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Social Photography Tips From Around the Web

Our (extended) group writing project has officially come to an end. Back in January, I posted the project requirements and guidelines. Over the course of the past two months, we’ve had 12 entries into the “Social Photography” portion of InspirationBit’s Social Media Mega Project.

Posted below are some excerpts from the 12 articles. Many of the entries were centered around Flickr, but there are a few that touch on other social sites and services. It’s always great to hear thoughts from other photographers on the websites that so many of us use. I’d encourage you to read through the articles linked below — the authors put quite a bit of effort into their writing and they’ve published some very useful and insightful information.

Social Media as I See It

Social Media as I See It

… The one that has had the biggest impact on me is http://www.strobist.blogspot.com or strobist.com. David Hobby has created a community with his site. He has selflessly shared his knowledge with all of us to improve our lighting. He unknowingly pushed me to challenge myself in areas I have always wanted to tread but didn’t know where to start…

Social Media In My Way

Social Media In My Way

… Flickr is not only a photo sharing tool. With the possibilities of commenting pictures, joining groups and participating in group discussions it is a lively scenery of photography related discussions… Jumpcut and Animoto are newcomers comparing to Flickr but it’s worth to keep an eye on them… photographyVoter.com- an other great social media example – is the Digg for photographers… I’m sure others leverage social media tools at a much higher level than I do. Some people are even making a life with and off them. And if you are one of those you can work location independently. But there is one thing to note: it is hard work and requires time…

Blog Writing Project

Blog Writing Project

… Flickr – it has caused me angst and confusion! I guess that’s not quite the opening you were expecting? Let me explain… The thing is, I didn’t “get” what Flickr was about. Being kinda new to the social web I’m not really “into” it, and nor it seems, are many of my friends and colleagues. My philosophy has tended to be that if I’ve got something that’s worth saying then I will, but otherwise I tend to look, not touch. Even on forums I tend to lurk. But that’s not what Flickr (and blogs) are all about…

Utilizing Flickr as a Photoblogging Tool

Utilizing Flickr as a Photoblogging Tool

… I happen to now host my images on Flickr… My favorite use of Flickr, however, is the ability to use it as a blogging tool. I have a photoblog for projects and I can dump my images onto Flickr then easily blog straight to my wordpress site… Using Flickr as a blogging tool has helped simplify my work-flow…

Help me flickr! I want to be a better photographer!

Help me flickr! I want to be a better photographer!

… By following this advice you can create an online portfolio of your best work… Restrict your uploads to one or two a day, but don’t feel like you have to upload something everyday… Haven’t shot anything recently, but still want to share some work? Cruise through your archives… Groups are probably one of the most important facets in your development… Spend time in the pools that most interest you. Comment on the photos in the pool. Insightful comments… While fav’s may reflect your moods to a certain degree, on a wider scale they reflect your aspirations…

Socializing

Socializing

… So I will share with you here MY experience with social websites, the ones I use, the one I love and the ones you could really help me make a change with!… Flickr offers unlimited storage and bandwidth so I use it to host various images/icons/logos that I use here… PhotographerVoter is a digg like community specialized in photography links! Luckily the people are much nicer than at digg… the most important part of socializing is not the social websites but it is rather to meet and make friends from readers and other photography bloggers…

photophlow: A Social Experience for Flickr Photographers

photophlow: A Social Experience for Flickr Photographers

… Photography is becoming an ever increasing social event with the onset of digital cameras, widespread Internet access, and great new websites springing up every time you turn around. Flickr has been a pillar community for photographers across the globe, and it’s an amazing place to share your work, view the work of others, and communicate with other photographers. But social media and other social websites have given us a taste of what it really means to connect with people who share common interests, and Flickr just isn’t cutting it (socially) for some of us. This is where photophlow comes in to play — adding a whole new level of social interaction to Flickr… photophlow is a mixture of several concepts and existing services…

Twist & shout!

Twist & shout!

… I looked at several services before opting for Shutterchance and my blog ‘eclectic’. Flickr seemed too huge with the number of ‘photographers’ and in some cases they seemed far too pompous! Zooomr was finding its feet – and still is; I wasn’t keen on the layout of Aminus3 and Blogger was a non-starter… I certainly felt most at home on Shutterchance…

Virtual community becoming real

Virtual community becoming real

… “Web 2.0″ is all about online community. But sometimes we want more. We want to meet the real people behind those avatars and icons. A small group of Ann Arbor photographers, first met on Flickr, has been meeting semi-regularly in person… We know each other online by our Flickr “handles”, such as Boston Wolverine and Capntoo. In person, we become Sam and Dave… our online community becomes a personal community, which in turn strengthens the online community…

Flickr is the key to my social photography experience

Flickr is the key to my social photography experience

… I joined Flickr in October 2006… I still kinda “lurked” around Flickr at first. I put a few photos up and spent hours viewing other people’s images… then I got a comment… then someone invited me to post a photo to a group… then someone added me as a contact… then someone asked to use one of my photos on their website… Before I knew it, I was an active member of the online photography community… My contribution back to the online photography community is to write posts on my own website; stumble photography posts and websites when I can; bookmark articles on del.icio.us and vote for articles on PhotographyVoter… Flickr is definitely the key to my social photography experience. In fact, if I had not discovered Flickr, I may still be “lurking” my way around the internet.

Things to Consider Before You Join a Flickr Pool

 Things to Consider Before You Join a Flickr Pool

… Photographers and Designers need a social media website that would help their artwork visually targeted. Flickr has the powerful tool to bring a visual masterpiece uncovered to the millions of viewers. If you’re a photographer or a designer who blog, why not starting out a Flickr pool?… Here are things to consider before you join a Flickr Pool… Create a nice screen name url… manage the usage rights… set the content type of your graphics… Watermark your photos with your blog URL… Tags your uploaded photos…

Social Media As A New Way Of Doing Business

Social Media As A New Way Of Doing Business

… It is easy to get overwhelmed by hundreds of various social networking sites… For some of us social media presented the ways to express ourselves, make friends, escape the troubles of the real world or simply feed our lifelong desire to learn. For others social media became the perfect tool in growing and conducting business…. I thought of interviewing Rastin Mehr, a successful entrepreneur, talented developer and an open source advocate… Flickr… My most favorite of all social networks that is. I’ve been using it for 2 years I think. I use it every hour as a way to reduce my stress, or trigger my imagination…

And remember to check back on InspirationBit in a few days if you want to see the results from ALL the different social networks and websites.

Link Roundup 03-08-2008

More great stuff this week from the World Wide Web! As always, I’m constantly amazed with the things people are publishing on a daily basis. Here’s what caught my attention this week.

Take a Moment and Give Me Some Love

OK, this is totally off topic and completely self-promotional. But hey, somebody’s gotta do it.

With the social photography project running right now, I just got to thinking about some of these networks and how they can be used to support your favorite bloggers. If you’re anything like me, you probably have a few social networks (and blogging networks if you’re a blogger) that you utilize from time to time. But also if you’re anything like me, you might forget to show your favorite sites and bloggers some love — not just the posts or articles, but the root site and the authors themselves.

WHAT AM I GETTING AT?

I guess what I’m saying is that I DO appreciate it when you guys share the love and help boost the authority of the blog. A higher authority can lead to more visitors, which can lead to more great community members, which can lead to more great discussions, which can lead to more interesting article ideas, which can lead to a higher level of enjoyment on your end. So you see, it’s really more about you than it is about me. I rarely, if ever, push this self-promotional stuff on anyone, so here’s my entitled once-a-year “give me some love” reminder for those of you involved with the following networks.

I heart FeedBurner

First and foremost, if you haven’t already subscribed to the feed and you use a feed reader, DO IT NOW. We bloggers love to see those subscriber numbers increase, plus it’s a great way for you to keep up with the daily happenings here on the blog.

StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon is my favorite network. For those who use it, I don’t need to tell you how great it really is. For those of you who don’t, what the heck are you waiting for? If you’re on the network and if you like this blog, don’t forget to give a thumbs-up to my home page (and review it if you’re feeling extra giving) and a thumbs-up on my StumbleUpon profile (also open for reviews).

Also for you stumblers, if you’ve added me as a friend you can jump on your home page and use the “Share this page with friends” option to remind me to consider your site for a thumbs-up. I can’t guarantee I’ll give it a vote, but if I like it and if I haven’t already done so I’ll give it a thumbs-up.

Add to Technorati Favorites

Technorati is kind of an interesting one… it’s more of a bloggers-only ranking thingy than a social network. But it does give you the ability to add other blogs to your “favorites” and I’m guessing that adds to their authority and ranking (but maybe not, I’m not sure). At any rate, it’s always nice to see that a fellow blogger likes this blog well enough to take the time and add it to their favorites list. So if you’re on Technorati and you like this blog, use the button above or head over to my Technorati page and click on the heart.

Join My Community at MyBloglog!

MyBlogLog is another bloggers-only group, but it’s a little different than Technorati. So again, if you’re on MyBlogLog and you like the site, head over to our community page to join in and don’t forget to stop by my author page and add me as a contact.

So that’s it folks — I won’t bother you with this silly stuff again until next year around the same time. We’ll get back to the standard photography-talk tomorrow.

Link Roundup 01-26-2008

  • PROJECT RESULTS: It Ain’t What You Got + Voting
    Neil Creek
    A great result for Neil’s first project — a collection of photos taken with less than optimal cameras. Check out the results and cast your vote for the best photos.
  • 15 unique stairs pictures
    All Day I Dream About Photography
    Great collection of photos all about stairs and staircases!
  • 17 Stunning Wide Angle Images
    digital Photography School
    Many digital photographers get a little obsessed by the ability that their zoom lenses give them to get in nice and close to their subjects. Here are some shots in the other direction.
  • 10 Curious Moments
    Sawse
    10 crazy photos from the history books — old photos (not Photoshopped) of curious moments captured of some curious performers.
  • New Blog: My GPS Camera Phone
    My GPS Camera Phone
    Cool new photography blog that’s all about camera phones! Interesting photos mixed in with some helpful articles… because sometimes, you just gotta put down that dSLR. Thanks for the tip-off Chica!
  • What It Takes to Get Your Photo on the Flickr Explore Page
    Photopreneur
    An examination of what it may take to get your photo featured on Flickr’s Explore page — but it’s still a bit of a mystery since none of us REALLY know the secrets.
  • The DIY Macro Rail
    DIYPhotography.net
    Make your own macro focusing rail with a simple vice and a few DIY mods. No, it’s not overkill.
  • Increase the Dynamic Range of a Single Image
    Paxton Prints
    Outline for a technique to double process a RAW file and merge the two together such that the resulting image has a much higher dynamic range than the original.
  • Video of the Week – Amazing, inspirational, educational, entertaining, captivating, and artistic. Great video about photographer Dan Schwartz on the topic of light graffiti — tips, techniques, AND great sample photos.

WRITING PROJECT: Social Photography

Photography has become a very social pastime with the uprise of digital cameras, the Internet, and photo-sharing websites. Photographers from all around the world are sharing their work, viewing the work of others, and making connections with people they would have otherwise never met. It’s an amazing thing how social networking and photography have almost merged into one big culture: Social Photography.

PROJECT REQUIREMENTS

  • Write a post on a blog and share your experience with social photography websites. See below for more details and examples.
  • Go to the form at the bottom of this page and send me your name, email (kept private), and link to your project entry. If you don’t have your own blog, you can always ask to write a guest post on one of the many photography blogs out there.
  • Once I collect the links from the participants I’ll publish them on my blog. You can then write another post and link to either all or only your favorite articles by other bloggers.
  • Limit one article per author for this particular project. You are more than welcome to visit other participating blogs hosting projects dedicated to other social media sites and take part in those projects (I’ll explain more below).

DEADLINE: MARCH 22, 2008

This project is actually part of a larger project being termed “The Social Media Mega Project“. InspirationBit is hosting the mega-project, and I’m hosting a small portion of this project on photography related websites. Several other bloggers are hosting similar mini-projects to fill the gaps in the mega-project. These projects span the following topics:

So if you can offer up your experience in any of those social sites listed above, feel free to visit the project pages and participate.

WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT…

As photographers we have a lot of options when it comes to social-based websites. We have the photo-sharing sites like Flickr and Zooomr. We have social media sites like photographyVoter and PictPicture. Then we also have some interactive sites like photophlow. Simply pick your favorite social site and choose a topic to write about that you feel comfortable with.

This topic could be how you integrate this social media site into your blogging, photography, or daily life. You could tell us about your good or bad experiences, how would you compare this social networking site with others, what do you like or don’t like about it, how you benefit from becoming a frequent user of this site, what secrets have you learned about it, and/or what tips or warnings would you like to inform others about. It can really be anything related to that site — just share what you know.

As a couple of examples right here from the archives of Epic Edits, Martin has already written about his Top 10 Flickr Hacks, and I’ve written about Flickr Etiquette. I’ll actually be following up soon with a new article on photophlow, how to use it, what it can be used for, and the benefits of using it.

So start thinking about those social pholography sites that you use, and put together your thoughts on how you can share your experience with other photographers.

PROJECT ENTRY FORM

Sorry folks, the deadline for project submissions is over. Stay tuned for the project results on the 24th.

ADIDAP is Down, But Antoine is OK

Antoine is fast becoming a friend of mine, and he’s having a bit of an issue with his photography blog at the moment… actually, with his host. And it may be terminal. I know some of you read his blog, so I just wanted you guys to be aware that he’s fully aware (and a little ticked off). So think happy thoughts, and let’s hope for a successful revival so we can get back to reading his stuff.

UPDATE: Antoine’s site is back up and running! Glad to hear he didn’t lose any information.

2007: A Great Year of Photography and Blogging

WOW — 2007 was great! I started up the blog in mid-January last year, and it’s been an awesome experience since that time. I had been involved with photography a few years prior to the blog, but nothing like that of the last year. The blog has caused me to really focus on my photography and building relationships with other photographers and photography bloggers. All in all it’s been great, and I wouldn’t give it up for anything. A BIG THANKS to everyone who sticks around, reads the articles, links to the blog, makes comments, and especially to those with whom I’ve become friends (you know who you are).

This blog has grown far larger than I had ever expected. In the course of a year, we’ve had over 825,000 pageviews, 513,000 visitors, and 443,000 unique visitors! That’s a lot of people. The blog has a PageRank of 5, an Alexa ranking of 42,139, and a Technorati ranking of 6,481! We’re up to almost 2000 subscribers (it jumped to 2001 a few days ago and dropped back down) and the site gets around 2,000 to 4,000 visitors per day on average. We’ve also had 7 articles make it to the front page of Digg (which certainly accounts for a good chunk of traffic and growth)!

So if you’re fairly new around here, check out these articles from the past. I’ve picked out two from each month (excluding January) that might be worth checking out if you haven’t seen them before.

JANUARY

Not much really happened in Jauary — I was just getting the blog off the ground and trying to learn the ropes.

FEBRUARY

MARCH

APRIL

MAY

JUNE

JULY

AUGUST

SEPTEMBER

OCTOBER

NOVEMBER

DECEMBER

NOW ON WITH 2008!!!

Which Site Name is More Appealing?

OK, so I actually had a little more interest from you guys on that photoblog idea I presented yesterday. It already looks like we’ll have enough support to move forward full throttle. I’ve had 3 confirmed portfolio submissions and 3 more that were promised. I said I would take up to five, but when the time comes to choose the photographers I’ll let the photographers decide how many get to stay.

So now I need to start making some decisions on how we lay the foundation of the site. For these types of decisions, I’ll look to you folks to provide guidance. The first thing we need to decide on is a name for the site. I’ve purchased two domain names (fineartphotoblog.com and fineartphotographyblog.com) and I have yet to decide which one would be best.

Looking at this from a website name standpoint, I’d like to get some feedback on which one is most appealing, catchy, sticky, memorable, etc. Which name projects a stronger image or brand? Which one would provide better search engine traffic based on the keywords? I had two people offer feedback on yesterday’s article, but they were opposing points of view so we’re back to being stuck in the middle.

Last week’s poll (What Type of Camera Do You Shoot With?) had quite a turn-out with 416 votes! 75% went with the trusty dSLR, but we have quite a few compact, ultra-zoom, and film users too.

Want to Sell Your Art? I Have a Proposition…

UPDATE: NO MORE ENTRIES AT THIS POINT! WE’RE ALREADY UP TO 30 PORTFOLIOS FOR CONSIDERATION AND WE’RE IN THE PROCESS OF TAKING THE NEXT STEPS. STAY TUNED FOR MORE NEWS ON THE UPCOMING SITE!

I’ve been testing the waters of the fine-art marketplace, and I’m finding that it’s probably more difficult to break into than stock photography. It’s not that I’m against doing stock photography (I do have some images in the PhotoShelter Collection), but I feel that my work is more suited for artistic prints rather than magazine ads.

I’ve been trying to make way with Auer PhotoWorks, but I think I’ve gone about it in the wrong way. For one, I don’t have the time or energy to spend on the design and marketing of the site. And for two, galleries don’t attract the amount of traffic that’s needed to make sales.

WHERE AM I HEADING WITH THIS?

Well… I’m going to shut down Auer PhotoWorks at some point in the near future. But I’ll be replacing it with something else. I’m going to start a photoblog for fine art photography. Blogs naturally bring in great traffic because of their structure (and because WordPress is so awesome). The goal of the blog will be three fold: 1) To share more of my work than my once per week “how I done it” feature, 2) To motivate me to spend more time on my photography, and 3) To generate enough traffic to make sales.

I’m thinking of using fineartphotoblog.com or fineartphotographyblog.com for the domain, and the name of the site will naturally follow from the domain name. Anybody have any preferences?

The site will have a simple, neutral, and navigable design. It will run on WordPress. There will be no ads. Each photo will present the viewers the opportunity to purchase the photo. All photos can be purchased as a print. Some can also be licensed.

I’m testing out ImageKind right now as my future method for handling print sales. I have a feeling they do decent work, and I like the fact that they have so many options for papers, matting, and framing. I just ordered a couple of my own prints so I can evaluate their quality (and my color management). I only have a few images up, but I’ll be adding some on a daily basis until I have a good collection going.

THIS IS WHERE YOU STEP IN

I want to take this thing a step further. A photoblog from one person is neat, but a photoblog from a collection of artists is beyond neat. I’m looking for up to 5 other photographers that would like to be part of the photoblog as a method of selling their art. The idea is that a group of photographers should be able to drive more traffic than a single photographer. It will lighten the load on everybody by reducing the need to post a new image every single day. This will allow us to focus on our best work and prevent us from rushing our image preparation. We’ll also be able to feed on each other’s popularity and bring in a wider selection of potential art collectors. I’m saying 5 for right now just to test things out, but we may bump that number up if there’s enough interest.

Each photographer would be responsible for selling their own images — the blog is only a means of generating traffic, you won’t be able to buy anything directly from it. I’m going this route because every photographer will have different needs, and they should have full control over how their images are sold. Not only that, but bigger sites like ImageKind and RedBubble are more trusted than an independent site with a cheesy shopping cart.

QUESTIONS, CONCERNS, COMMENTS?

I don’t have all the details planned out quite yet, but it’s slowly solidifying. I’m planning on launching the site some time in January. You guys are a knowledgeable group of people, so I’d like to hear your thoughts and questions on this thing. If you have any ideas for improving this idea, I’d be more than happy to hear them. If you think it’s totally stupid, I’d like to hear that too.

WHO WANTS IN?

If you’re interested in being one of those five photographers, put together a portfolio of 10-15 of your best photos that you would want to sell as fine art. You can do this with Flickr, Zooomr, ImageKind, RedBubble, your personal gallery, or whatever means you have to present me with photos. It needs to be publicly accessible, and I have a reason for this.

I’m not going to decide who gets in and who doesn’t. The photographers who submit a portfolio will decide who gets in. I’ll ask the photographers to vote for the top three to five portfolios, depending on how many there are. I’ll tally up the results and take the top photographers. If I don’t get any takers, I guess I’ll be going it alone. If I get one or two half-hearted attempts, I guess I’ll be going it alone (I reserve the power to veto). Honestly, don’t submit a portfolio unless you’re dead serious about selling your work and helping out with the blog. And do realize that if you want to sell your images through a place like ImageKind, it will cost you a monthly fee at some point.

YOU HAVE UNTIL THE END OF DECEMBER TO CONTACT ME WITH YOUR PORTFOLIO THIS PART IS OVER FOLKS — NO MORE PORTFOLIOS. KEEP WATCHING THE BLOG FOR UPDATES ON THIS PROJECT.