This has been a hard post to write. I am not sure exactly where I am going or which direction I should choose. The one thing I do know is that I need time. I am at a crossroads.
A while ago I heard about a new Social Media site called Steller. To be honest I can’t quite remember how I heard about it, but I joined up, got the app for my phone and then forgot all about it. Typical of me sometimes. Then the other day my friend Chris put it up on her site and I said, “hey what is it”. She told me about it and when I went to get it I realised I already had it.
Last week on U4D we looked at social media in a general way. Today, I thought we could look at it for photographers and how you can use it. I have been trying to find lists of the top 5, but it seems everyone has a different opinion on the matter. Also many articles are quite old and social media is changing so quickly that what was relevant a year ago, is not now. Perhaps, I will just talk about what I use and why.
This would have to be the number one platform for me right now. It is amazing, and is bringing lots of new opportunities. It has provided a good incentive to work on photos and put them up. It has been one of the best social platforms I’ve seen as far as the social side goes.
It has been around for a few years now. When it started it was for putting photos from you mobile phone up on it. It still really is only for the phone. Though some things have changed over the years, and you can view photos on the computer, you still can’t load photos, except on your phone.
The photography has come a long way as well. While there are still many people who use photos taken with their phone, there are many more putting up images taken with their cameras. It means that the variety is incredible and really inspirational.
There is a real social side to it, in that I have met so many other photographers from Melbourne through it. I’m finding out places to take photos and then meeting others as well. It really is a social platform.
While many don’t include it in social media, it shouldn’t be underestimated. Blogging platforms give you an opportunity to let people know more about you. You can say more, and show your images.
More and more people are writing and using blogs to showcase their work. There are so many out there now that it is hard to stand out. Still worth doing and finding your own niche in the world.
One aspect that really helps is the ability to use your blog as your website as well. People can find out information readily as well, especially if you are trying to run a business.
While people seem to be turning away from Facebook, it is still a fairly important platform. Though, I’m not sure for what. My experience is that it seems fairly ineffective these days, except to keep up to date with friends. It is hard to be social when you only see a fraction of what people actually post. The messenger or chat function is probably the best thing about it.
Some of the problems with Facebook are the way it is monetised now and how do you find people to follow you. The only way, it seems, to get people to look at your posts is to pay to have them boosted. I haven’t found that boosting works, but others say it does.
Most social media platforms have a way to almost advertise yourself, hey I am here. However, that doesn’t seem to be something that Facebook have. You have to let people know about your page on other platforms, or, pay for it. The second option is not something that is recommended.
This is quite an under estimated platform. It is easy to forget that Google is the biggest search engine in the world and then there are Google images. You want google to find your images and show them in searches that people make. They won’t tell you how they do things, but it can’t hurt to have an account and put your images up there.
Google+ are pushing more for their collections now. They want you to create collections, which are basically galleries of your images. You will get more hits and it is shared more. It isn’t that hard to do either.
Google+ is said to be great for photographers, and it is. You get to see some wonderful work. There are also many groups and such that you can join as well. There also don’t seem to be pay to use things that Facebook have.
There are the rumours that Google are going to shut it down, but since they just created a whole new interface that does seem unlikely. Though I asked my husband about it and he said the rumours have been around for years.
I’m putting these together because they seem to work the same. They both show your work beautifully and can be used as a portfolio of your work. Though with so many other places it is hard to see how they are going.
Flickr is a more general platform and you will find people of all sorts of levels there. Those that are photographers and those that aren’t. I am not sure how effective it is anymore, but it still looks good. I tend to only put my best work up. I was told it was a great place to get work, that has never happened for me, but I’ve heard it has for others.
The platform for 500px was designed for photographers to use. I have used it and do have an account, but I don’t use it. I found the whole competitiveness aspect of it a bit of a turn off. I didn’t need that, but there are many people that think it is wonderful.
Which is for you?
Only you can decide. The reality for many of us is that you can’t do it all, unless you don’t want to have a life. It is recommended you pick about 3 and concentrate on those. So you can see what my three are, the first three. I post on the others, but rarely. I like to see what happens from time to time, but I know that I have to work on the sites that bring me the most reward.
This is a just a brief overview and in the coming weeks I will try to do more comprehensive articles on most of them.
Are you on Facebook, or somewhere else? What is your handle, or username? How can I find you? These are all questions that people often get asked when they meet people for the first time and want to stay in touch. They no longer want your phone number; they want to know where they can find you on social media.
Social media a place where people can create their own content and share it with others via the internet. It almost seems strange when you hear someone talking about how they don’t use any of it, and the rest wonder how do they keep in touch? It has been around for some time now and love it or hate it seems to be here to stay, well, at least for as long as we have computers and electricity.
As photographers, it is a great tool and a wonderful way to share your images with the world.
There is no doubt that some platforms are much better than others. We tend to gravitate to a few and those that try to use all, end up not doing a great job. Let’s look at the 5 most popular social media platforms.
This is the number one platform for social media. It has around 1.23 billion active users a month, which is massive. You can decide who will be your friend, you can post photos to it, and you can chat to people. It has a lot of good aspects, but the negative ones are seeing lots of people not using it as they once did.
These days if you have what they call a fan page, and you post a photo then not many people will see it. It has been said that if you post something then only 11% of those that follow you will actually be shown your post. If you want more to view it then you need to pay. It is called boosting your post. Does it work? Well, it never has for me, but there are people out there making a lot of money telling you it can and apparently how. The same happens for your profile page.
When you talk to a lot of people now they nearly all say they hate Facebook. It is too commercial and they don’t like how they can’t see everything their friends have posted. However, it is still an important platform and until something better comes along, people stick with it.
It’s very big at the moment and millions are watching videos on it. They say it is the second biggest search engine in the world, so I’ve heard. Nearly everyone has used it, but a lot don’t post their own videos on it.
It is becoming a great place to share content and those that are trying to move up in the world should be putting videos up there. Start your own channel today and start posting some video content.
This is still very important, but one that hasn’t really had a major impact in Australia. Australians tend to think it is for celebrities and don’t use it. However, it is big in other places and has around one billion users.
For most, the short messages and not really knowing what to do with it has been a major problem. How to connect with others can be a problem as well. Thought there are those that absolutely love it.
This platform is good for networking and many people use it to help them find jobs. It is more a professional social media site. Therefore, you get a lot of people who won’t connect with you, because you are not part of their professional network.
This platform is very different from others and you do need to spend time looking around it. You can’t just send people invitations to connect with you and LinkedIn have criteria that you need to fulfil to be able to do it.
They are always changing what they do that give you more opportunities for what you can do. It is worth considering, but remember it has been designed with the professional in mind.
This is an incredible platform for photographers, and those that don’t like Facebook. Though, it seems to get a bad response from many. There are always rumours that Google are going to shut it down, but apparently they are just that. Google are always making changes to the platform to try and make it better for the viewer.
One aspect that many like is the lack of ads on it. It is assumed Google make enough money from the their other services so they don’t need to do that with this. Though it isn’t written anywhere there is the view that putting your photos up on G+ also enhances your chances of Google Image search displaying your images when people do images searches. That means your images are shared to a wider audience.
It really is just a sharing and networking platform. It is easy to see what others are doing and there are many groups or communities that you can join to share your images with as well.
This is not necessarily the real top five and many put Pinterest up there as well, but I don’t use it, so I don’t feel qualified to talk about it. Most of us are using these in some shape or form.
Next time on U4D we will look at the best sites available to photographers.
Are you using some of these? Do you like them? What don’t you like about them?
Finding yourself here on Social Media can be a puzzle. There are so many rules and ideas about what you should or shouldn’t be doing. So I thought I might talk about one aspect today. Your profile picture.
My husband says I don’t have one because I am embarrassed about the way I look, and perhaps there is an aspect of that, but for me it has more to do with stereotypes and what people tend to think about when they see a woman of my age and size.
So let’s start with what is a stereotype.
According to Wikipedia “a stereotype is a thought that can be adopted about specific types of individuals or certain ways of doing things.”
That is a basic definition, but basically it means that you judge people on a preconceived idea of what or how they should act. It doesn’t mean it is correct, but you have that idea. We have a stereotype that pedophiles are creepy men, ones who look a certain way, when in reality they can look incredibly ordinary, otherwise why would you trust them with your children.
How is it relevant to me
My problem is that I am, first of all, a woman. Then I am older, I’m over 50 now, and thirdly overweight. I have three things against me when it comes to photography. We know that the world likes beautiful things, it is no secret, so what happens if you aren’t one them?
I have experienced the stereotype first hand. When I have been out and met people for the first time, people who don’t know me, I’ve seen how they look at me and you can tell they don’t think I’m a very good photographer. They aren’t interested in me at all, as in the photography aspect. They are happy to to talk at me about themselves, but they don’t ask me any questions. It is almost rude.
When I am with a friend who looks more like the stereotype I am ignored completely. Believe it is true, my friends have noticed as well.
I got this from a site that looked at Stereotypes for overweight people:
According to the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, sizeism is the fourth-most prevalent form of discrimination in the U.S. Yet only six cities (plus Michigan) have laws protecting against it.
While stereotypes exist regarding all different body types — short, skinny, tall and so forth — those reserved for larger body sizes are particularly vicious. Fatness is often associated with laziness, poor hygiene and stupidity, assumptions that can have serious consequences on both a personal and societal level.
So I have to question whether it is a good idea to put up a photo of me.
For me this is a no brainer. If people have these stereotypes of what a photographer is, or what a woman photographer should be and I don’t fit the profile, then I am going to be judged as soon as they see that photo and my work becomes irrelevant. Whereas, if I just have my avatar then it is doesn’t matter who I am and what I do, people fall in love with the work first, well I hope they do.
I know so many are thinking I’m being silly, but it seems to be something that only women who are similar to me understand. When I explain it to them, they totally get it and agree. It is sad to think it happens, but there is no point pretending it isn’t a problem.
My view is use the avatar that I have on all social media, if people love my work and then we meet then hopefully by that stage they don’t care what I look like. I use the same avatar on everything, it is me. I don’t see the point of the face, or the camera in front of the face, or just the camera, there is a sea of those images out there. I like that my avatar stands out and as people get to know me they recognise it.
Hopefully they are silly enough to think that I have to have a photo of me for them to understand I am a real person. You all know that I’m real, right?
What do you think of stereotypes and how people view some groups of people?
We hear about inspiration everywhere and to do what we do, we have to have some kind of inspiration. What I think is inspiring won’t be the same for you, and vice versa. If we know what truly inspires us it can make our work so much easier.
One of things that I get a lot of inspiration from is movies. There are films that I find really visually appealing. Perhaps the actual story may not be great but how it looks and what they have done to it is fantastic, to me. I can name a few movies that I find inspiring, The Matrix trilogy, Lemony Snicket, and The Day After Tomorrow. Do you have some favourite films that give you inspiration?
Social Media this week
As usual I have some of the photos that have been on Social Media this week.
This was taken on top of a cliff near Anglesea. I took it earlier in the year. I’ve been finding some older photos to show on Instagram.
A long exposure of a small pier near Watson’s Bay. I took this just after I first got my filters from Formatt Hitech. I was playing around with them to see what I could get.
This has been my most popular photo on Instagram ever. It was shared on a couple of other sites which was nice. It has also had more likes than any other image I’ve ever put up. One could say it is one of my most successful images. I’ve even sold it.
This is a new image that I did yesterday for Social Media. I made the blacks darker to give it a silouette look. Normally I hate people in my photos, but they do seem to work in this one. We were at the Golden Gate Bridge in Crissy Field trying to get a sunset, we didn’t get much, but I liked this.
I did this image today. It is a very popular place to take photos in Melbourne, well with some of us. Part of a beautiful building. I like this walkway which is beside it.
There were other photos, but I have already shown those to you in other blog posts.
There is no doubt that you can get really caught up in Social Media. You can spend hours on it, but you do have to find a balance. We know that we have to use it to promote ourselves, so where is that balance? The more you use it the more promotion you get, but then you get stuck on it and you don’t get any other work done. I don’t have an answer for this, but I’m working on one and I may have some suggestions.
It has been suggested that you need to work out which platforms will get you the best benefits. There is no way anyone can maintain them all. You have to select which ones will be best for you and which ones will you be able to use. I use Instagram, Flickr, Facebook and do a little on Twitter.
My favourite at the moment is Instagram. I’m trying to build up my following there and at the moment it is where I am spending most of my time. I’m looking at lots of work and seeing how others use it. I’m also trying to use it for our magazine, Dynamic Range. The number of followers is slowly increasing. If you want to follow the Instagram page here is the link: Dynamic Range Magazine.
One thing that has been good about it is getting me to process a lot more images. Though, not just for Instagram, but also for Flickr and even more so for this site and blog. I used to do photos for my other blog and then talk about what I did to them, or the thoughts behind the process. I really want to start doing that again, but here.
Instagram also means that I can go through old photos and use them again. It has been nice to have another outlet for them. I post everyday, sometimes twice, but that is rare. There is a philosophy about how often you work and that you shouldn’t post too much. People do get annoyed if you post too much and will stop following you.
I keep hearing that you have to allocate time to do it. Set aside an hour a day or something like that to spend on it. Limit the time or the whole day will go and you won’t get anything else done.
There are other sorts of Social Media, but Instagram seems to be the one at the moment. All the things I’ve been looking at are saying we should use it. I’ve increased how many followers I have, and that’s been great, but I haven’t seen a lot of benefits from it yet. When I do, I will let you know.
The downside is also that it is all about numbers. People take notice of how many followers you have. They even take notice of how many you follow. If you follow too many it doesn’t look good, apparently. Then there are the people that will only follow you if you follow them. Strange game. Good luck if you decide to go that way.
The photos today are ones that have been on social media this week. If you want to follow me, here is the link to my Instagram page, leannecolephotography.
Some decisions have been made recently and one of them is to do my posts on two blogs. This one and the main one I’ve always used. I would like this one to become my main blog, and in time I hope everyone will find their way here.
Some other changes are going to happen as well. I plan on cutting down on how often I blog. I think I will go to four times a week, and see how that goes. I need to find some time to do some other things, which I am excited about. My posts on Friday are going to combine my Bits and Bobs post as well as looking at images I have put up on Social Media.
Social Media seems to be a very important aspect for any photographer these days. With that in mind I’ve been trying to use it a lot more and putting more photos on certain platforms. I have been building up Instagram and trying to put one or two photos up there each day. It has been good going through all my older images and seeing what I can put up. I have also worked on some new images. I really like how my Instagram account is looking. I hope you enjoy the new and old photos.
Dynamic Range Magazine
There have been some people who have asked that I show some images of what the inside of the magazine looks like. Here are four samples of pages that can be found in the latest edition. If you haven’t got your copy yet then here is the link.