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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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