Website Design with Lightroom

I’ve been meaning to update my website for 2 years now. It is outdated and stagnant, but time, money and my innate procrastination skills have put it off for too long now. So my friend Rod Barbee put me onto these cool website creation plug ins from The Turning Gate.These plug into the Lightroom web module and allow you to create a website from scratch with update-able image galleries. Which is great since all of my images are organized in Lightroom.

These tools make website creation fairly straightforward. As with everything there is a learning curve! The company has great tutorials to walk you through the various stages of creation and the on screen information is good as well. It helps that I’ve actually had experience writing my own website so I understand the basic coding behind it, but there is so much new stuff out there I didn’t want to learn an entirely new language to have a modern looking website. You could also pay someone to design a site for you and if I had the money I would go that route! Sadly the nature photographer is not so highly paid.

As with all things it takes some time to determine the ‘look’ of your site. I find this tedious but necessary for branding and cohesiveness of your business. The Turning Gate offers several free templates to get you started and then you can customize colors and images to your hearts content. Take some time to look at other peoples websites to get an idea of what you want and what you like.

Then map out what you want to offer. For example you’ll have a splash or home page, galleries, services of some sort, about you and contact info. Write down everything you want and under what heading you want it. Do you want to sell from your site? Turning Gate has cart options as well. There are a ton of options available to the photographer.

If you are starting a business I highly recommend having a graphic artist design a logo for you. Fortunately my friend helped me out. Make sure it is something you like and use it everywhere, again branding is the key!

So if you’re looking to create a website and are already using Lightroom check out Turning Gate. The prices are good for the variety of options available plus you can mix and match to create what you want!

Check out Rod Barbee’s  site to see what he did with the The Turning Gate and be on the lookout for a new website from me!



Setting the right Shutter Speed – part 2 – Hand Holding

Many people hand hold the camera to take photographs. This is fine but it is critical that you have a minimum shutter speed for you to  acquire a sharp image. What is this speed? For a normal lens (24-100mm) and a normal person it’s about 1/60 of a second. Some people are steadier and others more shaky.

Portrait at 1/60 of a second










If you have an image stabilized or vibration reduction lens then you might be able to get consistently sharp images at 1/15 of a second.

Portrait at 1/15 of a second with Image Stabilization











If you are using a large heavy lens, ie a 400mm then the minimum shutter speed needs to be faster. Why? Because the lens/camera combo is heavier and therefore harder to hold steady. A general rule is 1/focal length of the lens. For this example you would at least need a shutter speed of 1/400 of a second.

400mm lens hand held from a kayak, 1/4000 of a second

Use the following exercise to determine the minimum shutter speed you need for each lens you have. The lighter the lens the slower you can hold up to a point.

Exercise: Try photographing a written sign 6 times each at various shutter speeds: 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60

Download the images onto the computer and zoom into 100%. You want at least 5 out of 6 images sharp for you to say you can consistently get a sharp image at that shutter speed. For instance, say you got all 6 sharp at 1/60, 5 sharp at 1/30, 3 sharp at 1/15 and 1 sharp at 1/8. The minimum speed you should ever use while hand holding is 1/30 second to get consistently sharp images from your end.

Getting sharp images also depends on the subject, mentioned in the previous lesson on stopping action, and whether you properly acquired focus on the subject. Depth of field, aperture, also plays a role. We will address them all in subsequent posts. For this lesson find out what the minimum shutter speed is for you for each lens you own.  Check the speed before you take the shot! We’ll talk about how to adjust aperture and ISO to get faster shutter speeds in subsequent posts.

Next time we’ll look at how the ambient light affects the shutter speed you can get.