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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Basics For Photographers

Drought in California by Trifon Angelov Photography  The question about Search Engine Optimization or simply SEO sure comes to the minds of every photographer who has a online portfolio or business website to present and sell their work. As mostly everyone in the major developed countries is connected to Internet and uses different search engines to find information, so many photographers nowadays are putting their work and hope to be discovered by their potential clients.

But let’s face it, just because one created a website and put it online it doesn’t mean it will be easily discovered and found. It’s like walking on a very busy downtown street and hoping others will pay attention to you. To be discovered a website has to be first indexed by the search engines which visit (crawl) the website and use automated programs (robots) to read the site content, understand the context of the site and organize all this in their indexes.

So once added into the search engine indexes, each site is being ranked (ordered by importance) for certain search keywords and queries, so when a search engine user types in the browser window that he/she is searching for “wedding photographer in mountain view ca” the search engine would know which are highest ranked (most suitable and useful) websites to contain the information for this query.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is addressing how a webpage domain name, text and organization, plus being updated and linked to other sites (aka optimized) so it appears higher in search engine result pages. The higher it appears, the more likely someone would click on it when searching for the terms the website is related to. The ultimate goal is to be in the first position of search engine organic results.

It’s proven that the first result gets 63% of the clicks, second result 13%, third 6 % and no body really cares to click down further the page. It will amaze many to learn that the first 9 search result links on first page receive 99% of the user clicks. Scrolling to the second page of search engine results and clicking on a link there never happens in relation to all search queries performed daily.

Back to our example for the “wedding photographer mountain view ca” query in Google search engine, the result pages below the first three results (the first three are paid by advertisers) are called organic search results and based on the website page rank.

To increase the rank many factors apply:

– the age of page (the longer domain name and page has been around the higher the trust from SE and rank is. Think of company brand: the older is the more trustworthy it is compared to company registered few weeks ago)

– the keywords the page text or image descriptions have and how they match the search query (website with many “wedding” , “photographer” and “mountain view” keywords would be a good match to the above search query)

– how many other sites are referencing this site (think of a research papers in university library: if every single white paper refers to a research source from the same author, then this author is considered very trustworthy and has higher reference rank – this must be your website, many people link to it and reference it on their website).

These are just few and their weight in the final formula varies from search engine to search engine. Plus the formula changes all the time as each search engine tweaks and tries to beat the search engine spammers which are trying to cheat the search engine and place their spam pages or their clients freshly minted pages higher than the more trustworthy and established sites with more quality content and more useful to users.

So why photographers need to be aware of SEO and optimize their photography websites? Simple: to be easily discovered by their clients and to improve their ranking into the search engine results. One can dramatically improve their page ranking if using keywords relevant to their business as: photographer, photography, wedding, engagement, session, studio, etc. There are so many ways to achieve better page ranking which is a topic of another blog but I hope to answer the question: What is SEO and why one needs to be aware of it?

Agree, disagree, have comments or feedback? Drop me a line in the comments section and if you like this post, share it with your friends so they can also benefit from information.

Written by Trifon Anguelov
Trifon Anguelov Photography is a premiere Wedding and Events Photographer in Mountain View, CA
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Is Using Photoshop To Post-Process Photos Cheating?

Trifon Anguelov Photography - Octopus Is a photographer using Photoshop to create composite images or alter digital images cheating the viewers?

This is the question which comes so many times on photography related forums and blogs, topic of so many Facebook discussions and debates. I have been hearing this question so many times while talking to photographers and decided that this deserves a dedicated blog entry.

So let’s first start by explaining what the argument seems to be all about. A photographer captures a digital image, then downloads the picture into his/her computer and starts a digital post-processing in Photoshop. This might include replacing the background of the image, adding additional light sources which were not in the original image, removing subjects or objects from the image, adding objects into the image from another image, combining exposures, etc. All form of digital editing used by nowadays photographers.

On one side of the debate there are the so called “purists”: photographers who believe in pure documentary style of photography and that the main purpose of a photographer is to capture the reality unaltered and unmodified. No changes to the digital images after being captured whatsoever. On the other side of the debates are the “artists”: photographers who don’t like to be constrained from what the reality has to offer and like to add their own vision and touch to each image. They believe that reality is fine by itself but the role of the photographer is to use the reality and communicate the photographer’s vision by altering the digital images.

Each side has their logic behind their choices of course. The photojournalists are trained to capture the events as they unfold, set the stage and wait for the moments to happen, communicate the truth about the moment and emotions as they really happened. While the artists are creative minds, which are bored to death to see the same images of the same subjects or objects over and over and need to express themselves, not just capture the reality.
For me, I am more of the mix from both. Capture genuine moments and emotions and use all tools available to enhance the image and bring the viewers attention to the focal point if the image. A picture needs to have a story with both interesting subjects or objects but also with refined post processing to make an impression.

Why I think so. Simple. Ask yourself: Is adding special effects to movie cheating? Don’t we all enjoy the movies with special effects exactly because they invoke certain feelings by enhancing the main story?
Is painting the walls of our homes cheating, or dressing in different clothes every day cheating? We were definitely not born with clothes or our the walls of our homes didn’t come painted with the colors we like. Are women dressing their hair and putting make up cheating? The examples, go on and on.

The point is that photographs need to be genuine and not fake. The photographs are intended to documenting the reality and it is what the photographer should do but in the same time a photographer need to be able to inspire the viewers, provoke their feelings and generate ideas. Adding digital effects or altering digital images is not a sin but a creative process in which the photographer creates their own masterpieces from what seems to be everyday reality. It’s what differentiate one photographer from another photographer. It’s what makes one picture to look different and communicate different ideas from another.

Agree, disagree, have comments or feedback? Drop me a line in the comments section and if you like this post, share it with your friends so they can also benefit from information.

Written by Trifon Anguelov

Trifon Anguelov Photography is a premiere Wedding and Events Photographer, Mountain View, CA
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Candid Portraits and Street Photography – What You need To Know!

Abstract Photo by Trifon Anguelov Photography Portrait photography is an interesting type of photography. Photographing live people individually or in groups allows a portrait photographer to capture different moods, feelings and personalities with its digital or film cameras. Because every human being is unique in their facial features and all of us express themselves in unpredictable and different ways, taking portraits never produces the same results. Single camera and lens with the same settings can produce completely different looks and portraits. Corporate headshots, personal portraits, kids portraits and family portraits. They all look different.

Some studio photographers use preset studio lighting to control the environment and look of their images, while outdoor or natural light photographers learn how to capture the best sun light at the right time. Other practice street photography and capture candid pictures of strangers which they will most likely never see again or get to know. The entire “picture by surprise” element yields such interesting images and unprovoked reactions that is a both trill and fun to do.

Traditionally, photographers are not obligated to ask for a consent or permission to take images from strangers as long as they are not trying to sell these pictures or otherwise benefit without the consent of the person being photographed. Most of the photographers are required to have model release form from the person being photographed first. But if one takes the images for their own pleasure and personal use, the law has been on photographer’s side.

Things are however starting to change. Many people concerned about their privacy are starting to put pressure on their governments to adopt laws protecting their privacy. The latest news comes from Hungary where the legislators passed a law to make it illegal to take pictures in public places without consent. So be aware and check with the laws in each country you are planning to visit about their street and on public paces photography rules.

To read more about the story:

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

Trifon Anguelov

Portrait and Wedding Photographer in Mountain View, CA, 94040


The Attention Is The New Currency or How Every Photographer Can Get Attention Nowadays

Clock Photography by Trifon AnguelovNot in the distant feature it used to be that one had to be employed into a large media company to create content, publish it and reach millions of viewers around the world. Images were created by photographers employed by large media companies and their craft was so exclusive and hard to get into that it was a privilege to be an assistant in a dark room and learn from a professional photographer. Apprentices had to be patient and very persistent if they wanted to learn the insights of making photographs.

But no longer this is the case. With the advancements in digital imaging and affordability of digital cameras, nowadays more than ever everyone can be a creator and publisher of digital images. As well everyone can get attention with a digital camera and the world of social media. No longer one has to be an apprentice to learn the craft of photography or post processing. Online video courses, e-books, blogs, forums are offering instant knowledge for the hungry and creative minds around the Globe. Instagram, Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter and many other social networks offer instant sharing of digital images.

Everyone can be a creator and publisher with a push of a button. Everyone can express his ideas and creative vision at any time of the day as long as he learns how to use smartphone or point & shoot camera and has internet access.

Communicating with images also offers lots of freedom. Some ideas are hard to explain and communicate. Visual is the king today. Grab a digital camera and capture the world around you, post it and let people see you. Care for dogs dressed in pink outfits? Well there are just enough people online looking for such pictures and they can give you the attention and appreciation for your eye and images almost instantaneous.

In the World of instant gratification, communicating with images offers instant feedback and appreciation. No matter if you had a bad day at work or receive bad news. Simply snap an amazing picture, upload and get likes which will make you feel better and appreciated. The feeling that someone in the digital world, values your efforts and finds your images interesting enough to comment or like them, is like instant happiness happening every second in some any lives.

So if you feel down or had a bad day, grab a smartphone or P&S camera, find an interesting subject, snap a picture and share it online. The chances that someone would find it interesting and would appreciate your effort is very high. Everyone can be a creator, receive an attention and feel appreciated nowadays.

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


Trifon Anguelov

Portrait and Wedding Photographer in Mountain View, CA, 94040

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The Single Worst Mistake a Photographer Can Make

IMG_20140211_180958510_1Have you ever asked yourself the question: What is the worst thing you can do to yourself and your photographic journey? Do you know the answer?

I will offer one for you to consider: Comparing yourself to other photographers. It’s simple and you should remember never to do that to yourself.

Why you might ask. And with a good reason. After all isn’t every photographer taking images so that he can share with clients, friends or fellow photographers? Isn’t photography a visual art which is mean to be shared, reviewed and critiqued? Wouldn’t sharing and comparing to other photographers make one grow and improve its skills? Well, if you think the answer is yes, consider these arguments:

  • Although all humans are 99% genetically similar, when it comes to untangle qualities as: talent, motivation, skills, determination, willingness to spend time to improve not everyone is the same. How one can compare to other photographer who started its career much earlier and had the advantage of making and learning from much more mistakes? Why one would expect to be on the same level with someone who decided to spend 10 times more time on improving itself and has much more determination?
  • Not everyone has the same goals as a photographer. One might be happy to get certain image quality and look while other is targeting be best in the field and considers his journey as not complete until he achieve complete. If the goals and motivation are different how the results could be compared?
  • Some photographers make living from their craft and photography is their full time job while others are part-time photographers or “weekend warriors” and take images for fun. It’s impossible that the results from both would be the same considering the competition level of being a paid photographer compared to being a non-paid photographer.
  • Not everyone learns how to improve in photography at the same pace. One takes longer to grasp a concept and learns best by trying different compositions and camera settings while other might learn better by reading and internalizing before even trying to take a image. If one compares to a person who grasps the concepts faster and is more artistic person by nature, he would be always following that or similar fast paced photographers and would never be satisfied with itself. Putting itself down and constantly feeling as running from behind, can do incurable damage to ones photography passion and inspiration.
  • Plus there are so many great photographers in much more advanced phase of their photography journey that is close to impossible to catch up with all of them in the same time. Chasing someone without a clear goal and target is bound to failure. Plus is ruins one’s self esteem by constantly reminding itself that he is still behind the masters in the field and getting discouraged daily from its results.

So, stop comparing and trying to compare yourself to other photographers. Stop obsessing on trying to post every day your images and trying to prove you are better than the others. Please, do compete in print competitions or themed challenges but do it for the sake of learning and improving your own skills, not for proving you are better that so and so photographer.

There is nothing more damaging to a photographer than to constantly looking over its shoulder and trying to be someone else. Trying to copy many different styles and looks, would results to being nobody and not having any personality in the photographic work. Instead, a photographer should enjoy the journey and find its own interests, type of photography and style that satisfy the own vision. I am not saying that this vision would be crystal clean from day one neither that one should not ever look at other  photographer’s work. This would be stupid. Looking and absorbing the style, trying to draw ideas and implementing them in its own way is creative. Trying to copy someone’s else work and constantly obsessing with not being as good is just a loss of valuable time.

Instead one should invest time to find its own interests, internal drivers and create its own style. Then take the photographic journey as its own pace. And after all, have fun and enjoy. It it ends up causing you more stress and anxiety, then stop, take a break and come back to it when ready. It’s your journey and you should be in command. Don’t let others distract you or slow you down in your growth as a photographer.

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


By Trifon Anguelov, Photographer, Mountain View, CA 94040


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Your DLSR Camera Is a Passport To New Places and Souls

IMG_20140121_224853Having DLSR is like having a passport. It allows you to go to places you might never go otherwise.

Image what you can do with a tool which can capture moments of time and record human emotions, amazing landscapes and unique wild creatures. Architecture and otherwise impossible to put together in a flat surface compositions, are now possible. DLSR camera grants you an access to meet new people and explore new places. You will be surprised how much human emotions you can experience and how many human souls you will encounter.

People are natural artists and they like to the center of attention. They like others to admire and compliment them. And expressing themselves in front spectators could be an instinct of proving one’s vitality and reaffirming itself. No matter if you are shy meeting other people. Point a camera at them, smile and they will engage with you. You will also have an excuse to leave your house, get off the couch on the weekend and search for a landscape, wake up early and chase birds outdoors.

I think DLSR is just another social networking tool. You can start meeting and get to know lots of photographers with the same interest or with the same eagerness to explore places and connect with other people. And more experiences means richer foundation to stay informed and make better decisions in life. Why not learn from fellow photographers, observe the things around you and learn to see them in a way you have never seen before. Through a lens and with a camera one can frame a portion of the world around him and capture a slice of time, he chooses and decided to.

So if you have been thinking or delaying getting your first digital camera, don’t delay anymore. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive or top of the line with the latest feature. Get one. Point and shoot! Mirrorless! One smartphone with a 8Mpx camera. Start exploring the World around you. Anything is better than nothing. You will be amazed how much new things and people you will find out there…

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


By Trifon Anguelov, Photographer, Mountain View, CA 94040