Just wanted to let our readers know that I have been battling with server slowdown issues during the past few days and I am working on getting these issues resolved. Big thanks to everyone who emailed me and let me know, particularly about all the slowdowns this morning. During the next couple of days, I will be implementing a new caching and balancing system to help with the server load. Our traffic has been steadily growing and it looks like we need to beef up the system again to accommodate all the load.
Due to rising costs of hosting and other expenses, we decided to add some advertising space to Photography Life, which has always been and always will be a free photography resource. Some of our readers were a bit annoyed by the often intrusive ads (which, unfortunately, we have little to no control of) and they requested that we add an option to support Photography Life with a monthly donation option, which would completely remove all the ads on the site. Others have been asking us to give a good option to subscribe on a monthly basis or simply donate funds to support our work. I am happy to report that this feature has finally been added to our site, and as of today you can become a member and enjoy completely ad-free experience. You can choose your level of support from Basic ($0.99 per month) all the way to Gold ($19.99 per month), depending on how much support you can and want to provide us and all three membership levels give you the same browsing and reading experience.
The last few weeks have been crazy busy for me personally, since we are in the process of creating our first comprehensive video, which is something we are really excited about (more on this later). Because of this and other parallel engagements that I am involved in, I have not had a chance to work on some of the projects I have started a couple of months ago, including the Photo Spots project. I apologize for not being able to post updates on our Photo Spots Contest and I know that many of our readers have been waiting for us to announce the winner. As I started going through submissions, I got a bit overwhelmed by the response – we had over 400 submissions that I had to go through, edit and post. I posted a total of 351 photo spots from all the submissions and tried to be less picky about the photos and the content. So unless you posted a really bad photo or your submission did not meet our requirements (little to no text / description, or just vertical images), most of what you have submitted should have been posted by now.
As you might have noticed, our site is back to the normal commenting system – I got rid of Disqus. After giving Disqus a try for a few months, I realized that it was only creating more hassles than doing anything useful. My intention with the Disqus platform was to reduce server load and to increase engagement, but it created too many issues that I constantly had to battle with. Although Disqus was supposed to be better at keeping spammers away, a lot of spam made it through and I got tired of having to clean it up on a daily basis. In addition, our writers did not get proper notifications when comments were posted unless they subscribed to each article, which was creating even more headaches. And lastly, Disqus went all berserk on the site after I enabled additional caching – some of our readers reported that they were getting logged in under other accounts and all kind of other strange things were happening.
As you may already know, we are currently running a Photo Spot Contest (with a grand prize comprised of the new Fuji X-T10 camera) and we are really happy to see some truly amazing submissions from some of our readers. I have been going through all the submissions and approving them one by one and boy, it has been a great experience! It turns out that many of our readers are amazing photographers – some of the submissions are very inspirational to see. So far, we have published a total of 154 submissions and we are looking forward to seeing even more. I have no doubt that this project will be successful, because it offers tremendous help for people who are considering to visit places and not knowing where to go and what to photograph. Although I have not worked out a proper way to index all the submissions and offer an easy way for our readers to browse through the photo spots, it is definitely on my plate and I will be working on those soon.
Saying “goodbye” to a friend is never an easy thing to do. We have a great team here at Photography Life, made up of some of the most creative, inventive and supportive folks in the photography world. Each of them works incredibly hard to bring our readers some of the best photography articles available anywhere.
We have just announced the Photo Spots Project and we are so excited about it, that we decided to launch a contest for our readers! We want to make the process of submitting Photo Spots not only useful for everyone, but also fun, engaging and rewarding. Yes, the latter is important, because that’s how we get to thank our readers for being so awesome! So for the next 30 days, we will be accepting entries for photo spots from everyone. One person will win a brand spanking new, freshly announced Fuji X-T10 (come on, who can resist the temptation for owning this awesome camera?). If you do not want to Fuji X-T10, feel free to pick any other camera or lens of equivalent value. You can also just claim cash prize (details below).
NOTE: Please note that our submission form had some issues earlier today. Those should be fully fixed now.
During the past few weeks, I have been working on a project that I have been planning for years – the Photo Spots Project. Basically, the idea is to open up the ability for our readers to share their favorite photo spots with the rest of the community. You name the spot, upload one or more images, describe how to get to the spot, add some information (such as the country, GPS location, etc) and your adventures to the post and submit it. We will review each submission one by one and if it meets our standards, we publish the photo spot for everyone to see (meanwhile, our team at PL will be posting our favorite spots from our photo adventures to encourage others to join and contribute).
I am in the beautiful city of San Francisco again and this time I would like to give advanced notice for our upcoming Photo Walk this Sunday, April 26 2015! Although the weather has been pretty miserable so far with cold, foggy days, hopefully things will look better on Sunday weather-wise and we should be able to enjoy a nice evening of shooting. Please note that all Photo Walks we host are free and you are welcome to come and join us for some photography, getting to know each other and talking about all things photography in a restaurant after the walk. As in our previous Photo Walks, you are also welcome to bring your portfolio with you and I can spend some one-on-one time after dinner to do a critique session and discuss your work, which will hopefully help you out in deciding how to take your photography to the next level. I will have a special guest with me, our very own John Bosley, who graciously agreed to help out in doing these one-on-one critique session. So we will not only have a great time together shooting, but it will be also a great opportunity to hopefully improve and advance your photography skills. Bring all the questions you have for us!
Big thanks to everyone who took part in our Content Sharing Contest poll to pick the winner of the Sony A6000. It was a close race, with both Aaron Priest and Spencer Cox dominating the poll for a while. But looks like Aaron still came out first, with 80 votes on his side, only 4 votes higher than Spencer. Congratulations to Aaron for winning the Sony A6000 and big thanks to everyone who participated – your articles generated a lot of great interest and discussions among our readers. As promised, we will be emailing each participant with request to pick their smaller prizes as well.
If you have enjoyed our contest and would like to see more future activities like that, please let us know – your feedback is always appreciated.