Monthly Archives: March 2007

Happy Birthday To ME!

It’s my birthday today and I’m 25. So in light of that, I’m taking the day off blogging — this is all you get.

I did however get outside to do a little photography this morning. We have a couple of Miniature Daffodil plants in the backyard, and they’re starting to bloom with spring coming. So I threw on the macro lens, a miniature tripod, and I went out there to get some photos.

The weather was very overcast (almost raining) and the wind was calm. Perfect. No harsh shadows or subject movement to deal with. The only downside to the overcast skies is that I new I’d be using a longer shutter speed.

So I’m out there laying on the ground with my camera 2 inches from these little clumps of yellow flowers — the neighbors probably think I’m nuts. I only snapped about 30 shots, but I got a couple of good ones out of them. I have a hard time taking too many macros because my eyes start to play tricks on me and I start taking out of focus shots. Oh well, better than doing nothing I suppose.

Photo of the Birthday…

Miniature Daffodil

Photo by Brian Auer
03/31/07 Flemington, NJ
Miniature Daffodil
Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D
Sigma MACRO 105mm f/2.8 EX DG
158mm equiv * f/16 * 1/3s * ISO100

Comics, Alternative Sharpening, and Online Editors

The Photoshop Controversy

I read two comic strips: Dilbert by Scott Adams and What The Duck by Aaron Johnson (I’m an engineer who likes photography, so these are all I need).  Most people have heard of Dilbert, but What The Duck is at bit more of a niche comic and fewer people have probably seen it.  What a shame.  The comic is about a photographer who happens to be a duck — actually, all the photographers seem to be ducks.  Aaron tackles many of the issues faced by photographers, and it’s stinkin’ funny — but probably just to photographers.  Today’s strip pokes at one of the more heated topics among photographers and photo editors.

What The Duck - Charging for Photoshop

This is funny on many levels, but it also surfaces a few Photoshop topics of choice.  It seems like everybody knows how to use Photoshop on some level, and it’s interesting to hear inexperienced users talk it down like it’s no big deal.  Let me just say that I’m no Photoshop expert, but I know enough to realize that neither are 95% of all the other Photoshop users — maybe that’s a stretch, but not by much.  I’ve seen some video tutorials from the experts, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for their talent.  What I’m getting at is that just because your six year-old can use Photoshop, it doesn’t mean that professionals shouldn’t be paid high dollar for their work with Photoshop.

Even fellow photographers will argue back and forth about how much Photoshop should be used when preparing photos.  Some people try their hardest not to use it, while others will over-use it just for the sake of Photoshopping.  My philosophy: Every image that comes out of a digital camera needs Photoshop, and every image requires a unique amount of editing.  It’s a tool that should be used until the image looks the way you want it to.

What to do When Sharpening Filters Don’t Work

So here’s a neat little Photoshop technique that I haven’t seen yet: Sharpening By Defining.  I talked about Photo Sharpening Techniques in a previous post, but what can you do when that doesn’t work for some part of the image?  Well, sharpness can be improved by increasing contrast.  Sharpening By Defining simply improves contrast to select areas of the image, producing a high impact image.

A Roundup of Online Photo Editors

I’m not a fan of using anything other than Photoshop for editing, especially free online editors.  But sometimes you don’t always have a choice.  If you’re stranded without a photo editor, but you have web access, you might need one of these Free Online Photo Editors.  I must say that they’re getting better, but they still don’t have some of the basic Photoshop functionality.  One editor even has layers capabilities, but it still relies on the contrast/saturation tools found in every photo editor on the face of the earth.  How hard could it be to program something for levels or curves adjustments?  I hope that the upcoming Photoshop Online will include these tools.

Photo of the Day…

Autumn Waterfall

Photo by Brian Auer
10/07/06 Delaware Water Gap, NJ
Small waterfall on a creek feeding the Delaware
Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D
Konica Minolta AF DT 18-200
195mm equiv * f/16 * 2.0s * ISO100

HDR, Shoe Mount Flash, and Digital Camera Haters

High Dynamic Range (HDR) Tutorial

Photoshop Support has a High Dynamic Range Tutorial using Photoshop CS3, but not using the HDR tool.  HDR requires 3 images and this only requires 2 — one for the highlights and one for the shadows.  The technique outlined is also supposed to give better mid-tone ranges than the Merge to HDR command.  Sometimes I’ll use a method similar to this, but with one photo.  I’ll just process the same RAW file twice — once for highlights and once for shadows.  Then I’ll merge the two of them for better results than I would have had just processing the one image.

Mounting Your Flash IN a Shoe

The Strobist has a good DIY-type of post for making a Light Stand in a Pinch: Your Shoe.  You kind of laugh at first, but then you realize that it’s super smart.  My flash has a little stand that clips into the bottom so it can stand up on its own, but I don’t always carry it with me.  So I may actually end up using this one sometime.

Digital Camera Killer

Over at Mostly Photography, there’s a post on Why Digital Cameras Should Be Outlawed.  I don’t even know where to start with this one, but I’m in full disagreement.  The main argument behind this is that people take too many pictures because it’s affordable.  SO WHAT!?!  I have over 18,000 photos just from the last 4 years — and I love every one of them.  Then again, 90% of them are of my kids.  But even so, I don’t see anything wrong with taking over 300 photos in one outing — I’m the one that has to deal with them!  Ugh.

Photo of the Day…

Shattered Wall Graffiti

Photo by Brian Auer
03/05/07 Neuchatel, Switzerland
Shattered Wall Graffiti
Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D
Konica Minolta AF DT 18-200
75mm equiv * f/4.5 * 1/30s * ISO100

More Photography Business Tips

While I’ve been writing my own tips on starting a photo sales business, several other writers have been handing out tips too.  Here are 3 of the articles I’ve come across in the last week.  Tomorrow I’ll talk about something else — I promise. 

The Mindset of a Photographer

Peter Marshall at About: Photography wrote about Thinking Like a Photographer, and he used one of his shoots to tell the story.  My favorite line from the article was “Photography isn’t a mathematical exercise but one that depends very much on the ideas and aims of the photographer.”  That’s very well put in my opinion.  I support the view that you should be technically competent with a camera, but that’s just a tool.  Figuring out how to capture the moment, idea, mood, feeling, concept, etc. is the part that takes some effort.

Offline Photo Marketing Techniques

The Photopreneur gives us 5 Ways To Show Off Your Pictures… Offline.  Great tips for getting your work out in front of real people.  If I can add one to the list, I would encourage you to enter your photos in local photography contests.  I entered one of these a while ago at my county library and I ended up winning 1st place for black & white.  So not only will you get to show off your work, you might also win some prizes.

How To Become a Professional Photographer

Blair Howard wrote an article posted at the Digital Photography Journal called Becoming a Professional Photographer.  It’s kind of geared toward travel photojournalism, but there’s a lot of good general information in there.  His big point, for us beginners, is to learn how to create good photo essays.  If you’ve got a collection of similar photos, you’re well on your way to creating a photo essay.

Photo of the Day…

Lonely Branches

Photo by Brian Auer
10/07/06 Delaware Water Gap, NJ
Lonely Branches
Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D
Konica Minolta AF DT 18-200
105mm equiv * f/9 * 1/80s * ISO100

Build a Photography Business in 24 Hours

For all you photographers out there who want to sell your photos, I’m here to get you started. I recently put my own photography business together called Auer PhotoWorks, and I wanted to share with others how I did it. If you follow my story, you’ll see that it’s not a difficult task and you can be up and running in no time. Less than 24 hours if you’ve got your act together.

Over the last week, I’ve posted a resource for each of the items below. If you’re interested in doing this business thing, just follow each step and you’ll have the information you need to get started. I cover all the basics from photos, software, online and offline business essentials, financial tools, and marketing. Again, these are just starter resources, so you may want to do some additional research to bring your comfort level up.

  1. Photographs
  2. Gallery Software
  3. Hosting Company
  4. Domain Name
  5. Trade Name
  6. Bank
  7. $500

Optional (suggested) items:

  1. Merchant Account
  2. Accounting
  3. Marketing

If you follow the steps, there’s a chance that you’ll end up with your very own starter business that you can grow into something profitable. I’m not saying you should quit your day job yet, but it’ll be a start down the right path if you’d like to get into photography as a career. I’m not a professional photographer either, but I’ve got my ambitions.

If there’s anybody out there that followed any of my advice and started their own gallery, TELL ME!

I’d love to see it. I’d also love to hear from you and get some feedback on the advice I offered you. If you’d like, I’ll also review your site on my blog and give out a link. Even if it takes you a month to get going, get a hold of me when you’ve got it together.

Photo of the Day…

Swiss Alps Beyond Lake Neuchatel

Photo by Brian Auer
03/05/07 Neuchatel, Switzerland
Swiss Alps Beyond Lake Neuchatel
Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D
Konica Minolta AF DT 18-200
300mm equiv * f/6.7 * 1/350s * ISO100

Photography Business: Marketing

In my post titled Build a Photography Business in 24 Hours, I mentioned that I would expand on each piece of the puzzle for creating your own business. I’m using my recent experience with setting up Auer PhotoWorks as the basis for this guide. Here are all the pieces of the business-puzzle I talked about (with the * items being optional):

  1. Photographs
  2. Gallery Software
  3. Hosting Company
  4. Domain Name
  5. Trade Name
  6. Bank
  7. $500
  8. * Merchant Account
  9. * Accounting
  10. * Marketing

This post will focus on steps 3 of the optional items: Marketing. I left this one for last because once you get started on marketing, it may snowball into an obsession — very addicting. It’s also the broadest of all the topics I’ve listed, so what I provide you will only be a small piece of the big picture.

So we’ve got our photo gallery up on the web, fully operational and ready to do business. Within days the orders will be rolling in, cash flying into your account, and people all over the world admiring your work — then you wake up. The truth of online business is that it typically isn’t a speedy process when you start from scratch. It can take years before you get enough traffic to generate profits… if you survive that long. I’m not trying to dissuade anybody from starting up their own thing on the Internet, but don’t expect to put up a website and just wait for customers to walk in and make you rich. There are millions sites out there, and everybody’s competing for traffic.

Marketing is important for an online business, and without it you’ll go virtually unnoticed. Lucky for us, online marketing is not completely difficult (at least on the surface), and there are a number of resources at our disposal. I’m not a professional marketer, nor do I pretend to be, but I’ll break it down for you the best I can. I’m going to break down marketing into four distinct groups that I use or have used: Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Social Media Marketing (SMM), Paid Advertising, and Blog Marketing (I think I either just made this term up, or misused it… oh well). If you’re a marketing pro, just go with me on this and hold your tongue until you finish reading the ENTIRE post.

SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING, in my mind, is just like it sounds. Marketing through search engines. Everybody uses search engines to find what they’re looking for. The trick is to make the search engine display your site when people search for something you offer (photos). Ideally, you’d like the search engine to direct people to your site when they search for a certain type of photo or artwork. There’s a whole industry around Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization, so I can’t even begin to tell you how to do it. My advice is to find some good resources on the subject and start doing your homework (starter resources at end of post). This side of marketing is generally sluggish to provide results in the short run, but can really prove worthy in the long haul.

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING has to do with the social interactions online. You may have heard of sites like Digg, Del.icio.us, Stumble!, Twitter, etc. The list goes on and on. These are great ways to get other people to do your marketing for you — if you have good stuff. Another side to social media are things like forums and discussion groups. Become active with a group of people who have the same interests as you (and your photography business) and make friends with them. Usually you can’t blatantly promote your business, but a little link in your signature is generally accepted. Social media marketing is usually a bit snappier than SEM, but it requires much more work on your part to be active in some type of community.

PAID ADVERTISING can produce immediate results, but it costs money. Traditional online ads, offline ads, and pay-per-click ads can all drive tons of traffic to your site — it just depends on how deep your pockets are. Things like Google’s AdWords (pay-per-click) can give you a good idea of how to target your customers and you can expect results immediately. These are good tools to start things off with, but you don’t want to rely on them forever.

BLOG MARKETING is sort of like social media marketing, except you become the center of the community. Search engines love blogs because of the fresh content and site structure. People love to read blogs, again, because of the fresh content and good site structure. Blogs take a few months to gain any steam, but once you get traffic, you basically have the ability to direct Internet traffic wherever you point to. If your photography is very theme oriented, start a blog about that theme and showcase some of your work. This method of marketing takes extra time and effort on your part, but the long-term gains can be rewarding.

As you start to do more research on marketing, you’ll find that there are many more ways to promote yourself and your business. My suggestion: start with the blogs I’ve listed below and subscribe to their feeds in your favorite feed reader. It’s like watching the news, but it’s highly targeted subject matter coming from many different sources. If you don’t like some of them, unsubscribe. If you find other resources you like, subscribe. It’s that easy. So here are a few starters, in no particular order:

So that concludes my mini-series on how to start a photography business in 24 hours. I hope you found at least some part of it useful, and if you’re working on starting up your own gallery — good luck to you!

Photo of the Day…

Under the Weather

Photo by Brian Auer
06/26/06 New York, NY
Boat against foggy Manhattan background
Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D
Konica Minolta AF DT 18-200
300mm equiv * f/8 * 1/200s * ISO100

Photography Business: Financial Matters

In my post titled Build a Photography Business in 24 Hours, I mentioned that I would expand on each piece of the puzzle for creating your own business. I’m using my recent experience with setting up Auer PhotoWorks as the basis for this guide. Here are all the pieces of the business-puzzle I talked about (with the * items being optional):

  1. Photographs
  2. Gallery Software
  3. Hosting Company
  4. Domain Name
  5. Trade Name
  6. Bank
  7. $500
  8. * Merchant Account
  9. * Accounting
  10. * Marketing

This post will focus on steps 1 and 2 of the optional items: Merchant Accounts and Accounting Software. I’m tying them together because they both deal with finance, and I call them optional because they aren’t absolutely necessary to run the business. Even though they’re optional, these items can be very important to the overall business success.

So far, I’ve brought us up to the point of launching an online photo sales business that will allow you to accept checks and money orders for purchases. If your business is primarily online, these aren’t the preferred methods for customers to buy things. People don’t want to get out their checkbooks, write you a check, mail it to you, and wait for it to arrive and clear the bank. They want to either get out their credit/debit cards or sign into PayPal for instant purchasing capabilities. Don’t miss opportunities by not catering to most online buyers.

In order to accept electronic payments, you’ll need a merchant account. This is a relationship with a financial institution that allows you to process credit cards using their service. They keep a certain amount of the sale for themselves, and you get to offer convenience to your customers. For processing orders online, you’ll need to set up a payment gateway — which the merchant service provider will give you the requirements for. Setting this up on your own can be difficult and time consuming to say the least. Luckily, most of the photo gallery software have some type of merchant capabilities built into them. You’ll still need a merchant account, but the programming will be taken care of. The software I purchased allows me to process through PayPal, 2CheckOut, or Plug n’ Pay.

This brings me to a good point about PayPal. They actually have two levels of merchant accounts in addition to their traditional PayPal account. One merchant account is free of upfront costs and monthly fees, while the other has a monthly fee. What’s the difference? The free one will take a customer from your site to PayPal’s site to complete the order. The one that costs money will allow you to process cards straight from your site just like any other merchant account. The upside to the free one is that you don’t have to worry about the programming, SSL, certificates, etc. The downside is that customers are taken from your site, which may deter some buyers. It’s probably not a big deal though, based on the fact that almost everybody has at least heard of PayPal — plus your company logo will appear at the top of the PayPal site while customers are checking out. This is the route that I’m going with right now on my site. If somebody decides to checkout using PayPal or a credit card, they’re taken to the PayPal interface where they can choose which method they’d like to use.

Now on to other financial matters — accounting software. Once you start spending money and making money, you’ll want to keep track of it all so you can evaluate your business and do your taxes at the end of the year. This probably isn’t as important if you’re not selling much of anything, but it’s a good habit to get into. For us beginners with very little business transactions, I found a free piece of software from Quick Books. The free version of their accounting software is called “Simple Start Free Edition”. It has some limitations, but it will make do for a while. When you need to jump up to the next level, you’ll only need to fork out $100. If you don’t use Quick Books, at least use something — it could be a spreadsheet for all practical matters.

So the only thing left to cover in my list of things-to-do is marketing. For that, I’ll have a good list of resources that will help you start down the road of becoming an Internet marketer.

Photo of the Day…

The Capitol

Photo by Brian Auer
11/15/05 Washington DC
The Capitol
Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z3
50mm equiv * f/7.1 * 1/320s * ISO50

Photography Business: Offline Items

In my post titled Build a Photography Business in 24 Hours, I mentioned that I would expand on each piece of the puzzle for creating your own business. I’m using my recent experience with setting up Auer Photoworks as the basis for this guide. Here are all the pieces of the business-puzzle I talked about (with the * items being optional):

  1. Photographs
  2. Gallery Software
  3. Hosting Company
  4. Domain Name
  5. Trade Name
  6. Bank
  7. $500
  8. * Merchant Account
  9. * Accounting
  10. * Marketing

This post will focus on steps 5, 6, and 7 of the critical items: Trade Names, Bank Accounts, and Money. These items deal with the offline side of the business, but they tie into the online aspects.

Your trade name is the name of the business you’ll be operating under. By registering a trade name, this allows you to present yourself as a business rather than an individual. It also allows you to open a business checking account under that name so you can cash checks and process credit cards under that name. The process is actually very simple, but it may vary from state to state. The easiest thing to do is to go online and find your state’s web site. Look for information on starting a new business and you should be able to find something on trade names — also check the rest of the process to make sure you don’t miss any other requirements in your state. If you’ll be operating as a sole proprietor, the task is fairly easy. In New Jersey, I just had to go down to the County Clerk’s Office, fill out a form in triplicate, get them notarized, and pay them $50. The whole process took me 20 minutes, and I left with a certificate of trade name for “Auer PhotoWorks”.

With that certificate of trade name, you can now open a business checking account under that name. Keeping your personal and business affairs separate will help you out when it comes time to doing taxes at the end of the year. A business account might cost a little bit of money, but it’s a much better idea than using your personal accounts. I opened an account for $90 (which bought me checks, deposit slips, and a stamp for signing checks addressed to the business name) and it took me about 30 minutes to complete. If you already have a personal checking account, just go to your bank and see what they have to offer for business checking.

I mention $500 as a step in the process, but it really covers the entire process. We’ve been spending money in almost every step along the way, so here’s how much I’ve spent up to this point:

  • $300 for gallery software
  • $10 for a web host (1 month)
  • $20 for domain names
  • $50 for a trade name
  • $90 for a bank account
  • $470 TOTAL

Depending on what you buy, your total might be a little different than mine. You can see that the big ticket item is the gallery software, so if you’re worried about money this would be the place to spend more time researching. Also be aware that some of the other expenses are recurring. The web host will be a monthly fee, domain names are yearly, and business checking accounts sometimes have monthly fees.

Up to this point, I’ve covered the essential items for starting a business. If you complete all these tasks, you’ll have an online storefront that you can sell photos under a trade name by accepting checks or money orders. In the next couple of posts, I’ll be talking about the recommended items of merchant accounts (so you can accept credit cards), accounting software (to help you keep track of your expenses and earnings), and marketing (possibly one of the most important and time consuming parts of your business). Stay tuned!

Photo of the Day…

Windows in Brussels

Photo by Brian Auer
03/07/07 Brussels, Belgium
Windows in Brussels
Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D
Konica Minolta AF DT 18-200
27mm equiv * f/3.5 * 1/15s * ISO1600

Photography Business: Domain Names

In my post titled Build a Photography Business in 24 Hours, I mentioned that I would expand on each piece of the puzzle for creating your own business. I’m using my recent experience with setting up Auer Photoworks as the basis for this guide. Here are all the pieces of the business-puzzle I talked about (with the * items being optional):

  1. Photographs
  2. Gallery Software
  3. Hosting Company
  4. Domain Name
  5. Trade Name
  6. Bank
  7. $500
  8. * Merchant Account
  9. * Accounting
  10. * Marketing

This post will focus on step 4 of the critical items: Domain Name. Your domain name will be your address on the World Wide Web. This is the name that people will use to find you, link to you, and ultimately purchase from you. You want a name that works well with your site and is easy to remember.

You’ll want your domain name to compliment your trade name, so you need to do a little availability checking on both before you commit to something. Some people use their first and last name for a domain, which is fine unless you have a common name and it’s already taken. The upside to this is that you probably won’t need to register a trade name for the business because you’ll be operating under your own name (laws may vary from state to state). This works well for professional photographers whose name is already well known, but if you’re just starting you might consider something else.

A good piece of advice is to include one or more keywords in your domain name so that it has more meaning to search engines and customers alike. If your work is centered around a theme, try to include some part of that theme in the domain name. You don’t want to include too many keywords in the domain because it will start to get too big and hard to remember (over 20 characters is usually too many). You might try listing out all your keywords and making various combinations of them to help get you started. You’re going to need about 10 to 20 ideas to start with because it’s very likely that most of your names will be taken already.

When it comes time to registering a domain, there are tons of registrars out there and they all offer basically the same service — domain sales and management. I use GoDaddy for purchasing domains because they have a “Smart Search” tool that will give you alternative domain ideas when the one you’re looking for is taken. It comes in handy if you start running out of ideas. You’re best off trying to get a .com name because they are intended for commercial sites, plus they’re the most well known and frequently used. Registering the name is fairly simple, you just buy it for one or more years and you’re done.

After your domain is purchased, you will have the ability to manage that domain through the registrar. You’ll need to fill in your name servers provided by your hosting company. Once you update the name servers, your domain will usually propagate within 24 hours — sometimes much faster. If all works out, you will be taken to your site when you type in your domain name through a web browser. After that, all you have to worry about is renewing that name when the time comes.

I purchased AuerPhotoWorks.com for the main site name, but I also purchased BrianAuer.com and pointed it at the same site. I did this so that I could have alternate methods of getting people to the same site — plus, who doesn’t want to own their own name on the Internet?

So that’s the basics of domain names. There is a lot more to it when you really start digging in, but this should at least get you going. The next post will focus on trade names — your actual business name.

Photo of the Day…

Industrial Sunset

Photo by Brian Auer
11/05/06 New York, NY
Industrial Sunset
Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D
Konica Minolta AF DT 18-200
300mm equiv * f/11 * 1/250s * ISO100

Photography Business: Choosing a Web Host

In my post titled Build a Photography Business in 24 Hours, I mentioned that I would expand on each piece of the puzzle for creating your own business. I’m using my recent experience with setting up Auer Photoworks as the basis for this guide. Here are all the pieces of the business-puzzle I talked about (with the * items being optional):

  1. Photographs
  2. Gallery Software
  3. Hosting Company
  4. Domain Name
  5. Trade Name
  6. Bank
  7. $500
  8. * Merchant Account
  9. * Accounting
  10. * Marketing

This post will focus on step 3 of the critical items: Hosting Company. Your web host will provide you with the real estate of the web — disk space with a connection. This is where you’ll setup your storefront (gallery software) to sell your goods (photographs). You pay rent on that space just like any other real estate, but it’s a lot cheaper than a piece of land.

Choosing a hosting company is very important and it can be stressful. You don’t usually want to jump around from host to host because it will result in a lot of downtime for your business, not to mention it’s a real pain in the butt. I’ve only switched once in over 5 years of using web hosts. You need to do your research up front and don’t settle for something you don’t absolutely want. The research can be frustrating because no two reviewers will rank the same web hosts in the same order of preference — and that’s why I’m not going to give you a link to any host reviews. Do a quick search for “web host review” and you’ll have plenty of stuff to sort through. That’s a good way to get a list of hosts that are out there, but read the reviews with a grain of salt.

Once you get a list of possible hosts together, you’ll want to start weeding them out based on some criteria. The first set of criteria comes from your gallery software. The software will have a set of minimum requirements that it needs to function properly such as the PHP version, graphics libraries, database support, and UNIX vs Windows. Most (if not all) hosts provide PHP, but some offer PHP 4.X.X and others offer PHP 5.X.X. Most of them also have SQL support, but some hosts limit your usage in one way or another. When it comes to operating systems, it usually doesn’t matter unless your gallery software specifically requires one or the other.

After you size down your list based on your gallery software requirements, you’ll want to take a look at the secondary requirements. This includes things like reliability, bandwidth, disk space, email, control panel, support, price, CGI, SSL, FTP, etc. There’s a huge list of things to look at, so I’ve found a couple of sites that give explanation to these things: The Site Wizard, Thomas Brunt’s Outfront, and Free Webmaster Help.

I would place things like reliability and support higher in priority than disk space or price. It’s such a competitive market that most web hosts are pretty cheap and offer more than enough disk space. While you’re checking out these hosts, you’ll notice that they offer different levels of service. They usually range from shared server to virtual dedicated servers to dedicated servers. As a start-up business, you’re not going to see enough traffic to need a dedicated server. Start cheap and get your feet wet — you can always upgrade later, and if you stay with the same host they’ll usually take care of you. Expect to pay about $10 to $20 per month for a host. Go much lower than that and you might be skimping out in the wrong places. And whatever you do, don’t get a free host — it’s not very professional and you’re not doing yourself any favors.

I use a hosting company called Host Gator. I pay $10/month for 100GB of space, 1000GB of bandwidth, unlimited domains, unlimited MySQL databases, and it supports my gallery requirements for PHP and the imaging libraries. I host 4 websites from the same space: this blog, Auer PhotoWorks, my family site, and a future development already in progress. I don’t have enough traffic to require a dedicated server, so I’ll enjoy the low fees for the time being.

Now that we have our photos in order, our gallery software, and a web host, we’ll need a domain name. Tomorrow I’ll talk about how to pick and where to get a domain name — your Internet address.

Photo of the Day…

Washington Reflections

Photo by Brian Auer
11/15/05 Washington DC
Washington Reflections
Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z3
65mm equiv * f/6.3 * 1/250s * ISO50