Category Archives: Tips & Tutorials

Tutorials for Lightroom, Photoshop and digital photographic techniques.

iPhone friendly Pixelpost


UPDATE: I added the lines to recognize Android, iPod Touch and Palm WebOS!

Chris, a reader of this website (and a cool photographer, check his website Intelligent Cloud), asked me how I did to setup an iPhone friendly version of ReallyJapan Photoblog and automatically redirect the users with an iPhone to this website.

As you know, ReallyJapan is using Pixelpost, a free photo blog application. Pixelpost has many great templates, and one of them, Hoo is an iPhone optimized template.

The problem is that in Pixelpost control panel you can select only one template, and there’s no option to specify one template for certain users and a different one for the others.

So, while the Hoo template is a great solution for iPhone users, if you configure Pixelpost to use this template, all your users will see the Hoo template, no matter if they’re using iPhone, Internet Explorer, Firefox or a cyberdeck Ono-Sendai (in that case they’ll probably just look to the code).

So, what do we need to do?
Simple: When someone visits our Pixelpost photoblog, check if they’re using iPhone, and just in that case tell Pixelpost to use Hoo template instead of the one we selected in the control panel.

It requires some changes in a php file, but it’s very simple. Let’s start:

  1. Download Hoo template, unzip it and upload the folder in your web host (/template/)
  2. Now we need to edit the index.php of your Pixelpost installation (/index.php) to specify the Hoo template just for iPhone users visiting your photoblog.
    Remember: Do a backup or something. It’s better safe than sorry if something goes wrong!

    A. First thing to do is to Search and Replace All the text $cfgrow[‘template’] to $template_dir.
    $cfgrow[‘template’] is the variable where the name of the selected template (the one you chose on the Pixelpost control panel) is stored.

    B. Now Search the file for this text: // get config
    You’ll find this code:

    // get config
    if($cfgrow = sql_array(“SELECT * FROM “.$pixelpost_db_prefix.”config”))
    $upload_dir = $cfgrow[‘imagepath’];
    $extra_message= “Coming Soon. Not Installed Yet. Cause #1″;


    What does it do? Ok, basically it’s reading the configuration of your Pixelpost installation from the database (you know all the stuff you selected in Pixelpost control panel like paths, name of the blog and.. the template).
    The first case of the IF statement means Pixelpost has been installed while the ELSE case means (as you can see in the extra_message) that.. well, it’s not installed yet.

    So, let’s add some code here (blue text):

    // get config
    if($cfgrow = sql_array(“SELECT * FROM “.$pixelpost_db_prefix.”config”))

    if (stristr($_SERVER[‘HTTP_USER_AGENT’], ‘Android’) ||
    stristr($_SERVER[‘HTTP_USER_AGENT’],’webOS’) ||
    stristr($_SERVER[‘HTTP_USER_AGENT’],’iPhone’) ||
    ) {


    $upload_dir = $cfgrow[‘imagepath’];
    $extra_message= “Coming Soon. Not Installed Yet. Cause #1″;

    Basically: If Pixelpost has been installed (IF case 1), check if the user agent of the visitor is iPhone, iPod, Android or webOS.
    In that case set $template_dir to ‘hoo’ (the hoo template, in the folder /template/hoo on your webhosting).
    Otherwise set $template_dir to $cfgrow[‘template’] (the default template you selected on Pixelpost control panel).

    C. Save the file and..

That’s it!
From now on the iPhone users will see the Hoo template while all the other users will see the default template.

If you have any question please write a comment!

10 Great Pixelpost Templates

What’s great about Pixelpost is the wide selection of templates and addons available.. and if you’re not satisfied, creating a new cool template or a useful addon is relatively easy.

So, let’s take a look to the best Pixelpost templates out there.

Dark Matter
Dark Matter is a great theme with some cool fancy Ajax animations and a carousel effect to browse your photos.
You can find a Free version of this template and a Pro version with various extras (it’s $49.95). And yes,
ReallyJapan is using a customized version of the free version.


Free version Demo
Pro version Demo
Dark Matter’s Home Page
Download Dark Matter

Switchy is an interesting template that changes its layout according to the orientation of the photo.
The layout is very clean
and easy to customize.
Sunset • Pixelpost Demo.jpg

Check the demo here
Download Switchy

Very clean and simple layout that let’s your photograph speek for it self. It wraps around both big and small images.

Check the demo here
Download Pixelfy

Delicious is a fresh and tastey photoblogging template for Pixelpost. It’s a very nice theme and I’ve used it for the first version of

Check the demo here
Download the updated version by Andrew here

The World in 35mm
An extremely clean, modern and simple template for pixelpost you’re going to love, I do. One of the best IMO.UofA Liquors | The World in 35mm | © Joe Roback, 2007-2009. All Rights Reserved.-1.jpg

Try the demo here
Download from here

If you want a template with an unusual layout and some interesting features, check this out.

Tree Reflections • Pixelution.jpg

Check the demo here
Download Pixelution

Hoo! (Pixelpost template for iPhone)
Well, have you ever visited using your iPhone? Well, you should, because it uses this template to offer you an iPhone customized version.
Now, you need to mess a little with php and your pixelpost installation to have the browser detect if you’re using an iPhone or a regular browser and switch the template… It’s not hard, but it’s not extremely easy.. I did it and maybe, if someone is interested, I could write a small tutorial on how to use this template in the future..

Download Hoo

A simple, dark and clean template.
Demo for FOCUS template _._ Your are viewing the new template focus 3.0.1 beta.jpg
Check the demo here
Download Focus

Photographer’s Template
A template geared more towards a self promotional site for photographers.

bad arrow photography __ Concert and Musician Photography __ 908.500.0403.jpg

Try the demo here
Download the template

A very nice template with a new, fresh web2.0 look.

Raia demo.jpg
Try the demo here
Download Raia

Guide to PhotoBlogging – Introduction


I’ve started Really Japan Photo Blog and uploaded the very first photo about one year ago.
At the beginning I wasn’t very sure to be able to update the photo blog often, it was not the first time I was starting a blog, but all the previous attempts ended up with failure, after few months.

Fortunately that has not been the case of ReallyJapan.

A lot has happened in this year of ReallyJapan. I’ve learnt many things on photography, met many great photographers, looked at some incredible shots on the web.. and I think if I didn’t start photoblogging, I would have lost many opportunities.

So, after 1 year of photoblogging, I thought it would be cool to write some kind of Guide to Photoblogging.
But, I’m going to tell you a secret: I’m not an amazing photographer or a super blogger, my website is not making trillions of visitors neither, so don’t have huge expectations..

Anyway, I hope this Guide will help all of you who are considering to open a photo blog!

What is a photoblog?

A photoblog (a.k.a. photolog or phlog) is a form of photo sharing and publishing in the format of a blog, but differentiated by the predominant use of and focus on photographs rather than text.

Why photoblogging?

There could be many reasons to start your own photoblog. You may want to show your amazing works to people from all around the world, and consequently make a lot of money with advertising & sales of your photography. Honestly, in that case you’re going to have rough times ahead, good luck.

But if your demands are a little more modest, there are many positive points on opening a photo blog.

Top Advantages of starting a Photo Blog

  • It’s a great way to keep you constantly motivated.
    I opened Really Japan Photo Blog just few months after buying my first DSLR. The main reason? I wanted to learn how to take photos, and I was inspired by many cool photo bloggers who were sharing their photos on line. As soon as people started visiting my photo blog and writing some comments on the photos I knew I had to post something slightly better the next day.. the day after, and the day after that.
    So.. yes, a photo blog is a
    great way to keep you constantly motivated to take new photos or process the ones you have.
  • Networking
    Some months ago I had dinner with a very nice guy from Spain visiting Tokyo. I’ve never seen him before that day. Well, he’s a photo blogger, Guillermo – Desenfocado, and I’ve met him through photo blogging. I’ve met many other photo bloggers, exchanged emails, ideas, and tips on photography.
    If you start visiting and commenting other photo blogs, they’ll surely do the same and they’ll visit and comment yours.

    At the same time, keep in mind that the majority of people visiting your blog will now write comments, but they’ll surely keep following you. Sometimes they will write you emails, saying you that they like your photos. Then who knows, maybe some of these people will become real friends, or maybe.. you’ll find great job opportunities!
  • Learn from other photo bloggers
    There are many amazing talented photo bloggers (well.. photographers) on Internet. Besides writing comments on their photos, look to their photos! Usually, if they use Pixelpost, or Flickr, you can see the EXIF informations for each photo they post. That’s great information if you are a beginner and you want to learn more (as I did starting Really Japan). Having access to the EXIF informations of a photo gives you all the ‘settings’ the photographer used to take that photo (iso, aperture, shutter speed, lens used, and so on).
  • It’s like blogging… without words
    Especially if English is not your first language, starting a ‘real’ blog could be troublesome. Instead, a photo blog is easier to manage, your photos are going to speak for you.
  • You’re going to receive a lot of comments & critiques
    When you open a photo blog.. ask, implore, for critiques on your works. Maybe you are not going to love comments like ‘U SUX SUX SUX!‘, but other – more constructive – critiques will surely help you.
    And don’t feel upset if someone points out what he doesn’t like about that photo, instead remember, it’s something you should appreciate. It’s very easy to write positive things, but it’s harder to start writing a critique.
  • It will become your home, on Internet.
    A photoblog is a blog, and a blog is a website right? Basically when you open a website is like you’re opening a shop, or maybe like opening the door of your home to accept some guests.
    Sure, you can just don’t care about the graphic template you’re going to use, don’t create a rss feed or saving all your images in 10 megabytes TIFF. Sure, you can do it. But come on, you should welcome your guests right?
    When you start a photo blog you should think about the people who’re going to visit it. Try to select a cool name, choose a nice template and modify it to adapt to your style (if you already know some web design stuff you can work on it from scratch too). Learn some basic html, think about the plugins you could use to enhance the experience for your visitors.. it’s like opening your art gallery!
    Also, it’s incredibly important to
    keep track of how your photo blog is doing, where your visitors are coming from and what keywords they are using to reach you. Maybe it’s not important at the beginning, but it will help you if you plan to increase the traffic to your blog later.
    There are many great services that generate detailed statistics about the visitors to a website, for example
    Google analytics (probably the best one, and free) or Clicky (great for real time tracking, and you can check the statistics in real time with your iPhone too).. I have them both
  • It’s easy!
    If you already have a camera (reflex, compact, anything!) well, you already have the 90% you need to open a photo blog. Technically it’s very easy to setup and upload new photos

So.. the list could go on forever, but for this introduction I’m going to stop here.

What should you expect from the next articles of Guide to Photo Blog? Well, something like this:

  • How to install & set up your photo blog using Pixelpost
  • How to Customize your photo blog
  • The Best Plugins and Templates for Pixelpost to enhance your Photo Blog
  • How to promote your photo blog (social media, photo ring, seo, and so on)
  • and other stuff!