Monday, April 16, 2007

Online Portfolios and How to Create Them Easily

Wow! Such much has been happening lately! I have so much to share with everyone. First off as the title suggest I am putting together an online portfolio. For me I wanted something simple and easy. Even though I design web pages. putting together a real fancy portfolio can be very time consuming. Just getting all your pictures together and inserting all the meta tag information and your copyright stuff. It really would be nice to have an easy to use simple format just to put all of your best work online for everyone to admire. And hopefully buy!
Well I found one really simple way. For any one that has Photoshop CS2 you already have a built in solution, Adobe Bridge. Now before I go into the steps lets talk about a few other things. Yes there are websites that you can pay to upload and host your portfolio;s. I don't have tons of money sitting around doing nothing. And since my photography isn't paying for it self yet. I have to think in term of FREE. Yes we all know how much I love that word FREE. Say it a few times and it makes you feel really good. :)
So you have to think about hosting your portfolio. Well if your a computer whiz you can host it from your own machine. However most people aren't into all that so I have a better solution. Most likely your paying At least $40.00 for your online service. With that comes at least 10mb of space free just sitting there for you to use. So I say use it. Now 10mb isn't a huge amount but think of it this in terms of quality photographs. This is the place where you want to put your best stuff up. Even if it's 20 of your best photographs and a contact page you have a face on the web for people to go to check out your work. Now if your lie me you have a flickr site, most of us do. It's fun and easy but not very professional looking, however you can link to your pictures from there to your portfolio. But thats another lesson.

OK I am still working on my portfolio so I will post it as soon as I get it done. But in the mean you work on yours. Here are the steps.

Step 1. Make a folder with all of your best work, and I mean your very best work.
Step 2. Open Adobe Bridge Browser
Step 3. Open up the folder you made with your photographs in them.
Step 4. Now heres where a lot of the time consuming part comes in. Click on each of your pictures and on the left you will see your Meta Data information. Fill our all the information you want to especially the copyright information I put in "Sam Lamp" and the "Rights Usage Terms" I just put in "All Rights Reserved". As you can see if you have a lot of pictures you could be there for a while.
***Keep in mind you can host your portfolio at places like Godaddy for less than $.00 a month and then you can get your on Domain Name. But will leave those lessons for another time also.
Step 5. Got to Tools > Photoshop > Web Gallery then choose automate.
Step 6. Select the style you like
Step 7. You can see a preview to the right. Enter your email address so that people can contact you. Take a look at the Source Images section. This is where you choose the images and decide where you will save the gallery.
Step 8. Use either Folder: Select an entire folder of images to be processed or Selected Images From File Browser. Use this option only selected images. You will have to select the images before opening the Web Photo Gallery dialog box. Hold down control and click on each desired thumbnail to select it. Click on Destination and either create or select a folder to save the gallery into.
Step 8. Under options, you will see a drop down menu. Choose Banner. This is where you will enter the title of the gallery and personal information. You can leave the rest set at default if you wish.
Step 9. Choose your compression setting. This is a really important step especially if you are working with a small amount of web space. You don't want it to compress so much that it makes the picture look lousy, but you don't want a huge image that takes up to much space on the website, or take to much time to load. Keep in mind you are only trying to show off your work, not allow people to print your work at for there use. I would say an image around 600 X 800 would be the right size or smaller.
Step 10. Security Settings this is where you can watermark your image so no one will use.
Step 11. Photoshop will do the work for you just click "OK" when your done. Now you can sit back and relax while it processes everything. You don't even have to resize any of your images first, Photoshop does it all for you. All the thumbnails, HTML and Java script will be built for you.

Your web browser will launch when it is finished.

You can scroll through the thumbnails and click on any of them to display the full size image. This is a quick way for viewers to locate the desired images quickly. Notice that the watermark can be clearly seen.

Step 12. the final step is uploading it to the web. Whether you decide to use your free space from your ISP or purchase hosting you will need the ftp address, your username, and password. You will also need an ftp program such as Cuteftp You can get free trial version from them. I have verizon as my ISP and it offers a web based ftp service which requires the same information. Even windows 98/xp and I believe Vista also have FTP capability. Basically you open up a folder and in the address bar type in the ftp address from your hosting services hit enter and a box will pop up prompting you for your user name and password. Just type those in. Once your logged on just drag and drop your gallery folder into the window and wait until it opens up.

Thats it! All done. The hard part is doing all the information input. The rest is just a few clicks and your on your way.
If you have any questions please email me and I'll see if I ca help.
And don't forget to give me your portfolio address so I can check it out and post it here on this site.

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