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.
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(Nice frame grab, huh...)

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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.
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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!


LINKS FROM HANGOUT:

:: HoCo360.com ::
:: Patrick Smith's Photo Blog :: (Definitely check out his work.)


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