Why I chose SmugMug (for now)

Why I’m currently preferring to sell my photos through SmugMug.

The short: laziness

The long The juice is worth the squeeze and I can still specialize for unique sales with local businesses.

I really have a desire to help local, privately owned business and partner or work with them if I can, but it’s simply a lot less work and money for me right now to use SmugMug.

Consider this: I paid roughly $5.00US for a 12×14 glossy print at a local business and then matting was an even $20.00 from a different place – for same day matting. The first location would do matting at roughly the same price or cheaper, but they didn’t do it in-house and it’d be a 7 day turn-around.

So I paid $25.00US for a matted 12×14 plus the gas to drive downtown to the first location and over a quater mile to the second location, to drop off, then back again the next day for pickup.

This also doesn’t include any acrylic, plexi or glass cover.

I just don’t feel this is worthwhile, especially if I’m trying to maximize sales.

Now; I think this is still a terrific option for specialized framing jobs. There’s a local business that has a wonderfully varied supply of unique frames that I could offer my prints in.

For what I’ll call “Bulk” orders, SmugMug handles printing, matting, framing – with a large variety of basic frames and frame/matting colors and shipping.

Prices

An 11×14 print, framed and matted on SmugMug of one of my photos is $102.08

  • 11×14 print = $27.88
  • Matting        = $ 6.70
  • Framing       = $67.50

I might be able to create a cheaper pipeline – one that became even more cost-effective if I had predictably regular sales.

But for right now, I’m really not going to save all that much on my overhead for the profit I’d get and it would be a lot of time and work to do all that running around.

I know this part of the the plight of local businesses and I feel for it, but I wouldn’t shirk it. I’d still love working locally on top of this and in-between. And… if my sales quotas increased I could move more toward local as well, both helping myself and local people.

Right now, I could get a little more profit for a lot more work and the juice is just not worth the squeeze – at least not right now with my sales being so low.

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Bee Mine

Click photo to view Hi-Res and purchase a print from SmugMug.

About all-in-focus insect photography

There’s a multi-photograph technique that you can use to edit stunning macro photographs.

Essentially the method is using multiple photographs, each at different focus points and layering them to achieve one photo where the subject is completely in focus.

It can be tough to get so close to a Grasshopper, Bee or tiny row of flowers and get much in focus. The closer I get the shorter the focal range I have. I can sometimes get a head in stunning detail, but the back or wings if even slightly farther away from the lens will be blurry.

I haven’t learned the exact process yet, but if you take a series of photos to capture the head in focus in one, the abdomen in another and the wings in yet another(just as an example), you can then combine them on your computer and mix them so only the in-focus parts come through – thus achieving an entire picture that is all in focus.

Until then, I very much love trying to capture tiny life like Mr. Bee here.

Painted Field

Click photo to view Hi-Res and purchase a print from SmugMug.

This is what happens when you boost vibrance, saturation, clarity and luminance on an early morning field of Goldenrod.

I decided to have some fun and just play with some extreme settings. At first I just wanted to draw out more color from the sky, but then I saw I was getting an oil-painting quality out of the weeds and kept going – adjusting for an overall pleasant look to that end.

I kind of like it. It’s not typically what I would choose to do and I almost didn’t pick this photograph to upload at all, but decided I liked it enough to include it.

Melting Morning Dew

Click photo to view Hi-Res and purchase a print from SmugMug.

Back from vacation

I ended up on an extended vacation of about 10 days. I would have like to have taken my mobile photo lab to continue to post daily, but in a way, it was nice to take a true vacation. I enjoyed seeing many old friends of mine, but am also glad to be back to take and post more photos.

Frozen dew thawing in the morning light

This was take at the Springfield Bog in Ohio. This was on my latest trip before sunrise. That day was cold enough that everything was covered in dew that froze ovenight. It was really cool to see everything coated in frozen droplets of water.

Power Line Silhouette

Click photo to view Hi-Res and purchase a print from SmugMug.

Those tricky sunrise and sunset photos

I have captured some great sunrise photos, but my ratio of good to bad is far from my liking. And sunset photos? Part of my brain just doesn’t “get it” yet.

But one thing I have found I love is a nice contrast and silhouette shot.

This was taken at Springfield Bog in Ohio.

The sun hadn’t quite rounded the hill yet and the power line I once bemoaned became my subject. If you look closely, you’ll see three tiny birds sitting in a row on the left side of the photo, on the line.

I’m going to add 2 versions of this to my SmugMug: the one above and a skinny version(mimicking a panoramic shot).

Red Tailed Hawk

Click photo to view Hi-Res and purchase a print from SmugMug.

Venturing on to Photoshop and landscapes

I’ve started researching and teaching myself how to use Photoshop and make some fancy landscape photo edits. The results run the gamut from just adding a bit more color to sweeping, artistic renderings that almost resemble paintings. I don’t quite know what I’ll end up enjoying the most, but I can’t wait to learn!

Red Tailed Hawk

I took another trip with my Cousin to Quail Hollow in Ohio. We first tried to park in the Mansion parking lot, but it was full. We turned around, and just started out when I saw a lady walking down a gravel road, but noticed something on her arm. Upon closer look I realized it was a big bird.

My Cousin immediately put the car in park and the lady knew what to expect when two people were approaching her with cameras at the ready.

She was very nice and let us snap a number of photos.

I actually didn’t know this, but Quail Hollow houses a number of birds of prey and during certain times one can actually go view them. I will really enjoy doing that in the future, but I think the better photos will always be had oustide without wiring and pen walls showing up in the photos.

Added Tumblr

I added a Tumblr, but I really don’t know how much I’ll use it.

My idea was to share those photos I didn’t hand-pick to upload to my Flickr, SmugMug or Blog. There’s tons of photos I take and only a fraction of them I choose to upload. Many others are still what I think are good photos, but just not the creme-of-the-crop that I chose to “officially” upload.

Do you think this is a good idea?

If you want to see my Tumblr to see what I mean, you can click the link below.

http://jeremystratton.tumblr.com