Tag Archives: Flickr

2013 The Statistics Year in Review

Behai Park Beijing China2013 The Statistics Year in Review

We all know that being a photographer means that you have to be an attention whore in a number of ways. We need to get people looking at our pictures online just to even think about getting started selling them. That means we need to stand out from the crowd, we need to keyword and tag what we are doing, as well as dealing with age gates, other photographers, linking and embedding, and all the processes that help us literally stand out from the crowd.

According to the blogs on Flickr and Smugmug something on the order of 3.5 million pictures are uploaded daily on those sites. Instagram if you use it and Facebook are more than billions a week. It is very hard to stand out from the crowd, and 2013 is the year I took SEO (Search Engine Optimization) seriously.

And it paid off, this is the first year I sold pictures, and sold enough pictures to pay for all my hosting plans at DA, Smugmug and Flickr. Here is how the numbers work out.

Flickr:

Starting number 700,000 ending number 10,223,640

Total picture views this year

Sales – Nada, Flickr really needs to figure out a way that others can purchase our pictures. While linking back to Getty Images is cool, that has turned into a dead process for me because of the pictures I take. I don’t do stock pictures, and that complicates Flickr for me. So no sales and unlikely to have any sales via Getty any time soon.

Smugmug:

Total picture views for the year 4,649,198

Sales – enough to pay for hosting and a small craft beer, which is not bad because this is the first year I have ever had sales. The interesting is the graph below, you can see the obvious difference between understanding Smugmug keywords and its internal audience and those days I did not understand them. The midyear point is an amazing turn for people looking at my pictures.

Deviant Art

Starting Number 112,000, ending number 236,927

Total picture views for the year

Sales – enough barely enough to pay for hosting, but this is also the first year I have sold pictures on DA so that makes it special. I mostly sold electronic downloads there, no prints.

Total picture views for the year are: 14,297,765

Facebook and Google Plus

After a small ruckus caused by my pictures from AMDEF 2013 this year, I had to move all the photography over to a page. I was effectively shutdown in Facebook for something like 30 hours this year because people would flag them as porn or something else. While I have had thousands of picture views on both sites, I had to move everything over to a fan page to keep the flaggers/trolls at bay and not upset their fine sensibility, or run afoul of Facebook’s solid issues with Nipples. Seriously Facebook has almost a deviant psychosis when it comes to nipples, or at least some of their users sure do. Although I am ok with it because a lot of other international and national photographers also found themselves shutdown at times. So I am not going to count them this year because of the transition from timeline to fan page.

All other sites, I don’t really post much to 500PX or Instagram or others so they don’t really count. All the numbers are below 10,000 and insignificant in comparison to what is happening over on Flickr, Smugmug and Deviant Art. 2012 was in comparison a pretty paltry year, with maybe a couple hundred thousand picture views, and with the millions of picture views this year along with making enough coin to make hosting payments I really cannot argue where this year ended up. Remember to do all the SEO you can to help you stand out of the billions of pictures that are uploaded weekly.

 

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SEO for Photographers Part 1 Tagging Images with Keywords

Flickr Tags and KeywordsSEO for Photographers Part 1 Tagging Images with Keywords

This is something I have been meaning to post for a very long time, but one of the issues that so many of my photographer friends have is not tagging their pictures. Or if they do tag, they are all over the map thinking that a ton of tags are what is going to drive the picture views. If you are using more than 20 tags on your images you are typing too much. Really what you want to do is work out a plan for how you want to tag, keeping in mind the most popular tags on Smugmug and Flickr will cross over to Deviant Art and 500PX. They should work on instagram but that is a different audience and I don’t really do instagram. They will work on Tumblr, but Tumblr is pretty much so fragmented into communities. So you are going to want to use community specific tags over there for your pictures.

For this article though I am just going to go over the most popular tags on Smugmug and Flickr. They are the two major warehouses for images, used by people all over the world, and store hundreds of terabytes of data that people are going to be looking through. There are millions of pictures uploaded to both services every day, so you need to be smart about tagging to cut through all the noise. The good part is that Smugmug and Flickr both make it easy to find what people are looking for on their sites, and gives you a lot of information about popular keywords.

Smugmug – Surprise, Smugmug only indexes the first 30 keywords and tags, if you added more than that, Smugmug is going to totally ignore them. Smugmug also has a great page of recommendations here, but the real heart and soul of the system is Smugmug’s own search page. The Keyword cloud is one way of finding out what people are searching for on the Smugmug site. It looks like this, and is really hard to find with the redesign. You can find your own keyword cloud at yoursite.smugmug.com/keywords/ but they might not be what people are really looking for.

Smugmug Keywords and Tags

This is where Flickr comes to the rescue with their own keyword cloud right here. You can see three sets on Flickr, last 24 hours, last week, or all time. I usually use the all time keywords as they are somewhat the same across both Smugmug and Flickr for tagging your pictures with the right keywords. This does not mean that you will suddenly get millions of picture views a day, but it does help Google, Bing and Yahoo find your stuff better. It also helps people who search internally to the picture warehouses find your stuff better as well.

From a user perspective, you want to try to use the same keywords on both sites, and Flickr’s cloud is pretty similar to Smugmug’s hard to find hide and seek keyword cloud. Adding keywords is one of the only ways that a search engine is going to know what your picture is, and what it is about. Remember though, Flickr has the same kind of cut off for keywords, if you are keyword stuffing then you pretty much so are working too hard.

Use the right keywords for your photo or video. If it is not about California, then don’t include it, if it is about Hawaii then use the keyword Hawaii and if traveling use the keyword travel. For example when I am in Beijing every summer I always come back with thousands of pictures. I break each set into their own location, like the Forbidden City, add the year, and then add china, Beijing, travel, and other key words to describe the area I am in.

It is always important to use keywords wisely. Google and other search engines are onto keyword stuffing and other techniques to try to gain page views. Most of your searches especially on Flickr are going to come from other Flickr users. Smugmug is about 50% internal and 50% external users for search. Keywords are the way to have people find your images.

 

 

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Unveiling the New Smugmug

Unveiling the New SmugmugUnveiling the New Smugmug

I have been a fan and user of Smugmug since 2005, and since then I have seen a lot of changes with the site, most of them have been under the hood, but this is the first time Smugmug has rolled out a new look and feel. Anytime any web site updates the User Interface (UI) you wonder what all is going to break along the way. This time though, no breaking, just good clean solid programming making things much more pretty, and a way to harmonize your Smugmug site with the other web sites that you use to showcase your pictures.

If you want to check out the changes – trot on over here.

It took about 5 hours to roll my 60,000 pictures over on the Smugmug site to the point where I could get to the new UI and then actually go tinker with it. There were a lot of people out there yesterday trying to do the same thing and while they say it might take a minute or two to do this, the more pictures you have the more time it will take to roll everything over to the new UI. I have some friends who had 150,000 pictures or more that are still waiting and we all tried to do this about the same time yesterday. So figure about an hour for every 10,000 pictures wait time for the roll over and that means you can go grab a cup of coffee or take a nap, or go do something useful along the way while you are waiting.

The wait is worth it.

Smugmug wait screen

The new UI is clean, pretty, and allows you to really customize a lot of what you do or how you want to showcase your stuff. I personally made a special gallery of my latest stuff or the stuff I really love and then used that as my main linkage point back into the rest of the site. You are going to see a drop off in traffic as people try to get used to the new Smugmug layout, and some of it is counter intuitive. For example, there is a browse link, I wanted to change the name over to Check out the other Galleries, but you can’t change the text on the default links. You can however finally make a link back to the other places you store stuff, so you can interlink your Smugmug with your web site, flickr, Deviant Art, and other places to build a route to the other places you share your stuff.

The wait was so worth it.

Honestly I really love what Smugmug has done here, I am generally not a foaming at the mouth rabid fan, and there were some hitches with Smugmug last year with the pricing model that they had proposed. But I also know that Smugmug will listen to people, so while I whine about the browse vs galleries link – if that is the only think I found lacking, then I consider myself very lucky. Smugmug is worth the cost, and the time, and the new UI roll out last night just hit on all the numbers. Thank you Smugmug, as always, you are awesome.

 

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What photographers should do when blocked in Facebook

What photographers should do when blocked in FacebookWhat photographers should do when blocked in Facebook

Yes, I am on yet another suspension/ban on Facebook for some of the pictures I posted from this weekend’s Steampunk Exhibition Ball.

Facebook is an amazing tool for getting the word out about your art, but it comes at a price. The ironic thing is that people can post pictures of abortions, abused and tortured animals, drugs, drinking, the night they were DUI, but post a little side boob, or god forbid a nipple no matter how accidental and that is a banning.

While there are humans that look over what is flagged and reported, this is the gallery that initially got me into trouble so you can check it out. It is also one of my favorite ones from the show, so of course I want to share it. I think it is awesome and wonderful, and some really good work on my part. Other banning events included a picture of the Freemont Summer Solstice Parade, really you had to blow the picture up 300% and you only had a 1 pixel nipple, but that is a banning.

First calm down, relax take a break, and then delete everything that is even remotely sanction able out of your data stream. When you are shut down you usually have read only access to your data stream, and you have read/write/delete out of your time line. You can do this only through the web browser; you cannot do this through the mobile interface. Once done, just sit back and wait out your suspension.

Ask yourself when you have calmed down a bit, gotten over the sense of “who reported that picture/gallery?” that feels like betrayal, and have everything cleaned up so that your Facebook page is PG 13 again, do I really need Facebook?

Take a look at your stats, when I am posting maybe 1% of all my picture views come from Facebook, the most come from Google, G+, and internal system searches at Flickr and Smugmug. If you look at your stats, how many people are really seeing your work, if you have a photographer page, you can see your stats through insights. The other thing to remember is that just because they saw it on Facebook does not mean they interacted with your gallery on other sites. The other thing you can do is simply remove the preview of the gallery if it seems that it might be over PG 13.

I take a lot of pictures of subcultures, because I believe they need to be documented. I also do a lot of modeling work lately, and usually I shoot Rated R or X pictures. They are not for children, but rarely full on nude pictures. I take pictures of burlesque dancers and punk rockers, the homeless and the destitute; I do a little urban exploration, and otherwise have a good time with my camera. The majority of the stuff I post can go on Facebook as links back to the gallery in question.

Sometimes you just have to think that your normal is not everyone else’s normal, and that can cost you down time with Facebook.

Think before you post, if there is a possibility that someone could be offended by your picture, not only are you doing photography right, but you face a high probability that Facebook will shut you down for a day or two.

Post to G+, post to Deviant Art, post to 500PX, post to Flickr and Smugmug, post everywhere but Facebook. G+ is a lot more photographer friendly, and they seem to be a little bit more ok with R rated pictures. God forbid Facebook ever opens up a search engine, because it will be a happy Disney wonderland of PG 13 material content. Stick with the places that work, and if in doubt, don’t post, and if you post, remove the preview of the link. Or just abandon Facebook altogether and go someplace more photographer friendly.

Facebook has banned or shut down a lot of famous photographers, internationally recognized, national geographic type photographers, we are small fry, and they won’t even hesitate to do it in the future as we march towards a plain vanilla experience over there.

 

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Steamcon IV in Bellevue 26 October 2012

Steamcon IV in Bellevue 26 October 2012
Steamcon IV in Bellevue 26 October 2012

 

Well Steamcon Four is coming along in two weeks, and the negotiations for being one of the Staff Photographers has finally been hammered together. If you have not been to anything Steamcon ever, Steamcon in Bellevue is a good place to get started, and learn a bit about the culture and see all the cool things that people come dressed as.

So how do you become a Staff Photographer at an event? Or how do you even get a press pass? It depends on the event, and both carry a lot of obligations for the photographer, so make sure you are up to what I think your obligations are. Of course depending on the event, those obligations will vary, but one of the most common things I have seen with a press pass or a staff badge is that no one talks about the show online in a meaningful way. They don’t post the pictures they took of the event anywhere, which kind of short circuits the reason for getting any kind of official credential at a show.

A press pass or a Staff badge obligates you to posting the pictures you took, even if was only one picture that came out ok. It obligates you talking about the show and helping out with some of the PR or publicity that a show is doing.

To get a pass, ask, seriously, just ask, show them some of your previous work, and see what they say. They might say “no” if you have never been to an event of theirs before which is also ok. But go anyways, pay for a pass, take pictures, then share the pictures you took with the world. Honestly that is how I got started, by going to Sakuracon in 2005 and just taking pictures of the awesome Cosplay. Seven years later most everyone who goes to anime or comic cons knows who I am, and people seek me out now to take pictures of them.

Always post your work on Flickr, smugmug, deviant art, 500PX, anywhere including Facebook and G+, people are generally really cool about seeing their pictures, and they will want copies. It is really cool when 1000’s of people look at and download your event pictures. Flickr is always your best bet, they have better integration with Google, Deviant Art is your next big bet for Cosplay as they have a huge community dedicated to Cosplay and costuming.

I have seen far too many people with credentials never ever say word one about the show they got the credentials for, and that is pretty not “ok”. I have yet to find a show that did not have a “Flickr pool” or other group photo sharing pool, and if you have credentials, you need to make sure your pictures of their show are up and running and good to go. Even if you only had one picture comes out awesome. You should always post your work; you are there to help them out by getting free access to the show. It is not enough to just show up nod your head, wander around a bit, and then walk out never saying anything about the show at all. They need your help, you are getting in free, and you need to do your work.

Yeah, I have seen this a lot, there are always people who want in free, but won’t talk about, post about, or share their impressions on the show that they got free access to, and that is a shame. Don’t be that photographer; odds are highly likely that the convention needs you to talk about them, especially the smaller ones.

Events are awesome, they are a great way of networking and meeting awesome people, but it is work, it is a job even if you got in free, so make sure you are posting and talking about the show. I have seen photographers, bloggers, and even news journalists not being able to acquire a press pass or staff badge because they have burned through their reputation by getting free stuff, then not paying back with a blog entry or a photograph, so don’t torch your event reputation before you even get started.

 

 

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Rope Suspension

Rope Suspension
Rope Suspension

 

I know I had a hard time with this one – rope suspension in a crowd, with interesting lighting to go along with that, and some very worried people along the way. What was cool was that they let me continue to taking pictures with the idea that I would be willing to share them, which I am sharing them on Flickr right now. I’ll post over to Smugmug once I figure out why the uploads keep on failing. In the meantime, rope suspension was an interesting thing to shoot, what made it more interesting was all the IPhones. There were a ton of people with IPhones taking pictures, and while there was nothing too sexy going on, it really made a lot of people nervous.

So we went over and talked to the suspension group and let them know who we were, what we were doing, and that we would share the pictures. We also had to talk to the event organizer Pickles (she was awesome by the way) and let them know we were not being Mr. Creepy Man Photographer. And yes, there was at least one creepy guy in the crowd, and he was really being super creepy to go along with just being a simple creep.

And this brings me to the point, it is your right to refuse to be photographed, I respect that, and it is your right to throw people out of the tent as well. It is also perfectly in your right to shut down all the stage lights so that photography is impossible, but for the love of God please have a photography policy, post a sign that says no photography on the door by the tent, then actively police the photography action if you really mean it. Almost every photographer I know short of Mr. Creepy Man will respect that and follow along, although they might try to negotiate a couple of pictures along the way because they are not Mr. Creepy Man with a camera.

Rope suspension in the meantime is pretty cool, and it was fun watching people turned into human swing sets. I almost wanted to try it.

 

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Ignition Fire Troupe at Seacompression 2012

Ignition Fire Troupe at Seacompression 2012
Ignition Fire Troupe at Seacompression 2012

 

I have to admit that sometimes you get really lucky when you are taking pictures. You get lucky when everything just seems to come out right, and I had such an experience with the Ignition Fire Troupe over at Seacompression 2012 this weekend. There is nothing cooler (well ok, maybe there are things that are cooler than this) than night time fire breathing. There are always interesting things going on in Seattle, and the Seacompression show was just one of the cooler things that happened along the way. These are some pictures of the Ignition Fire Troupe that was doing the fire breathing or fire eating routine at the show. The full Flickr galleries are here – but hope you enjoy these cleaned and edited pictures.

I was asked by a lot of people what my camera settings were for this shoot, so I’ll share:

3200 ISO

Auto Focus

F2.8

Anywhere between 1/100 to 1/125 second on the shutter

Some of the fire effects did not come out the way I was hoping for, some came out way beyond what I was hoping to get. As always with any advice, your mileage will vary, but if you get the chance to do some fire eating shows, give it a spin, see what you come up with.

 

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