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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Not all blogs revolve around the written word. The recent proliferation of digital photography has given rise to the use of blogs focused on the visual element, commonly referred to as photo blogs. Catherine Jamieson has been at the front of this movement with her Utata site, and she shares her knowledge and insight in the book Create Your Own Photo Blog. This is an incredibly beautiful book that is also extremely useful...

Contents:

Part 1 - Getting Started: Join The Revolution; Exposing Your Style; Finding a Home for Your Photo Blog

Part 2 - Setting Up: Build Your Blog - The Toolkit; The Workbench - Inside Your Blog; The Design Studio - Skins and Customizing

Part 3 - Working With Photographs: The Photographs That Work; From Camera to Blog - Making the Magic Happen; 100 Photo Ideas to Get You Shooting; Letting People Know You've Arrived; flickr; Doing Cool Things with Your Blog

Index

Using commonly available and proven tools like flicker and Moveable Type, Jamieson walks you through the process of setting up a web site, finding hosting services, and then using her tools of choice to build and manage your photo blog. Her recommendations involve using Moveable Type as your blogging software, the flickr site for storing your photos online, and the web hosting service of Nexcess which offers a special package for people who buy the book. If you're already familiar with blogging or web sites, you might find that you have some/most/all of these areas covered. In that case, you can move onto the areas that deal with how to develop your photo blog related to style, concept, quality, and so forth. The writing style is intelligent and readable, so even the areas that may not be relevant to your particular situation are still hard to skip over.

The feature of this book I enjoyed the most was the assistance on how to shoot good pictures. Rather than just focus on the mechanics of the software, she gets into how to choose subjects, composition of pictures, and a number of other items related to taking compelling shots. Even if someone wasn't quite ready to commit to starting a photo blog, they could still get quite a bit out of the book when it comes to improving the quality of your pictures. Couple that with the ability to put them online using something like flickr (if you don't already do that), and you're well on your way almost before you realize it.

I'll spare my friends and readers and stick to what I know best... regular blogs. My picture-taking ability is nothing to write home about, and it wouldn't be worth blogging in my case. But should that bug ever hit me and I change my mind, this will be the book I'd use to get started.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2006
Most of us have a secret artist hidden somewhere inside of us, looking for a way to break free. With her book, Create Your Own Photo Blog, Catherine Jamieson gives our hidden artist an escape route.

There's a growing population of people (among which I count myself) who use the internet every day...for work, for research, for news, for fun...but who lack the techno-geek know-how to actually construct a personal presence on the web. This book seems to have been written just for us. The author gives us easily understood instructions on how to build a photoblog, but without ever talking down to us. That's very refreshing.

But this is more than just an instructional manual. Jamieson also writes about blog design (how to personalize your own photoblog), about photographic technique (everything from the elements of composition to the use of color), and about basic image processing methods in different applications (photoshop and picasa, for example). If that's not enough, she even includes a "idea generator" to give your imagination a creative boost.

There is only one problem with this book: the title doesn't do it justice. It's not just about creating a photoblog; it's about establishing a creative presence on the internet.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2006
I haven't created my own photo blog just yet, but holding this new book in my hands gets me really excited about the prospects of doing so asap -- and, it would be a great resource for current photo bloggers.

The first thing one notices is that this book is beautiful; positively packed with the author's stunning and inspirational photos. Secondly, it is loaded with practical instruction on setting up a first-rate blog, or improving an existing blog, including professional templates created by the author. And, I appreciated the chapter on getting the most from the online photo-sharing site, flickr. To top things off, the chapter on 100 photo ideas is alone worth the price of the book. Apparently Catherine Jamieson is developing quite a following, and I can understand why.

I haven't seen a book quite like this -- it appears to be the first credible approach to the photo blogging phenomenon. Its marvelous value and superb execution should make it a classic.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2006
I've been a blogger for awhile, and never even considered adding pictures to my text. Photo blogging is a great idea! This book is filled with great ideas. Text blogs may be a fad that will taper off after awhile, but I get the feeling that photo blogs will be around for a long, long time. This book will help promote the concept.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2008
Photoblogs are a very popular and useful marketing tool for professional portrait photographers. They're a great way for studios to stay in touch with their customers. With this in mind, I was very surprised to see that this book does not treat this area at all. In fact, there's maybe three sentences, total, about marketing and driving traffic to your photoblog. (Basically, the advice given is: participate in online communities, and stick some metatags in your code, and wait for people to show up.) The other surprising thing was how narrow the focus was. What we have here is a book about how to recreate exactly what the author created, no more nor less. She used Movable Type, so that's all that's discussed here. (The author claims MT is the most popular blogging software out there. Not true. People are leaving it in droves for Wordpress, since MT has no spam-protection, and Wordpress kills spam in its tracks. ) She even tells you exactly what webhost service to use, going so far as to include screenshots of their website. Very odd.

I don't know of a good book for portrait photographers looking to add a blog to their marketing program. However, two books I would recommend just because they're very well written and useful as all get-out are:
WordPress For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech)) and How to Do Everything with Your Web 2.0 Blog (How to Do Everything)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Photo blogging has been around for a couple years now and is starting to be recognized as a tool for photographers to draw attention to their work. If your already familiar with HTML then this book will make sense to you. If you are not familiar with HTML then this book will be difficult at times understanding the terminology and HTML coding.

There are some photography tips here that will be useful to the beginner photographer. It covers f stop, depth of field, exposure, the thirds rule and understanding composition. For the more experienced photographer there is nothing of substance as far as technique. However photography technique is not the true intention of this book.

The book discusses the basic demographic of a photo blog user and visitor and how to attract the desired demographic to your photo blog. The book also covers conceptual ideas about design and publishing of your blog.

Also covered are things like using tags within your site to get better rankings in search engines. The basic use of CSS. Flickr which is an online community for photo bloggers, design templates and uploading your blog to a hosting service, updating the photos, and basic user interface site security.

What this book does very well is cover the concept of photo blogging, how to setup a photo blog and different tools and photo blogging hosting sites. It contains ample snap shots of the different software discussed. It also has many outstanding photographs and if covers the subject of photo blogging from site concept to finished product very well (admittedly a blog site is never really complete).

The draw back to this book is that it assumes that you are using nexcess and the templates what you can download are fairly proprietary to nexcess. This can be difficult if you are using another hosting service and they do not support the types of templates you have created from the templates you downloaded using movable type interface rather then a WYSIWYG or other text editor.

In closing this book will be of great use to the photographer with a basic understanding of HTML and has an interest in web page/photo blog design. It is easy to read and is formatted very nicely.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2006
As someone who makes a living structuring information for maximum usability, I have to say that this book and the accompanying website are frustrating, maddening, and pretty much useless unless you're willing to sign up for the hosting deal with the author's suggested web host.

Some of the most glaring errors include:

1) Placing content that should be relegated to sidebars (i.e., the section on signing up for TypeKey authorization) right in the middle of crucial instructions for setting up Movable Type on your system. It breaks up the flow of information, and forces the reader to flip back and forth several times to ensure that she hasn't missed a crucial step.

2) Files at the accompanying website are only available as Windows executables. I'm a fairly savvy Mac user, so I knew enough to drag the .exe files to Stuffit Expander to open them, but how many other Mac users might miss this crucial step? Make the files available as .zip or .tar.gz files for maximum compatibility.

3) Workflow inefficiencies: how efficient is it that the reader is forced to create a new blog after installing the author's blog templates? Why can't these templates be applied to the default photo blog that is created when Movable Type is initially configured?

While I'm sure the rest of the book has some useful information -- I particularly liked Jamieson's photo assignments - I'm so thoroughly frustrated with the installation/configuration instructions and information design of the book that I can't help but give it a negative review.

This is but the first edition of the book - do yourself a favor and wait for version two, or check the website at createyourownphotoblog.com to see if an errata section is made available.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The world is going blog crazy. Many persons (mostly young) are getting most of their news from blogs. A friend is posting her recipes and thoughts on food to her blog. This book is aimed at the photographer, tyro or expert, who hasn't tried his hand at blogging.

After a brief discussion of the nature of photography blogs, Jamieson tells how to go about setting up a blog by finding an online home for it, finding a place to store photos online, getting your own domain name, and actually constructing a site. She finishes up by suggesting things to photograph, and uses to which a blog can be put, as well as discussing the flickr storage site. Her examples use Nexcess.net, a leading blog hosting site, and the Movable Type content management system. Movable Type is an online system for creating and updating blogs. (Many blog hosts provide clients with the software as part of their package.)

Her approach can be both encouraging and daunting. Although I never had tried to create a blog, she made it sound so easy that I gave it a try. Although I tried another host with its own proprietary content management system, Jamieson's instructions proved helpful to me since there was so much similarity to Jamieson's examples. On the other hand novices who come to chapters 5 and 6, where much of the content describes HTML coding to customize one's blog, may become fearful. My advice to beginners is to read those chapters, skimming the references to coding and just paying attention to the sections that deal with using Movable Type. On the other hand, more experienced programmers can download the basic blog code from the companion website for editing.

To an experienced user, some of the material may be too simplistic, like the chapter on photographic composition. On the other hand, if you are a photographer who hasn't kept in touch with web developments, the discussion of flickr may gave you an incentive to examine this useful website more thoroughly.

There were also a few minor errors in the book. For example, Jamieson suggests that it is not necessary to perform a save operation when resizing a picture in Photoshop to use on a blog. Regular users of Photoshop will know that a picture must be saved before posting.

The cover of the book suggests that one month's free hosting is available from Nexcess.net and Page 61 and 62 claim to show you how to access this deal. The actual procedure is on the last page of the book. Moreover, you get a free month if you sign up for a year's paid package. Individuals looking to experiment with a blog can find truly free hosting packages elsewhere on the web. They are usually more limited than the high end hosts, but useful for that test dip into the blog world.

If you want to try your hand at setting up a blog for your photographs, this book can painlessly show you how to do it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2007
I found this book to be a very good overview of photoblogs with plenty of online examples and great tips and techniques. I did not need to signup with Nexcess.net to setup my photoblog since I already have my own ISP with Movable Type 3.35 installed. Unfortunately, I was not able to get the templates and skins (offered as a free download from the book's website) to work, even though I followed the instructions step-by-step. The book's website has not been updated for a while and there's no documentation or forums to help potential photobloggers troubleshoot installation or blogging problems.

There are a lot of great photographers using MT for their photoblogs but there is a dearth of documentation on how to create a photoblog with MT. I was really hoping this book would feel this void.

This is a great book about photoblogs and is inspirational. Unless you signup with Nexcess.net, which is kind of expensive, I would recommend not using Movable Type to create your photoblog. There are a couple of other photoblog tools out there that seem easier to install and to customize. I would give this book three stars but for its lack of support for those who don't use the recommended ISP, I am giving it two stars.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2006
I love this book! The photographs and illustrations are so beautiful that I'm constantly compelled to flip through the pages looking for ideas. "Create Your Own Photoblog" makes blogging seem so easy and fun; I can't wait to get started!
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