Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Social Networking and the UK market

Like many photographers I listen to numerous podcasts and read an equal number of blogs each month. Most of these originate from the good ol'  U.S. of A. They hammer home time and time again the importance of the Internet as a medium for 'selling yourself', with some exceptionally good photographers posting daily.

A few nights ago, after spending some time checking all of my on-line persona's I was suddenly aware of how much non productive time I had just spent. In fact since then I have deliberately not logged into any external services until I had completed the image editing for the night. 

I then got to thinking, how much income or enquires had been generated from these various sources?  Genuine enquiries had come in via the web site,  whilst facebook queries were inevitably those looking for 'time for prints' jobs.

This was in contradiction to the recommendation of 'professional bloggers' that we ought to all shut down our web sites and blog for business - as the mighty Google is far betterr at throwing up results from blogs. 

Now my question, is this just a sign that I am a lousy blogger (yes I hear my six followers shout out!) or the UK market is radically different to the American market? 

Twitter and various blogs are ideal for me to keep in touch with my professional contacts, but will they generate meaningful leads?  Are British people more likely to find and hire a photographer via a web search  or via a more personal approach, such as wedding fayres or a retail establishment?

Friday, 6 May 2011

Are you making lasting memories?

If I were to say to you, where are your old family photographs?  What would be your answer?
Are they in the loft? Under the bed? In a shoebox? Bottom drawer?  
My guess would be something along those lines.

Now lets try something more up to date.  Latest child or grandchild? Last memorable event?  
Now if the answer to this is either Facebook or the C drive of the computer, you are in trouble.

Modern technology is wonderful, but for future generations of your family will they have the equivalent of the bottom drawer to delve into and discover lost memories? The vast majority of people are not particularly interested in the technical aspects of photography, many do not see it as an art form. It is purely a recording medium, a means to take a snap of a families life. Not that long ago the mighty Kodak was a leader in the market of selling simple cameras. They contained a snap in cartridge of film in various formats. We then moved on to digital point and shoot. Now, these are rapidly falling out of favour, with the majority of people using a mobile phone. Many high-end phones now have astonishing capabilities for their size. Whilst they are nowhere near the quality of a high-end camera, they are adequate for capturing those special moments.

If however they are only being uploaded to your favourite social networking site, what will happen in 50 or 100 years from now to them?  Will the future generations have access to these wonderful snaps of our history in the making?

I urge you to do something about it right now.

Back up those files (twice) and make sure one copy is kept in a different location if they are really important to you.

Print some of them!  Come on – top up that shoebox while you have time.

For me, I simply love photo-books. The old photo albums were poor compared to these modern creations that give truly stunning results and look wonderful on the coffee table. With many versions and price ranges on the market, it should not be too difficult to find something to your taste.   Simply download the free software, create the layout, upload, and wait for the book to turn up on the doormat.   I personally love the idea of creating photo books for holidays, special occasions, and if you wish to be really adventurous, a yearly journal. If in 100 years time your heirs come across this in the attic, you can be assured that it will still be readable by the human eye, still the most reliable image and data-gathering device in existence.