A Photo Folio is excited to launch a series of interviews to showcase some of our clients, their work and what inspires them to be the best in the business.
Our first interview is with photographer Andrei Duman who specializes in landscape, aerial and travel photography. Andrei is originally from Romania and now resides in LA after stops in London and New York.
You have images on your site from every corner of the world. How many countries have you visited to shoot? I have been fortunate enough to have traveled to over 70 countries. I have always been an open-minded traveler and am fascinated with going to locations that are not your “go to” places. The ones off the beaten path were and still are the ones that intrigue me as they are still unspoiled. The harder it is to get to the location the more determined I am. The culture is still relatively untouched and you really do get to feel the place. In my younger days I was a semi-professional tennis player and had to travel to tournaments in far off lands to get points such as Brunei, Syria and Tunisia.
What is the most unique place you have ever shot? I have a few but if I had to name one it has to be Easter Island. I fell in love with the place as soon as I touched it. The history, the culture and amazing feats of engineering to not only carve the statues but the way they moved the stones from the one quarry on the island all the way to the coast is nothing short of breathtaking. What enhanced the experience was the fact that we were pretty much alone and felt we had the whole island to ourselves. Really had the time to take it all in and prepare the right shot.
Of all the places you have been to shoot, what it the one location you would love to go back and visit/shoot? That would have to be Iceland. It is my favorite country that I have ever been to. It is a land of amazing contrasts from the black stark beaches to the majestic glaciers and bewildering waterfalls. It is also one of the most challenging places that I have ever shot in because of the constant changing weather. I went during the summer and also returned to shoot the ice caves, both experiences bringing their own unique complications. It was the first time that I used crampons to abseil down a huge glacier, cross a raging river on a ladder, crawl on my belly through an ice cave, all with my camera equipment in tow. The results were worth it all.
What is one place you have been to shoot where the photographs simply couldn’t do the location justice? That’s a hard one to answer. I would have to say Namibia in some ways, especially in the Namib desert simply because it was so difficult to get the scale of the dunes. I felt that even with my widest lens, I could not present them in the light that they deserved.
What destinations are on your photography bucket list? My bucket list is ever growing, with Madagascar, Bhutan, Antarctica, New Zealand, Galapagos and Maldives on the soon to do list.
What is the hardest part about shooting on location? With all the research I do when planning a trip to know the best time of day to shoot and how to get access to certain locations, it is only when you physically are there that many other obstacles arise. You realize that the sun does not follow the path you planned and does not shine correctly when shooting in a building (like my experience in the Namibia ghost town), that you cannot get access to the location unless you bribe the locals or that the vegetation has grown a lot more than you imagined (Cambodia Temple) and that when shooting animals, they do not play by your rules and do whatever they want (Gorilla Hike in Uganda).
Can you go someplace exotic and leave the camera behind? I do struggle with this one. I find it very hard because no matter where I go I am always on the lookout for that great shot, so leaving all my camera gear behind is tough. I do think that it is important to walk away from your camera from time to time. It gives you the time to think a little and take in some of the sights that one normally misses when behind the lens.
If you didn’t have to pay the bills with photography, what would you love to shoot? Exactly what I am shooting now. Remote locations, unique landscapes, fascinating tribes
You have spectacular images from Africa. What are the challenges of shooting in that environment? First of all it is hard to get your equipment there as they use small planes to get around the countries and they do not allow my big bag at the back of the plane. Also bringing my big tripod is a challenge and they will ask you to check it in. I never do and I try my hardest to persuade them otherwise. When you do make it, I did not find it too much of an issue to shoot in the Masai or Serengeti for example. The light is good most of the time, depending on time of year, it does not rain too much and overall, the biggest issue is the unpredictability of the animal behavior. We were driving around in Etosha National Park in Namibia every day for 2 days and did not see any big cats.
You have some amazing aerial images. Are these shot from a drone or helicopter? I shoot mostly from helicopters with the doors off after lengthy discussions with the pilot about the location as well as the flight path/panning to gain the optimal angle for the shots.
How will drones change aerial photography? I think drones will change aerial photography a great deal. I am in the process of working with a drone company to start incorporating drones in my work. First of all it is a safety issue, so reducing chance of harm to yourself and it allows you to perform maneuvers that will be difficult with a helicopter. You can also get more interesting shots and get closer to certain subjects so I am sure that as technology progresses, we will be seeing some new angles and types of photos. Being aware of the negative aspect of using drones, such as privacy and locations where you cannot fly are important lessons to learn.
You are opening a new gallery on September 17th in Los Angeles. What is the most daunting part of opening a new gallery?Everything! The build, the spiraling costs, the chance of total failure, will people buy, what will people think of the work? There are a lot of things that can go wrong, but also a lot of things that can go right and that’s what motivates me to keep going. All I am trying to achieve is a place where people can enjoy good quality, true to the subject photography.
What part of the gallery business are you most excited about? I think it is meeting new people and making connections. I am looking forward to discussing my work with regular customers and other photographers alike and learning more about their experiences and travels. I want the gallery to be a place where people can come in and learn more about photography and it is my intention to provide classes to support that. I was recently made an Ambassador to Hoya Filters and Icebreakers Clothing and have a few other companies that will be sponsoring the gallery which is also exciting for me. Continuing to build those relationships is what excites me from a business perspective. I am also in the process of partnering up with St Jude (an organization that is very close to my heart) and I will be donating a certain % of my sales for the good cause that they do on an everyday basis.
The Andre Duman Gallery
6316 North Topanga Blvd Suite 1170
Woodland Hills, CA.
Why did you choose a Photo Folio for your website? I chose PhotoFolio as my main site because it provided me the flexibility that other websites could not. It allows me to make marginal changes that help me create the look and feel that I am seeking in my site. The control is given to me and I am not pigeonholed into only a few adjustments. The images are crisp, move effortlessly and I get a great deal of compliments on its aesthetic. It is for this reason that I am also using aPhotofolio for the gallery page. It also helps a great deal that the support team is very helpful, efficient and quick to answer all queries I have.
Photo Folio was just awarded Best Website Design, twice, in the 2015 PDN Photo Annual in the Self Promotion category. (They eliminated the website category after we won 12 times last year and 8 times the year before that).
Winning 33 times over the past 6 years is a true testament to the power of our software and the constant evolution of the DesignX program. We’re the only software company to win this year.
We’ve reached an incredible milestone today! Nearly 8 years ago when we founded Photo Folio the industry was dominated by Templates. You locked into a design with a menu location, thumbnail type, transition… even colors and fonts. Heck, one company even charged to upload a logo for you ;). Seems like 20 years ago.
The problem with templates as we saw it, was that you couldn’t customize them, and that the cool new features you developed for the latest template were not available to the users of your older templates. Lame.
So we created one design that was completely customizable and infinitely updatable: Design X.
Today, we’re adding a new feature called Design Switcher that allows you to pick between 6 different designs we’ve created, create variations on those, or create and save your own designs. You can switch between designs with the push of a button.
To us, this is the logical evolution of the template. It’s just a button that engages some settings. It’s exciting for us to be the pioneers of this important idea in website design.
Here’s a video to help you get started:
You can see examples of all the pre-configured designs here:
Couple other minor changes we made:
NEW under ACCOUNT –> SOCIAL: Enable Pinterest Extension. Turning this ON allows pinning your images on Pinterest when a visitors browser has the pinterest extension. A Pin It button will appear on top of the image.
Photo Folio client Daniel Berehulak was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for feature photography for his coverage of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa for The New York Times. Congratulations Daniel, we are lucky to have someone as dedicated and hard working as you in the world of professional photography.
I’m excited to announce our latest feature release for Design X which adds Caption Control to our ever expanding list of PRO features you will only find on Photo Folio websites.
Caption Control- Want to place captions on your menu or nav bar? What about different locations for each gallery? What about a caption on top of a single image that looks like a magazine layout? With our newly released caption control feature you can do that and much more. Watch the video to see how it all works:
Media Library Sorting- We’ve added a new sorting feature for the image library to make it easier for you to order your images for placement on the menu. You can sort then drag and drop them onto a menu item. We’ve also added a warning on image upload that will tell you if you’re adding images that exceed our recommended size. And finally the sizes of all your images are now listed on the thumbnail in the media library to help you find any that are loading slow because they are too big.
Advanced SEO and Photoshop/Lightroom Title– We added an advanced SEO option that allows you to designate each and every page title for every single page on the site (instead of appending a global title) at the request of an SEO expert working with one of our users. We are now reading the title field from Photoshop/Lightroom for image uploads (this is how you designate page titles, using the image title).
Note: We do not have captions available on mobile and pad versions of the site but will be working on that soon.
To roll out feature releases we have a Beta Opt-In program that allows you to update and receive Beta Releases. You can also Opt-Out and go back to the last stable release.
To Opt-In to the beta release of Design X Version 12 and receive the new Caption Control Feature do the following:
1. Log into your site admin
2. Launch the ACCOUNT panel
3. If you do not have the “Make Beta Updates” button visible under the NOTIFICATIONS tab FORCE an update
4. A new button will appear that you turn ON to “Make Beta Updates Available”
5. FORCE an update again
You can now put your website menu on the top or the bottom of your site (in addition to left and right). If you didn’t believe we were in the fully customizable template realm before, with our customizable thumbnails and transition types, this will certainly convince you. Design X is the most customizable template in the world:
To roll out these new incredible menu choices we have a new Beta Opt-In program that allows you to update and receive Beta Releases. You can also Opt-Out and go back to the last stable release.
To Opt-In to the beta release of Design X Version 11 and receive the Top and Bottom Menu options do the following:
1. Log into your site admin
2. Launch the ACCOUNT panel
3. Under the NOTIFICATIONS tab FORCE an update
4. A new button will appear that you turn ON to “Make Beta Updates Available”
5. FORCE an update again
If you have not yet upgraded to version 10 of Design X (information here) it has been released from beta and is rolled into this update.
If you have any questions or you need to report a bug submit a support ticket here:support.aphotofolio.com
You must login into your site admin and hit the update button under Account –> Notifications to receive these new updates. Always check your entire site after updating and be prepared to make minor adjustments due to unforseen configuration changes.
New Social Media Icons Added. We’ve added yelp, houzz, imdb, behance, digg, reddit, 500px, dribbble, ello to our list of available icons.
New Custom Colored Icons. We’ve added the ability to create your own 2 color icons. You can also scale these icons now.
New Circle Icons. The custom color icons come in square and circle.
Visit the social media icon section in the manual to see how these work: http://dxmanual.com/adding-social-media-icons
Embed Your Blog. You can now embed your blog on a text page within the site using our new “responsive iframe”. Go here to see how: http://dxmanual.com/embedding-a-blog-in-your-website
Fotomoto Update. If you are using Fotomoto to sell or license images we’ve made it so the Fotomoto cart only shows on images you’ve designated for sale/licensing. Go here to learn how: http://dxmanual.com/fotomoto-integration
Contact Form Deliverability. We are now using a 3rd party to deliver contact forms from your site to your inbox. This should improve deliverability dramatically. Simply update and you are good to go.
New Thin Navbar Icons. We have a new icon set for the navbar called thin. I think you will love it. Simply login into your admin and in the Layout panel under Navbar select Icon Syle: Thin. You can also now scale the icons.
New Navbar Spacers. We’ve added a spacer to the navbar options so you can further customize the look of your site navbar. Launch the Navbar panel in your admin and choose ADD + then change the button type to Spacer.
New Mouse Cursor Option. We’ve added none to the options for mouse cursor icons for a cleaner look (images still advance when clicking just no arrows or plus signs). In the Layout panel under Cursor choose Icon Style: None.
To add these new features to your Design X site log into your admin, select the account tab and you will see an update available under Notifications (unless we already updated you). You can also force an update using the same button.
If you are not yet using Design X and want to give it a try (it’s free and will not affect your current site to install and test) follow these instructions:
1. Submit a support ticket under the category Design X: http://support.aphotofolio.com
2. Visit the manual to learn how the admin works: http://designxmanual.com
3. You will receive an email with information on how to access the new design
4. Once you are ready to go live submit a ticket asking to take the new design live
Rob Haggart, aPhotoFolio.com
We know you’re going to love this little detail that will help you customize the experience for the visitors to your site. We created new social media icons that allow you to adjust the size and color to match your branding and you can now choose between square and circle icons.
In addition to these new icons we added a few more that our clients have requested for Houzz, Yelp, Ello, IMDB, Behance, Dribbble, Digg, Reddit and 500px. Enjoy.
More Information on how to apply these to your site can be found on the manual: http://dxmanual.com/adding-social-media-icons
We’ve added 4 new transition types to our galleries including horizontal and vertical sliding. We’ve also moved control for the transition type to the individual media items (images, video, text or all three) so you can mix and match thumbnails with sliding, fading and now scrolling. We can’t wait to see what you will create with this cutting edge customization.
Did you know the site thumbnails in sizes small, medium, large and xtra large are all automatically created on the fly from your original image uploads? Did you know you can also upload a custom thumb for each image instead? Well now you can upload a gif for your thumbs. Perfect for videos or simply wild looking thumbs… make spinning wheels to hypnotize your clients.
Ever wanted to provide an overview of your work using thumbnails and text? Now you can with a new feature that allows you to create thumbnail links to specific media items (images, video, text or all three) within your site. Oh, the possibilities are great with this one! Watch this special video to see how to do it: vimeo.com/104355192
The navbar, providing all those important controls and information to your visitors, was always happy to lay at the bottom or top of your site. Now it can be stacked vertically on the left or right. The options keep growing… can’t wait to see what you come up with.
You know how much we like to control the look and feel of every single little thing on the site. Well now you can include the space between letters in your text, AKA: k e r n i n g. I know… what took us so long.
Here’ the manual video showing all the new features: vimeo.com/104525689
We made a minor update to all the sites to fix a couple things:
1. We added a form reader to the admin so you can see when someone sends you a contact form (occasionally the contact forms can go to spam). There’s an added benefit to the form reader in that you can see when people are emailing your images to their colleagues.
2. Vimeo made changes to their video embedding and we made an adjustment on our end to ensure the videos do not have any issues.
As always we’re constantly making refinements and feature upgrades to all the sites.