SmugMug Smart galleries

Besides being a part time pro photographer, I’m also the fire photographer for my local fire department. I follow them around on many calls and take photos of them providing service to the community.

I thought it would be nice to bundle up the photos I’ve taken for them this past year and present it in a slide show. I started out doing this the old fashioned way and it turned into a big project. I then remember that SmugMug, the hosting provider I use for all my Pro Photography, has a feature called “Smart Galleries.” This allows you to create a gallery and have it contain photos from other existing galleries based on rules or conditions. This was exactly what I needed and turned out to be a great time saver.

For my project I set the following rules:


Include My Photos from 1/1/11 to 12/31/11 AND include My Photos with keyword “sfd” AND Exclude Keyword “art”.

All of that might sound self explanatory except for the last part. When I first created the gallery some additional photo showed up. After one particular call during the year I continued on and took some landscape photos nearby. I forgot to go in and tag these as different. So all I had to do was go into keyword settings for multiple photos on SmugMug and add the word “art” (it could have been any keyword that I wanted to use) and exclude those photos by that keyword.

Obviously for this to work you have to apply keywords to your photos. Years ago I never bothered doing this but I started doing so a few years ago. Even though it adds a few steps to your photo processing workflow, it’s very much worth it. Not only to do what I did above, but also for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) also know as “Google Juice” so your website gets picked up by Google and other search engines faster.

In case you’re interested here’s the link to the gallery I created in slideshow format:

Would you like to give SmugMug a try and save $5 on a subscription? Simply enter my email address (dabour at or use coupon code 2mLQw7wT0DzPU in the Coupon field at the end of your trial. Or you can click on this link:

Thanks for reading!


Project 365: Wrap-Up

As promised, here is a link to a slideshow showing all the photos in my Project 365 with some music added. Don’t worry it won’t take *forever* – I set each picture to display for only one second! 

If you want to find out the story behind each photo I invite you to review my blog from the past year. For the most part photos in the beginning happened at the beginning of the year and so on.

Lessons Learned

For anyone thinking about starting a Project 365 or a Photo of the Day I have this advice:

  1. Do it – it’s a lot of fun (at times) and will improve your photography and change the way you look at life and photography
  2. Stick with it – there will be days when you haven’t taken a photo of the day yet and you don’t feel like it. No one says a photo of the day has to be from each day of the year. But set standards for yourself and stick to them
  3. Think about how you are going to organize your photos and present them. You may not want to think about that in the beginning but you certainly will appreciate having a plan when you’re getting near the end and want to present your photos. This might include:
    1. Have a naming standard.
    2. Store the photos in a know location
    3. Decide if you want to blog and/or socialize (Facebook) about your project and learn how to do that
  4. Look to others for inspiration. There are many others on social networks that are doing photos a day and the like. When you need it, look there for some inspiration
  5. Try to avoid taking “easy” picture. You know like you hand, window, pet. It’s OK to do so – let’s just not see 13 cat pictures during the dead of winter Smile
  6. Inspiration. Try things like “Wide angle Wednesday” where you only take wide angle shots and “Telephoto Tuesday” or Fish Eye Friday. Or how about monochrome Monday to inspire you to create some Black and White shots.

What’s Next For Me

I plan on taking a well deserved break from photo of the day. But don’t stop checking my blog! I plan on:

  1. Continuing to blog about photo events I cover
  2. Start to do more photography education whether it be products or software I use or tips and tricks

In Conclusion, thanks for reading my blog and have a Happy New Year!


Keeping The Cross Straight

Helping Hand

The Stewartsville Fire Company was asked by the Lutheran church to assist A & J Construction to straighten out and tighten up the cross on top of the Lutheran church in Stewartsville.

This is a very fitting photo to conclude my Project 365! Look for a follow up post on my Project 365 summary.

And please continue to check back for my blog entries. I would like to have more posts in the coming year on photography tips.


Reflecting On Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve 2011

Something magical happened this Christmas Eve – well that too but what I’m talking about is I remembered to bring my camera to church. What’s that you say? Camera at church? Why would you do such a thing? Well our church, Church of the Holy Spirit in Lebanon, NJ still holds candlelight services on Christmas Eve with REAL candles. After the service is over its common for people to take out their point and shoots or phone cameras and snap some pictures like what you see above.

There are some additional photos available here.

I’m *real* close to finishing up my Project 365! Tomorrow is the last day! It will most likely feature some photos of an event I’m going to this evening.


Merry Christmas Eve


All is relatively quiet this Christmas Eve 2011. I ran some errands this morning. The roads and stores were busier than usual which is to be expected. A quiet dinner is planned then off to usher at church.

May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace, the gladness of hope and warmth of family and friends.


Trans Siberian Orchestra Concert

I had a last minute opportunity to see T.S.O. perform nearby yesterday. Seeing them in person has been on my bucket list for a while. While the concert started off on the slow side, it finished off with a bang.



I’ve been to many concerts over the years and I’ve never seen lasers and pyrotechnics used as much in this concert compared to all others! And this is an orchestra!

They also made great use of the lighting infrastructure. That’s all I’ll say!