Having the bulk of photographers shooting digital these days makes it easy for them to share their photographs with a larger audience via the web. The web also offers a way for them to network with other shooters and online photographic communities.
Always Use Protection!
Before I get to the theme of this post I want to talk extremely briefly about copyrights. Speaking not only as a photographer, but also as a web developer, if there’s anything you would never want anyone to copy or steal from you, DON’T PUT IT ONLINE. If it’s something that someone else wants, there will always be a way from them to take it from the web.
Another way to go is to copyright all of your images. The web makes this easy. Go to copyright.gov and you can register all of your images online. Another good resource to learn more about the benefits of copyrighting your images is thecopyrightzone.com.
Three Online Hangouts for You to Check Out!
There are lots of places that you can share your images online, but I want to point out my favorite three, and why I like them best.
Google+ is a reasonably new kid on the block. It’s not exclusively a photography website by any means, but it has quickly become a favorite social network for photographers. There, you will find photographers such as Trey Ratcliff, Joe McNally, Moose Peterson, Chase Jarvis, Gary Tyson, Nicole Young, and Marc Silber just to name a few.
A couple of the reasons for that seem to be the way it displays photographs (beautiful presentation), and it lets you have group meetings and conversation in real time (hangouts).
500px.com is an AWESOME site for you to display your photos and see great work from other photographers. I had heard about this site for some time now, but finally had a chance to check it out today.
The thing that really stands out about 500px is the quality of the images you’ll see there. Of all the photo sharing sites I’ve seen so far, the work you’ll see on this site is, for the most part, of a higher quality. Even when you first join and start to upload your photographs it even asks you to upload your best images, not just whatever you shot on the last photo walk (which could also be amazing, but you know…).
Flickr.com is the senior member here. It’s not new, it’s been around forever (well, you know what I mean). You can see some amazing things on Flickr, but you also can find yourself wading through everyone’s family vacation photos. Although, you can choose you you follow so you can manage the type of photos you’ll be looking through.
The thing I like about Flickr is the sense of community there; the discussion groups; critique groups; groups that only show images all shot using the same gear you use; stuff like that. Just fun.
The three networks are mentioned above because they are fun places for photographers to hang out. However, if you’re looking to develop your brand as a photographer, or just want to bring more attention to your work, as a web consultant I also have to recommend you use the other big social networks out there..
Twitter – Just a fantastic networking tool. It might seem a little foreign at first and you might just not get it, but just give it a month or two and you’ll get the hang of things. Powerful tool.
YouTube – If you’re not doing it yet, start producing video content. I can’t begin to tell you in this one post how powerful YouTube can be in helping you to develop your online brand as a photographer. Just do it! (can I say that without paying royalties?)
Facebook – I only mention this one because it’s too huge of a network to not take advantage of setting up shop there. As far as posting your photos, you might want to set up a “Page” for your photography for those who are genuinely interested in it. The general population of Facebook really is more happy to see family photos, or pics of their friends drunk on spring break,… that kind of stuff, and probably slightly less interested in seeing your photographic art there.
LinkedIn – as a professional… it’s just the right thing to do.
Just a Reminder
If you’re sharing your work on any of these sites, or anywhere else, do yourself a favor and register your images at http://copyright.gov!
How About You?
Where’s your favorite photography site to spend your free time? Got any others you could recommend?