Weekly Column: Take Pride in Your Website

There are so many different social media outlets for sharing images. I’ve made my disdain for social media abundantly clear in previous posts, yet I still participate in a limited capacity. When I discover a photographer, whether online, word of mouth, or meeting them in person, I always go straight to their website to see their work. I never consider social media as an outlet to share their vision. I would never go to a flickr page or 500px page to see what someone is all about. Social media has different purposes for different people. If you look at the top images of 500px lately, they have become mostly advertisements. And I think that’s a good thing. It’s a struggle to get the word out on the services you provide, what better way than to make an image go to the front page of 500px and share it there? There’s a formula to get on the front page that involves some serious over the top processing. That may or may not be the artist’s vision, but I would never begrudge a photographer from “gaming the system” to get more exposure in order to advertise their services. And in large part, that’s all social media is to me; a place to advertise one’s work. I met a photographer recently who was anxious to get better and explore the iconic landscapes of the US. He had never heard of me or most of my peers. He then asked if I was on Instragram. I told him I was but rarely ever posted. I then asked him about a few of my friends that are all-stars in the Instagram world and he treated them like celebrities. Again, there are so many different social media outlets that you never truly have an idea how a potential client or fan will find your work.

Which brings me around to my point. Your website is holy. It is your online gallery. Even if you own a gallery somewhere in the world, there will always be a limited number of people who will ever get the chance to visit it. Your online gallery has no limits. The images you share on your gallery should represent who you are as an artist. You don’t have to push the numbers in order to get views. You just have to share yourself as an artist. In my perfect online world that’s all we would have, our own websites representing who we are. Of course, how would you know which sites to check out? And that’s why we have the social media blitz that exists today.

Websites have become incredibly simple and cheap to create. This is all very recent and it’s something you should absolutely take advantage of. When I started my Smugmug site I had to learn bits of CSS, HTML and Javascript. Now it’s just click and drag. Smugmug is a great place to start, as is Squarspace. You can have a site up and running in a day. It’s seriously gotten that easy. If you have the budget and not the time, there are some excellent website developers who will make you a custom site. This is an excellent option if you have the budget, as it increases your opportunity for your site to stand out from the pack.

I’m not saying stop sharing your images on social media. I get the appeal for many. And in some cases, like mine, it makes sense for business. But when someone asks where they can go to see your best work, I hope it’s too your website which is shielded from the noise on the web.

In sports news I am recovering from the Seahawks miracle win on Sunday. I was lucky enough to be there in person and it was an unreal experience. I, unfortunately, won’t have the opportunity to go back to the Super Bowl this year as I will be leading a workshop in Yellowstone, but it was an incredible moment to witness the NFC Championship game. GO HAWKS!

My TV recommendation this week is Justified. It returns this week for its final season. It’s one of the best shows on TV and is consistently solid throughout its first 5 seasons. Let’s hope season 6 finishes strong! I will miss Raylan Givens.

"Reds" - Nova Scotia  Fuji X-T1, XF 55-200mm, ISO 640, f/11, 1/25 sec.

“Reds” – Nova Scotia
Fuji X-T1, XF 55-200mm, ISO 640, f/11, 1/25 sec.

 

 

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