I've been very frustrated because my stock and travel galleries haven't been found by Google. I keep these galleries on Smugmug, but of course want them to be more visible. I finally got some help and learned how to do it. So for all you smugmuggers who want to be googled, here's how you do it.
1. Start by getting a Google Account, if you don't have one. Just google "Google Account" and you'll figure it out.
2. Read this article from the Smugmug Help library. Basically it says use keywords on every image, and gives you a link to this site which Google uses to generate a metatag. You will insert this metatag into your Smugmug homepage by following the directions below.
3. Go to your Google account page. Select "Webmaster Tools." Click on "add a site". Do what it says, but do NOT click "verify" at this point. Instead, copy the metatag you've been given.
Now return to your Smugmug account. Go to your control panel. Select "advanced customization". Scroll down til you see this field and paste your metatag into it:
Select "save" and that's it.
4. Return to your Google Account page and click Verify. Now Google can find your Smugmug site! Give it a few days and enter some of your gallery names into Google and see what happens.
NOTE: I am absolutely NOT a web guru. I don't know HTML from ROFLMAO. But this seems to work. If you have better ways, PLEASE PLEASE contribute them here!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
We all know what a WOW! picture is. It's one that makes you say WOW! the instant you see it. Classic examples are the crash of the Hindenburg, the National Geographic picture of the Afghan girl with the intense blue eyes, the earth seen from the moon, the jetliner plunging into the World Trade Center, Anselm Adams' pictures of El Capitan or the lone oak tree in Yosemite... instantly recognizable, instantly effective.
The WOW! reaction is a sock in the gut. It’s visceral, immediate, and intense. It's immediate in that there's an emotional, non-verbal reaction (other than maybe a spoken "wow!" or some such noise). The WOW! operates on the structural level-- no thought needed. The breath tightens, or gasps, the stomach may clench and relax, the pulse may race, adrenalin may surge, tears may flow -- a WOW! can do all those things. The emotion may be delight, or surprise, or horror, or love, or any of a cluster of feelings, but the most common is a recognition of beauty so intense you feel it both physically and emotionally -- even if the subject is horrific.
Part of what makes a WOW! a WOW! is that it represents more than a selection of reality, or a flickering second of time. The shot is framed to exclude what’s not relevant, and it catches what IS relevant at the precise moment when its meaning is greatest. But sometimes the WOW! comes from the IDEA or SYMBOL behind the picture, even more than from the image itself.
To get that WOW! lots of pictures are manipulated – lightened, darkened, cropped, recolored, blurred, sharpened, with details cloned out or in, vignetted, or (heaven help us) “HDR”-ed.
The design of a WOW! is one of the vital elements for success. Any photo orders reality; a WOW! just does this to a greater extent or a clearer purpose than other images. In a WOW! we don't see clutter, we don't see anything outside the frame, so there is a particular composition (arrangement of elements), color, tone, or object (recognizable or not) that evokes the WOW! reaction. WOWs are designed, intentionally composed -- even if the intention is a lightning-fast recognition by the photographer that THIS is the shot.
A WOW! may sometimes be a spontaneous "capture," but often they're thought through, manipulated on the computer or in the darkroom, printed with great care, and finally revealed to the viewer. Ansel Adams' creative process is meticulously documented, and he would spend up to three weeks in the darkroom working on a single image before he was satisfied that he had achieved the effect he had in mind before he ever picked up the camera.
Great photographers create a higher percentage of WOW!s than the rest of us, but only a tiny percentage of even the best photographer’s work will be WOW!s
Of course, what gets a WOW! from one person won't necessarily get a WOW! from everybody... we all filter what we see through our own lenses. But what's great about WOW! pictures is how broadly they DO reach people. A real WOW! grabs not one or two people, but thousands when they first encounter it.
Finally, I think the great power of a WOW! photograph is that it opens new possibilities for the viewer. It invites the viewer to react in new ways, to create new possibilities, to see the universe afresh. The WOW! is discontinuous, a sudden leap into another dimension. The gasp of sudden recognition that occurs so often on first glimpse of a WOW! is the opening, the rush of sudden insight and deep feeling.