365 Days of Instagram

Generator Photography is finally on Instagram.

https://www.instagram.com/generatorphotography

It’s where all the popular kids are.  And, if I’m honest, that is part of the reason I wasn’t on it.  I’m that kid who likes to go to parties, but also likes to stand in a corner alone and feed my superiority complex by smugly judging everyone else.  Yes, I’m that kid.

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By now Instagram is THE conduit for sharing your work, your life, your art.  Which is a shame, because as a photographer, I actually think that flickr is a better platform over Instagram.  Here are some things flickr has that Instagram doesn’t*:

  • Albums & collections: very easy to create and organize, makes finding things later on much nicer, just wish more people used collections though.
  • Tagging: Works very much like Lightroom and can even pull LR tags automatically. The ability to search my own tags and narrow down by tags, flickr even adds its own ones and you can search by predominant color in a photo. I can go to a list of all my tags when trying to find all photos from a particular camera, film, place etc. very useful.
  • EXIF: If photo has exif data it’s clearly displayed on the page and i can click through for extensive exif data as well. If a photo has GPS data in it there is a world map there and you can quickly drill down to where it was taken.
  • Privacy settings are varied enough and useful, public/private/friends/family, change who is allowed to comment or add tags.
  • Select what kind of copyright (or lack thereof) i want on photos, flickr has 9 different options to quickly select from.
  • Stats page for each photo with graphs and even where the viewers came from, there is also a summary stats page where i can see various things about all my photos. The Recent Activity page as well, lets me see if anyone has commented or favorited any photos so i can quickly respond.
  • Photos just look better on flickr.  There, I said it.

But while flickr is not in the death spiral it once was, sadly it is highly unlikely it will ever reach the level of popularity that Instagram has.

But, then again, Instagram isn’t just for photographers.  It’s for celebrities, and people who want to photograph their lunch, and their puppies, and their kids, the books they are reading, and sunsets. And a whole lot of other stuff.  It’s actually pretty cool, and I’m sorry my patronizing attitude stopped me from jumping in.

The question was how, exactly, should I jump into the pool?  I have many years of work behind me.  Do I post a large chunk of it all at once?  Only the best shots?  Or just make a clean break with the past and only post new work?  It was a puzzle.

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The answer I came up with was 365 Days of Instagram.  What I will be doing is posting one photo on Instagram every day for 2017.  This will be in addition to the regular work I will be posting throughout the year.

365 Days of Instagram will accomplish two things.  First, it will mean I have fresh content every day. On social media, it seems like you are only as relevant as your last tweet.  Or your last post.  Usually, because of my 9-5 weekday work schedule, I can often go long periods without posting any new pictures. By guaranteeing one post every day, I know that my Instagram page will not be quickly forgotten and end up covered by dusty, internet cobwebs.

Second, even though this turns every day into Throwback Thursday, it will give me a chance to really go through my back catalogue and post stuff even regular, faithful followers of Generator Photography haven’t seen for a while.  And, after one year, all will have a wonderful, complete picture of my work and my art.

I couldn’t be more excited about this upcoming year.

Soon, I will post my thoughts about 2016 (sort of sucked…but not?), and what’s coming up for 2017.

Stay tuned, friends, good stuff is coming.

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*This list is directly quoted from a Reddit thread in /r/photography, “Thought’s on Flickr’s Future?”  I would have given the author due credit, but they have since deleted their account.

My New Favorite Photograph (revisted), Donkey’s Balls, And Why I Now Have A Tumblr Account

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There is no feeling in the world like seeing your artwork finished, presented and properly displayed.  It’s such a rush.  It is such a huge part of what we do as artists.  I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again here, if you are a photographer and all you do is process and post pictures online without printing and showing your work in the real world, you are missing out on a huge part of what makes being an artist so mind-blowingly wonderful.

I’ve written before about this specific piece, about how it was my new favorite photograph and how I would love to see it printed large.  This is just 10 x 13, matted and put in a 16 x 20 frame.  It looks great, no question, but it needs to be larger.  Much larger.

I honestly have no idea why this piece has such a hold on me, but it does.

The other thing it has done to me is make me re-evaluate a lot of my printing choices.

I have put my logo, or a variation of Generator Photography, on most of my prints.

 

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I think this might have been a mistake.  There was a practical reason for doing this, I thought 8 x 10 prints would sell more than 6 x 10 prints, which is the crop ratio of most of my work.  And, I thought I needed to do something, anything, with that extra space.  And in my zeal to built my “brand”, I think I sacrificed the overall quality of the art at the alter of marketing.

Another mistake I made was adding that white border to every print.  They look somewhat cool on the computer, but trying to mount one in a proper 8 x 10 frame without it being crooked is a nightmare.

In this upcoming year, I think I will be making some changes.  I want to re-evaluate and probably redo every print that I have up for sale.  Actually, what I might do is just go all in and make all the pictures on my main webpage available for people to order as prints.

I’ve had my reasons for not making them available, and all those reasons suck donkey’s balls.  I’m an idiot.  And I need to trust that people who like my work are going to make far better choices than I will, and I need to let them be free to make those decisions.

Just quickly on some more immediate changes: I’m dropping my 500px account and adding a Tumblr account.  I just don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere on 500px.  I’m not getting any decent feedback on my work, nor am I reaching any people who will impact my art, or my business, in any way.  I’m duplicating work that I’m already doing on my flickr account, and I’m getting nothing in return.  So, double work + no benefit = Stupid.  So, enjoy my pics on 500px now, before I nuke the account.

In return, I’ve added a Tumblr account.  The deal with Tumblr is that several of my shots have already been circulating Tumblr for a long time without my watermark and without any credit to me.  So, I thought, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.  I’ve posted some older shot, popular shots, some newer shots.  I’ve finally got a theme that I really like and, if I’m honest, I really like how the whole thing looks.  I’ve got a theme where the pictures are big and clear, and uncluttered.  It’s how my prints should have been.

Plus 500px is so serious.  Tumblr is kind of fun.  And God knows I could use a little more fun in my life right now.

I always knew this whole process would be a journey.  I’m not embarrassed about the mistakes I’ve made.  And I’m sure for every mistake I admit to there are two dozen mistakes I can’t even see.  But, I am a firm believer that in order to make the right choices, you must learn from your wrong choices.

And sometimes the obstacle is the path.

7 Websites That I Go To Frequently*

The full title of this blog post is “7 Websites That I Go To Frequently Because I Think They Are Pretty Cool, And Often Useful, But It’s Really Up To You If You Want To Check Them Out.  Or Not. That’s Cool, Too.”

But I don’t think WordPress would have allowed a title that long.

It’s actually a reaction to all the websites and blog posts I see that are titled, “10 THINGS YOU MUST DO IMMEDIATELY” or “15 PRODUCTS YOU MUST OWN.”  I’m uncomfortable with that level of certainty.  Mostly because I choose to ignore those pages or posts and, somehow, my life continues to go along fine.

I’ve only done one tutorial-type of post, last September’s, “On The Importance Of Background Checks“, where I gave some helpful hints to get better photos at auto shows, and hopefully in general.

I’ve steered away from doing other tutorial posts for now.  Partly because I’m making all this up as I go along, and who wants to take advice from that person. But, I do want to share some knowledge I have gathered in these many years of plying my trade.  So, here is a stop-gap measure.  Sort of.  Here’s 7 Websites That I Go To Frequently*

#1 Digital Photography Review

I’m a total gear head, I admit it.  I try to soak up all the latest news and reviews of what’s happening now in the world of photography.  And Digital Photography Review is my first stop.  Mind you, it’s not my only stop, but their in-depth reviews and features for comparing cameras are some of the best out there.  Be warned: the comments section for the reviews on DPR are populated with miserable, cynical, self-inflated fanboys with butthurt for miles, but the forum section of the site often has pretty useful discussions.

#2 Digital Photography School

Anything you’ve ever wanted to know about photography: from choosing a camera to how to take better pictures to getting that look you’ve always wanted in post-processing, this is your go-to site.  School is in.

#3 PetaPixel

PetaPixel is one of those sits that collects news and articles from across the web.  There are several dozens of these types of sites, but if I had to choose one, PetaPixel is definitely it.  They usually have a great range of stories from new camera releases, interesting “Photography In The News” articles, and those glorious time-lapses I love so much.

#4 Botson.com’s The Big Picture

I got my jones for photography from LIFE Magazine, and to this day I hold that as the gold standard.  But, alas, LIFE Magazine is no more.  The closest I have come to a digital equivalent is Boston.com’s The Big Picture.  It really does remind me of LIFE, in terms of the depth and breadth of the photo essays. And whether covering current topics, or interesting events, The Big Picture consistently has some of the most world class photojournalism out there.  A must see.

#5 Photography by Neil van Niekerk 

Or, anyone really.  The idea is that, if you are into photography, find someone famous and follow their website/blog.  A good friend turned me on to Neil’s site because of his outstanding tutorials and real world examples regarding off-camera flash photography.  But, seriously, fine someone who’s work you really like and follow them relentlessly.

#6 flickr

Despite everything you’ve heard, flickr isn’t dead.  Although, Yahoo is doing everything in it’s power to put it down like a rabid dog.  But, for now, flickr is the best photosharing website out there.  People will praise Google+,  and I’m sure it is fine for the six or so people on there, and 500px is great if you like hyper-realized HDR sunsets or impossibly beautiful (and way over-processed) Russian models, but flickr still is the heart and soul of photosharing on the web.  The communities there, battered and bruised though they are, provide an online photography experience second to none, and will continue to do so until Yahoo’s incessant tinkering finally bury it all.

#7 The /r/photography board on Reddit.

This is the obligatory controversial choice for the list, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a bad choice.  Past all the newby “Which DSLR should I get?” and “How can I duplicate this effect” threads lies some of the best real-world commentary and advice out there.  Often, you have to take a lot of the comments with huge, boulder size grains of salt, but thread for threat I think this is one of the best discussion boards on the web.

I’ll go even further for a controversial pic and say that, the /p/photography board on 4Chan is also a great place to hang out.  Know this, it’s not a place for the easily offended or the faint of heart.  No, seriously, if you have any moral center at all, stay far away.  And, you have to wade through a LOT more chaff to get to the good stuff here, but when honest to goodness advice finally surfaces, it is gold, and gold you can take to the bank.

And, there we are, 7 Websites that I go to frequently because I think they are pretty cool, and often useful. But it’s really up to you if you want to check them out.  Or not.

That’s cool, too.