This is a story how I do it. It might not be the best solution there is but it works for me and is cheap but still using great quality items. There is a lot to think about if you are doing serious photography as a hobby. It also cost a lot of money if you like to have a lot of tools to help you with. But to keep the price low, have a kick-ass presence on the web and be in control of your own stuff is worth it for me.
Ok what we got, sure your camera, lenses flashes and gadgets, I’m not going to talk about that, we all have to do it with something. So what is it that makes it work for me?
To start with I’m using WordPress on a self hosted WordPress domain since 2003 and still have a great time with it. I always had my own domain name and was blogging of all bits and pieces including photography. WordPress.com was too limited for me. The reason is that I cannot choose my own plugins and change a theme the way I wanted. Also storage is limited but still enough for most people. To run your own domain you need to pay your domain registration and pay for hosting. (See prices and explanation on the bottom of this post) In combination with a WordPress blog I also use gallery software that is free to use, just like the WordPress software that is free to use.
For my portfolio/gallery I choose Piwigo (http://piwigo.org/) this has also plugins and themes so I was familiar with the concept as they are also used in WordPress. Also they are actively developing their software for over 12 years now so it is up to date and improves all the time. To see my portfolio see http://dutcheagle.com/portfolio The best thing I found is that you can add a portfolio images directly into your WordPress post without leaving the WordPress editor. This uses a WordPress plugin that is not available on WordPress.com It links the image so there is no upload or double storage. (PiwigoMedia plugin)
Now for the blogging 101 and photography 101 classes on WordPress.com there was a little annoyance that I had to solve. Everything you do on a self hosted WordPress site will not show up in “The Reader” also tags won’t work. I found a plugin that I installed on my self hosted blog that will crosspost (copy) to your WordPress.com Blog. So there is minimal maintenance and no need to go to your WordPress.com blog. But be aware now your comments are in two places, WordPress.com and your self-hosted one but I can live with that. Be. aware that it does not work if you make a WordPress gallery.
Let’s talk about editing your images for a bit. I am a fan of Adobe Photoshop Elements (PSE for here on) and use it since version 3 (November 1994) converted to Photoshop CC end of last year but ended that this month again. I always went back to PSE. Adobe Photoshop Elements is a great image editor and photo organizer. It does most of the things a hobbyist needs it to do; in fact, it does most of the things many professional photographers need it to do. Honestly you do not need CC when using PSE. The only way you can tell I use PSE is to look at the EXIF of the image. SO it works for me. What does not work for me is Picasa, Gimp and all other freeware. I’m subscribed to a great resource that help me do everything in PSE: http://www.photoshopelementsuser.com/
PSE is very user friendly and ca be used in 3 levels of experience, Quick, Guided and Expert. You grow with the use of the program. PSE has some great plugins to do whatever you want and get it closer to the CC program. Some examples; Nik Software, Topaz Labs, Elements XXL and Elements+ . The last two will add some hidden functions back to the menu.
So the cost of all those goodies:
1. Domain name registration at Goddady.com $12.99 per year for a .com domain (First year is cheaper)
2. Hosting with Hostgator.com $6.36 per month ($76.32 per year) 3 year plan and unlimited domains or $3.96 per month for a 1 domain hosting ($47.52 per year) a 3 year sign up.
3. Photoshop Elements 13 Now $49.99 limited time on Amazon if you are a prime member, no need to renew/update per year, no yearly fee. (Look for Black Friday deals if you are not a prime member.
4. Plugins from $12 to $149 but start without them you be ok 🙂
That makes a total of $12,- per month, the cheapest option would be $9 per month (Prices rounded off)
So instead of running Photoshop in the cloud I spend my money on PSE, Domain name and Hosting and could not be more happy. I know this is a lot of information to digest but think about it and please ask me questions in the comments, I’m happy to help answer them.
And if you have more options, let me know please.