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Updates to Clearing the Vision Photography Website

Just as the cobbler’s children need new shoes, often a web designer’s own sites get neglected because they’re too busy working on other people’s projects.???????

So it was with the site for my photography business, Clearing the Vision. I had a new logo and a clearer focus on the sort of work I was doing – mainly children’s photography for parents and organizations. But I needed my new site to reflect these developments.

It wasn’t necessary to tear down the site completely to incorporate these changes, which is one of the benefits of a site driven by a content management system. Modifying templates rolls out a new look across the whole site without have to adjust every page.

As well as a new palette and new logo, I added a homepage slideshow that uses JavaScript not Flash, so it works well on iPads and iPhones. I also stripped the rest of the content down on the homepage to give the images and welcome message more prominence.

My site is integrated with Photoshelter to display both public and private client galleries, so I adjusted the Photoshelter custom templates to keep the same look and feel throughout.

For my portfolio section, I added Photoshelter’s new large-size displays (which also work well on mobile devices). A few tweaks to the blog to add the email newsletter signup box and we were done with the technical part.

As ever, re-writing the text content and choosing the right images to accompany was where the real time was spent. That’s the key material that really repays attention.


How to Spot a Great Web designer from 250,000 miles

Grover Sanschagrin, co-founder of PhotoShelter recently wrote a helpful blog post outlining things photographers should think about when choosing a web designer. He makes some good points, and then very kindly recommends me personally.

I’m one of eight recommendations, and Grover explains«???????» – ?????!

I’ve created a list of designers (many of them are also photographers) who I feel are worthy of consideration. All of these designers are also experienced with PhotoShelter’s advanced customization capabilities, which means they know how to integrate all of PhotoShelter’s tools into a website or blog.

If you’re a photographer looking for a new site, especially if you’d like it to integrate it with PhotoShelter, I’d love to hear from you. And you don’t just have to take my word that I can help – you can ask Grover.

You can read Grover’s full post here.

New site for Photographer Jeff Henig using WordPress and Photoshelter

I’m delighted to announce the launch of our latest website – it’s for Jeff Henig, an American travel photographer based in Japan, who specializes in shooting cultural and religious festivals across Asia. You can check it out at

When Jeff first contacted me, he had a blog in one location, a Flash-based portfolio online somewhere else, and a Photoshelter site for his stock archive. He was doing a good job keeping them all up to date, but each had a different look and feel, and navigating between them was confusing for visitors.rtisnab.rulive streaming film Pixels 2015

He was looking to integrate all three parts of his web presence under one design and navigation system to present a more polished and professional image, and make things easier for potential stock buyers or photo editors.  As he says,

“I wanted to create seamless navigation and a consistent look between my Photoshelter site, my Blog and also explore ideas on a better Portfolio page.  I was looking for a web designer who could fix what was wrong with my current site.  The navigation wasn’t right and it wasn’t interactive enough for me.  When I saw David’s personal web site a light bulb went off.  I knew he could help. “

His design brief was wisely to go big with his bold images, and also to include a more involving way of showing his Portfolio than just thumbnails.

He also wanted to be able to update his blog, portfolio and archive as easily as possible.

Another potential issue was that he was in Tokyo, and I was in Santa Fe, New Mexico, so we needed a good plan if we were going to work together.

about_grab_250The plan we came up with used several elements:

Each had to be brought together under a single design and consistent navigation, to present the best experience for the user.

We loosely based the design on a Photoshelter theme, but customized it drastically, creating a custom banner (that shows a different image each time a new page loads), changing the background colors and adding a shadow box around the main content area.

We also adjusted the typography size and colors to match his logo.

The WordPress side of the site offers 3 main page templates – a homepage that shows a large main image, some introductory text and the titles of the latest blog entries (updated automatically). The About section features a 2-column design, making it easy for Jeff to add more pages to this section if he needs to, as the sublevel navigation adjusts on the fly.

Jeff wanted the blog’s content area to be as wide as possible, as he would be posting lots of photographs. We designed it so he could include photos up to 870 pixels wide, placing a utility area at the bottom of the page to give access to monthly and category archives.

With a few tweaks to the CSS, the Photoshelter galleries fitted in seamlessly for the Gallery/Stock section. You can browse the collections and galleries, as well as search for particular topics while the layout and navigation is exactly the same as the rest of the site. Unless you were paying attention to the address bar, you’d never know you were actually on the Photoshelter site.

portfolio_grab_300Choosing Fluid Galleries for the Portfolio section gave Jeff the flash he was looking for in this section (pun intended), while also making it easy for him to update the galleries.

The system instals on your own server and gives you an admin panel to create and update galleries (and choose some navigation and design options). The galleries themselves are then output to Flash, creating a smooth scrolling look.

The problem is that out of the box, there was no easy to link the portfolio section with the rest of the site. We could pop it up in a new window, but we didn’t like that idea, so I took a look at the code Fluid Galleries produces, and worked out how we could embed a logo and navigation bar above the Flash area to integrate it better into the rest of the site.

Now when you’re done with the Portfolio you can easily get to any other section without having to close windows or go via the homepage. I’ve seen a lot of Fluid Galleries portfolios, but not one that works so cleanly with the rest of the photographer’s site.


Oh, and the working with someone in Tokyo bit? No problem. A few Skype calls pinned down the requirements and the plan (although talking to someone in the evening for me while it was lunchtime tomorrow for him took some getting used to).

For sending files and comments and questions back and forth we used the superb Basecamp system. I use it with my local clients too, as it keeps everything project-related in one place, but it’s even more valuable when someone’s across the world.

Jeff’s new site brings all the elements together, makes it easy for him to blog, adjust his portfolio or update his Photoshelter archive. And it’s a custom design that creates the impression he wants across all his web content.

Jeff’s summary of things:

“I was very pleased with the redesign of my web site.  The end result was a fresh, clean and professional looking web site. David was very professional and a pleasure to work with.  I’d highly recommend him and would use him again for further design tweaks.”

Visit the site:

Integrating Photoshelter and WordPress – a quick guide

As a photographer and web designer, I’ve built my own photo sites and ones for other photographers, and I’ve always been frustrated, until I just combined Photoshelter with WordPress.

The problem is that photographers’ sites often need to combine both excellent photo handling and display, and also good handling of text-based

Some photographers’ site solutions (especially Flash-based ones such as Evrium) don’t let you have more than the most basic amount of information about you – say 1 page of a bio, and 1 page of contact information.

But photographers might want to have a blog, details on the type of work they do, articles they’ve written . . . all kinds of stuff. This helps them differentiate themselves and do well in search engine Legend download

But they also want great galleries, slideshows and if possible, the ability to sell prints or license their work right away.Here’s where the combination of Photoshelter and WordPress is a real winner – Photoshelter handles the images side brilliantly – from slick portfolios to full-on searchable and buyable archives – but it doesn’t do the text stuff so well – we’re back to the one About Page and a Contact form.

But a blogging tool like WordPress handles as much text-based content as you could throw at it. So it’s as easy to update the blog or other pages as it is to update the images. And with Photoshelter’s customization options, that’s what you can do.

Here’s my experience of the process, based on the work I’ve done on my own site (this one): http:/ . It’s still a work in progress, but I’ll outline how I did it, in case it’ll help other people.

I should repeat here that I’m a web developer by trade, so while this wasn’t a fiendishly difficult project for me, I’ve spent years creating custom WordPress-powered sites and generally messing with CSS and HTML, so YMMV.

I had a WordPress installation on my own server (at, and used the CNAME functionality to rename my Standard Photoshelter account (you’ll need a Standard or Pro account to give the customization features) to

I then also chose all the settings and layout options I wanted using the admin panels for the Photoshelter theme I was going to base the site on (Induro – the lighter background option). This meant that when I need to mess with the templates, the layout and setting were at least what I wanted for the gallery and other photo-related options.

Then I tweaked one of the Photoshelter Themes (Induro) to be the basic template for both the WordPress and Photoshelter sides of the site. I adjusted the header code on the Photoshelter so the navigation options were consistent across both sides.

Skinning WordPress to look like the Photoshelter theme and working out where the the style sheets should reside are the two big issues. I copied the source of the pages and the css files from Photoshelter side and used them as the basis for my WordPress design.

I built 2 sample pages locally in Dreamweaver – the site’s homepage, and a basic 2-column subpage design that would work for the blog and the more static pages.

Then I backed those designs into my WordPress install – essentially slicing the header, footer and sidebar up into different .php files, and creating unique templates for the homepage, basic text page, single blog post page, and the first page in the blog section.

When I was done, my new style sheet (containing all the photoshelter code, plus some extra styles just for WordPress) resided in my WordPress install.

It would be great if the only thing you had to change on the Photoshelter side were the main navigation options (and uploading your own logo). However, the Induro theme I liked didn’t have room for all the navigation options I wanted – it butted them up against the logo. (The theme also uses unnecessary tables, which is pretty old-school – it would easily be possible to rewrite the HTML using just CSS for almost all the layout)

So I had to redesign that a little, which meant I had to use the updated styles in my WordPress install for the Photoshelter pages too. This also meant copying the page background image (in my case, the gray to white gradient) over to the images folder on my site.

I also had to copy some of the other smaller images over – ones for Next and Previous arrows, for example.

I now have a consistent look and feel for my whole site. Static pages (like the About information) are run as Pages in WordPress, so I can assign parents and sibling relationships if I want more than one page in a section (like the About section, where I have a subpage for my gear). The blog is a straight WordPress blog under the hood, so keeping that updated is very straightforward.

The site homepage is a Page in WordPress with its own template, with the Photoshelter slideshow and the most recent blog posts displayed (and some less frequently-changed information). This means I can update that slideshow very quickly in Photoshelter, and the changes will be reflected on my site homepage, and the names of any new blog posts will be shown here too, keeping the front page fresh.

In addition to removing as many tables as possible from the Photoshelter themes, it would a great help to customizers like myself if the themes had a navigation bar that could run the full width of the page by default (some of them may – I didn’t check all of them before I started).

Since you’re likely to be adding new links (in my case, to my blog, a home link, a contact page and a page on my Aperture consulting), the room to run more nav options across an existing design would mean minimal adjustments to the Photoshelter side of the house.

Copyright issues – I took the Induro template wholesale, and applied it to my WordPress blog, making some adjustments along the way. I’m not technically sure this is what the Photoshelter folks had in mind with their templates, but it’s easier to make the rest of your site look like a PS template than it is to make the PS side of things look like the rest of your site. I hope they’re fine with it, but a note in the customization help to let us know if that’s OK might put some minds at rest.

You need to be pretty comfortable messing around with the inside of WordPress templates, but it took me perhaps around six hours to do the first major work involved in merging my Photoshelter site with my WordPress site.

(I already had a custom WordPress install that was set up the way I wanted it – if you were starting from a default template, or wanted to make more substantial changes to the PS themes, it could easily take as long again or more).

Even though I’m not completely finished yet, I’m really happy with the result. It’s scalable, so I can keep adding photographs and blog postings to my heart’s content and the twin systems should cope.

Drop me a line if you have any questions, if you’re planning something similar and I’ll try to help you out.

Of course, if you’d like me to do the heavy lifting for you with a project like this, I’d also be happy to talk to you.

New site launched for Alan Ross Photography

I’ve just launched a new site for Santa Fe-based landscape photographer, master printer and teacher Alan Ross.

Alan was looking for a site to showcase his great work, his workshops and his tech-related blog. He explains, ” I had very little ability to make updates and changes to my old site, and besides needing a new look, I desperately needed a site that I could manage almost entirely by myself, with no working knowledge of code and HTML, and no special, expensive software.”

Enter WordPress and Photoshelter. We chose the Crisp Photoshelter theme as the basis for the design, but tweaked a number of elements to create the templates that would work across both the text (WordPress-driven) and image-heavy (Photoshelter-driven) parts of the site.

First up was adjusting the navigation to include all the sections that Alan wanted – Workshops, Shop and Blog, as well as the usual About and Contact info.Then we darkened the overall background (which meant changing the shadow around the main content area), added a grey background to the thumbnails and single image display, and created a dark border to set off the gorgeous black and white images. Subtle tweaks, but ones I think work well.

Alan’s Portfolio is set up as one Collection, so he can continue to add as many galleries to it as he needs to. The searchable Archive is another Boo! A Madea Halloween 2016

The Blog is set up as a WordPress blog, with the other sections of the site created as WordPress pages. So Alan can easily update both the text and images, while the whole site looks like one clean, consistent whole.

And he’s happy with the result: “David Moore listened to and heard my website needs, was responsive to my questions, and was all-around a complete pleasure to work with.”

Alan’s site:

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