Can you make money out of street photography?

Simple answer, you can but it’s probably the hardest photography genre to make money at.

I take street images because I love it, I could make a lot more by doing weddings, product or studio work. It’s the love of it that keeps me going, if it were the income I’d have given up years ago.

Most street photographers have jobs that sustain them; street photography is what they do for love. If you were to give up your job for the art, consider this. To generate an income from your art will require you to do more promotion than photography. This comes as a shock to many, the amount of hours you need to put into the marketing side is far greater than the time required to get out shooting, if that’s not for you then you are unlikely to make it. Even if you do make it it’s unlikely to make you rich and hard just to make a living.

You need to be visible. That involves creating and publishing a constant flow of fresh material. Accumulating a following takes time, sometimes years, your followers though, are the ones that may possibly be your customers.

Customers for what though? You need products and services. Your products will be prints and books, your services commercial shoots and possibly teaching and workshops (if you are interested in my courses click here). Teaching though is another art to master, not all great street photographers make great teachers.

If you develop a particular style, you can attract commercial work from those who love your style. These commissions may not come often but for me they are a joy. I get a thrill out of taking images of people in my own style and getting paid for it. I get asked to do portrait shots for business people and personal portraits in my own style.

Client portrait shoot

Client portrait shoot

I was commissioned to cover people at Chelsea Flower Show last year, again in my own style. It’s very competitive though, there are so many photographers out there now, and many are prepared to sell themselves cheap to get the job. You have to work out what you think you are worth per hour and stick to it. Work out realistically how many hours it will take you to prepare, travel, shoot and post process the images and stick to your rate. Do not undersell yourself; even if all those around you seem to be willing to do it, you will only get disheartened.

Commission by RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Commission by RHS Chelsea Flower Show

As mentioned before, selling photography products and services will depend on how you promote yourself. With so many photographers out there competing for business, you need to be the one that stands out.

First of all you need a great website, one that shows your images off to their best potential. It should rank well in Google so you will need to learn the basics of good SEO, although that has changed radically in recent times. The site needs to be fast. Google loves a fast site. The fastest sites are custom built but most photographers do not have the budget for that. WordPress is often the answer, but WordPress is notoriously slow. If you are using WordPress, use a theme by a reputable theme designer/developer, one that gives great support if you have any problems. Keep the plugins to a minimum; these will slow your site down. There are WordPress dedicated servers you can use. I am going to re-host my site soon to take advantage of the speed gains. They will store your plugins and some of the functionality elsewhere on their server, greatly improving site speed.

Take care with your titles and urls. Have a good think about what you are offering and what people would type into Google to find a service like yours. Make sure that these keywords are prominent on your site, in headings and titles as well as body text, but it must not seem un-natural, write like a human.

You need other sites to link to you. Link building used to be a dark art, now it is white as the driven snow. Google is looking for natural links, people who are linking to you because you are relevant, interesting, creative etc. It’s not easy, the quality has to be really good. Think about what your potential customers would like to see or read, what they would find inspiring or useful to share with others.

Google knows if you are using a CMS system like WordPress. If you are, they expect frequent updates and will reward you if you do this, but be careful. Remember what I said about quality; if it isn’t worth publishing don’t publish. Gone are the days when publishing for the sake of an update did you any favours, it’s about quality not quantity.

Your site should also be designed to look good on mobile. That means it should be responsive (change appearance the smaller the screen). There are some great responsive themes out there to choose from, if you need something tailor made, expect it to be expensive. Search results on mobiles are different from the results on a desktop; good quality responsive sites will usually outrank un-responsive ones.

Note: don’t forget to add alt tags to your images. Also make sure all of your Social Media profiles are easily accessible, and that you have visible share links to all the biggest networks on your posts.

That’s your website sorted! Now you need a strong social media presence. Again it’s about quality not quantity. Basic rules are, don’t take on more than you can chew. Decide which platforms will be most useful to you; maybe choose ones you already have a following on. If you take on too much it can take up all of your time, you need to be able to respond to people. Only post you best stuff or share things that you think your audience will be interested in. Never post for the sake of it, it’s OK to take time off now and again. If you want to join lots of photography communities try Google+, if you want to build relationships try Facebook and LinkedIn. Flickr is a lot less popular than it used to be but it is all about photography, so if you are posting a constant stream of good images it’s worth updating. Instagram, however, is on the up and up so it’s worth having a profile there.

If you need to build links the only valuable way is to offer really good content to the best photography sites. They will be inundated by people trying to get published with poor quality content, so you will need to be personal with your approach and let them know you have something worth publishing. Be different with your approach, I’ll leave that up to your imagination. If you can show examples of great content you have written it will help, and if you can demonstrate that you have a big following that might help too. Publishing the best content on your own site works too, by using social media to put your content out there, you are more likely to attract organic links to your site.

You may be thinking that it’s the photography itself that will determine how well a photographer will do financially. To a point that’s true, you have to be a good photographer to make it, but consider Andreas Gursky’s image “Rhine II” which sold for $4.3 million back in 2011.

Andreas Gursky’s image “Rhine II” which sold for $4.3 million back in 2011

Andreas Gursky’s image “Rhine II” which sold for $4.3 million back in 2011

It was a record back then but has now been surpassed by Peter Lik’s image Phantom sold to a private collector for a $6.5 million last year.

Peter Lik’s image Phantom sold to a private collector for a $6.5 million last year

Peter Lik’s image Phantom sold to a private collector for a $6.5 million last year


I doubt that if I took identical images I would be able to sell them at all! It’s a fact, to make any money out of photography you have to be well known. I’m not saying you need to be as famous, but you need to be well known for your art, and that takes time and perseverance.

As I have been in the digital marketing business for so long, I have always advocated using digital marketing for photographers. Often I hear the same mantra, I don’t do all that stuff, I hate Facebook and Twitter, I won’t get involved. A few might get lucky but most will fall behind. It’s one of the few things in our grasp that we can learn to control, that we do have access to. Anyone rejecting it completely is, in my opinion, putting themselves at a huge disadvantage.

It can be overwhelming; it’s difficult to know where to start, (see my last post Being Human in a Digital World). I recommend taking one step at a time. Set yourself goals and deadlines. Be mindful of the trap of continuous notification checking and addictive update making. Use social media a networking tool to find and communicate with potential clients, publishers, galleries etc.

Getting out there is not just about being online though; nothing beats seeing your art on a wall. Consider organising an exhibition, this is something you can do with other people. Look around for exhibitions; see what other photographers are doing, and think about how you might approach your own or shared exhibition.

Some awards and competitions are well worth entering. Winning the RHS photographer of the year 2014 competition was the best bit of marketing I think I ever did. I was linked to and mentioned (Google will note mentions as well as links) all over the world. The front page of MSN and Yahoo, magazines and newspapers, even a TV appearance the list is so long I won’t even bore you with it. Beware of some competitions with an entry fees though, check out their credibility, I see a lot of awards run by dubious organisations these days.

foxgloves and bee RHS Photographer of the year 2014

foxgloves and bee RHS Photographer of the year 2014

Magazines are often crying out for great content, most will have an email address to contact for editorial. Don’t send them jpgs though, better to send a link to your work, images clog up their accounts, a link to a dropbox folder is usually good. Make it tidy, interesting and to the point, the easier it is to publish it the better chance you have.

In short, you cannot wait around to be discovered, you have to work out what time you have, set some goals, make a plan, and use every way you can to increase your exposure, on-line, on walls, in magazines, and in books.

Being Human in a Digital World

Until recently I had been in charge of digital marketing for a business since the beginning of the Internet. I’ve seen many changes in the ways we use online tools to promote a business. It all moves along so fast it barley gives you time to stop and think about what you are doing. Now I am primarily a photographer, I need to apply some of what I’ve learned over the years to my own site, but it’s different, and everything has changed so much.

With Google being the centre of the digital universe, that’s where most businesses will spend their time and money. It’s always been about gaming the system. At first we learned that links equalled ranking, so the world started generating billions of superfluous links from dubious sources. It lead to link rings and microsites, software that enabled you to swap links with others. Google’s reaction was to use its algorithms to identify these pointless links and devalue them. That in turn lead to negative SEO, at Silicon Beach Training we would get them all the time, even now we still get them, cowboy SEO companies who add links to your site from seriously bad sites.

being human in a digital world

All this pointless activity on the Internet needed to be addressed by Google to keep their results relevant to searchers. With time they developed ways of detecting how relevant these links were by the content and quality of sites in which the links were placed. So far so good, but what that lead to was the continuous flood of poor quality, keyword rich content with links to sites. Sites were established for businesses to connect with other business sites that would publish their content with backlinks. The result was lots of pointless, poor quality content. So Google developed ways to detect content for the sake of content, it slammed down hard on these sites and began to penalise the businesses that used them.

Google began to use location as a factor in search too. Google’s local search algorithm update put a lot of people out of business. Local physical businesses with services that cannot be provided over the network, that have (or had) a national or international customer base could no longer appear in search results when searchers were out of their area. This has resulted in many businesses setting up virtual offices and fake Google business locations in areas they want to reach. More pointless activity.

When businesses realised that social media allowed them to connect with the wider world it lead to another wave of Internet activity. Businesses tried to connect with an audience using Social Media, and some did it, and still do it well. But this too opened a can of worms. We are encouraged to get friends and followers; we are still playing the numbers game.

Now the only way really to improve ranking in Google, or even your general online visibility, is to produce content that actually matters enough to others to make them want to engage with it. That should be a good thing, but algorithms are not humans, no matter how clever the engineers are. With almost every business in the world trying to clamber to the top, there are no sure bets anymore, no matter how good your business, your product or content is. You still need to structure your site in an SEO friendly way, to make it load as fast as you can, to use micro data and keep the content quality high. You still need to write content in the right way, with good titles and some keywords. You still need to engage somehow with your clients, using social media and mailing lists, promotions and incentives. Your content must be interesting, useful or entertaining. It should be better, our on-line experience should be relevant, tailored, personal, a joy to use. But it isn’t.

It’s a constant flood of distraction; pointless messages from people we don’t know, spam emails, and spam Facebook posts, endless updates we don’t have the time or energy to sort. We are not physically or mentally capable to connecting to all the (so called) friends and followers we collect. We tend to pick out a few that we recognise, or some that may interest us, but it’s just not possible to take in and respond to the incoming avalanche of messages in a meaningful or human way.

We are bombarded with our own data. What we have liked or looked at online pops up everywhere on our screens. I am constantly unsubscribing to email lists to which I not consciously joined. I friend people on Facebook as I use it for marketing primarily, only to find they put porn on my page at night while I’m sleeping. We spend more time filtering crap than consuming the information we really want. There is just too much data in the world already, and the flow is still accelerating. We spend our lives creating that data. Every purchase, like and comment is collected and used to create more data and content which is then thrust upon us in a never-ending stream.

What about choice? Algorithms decide what we want. In fact ‘decide’ is the wrong word, it suggests humanity. There is nothing human about a machine, it does not make decisions, it makes calculations. We give Google and Facebook endless amounts of data about ourselves and they use this to reconstruct the data to throw back at us weather we like it or not. I read a really heart wrenching article written by a man who lost his young daughter last year. The Facebook machine sent everyone their animated year in pictures. There on the front was his daughters face, he didn’t share it of course, it hurt to even look at it. But even after he had decided not to open the file it was pushed and presented to him every time he logged on with no way of switching it off. A machine is just that, it does not think it merely calculates, and sometimes it gets it very wrong. We are connected or not, and unless we withdraw we have no choice.

By the way, while I’m on the subject of Facebook, I’d like to know who thought it a good idea to allow anyone to add you to a group you are not interested in and let them constantly message you against your will? Are they crazy!

The Internet, built to connect and improve relationships between people and businesses, is consuming us, and nobody can stop it or slow it down.

Where does it leave us? As a business that wishes to connect to consumers we have to take part to compete.

In some ways people subconsciously and consciously filter out the constant noise, I rarely see the ads, I begrudgingly spend time unsubscribing and deleting spam comments, Facebook posts and emails. What the world needs now are human filters.

I want to be a filter. In order to stay sane and engaged, there will be no content for contents sake; I will only write what I might be interested in reading myself. Already I only publish what I consider my best images. I will be more selective with whom I friend. I will not worry if I haven’t updated for a week or two (another of Google’s algorithmic ideas that has backfired is a preference for those who update often). I used to update Google+ once a week because some people use machines to filter out those who do not update so often, but who needs followers that only connect with the constantly connected, using machines not minds to connect. I will endeavour to be the filter that people crave. The one who doesn’t spout for the sake of an update.

Sure I will use these platforms to sell my street photography workshops, where I meet people in person and talk to them, to sell my images, which I constantly create because I love it so much, and to share them online. However, I wish to attract customers, not by pushing, but by pulling them in.

I put my new site out there for critique. The Internet is great for that! I was amazed at how much great advice I received. I posted in creative and marketing circles. The creatives loved it and the marketers kept telling me, I am not a blog, where was my marketing strategy, what was I selling, it is not clear, what about my ROI etc etc. However, right now, I am a blogger and a photographer, I just create, and I believe that that is what people want. Online, I want to create useful and interesting content first and foremost, my writing and my images. When people buy my images and workshops they are buying some of the creative part of me. This is what I want to share online.

Of course for larger businesses and brands, it’s another story, they need to work out how to become perceptibly more human, the ones that achieve this will be most successful. The rest of us need to stop peddling so hard and start enjoying the ride, focus on connecting with genuine people, rather than trying to use the machines to improve numbers.

For me, and self-employed people such as myself, who are providing a craft or service I believe that this is the way forward.

If you got this far, thanks for reading  and if you have anything to say please post here and share your thoughts

Winning Photography Competitions

I know Iv’e been tweeting, facebooking and google plussing like a trojan about my recent win. My apologies but I do have another reason other than being chuffed to bits.

Entering competitions, and winning them is great for your profile as a photographer.  It gets your images seen by new people, not just your followers and friends. It gives you something to talk about on your blog and social networks. It gets you talked about, shared and mentioned. It gives buyers the confidence that you are good at what you do.

So yes, I’m going to mention it again, sorry, but it’s relevant:)


RHS Photographer of the year

foxgloves and bee RHS Photographer of the year 2014

foxgloves and bee RHS Photographer of the year 2014  – click to purchase image


One month when searching for photography competitions that were ending soon this one came up. Now and again I search for “Photography Competition (put month) 2014” to find current competitions. At first I didn’t think I had anything good enough or appropriate for the theme. It’s important to choose something that really fits the theme, don’t try and squeeze an ambiguous square peg into  a round hole. Then I remembered the foxgloves image. It ticked all the boxes to be a contender, it was a good quality image and it would stand out, few garden images are taken this way, most being macro and few use flash.

It was important to make a reasonably objective decision as to wether your image a chance when there is an entry fee. I only pay to enter after careful consideration otherwise it could become an expensive hobby rather than a means to get exposure, kit or cash.

How can you tell which are the best images to enter?

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Social Media Engagement and Influence for Photographers

More musings to share about marketing for photographers as I write more chapters of the book Marketing for Photographers (a work in progress).

“Social Media marketing is all about engagement”

You’ll hear these words over and over until you’re blue in the face. It’s obvious isn’t it? The clue is in the phrase “SOCIAL media”. Many articles are written on the subject as if it’s a revelation, without really giving any practical advice on how to become more engaged online, or how to find out what content attracts the most engagement from others.

To start with, before I get all conversational and start telling stories, here’s a brief list of useful tips. Some of these you have probably read somewhere, and hopefully, some new ideas. They form sound, practical advice, and if nothing else, will act as a reminder for those who are already ahead in the social media engagement arena.

Preparing for Brighton Pride

Preparing for Brighton Pride – click to purchase image

  1. Pick vibrant and relevant communities to join on Google+, Facebook, and LinkedIn and contribute your own material as well as joining in the conversations posted by others in the group.
  2. Stay focused on your niche or profession, people will want to follow and engage with you because you are an expert in a particular area.
  3. Monitor your brand or your name; there are various tools that will do this for you. If someone mentions you, try and respond.
  4. Regularly respond to comments on your own pages, you don’t have to be tied to your computer, just drop by and respond when you can.
  5. If someone comments on your work or shares your work then thank them regularly. This can be tricky if you get popular.
    Depending on how many followers you have, you may not be able to do this for every share or comment. Even a quick like of a Google+ or Facebook comment is better than nothing, it acknowledges the people who respond to your work. (I know there are many people who regularly like and comment on my work and don’t get a response, I’m sorry, I’m working on it, sometimes I make a mental note of the regulars and give them an occasional personal thank you in the comments)
  6. Ask lots of questions when you are sharing your own content and when you find interesting content or comments from others.
  7. Do seek out the influencers that inspire you and try and strike up conversations. You can do this by saying something thoughtful on their posts or asking them intelligent questions.

A great way to get someone’s attention is to read all you can about them, find out what makes them tick, then write your own spin on the subject inviting them to comment or asking them for a quote before you publish. The more you find out the better, remember you are trying to establish real relationships, the more you have in common the better, the more personal your approach the better. We are not talking bunny boiler here, but if someone has just posted about an amazing holiday, you could bring that into the conversation. If they have a grievance about something that you share, it can provide a good way to connect.

You can connect with me on Google+ Facebook Instagram Twitter Flickr and LinkedIn


Story from Marketeer Extraordinaire Dave Trott

Here’s a story that I love. I heard it from creative marketer Dave Trott famous for many memorable TV ad campaigns over the last few decades. My older UK friends might remember  “‘Ello Tosh, got a Toshiba?” or “Ariston and on and on” or “Lipsmackin’ thirstquenchin’ acetastin’ motivatin’ goodbuzzin’ cooltalkin’ highwalkin’ fastlivin’ evergivin’ coolfizzin’ Pepsi”. Younger readers might wonder what the hell I’m on about. Anyway here is one of the stories he told when I heard him speak. It has stuck in my mind and at the time I thought about how relevant it was to social and digital marketing today.

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Branding for Photographers

The word “Brand” will mean many different things to many people. Some will think about logos, stationary and colours. Some will think about mission statements, style, public relations and public perception. Most will think about business and corporations like Nike and Coke.

The brilliant thing about the web now is some of the strongest brands are now people themselves. Using nothing more than your website, content and the social web, it is not just possible to become a brand, to be successful it’s essential to become a brand.

It’s important for search optimisation.  How you present yourself, what you write about, whom you talk to and who talks to you are factors that are becoming increasingly important in search.

As people spend increasing amounts of time online in communities and on social networks these are the places you will want to make your mark.

With all the new and exciting possibilities for presenting yourself online, how you present yourself on your website and blog, and all social platforms, will be key to your success. The opportunities for sharing images are not only infinite for you, they are infinite for anyone with the means to take a picture.  Your problem is how to stand out from the masses.

You are your brand

Big companies and organisations are struggling to find ways to engage with their audience, customers and potential customers. They have to find a way to humanise and personify their brand so that people will identify and engage with them. I believe that photographers have an advantage. You are a real person, someone that others can relate to, you ARE your brand. Your images are perfect for getting an emotional response. Images are much more powerful than words online and if you are a good photographer you should have these in abundance.


Brighton fringe

Try and publish the types of photographs that your audience likes on a regular basis. I’m best known for my street photography, especially events and for taking images from unusual angles

Anyone can develop an online brand if they are original, interesting and set aside time to engage with their online followers. I know many photographers say they just don’t have time to keep checking and updating profiles. I too would much rather spend my time out shooting images and talking to people rather than typing on a keyboard. Some may even be able to afford not to do it; they may have already found fame, established enough relationships in the industry to sustain an income. Sadly for most, that is not the case, the good news is that you can create your own buzz, gather your own following and use online and social trends to transcend your business using nothing more than imagination and time.

Of course learning what works and what doesn’t is essential if you don’t want to just tweet away your precious time, but by research and trial and error you can concentrate on maximising the return for your efforts.

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Photography, the Internet, Writing, Social Media and Me

Life was simpler before the Internet. Exchanges made and relationships built depended on whom you met, phoned or wrote to. Research was done in a library, travelling, talking and experimenting. You bought in shops or catalogues.

Photographers marketed themselves in print, the yellow pages, and word of mouth. Photo libraries consisted of slides and negatives. There were fewer photographers then.

The affordable digital SLR changed everything. Semi Pro’s rose up and outnumbered the elite. The digital image is now reproducible, cheap and in abundance. The problem that faces photographers is how to get noticed; the problem for image buyers is finding the greatest images in a disorganised and growing mass of choices. There is still ‘an elite’; it’s just even harder to become one amidst all the noise.

Of course price matters, to both the buyer and the seller. Well established photographers, who’s names are well known, can still command a good commission for a job. If your name is big enough, you are a recognised artist; you can command a high price for your artwork. Unless you are famous though, nobody is going to pay a high price for your work if they can get it elsewhere for much less. There are many photographers for whom publication itself is reward enough.

Eric Kessels 24 hours of photos

Eric Kessels’ installation at 2013 Rencontres d’Arles photo festival. 24HRS of Photos. A room drowning in photographs. The cascade of 35mm prints is representative of all the photos uploaded to social media sites during 24 hours

News and documentary photographers have probably been hardest hit by the digital transition.  It’s about being in the right place at the right time, getting a shot that will convey emotion as well as recording an event. The technical quality of the image and the experience of the photographer however has become less relevant, and the strongest images can come from anyone with a mobile phone, it’s not necessarily about talent or experience, sometimes it’s luck. Those who have dedicated their lives to seeing and catching the perfect frame that encapsulates an emotion or the environment are loosing their revenue to the lucky shot brigade.

Mobile photography is becoming an industry in itself. Not only that, but because people are taking billions of images and seeing so many (a video on YouTube suggests there are 348 524 706 340 and these figures are already over a year old) people who are becoming better photographers. Photography has reached the masses and people are devouring it.

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SEO for Images using Robin on Ivy

This post started as a little experiment in SEO for images, it’s ended up more of a post about illegal image use, but you’ll understand the purpose of it by the end, I think!. Using this image of a robin in my garden, as it’s nearly Christmas), I have optimised the title, filename and content of the post  to include the words Robin on Ivy in an attempt to get it ranked high in Google search results for the query “Robin on Ivy”.  For the purpose of this exercise you will need to search including the speach marks otherwise you’ll end up with images about batman rather then garden birds!

robin on ivy

Click this image to buy prints or downloads, cards are available on redbubble

I started by searching for the search term “Robin on Ivy” and noticed some rather alarming things.

This is an image that I uploaded to istock images some years ago whilst dabbling in stock images. I only sold a few and my credits were not enough to get paid when they switched systems, so I lost all my credit!

Since then Getty bought iStock and has also changed the way they do business with third party suppliers. To my surprise, the second highest position for my image is from a site called (the first being my image on redbubble where I have sold a few cards) .

So now, simply from uploading to iStock, the image is now being sold by Getty and I’m not sure I’m happy about that, so after this experiment is over I will delete my iStock account and will update you on how long it takes to get my image down form the other sites.

There is no simple way to delete an iStock account so be wary, I’ve just emailed them using their form, agin I’ll probably write about this later. Even deactivating images is a struggle, I cannot find the answers on the web so if anyone knows how to do this please let me know in the comments.

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Google Plus and Photography – Chasing your themes

Some people don’t get on with Google+. They don’t see the point of it and find it harder to engage with people than when using Facebook or Twitter.

Google+ is more about communities than friends, there are many strong communities and very influential individuals that you could use to your advantage in marketing.

The trick with google+ is to post only your very best images on a regular basis and share them with communities that have an interest in your style of work. Finally, try and make some influential connections, so when you have something important to say you are more likely to get your message spread quickly.

Of course it is a global audience, if your business is local only it may be of less interest. Even so, if you have a photography business listed in Google Local (formerly Google Places) and it is associated with a strong Google+ profile, you will be much more visible in the search engine results.

I find Google + the easiest social network to use as a photographer. It’s not perfect, organising your photos could be a lot simpler, but the look and feel of the interface is far smoother and less cluttered than Facebook. It’s a magnet for photographers of all levels from around the world.

It’s no coincidence that Photographers Trey Ratcliff, Thomas Hanks and Tom Anderson hold positions 6, 7, and 8 of the most followed people on Google+ .

I know technically Tom Anderson is best known as the founder of MySpace but  photography is now his passion – look at his profile to see. If you haven’t already got a Google Plus account it’s daunting to begin with,  you have Trey with just under 5 million followers to compete with!

Of course it’s doubtful that anyone starting now will be able to compete with the universal follower magnets, but there is a space somewhere in the middle, for us mere mortals to build an audience for our work. I’d like to share with you a simple way to speed up the process to find friends and influence people 🙂

Museum Rome, Italy

Posted up today for themes #WomenWednesday, #hqspmonochrome, #hqspnonnaturephotos , #allthingsmonochrome , #streetphotography and #rawstreetphotography

I’ve watched people successfully gain influence and gather followers using circle sharing, competitions, themes and hashtags.

Here I’m going to focus on themes. Themes often have the added bonus that the curators (very influential people) will choose their favourites and reshare the images on the theme page itself, then you attract many more followers interested in your work. Also, as you are connecting to the groups who share your interests as a photographer, you will probably find that the quality of the comments you receive will improve.

The Hub of a theme is usually a Google+ Page or a Community.  To post photographs to most themes you need to tag an image with:

  1. A link to The Google+ Theme Page or Community
  2. The curators of the Theme
  3. The Theme hashtag
*NOTE: Remember to put all of the pages and curators into your circles – I have a circle called Themes and a circle called curators to keep them tidy.

There is a brilliant resource available that lists most of the popular themes and provides you with statistics, information and cut and paste code for your posts including all the essential tags and links.

I have used some of my favourite themes as examples but I suggest you make your own list using the themes listed on the resource I have linked to above.

The really annoying thing on Google+ is that when you cut and paste these tags from one Google+ post to another the links all disappear.  However if you cut and paste the Google+ unique ID number for each page or person, and paste it into a post, the link will be created.

That is why the theme listing site above is so useful, and why creating your own popular cut and paste tags according to your photographic style will save your hours in the long run.

*NOTE: Remember do not cut and paste from one post to another in Google+ as all of your people and page tags will disappear. Cut and paste from your own list like the one I have made below.

If you really want to build your follower numbers up fast, consider putting yourself forward as a curator. I imagine it is quite time consuming, which is why I haven’t done it myself, however I’m sure it’s a great way to get followers. The resource link I provided above gives details of theme pages that are looking for curators.

Here’s the list, and if you want more top tips and you like my images you can circle me here.

Daily Google+ Themes

One sure way to attract attention is to post your very best images regularly. The daily themes are a good way to keep a steady flow of images appearing on your page. They are popular so you can pick up quite a few views using the hashtag.

Monday Themes

Monochorome Monday
For +100721197069868019681 curated by +117470753717431753548 +110041558267751969861 +116985892549750076024 +102171842495058318978 +107343380917808930971 +100730482429607730997 #MonochromeMonday

Shoes Monday
For +103408014527622914546 curated by +106132563999059898886 +104361409217313730040 #ShoesMonday

Leading Lines Monday
For +106738248584813417297 curated by +108127039931400009413 +104355888553035365377 +108092188319505624535 +114830458019096176470 +113111857754202208081 +100784425740559013107 #leadinglinesmonday


Tuesday Themes

My Town Tuesday
For +100503825046812729376 curated by +114127684466692817416 +116042504805817667580 #mytowntuesday

Portrait Tuesday
For +110121585149280412897 curated by +100081010984768669358 +116678377243407600427 #PortraitTuesday

Cuban Woman in Paris

One for #PortraitTuesday

Transport Tuesday
For +108674867211728423383 curated by +111112809838472063992 +113635217936692280136 +108258998494605140446 +116843025732061565320 #TransportTuesday


Wednesday Themes

Wide Angle Wednesday
For +113413820629101434595 curated by +107916932044263516432 #WideAngleWednesday

Weather Wednesday
For +112404978094795040756 curated by +111940817266286694912 #WeatherWednesday

Wet Wednesday
For +105837174297260653678 curated by +104100048721044197927 #WetWednesday


Thursday Themes

Urban Thursday
For +100677528159245643709 curated by +105477838837461147904 #urbanthursday

Coastal Thursday
For +111400732361417799841 curated by +102444210972227492079 +101810868794261263831 #CoastalThursday

In Motion Thursday
For +106417709946558982641 curated by +103776299476527190352 #InMotionThursdays


Friday themes

Feet Friday
For +108574845125888832419 curated by +107926371512942521555 #FeetFriday

Colours on Friday
For +101895570915665777018 curated by +110027747567778716234 +101697458106330852210 #ColorsOnFriday

Fido Friday
For +111700522129731539879 curated by +105852782594022510198 +104962347070667053810 +100275369366064591159 +114839663135720829360 #FidoFriday


Saturday themes

For +109065685588567617650 curated by +109134942366253016489 #SilhouetteSaturday

Street Life Saturdays
 For +106162924928341362126 curated by +101006001190131292549

Sunday themes

My City Sunday
For +110904442002274084798 curated by +116905863525318361853 +111029390442511467115 MyCitySunday

For +108038105692242016215 curated by +108838388628190977623 +112941758576332332211 #ShadowsOnSunday


Black and White Themes

I love Monochrome, these themes are really popular on Google+

10000 Photographers BW Monochrome
For +118354348104191320538 curated by +117000139571713536948 +105549797352796189905 #10000photographersBWmonochrome

All Things Monochrome
For +104488912244914098950 curated by +103236949470535942612 +102630587810059958311
+103905243558297332495, +116009988727944699627 #allthingsblackandwhite #allthingsmonochrome

HQSP Monochrome
For +104112931232906076951 curated by +111892763335178073075 +110336976038750891860 #hqspmonochrome

Monochrome Arty Club
For +100063075762256579052 curated by +108019662279165160680 +115665147773049983469 +105101694711744871391 +103197072119870191855 +102550939011914482302 #monochromeartyclub

Street Photography Themes

For +117667139809211458332  #StreetPics

For +113332593582232559763 curated by +111395336413321899601 +103729298155391133062 #streetphotography

RAW Street Photography
For +115761369087241460953 #rawstreetphotography

Urban Snap
For +114855977826297290745 curated by +103650703836816496431 +109208819976630988946 #UrbanSnap


Really Popular General Themes

Pixel World
For +111030772181610401482 curated by  +118301062646383652931 #pixelworld

For +113338852684140641535 curated by +102921966230520584004 #creativephotos

10000 Photographers around the World
For +110538600381916983600 curated by +117000139571713536948 #10000photographersaroundtheworld

HQSP Urban & Street Photos
For +102873089149603762163 curated by +101997782486428462734 +105869820195207598778 +116560541114804305108 #hqspurbanstreetphotos

100 Strangers Project
+111291841020596011976  curated by  +107213813872748015663 +117939436980939541352 +109895985415340120002 #100Strangers

HQSP Portraits
+11645570634503681853 curated by  +114654114514872937512 #hqspportraits

Other Themes I Like

Low Angle Photography
For +118304888464001365482 curated by +114441204367012264249

Magic of Light
For #MagicOfLight #themagicoflight +105228416043631582555 by +115924865466302265389 +106901350204433474063 +103745203309160971155

HQSP Landscape
For #HQSP Landscape  +100379827397924071303 by +109079753818826549254 +116160296886796853429 +111507734943250706775 +117724447617982506837 +112898717782421875814 +110441510987025503659 +112055620905339459149  +115530531530181491807 +106625389810654522392

Stunning Moment
#StunningMoment +106314743058506488325 by +101159726845862944750 +108102879464925551155

#BTPLandscapePro +116416755205215746848 +116501742697641301903 +113408942588672463601 +110473080845421674567

Photographers Guide to Pinterest

It took me a while to get used to Pinterest. As with all social networks, we discover  how we wish to interact with it and with others by playing and using. We learn by seeing what works and what doesn’t, whether our end goals are social, commercial, creative or all three.


I have an “about life” board on pinterest. I update it often. If you like the images above click the image and follow the board. Main image here by Kasia Krynska from left to right 1/ Stanley Kubrick, 2/ Stanley Kubrick, 3/ Joel Meyerowitz, 4/ Me


Whilst I’m sure there is a lot yet to learn and discover, I’m sharing with you what I consider to be the best advice. Please feel free to share any genius tips you may have tucked up your sleeves in the comments section.

Pinterest for Photographers

  1. Keep things tidy.
  2. Build your boards/categories and their titles carefully. Make sue your board title actually describes what you share on the board.
  3. Choose who you follow carefully, don’t just randomly follow the interests that Pinterest offer you when you sign up, you’ll be forever un-following the stuff you are not interested in seeing.
  4. Be on the look out for other great curators. If you like 90% of what they post then follow them or selected boards of theirs.
  5. Likewise if images that are just not your thing keep appearing in your stream, trace them back to origin and unfollow the person or board.
  6. The sooner you get your stream finely tuned, the easier and more pleasurable it becomes just scrolling through a creative feast and sharing the best morsels.
  7. Update often but not all at once!
  8. Post only the best of others
  9. Post the VERY best of your images, be selective.
  10. Establish yourself as curator extraordinaire, in the webby mess of imagery, people will love you if you have an eye for a killer image and do their sifting for them. Unlike Google, you are not a machine; it is your personality, humor and style that count.
  11. Use Pinterest as a clippings library for articles that you find really interesting as well as your own articles and create boards with well organised themes.
  12. Make sure your blog has a clearly findable Pinterest share buttons. (Unlike mine, I’m working on it but it effects other third party share widgets, annoying)
  13. Link up your other accounts to allow Pinterest to share your pins on them, you can choose which pins to share on accounts like twitter or Facebook.
  14. When your board is looking particularly good share a link to it from other networks.
  15. When you accept an invitation to post on someone’s board, think carefully, their board will appear on you page, does it really represent you?
  16. If you find a board with multiple curators that does fit  your idea of a good board than ask if you could be a curator.
  17. Use Pinterest to publicise your other social pages, pin from you blog, from Flickr, Redbubble, Instagram etc. Note that some networks do not allow pinning (tip: from flickr click ‘view all sizes’ and pin from there).
  18. Remember Pinterest is about curating and sharing. As a photographer you are your brand, if you constantly only promote your own brand (images) people will get bored.
  19. After a while you will see some of the same images doing the rounds, when you see something extraordinary on the web, then pin it, don’t just rely on repins, you want to be original. Do check that the original photographer is linked to and credited, and does not prohibit it.
  20. Don’t forget you can comment on other peoples posts, respond to comments on your  posts and you can message someone with the usual @ symbol