Yesterday I said I was inspired by Pete Talke of Places2Explore and his recent discussion on flickr and wanted to put my twp pennies in, for what it is worth. The shots from this post are clouds that I took from our honeymoon.
Back in 2008, right after I got my first dSLR, the Nikon D40X, I was looking up ideas on interesting pictures to take on the internet. I stumbled upon Trey’s blog on HDR, read his tutorial, started looking into other tutorials on HDR, and well, we know where that led to. So I had all these HDRs, and my friends and family were fun to show them to, but I wanted a way to share them with a lot more people. Just by searching “places to post pictures online” I came upon flickr. Looked cool, so I posted two pictures in September of 2008, then kind of forgot about it until March of 2009. I purchased my pro account (the first of three) and really started to get hooked.
I was posting into about 50 groups a day, leaving all kinds of awards and faves on peoples’ shots, Nikon Award, Heart Award, Peace Award, blah blah blah. I would comment and rate, and then see what people had to say about my work. I got some good feedback sometimes, but usually it was just the award that was left. Eventually I started to build up my contact list, and thought “This is awesome”, because I was getting all these comments and faves. After being on flickr for about a year, I got pretty bored with all the groups. It was an effort, and I didn’t even really like half the pictures I was awarding. So, I pared down the contact list from over 600 to around 350, stopped posting in groups, stopped worry about Explore and focused on some of the great flickr contacts that I had made. Which brings me to today.
Today I usually post one picture a day, and catch up on all my contacts’ work. I would say I have about 100-150 active contacts, those who are posting daily or multiple times a day, and I try to comment on all of them. It is about as much work as leaving Flickr Awards on peoples’ work, but I at least give better comments about photographers’ work that I actually appreciate. But that brings me to a point that Pete brought up. I comment on some people just because they comment on me, as that is what the flickr commenting community is all about (in my opinion): reciprocation. You comment on me, I’ll comment on you. But where does that get me? I have no problem being a nice guy and throwing a few comments back someone’s way who has taken time to look at my work, but what if I don’t like their work? I’m not saying that it is bad, just that it is not my style? I’ve tried to sift through and phase out those kind of contacts, because flickr is a lot of work, especially if you are leaving comments just for the sake of leaving comments. I’m not saying that this is the majority of my contacts, but it does make up a certain percentage.
I have made some great contacts through flickr, including Pete, and for that I am glad that I joined. I also made my first sales through flickr from people finding my work. But I think that it is fast losing its appeal to me. First off, I have a blog now, where I go into more details about my work and can post larger viewable images. I also have a website, where I have the vast majority (or will soon) of shots that I have on flickr on there as well. I enjoy spending time updating my website and writing these blog entries, but flickr just gets so tiresome a lot of the time.
Another thing about the actual flickr site is that it rarely updates. It looks basically the same since when I first signed up in 2008. For a photo sharing website, it certainly doesn’t make the pictures very appealing. The images are small, it usually manipulates the colors somehow or makes the image darker. The stats don’t really provide that much insight into your views, because a big chunk always seems to be “Unknown Source”, so I have no idea who is even looking at my uploads. This is important to me, because while I will usually let someone use a picture of mine on their blog for personal use, if they do not contact me and request permission first, I ask them to take it down. If I don’t know where the incoming links are coming from, how can I monitor who is using my images?
How about Explore. This is supposed to be the best of the best, the cream of the crop of flickr. Instead, flickr changes the algorithm so much that I haven’t made Explore in over a year and a half. Yet pictures of cats can. I mean, come on. Not saying I have the best work on flickr, but it’s better than a picture of a cat.
So will I stop using flickr? Probably not. Will I drastically reduce the time I will spend on the website? Yes. I will be reducing my contacts who only comment after I comment on one of their uploads, I will continue to not post in groups and generally spend less time on the site. I may start uploading more, because I won’t be as concerned with receiving comments and faves. I still think that flickr is a great medium to get yourself found, and I do get a fair number of incoming links to my blog from flickr. But other than pure traffic, I think that flickr may have run its course as a social/photosharing medium, especially with the rise of Facebook, Twitter and blogs.
So that’s my rant on flickr. I’d love to hear what you guys have to say about it.
For today’s post, we go back to New York. I’ve posted a shot of the West Side Story billboard at night, but I wanted to make sure that I posted one from during the day as well. This is a five handheld exposure HDR, processed with HDR Efex under the “Natural” setting. I had to do a lot of masking of the video sign, the sky and the people on the street. I also added a slight Tonal Contrast and Cooling filter, as it was a bit too warm for my taste.
Enjoy your Thursday, happy St. Patty’s.