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This is my first cover shoot and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out! Big thanks to Charlie Ban and Dickson Mercer for making it happen and writing a great feature.
I don't spend a ton of time in post-production for a few reasons.
- I enjoy taking pictures much more than I like editing them.
- Photoshop is overwhelming and scares me.
But two pieces of software have recently made me take some pleasure in the process. The first is Lightroom 4 which is awesome and worth every penny. The second is Pixelmator, an incredibly powerful and insanely cheap alternative to Photoshop.
There are a handful of features that I love about Pixelmator (besides the price).
- The user interface is extremely friendly.
- The eye dropper tools add a magnification lens which is extremely helpful.
- The magic wand "tolerance circle" is awesome.
Last but not least, the healing tool, which is the Photoshop CS5 equivalent of content aware fill is pretty accurate and really fun to use. I like it so much that I made a little video showing you how to use it.
I give Pixelmator an A+ because it is cheap, extremely useful and generally fun to use and play around with. Check out Pixelmator.com for tons of tutorials and a free trial. You can also get it in the Mac App Store. Let me know what you think!
I am huge fan of 500px. BUT...like every other service on the web, there are features that need to be added. I have used several platforms to build photography websites including Weebly, Wordpress and now 500px. I've already paid the $50 annual fee so I am sticking with 500px for at least the next year. While I love the look and feel of my new site, there are certainly pros and cons to using 500px to display your portfolio.
- Simplicity. 500px takes a no-nonsense approach to content management. Pretty much all you can do on the backend is create albums (known as "Collections) and an "About" page.
- Beautiful themes. The theme selection is excellent because all of them are truly designed for photography portfolios. You can easily swap your theme and color with just a few clicks. And all themes work on the iPad and have a mobile version.
- Tracking. It is very easy to track your site in Google Analytics and Webmaster tools. _Easy domain mapping. This took about 5 minutes. Unlimited photos. This is awesome but you need to be able hide pages to make it effective.
- Lightroom plug-in. You can basically manage your entire site in Lightroom using their free plug-in.
- No hidden or protected pages. I really would like to create collections that I can share with friends and family that aren't displayed on my site and I would really, really like the ability to password protect pages. UPDATE: You can now password protect pages!
- No links. I'm actually not even sure how this is possible on the "About" page (which is the only one you have control over) you cannot create hyperlinks. They need to get a rich text editor in there ASAP so users can have real control over that page. UPDATE: You can create links using HTML (text here)
- Shopping cart. If 500px truly wants to compete with SmugMug and Zenfolio, they need a shopping cart option. There themes and usability make their service very desirable for portfolios but if they want to market this to pros, they need a shopping cart.
Remember, this is only a review of the upgraded portfolio. 500px as a photography social network is second to none. Flickr, who has totally missed the boat on social, is going to go extinct if they don't move very quickly to compete with 500px. If you want complete control of HTML and CSS, 500px is NOT for you. If you want a quick portfolio that is extremely professional looking, it is probably for you. And if you want to share, vote and discover amazing photos, the 500px social network is DEFINITELY for you.