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Blogger Hangout: Building a Successful Photo Blog

On Tuesday I did a G+ hangout on air with the community manager from Blogger at Google in Mountain View. At the last minute we were joined by photographer Patrick Smith, who brought the perspective of a more traditional photo blogger.

It's a wide-ranging discussion (video after the jump) and we answered a variety of viewer questions. If you have any related Q's of your own, feel free to drop them in the comments afterwards.

(Nice frame grab, huh...)


Cleaning Up Your Webcam

I don't do this for every Skype session, but when something is going to be archived or YouTubed I usually will take a couple of moments to give my webcam a little help in getting a better quality image.

The first thing I do is to kill any hinky light sources that might mess htthings up—especially with some of the franken-fluorescents that populate my office. Also, there's a sliding glass door right by my desk that gets direct sun in the afternoon, so I covered that.

But still, you can do more proactive things the help the image. Rather than clean up my background (literally) I tend to drop a seamless behind me. That also helps to get a better, more consistent white balance out of your webcam.

(Note: I used white paper, but the webcam saw it as light gray and dropped the exposure on me by about a stop. Next time, I think I'll use light gray. That will give the webcam an easier tone to hit and it should up my exposure by a stop. Those things only run on full auto.)

And to get a good key light, I pointed a hot light at the ceiling in front of my desk. In this case I used a 20-yr-old White Lightning Ultra, because it was the only big flash that has a good modeling light but no noisy fan.

In this case, the computer (which usually dominates as a light source and nukes glasses) became my on-axis fill. I just dialed in my monitor's brightness to get a good ratio.

SInce it was well under the key, you can easily see through my glasses even though the 24" monitor is right in front of my face.

Hopefully, this interview will be of interest to any current or potential photo bloggers out there. Any Q's, ask in the comments.

Thanks for watching!


:: ::
:: Patrick Smith's Photo Blog :: (Definitely check out his work.)


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