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September 2013 Archives

September 6, 2013

A Look at New ProShow Web Features

Betsy Finn, M.Photog.Cr.,CPP

A while back, I reviewed ProShow Web. Since then, Photodex has rolled out some new enhancements and features for their ProShowWeb slideshow creator, including timing control, photo captions, Dropbox support, and interface support for widescreen layout.

The new layout is minimalist, and takes a little getting used to if you have spent any time in ProShow Web, but I think the change is for the better, as it allows you to make full use of large-resolution monitors without having to scroll to view all the images you add to a particular show.

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You have a plethora of options for adding content: Facebook, Flickr, zenfolio, Instagram, SmugMug, Dropbox, etc. The Dropbox method worked smoothly for me. Once you browse to the desired Dropbox folder, you can select individual images, or multiple images (control- or shift-click). Then press the Choose button, and the files will be uploaded to your show.

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While I prefer a single transition style for a slideshow, you have the option to select fade/transitions for each slide and other special effects on a slide-by-slide basis. The screenshot below shows the visual indicators for transitions and special effects. The green bar at the top of the screen (under the navigation bar) displays your music, timing, etc. I appreciated being able to tell with one click whether I had enough music to accompany all the images. In the older version, if you selected a short soundtrack the extra image files would be excluded, which was only discoverable when previewing the slideshow. This new method is much more efficient.

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The video linked above demonstrates many of the transition and fade options.

Show settings can be easily accessed from the button in the lower right of the interface. The settings page is similarly minimalistic in nature, but in a good way. No extra fluff to make fine tuning your shows tricky. I like how everything is on one page. You can add the title to your show, adjust the energy and crossfading, and apply a watermark to the slideshow (among other things).

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For output you can render high-res versions of the video, web resolution, or you can share to social networking sites. There is an option for unbranded output (no Photodex in the URL): http://show-vid.com/view/w9cm2km4 will take you too my show with no ProShow branding.

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I discovered a nice feature that lets you apply special effects for multiple images on one slide. You select multiple images on the interface, click the FX button, and choose from a number of effects designed for multiple image layouts (some free, some paid add-ons). From the iOS tablet app, I was even able to see the new special effect transitions (though you can’t edit them anywhere but the PC interface at present. I would hope to see that change, and I’d love to see an Android version of the app, too).

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Overall, I was impressed with the ProShow Web improvements and look forward to using the more user-friendly interface to create shows. The layout now takes full advantage of larger monitors, and the interface makes it very easy to do lots of customizations in short time. Of course, you can always keep it simple too; sometimes less is more. It is nice to know they are there if you want them. I can see the photo caption feature being very useful for weddings or events where there is a change of location, or if you want to add special details to the show. Previously, you had to create a title slide that was text-only; now you can put that text on the screen with an image.

If you need help with the new interface or just getting started in general, there is an online knowledge base, youtube videos, and standard email/phone contact. As before, free accounts are available at ProShowWeb.com. Plus ($30/year) and Pro ($150/year) subscriptions are available, which allow unlimited video creation, higher quality downloads, and more options.

Betsy Finn, M.Photog.Cr.,CPP has a portrait studio in Michigan (bphotoart.com); she blogs at betsyfinn.com.

September 9, 2013

September 2013 Issue

 

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September 2013 Issue

 

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September 2013 Issue

 

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September 2013 Issue

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September 2013 Issue

 

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September 2013 Issue

 

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September 2013 Issue

 

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September 10, 2013

Preveal Revamps Interface, Adds Sharing Community

Photographers use the Preveal iPad app to show clients what their images will look like on a generic wall or even in a room in their own home, which in turn helps them sell wall displays.

Preveal's new version 3 debuts the Preveal Community—a free template pool where you can upload your wall layouts to the cloud to share and download others' wall layouts.

The Preveal interface is pretty simple, which is a positive in apps. There are four main buttons: set room image, template groups, build template, and share. To set the room image, choose one of that button's three connected icons, which will allow you to add an existing image from gallery, select one from your Dropbox, or take a new photo.

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If you select the Dropbox option, you will have to log in and complete an authentication and approval dialog. Once you're connected, you can access a folder located at Dropbox > Apps > Preveal, but you won't be able to browse your entire Dropbox. On your desktop (or device), you can place screen resolution image files into this folder, and then access them in Preveal. This same concept will also work in the next step where we add images to the wall display layouts.

Click on template groups and swipe left and right through the templates on your device (including any you create or download). The screenshot below shows a blank template viewed on a room image photo.

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To add images to the layout, tap (single finger) on one of the canvas tiles. A dialog will pop up allowing you to select a gallery or Dropbox file. A two-finger drag and release will allow you to move the wall composite around on the room image.

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A series of circular buttons below the template groups button show all your choices for templates: on your device, Bay Photo, single images, single image framed, your saved templates, Preveal Community, etc. The easiest thing to do is just click through these to get a feel for what each section contains (Bay Photo offers their standard grouping options).

If you want to create your own layout, you can build a template. Templates can include multiple canvas tiles, either plain or with frames and/or mats. Add as many canvas tiles as you want, and make them whatever size you want. 

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Finally, the share button. This allows you to share a screenshot via email, Facebook, twitter, or just to your camera roll (aka IOS gallery). Here's a screenshot of the share via email message that was created for me from within Preveal:

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You can manage the templates from the home screen also. Here's the thumbnail view of twelve templates at a time.

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I've enjoyed using Preveal, and once I got the hang of it, which took only a few minutes, I was could easily create multiple image layouts on the fly. I got a kick out of the visualization process, and I'm sure my clients would too. It definitely would be a great tool to move your clients from “How much is that” to “I need that.”

Preveal is available from the Apple App Store for $74.99 and comes with a 100-percent money back guarantee (that you will make enough to pay for the app in three sales). For more information visit getpreveal.com.

Betsy Finn, M.Photog.Cr.,CPP has a Michigan portrait studio (bphotoart.com) and blogs at betsyfinn.com.

September 18, 2013

Pro Image Share Makes Easy Work of Mobile Client Galleries

By TJ McDowell

Successful photographers know how valuable creating digital content is to building a business. Unfortunately, most good photographers don’t have loads of time to dedicate to web content creation. Pro Image Share is a Lightroom Plug-in aimed at making the creation of web-based image galleries quick and easy for busy photographers. 

A quick intro

To get the plug-in installed, you may have to get geeky for a couple minutes. Whether you’re a natural at the computer or not, you’ll be happy to find a step-by-step installation tutorial including screenshots and detailed video instructions on the Pro Image Share website. Getting the plug-in set up on my computer took just a few minutes, and I was up and running. Inside Lightroom, I was a little lost until I re-visited the Pro Image Share website where I watched a video on how to create a simple gallery. After creating my first gallery, it was easy to create new galleries.

Once you choose the folder of images you want for your gallery in Lightroom, go to the Web tab and select the Pro Photo Share plug-in from the Layout Style panel on the upper right. The plug-in will automatically arrange the photos on the web gallery preview panel. In my usage, the preview panel seemed like it has to re-render the entire page including the images frequently. The re-loading of the preview seems like it’s a Lightroom problem, not a plug-in problem, and it doesn’t have an effect on the final product. [Editor's note: I did not experience this issue on an iMac using Lightroom 4. J.Sherwood, Sr.Ed.] After a quick runthrough of the gallery settings, you can either export the gallery to your local computer or upload straight to your website.

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To upload to your website, you’ll need ftp access, which is pretty standard if you’re paying for hosting. (It does not work with services such as Zenfolio, Photobiz, or SmugMug because they are more than just a hosting site and do not give you FTP access to their servers.) For me, it took less than 5 minutes for the plug-in to generate my web gallery and finalize the upload to my website. At that point, I had a professional quality web gallery, and I was ready to shoot off the gallery’s URL to my client and have her start sharing with her friends.

Make it mobile

Pro Image Share was built mainly for mobile marketing. I tested it on my Android-based Galaxy S2 and was impressed with how smart the gallery seemed. The images were sized to fit my phone perfectly when I held my device vertically. Then when I switched to horizontal, I was able to see more than a single image at a time. Either horizontally or vertically, scrolling through the images was a breeze. The gallery was simple with just the images—no zooming, menu, or other confusion to get in the way of the photos. When I saw an image I really liked, I could touch the image to bring up a hi-res version of the picture instead.

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Clockwise from the upper left are screen grabs from an iPhone 4 showing the Pro Image Share gallery as seen from the Safari interface, the app's vertical display, some of the sharing options you can choose displayed at the bottom of the gallery, an individual image shown with the pop-up navigation menu, and the horizontal gallery display. Images ©Larissa Photography

The gallery looked just as impressive on my office computer running Internet Explorer 9. The image gallery positioned the images to fill my entire screen here, too. Just to see how smart the website was, I resized my browser window and was amazed to watch the gallery magic at work as the images continued to move around to fit my browser size. During a couple of my tests, IE9 ended up having issues correctly displaying the gallery with the images stacking on top of each other. There’s supposed to be a fix out shortly for this issue, and as soon as it’s out, I’d feel confident in posting gallery URLs on our social media sites where people would be browsing on both computers and mobile devices. My editor did not experience any glitches on Chrome, Firefox, or Safari on a Mac computer.

On an iPhone, the display at the gallery link will prompt the user to save the gallery as an app (if they desire). You can design the icon that it creates using your studio logo or whatever you feel is appropriate for your brand.

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My app icon for my client Lyndee is on the bottom left.

Control

The Pro Image Share Lightroom plug-in contains probably 30+ options that can be easily modified using the settings interface. While you certainly don’t have to set each one, it’s good to know you have the option to make changes from the default where necessary. Settings are available for everything from studio contact info to what text will be displayed to what colors the gallery will use. You’ve also got the ability to load and save presets for making your gallery look just the way you want it to. Even if there’s a setting you wish you had that’s not configurable through the plug-in, you can always get your hands dirty and dig into the html output yourself after the export to make changes.

I found two settings that were useful right away. The default quality for the thumbnail images wasn’t high enough for me, so I found the section with all image sizes and image quality and made some quick changes. After uploading again, the gallery looked perfect on my phone. I was also having an issue where the progress bar for the images was sticking around even after the images were loaded. I found the setting to completely turn off the loading progress image. Problem solved.

Product value

Pro Image Share only costs $69, and that’s a one-time fee. As long as you already pay for website hosting, a small one-time payment is obviously a good deal. Plus, you’ve got access to perpetual support and upgrades with that one-time cost. I had a talk with John Childress the creator of Pro Image Share, and he says that, for him, it’s more about getting the plug-in in the hands of photographers and helping them out with their mobile marketing than it is about making a buck.

To see the Pro Image Share gallery I created while testing the plug-in, visit www.larissaphotography.com/lyndee_gallery/.

September 20, 2013

PPmag Product Roundup

 

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PPmag Product Roundup

 

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PPmag Product Roundup

 

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PPmag Product Roundup

 

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September 23, 2013

PPmag Product Roundup

 

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PPmag Product Roundup

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About September 2013

This page contains all entries posted to Professional Photographer Magazine Web Exclusives in September 2013. They are listed from oldest to newest.

August 2013 is the previous archive.

October 2013 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.


 
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