Premiere Bay Area Wedding Photography Blog by Trifon Anguelov Photography

1090 Clark Avenue, Mountain View, CA 94040 | (650) 930-0743 |

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Finding Different Point Of Views To Take Your Pictures

Highlights, Texture and ShadowsEvery photographer has a style which he or she develops over the years. This includes first selecting a type of photography one enjoys and wanting to work in: portraits, photojournalism, architecture, events, weddings, engagements, maternity, children or baby photography. So many types to choose from but ultimately it comes down to how passionate one is about this type of photography and how much energy he or she is willing to put into it.

Then it comes the option of digital camera model and types of lenses. Does one pick Canon, Nikon, Sony or Fuji, Pentax? Also how much depth of field matters for the type of photography and style one already selected. Having the right equipment is an important decision every photographer has to make. it would influence the quality and look of the photographs one would produce. Not an easy or cheap choice if you ask me.

And will all the selections already made, then it comes the time for one to start practicing, getting experience working with clients and building solid portfolio. As some are better at the technical aspect of photography, this could be a quite a steep learning. Managing client’s expectations, booking appointments and advertising a business takes so much energy from the otherwise creating and pleasurable activity. Wasn’t all going to be interesting and creative, one might ask? Yes and not. Managing the business aspect of the photography business takes time and efforts.

So finally with choices made, gear available and clients coming for photo sessions, it’s all about fun, isn’t it? Well wanted to bring another point which each photographer should consider and this is: unique look and vision. Finding this secret ingredient which will make the clients whooa the images one produces. This means finding interesting compositions and creative points of view to frame the compositions. A photograph is just a framed one dimensional representation of  the reality around us. What to include or exclude, what to emphasize or what to diminish it up to each artists and creator. The reality can be shaped and represented in some many ways, which makes the portrait, wedding and engagement photography so interesting.

So what is the point of view? This is the angle from which the camera is positioned and subject appearance can be manipulated. Look from above is diminishing the subject dimensions casing it to appear smaller and shorter, while look fro below elongates the subject and makes ti appear longer. One technique which I have been experimenting with is the Dutch Angle. It creates a sense of tension and gives a dynamic look to each composition. For more on this point of view and to see examples, read this article on Wikipedia:

So in summary, photography is a very creative process and takes time to master. It requires lots of patience and time to get proficient into  and lots of efforts to constantly improve. Many factors contribute to becoming a good portrait or wedding photographer, but the good thing is that if one is committed it can only get better over time. I know I have been working to add more clients and images to my portfolio and client galleries at:


Have a different opinion, agree or disagree? Drop me a line or post your comment.


Trifon Anguelov Photography

Portrait and Wedding Photographer in Mountain View, CA

website at:



Smugmug vs Zenfolio: Photo Sharing Site Comparison

Abstract Image by Trifon Anguelov PhotographyA portfolio is a must for any visual artist: graphic designer, animator, videographer or photographer. It presents potential clients with quick overview of the artists best work and sets the expectations of what to expect. It helps to visualize the vision and experience of the artists into 8-10 pieces of work.

I as a photographer decided to build and maintain online photography portfolio so that my clients can see my best images. And not just the images but also post-processing skills which I have built over time.

And are there plenty of choices one has for online portfolio? Yes. Way too many. But after reviewing some of them I was able to distil the options to two which I decided to consider: Smugmug and Zenfolio. The good part is that both offer 30 days evaluation period during which one can test the features of each offering and take them for a “test drive”. At the end as all things in life, it comes down to making a decision.

For me the choice was Smugmug based on my needs and features which I think worked better for me. Here is the list of some of the decision considerations:

– Smugmug offered a complete customization (can write your own HTML and CSS, customize the headers and footers of the page, many menu options, custom HTML contact, info pages, etc) which is what I needed to tailor my website to my vision and needs

– Smugmug had much better website site-index (this is what search engines read to understand the website organization and crawl it, then add the results to their index). if you are planning to offer services and make money from the website, then you need to be placed higher in SE results and site-index helps

– There are more than 20 website themes on Smugmug to start with (you can stay with the default themes or use them as starting point and change to your taste and needs) as base foundation and them modify and customize. Having choices is better and having more choices is best in my view. I used one of the templates and them changed the background color, fonts, layout to come up with the final look for my photography website

– Smugmug offered access to up to 6 professional photo labs (including one I like BayPhoto.  Zanfolio uses MPix  which is also good choice) which my clients can order prints from. Again, lots of options is best as each client might have used one of the 6 labs in the past and feel comfortable with the prints quality, so the whole experience is better

– Smugmug customer support is more responsive (during the trials of both I had questions on how customize the templates and fount Semugmug support answered within 1 hour while Zenfolio took more than 6 hours)

– Smugmug picks up the image tags you assign in Lightroom and adds them to each image you upload. You can also add hyper-keywords to each image which are later being picked up and indexed by the search engines. This allows your images to be available in the images search for certain search terms (family photographer, baby pictures, etc). Gold when you need clients to find you online.

– Smugmug has up to 12 levels of gallery hierarchy (you can have Portraits (first level) : Headshots, Baby, Family (second level) : Headshots Male, Headshots Female, Baby Newborn, Baby One Months, Baby Two Months, etc (third level) etc. useful if you want to sell prints and need to organize your images by themes in different dimensions.

– Website customizations are available from grin Smugmug forums and many users have already shared examples of their layout customizations and HTML / CSS code.

– Smugmug offers a hierarchical organization of site layouts. On the top level there is a content that will appear on all pages, followed by a gallery specific content, and on the bottom there is a page specific content.  Each level can be customized and edited for the greatest flexibility in site customization. It’s bit more complicated than Zenfolio layout organization but once one understands it, is is quite easy to build and customize the site and pages.

– e-commerce on Smugmug allows much more customization and greater control over the pricing and offers much more merchandize options. For a starter,Smugmug offers much more print options of paper type, framing, gallery wrap, canvas, etc. – using photo sharing site on mobile devices is a must nowadays. I tested on both Motorola DROID and Apple iPhone mobile phones as well on Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tables. Some of my images were not displayed correctly on iPhone when using Zenfolio but on Smugmug the image rendering was working flawlessly.  While using Smugmug the images appreared sharper on Galaxy Note tablet compared to Zenfolio. Each Smugmug gallery has an option to apply default sharpening on all images from the gallery which I guess made the difference.

– The new Smugmug interface was recently released and new set of tools were added to further customize these templates and add in basic elements to further customize the front page or galleries: slideshow, HTML and CSS boxes. Adding to the website is as easy as drag and drop into the desired position and later customizing all the settings by drop down menus.

– Optimization for all three user devices: tablet, browser and mobile devices.  Rendering is adjusted for each screen size and I find the images and text are scaled down very accurately. Some long titles in the menu options wrap on mobile screens but it still looks very well.

– Social networking integration has been added to Smugmug by having complete set of customization to add and modify blog, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter links. These links can be added on both the front page, galleries and on each HTML page which makes is easy for your clients to share the site and pages with their friends.

– Lastly, Smugmug offers website usage statistics for the views per site, gallery and individual pictures which is useful to understand the visits and views of your galleries and site as overall. And if this is not enough or granular, there is seamless integration with Google WebTools and Google Analytics. Registration code is easily pasted into a designated field without having to modify any code or meta tags.

Decision however depends on how comfortable you feel on customizing photo sharing website and do you really need to do it. Zenfolio offers out of the box with less customization option, while Smugmug offers powerful customization but needs  HTML and CSS, web design knowledge for customization (out of the box is fine).

Whichever you decide to pick, look for discount promo codes. Most photo sharing websites offer promotions and why pay more. At the time when I made my choice, Smugmug was offering  20% discount. Bu so did Zenfolio as well. The market for photo sharing sites is very competitive and saturated so the competition is heating up and companies are offering sign-up discounts.

To see my photo sharing site and photography portfolio using Smugmug, visit:


Think differently? Agree or disagree? Drop me a line or more in a comment section…

Trifon Anguelov Photography

Portrait and Wedding Photographer in Mountain View, CA, 94040

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To specialize or Not to specialize in Photography

IMG_20140122_185942Recently saw a post from a fellow photographer who was introducing himself, inquiring for paid photography jobs and posting a link to his portfolio. After looking through his portfolio it became apparent that he has been shooting many different types of photography: wildlife, sports, landscapes, portraits, architecture.  Many examples of different types of photography but none of it strong enough to captivate ones attention and get hired.

So that get me thinking on what is the purpose of a photographer’s portfolio? Here is what I have observed so far. Portfolio is an abbreviated selection from photographers best work up to date. It’s the best of the best collection of images which a photographer is presenting to others for consideration and review with different purposes:

– hiring the photographer for a particular job

– learning about photographer’s  style and vision

– get a baseline of the photographer’s experience and level as of the review date

So rather than having a portfolio which proves a photographer is “jack of all trades” and can shoot all photography styles and images, I think is much more useful to tailor a portfolio to the area a photographer is focusing on or trying to be hired for. Tailored portfolio makes it easier to review and understand the strong sides and talent of the photographer.

But what about a photographer being well versed into all types of photography and ready to take on any assessment, my fellow photographer asked? He felt that he just so good that can do any job: weddings, commercial jobs, headshots, events photography, landscapes, architecture for everyone who was willing to hire. For me this is a wishful thinking.

I think of the professional photography as like a restaurants business: potential clients always look for the best photographers in a particular niche and hire the best of the best. very rarely they are going to consider someone who is average or starting with weddings to do a wedding, or starter landscape photographer over proven and established landscape photographer to do the job for them. Why take the risk and get a generalist when they can hire a professional and specialist? The same as clients don’t go to a sushi bar to get a steak and don’t go to a taqueria to eat pizza.

Being generalist can also hurt the photographer hiring prospect in a long term: not having a strong body of work and solid track record in certain type of photography is a weakness. For potential clients it appears one doesn’t find a specific type of photography interesting enough or it has not yet became a passion to specialize in, therefore the lack of skill level and dedication are major deterrent to hire this photographer.

This doesn’t mean one has to pick a photography area and don’t do anything else. On the contrary, one should have personal projects and explore beyond the “bread and butter”, but still bring new ideas from these projects into his main body of work: lighting, location, mood. Photography is a journey without a destination or time frame. One can spend his entire life mastering his favorite photography type and develop unique body of work granted that he discover what this photography type is and dedicates time and efforts to master it.

After all one can only get better if he focuses and improves over time.

Think differently, agree or disagree? Drop me a line or comment below.


By Trifon Anguelov

Portrait and Wedding Photographer, Mountain View, CA 94040



Ten Photography Portfolio Websites For You To Consider

IMG_0033Many photographers nowadays consider or have been thinking to create and display a photography portfolio to showcase their work. This is absolutely necessary and every photographer should have a professional portfolio. First it forces every photographer to organize their past and most recent work, have a critical review and sort out its best work for the portfolio. The sole process of review, sorting out and even asking fellow photographers for feedback is worth the time itself.

Gone are the days when one had to hire a professional web designer and spend lots of money to get a photography website and portfolio. But things have changed and one can  get setup and running for less than a day. Many companies offer such services for a small monthly fee. And still I am surprised to see how few photographers go through the trouble to set up a portfolio.

True it requires work to sort the portfolio images, research the websites offering portfolio solutions, pick a site theme and upload the images but this is one time investment and later updating the portfolio by taking “weak” images and adding new and more “solid” images is not that time-consuming. The benefit of presenting yourself as a professional photographer and building both awareness and also body of photography work is immensely important.

I went through the same when I first started to thinker with the idea. Did lots of research and reading before picking my portfolio and website provider. Here are some of the sites to consider (planning to update this blog with more in the future):

Photoshelter: http:/








Folio Link:


Each offering has its plus and minuses so make sure you answer yourself and know the answers to these questions:

  • how easy if to use the service? Does it require lots of time to learn and is the site intuitive to work with?
  • is it expandable? Can one not only host and post its portfolio but also setup store to sell prints, organize images in galleries, collections, etc
  • can the themes and web design be modified and tailored to one needs and likes?

These are just some of the questions but no matter what provider you pick, having your photography portfolio online will help to put you apart from the guy next door who offers their photography services but still doesn’t have a portfolio.

Think differently, agree or disagree? Drop me a line or comment below.

About the Author:

Trifon Anguelov Photography is a Premiere Bay Area Wedding and Events Photography business  based in Mountain View, CA 94040 and serving clients in San Francisco Bay Area. You can follow him on social media (links in the top right sideblock of this blog) or check his latest photography projects on his Wedding and Portrait Photography Site