Monthly Archives: October 2007

What’s Your LEAST Favorite Weekly Topic?

It's Feedback Time!

It’s been about 2 months since I posted my thoughts on Time Management For Bloggers and Photographers, and in that post I laid out my blogging schedule. I think I’ve been able to stick to it pretty good, and I think it’s time I evaluated what’s important to you. This week’s poll is aimed to find out what’s most important and what’s least important on this blog.

If there was one thing you could do without, what would it be? I’m not saying that I’m going to quit doing any of the weekly topics, but it would be nice to know what’s low on the list. Whatever the result, it could either indicate that I need to spend more time on that topic (meaning I need to do a better job), or less time on that topic (meaning it’s just not a topic worth reading).

{democracy:22}

And if there was one thing you could have more of, what would it be? If there’s a topic that really stands out from the rest, maybe I would consider bumping up the frequency to 2 or 3 times per week rather than once per week — or possibly just spending more time on that topic to make it even better.

{democracy:23}

Really, don’t be shy about voting — I couldn’t tell you who voted for what if my life depended on it. And leave me some comments; you’re not going to hurt my feelings with constructive feedback. Also, if there’s anything new that you’d like to see in the weekly topics, let me know in the comments or via email.

Flickr Group: Epic Edits PhotoDump

So I made a Flickr group yesterday. As I mentioned in the last PhotoDump, I’m becoming overwhelmed with all the new photos from my contacts. One thing I’m doing is cutting the Zooomr PhotoDump to make more time and room for Flickr. The other thing I’d like to do is get a group going on Flickr so I can really focus in on all of you.

Join the Epic Edits Flickr Group

From here out, I’ll be pulling photos for the weekly PhotoDump from the group pool. Every Sunday, I’ll still post a PhotoDump on the blog, but it will be my selections of photos from the pool. I’ll probably try to limit the number of photos to somewhere between 20 and 40. I had been pulling photos from my contacts photostream, but there are a few flaws with doing that. One issue is that there are just so many new photos it’s hard to keep up. The other issue is that Flickr only shows 5 photos from a bulk upload, meaning that if you upload 10 new photos I’ll only see 5 of them. Not cool.

The Epic Edits PhotoDump group is intended to be a place for the Epic Edits readers to gather and show off their best stuff. I’ve limited pool submissions to 1 photo per day because I want you to pick out your most outstanding work… plus it reduces my workload. The other rule I’d like you to adhere to is the “freshness” of the photo — I want to see things uploaded within the last 7 days so that my PhotoDumps remain to be a showing of new and interesting photos. Once you add it to the group pool, though, there’s no need to take it out after 7 days… just leave it in there — the “rule” is just for new submissions. An no, I won’t kick photos out that are 8 days old — just don’t make a habit of submitting photos from last month or last year. Other than that, there are no additional rules, themes, or obligations.

The other reason I’m putting this thing together is so that all of us (with Flickr accounts) can be somewhat connected on Flickr. I personally have a pretty good idea of who frequents the blog, but it might not be as clear to everybody else. So check out the other group members, they’re all friends of this site. Many of them also have their own websites, so check out their profiles and see where it leads you.

So if you have a Flickr account, get over there and check out the Epic Edits Flickr Group. I’d be happy to have everybody join in and participate — that’s what this group is for. Maybe in the near future we can find some additional uses for the group, but for now it’s just about the photos.

PhotoShelter Collection: First Impressions

PhotoShelter

PhotoShelter was created in 2005 as an archival solution for photographers. They provide photographers with a place to store, organize, and monetize their photos for a monthly fee. On September 18th, PhotoShelter announced the future launch of the PhotoShelter Collection and invited photographers to submit photos to the Collection.

PhotoShelter Collection

The PhotoShelter Collection is a stock photography site that positions itself between the micro-stocks and the pro-stocks. The prices (and commissions) are set much higher than a typical micro-stock agency, while the acceptance and diversity of images is higher than the pro-stock sites. The service is free to photographers, but all images must be accepted into the Collection by the PhotoShelter editors. Once accepted, photographers have a multitude of choices on how to market and price their photos.

I applied to the PhotoShelter Collection several weeks ago, and I’ve been evaluating their site and services. Here’s my take on things thus far.

STRONG POINTS

The fact that PhotoShelter doesn’t think they’re too good for the non-professional photographer is simply refreshing. They welcome professional and amateur photographers to submit images for the Collection. I was actually quite surprised to find that 9 out of my 10 application images were accepted, while one received a “soft rejection”, meaning that I could resubmit with a few minor changes. I had toyed with micro-stocks about a year ago, and I found that my acceptance rate into these sites was well under 50%. It didn’t take me long to figure out that I’m not a stock photographer, so I pulled all my images. I was weary of trying my hand at another stock site, but the PhotoShelter Collection seems different.

PhotoShelter User Interface

The user interface is another feature of PhotoShelter that stands out. It’s simple and intuitive, while maintaining a high level of functionality. You can manage all of your incoming, pending, rejected, approved, and live photos quite easily through the web interface. Once images are approved, the site guides you through the process of adding the appropriate information such as titles, descriptions, keywords, and prices. The interface also allows you to batch process as many photos as you’d like, so you can reduce the amount of time spent on the site.

PhotoShelter Keywording

Keywording is one part of the interface that really proves to be useful. You apply keywords to an image (or bring them in with the EXIF) just like you would anywhere else. Then you’re asked to clarify each keyword by associating it with a specific meaning. For example, the keyword “scooter” would give you the options of “scooter – (n) child’s vehicle”, “scooter – (n) bird”, “motor scooter – (n) transportation”, “motorized wheelchair – (n) wheelchair”, and “other”. These associations don’t change your original keyword, but they help identify what the image is about. It takes a bit of time to go through this process, but it gives me the sense that their search system may actually return relevant results to buyers.

PhotoShelter Pricing

Pricing is a feature that PhotoShelter has put some work into. You have the option of selling your photo as either royalty free or rights managed licensing. PhotoShelter has preloaded a few price sets for each of the licensing types to make life easier, but you can also set up your own price sets if you feel the need to make adjustments. The interface also has a feature that allows you to test your pricing, so you know exactly what a buyer will be paying for using the image in different situations. In the rights managed category, prices can range from a couple hundred dollars (maybe less) up to several thousand dollars, all depending on the end use of course. Purchases are also transparent, so you’ll know where your image is being used and how it was licensed.

WEAK POINTS

It’s hard to fully evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the PhotoShelter Collection because it hasn’t officially opened up for sales. So the only thing I can critique is the photographer interface portion of the site. I may come back at a later time and do another review of the site and service, but for the time being I can see a few things that need improvement.

The image review period is supposed to be 2 to 3 business days after submitting your images, meaning that they’ll be accepted or rejected in that amount of time. So far, it’s been closer to a week or two for turnarounds. It’s a little frustrating, but PhotoShelter is at least aware of it and I’m sure they’ll work it out eventually.

PhotoShelter Uploader

Uploading images is also a little dicey through the web interface. The first set of images I uploaded were half gone by the time I waited for everything to finish — I uploaded 10 and only 5 went through. I uploaded the 5 missing images again and they still didn’t show up. At that point, I turned to the standalone uploading utility — a piece of software that runs right on your computer. I haven’t had any problems with the upload utility, so it’s best just to use that and not even mess with the web interface.

PhotoShelter Categories

Categorizing photos is a little tough because the choices aren’t plentiful. I’m finding that many of my images don’t fall into any one given category, and it’s a stretch to label them based on the choices given. I’ve seen this done better, where you choose a main category then a sub-category so you don’t end up with a list of 200 choices… though I don’t remember which site I saw this on. I have to say though, that I’ve only been able to evaluate the “Creative” categories because I’m still waiting for my “Editorial” photos to go through. I also don’t know how the “Pro Stock” categories match up because I didn’t place myself in that group. Regardless, more categories would make life easier for the photographers and the photo buyers.

SO IS IT WORTH YOUR TIME?

Given the fact that time is all it costs, I’d say it is. Depending on how things go when they open the site up to photo buyers in November, it could actually be quite profitable for skilled amateur photographers. It probably won’t make professional photographers out of most of us, but it could provide a nice supplemental income if you sell an image every once in a while — the commission is 30%, so the photographer keeps 70% of the sale. They also don’t require exclusive rights, so you can still sell your images elsewhere or share them on sites like Flickr.

If you want more information before giving it a try, check out the PhotoShelter Collection homepage, their blog, and the press release. I’d also love to hear thoughts from anybody else that’s trying this thing out.

PhotoDump 10-28-2007

I’ve been doing these PhotoDumps for two months now, and it’s time to re-evaluate how I do these. If you’ve been following the little stats I give each week, you’ll notice that my Flickr contacts are multiplying while my Zooomr contacts are not. My time spent on Flickr seems to be ever-expanding, probably because it has such a large user base and there are so many great photos to explore.

I’m feeling like Zooomr is taking time away from Flickr, and it’s a more difficult interface to work with. I don’t have a pro-account with Zooomr, so I feel obligated to check the zipline several times per day so I don’t miss any new photos. These sites shouldn’t be about that, so starting today I won’t be tracking my Zooomr contacts photos for the purpose of this weekly feature. I’ll still follow people on Zooomr and upload photos to Zooomr, but I won’t be spending as much time on the site.

So from here out, I’ll just be displaying photos from Flickr. Sorry to those who use Zooomr exclusively, but my time is limited. I’d rather really look through photos on one site than skim photos on two sites. Also, I’ll be changing the way I do things on Flickr for the PhotoDump. This week, I’ll work on starting up a group for the Epic Edits readers to submit their photos. I’ll then pull photos from the pool rather than my photostream. So next week will be the last freebie for my contacts.

Be sure to check out last week’s PhotoDump if you missed it.

48 new favorites from 183 Flickr contacts.

13 new favorites from 52 Zooomr contacts.

FLICKR CONTACT PHOTOS

View as Slideshow

From slight clutterFrom edzartsFrom cszarFrom hey mr glenFrom u.linderFrom UnfurledFrom | GW |From skinrFrom Johnny BloodFrom YeuxMarrons.com (rcsmit2308)From paul indigoFrom Rui PalhaFrom framefreezerFrom peasapFrom kwerfeldeinFrom skinrFrom AdeleSFrom THEjdawgFrom snjezana.From johopo (John)From feldaugeFrom xysmasFrom edzartsFrom hey mr glenFrom Magoo23From RandyFrom noeltykayFrom Soliz PhotographyFrom hey mr glenFrom Colour VoidFrom thescatteredimageFrom PicMaxFrom lateott_156From --Steve--From Pulok PattanayakFrom kwerfeldeinFrom deborah lattimoreFrom harpyFrom Yong HweeFrom AdeleSFrom dro!dFrom sneuwegerFrom Michael MehlFrom neilcreekFrom UnfurledFrom thescatteredimageFrom u.linderFrom angie_real Angela  Lobefaro

ZOOOMR CONTACT PHOTOS

Waiting For That Final MomentThe Beginning of EverythingTagCollectorGolden Tones of Fall in Oakland CaliforniaBird On a Trash CanHot and SteamyAlien NestSooner than we thinkSmoke DetectorPumpkins to the Left of me and Pumpkins to the RightI Don't Know Why I WouldLaws of Nature

Link Roundup 10-27-2007

Country Road

I took this shot the last time I went parachuting. No, not really. I was in Pacific Beach focusing on minimalism and this curvy concrete strip in the grass caught my eye. I shot this at f/2.8 and at f/16 because I knew I’d get quite a bit of background blur shooting wide open. After reviewing the two images on my computer, this one stuck out as being the more interesting of the two. It kind of gave me that tilt/shift-miniaturization feel, so I ran with it. I toyed around with adding extra blur to make the effect more pronounced, but I ended up being happier with the original blur. Next time I’m in Pacific Beach, I’m bringing a few Hot Wheels with me.

Country Road Process

  1. Original JPEG
    The color was actually pretty good on this, maybe just a touch too cool.
  2. Processed RAW
    I warmed it up quite a bit to get a softer green and bring out the dead spots a little more.
  3. Cloning
    I got rid of the breaks in the concrete to give it a more road-like appearance.
  4. Curves Adjustment
    Added lots of contrast and darkened the greens quite a bit. This really helped bring out the shallow depth of field.

Country Road

** You can also see this photo on Flickr and Zooomr **

Photo by Brian Auer
10/13/07 Pacific Beach, CA
Country Road
Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D
Sigma MACRO 105mm f/2.8 EX DG
157mm equiv * f/2.8 * 1/2000s * ISO100

What Makes Some Photos More Popular?

On September 18th, I launched a project where I asked you to “Edit My Photo“. On October 16th, I posted the 28 entries received — which was phase 1 of this little artistic experiment. Now, phase 2 of the experiment has come to an end.

This portion of the project aims to evaluate what makes certain images more appealing to the general public. We had over 130 voters pick out their top three favorites, and comment on their reasoning. But before we get into the details…

HERE’S YOUR WINNER

(17) Felix Willeke

Congratulations to Felix Willeke for his “Virtual Triptych” interpretation of the image. The majority of his admirers commented on the effectiveness of the triptych for this particular photo. Some really liked the colors, and said it added to the mood of the image in conjunction with the split frames. While others didn’t particularly favor the color scheme for one reason or another. In the end, I’m pretty certain that it was the triptych part of the photo that won the votes. Nice work Felix, you had a very creative and effective approach to this photo.

TIER 1 ENTRIES

Three other photos had a high number of votes, and one of them even took the lead several times. So here are the other top contenders.

In these photos, the colors seemed to play an important role in the voting process. I saw a lot of comments on these ones pertaining to the color schemes. I think one thing we can rule out as a common denominator is the crop — we’ve got one portrait, one landscape, and one square. Susheel’s photo stood out for the kind of “retro” colors and the extra-soft background. Andrew’s photo stood out because of the unique warm colors he used. Lau’s photo stood out due to the cool tones, cold mood, and strong preservation of detail.

TIER 2 ENTRIES

Six other photos had a moderate amount of votes, and in fact four of them tied while the other two were only one vote off.

Conclusions are a little harder to draw on these selections. With several different color schemes, crops, level of realism, compositions, zooms, and level of detail, I think the main selling point on these images are the fact that they stand out in their unique approaches and attention to detail.

CAN WE DRAW ANY CONCLUSIONS?

It’s hard to say. I think, in general, the creators of these top selections had an intent in mind when they processed the photo. It’s that intent that drives us to “push” an image one way or the other. Sometimes the intent may not appear until half way through the post-process, but I think it’s important for completion to occur.

Aside from the intent, most of these top photos stand out in one way or another — whether it be bold colors, high contrast, effective crop, exaggerated tilt, or some other pronounced feature. It doesn’t appear that placement in the original list had much to do with the voting process, since these top photos were scattered about the top, middle, and bottom of the list.

If you participated in this project and your entry didn’t make it into these “top” photos, don’t feel too bad — every photo had at least a couple of votes, and I even received some votes via email. My goal here isn’t to make you feel lousy about your entry, it’s to make mention of what worked for this particular photo so that we can all learn from it. Keep in mind that what works for this photo won’t necessarily work for another photo, but there may be some key elements that you can take away from this.

What other similarities or consistencies do you see in these photos that makes them stand out from the rest?

Flickr Etiquette Basic Guidelines

Flickr Etiquette

In Monday’s post, Martin discussed 10 tools and methods for building up your Flickr fan-base. I thought the topic of Flickr etiquette would be a good follow-up, and it was inspired by “The_Wolf_Brigade” (also a Flickr user) inquiring about proper Flickr etiquette when it comes to friends, faves, and comments. You can see his original comment on a previous post.

What I plan to present in this article isn’t a set of hard rules that must be followed on Flickr. Martin said it nicely yesterday: Flickr isn’t about cramped “have to” habits. 100% true — It’s supposed to be fun, not work.

I’m not Yahoo, so obviously I can’t censor regulate what people do on Flickr, but I’ve used it enough to know that there are certain things you shouldn’t do and tons of things you can do. So here are the guidelines that I live by on Flickr.

GENERAL RESPECT

Flickr is a vast social network made up of real people, so you should act as you would around real people. There’s no faster way to kill your profile than to be disrespectful, rude, hurtful, inconsiderate, snobby, superior, mean, or otherwise negative toward other people. I think overall, the Flickr community is pretty good about this, and you generally see a lot of positive comments and constructive criticism. So be nice to the other photographers, we’re all on the same team.

FRIENDS AND CONTACTS

Friends and contacts are a great way to keep track of the photographers you like. I typically reserve the “friends” category for those photographers with whom I have extended relationships. This might include other photography bloggers, people I’ve had email conversations with, or somebody that frequents my photos with comments. The “contacts” group is where I place the photographers who have made some kind of impression on me with their work.

When somebody adds you as a friend or contact, you’re notified and given the opportunity to add them back. By no means are you obligated to return the favor — it just means that they like you well enough to keep track of you. Everybody uses their friends and contacts in different ways, but I tend to be quite generous with adding people to my contacts group. I figure that if they’re watching my photos, I can spend a small amount of extra time looking at theirs.

This is also quite optional, but I usually dig through the photos of somebody who’s added me as a contact and search for an opportunity to add faves and comments. Like I said, usually. I don’t always have time for it, but I don’t worry since I’ll catch their new stuff in the photostream.

FAVORITES

Favorites are the perfect way to let somebody know you like their stuff. It’s quick, easy, and minimal effort. When somebody adds your photo as a favorite, you’re notified in the same way you’re notified about new comments. Part of you may feel slightly obligated to return the favor, but just like with the contacts, there’s really no obligation. Personally, I don’t run off to check out every person that adds one of my photos as a favorite, but I also don’t expect that in return when I add a favorite.

I do, however, take notice when somebody new adds several of my photos as a favorite. To me, this says that they like my work and they actually looked through it. At that point, I’m quite inclined to check out their photos and possibly add them as a contact, especially if they’ve left a few comments too.

COMMENTS

Comments can be a great way to meet new people and start interesting relationships, but again, everybody uses them differently. Many of the Flickr comments are quick one-liners, but there are also deeper conversations happening out there. I treat the comments much in the same way I treat the favorites when it comes to returned favors. I don’t feel totally obligated to return the comments, but I’m also a semi-active commenter. In fact, I’m trying to keep the habit of adding a comment when I add a favorite.

The other side of comment etiquette is returning comments on your own photos. Really there’s not rule saying that you have to return every comment made on every one of your photos, especially if they’re one-liners. It is kind of a nice gesture to answer back to bigger comments and questions though. That kind of thing tends to strengthen relationships, so it doesn’t hurt to be comment-happy.

GROUPS

Sometimes you’ll also see group invites show up in the comments for your photos. These are just a way to make you aware of a particular group, and somebody has asked that you join up and submit your photo to the pool. It’s not required that you do, and you’re probably not going to hurt anybodies feelings if you don’t join the group. I tend to at least check them out and see what the group is all about. If I like the group, I’ll join and submit my image. Just note that different groups are set up in different ways. Some don’t have many rules while others require that you add faves, comments, or awards to other photos in the pool. So when you get a group invite, check it out; if you like it, join in and participate; if not, don’t.

If you do join a group, abide by the rules. Only submit photos to the pool that truly belong there. And be respectful if you decide to join in the discussions. It’s that simple.

TESTIMONIALS

Testimonials are like uber-comments aimed at the photographer rather than the photo. It’s a great way to tell a friend how much you appreciate their work. If you receive one of these from a fellow photographer, you should be very proud. But like comments, it’s not required or rude if you don’t return the favor.

USING PHOTOS

If you’re a publisher or blogger, you will need to pay attention to usage rights if you want to use somebody else’s photo in your publication. Many of the photos on Flickr have “All Rights Reserved” which means don’t use my photo for anything without permission. While other photos are managed under a “Creative Commons” license of some sort, which means you can use my photo if you follow the rules. So follow the rules and respect the wishes of the photographer. If you want to use a particular image for something and it’s not licensed to allow usage, just contact the photographer through FlickrMail. I typically contact people regardless of the license attached to the image and I haven’t had anybody turn me down yet. This route is your safest bet, plus it’s a great way to make new friends (and readers).

RECAP

So when it comes to Flickr, there aren’t a lot of “unspoken” rules. Most things are common sense if you approach them from a “real” life standpoint. Here are my main points.

  • Be respectful toward other Flickr users.
  • Family, Friends, and Contacts are optional.
  • It’s not rude to not add somebody as a mutual contact.
  • Favorites are optional.
  • It’s not rude to not reciprocate adding faves.
  • Comments are optional.
  • It’s not rude to not comment back on your photos.
  • Groups are optional.
  • It’s not rude to not join a group you’re invited to.
  • Testimonials are optional.
  • It’s not rude to not reciprocate a testimonial.
  • Respect the license attached to a photo.

And don’t forget to have fun and enjoy yourself! Does anybody have an etiquette-related question that I didn’t cover?

San Diego Fire Updates

I was planning on publishing a Flickr etiquette article right about now, but recent events have changed my mind.

I live in San Diego, just south of Del Mar. If you’ve been following the activity around the San Diego Fires, you’ll realize that I may be in the line of fire in short time. I’m terribly busy keeping track of the updates and advisories, and I’ll continue to do so until I’m told to leave or until the danger passes. So here’s what I’m keeping track of right now:

If you have any other good links on up-to-date news regarding this situation, leave me a comment. I’m trying to take in as much information as possible right now.

You can also follow my activities via Twitter. I’ll update what I can if I have to leave.

UPDATE: We were evacuated on Monday evening (10/22/07) and headed to Qualcomm Stadium where we found a family offering a place to stay for the night. The next morning, we drove to Mission Viejo to stay with family. It’s now the morning of the 24th and we’re planning on heading back home soon.

Here are some photos from our refuge in Mission Viejo.

Turmoil in Paradise Smoke Filled Skies North Meets South

My Top 10 Flickr Hacks

Today’s article is a guest post by a newfound friend of mine, a fellow photography blogger, and an inspirational photographer — Martin Gommel. Also check out my guest post on Martin’s blog titled “How Symmetry and Antisymmetry Impact your photos“.

flickr HACKS

Today I want to give you some useful tips for getting a lot more publicity on Flickr than you have now. Over the last few months I focused intensely on Flickr and I found many different ways to exhaust it to a maximum.

QUALITY

“No image is better than a bad one” is a quote which I am thinking of on a regular basis. Good or bad totally certainly depends on if you like it or not. If I am not sure about an image I let go of it for a day. After that I decide if I will upload it or not. If not, I take another image from my archive which one I like. Besides that I try to avoid posting images from the same location repeatedly, because that would bore my readers to tears.

TAGS

After uploading the image to my stream it’s time for tagging. Sometimes I’ll have a little bit fun trying to fill out the maximum count of tags: 75. The selection of ‘em happens in this way:

  • Place of the shooting
  • Theme (landscape, portrait or street)
  • Objects in the image (water, sky, clouds … )
  • Colors
  • Shown moods (freedom, peace, speed … )
  • Technical details (10mm, Canon, handheld … )

The more tags I use, the merrier my image will be found.

CONSISTENCY

I know I would drive my readers crazy if I would upload 10 images today and nothing for the remaining week. They just would be over strained, because some of them comment on every image. Additional to that I would loose the worth of the single image. That’s the reason for why I am trying to upload one image for every two days. If I have plenty of images to upload maybe one more (every one day) or if I don’t every three days.

COMMENTS

In Flickr it is the quite the same way as an old byword says: Who gives much can receive much. Who gives nothing has to be a star from the first. Because I am not, I am trying to comment on a regular basis the images of my “Friends & Family”. It goes from the short “I like the way you worked with lines and contrasts in this shot” unto a long expression of my my opinion. I do not hesitate to place some critique in a comment, but I am giving attention to add some positive words about what I like. Some good alternation is to ask a Question at the end of a comment which can end in an interesting ping-pong conversation with the photographer.

FAVES

The apparently easiest way to show a user that I like his image is to click the “Add To Faves” – Button. At this it can be some little thing that I like – and it’s a fave. Fave-worthy images do not have to be technically perfect in my opinion if they express a mood that touches me. Additional to that I try to see images of a use in context of his photographic maturity. If I am busy at work and do not have time for many words I often use faves for showing someone that I like the image anyway. But that should never grow into a habit. If I have definitely no time left to comment I do not panic. Flickr isn’t about cramped “have to” habits.

GROUPS

What would Flickr be without groups? Not half of it’s value. The “Send To Group” function allows me to show images in many different groups and there are potential new readers. For myself I have set a limit for group posting to 5 groups – which ones depends on the image. I post my images as seldom as possible to comment or badge groups because I like it when people come to my stream without any enforcement. I try to participate in group discussions and from time to time a start a new and thoughtful thread and see what happens. As I am living in Karlruhe, Germany I subscribed to the activities via RSS. That makes sure that I do not miss important threads and saves me a lot of time.

CONTACTS

One crucial benefit of Flickr are contacts which evolve from participation in the community. I mean those contact with which I got a lively inter-exchange of emails and comments. This is the social foundation of my stream. Those contacts give me feedback on my images on a regular basis. With those people I am exchanging ideas, news, questions, links and so on. I am trying to answer every new Flickmail from unknown persons. Sometimes I ask a question about the writer because I am not very good at smalltalk. Through that many many new relationships, and even friendships emerged. To give you a good example: Brian Auer.

PHOTO-BUDDIES

Over Flickr I have become acquainted with Matthias Pabst, Uli Linder and Scott Lewis which are now my photo-buddies. We are going out shooting on a regular basis. I this cases contacts have grown into authentic friendships which are further more personal than only about photography. To me it is very important to be on the same wavelength with my photo-buddies and to be able to speak about non-photography topics, too. As I am estimating myself as a part-introvert it is easier to have see a few photo-buddies on a regular basis than to have many irregular meetings.

TESTIMONIALS

… and their potential impact (in my opinion) is totally underestimated. I love to do others users a favor and I notice in their reactions that my words helped them on. With this thought in my mind I started “Kwickr” on my German blog, which is a giveaway party of 10 testimonials. The first 10 users who manage to comment after I published the post get one testimonial. Out of that I could develop many precious contacts such as Kai Müller from Germany. In testimonials lies a very important potential to deepen existing or fresh relationships to other contacts.

USERSCRIPTS

These clever Firefox tools based on GreaseMonkey can help you to a more enjoyable and practical everyday life on Flickr. I won’t abandon userscripts such as “Buddy Icon Reply“, to give you a perfect example of how useful userscripts are. Also see my “10 Sexy Flickr Userscripts” for additional useful tools.

I’d really like to thank Martin for sharing this article with us. Check out his blog, and definitely check out his Flickr photostream if you haven’t already. I know that about 50% of us are Flickr users, but these tips really apply to any photo-sharing community. I’ll be following this article up with one on Flickr Etiquette, due to a reader question I received a couple weeks ago.