Let there be light(room)
The way I organise the content on this website has changed and evolved multiple times as the years have gone on. What started out as a hobby I was 100% committed to, has over time evolved into something I still love, but simply don’t have the time or energy to dedicate to it that I once did due to inevitable changes in social and family life. More and more I find myself looking not for the most advanced and bombastic way to display content as I used to, but rather nowadays I prefer the most streamlined, efficient and convenient workflow.
For the vast majority of the lifespan of this site, I’ve been using Flickr to host my photo albums and used a plugin to pull them through to this website, as WordPress simply doesn’t have good built in file management facilities for large numbers of files, and Flickr provided a much better way to manage albums. This did still however meant an extra layer of work, as I would have to edit my photos on the computer, export finished photos and upload them to Flickr, then import them from there into my website, I had the routine down to a fine art, but it was still all extra steps, and making minor changes to the edit on a shot or adding/removing photos was all too often more of a hassle than it was worth. Flickr then announced within the last few days at time of writing this, that they were changing their pricing models and the free service I had been enjoying was going to become more restricted, potentially leaving me in a situation of having to pay for the same service, which encouraged me to revisit my workflow.
Also not long ago at time of writing, I changed my subscription with Adobe from the desktop based Lightroom/Photoshop package, to the fully cloud based Lightroom CC package. I did this for a few reasons, chief among them backups and ease of workflow. For years I have, as I imagine do most photographers, backed up my entire photo collection to external hard drives, however I became increasingly aware that I was not keeping on top of running regular backups, so the cloud based storage of the Lightroom CC package was a huge appeal, taking the manual step out of the process. Equally, with a new baby on the way, I became very aware of the fact I was unlikely to get the sort of time to sit at my desk processing photos that I was used to (if I even got the time to take many photos), so the Lightroom CC mobile app was a very attractive option, as sitting on the sofa watching the baby while editing photos on a tablet seemed a much more likely prospect. After confirming that I can with a simple USB adapter and card reader, take photos straight from my camera, copy them to my tablet and import them into Lightroom without ever having to touch my computer, I was sold and made the switch
An unexpected benefit of this change was that I discovered Lightroom CC offers the ability to create shareable web albums directly from the catalogues you create in the app, albums that I found I really liked the style of. The massive bonus of these albums is that adding or removing photos, changing the edit of the photo itself, changing page breaks and descriptions, or simply rearranging the order of things, is reflected instantly on the online album when you make the changes in Lightroom.
So, given all of the above, it made perfect sense to me to drop Flickr and utilise Lightroom to display all of my photo albums, a change I have now made in full. The one downside is that there’s no way to embed the content directly into my website, so each gallery now opens in a separate page, but with a few tweaks to the colour scheme on the main site I think it looks close enough that it’s not too jarring a change. All this means that future updates to albums are no longer a case of multiple tedious steps of exporting and importing, simply adding the photos I’m already editing to an existing album in my Lightroom catalogue and refreshing the page, making it simpler and easier for me to keep things more up to date.
So anyway, long story short, the website has had yet another overhaul of the gallery structure. In addition to the albums themselves changing, I took the opportunity to consolidate and categorise things to reduce the number of items on the page and hopefully make it all a bit more streamlined. I have also deleted the vast majority of my past blog posts as the majority of them referred to either past site changes or album structures which are now irrelevant, overall leaving me a much cleaner and leaner site to work from.