Today's article is a guest post by a newfound friend of mine, a fellow photography blogger, and an inspirational photographer — Martin Gommel. Also check out my guest post on Martin's blog titled “How Symmetry and Antisymmetry Impact your photos“.
Today I want to give you some useful tips for getting a lot more publicity on Flickr than you have now. Over the last few months I focused intensely on Flickr and I found many different ways to exhaust it to a maximum.
“No image is better than a bad one” is a quote which I am thinking of on a regular basis. Good or bad totally certainly depends on if you like it or not. If I am not sure about an image I let go of it for a day. After that I decide if I will upload it or not. If not, I take another image from my archive which one I like. Besides that I try to avoid posting images from the same location repeatedly, because that would bore my readers to tears.
After uploading the image to my stream it's time for tagging. Sometimes I'll have a little bit fun trying to fill out the maximum count of tags: 75. The selection of 'em happens in this way:
- Place of the shooting
- Theme (landscape, portrait or street)
- Objects in the image (water, sky, clouds … )
- Shown moods (freedom, peace, speed … )
- Technical details (10mm, Canon, handheld … )
The more tags I use, the merrier my image will be found.
I know I would drive my readers crazy if I would upload 10 images today and nothing for the remaining week. They just would be over strained, because some of them comment on every image. Additional to that I would loose the worth of the single image. That's the reason for why I am trying to upload one image for every two days. If I have plenty of images to upload maybe one more (every one day) or if I don't every three days.
In Flickr it is the quite the same way as an old byword says: Who gives much can receive much. Who gives nothing has to be a star from the first. Because I am not, I am trying to comment on a regular basis the images of my “Friends & Family”. It goes from the short “I like the way you worked with lines and contrasts in this shot” unto a long expression of my my opinion. I do not hesitate to place some critique in a comment, but I am giving attention to add some positive words about what I like. Some good alternation is to ask a Question at the end of a comment which can end in an interesting ping-pong conversation with the photographer.
The apparently easiest way to show a user that I like his image is to click the “Add To Faves” – Button. At this it can be some little thing that I like – and it's a fave. Fave-worthy images do not have to be technically perfect in my opinion if they express a mood that touches me. Additional to that I try to see images of a use in context of his photographic maturity. If I am busy at work and do not have time for many words I often use faves for showing someone that I like the image anyway. But that should never grow into a habit. If I have definitely no time left to comment I do not panic. Flickr isn't about cramped “have to” habits.
What would Flickr be without groups? Not half of it's value. The “Send To Group” function allows me to show images in many different groups and there are potential new readers. For myself I have set a limit for group posting to 5 groups – which ones depends on the image. I post my images as seldom as possible to comment or badge groups because I like it when people come to my stream without any enforcement. I try to participate in group discussions and from time to time a start a new and thoughtful thread and see what happens. As I am living in Karlruhe, Germany I subscribed to the activities via RSS. That makes sure that I do not miss important threads and saves me a lot of time.
One crucial benefit of Flickr are contacts which evolve from participation in the community. I mean those contact with which I got a lively inter-exchange of emails and comments. This is the social foundation of my stream. Those contacts give me feedback on my images on a regular basis. With those people I am exchanging ideas, news, questions, links and so on. I am trying to answer every new Flickmail from unknown persons. Sometimes I ask a question about the writer because I am not very good at smalltalk. Through that many many new relationships, and even friendships emerged. To give you a good example: Brian Auer.
Over Flickr I have become acquainted with Matthias Pabst, Uli Linder and Scott Lewis which are now my photo-buddies. We are going out shooting on a regular basis. I this cases contacts have grown into authentic friendships which are further more personal than only about photography. To me it is very important to be on the same wavelength with my photo-buddies and to be able to speak about non-photography topics, too. As I am estimating myself as a part-introvert it is easier to have see a few photo-buddies on a regular basis than to have many irregular meetings.
… and their potential impact (in my opinion) is totally underestimated. I love to do others users a favor and I notice in their reactions that my words helped them on. With this thought in my mind I started “Kwickr” on my German blog, which is a giveaway party of 10 testimonials. The first 10 users who manage to comment after I published the post get one testimonial. Out of that I could develop many precious contacts such as Kai Müller from Germany. In testimonials lies a very important potential to deepen existing or fresh relationships to other contacts.
These clever Firefox tools based on GreaseMonkey can help you to a more enjoyable and practical everyday life on Flickr. I won't abandon userscripts such as “Buddy Icon Reply“, to give you a perfect example of how useful userscripts are. Also see my “10 Sexy Flickr Userscripts” for additional useful tools.
I'd really like to thank Martin for sharing this article with us. Check out his blog, and definitely check out his Flickr photostream if you haven't already. I know that about 50% of us are Flickr users, but these tips really apply to any photo-sharing community. I'll be following this article up with one on Flickr Etiquette, due to a reader question I received a couple weeks ago.