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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> *Bad Photographer! Bad!* (Self-Scolding)
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01/12/2013 04:49:23 PM · #1
So aside from traveling, self portraits and doing some DP challenges every once in a while, my photography has been pretty much defunct for some time (circa 2009). It started with website defeat (news flash: I suck at HTML) continued as I moved to Korea to be a teacher full-time, and I'm attempting to end the defunct...ness (again) in agony as I'm now trying to revamp my photographer FB page and realizing I don't have a comprehensive portfolio.

In other words... my shots are scattered among who knows what folders on who knows what hard drives, some of which are not even currently in my possession, though I thought I had all pictures of consequence.

The result is piecemealing what I can find for now and posting it here:

Sad Sad Facebook

What's more, now I'm finding I DO have a lot of files I thought I was missing but my Mac search just doesn't feel like finding them for whatever unknown reason.

Also I tried to make my photography web page again but alas, another web defeat as Wordpress doesn't want to find any photos I uploaded (something I've asked about before on here, and despite many people wanting to help, still have found no answers).

What I'm trying to say is...

HEEELLLPPP!

Organization tips? Programs? FB critiques?

01/12/2013 06:20:20 PM · #2
What resources, budget, and personal strengths do you bring to the equation?

What weaknesses do you to make sure to plan for?

01/12/2013 06:29:35 PM · #3
Originally posted by StefanJSimons:

What resources, budget, and personal strengths do you bring to the equation?

What weaknesses do you to make sure to plan for?


You mean for my bio or just for your assessment?

Major weakness is that some of my best portraits I can't ever use because they were shot for an employer's studio. This means that most of the portraits I post are either models that I didn't shoot with the intent of using as portraits, or my own friends and family (most of which were impromptu). I think it's a rather weak portfolio on the portrait front honestly, and that's a major bummer. I think I have some great model/fashion shots but that won't appeal to a family looking for a photographer.

Strengths: Creative, unusual portraits. I would like to make this marketable in all actuality. It makes sense in my head what with the digital boom and the movement towards more journalistic style portraits.

Budget: Next to nothing for the moment.
01/12/2013 07:17:05 PM · #4
I may be reading too much into some of the between the lines stuff but here are my quick suggestions for how to get back on the path

1. Accept the images that are lost, or you don't have copywrite for, are gone.

2. Buy a large external drive and get all of your photo's onto that one drive, back that up regularly.

3. Buy, or produce, a model release form book and carry it in your camera bag. I used a book because then I always have them all in one place.

4. Buy some image catalogueing software, I have used lightroom for a while and can recomend that.

5. Import and tag ALL of your images, it will be tedious but it will be rewarding and worth the time invested. I can navagate to and review the image I am looking for among 55,000 from a range of tags and EXIF variables (camera, date, lens, iso, shutterspeed, tags, etc) in next to no time.

6. Back up your files

7. shoot high quality images cheaply to fill gaps or to replace those your skill has improved for your portfolio.

8. Shoot an amazing complex/expensive setup of the something you WANT to be doing, use it in your Portfolio.

9. Know your costs so you can set prices for any clients who approach you.

10. go back to step 5

Message edited by author 2013-01-12 19:26:18.
01/12/2013 07:30:19 PM · #5
:) Thanks for that.

I do have a harddrive I back up my images on but I recently switched to a larger one and I seem to be missing stuff I was sure I had. Just a matter of disorganization I guess.

Tag images... can you do that in Photoshop's browse? Or where do you do that? I really should start doing that, esp after 3 months shooting all around Europe without a real computer. I have editing paralysis and hundreds of great photos I haven't even touched!
01/12/2013 08:14:43 PM · #6
I have had the luxury of lightroom, used a download trial version right from the start (as recomended by a friend) so i never learnt how to tag in bridge or photoshop. I didn't even need photoshop for the first few years of operating a DSLR because of the power of that appllication. I understand you can keyword in other programs but not with anything like the efficiency.
01/12/2013 08:28:28 PM · #7
I've tried lightroom and photoshop and aperture, but eventually arrived back at Picasa for a quick and easy way to organise and tag photos. It scans all your drives for photos (that takes a while) but then it allows you to exclude folders you don't want it to scan anymore. It's also got a cool feature which does face tagging. Plus, it's free.

Not much good for editing, very basic features (I still use PS for that)
01/12/2013 09:15:16 PM · #8
As far as a web site have you looked into something like zenfolio, no coding, easy to set up, great place to post and store a lot of your best images.
01/12/2013 11:19:56 PM · #9
i just got some phenomenal help building a site from Skip, I'd be happy to share what I've learned. Feel free to pm with any details for your ideas and current wordpress status.

Message edited by author 2013-01-12 23:21:23.
01/13/2013 09:24:12 AM · #10
I think you have some wonderful stuff on your facebook page. Much better than mine. I think you're just in a funk (like so many of us get into from time to time). I have no real help to give...sorry.
01/13/2013 12:31:32 PM · #11
Re the website. Try bartering with someone who is good at building them who also needs a portrait done, either for themselves or a friend/family.

Re your FB page - I see several duplicates. I also feel that you need to limit the number of selfies, as they give the impression that you don't have experience with other people, so you just use yourself. There are a number of snapshot-like images which I think can be eliminated. I would also create separate albums for each category (selfies, groups, etc.) rather than making a potential client slog through a big blob of images.

Be selective. Choose 5-10 of the very best of each category and only post those.

Put on the client hat and look at your page as if you're looking for a photographer. What do you think of the page? What would YOU look for in a photographer, and is it represented on your page?

Good luck!
01/13/2013 01:29:06 PM · #12
the main thing you have to do is decide *what* you want to do. if all your interest fit into a narrow enough scope that a single website and fb page will work, great! if not, organize your content into separate buckets, develop your presentation, then roll things out when they're ready. if you try to be all things to all people you'll most likely wind up being very little to anyone.

one other thing along the lines of what ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_N.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_N.gif', '/') + 1) . ' tanguera said about looking at your presentation through the eyes of the client: you need to know who your market is and what they're buying - AND you need to tailor your marketing message (which includes EVERYTHING that can be tied to you and who you are) to connecting with that market. for example, if you have STRONG opinions about something, you have got to think it through as to how those opinions can affect your marketing. if they reflect the thinking of the market you are going after, you are golden. however, if they can alienate from your market, then you need to separate those opinions from your marketing (ie, put them in a personal website that is NOT linked to by your main business website).

Message edited by author 2013-01-13 13:29:35.
01/13/2013 01:46:15 PM · #13
Originally posted by JH:

I've tried lightroom and photoshop and aperture, but eventually arrived back at Picasa for a quick and easy way to organise and tag photos. ...

JH, doesn't it also edit your original EXIF file? Just something to be aware of.
01/13/2013 02:16:09 PM · #14
A long time ago I had a chance to look at Ansel Adams' notebooks ... basically a record of what he took and how he took (and processed) it.

I don't have either hardware or time to support cataloging software, so I've just been making a record of each day's shooting noting number of shots, location, and a brief summary of the subjects. It's pretty easy to quickly scan a page of notes and figure out on which day last year I took a certain batch of photos. I use an Excel spreadsheet (and save as PDF files) so I can use it to add up the exposure for me, but sheets of lined paper would work just as well, and don't require electricity to read ...
01/13/2013 02:53:08 PM · #15
A couple of things....

Like you, I've been photographically defunct since early 2009. Work got the best of me, and I'm just now getting back into photography. Unlike you, I don't have professional aspirations. But I still want to have a nice website and portfolio, and needed to generally just "get organized" again.

I spent 20 years writing software for a living, and even I wouldn't want to code my own website. My recommendation would be to use a content management system, such as Wordpress or Joomla. Personally, I use Wordpress. There are very nice photo specific custom themes out there for about $80, or you can use one of the free themes, at least until you're making money. I personally used the default theme that came with Wordpress, then wrote about 10 lines of code so that I can export web pages from Lightroom and have them display inside a Wordpress page. I found a video online that showed how to do this. I will probably change themes to something sexier, but the cool thing about Wordpress is that you can change themes to get a completely different look and feel with minimal rework.

Organizationally, I'm *very* glad that I was using Lightroom in 2009. I had (and still have) some cleaning up and organization to do, but what I had in 2009 is mostly still intact. If I were in your situation however, I'd go through and pick out what you're going to use for your portfolio (20-50 pictures maybe), then just back the rest up to a couple of drives somewhere and move on. At this point the purpose of the older stuff is either for portfolio, or to sell prints, and if you're not going to use it for those things, then you don't need to waste time trying to organize it.
01/13/2013 03:07:41 PM · #16
Hello Monica,

I'm currently in the process of re-doing my website, re-digging through 6 old hard drives. I definitely know how it feels to lose good photos, AND how it feels to have some of your best work owned by someone else.

My recommendation for a website is actually deviant art. I used to use a DA portfolio for my website and I got plenty of business off of it-- 10 weddings and probably 20 seniors/portraits a summer (i'm a student). This is my old OLD portfolio that's still out there-- although I don't link to it anymore: //maddiemaephoto.daportfolio.com/ The nice thing is that there's absolutely NO coding involved. Extremely simple-- not super flexible, but it worked for me for a year while I got started (and it's free!)

As far as your facebook page-- I really like your images and especially your more non-traditional portraits-- you're very creative. I do agree to limit the number of selfies--- maybe re-arranging photos and deleting your "self portraits" album so someone who doesn't know you, does't know they're selfies.

I've found that facebook is most useful when you post 1 picture at a time-- 1 or 2 a day. You get 10x more likes/comments when people can focus on the single photo on their news feed. I've tried various posting methods, but this one seems to utilize facebook in the best way to get the most exposure.

I use wordpress now, and am struggling through it, but I used to use blogger for a blog and I found it infinitely easier-- no coing involved--Very user-friendly.

I use aperture for organization and basic editing-- it works well with photoshop and organizing my PSD's. It also has a good ranking system for narrowing down photos.

Being in a portfolio-building stage can be quite fun. I recommend just advertising very low-cost (or free) shoots of whatever kind of photography you're interested in (portraits, couples, etc). The nice thing about doing free shoots is you can really showcase your style and be more out-of-the box. I'm doing a personal portrait project right now and just asking friends to model for me. It's nice I don't have to achieve a specific result. I've been posting on facebook one image at a time: //www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.145325675580112.29340.100003080414675&type=3

You can do it! Just have fun with it. Build a portfolio of images you love and people who love them will flock to you and pay you for what you do. Doing a trade with a website designer for photos is also a really good idea.

Message edited by author 2013-01-13 15:11:20.
01/14/2013 09:40:52 PM · #17
Originally posted by tanguera:

Re the website. Try bartering with someone who is good at building them who also needs a portrait done, either for themselves or a friend/family.

Re your FB page - I see several duplicates. I also feel that you need to limit the number of selfies, as they give the impression that you don't have experience with other people, so you just use yourself. There are a number of snapshot-like images which I think can be eliminated. I would also create separate albums for each category (selfies, groups, etc.) rather than making a potential client slog through a big blob of images.

Be selective. Choose 5-10 of the very best of each category and only post those.

Put on the client hat and look at your page as if you're looking for a photographer. What do you think of the page? What would YOU look for in a photographer, and is it represented on your page?

Good luck!


Agreed, def need to go through a cull the rejects. I did delete some but they still show up on page from when they were first posted. As for separate albums, I already have that. :) You probably didn't click the "albums" tab. FB photos are kind of annoying to me these days...
01/14/2013 09:42:51 PM · #18
Originally posted by GeneralE:

A long time ago I had a chance to look at Ansel Adams' notebooks ... basically a record of what he took and how he took (and processed) it.

I don't have either hardware or time to support cataloging software, so I've just been making a record of each day's shooting noting number of shots, location, and a brief summary of the subjects. It's pretty easy to quickly scan a page of notes and figure out on which day last year I took a certain batch of photos. I use an Excel spreadsheet (and save as PDF files) so I can use it to add up the exposure for me, but sheets of lined paper would work just as well, and don't require electricity to read ...


:) Old school!! I love it. Prob wouldn't work for me at this time though. Already slog around enough stuff as it is.
01/14/2013 09:45:57 PM · #19
Originally posted by Ann:

A couple of things....

Like you, I've been photographically defunct since early 2009. Work got the best of me, and I'm just now getting back into photography. Unlike you, I don't have professional aspirations. But I still want to have a nice website and portfolio, and needed to generally just "get organized" again.

I spent 20 years writing software for a living, and even I wouldn't want to code my own website. My recommendation would be to use a content management system, such as Wordpress or Joomla. Personally, I use Wordpress. There are very nice photo specific custom themes out there for about $80, or you can use one of the free themes, at least until you're making money. I personally used the default theme that came with Wordpress, then wrote about 10 lines of code so that I can export web pages from Lightroom and have them display inside a Wordpress page. I found a video online that showed how to do this. I will probably change themes to something sexier, but the cool thing about Wordpress is that you can change themes to get a completely different look and feel with minimal rework.

Organizationally, I'm *very* glad that I was using Lightroom in 2009. I had (and still have) some cleaning up and organization to do, but what I had in 2009 is mostly still intact. If I were in your situation however, I'd go through and pick out what you're going to use for your portfolio (20-50 pictures maybe), then just back the rest up to a couple of drives somewhere and move on. At this point the purpose of the older stuff is either for portfolio, or to sell prints, and if you're not going to use it for those things, then you don't need to waste time trying to organize it.


Yea I have wordpress but I have had a ton of problems with it. Most overcome except this last biggie which is that it doesn't find any photos I upload. I changed to to be multiblog capable as I use it for my lifestyle blog changetheverb.com and my photography port is a secondary site. Somehow the folders are messed up and I couldn't figure out how to fix them. There are workarounds for sure, like you suggested the lightroom thing. I'll have to check that out as I've never heard of it. But last I left it, a kind DPCer even logged into my accounts to try and fix the folder error but couldn't figure it out either, meaning I can't really appropriately used any of the themes for my portfolio.

Ho hum.
01/14/2013 09:49:06 PM · #20
Originally posted by photoMAD:

Hello Monica,

I'm currently in the process of re-doing my website, re-digging through 6 old hard drives. I definitely know how it feels to lose good photos, AND how it feels to have some of your best work owned by someone else.

My recommendation for a website is actually deviant art. I used to use a DA portfolio for my website and I got plenty of business off of it-- 10 weddings and probably 20 seniors/portraits a summer (i'm a student). This is my old OLD portfolio that's still out there-- although I don't link to it anymore: //maddiemaephoto.daportfolio.com/ The nice thing is that there's absolutely NO coding involved. Extremely simple-- not super flexible, but it worked for me for a year while I got started (and it's free!)

As far as your facebook page-- I really like your images and especially your more non-traditional portraits-- you're very creative. I do agree to limit the number of selfies--- maybe re-arranging photos and deleting your "self portraits" album so someone who doesn't know you, does't know they're selfies.

I've found that facebook is most useful when you post 1 picture at a time-- 1 or 2 a day. You get 10x more likes/comments when people can focus on the single photo on their news feed. I've tried various posting methods, but this one seems to utilize facebook in the best way to get the most exposure.

I use wordpress now, and am struggling through it, but I used to use blogger for a blog and I found it infinitely easier-- no coing involved--Very user-friendly.

I use aperture for organization and basic editing-- it works well with photoshop and organizing my PSD's. It also has a good ranking system for narrowing down photos.

Being in a portfolio-building stage can be quite fun. I recommend just advertising very low-cost (or free) shoots of whatever kind of photography you're interested in (portraits, couples, etc). The nice thing about doing free shoots is you can really showcase your style and be more out-of-the box. I'm doing a personal portrait project right now and just asking friends to model for me. It's nice I don't have to achieve a specific result. I've been posting on facebook one image at a time: //www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.145325675580112.29340.100003080414675&type=3

You can do it! Just have fun with it. Build a portfolio of images you love and people who love them will flock to you and pay you for what you do. Doing a trade with a website designer for photos is also a really good idea.


Thanks for that. Def agree about posting a couple images at a time (and the part about wordpress being difficult). I know eventually I'll really get my act together but for now, I'm not even sure where I will be living next month, quite literally. So kinda hard to build a client base. ;) Just tried to get something up for any shoots I can get this month before I leave town.

In all honesty the biggest thing I need to do is stop moving. Hehe. One day.
01/14/2013 09:54:55 PM · #21
Originally posted by Skip:

the main thing you have to do is decide *what* you want to do. if all your interest fit into a narrow enough scope that a single website and fb page will work, great! if not, organize your content into separate buckets, develop your presentation, then roll things out when they're ready. if you try to be all things to all people you'll most likely wind up being very little to anyone.

one other thing along the lines of what ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_N.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_N.gif', '/') + 1) . ' tanguera said about looking at your presentation through the eyes of the client: you need to know who your market is and what they're buying - AND you need to tailor your marketing message (which includes EVERYTHING that can be tied to you and who you are) to connecting with that market. for example, if you have STRONG opinions about something, you have got to think it through as to how those opinions can affect your marketing. if they reflect the thinking of the market you are going after, you are golden. however, if they can alienate from your market, then you need to separate those opinions from your marketing (ie, put them in a personal website that is NOT linked to by your main business website).


Hmm... not sure I'm catching what you are saying? Are you referring to things I post on my personal FB? Because I didn't think people could see that who are not my friends. I do understand even so, there is something to be said about personal branding. I have a friend who is a writer and even on her personal facebook she's very careful about everything she puts out there. I probably could be more careful about some things for sure but my stances on food culture, gay rights, etc, are not something I'll shy from from my personal page for the sake of a business. Can't do that.

I have a shoot in a couple of weeks with a gal I've had religious(ish) debates with on my personal facebook. She still likes me and we respect each other. ;)
01/14/2013 10:34:39 PM · #22
Originally posted by escapetooz:

Originally posted by Skip:

the main thing you have to do is decide *what* you want to do. if all your interest fit into a narrow enough scope that a single website and fb page will work, great! if not, organize your content into separate buckets, develop your presentation, then roll things out when they're ready. if you try to be all things to all people you'll most likely wind up being very little to anyone.

one other thing along the lines of what ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_N.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_N.gif', '/') + 1) . ' tanguera said about looking at your presentation through the eyes of the client: you need to know who your market is and what they're buying - AND you need to tailor your marketing message (which includes EVERYTHING that can be tied to you and who you are) to connecting with that market. for example, if you have STRONG opinions about something, you have got to think it through as to how those opinions can affect your marketing. if they reflect the thinking of the market you are going after, you are golden. however, if they can alienate from your market, then you need to separate those opinions from your marketing (ie, put them in a personal website that is NOT linked to by your main business website).


Hmm... not sure I'm catching what you are saying? Are you referring to things I post on my personal FB? Because I didn't think people could see that who are not my friends. I do understand even so, there is something to be said about personal branding. I have a friend who is a writer and even on her personal facebook she's very careful about everything she puts out there. I probably could be more careful about some things for sure but my stances on food culture, gay rights, etc, are not something I'll shy from from my personal page for the sake of a business. Can't do that.

I have a shoot in a couple of weeks with a gal I've had religious(ish) debates with on my personal facebook. She still likes me and we respect each other. ;)

my apologies for the ambiguity. let me put it like this: whatever you say, wherever you say it, be cognizant of the consequences. if it makes sense for you to express yourself to a given constituency, but not to the world at large, make every effort to control where that expression shows up and who can be part of that audience. i hope that makes sense. maybe check your fb controls and utilize them as best makes sense.

for instance, i know a guy who is a very talented portraitist with some pretty strong political views; i think he does a disservice to himself and his business because he expresses his political opinions/rants through the twitter account he has linked to his business website. if i was checking out his business site and clicked on his twitter link and read some of his tweets and felt put off by the way he goes after those that disagree with him, i would have a hard time considering him as a potential photographer...especially considering that there are a lot of people that could probably do almost as good a job as he could. on the other hand, if all he wants is business from like-minded people, there's nothing wrong with what he's doing.

bottom line: pay attention to all the details and don't just shoot from the hip when speaking in public (which includes, twitter, your blog, your website, posting in forums, etc, etc).
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