It's been 5 days since I've taken a photograph. No, I'm not creatively frustrated or uninspired... This also has nothing to do with the fact that I have no camera. So why am I making the 3rd week of August a pictureless one? Because I realized that I've been doing it wrong. See, I've always believed that you had to take a picture every day to be successful, but really the key to success is the share a piece of work each day.
Read This Book: Share Your Work
I came to this conclusion during my second year of blogging. I was so excited that my blog began to gain a following that I shoved content down my reader's throats. Every day, a new post, yet the numbers never jumped. I couldn't figure out why... So what did I do? Double the content, of course, I told myself 2 blog post, 2 blog post every day! A week later... still the same amount of viewers. I really had to scratch my head on this one.
I tried so many things, the first action was taking off the dates on my blog post. I thought if people saw I posted a particular blog post a week ago then they wouldn't have any interest in reading it. That change made a slight difference, but nothing to brag about. I then thought if I linked back to similar post then perhaps users would start clicking on those to find out more... This worked really well! This was a form of distribution, I allowed readers to see content they typically wouldn't see, this provided them more value, while it gave me a chance to keep them on my site longer.
Distribution Is Content
I wanted to do this with my photography. I have a shit ton of images, but what am I doing with them? As photographers, we can be overprotective of our work, or afraid to share too much of it. I know my biggest issue is flooding people's timeline with photo after photo. So how do we distribute all of our work?
Recently I posted a photo on Instagram. The photo was shot as a portrait so it was a bit too tall to fit Instagram's crop standards. I had a choice to make, either cut off the subject's head or the bottom frame. I decided to go with the bottom frame, which included a door handle. To me, this door handle added much depth to the photo, so of course, I thought this crop ruined the photo. I voiced this issue to Twitter, I just wanted the people to know that the original crop had a little more depth to it. One of my followers tweeted me back and said don't let Instagram limit your work, share this on 500px.
And that's where this list starts. I realized that I legit upload the majority of my work exclusively to Instagram. I dabble on 500px every now and then and of course my blog, but I'm not as active as I should be. So this week I took a break from photographing and decided to figure out some cool ways to share my work other than Instagram... Here's what I came up with.
A little while back a few people asked me to guest blog and the first thing I said was "How much?". I obviously wasn't aware of the benefits... I always thought I could just put the blog post on my website, why would I share my content with your audience? But see that's the thing, when you share your experiences with other photographers audience then their fans become your fans... And vice versa, it's mutually beneficial.
Now I know all photographers don't blog, but we all have something to say, you have a story, share it. When I first started I blogged about how bad I sucked and I would share photos corresponding to the article, do the exact opposite. Tell people how your successful and share your best images, make sure they are images you want to represent you and they'll get out to the world. Repurpose that content, over and over again. Every time you guest blog use a few of those images and then they will become a part of your brand...
Name Your Photos
This is one thing I'm working on. Above is a photo I took with my iPhone, it's a guy in a striped shirt with a striped crossing path behind him. In front of him is a parking garage, that has stripes as well, he's old, perhaps heading to the pharmacy and the image is very contrasty. Let's say I called it "Stripes" for fun... People could now reference this image by its name, thus helping others to recognize it.
Have you seen Keenan's new photo?
I think it was called Stripes or something.
... Oh yeah, it was dope.
Use Other Social Platforms
I told you about the Instagram crop situation, right? Remember my friend recommended that I use 500px? Well, there are a shit ton of other platforms to get your work out there too. The truth is any platform can benefit you. A little while back I used Anchor, an app for quick storytelling, I didn't share any photos but I gave photo tips and provided information about my process... This sparked a few people's interest and they went to my other platforms to check out my work.
Related: Why Anchor Is The New Wave
I'm now using YouTube, throughout my video, I show a little quick clip of me taking pictures, I then direct them to where they can find more of my work. Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, 500px and whatever other media sharing site aren't the only platforms. You don't have to necessarily show your work to get your work seen. A prime example is Instagram Storys and Snapchat, I use to just talk about whatever on those platforms and people would watch my videos and think and then reach out to me about photographs.
The key is to be seen, but not always seen selling... Does that make sense?
Use Creative Common License
Share your work every day... But don't be selfish. Allow others to use it as well, ask for credit, but make it available to the public. I know you're afraid that someone may steal your work and portray it as their own, but here's the truth... If someone want's your picture, they'll get it. Take my site for example, I've disabled right clicking, but if you're determined to steal my image you could. One option is to drag the picture to a new window and save it, the other option is to go on mobile and save it. 500px is another good example, I can easily steal pictures from there, even though their coding tries to prevent me too.
My point is people are going to take what they want, but if you give it to them with simple rules, chances are they will abide by them. In the long run this can help you, that photo may make it to a platform that's bigger than you and grow like crazy.
Print Your Work
No one prints anything... I never really saw the point myself unless someone was buying the image. However, recently I printed up a few pieces of my work simply to display around my house and I noticed that when people came over they would look at them. It was a different connection then they would normally have, say, on Instagram. On social media, it's easy to scroll through pictures, see my name, double tap and support me, but when something is displayed, the viewer tends to actually look at the picture and feel the emotion that it provides... This allows me to turn my friends from supporters into fans of my work... That's important.
You ever have your work published? You know that sense of joy you get when you that magazine finally comes out? If I told you that you could create that same sense of joy EVERYTIME you printed your work would you believe me? Your work enlarged doesn't just make other people see your talent, but it reassures you as well. When I printed my first large photo I looked at it and said... "I created this". I put it on my wall, then I went out and continued to shoot in hopes that one day it could be on somebody esles.