing, filling the frame, or negative space. You may think of others you can use too.

5. Use Film

Buy a roll of film so you have to limit your max shooting number to 24 or 36.

6. 12 abstracts

Pick one single common object, take 12 photos.

7. A portable subject

Find something to carry with you and work it into your subject.

8. The Unselfie-selfie

Put yourself into the frame. Use a tripod and set up some nicely framed compositions.

9. The Mixing Bowl

Lot’s of exercises in one. Write a bunch of different exercises down onto a piece of paper and cut them into strips. Place them into a bowl/hat and pick one out. That is the exercise you focus on.

10. The Change-Up

Try a different genre of photography.

11. 9 elements

Include the 9 elements of art. Light, Shadow, line, shape, form, texture, color, size, depth. Add focus, tonality, quality of light, negative space. Take only one image per element.

12. Steps

Go somewhere you have always wanted to photograph. Pick a number of steps to take before stopping to take a photograph. Use this number over a few blocks and see what you end up photographing.

13. Two Trips

Go to a space without your camera and then go back with your camera afterward and photograph the things you had noticed.

 

You may also find the following articles helpful in finding photographic inspiration.

The post 13 Creative Exercises for Photographers [video] appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

These Inspiring Landscape Photographers will Make You Want to Take Better Photos

Thu, 01/03/2019 - 13:00

The post These Inspiring Landscape Photographers will Make You Want to Take Better Photos appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

Mark Harpur

These landscape photographers are taking some inspirational photos.

We thought we’d share these with you to get you inspired to go out and take some fantastic landscape images. They are in no particular order.

1. Rach Stewart

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Rach Stewart (@rachstewartnz) on May 24, 2018 at 12:44am PDT

 

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A post shared by Rach Stewart (@rachstewartnz) on Sep 30, 2018 at 12:47am PDT

 

2. Daniel Greenwood

 

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A post shared by Daniel Greenwood (@danielgreenwoodphotography) on May 14, 2018 at 12:15pm PDT

 

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A post shared by Daniel Greenwood (@danielgreenwoodphotography) on Dec 3, 2018 at 12:06pm PST

 

3. Jacob Moon

 

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A post shared by Jacob Moon (@moonmountainman) on Apr 15, 2018 at 7:51am PDT

 

 

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A post shared by Jacob Moon (@moonmountainman) on Dec 13, 2018 at 9:54pm PST

 

4. Daniel Tran

 

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A post shared by Daniel Tran (@_danieltran_) on Jul 15, 2018 at 1:24am PDT

 

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A post shared by Daniel Tran (@_danieltran_) on Jan 4, 2018 at 12:23am PST

 

5. Jay Vulture

 

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A post shared by Jay Vulture (@vulture_labs) on May 8, 2018 at 6:48am PDT

 

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A post shared by Jay Vulture (@vulture_labs) on Dec 4, 2018 at 2:14pm PST

 

6. Warren Keelan

 

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A post shared by Warren Keelan (@warrenkeelan) on Dec 19, 2018 at 11:37am PST

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Warren Keelan (@warrenkeelan) on Dec 11, 2018 at 12:54pm PST

 

7. Gergo Rugli

 

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A post shared by Gergo Rugli (@rugligeri) on Dec 3, 2018 at 11:43pm PST

 

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A post shared by Gergo Rugli (@rugligeri) on Dec 6, 2018 at 12:38am PST

 

8. Mads Peter Iversen

 

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A post shared by Mads Peter Iversen Photography (@madspeteriversen_photography) on Oct 31, 2018 at 4:09am PDT

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Mads Peter Iversen Photography (@madspeteriversen_photography) on Dec 17, 2018 at 7:57am PST

 

9. John Weatherby

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by John Weatherby (@whereisweatherby) on Dec 8, 2018 at 10:33am PST

 

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A post shared by John Weatherby (@whereisweatherby) on Nov 17, 2018 at 8:42am PST

 

10. Tony Hewitt

 

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A post shared by Tony Hewitt (@tony.hewitt) on Feb 6, 2018 at 7:39pm PST

 

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A post shared by Tony Hewitt (@tony.hewitt) on Oct 21, 2017 at 7:02am PDT

Who inspires you? Let us know in the comments below.

The post These Inspiring Landscape Photographers will Make You Want to Take Better Photos appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Caz Nowaczyk.

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