Social Networking – The Options are Endless

Those of you who follow me on Twitter, are friends with me on Facebook or linked to me on LinkedIn will know that I am a big Twitter fan. I tweet A LOT! And often. About many different things – work-related articles, my own photography or photography in general, fell walking, etc.  I realise that different portions of that content will be of no interest to different groups of those people I’m connected to.

So, the quandary I had (and many people who have a varied web presence may also have) was how best to separate the professional content from the personal stuff.

Twitter has become the lynch pin in my Social Networking “strategy”. I can tweet direct (and in some cases automatically) from nearly all the web sites I use regularly using a variety of plug-ins to distribute the content as I see fit to…

  1. Facebook – I use an application called Selective Tweets to import my content with a hash tag of #fb into my Facebook profile.  Facebook emerged out of pure social networking.  However, it is slowly developing a business-oriented facet but this is proving difficult because of the apparent laissez faire attitude accorded 3rd party app developers when it comes to 1) users’ data; & 2) malware embedded in those same apps. Facebook doesn’t help its cause any by regularly upsetting its user base, changing the layout and the configuration of its default security settings, often in favour of those same app developers and without consulting its user base. We give so much of ourselves to that information-hungry monster and this is how we are repaid! Respectable business will always shy away from such volatile unpredictability simply because of the security risks and the personal data processing regulations involved.
  2. LinkedIn – I use the Tweets application to import my content with a hash tag of #li into my LinkedIn profile.  LinkedIn is VERY business-oriented and totally geared toward professional networking and collaboration. Though fairly formal, there’s no old boys club (that I can see) and you can extract far more business knowledge from the variety of groups available than you have to submit. Although, if you are reaping such benefits, it is human nature to put something back.
  3. Twitter has a foot firmly planted in both camps, with a genuine mix of social and commercial networking and self-promotion. Basically, your Twitter experience is entirely of your own making, i.e. not thrust upon you with the aim of controlling your entire (online) world view. Moreover, if you don’t like your current Twitterverse, changing it is so much easier to do. A new list here; some new Follows there…

I do have a Google+ profile but I’m struggling to wrap my head around how best to use it.  I think that until it acquires a critical mass of users, it’s always going to be playing catch-up but now that signing up is open to all…

So!  That’s how I do it.  I’d like to hear your thoughts on any of the above, your approach to Social Networking or if you have any other related comments…

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Photocamp Bradford 2010

October saw the 5th Photocamp Bradford unconference at the National Media Museum and Impressions Gallery. The event, organised by Exposure Leeds, has become a significant calendar entry for many West Yorkshire photographers and indeed for others based in the surrounding regions.

An “unconference” has many similarities to a typical conference except that the content is delivered by delegates willing to facilitate a session. Ideas and requests for content are canvassed in the preceding weeks and months.

On Saturday morning, Joe Cornish and Tim Parkin delivered the keynote address. A wide variety of sessions followed throughout the day, e.g. macro photography, personal photography projects, wedding photography, and lots more besides. The end result was over a hundred excited and motivated photographers moving between sessions, deep in animated conversations.

Sunday started with a photo walk around Bradford city centre. The remainder of the day was hosted by Impressions Gallery where the fundamental principle was creativity. Aside from the usual session of photography using props, three pairs of briefs were set. Delegates were challenged to choose 1 brief from each pair and create 1 or more images as per that brief. Thinking outside of the box was absolutely encouraged and the results can be seen at the links below…

1. City as Landscape
2. Urban Portrait
3. Textures and Details of Bradford
4. Abstracted Portrait
5. Still Life

Another fantastic event organised by Exposure Leeds!  Many thanks to Jon and Anne for making the event such a success.
My Shutterstock Portfolio

Don’t Pose For Photographs

This may sound strange coming from a photographer but there’s nothing worse in a photograph than an obviously put-on smile or a forced pose. We’ve all either done it or seen it.

And that is why good photos of animals (technically correct – in focus, well lit, etc.) stand out so much. They’re natural; What you’re capturing is their everyday behaviour at that moment in time.

Tail Wag Brown Lab Puppy Stretch

Now some (lucky) people are naturally photogenic but if that’s not you, next time someone’s got a camera, at least try to ignore it and trust the photographer to catch you looking your best.

Russ

Think More – Shoot Less

Everyone generally agrees that time is precious and we would all prefer to spend it doing the things we want to and not those we have to. In photography, at least in my mind, what that boils down to is “Less is more!” I read a few web postings recently that talk about this in more depth.

Scott Bourne isn’t exactly a hero of mine but he does talk a lot of sense. In an article from last year, Become a Better Photographer by Taking Fewer Shots, his general advice is to put more effort into thinking about the composition of a select few images rather than “spray and pray”.

Nicole Young echoes this sentiment…

Avoid “machine-gunning” your photos. Every time you press the shutter you are creating an image that you will import into your computer and do something with (even if it’s just deciding you don’t want to edit it), and shooting in continuous mode all the time (several frames per second with each press of the shutter) will exponentially increase your editing time. I have found that as I develop my skills as a photographer I am taking fewer and fewer photos, but I end up with just as many, or more, “keepers” than I did in the past. I am selective about my shots and know that want to think about everything I see in the frame and only press the shutter when I’m sure I have what I want. It doesn’t result in a great photo every time, but I know become a better photographer every time I press my shutter and don’t just hope I get a good shot due to “luck”. There are going to be moments when shooting several frames-per-second is appropriate, so the key is to know when to use that method.

So, how do you remove the temptation to “spray and pray”? Well, Chris Weston, a respected wildlife photographer, summed it up brilliantly in an interview with Digital Photography School. When asked “Do you have a tip for beginner to intermediate photographers that will help them improve their photography?”, his reply was a bit of a Eureka moment for me.

Something I still do to this day is, before I press the shutter I ask myself the question “How would I caption this image?” If the only answer I can conjure is the species name, then I wait for a better shot.

My Shutterstock Portfolio

Why Blog?

It’s all Scott Bourne‘s fault!

Scott Bourne wrote an article about why photographers should build a blog and not a website.  I started my own website years ago for a variety of reasons but recently I’ve found it harder to maintain (keep current) and with less time to do so.

Also, just like everyone else, I’m looking to collect (or reference) all my online content in 1 place.  So here are some blatant plugs for now and we’ll see how this evolves.

Shutterstock

My Shutterstock Portfolio

Dreamstime

My Dreamstime Portfolio

Fotolia

My Fotolia Portfolio

CanStockPhoto

My CanStockPhoto Portfolio

Bigstock

My Bigstock Portfolio

Cheers for reading thus far!

Alex