Over the years, I’ve belonged to many different websites related to photography. Most of the websites were portfolio based sites designed to showcase your work. Sites like Photoblink, 500px, Flickr, Tumblr, etc. You get the idea. During this time I’ve also had my own portfolio website (no not this one) ……this one: dgoakill.com It is a Zenfolio site I created back in 2008. I still have it and it’s undergone many transitions over the years, mainly because it’s so cheap compared to a lot of the other options on the internet. One of the big advantages of the site is that it has print on demand options and a very good payment system. Visually, that’s another story for another post.
Back in 2008, there were not a lot of options like SquareSpace and the dozens of others that have popped up in recent years. But, a lot of them don’t have the same robust back-end when it comes to selling images or making prints. What Zenfolio lacks in looks, it makes up for in brains…for the most part. However, though my site has been there and on the web for almost 8 years, I don’t rank very high in search engines (mostly my fault SEO wise) mainly do to the fact that my work is all images and not text. Even my blog is all images. Posts like this will do more for rankings than only posting images which is common sense these days. I’ve just always had a problem writing gibberish in order to get ranked. Getting noticed and making sales is tough in photography in general, even harder when most of your work is of regular people who didn’t even know you were taking their picture.
Most of my sales are through word of mouth and random luck (or so I think) as I do nothing to really promote myself. Sites like Zenfolio and others don’t do much to help in that regard either, as they are a service, not really a community or a hub. That’s where sites like Fine Art America, Society6, & Red Bubble come in. While I’ve belonged to all of these sites, the most success I’ve had has been through Fine Art America. I’ve had more sales than the other two combined. Again, doing little work to promote. Mostly, just uploading my work and dropping a note here or there on Twitter & Facebook.
While all of these sites have vibrant communities with targeted audiences, Fine Art America has, or at least seems to me, to have a more diverse group of users. The site also has a very noticeable presence on the web, and if you belong to it, you can get the benefit of that presence. Of course there is a lot of competition on the site itself, and just being on there doesn’t mean much in general, it does at least put you in a better position to be found.
I still sell through my old (main ?) website, but I’ve had more exposure through Fine Art America. The prices I charge are much cheaper than through my old site, but the quantity of sales has evened out the price difference. So if you’re looking for a place to try and test the market for print sales, check them out. It’s free to join with some limitations, but premium accounts are only $30 a year. I waited until I made a sale to upgrade, so it paid for itself. Literally.
Here’s a link to the membership plans page: http://fineartamerica.com/membershipplans.html
My gallery is here or through the “Buy Prints” button in the menu.
Finally had some time to get out fishing this Spring / almost Summer. Both shots were taken at Tyler State Park. “Green Morning” was taken just off the Neshaminy Creek, while “Overgrown” was shot later in the day off one of the trails near the creek. There is an old saying, the best camera is the one you have with you. In this case, that camera was the Samsung S8 (smartphone). The images were edited in Snapseed right on the phone. Highly recommend this app for editing images on the go.
“The best camera is the one you have with you.”
…..is a phrase you will see in photography gear forums all over the internet. However, it doesn’t hurt if the camera you have with you is pretty damn good. The Galaxy S8 is one of the best point and shoot cameras I’ve ever had. It is right up there with the Ricoh GRIII (the camera I used to shoot almost all of my street photography).
It’s not just the camera itself that makes the the S8 a great everyday camera, it’s that it comes with a smartphone attached. Having the computing power to not only shoot fairly high resolution images, but to edit and share them immediately, puts it above a lot of stand alone cameras for me.
All photos need a little post production love to really make them pop even if they were shot by big expensive DSLRs. In order to edit those images all you need is to do is download Snapseed. I’ve been using Snapseed to edit all of my cellphone photos for years. It was originally developed by NIK software which was purchased by Google. I highly recommend checking out the NIK Collection if you use Lightroom or Photoshop. It’s now a free plugin. Snapseed is essentially the mobile version. It’s just enough to bring out the details in images and color-correct. Not that you need to “fix” the color as it and the white balance is pretty spot on right out of the camera. Granted you can do a lot of what Snapseed can do in the Instagram app; Snapseed had the tools long before the Instagram app did and is continuing to improve on them. Plus, it offers a lot more options for saving and sharing and setting file sizes.
All of the these images were shot with the standard camera app on the S8 and edited in Snapseed. Often, they were edited right after I captured them on site which means the edits reflect the feel of the shot more so than trying to remember it later during editing. This may not be a big deal to some, but I feel images that capture the mood are usually better than ones that are simply “technically” correct. It’s a more accurate sketch of a place.
I’m not talking about the overused faded crap you see on Instagram either. Anyone can do that, it’s neither artistic nor inspired, it’s simply trying to distract you from the fact that 99% of those are shitty photos with a filter added. Literally, filtering a turd. What I’m referring too is that the edits done on site use blurring and vignette because that’s how I saw the shot, I was squinting due to the bright sunlight. The highlights appeared to bloom and glow as a result and the finished images reflect this same character.
The image below isn’t so much an example of great landscape photography as it is an example of being able to take a decent picture in low light and edit it right on the phone. In this case, a sudden Thunderstorm appeared out of nowhere during a little league game. I was able to get the shot and edit it while we waited for the storm to pass.