Beginner Online Presence

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33
Name
Mark
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Yes
#1
I'd love to hear about peoples different experiences with how they tackled the subject of getting their photos seen online.

For myself, I didn't do much research when I started out this summer. I was photographing cyclists mostly and they all had Instagram followings, and the teams also had Facebook pages. So I went down the same route, along with a Wordpress site.

Fast forward 6 months, with the cycling season closing and I'm not planning to go back to it next year, I'm at the stage now where I can see that my Facebook page has barely grown, Instagram has failed magnificently (I don't really post enough to it) and my website only gets traffic when I sell prints from the cycling.

I know I'm still very much a beginner at all this and I'm not expecting to have made any massive breakthroughs yet. But with my change of direction in regards to my photography (heading towards landscape, nature and street) and away from the cycling stuff I'm having a serious look at where I need to direct my energies online.

So, what's the best bang for the buck for getting my photos in front of people? I don't care about selling them, I really just want to get better at photography and it's hard to do that with no engagement.
 
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Messages
3,547
Name
Tommy
Edit My Images
No
#2
I'd love to hear about peoples different experiences with how they tackled the subject of getting their photos seen online.

For myself, I didn't do much research when I started out this summer. I was photographing cyclists mostly and they all had Instagram followings, and the teams also had Facebook pages. So I went down the same route, along with a Wordpress site.

Fast forward 6 months, with the cycling season closing and I'm not planning to go back to it next year, I'm at the stage now where I can see that my Facebook page has barely grown, Instagram has failed magnificently (I don't really post enough to it) and my website only gets traffic when I sell prints from the cycling.

I know I'm still very much a beginner at all this and I'm not expecting to have made any massive breakthroughs yet. But with my change of direction in regards to my photography (heading towards landscape, nature and street) and away from the cycling stuff I'm having a serious look at where I need to direct my energies online.

So, what's the best bang for the buck for getting my photos in front of people? I don't care about selling them, I really just want to get better at photography and it's hard to do that with no engagement.
You might as well bin social media and your website then.

Best to post for critique on websites likes this one in the relevant sections.

You won't get an honest opinion from anyone on Instagram or Facebook or get much interest in your website, from anyone who could potentially help you improve. They are useful selling tools but if you are not wanting to sell anything they are a waste of time.
 
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488
Name
Geoff
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No
#3
If you want engagement from the great and unwashed and dare I say uneducated then facebook groups are an easy avenue. Good for the ego if that's your thing. If you want peer approval then the task is harder, but perhaps real world networking at several of your local camera clubs might offer you a foot in the door for exhibition and 'constructive' criticism on your work.
 

sirch

Official Forum Numpty 2015
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8,675
Name
Chris
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Yes
#4
As has been said, for crit post on forums like this.

For general exposure think about what you look at, where do you go to look at cycling photos? Chances are that is where other people are looking too.
 
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3,601
Name
droj
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No
#5
I really just want to get better at photography ..
That's always a good aim!

.. and it's hard to do that with no engagement.
Yes and no. I think it might be more vital to develop the ability to self-crit, in that you should know what you're aiming for whilst those who offer crit might not. Technique is one thing but it's not the only criterion for whether a photograph works, and thus we enter the subjective realm.

Social media certainly isn't the place to get meaningful crit, for sure - all you'll get (if not ignored) is bleats of 'like' and 'great shot' - and what do they know?

I think that the best avenue for the improvement of vision can be to do lots of looking at others' work, especially that which is widely held to be good, and work out what's good about it (or not!). But if you post images on here in an appropriate forum you should pick up some technical advice.
 
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3,970
Name
Ian
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No
#6
I really just want to get better at photography
It's very difficult once you reach a certain level of competence. If you understand aperture, shutter speed and ISO, can comfortably control them in-camera, and if you understand exposure and focussing, there's not a lot more technically that you can learn without delving more deeply into the technical aspects of a specific genre/area (astro, macro, sport, photoshop, etc). Your images seem to indicate you have a grasp of these things.

What is it you feel you need to get better at? Where is your failing? Once you know this, you can direct your efforts best.

Better can mean more likes, more clients, and/or more money. It can also mean better artistically - more meaningful images, or images that you want people to spend time looking at, or better in terms of you getting more satisfaction out of your images. Who are you taking pictures for? If it's a client or likes, then you need to pay close attention to what the client/likers want. If it's you, then pretty much everything @droj said above is spot on. If it's a camera club judge, then "better" is shooting images they will vote for - which may often be perfect "rule of thirds", pin sharp, sanitised, decor.
 
Messages
41
Name
Robert
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Yes
#8
I used Piwigo to set up a gallery site. I use the site to build a library of pictures that I use for forum posts, and for email discussions with friends. The pics are all taken with a FujiFilm bridge camera, so they aren't up to the quality you guys create. The link is - https://JazzPics.com ( mods, please delete the link if I am not allowed to post it. )
 
Messages
1,128
Edit My Images
No
#9
I think you're best gaining competence in your chosen fields before pushing for a social media presence. I don't want to sound harsh but you do have a long way to go, photographically and editing wise. Compare the nature section on your website to award winners in landscape and wildlife fields and judge what you need to do to get to that level. Buy the award books of Landscape Photographer of the Year, Outdoor Photographer of the Year, Wildlife POTY and British Wildlife Photography Awards for inspiration. You can initially try to emulate what they do but in time you'll develop your own style. The best way to improve is to be your own harshest critic and be ruthless in what pictures you select to process and publish. Learn to process your pictures sympathetically, if you get it right in camera you shouldn't need to do much at all. Joe Cornish has done some Lightoom editing videos for OnLandscape magazine which are on their YouTube page.
 
Messages
1,064
Name
Mike
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Yes
#10
Once-Upon-A-Time, to 'get photo's 'out there', that's exactly what you did; you enthralled your family for a few moments at the dinner table with a packet of prints that fell through the letter-box; you took them to work and handed them round in the canteen, you took them down the pub. You might have put them in an album, and you might have dragged it off the shelf when visitors came around, and if you were really serious you might have got a projector out and bored your dinner companions to tears with a slide show of your hiking holiday looking at 20th century telegraph poles or whatever.....

Point IS, that you have muddles a few objectives here and are looking through the wrong end of the telescope.

The whole point of a picture is to be looked at. If no-one looks it has no reason to be... so starting there, before you even look at the camera, let alone decide where to go, or what to take pictures of.... KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE..... this fundamental will guide pretty much all else.

Who, is your audience? Friends/family, chap at work, bloke down the pub, or maybe, and top answer, 'only you'.

Why will that audience look at your photo? Why do you want them to look, and more importantly why will they want to look at it?

I have little to no interest what-so-ever in flowers, among other things. Mother is not just an avid gardener, but a horticultural lecturer. Granny's hobby was visiting public gardens, and taking photo's of the flower beds.... I was subjected then to many many pictures of the dang things, and even explanations, usually in Latin by my mother, and my eyes glazed over.... I don't care how rare or exotic that plant might be, nor how the colours are strangulated in the petal or whatever... it's a FLOWER. I am not interested in the ones in my own garden, let alone some-one else's. They hold NO INTEREST for me, I do not want to look at them. Real ones or photo's. "Ah yes, but its a beautiful Photo!" or in my mother's case usually not, and I am looking 'cos I have been asked the question "Why didn't this come out?" Which is to get into this critique lark, and its worth noting, that I STILL have no bludy interest in looking at effin flowers! I am looking because I am moderately interested in photography, and err, yeah, it didn't come out, Mum, 'cos it was dark, try turning the lights on or using the flash.... but guess what.... I am still not interested in looking at, yup you guessed it... flowers!!! Now... there is a retort to this, "well I am not interested in your motorbikes... I still have to look at and trip over the dang things though!" But that's the tip of another rather large iceberg! Point is, I expect that my mum, 'may' be moderately interested in seeing a set of holiday snaps of my kids, playing on the beach. They are her Grand kids and she probably wasn't there to see them playing herself. Which brings me to the....

What, will they be interested in looking at? Which is a pretty BIG question you have to consider. Interests vary and have so many different levels.

I have a few thousand photo's on the web. A good chunk of them, and the ones most looked at are mostly of them motorbikes my mother don't much appreciate. Fine, I don't expect her to look at them. They were taken to illustrate things, like where to find the carburettor balancing port on an old Honda twin. Anyone wanting to balance the carburettors of an old Honda twin, probable wants to know this, and so has interest to look at the photo. Kerchunk.. there is my audience... and 'the photo' as an image in its own right is of little significance, folk that have interest in looking at it, probably are not going to think it any better because the colour saturation is just so, or I have nailed focus, or its just so sharp. All they will be bothered about is whether it shows this dang balancing port they were looking for, and provides enough context for them to help find the actual one, on their bike, they are looking for.

Most such photo's are hosted on , boto-phucket, and displayed on my own web-site where I have written a whole article around not just one, but a set of illustrations to tell anyone how to balance the carburettors on an old Honda twin..... and in a lot of cases the pictures come second to the words. Some are on farce-broke where, for friends/family I have created an album of my exploits, including the photo's of an old bike being restored, and just as likely outings I have had with it. Friends/Family may be moderately interested to see an old Honda twin come back to life in my back yard, or to see pictures of a bike rally it eventually went to. B-U-T, I do NOT expect folk to come back to me on forums or on e-mail critiquing these pictures!

Which brings us back to your original query to be honest.

Why do you want / think you need a 'web-presence'?
What do you hope to get for it? And more importantly....
What, are you offering your 'audience' for their taking the time to look?

If you want critique to help you take better photo's, well, this site is as good as any, and it has a built in picture host, you can upload pictures for folk to look at to. But.... beyond that, WHAT is the reason for your photo? WHO is its intended audience? And hint here; most photo's will only ever been looked at by and are only of interest only to the person that took them... in which case they don't need to be published for the world to look at; the flash card in your camera or your computers hard drive is probably good enough.

And... for becoming a better photographer, the most important person to please, is yourself, so you don't need show your picture to any-one else to decide whether it pleases you or not; and whether it could have been better or not, is pretty subjective, and again introspective, YOU are best p;laced to say whether you could have done a better job or not...... which begs not looking at your own work, but other peoples and asking how they did a better job or not... and then making lots of excuses for why your endeavours don't stack up, and to improve, going around this loop, of self critique and critiquing other works, and taking lots and lots of photos and trying to get to grips with things like composition and the exposure triangle, in between times,.

In short, you do NOT need a 'web-presence' and it's not really a solution to the problem you suggest you want it for.
 
Messages
4,308
Name
Tim
Edit My Images
Yes
#11
It's very difficult once you reach a certain level of competence. If you understand aperture, shutter speed and ISO, can comfortably control them in-camera, and if you understand exposure and focussing, there's not a lot more technically that you can learn without delving more deeply into the technical aspects of a specific genre/area (astro, macro, sport, photoshop, etc). Your images seem to indicate you have a grasp of these things.

What is it you feel you need to get better at? Where is your failing? Once you know this, you can direct your efforts best.

Better can mean more likes, more clients, and/or more money. It can also mean better artistically - more meaningful images, or images that you want people to spend time looking at, or better in terms of you getting more satisfaction out of your images. Who are you taking pictures for? If it's a client or likes, then you need to pay close attention to what the client/likers want. If it's you, then pretty much everything @droj said above is spot on. If it's a camera club judge, then "better" is shooting images they will vote for - which may often be perfect "rule of thirds", pin sharp, sanitised, decor.
In your first paragraph youve missed the most important thing
 
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