Have you ever thought about taking your photographic process to the next level? I’m not talking about taking photos that net you a first award at photo of the year-competition or about going from hobbyist photographer to a full-time pro. I’m talking about hitting some of your photographical goals without unnecessary stress or without turning your beloved hobby into laborious performance.
So, the questions:
1. What are you trying to accomplish?
What kind of photographer do you want to be? What goal do you plan to achieve? How the result will look like, if you succeed perfectly?
2. How your current situation looks like?
How is it different from the situation you want to be in? What stands between you and your goal?
3. What must happen for you to reach your goal?
List three to five most important things or events that must take place before you can reach your goal?
4. What are the five most important actions you must take to reach your goal?
Should you take a course in photographic theory? Should you train your marketing skills? Should you put up a portfolio site? Should you practice more?
5. What are the five most important skills to master before you can reach your goal?
Are you an excellent photographer but your marketing skills suck? Time to invest some time and energy in that direction. Or maybe you handle everything else but your models hate to work with you? Time to pump up your social skills and develop a friendlier personality. Or maybe you feel that you aren’t creative enough? Maybe you should invest in a creativity course then.
And the ultimate control question. I can’t really stress enough how important this is:
Do you REALLY want to reach that goal?
If I got a dollar every time I hear someone saying “I tried really hard to accomplish something and in the end it wasn’t what I wanted and now I feel kind of disappointed”, I would be a really happy man. But because these people rarely give me money, I just ask you all to really really think about your goals before going after them. But if you’re really sure that you want something, then go ahead, I really hope that you succeed!
Each and every question listed earlier of course applies to any other activity as well, not just photography. So if you’re taking any part of your life to the next level, please, give yourself some hard time and really reflect on these questions ;)
Lately I discussed the importance of publishing your photos. In short, it’s a great way to gain visibility and help yourself and others. In this post I tell you where to actually publish them. I’ve selected four different services for you to read about. Let’s have a look at them!
The most popular photo sharing service. Account creation is free. The main restriction is 300MB photo upload limit per month. In other words you can’t upload hundreds of photos a month with free account. Cure? Resize your photos smaller before uploading them. This way you can upload more photos for same price (0€). Clever, isn’t it?
The paid account is $24.95 a year and has unlimited uploads and storage. You’ll also get detailed stats to your account. I haven’t tried it, though, so can’t say much about it. Anyway many people seem to have it. It can’t be all bad.
Flickr also has the coolness factor. As mentioned it’s the most popular photo sharing site out there. The name Flickr raises credibility in many circles. If you tell your photography friends you have Flickr you’ll get points immediately. If you are after that Flickr is your choice.
Go for Flickr if you just want to share your photos. It’s easy and hassle-free. Just remember the photo upload limit. If you want to remove the limit the fee is not very much. Just 25 bucks a year. It’s less than hosting your own website. Also you don’t get to customize everything with big F. If you don’t mind it, choose Flickr.
Where to start?
Picasa is Google’s answer to Flickr. As with other Google products it’s completely free. The photo all-time upload limit is 1GB. However, only large photos count towards the limit. Photos of 800×800 pixels are unlimited. If you happen to be Google+ user the photos can be as big as 2048×2048 pixels without counting towards the upload limit. Should you reach the all-time limit of 1GB your photos are automatically resized. All in all, lots of space.
Picasa doesn’t have the coolness factor of Flickr. You can share your photos just fine with Picasa Web Albums. However with Flickr you can reach a larger crowd. There’s just so many more users with Flickr. Picasa’s interface is also messier and harder to use than Flickr’s (this one being a matter of taste).
If you want a lot of space for free, like for online storage, choose Picasa. You can upload unlimited 2048×2048 pixel photos there (if you have Google+ account). Just keep in mind that your photos might not get the visibility they deserve. Also if you are a professional photographer then the union of Google+ and Picasa is your choice.
Where to start?
Hosted blogs (like Blogger) offer you a free blog platform. Just sign up, upload your photos and you have a photo blog. Your hosted blog is somewhat customizable. For example you can change elements of design or SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Even being customizable hosted blogs are still easy to use. There are still restrictions: for example, Blogger has a 1GB of limit for uploaded photos.
Hosted blogs, compared to Flickr and Picasa, are more than just photo sharing services. They offer many more functions. You get an actual website with blog look and feel. Your posts (photos) will be shown on chronological order. You can get your own domain name (yoursite.com) with few bucks. In other words you become a blogger.
Visibility-wise, you have to begin close to zero. Hardly nobody knows that your site exists. It might be shown for short time in some list of your blog service’s Newcomers list. Google wont give your site top rankings in the beginning. With Flickr you’ll have a head start since the users are already there. For example, they just have to use Flickr’s own search engine. Even your new Flickr photos might show up in the first result page of Flickr own search.
Where to start?
If you want to publish your photos in an actual website, use hosted blog services. You will have a blog with chronologically ordered photos. You’ll have an own admin panel too. On the other hand, you have to learn a bit how to use your hosted blog service. You have to work to get visibility. If they sound like a burden for you, hosted blog might not be your choice.
This is a pro’s choice dare I say. First, you buy domain and web hosting. Then you download WordPress. Then you set it up. You’ll have fully customizable blog with endless opportunities. You’ll get your own domain name. You can host as many photos as you want. They can be any size. You can do whatever you want. It all costs money, though.
Domain for one year is about nine bucks. Hosting for one year is 30-60 bucks. The boundaries for your website come from your hosting company. They usually give limits of bandwidth and disk space usage. However you don’t have to worry about the limits unless you publish hundreds of large photos a month. And if your site grows you can buy more resources.
How about visibility? Well, you have to start from absolute zero. Your site won’t be automatically listed anywhere. Google will rank your new site very low. Nobody might come to your site in the beginning. Sounds depressing? Well, there’s a reward if you work hard. It just takes time. If you publish quality photos with relevant captions, do your search engine optimization well and wait you’ll be rewarded with visitors. You can very well rise from zero to hero.
This blog is a self-hosted blog. I chose it for my photo publishing platform because I wanted to customize it fully. For those wanting to get full control of their site I strongly recommend self-hosted blog. Also if you don’t mind paying a bit go for self-hosted. If all you want is simple photo publishing without learning curve, go for Flickr.
Where to start?