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Thursday, 8 August 2013
SmugMug Migration Live
Mood:  surprised
Topic: Ayer Photo Website

If you have been following our blog for a while, you know that website updates and particularly host platform changes have not gone well for us.  In one case it was an unmitigated disaster.  So, when our gallery / store host, SmugMug announced that it was launching a new platform, my first reaction was "Oh No!"  I was fully expecting to be dealing with bugs and features that did not live up to their promise for many long weeks.  I am happy to report.  No, make that extremely happy and relieved to report that that was not the case. 

Yes, there were lots of frustrating moments, and I still have them.  However, they were all related to my lack of experience with the new platform and my seeming aversion to making sure I am editing a single page and not all the pages at once.  They color coded the editing blocks and I still messed up way more times than I should have.  But I am getting better, especially after having to go through and undo so many inadvertent edits. 

The old SmugMug was little more than a database of galleries.  It was customizable, but only with a fair amount of coding knowledge that I never took the time to acquire.  So many of our customers probably never really understood what our gallery site looked like, because they just went directly to their gallery with a link and never looked around from there.  And we certainly did not encourage them, because it was not really conducive to casual browsing.  In addition there was minimal ability to incorporate text that would explain anything.  

The new SmugMug is now close to a complete photo-centric website platform.  It lacks some key functionality to be a complete solution, but we are able to distribute much more of our site to the SmugMug platform without forcing you to come back to our main site just to navigate to another gallery, for example.

So, only 8 days after the SmugMug launch and only 5 days after I started working on the migration, we have gone live with our new gallery site.  And it is more than just a new look.  We have completely reorganized our gallery structure, made it browsable by both prospective customers who want to see our portfolio, and current customers looking for the images from their session or event.  It addresses many questions right within the gallery site without having to return to the main site whenever text is required.

We hope you will take a look at it and let us know what you think.   

As with any major overhaul, some links had to change.  We have tried diligently to test all our gallery links and fix those that had to be changed.  But if you find one we missed, please let us know so we can correct the coding.

Now, without further adieu, here is a direct link to our new gallery site. 

Check it out!  We hope you like it!

Posted by Warren

Ayer Photography of Vermont                  

Ayer Photography Galleries                


     Trey Ratcliff's full review         

     Scott Kelby's impressions                  

Posted by ayerphoto at 12:48 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 8 August 2013 1:28 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 11 January 2011
Ayer Photo Website Update Resumes
Mood:  lucky
Topic: Ayer Photo Website

As the 2010 wedding season has died down, we at long last have had some time to turn back to updating our Ayer Photography website.  This important update was delayed last spring because of some technical difficulties at our host - a delay which did not give us enough time to complete before the 2010 wedding season was fast upon us.  This left us with precious little time to do little more than the most necessary of updates.

As we survey where we were, we found a lot of digital debris to clean up.  We even now understand some of the questions we received over the summer.  The callers had somehow linked in to an old completely out of date page, that we thought had no inbound links - apparently we missed a couple.   

But now that we have some breathing room, we are back at it.  Over the next couple of weeks you will see our detailed album desciriptions return, touting several new options; and you will see some new products we have hinted at on Twitter and Facebook, but have not had time to describe on the website, or roll out in our online galleries.  So, stay tuned, they really are coming now!

As an example, we have completed a new page describing some of our Photo Guest Book options.  Yes, we have added a new one and updated our previous offering.  Now, you can hear about it without visiting us in person.  We actually did this one first because we had some potential customers call with questions; they lived out of state and were unable to just pop over and see us in person.  While all the links to get to the new page are not yet complete, you can view our new Photo Guest Book options page by clicking here.    

A screen shot of the new page:   

You can see it describes our previous offering (Nexus Guest Book), and our new one, we call Brighton Art.  Check them out!

Since all updates done so gradually as this one can often wind up with broken links - if you happen on one, let us know and we'll fix it as soon as we can.    

Posted by Warren

Posted by ayerphoto at 11:10 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 11 January 2011 11:34 AM EST
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Wednesday, 9 June 2010
New New Ayer Photo Website Now Operational
Mood:  celebratory
Topic: Ayer Photo Website

After three long months our ordeal with what was supposed to be a straightforward website migration / upgrade has finally been completed (or maybe I should say reversed) ... and none too soon, as we have only 2 days left till we launch our 2010 wedding season.  Check out our new Home Page below.















As you can see, we were able to retain some colors from what was supposed to be our new website for 2010, but needed to abandon the new editor and revert to our previous stable input method. 

We have also retained the upgrades we previously announced, namely a wedding archive and the ability for customer's to be able to specify how they want their images to be cropped. 

While our website is up, we do have a few more items to complete, most notably our album descriptions, which neede some content updates.  We hope to have these completed and added to the site in the next few weeks.  In the meantime, if you have a question about one or more of our albums listed on our Offering Page or in the Wedding Package Estimates, please give me a call or send me an email, and we will do our best to answer all your questions.

If you find a bad link in our new site, please let me know that as well. 

As you look through the new site, you will that we not only added this blog, but now also are beginning to build a presence on Facebook and communicate through Twitter

We thank you all for your patience as we have worked our way through this upgrade.

Submitted by Warren

Posted by ayerphoto at 5:36 PM EDT
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Saturday, 8 May 2010
Ayer Photography Website Upgrade Progress
Topic: Ayer Photo Website

While we had every intention of posting regularly, you may have noticed a lack of activity - at least here on our blog.  If you had been perusing our website, you would have noticed lots of changes - some not always good. 

We have been in the process of converting to a new website platform.  This is a tedious migration requiring every link to be rebuilt as the migration process breaks all prior links.  While this is tedious, it is not hard.  The real trouble began as shortly after we pushed the button to migrate our second block of pages (our wedding section), our website host performed an unannounced "upgrade."  Unfortunately, this "upgrade" has been nothing short of a disaster - links miscoded, unstable text controls, saves that don't take at random intervals, add-on modules that have a mind of their own and simply do not function - and the more we tried to fix it the worse it got!

Some of this would not have been visible to you, our customers, because for much of it, our old version of this section of pages was still up and running -- until a couple of days ago.  For some inexplicable reason, our old version was taken down and our new version was not yet functional!!!  And so began an around the clock scramble to get some workable version online.

Today, for the first time in several days, we feel like we are finally coming out the other side.  Most of the new section of web pages are "working."  By that we mean that most of the really wierd formatting effects have been corrected and many, but I am sad to say, not all links are functional.  Ironically, it is the links to other pages within the same block of pages that are miscoded by the publishing system and have to be overwritten to make them look like external links - a process that is taking a lot longer than I would like.

So, we thank you all for your patience - for as we keep reminding ourselves, we are photographers, not web coders!

And in the process you will find a couple of new features.  While you will have to bear with us for a little longer on things like the numbers in an ordered list that look perfect in our editor, but have yet (after many attempted workarounds) to render properly, the basic functionality is there and actually works.

The first of these is an Archive page of links to recent weddings (samples, albums, proofs, etc.)  For weddings that were originally hosted on our new gallery platform the link set is pretty complete, for older weddings originally hosted on our old gallery platform, a sample and their album have been put up, while the other links are active, only if there has been a request.  So, if your wedding is missing (which it might be if it was on our older filing systems), or has some links that are not active, and you would like to be able to access it on our new Archive page, just send us an email.

The second new feature is our list of Vermont venues.  These are links to several Vermont wedding & reception venues - along with links to samples of weddings we have photographed there, where appropriate.

Lastly, we would ask that if you find any links that are persistently dead or go to the wrong place, please let us know.  With the erratic save malfunctions and other formatting issues, we tend to lose track of what we have fixed and not fixed - not to mention the times and some fixes have undone prior fixes in unpredictable ways.

But it remains our hope and prayer that our website will be completely stable once again before wedding season kicks into high gear in a few short weeks.

Posted by Warren

Posted by ayerphoto at 12:35 PM EDT
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Monday, 12 April 2010
Ayer Photography Upgrade Status
Mood:  not sure
Topic: Ayer Photo Website

About a year ago we set out to significantly upgrade our gallery functionality, our print lab capability, and our web presence.  We soon discovered that migrating to the new platforms could not be done automatically and required significant manual intervention at every step.

Unfortunately just before our wedding photo season kicked off in earnest last year, we received word that Warren's father (pictured at the right) passed away unexpectedly.  This necessitated the beginning of what would become a yearlong series of trips to Florida to make numerous arrangements and then take care of and ultimately sell his home there. 

A side effect of this unexpected set of new responsibilities was that all of our grand plans to upgrade our platforms and web presence had to be post-poned, or perhaps, more accurately paused mid-step, which many of you may have noticed depending on where you looked on our web site.  Our plans to launch this blog were simply dropped altogether until now, while we concentrated on meeting our obligations to our current customers.

But now almost a year later, we can report that we have refreshed our upgrade plans and they are now well underway.  Some of them are already obvious.  Many more of our galleries have been migrated to the new platform (check the galleries links in the left hand side panel), for example.  And over the next few days, you will notice more and more of our website displaying a new look.  For those of you whose event was "caught in the middle of this transition" we thank you for your patience.

Lastly, since there is so much manual intervention involved in many of these migrations and upgrades, we would ask that if you come across a bad link, or one that does not go where you think it should please let us know.

With last year's taxes now filed and we look forward to the 81st Annual Vermont Professional Photographers convention later this month, we are looking forward to a fresh start and a more relaxed (or at least enjoyable) photo season in 2010.

Posted by ayerphoto at 11:58 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 26 April 2010 12:18 PM EDT
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