Prophotonut rebuild in progress

Aug 27, 2013 | News | 12 comments

This is the new size of image within the Prophotonut blog. It is 740 pixels on the longest side. I have increased the compression very slightly to maintain an average file size of 150kb.

01. This is the new size of image within the Prophotonut blog. It is 740 pixels on the longest side. I have increased the compression very slightly to maintain an average file size of 150kb. We started Prophotonut exactly 5 years ago with just a 550px picture size, it moved to a 600px picture size in 2010 and we are now at 740 pixels. The increase in resolution of smart phone screens and faster connection speeds have enabled these changes.

Rather than hide away on a test site and launch from scratch we have decided to rebuild in vision. That is, you will be able to see every stage as we align our graphics with Lovegrove Shop, narrow our side bar, update our fonts, install completely new galleries with much larger images, monetise with Adsense and get up to date. In the process the blog known as Prophotonut will look a bit strange at times but will emerge as a white swan and able to deliver a far better viewer experience. Our goals are to deliver bigger and better pictures with far more detailed information to help you recreate the looks and styles within.

Let the transformation begin :)

Here are more pictures at the new size including some unpublished shots…

02. Route 66 was one of my 2012 highlights. I just loved shooting into the sun with the 18mm lens on the X-Pro1.

02. Route 66 was one of my 2012 highlights. I just loved shooting into the sun with the 18mm lens on the X-Pro1.

03. This roadside shach was abandoned years ago. Some wild dogs roamed the area so I had to work quickly to stay safe.

03. This roadside shack was abandoned years ago. Some wild dogs roamed the area so I had to work quickly to stay safe.

04. Another view this time contre jour with the 18mm lens.

04. Another view this time contre jour with the 18mm lens.

05. The 'L' or Loop in Chicago is simply fabulous. It's such a great experience to be under the line as trains rattle and screech overhead.

05. The ‘L’ or Loop in Chicago is simply fabulous. It’s such a great experience to be under the line as trains rattle and screech overhead. Fuji X-Pro1, 18mm lens.

6. The Chicago skyline lit up the streets with a fabulous pinkish glow at dusk.

06. The Chicago skyline lit up the streets with a fabulous pinkish glow at dusk.

07. The air is so dry in Arizona. The pain on the cars disintegrates leaving the steel rusty but largely intact.

07. The air is so dry and hot in Arizona the paint on cars disintegrates leaving the steel rusty but largely intact. Give it a few more years and this GMC shell will become a restoration project for someone, I’m sure.

08. There is a lot of historic agricultural tools and equipment scattered across small town America.

08. There are a lot of historic agricultural tools and equipment scattered across small town America.

09. This house on the 66 is worthy of restoration. The remote location is the only drawback.

09. This house on the 66 is worthy of restoration. The remote location is the only drawback.

10. This 66 cafe is beyond repair. I love the space and solitude.

10. This 66 cafe is beyond repair. I love the space and solitude.

11. I noticed this post contains all horizontal images so I found a couple of portraits to finish with. I shot this frame of Charlotte Roest Ellis while testing my Fuji 55mm-200mm zoom lens last month.

11. I noticed this post contains all horizontal images so I found a couple of portraits to finish with. I shot this frame of Charlotte Roest Ellis while testing my Fuji 55mm-200mm zoom lens last month.

12. This low key frame is of Liv Ward. I lit liv with one 70cm Rotalux deep Octabox

12. This low key frame is of Liv Ward. I lit liv with one 70cm Rotalux deep Octabox

What blogs excite you? What features should we adopt? What galleries are the best out there? This time we need you, your opinions and ideas.

Feel free to comment.

12 Comments

  1. Ian Freelance

    Hi Damien
    Great stuff. Thanks for taking the time to provide feedback.
    All the best with the updating of your site.
    Regards
    Ian

    Reply
    • damien

      Here’s an update. Thanks for your patience.

      My first feature length blog post with the new picture format is now up. 2000 words and 40 pictures. I think I can improve the legibility with a new clean font. I’ve got the average picture file size down even more without too much sacrifice of image quality so I’m happy that will work. We will be adding drop down menus and populating the sidebar with some static ads and links to events of interest next week. If you spot any dodgy ads please screen grab them or better still email me (damien at lovegrovephotography.com) the url the add takes you too. I can then block the advert from appearing again. Thanks for your help and understanding through the changes. If you have any ideas or advice please feel free to email me (damien at lovegrovephotography.com) or comment here.

      Damien.

      Reply
  2. Ian Freelance

    The business model has been covered already, so I will not repeat the earlier comments. Damien I would urge you to consider the type of advertising that you are willing to allow upon your site and ask “will the advertising enhance or damage my brand image and the brand values?” Over the last 2 days I have seen adverts for an Asian online dating site and for skin softening software !! The skin softening software struck me as odd as you advocate natural skin texture instead of the over smoothed plastic look which most of the plug-ins generate.

    You have already given so much back to the photography community, inspiring thousands of photographers to develop their skills, so I fully understand the need for the site to be financially viable. Brands and reputations are hard won and easily lost. Please do not allow mediocre advertising to tarnish the Lovegrove brand.

    Very best wishes
    Ian

    Reply
    • damien

      Hi Ian,

      I hear you. As far as I can work out so far the advertising shown is dependent upon the reader of the blog. For instance I get WEX adverts for Hedler lights on my laptop in the kitchen because I Googled them earlier this morning. It seems Google is returning ads to my computer that are aimed at me. I know what you mean about the dodgy skin retouching software adverts but if people like that look they can have it. With the Adsense model I’m currently using I’m not sure how much control I can get. I’ve blocked all the dodgy stuff including dating sites so I’m not sure how an Asian dating site came up on your feed. It’s still in test and measure stage and so far I’m very surprised by the revenue it is already generating. Someone must be clicking on the adverts. My other option is to sell advertising space directly which is a bit of a faff. Facebook throws random adverts at me and I’ve just learned to ignore them. Twitter and G+ will be next I’m sure. I’ll keep an eye on what adverts are appearing here and keep listening to the feedback.

      Kind regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
    • damien

      Hi again Ian,

      It seems we have worked out how to take full control of the adverts and while Google prepares itself to send us all the eligible options for review I’ve put the advert block below the fold. Protectiong the brand is essential as you say.

      Thanks again,

      Damien.

      Reply
  3. Len Martin

    Mmmmmmm..lots of tech speak here. Perhaps time to step back and reflect on the ‘Lovegrove Experience’ and its success. As a fellow photographer and friend I have known Damien and Julie for almost 20 years now I know a bit about what makes him tick! Prophotonut is a testament to Damien’s passion for photography and his desire to share as much as possible with those who follow him, it is that approach that has made him the success he is, long may it continue.
    A business to succeed cannot stand still and new ideas must be tried in the least and the approach here is as good as any, the entity that is Lovegrove is not a charity so the use of advertising media to ‘finance’ this is entirely appropriate and I am sure many would rather it than nothing.
    Robs comments are valid but, long standing friend or not I quite understand Damien’s approach, I hope it works as well as he wishes.
    Rock on Damien!!

    Reply
    • damien

      Thanks Len for your kind words. I owe you a pint :)

      Cheers, Damien.

      Reply
  4. Rob Brook

    I’ve yet to come across plugin gallery that works well especially with large collections of images. The problem I’ve found is finding a plugin that will deal with landscape and portrait images equally well plus serve images up to multiple devices while dealing orientation of the device.
    Not sure why you want to increase the pixel count on images ( perhaps other people are asking for them). I certainly don’t feel the work you’re showing currently is too small. Larger images will mean longer load times which will mean people will be more likely to leave (Your image intense pages can take a while already to download). Plus slower page loading will result in SEO penalties from Google.

    Reply
    • damien

      Hi Rob,

      I’ve seen one paid for plugin that works like the archive feature on a Tumblr feed. I’ll look into it in more detail to see what captioning options there are. I want to replace the Lovegrove Photography website with new galleries within Prophotonut. The galleries will act as a portfolio and a inspiration resource. I want to avoid using third party hosting like 500px, Flickr etc so that I keep my web traffic local.

      I’ve changed my compression system to quality 7 within our ‘save for web’ action so that your download speed with the new images should remain the similar to the 620px pictures at quality 8.

      Our best post for views is our most picture intensive. This post has been read over 1 million times and has 80 pictures. I noticed the images are being used all over the place online with 468,000 repins on Pinterest alone. I think I can deliver a richer end user experience with these 740 pixel images.

      I hope this makes sense, Damien.

      Reply
  5. Rob Brook

    To be honest Damien I read your site constantly because of the quality of it’s content mainly via RSS (I’m a dying breed). While great design makes it easier to read and updating the site so it works perfectly on iPads (retina quality) , iPhones and modern computers there isn’t a lot you can really do that would add value to the experience of visiting your site.

    Google ads tend to give people a reason to leave your site for very little value in return. I hate being haunted by their predictive nature having the same ads put infront of you on site after site. The ads I currently see on Prophotonut encourage me to visit other areas of your site of which I frequently do.

    Design wise almost all blogs look the same and behave the same with probably the exception of Jasmine Star’s magazine styled blog. I’d love to see an iPad app or monthly iPad magazine based on what you offer now. Neither of which are partically hard to accomplish for luke ;-)

    Reply
    • damien

      Thanks Rob,

      Your comments are appreciated. I hear what you are saying. As my business evolves I need to change the subtleties that drive it. Almost gone are the pro training workshops. In are the photographic holidays and an altogether new client base. I intend to keep Prophotonut alive but it has to finally pay it’s way. With between 2000 and 7000 visitors a day I can earn enough revenue from advertising to provide the incentive to post more images and reveal the lighting secrets behind them. There has always been a conflict of interest with ‘giving too much away’ that might kill demand for lighting workshops etc. Now it’s time to give it all away and with far bigger images to admire too. You might just have to ignore a few ads knowing that the content is richer than ever as a result of them.

      I really appreciate your continued support and I hope my new picture gallery project will delight.

      Kindest regards and respect.

      Damien.

      Reply
    • damien

      Hi again Rob,

      I thought I’d add that I’ve found nearly 2000 images taken in the past 8 years that need a good home online. I think Prophotonut will become ideal once I find the right gallery widget. I’d like to display 1000+ pixel images in at least 20 categories complete with lengthy captions containing exif data, lighting info and my musings. It should become a good resource.

      Regards, Damien.

      Reply

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