Assignment: Covering A Deployment

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At first I thought this was going to come about back in July of this year, but things have worked out a little differently.  Tomorrow I am heading out for a six month deployment aboard the USS Sterett (DDG 104).  Part of my duties involve being the Assistant Public Affairs Officer and Command Photographer.  I will be extremely busy working on projects like the cruise book and other media-related items.

I am looking forward to the trip, although I will miss my family and friends terribly.  It’s hard to beat getting paid to travel the world, take photos, and shoot video.

I hope to visit some great places (some of which I have been to before, and some I haven’t) and be able to experience new things and get some great photographic opportunities.

That being said, the blog here will be a little scarce over the next several months.  I will update when I can, but it will only be when I am in port and able to get WiFi somewhere.  I will post images and experiences of how some of the gear I use has held up.

Thank you to all my readers and I hope that you enjoy sharing in my travels and adventures until I’m back at home again.

All the best,

Stephen

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Stephen Zeller Photography Gets A Makeover

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I have completely redesigned my website for Stephen Zeller Photography, including a new logo which I had mentioned about a week ago.  I wanted to do with a design that could be consistent with both my website and blog.  This was important to me for fluidity and consistency with the design and function of the site and provides a completely custom user experience.

I used WordPress for the back end, which is great because with the jquery slider on the home page and Lightbox in the portfolio pages my site is completely functional and viewable on the iPad – something else that was very important to me.  I loved the look and feel of my Flash site, but didn’t want to miss out on potential clients who may be viewing my site on their iPad or iPhone.  With as many people that are using the iPad, that’s a huge slice of the viewership pie that I didn’t want to pass up.

Please feel free to browse around the site and tell me what you like and don’t like.  I would be grateful for your thoughts on the design and overall functionality.

Also, if you’re looking for a great WordPress site, check out my buddy Don Giannatti and his WordPress Themes for Photographers.  Don is a great designer and web guy and he can get you set up and running.  He’s also looking to strike up a deal if you happen to have an iBook laying around.

That’s it for today.  I have a busy week ahead getting ready for a BIG assignment coming up.  More on that later on this week.  I hope you had a great weekend and got a chance to get out and shoot.

Also, have you had a chance to check out The DSLR Workshop yet???

BlinkBid Version 6 Mini Review

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You might remember this review that I wrote awhile back, about an awesome program that I began using called BlinkBid.  Hands down, it’s the single most effective piece of business software I use aside from QuickBooks.  Why?  Because I can create estimates, invoices, track usage licenses, manage contacts, and more.  What makes it so special?  It was created by creatives, for creatives and it’s highly photography-centric.

Just recently, they released version 6 which provided some really incredible upgrades to the program.  You can read the entire list of improvements right here, but I’m going to touch on a couple that I value most as a working photographer.

Export to QuickBooks!
Yep, that’s right – you can now export data to QuickBooks so that you don’t have to manually enter your financial data any longer.  BlinkBid exports that data in a format that QuickBooks can understand and you can easily import.  This is a HUGE timesaver for photographers, who mostly scoff at the thought of doing business-related activities to begin with.

Bid Consultant
This feature is a BIG one.  The folks at BlinkBid got together with a couple of industry consultants, Suzanne Sease and Amanda SosaStone, and came up with a system for giving you accurate usage quotes.  Now, the program won’t tell you what to charge in terms of a photographer’s fee, but you can certainly count on the data to provide quite accurate usage fee quotes.  This is big if you’re getting into or working on the commercial/advertising/editorial side of the business.  What you used to have to go to several pieces of software to accomplish, can now be found under one roof.  And it JUST. PLAIN. ROCKS.

Here’s a screen shot of the Bid Consultant window that pops up:

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So if you’ve been thinking about buying some invoicing software for your photography business and you don’t want to enter in all the items manually, then you need to give a seriously hard look at BlinkBid.  It’s an incredible program that will help save you time and effort that you can put into doing something more fun – like shooting!

Oh yeah, and be sure and tell Lou that I sent you.