Photography, Software Engineering and LightBox

Dmitriy Babichenko | Pittsburgh Photographer Sometimes having two jobs sucks. However, more often then not, being a software engineer and a photographer is actually a pretty decent combination. Being a photographer helps me step back from the code and think about problems creatively. Being a software engineer helps me gain a very technical perspective on photography (yes, I am a geek and I actually know how CMOS and CCD sensors record image data). Another advantage of being a software engineer is that I can write software that helps me run my photography business. Over the years, I’ve written scripts, applications and even Photoshop plug-ins that managed my backups, batch-processed image files and geo-tagged vacation photos. My ability to write my own software saved me countless hours of dealing with repetative and boring tasks and allowed me to concentrate on things that I actually enjoy doing. Recently I found myself using Lightbox2 photo gallery more and more, both on my blog and on some of my clients’ websites. Lightbox2 is a JavaScript library that can be included on any web page; it allows you to create attractive image galleries with minimal knowledge of HTML. Quite a few of well-known websites use Lightbox2 or similar solutions to display image galleries – Wired.com, Lifehacker, Lensbaby and many others. If you have to deal with a small number of images, it’s pretty easy to follow examples from Lightbox’s website and hand-code your gallery. If you have a blog or a website that’s based on the WordPress platform, you can install LightBox2 as a WordPress plug-in and WordPress will pretty much take care of everything for you. However, if you have a custom blog like I do, than you can use one of the handy scripts that I wrote to simplify my life. Below, you’ll find two scripts – one is written in ASP.NET, another one in PHP. They do the same thing – if your website is running on a Microsoft Windows Server, use the ASP.NET script. For Linux servers, use PHP. Simply download and extract the files below (the ASP.NET script has two files) and upload them to your web server. Once the files have been uploaded, you can access them through the browser by typing http://%5Byour website address]/LightboxGenerator.aspx for ASP.NET script or http://%5Byour website address]/LightboxGenerator.php for PHP script.

Using online resources to drive your business

A few days ago PDN (Photo District News) magazine published an article titled “The Five Biggest Photographers on the Internet“.  In this article, they interviewed 5 iconic photographers about how they use online resources such as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr to drive their business.  One of the photographers, Christopher Becker (http://www.beckersblog.com) is my personal icon when it comes to wedding photography and self-promotion.  He is an incredibly talented photographer who managed to build an amazingly profitable wedding photography business and is generally considered one of the highest-paid wedding photographers in the world. I decided to learn from TheBecker and from the others and expanded my online presence to Facebook and Flickr.  From now on, I`ll be posting my photographs not only on this side and on WideOpenLens.com like I`ve been doing so far – my photographs will also appear in my Facebook album and in my Flickr photostream.

Website saga continues

After more than a week of phone calls, threats, emails and a consultation with an attorney, I finally got US2.net to admit that they screwed up. Somehow their billing department thought that I hadn`t paid my invoices in months (which they admitted was a mistake on their part due to a new billing system). So, without letting me know and without giving me a chance to backup my data, they deleted all of my websites and databases. Today I managed to get in touch with their Windows support manager and he told me that they found my website in their backups, but not my database and promised to do everything he can to get my site up and running today. Given their track record, I have my doubts, but I`ll keep my fingers crossed just in case. If I don`t get a copy of my database so that I could restore it to this new site, I`ll most likely take US2 to court. Meanwhile, I am going to move on and try to at least re-post photographs that used to be in my blog. Also, I lost all the client feedback/testimonials from the last 5 years. I am going to try to contact my clients and ask them to re-submit their feedback. So, if you are or at some point were my client, I would really really appreciate if you could go the the “Testimonals” section of this website (About -> Testimonials or click here) and submit your feedback. Thank you for everyone`s patience.