Tag Archives: Flickr

Studio 5 Graphics Year in Review 2015

Bre Projector NSFW
Bre Projector NSFW

Studio 5 Graphics Year in Review 2015

 

I know I have not posted since April of 2015, but it has been interesting even if I don’t write amazing things every day about taking pictures. These year end reviews are important to me to help me bench mark where I am and what I have done over the year. One of the hallmarks of 2015 was the reduction in picture taking because of you know life and things like that. 2014 I took somewhere on the order of 28,000 pictures, 2015 saw about 18,000 pictures taken, but the pictures that are coming out are cleaner, brighter, and jacked up, I’m finding my signature now, and you can tell a S5G picture just by looking at it.

 

It is funny where my pictures end up, that will not stop I think.

 

The biggest changes that came this year was watermarking, with the sheer amount of appropriation and borrowing I decided in August to start watermarking everything and pushing up the low res images rather than the full high end images online. This caused no decrease in traffic, but a wad of name recognition that would do a porn star proud. It is just a simple watermark, easily removed by those who chose to do it, but with the amount of meta data in the images now a person has to be really dedicated to remove all the watermarks as they are embedded throughout the image and metadata now.

 

Now to the numbers, we know that was what you are reading this for; image views are how I am measuring success in getting my name out there. Sales are how I am measuring success in turning this into a full time gig.

 

Flickr, starting number 30,631,971, ending number today 53,726,372 comes out to 23,094,401 million picture views this year. Good times on that one seriously. I did not post to Flickr as much as I could have, and keeping somewhat steady with last years 20,408,331 million picture views is a small gain of an 11.64% increase in picture views with some 10,000 pictures uploaded. I also saw a sharp increase in followers, almost doubling going from 700 to 1,587 followers now. Flickr continues to be the top performing site I post at, with a great group of followers the community is strong on this one. We have won awards on Flickr this year, which was new and exciting to experience. As always we really honestly wish that we had a way to sell pictures on Flickr.

 

Smugmug, total for the year comes out to 11,092,337 million picture views, which is just a tad lower than last year’s 13,500,000 million picture views. A 17% decrease in picture views. This year we did not have the great Smugmug boudoir hack, but because of that hack, we have a small and loyal following going on for our work. We also had some sales on Smugmug this year that was nice to have. We posted almost everything into Smugmug this year and used it as a drop site warehouse as we have done almost since inception.

 

Deviant Art – meh, it’s dead, we still have it, but not really using it, we posted maybe a 100 pictures this year and got 17,520 picture views. Time to shut this sucker down. It’s not really an art site anymore, it’s a site where children post their crappily drawn My Little Pony Friendship is magic shit that would be better on their parents refrigerator. Seriously if you are 13 DA is probably awesome and edgy, but it simply is not a place for anything else at this point.

 

Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook – we really tried to use them this year and are seeing a little fame, just a few hundred followers and some likes. Most of what we do is not safe for work, so Tumblr really has been a key for us as we really do not want to spend time in limbo while having our Instagram and Facebook accounts shut down. We would dearly love to have a space that we could post our stuff without having to worry about the morality patrol. You know it is just skin folks. You are all naked under your clothes.

 

This years total, 34,204,258 picture views, with book sales going strong over the year and being a primary source of income. Not many new titles this year, it’s been one of those times where I wanted to cut back and try other things, but 2016 promises to be even more interesting as I have my ideas back and have some amazing photo shoots set up in my head. 2016 is going to be an interesting year.

 

 

Flickr’s Camera Roll Beta rocks

Flickr Camera Roll BetaFlickr’s Camera Roll Beta rocks

 

It is not every day that a photo dumpsite comes up with something interesting, let alone helpful for the photographers. But the new camera roll beta from Flickr actually helps solve some of the problems that photographers might have with understanding how their pictures are consumed or viewed.

 

Before camera roll, finding out how people were consuming pictures was to say the least painful. Camera Roll solves this problem for me in an elegant and beautiful way to determine what pictures are popular, how many times they have been viewed (because I am much more interested in specific picture views than full gallery views for weeding purposes) and which ones are the most popular in a given set.

 

This is a great way of seeing how many picture views each individual picture gets. The tabular format is pretty sweet for seeing how many people like a specific picture that you have and then working backwards from there to work out which pictures are the most popular in a gallery. With the one terabyte limit, this makes weeding out pictures so much easier, you simply drop the ones that have the fewest picture views.

 

The ones with the most picture views stay, the ones with the least get deleted off the system in favor of the better ones, or the ones with the most picture views.

 

I am also finding out that with camera roll some of my experiments of “less is more” or “more is more” in terms of driving picture views, this makes the data pulls much more intuitive than digging through the pictures bit by bit, piece by piece.

 

I am really digging on the new camera roll, and I really hope that the Flickr product management group keeps this feature as part of Flickr.

 

The only other feature that I would really love to see come out of Flickr is a shopping cart so that people can purchase pictures from me directly and I get to use their site to make money. It would totally turn Flickr from a dump site into a portfolio site if they were to do that.

 

If you have not had a chance to take a look at the Camera Roll Beta, and start incorporating it into your statistical view of how your pictures are consumed. Now all that remains is a shopping cart, I really want to see people have the ability to purchase pictures from me there. My stuff is not the kind of stuff that is going to show up in a Getty image search, but it is the kind of stuff that someone might purchase.

 

Latex Model Justine

Justine Latex ModelLatex Model Justine

 

I had a great opportunity to work with Justine one last time before she headed off to the big city to boost her career. There is always something wonderful about shiny latex, and taking latex pictures can be a challenge.

 

Latex is great under flash photography, under continuous lighting the shiny sometimes does not work out the way that it needs to work out with the light reflecting off the model so you get the super shiny highlights.

 

One of the interesting challenges of lighting this is to ensure the backdrop stays white, and that the colors pop all the way through the outfit. In the end I used two barn door spots on the background, and then two 30-inch soft boxes for the model to make sure I got something shiny. I do tend to use a four light setup, one set of lights for the background and one set of lights for the model.

 

To make sure I got the shiny on the latex I used a latex polisher and silicone based lubricating gel. The latex polisher was an excellent touch to make sure I got the shiny look and feel while the lubricating gel was all about getting into and out of the latex while giving it that wonderful wet look that is essential to taking good latex pictures. The stark white background was used for the shoot so that I could get the colors to pop off the outfit and give additional texture and vibrancy to the colors.

 

I am still learning how to do amazing latex pictures, but what I find the most interesting about shooting latex is the phenomenal costs associated with purchasing the outfits. Latex models are also a breed apart when it comes to working with the materials. Some of the best suggestions I got on the care and feeding of latex was from the models I work with. In all this is a fun project to work on, and while I wish I could show you much more, I am still plagued by people trolling through Smugmug looking for naughty pictures, so much of what I do has been locked off and is no longer publicly accessible.

 

 

 

So your naughty pictures on Smugmug got hacked

So your naughty pictures on Smugmug got hackedSo your naughty pictures on Smugmug got hacked

It seems that on February 7th, and ongoing through the end of last night people were trolling Smugmug and Zenfolio for all those naughty boudoir pictures that people have been taking and putting behind a password. The good part is that the link was taken down at the site collecting them, and the admin of the site was being pretty cool about it even if it is a voyeur web site. It was pretty easy to find with all the traffic going on about how this was happening.

Really your stuff wasn’t hacked, it was more using an automated scraper to find anything with the word nude in the title, then a quick automated check to see if you were using any one of the 100 most commonly used passwords for the gallery.

example of geolocation of IP Address

So if you used a name or the password password you can pretty much so figure out that someone saw the pictures who is not the client you were taking pictures of at the time. So nope, not really hacking, more like some pretty effective social engineering and those are two things in my mind. My adventure with this started last night when one of the most impressive smugmug support heroes gave me a quick shout that someone was trying to guess the password to a gallery I posted a year ago, I am kind of flattered that they would try this, and I am guilty of using password hints up through this morning when I reset all the passwords on my protected galleries. I am also thankful that really nothing got to where it should not have gone because I use at least some sort of password security, and now the hint shows the old password when the password has changed just because I want to be a jerk about all this.

From there it was a quick dive through my Smugmug Organizer and resetting about 2 dozen passwords, then going on a hunt, while I am a photographer by hobby, I am a computer security person by trade, so this was a great way to exercise just a few of my skills this morning. But you might want to keep an eye out on your traffic levels, looking for anything unusual, and if you have a pop on a password protected gallery, change the password on it. This one will come around again, now that people know to do this, hey there it is.

Geolocate the IP Addresses, Smugmug will do that for you, check your referrers too if you allowed embedding along the way. Smugmug recommends setting the password before uploading, that way it does not get slurped into the RSS feed of smugmug while you are uploading, don’t use the same password, and for the love of all that you believe in don’t use an easily guessed password. Don’t use password hints, turn off Right Click Save As, and one site recommended not to post them online at all, meet up with the client and hand them a CD of their pictures. Of course that won’t matter if your computer gets hacked, but that is also a risk we face in this day and age.

SLRLounge also has some good advice to follow along the way as well.

So check your stuff out today, don’t wait, while the main thread is down at the creeper site (voyeur site), it does not mean that this won’t happen again, you might as well take good steps now to secure your stuff. And keep your clients from showing up in places they didn’t think they would show up in. There is nothing quite so much as to ruin your day as having a client ask you why their pictures are all over a porn site.

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

SEO for Photographers

SEO for PhotographersSEO for Photographers

Well the book is out and I hope that you really enjoy it. It is just a couple of days old so through Friday we are offering the book for free so that people get a chance to read it and let me know what they think. I hope that people write reviews for it on Amazon, the book is right here, and if you downloaded it for free this week, please feel free to write a review. I am really interested in hearing back what you think of it.

I know when we think about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) we have a hard time picking out keywords, and trying to describe the picture in 400 characters or less in some cases. This book really pulls out everything I know about getting picture views and following people through a web site to see what they do, where they go, and how long they stay there. What images or movies are the most popular, and how to attempt to sell them to people who are looking at the pictures you are taking.

I generally do not take pictures that people can like in public, and as I work my way through the vintage nude series, something like SEO for Photographers has been important in getting attention. I have already crossed over two million picture views for the year, and if you know anything about e-commerce, it is all about views. The more views, the more chance that someone will actually purchase something, and that is why this book is important, it really dives deep into the things I do to get those amazing picture views. In all this has been a fun book to write, and put together.

There are a ton of pictures, a ton of good ideas, a bunch of different ways of using site keyword clouds to pick out the ones that people are always looking for. The book goes into how to balance Flickr and SmugMug and Tumblr and everyplace else you might post pictures to. We also look at how to balance 500PX, it is a fun site, but has some interesting tweaks that people might not be all that aware of in how 500PX pulse actually works.

The bottom line to all this is to keep on posting, keep on taking pictures, keep on doing the media things you do and have some fun with it. Picture views are not everything, selling pictures is awesomely fun and sometimes happens when you are wondering if anyone is noticing. But the key is using the right keywords to attract the right internal audience. In all, I really hope you like this book, and through January 25th, it is free on Kindle right here.

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Creating a Picture Book using Amazon Comic Creator

Creating A Picture BookCreating a Picture Book using Amazon Comic Creator

If you try to make a picture book and get it published the more pictures you add the more expensive the book. It is so easy to price yourself out of the market with publishing anywhere that I know a lot of photographers have basically abandoned creating picture books for themselves. Previous versions of the Kindle, and the problems with creating an e-pub also mean that our pictures basically sat on our hard drives or in places like Smugmug or Flickr where we were lucky to sell anything.

The good part is that when Amazon moved into the comic book market allowing independent comic book creators to self publish to Kindle directly, that opened the door to photographers using the same tools to create an awesome picture book along the way.

Some caveats, your pictures need to be 800 X 1260/1280 in size, and have a max size of 126K, so you need to set your DPI at 96 to make sure you can keep your pictures at the right size to work with Amazon Kindle. Over the last couple of days I have gone through my archives of China and some of the cooler photo shoots to create books for Amazon Kindle. The fun part is that one of them sold within the first 24 hours of being posted so I am really hoping to see how sales go with Amazon Kindle.

The book I used for this project is FU We Are: Seattle Punk Rock, a picture book about the Seattle Punk Rock scene I have been trying to get published for the last two years. It took an hour or so to build it for the Amazon Kindle system, without having to argue with publishers who are becoming increasingly gun shy about taking on projects that might not have any economic output. Now given the price of publishing, I can understand that. The Seattle Punk Rock book is somewhere on the order of 130 pages, and there isn’t a popular band in there, but there is a lot about the Seattle Punk Rock scene.

Even if you never sell a copy you are only out about 2 hours of your life, and using Amazon Comic Creator for picture books is about as easy as anything I have encountered in online printing anywhere for any reason. No haggling, no pain, easy to use, there is also a really handy video of about 15 minutes that walks you through the whole process. I did pre-stage everything for this, but honestly, set aside an hour or two to make this happen and you will have your kindle ready picture book uploaded and for sale very quickly.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Setting Keywords and Captions in Smugmug

Flickr Tags and KeywordsSetting Keywords and Captions in Smugmug

So many of my friends and fellow photographers have been asking about how I get so many picture views. In general I pay close attention to what I am taking pictures of, and while I do tend to overshoot with too many pictures of the same pose, I really try to take a good quality picture. The other side of this is understanding how communities work at Smugmug, and other sites like Flickr and Deviant Art. Smugmug is a semi-closed community, where the search engines do not tend to index them as much they could, so there are two ways to get hits to your gallery.

One blog with at least 400 words what you took pictures of, why they are awesome, and link back to your gallery or have a small gallery included in your blog entry like I do here. The search engines are able to build a context around the pictures and will then go check out your gallery so they will end up in Google. Each person with a link @smugmug.com will tend to have a low Page Rank unless they do this, making it hard for people to find your galleries from the internet.

The other part is the internal audience to Smugmug, Flickr or anywhere else. I would say that 90% of all my traffic comes from internal audiences, not from search engines. Internal audiences are people on the site looking for pictures. People will search Smugmug looking for keywords about your pictures. From what I have been able to gather, the search feature of most of the picture storing sites is geared towards those keywords, popularity, and the captions that go along with them. That is why you will see keyword clouds for just about every photographer on Smugmug.

Setting Keywords and Captions is the most important thing you can do with Smugmug or any picture site. You should stick to somewhere between 15 and 25 relevant keywords about what the picture is about. It is generally a bad idea to use keywords that do not describe your pictures because you want traffic. With the changes to Smugmug, it is sometimes hard to find out where to set keywords and captions not just for the pictures but for the galleries as well. So I made this sweet little video to help you the photographer understand how to set keywords and captions for your galleries and individual pictures. Hope you enjoy it. Feel free to share it to anyone you think might be interested.

Enhanced by Zemanta