Friday, July 23, 2010

New York City SmugMug Meeting with guest speaker Candice Cunningham

When fellow photographer, Feuza Reis, asked me what Candice had talked about at the last Smug meeting, I thought why not post a recap of what she talked about.  I'm curious, how many people would like me to do a short post following our Smug meetings?  If you would like me to do a recap blog post, please leave a comment on this post.

Last Tuesday, SmugMug group leader Jason Groupp hosted July's meeting and brought in Candice Cunningham to speak.  Candice is a wedding photographer based in Ventura County, California and is quite the expert in how to use social media to build and grow your photography business.  I was impressed with all of the tips and tricks Candice gave to our group.  

One of the most interesting pieces of information I took away from Candice's lecture that that YouTube is the second largest search engine, with Google being the first.  I knew YouTube was powerful, but I had no idea it was being utilized to this extent. 

What this means for photographers: we need to be on YouTube.  You don’t necessarily have to shoot video, but turning your photos in slideshows and posting them on YouTube is going to expand the number of people you reach.

The next point Candice discussed was the importance of CORRECTLY naming images.  I am definitely guilty of not doing this.  I will leave my images unnamed as something like KGV_0976.jpg.  What I didn’t realize was that this name has an affect on how Google tracks and ranks you.  Candice suggested to individually name every image you post.

Below, I will expand on how to get the most our of naming your images.  Let’s use this image as an example:

A poor file name for this images is:
KGV_8164_small.jpg (yes, that was the real name)

A better file name would be:

An even better name would be:

Candice suggested being as specific as possible.  Also, notice that in the last two file names dashes (–) are used instead of underscores (_) or spaces.  This also improves the strength of your file name.  The third and strongest file name in the examples above included specific locations and venues names.

The last few points from the meeting that I will leave you with is to make sure you have strong keywords in your Alt Tags, include text (even if it is minimal) on and between all images, and if you need to include the name of the couple in your file name, put it last.

All of these tips are to help you bring more people your way.  You and your images should be searchable and easy to find.  If you want to learn more about social media, check out Erik Qualman's book, "Socialnomics."  Huge thanks to Candice Cunningham for her awesome lecture and to Jason Groupp for organizing the event.  Good luck! 

Please leave me a comment if you would like me to blog about our monthly SmugMug meetings.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Identity Project: Update

I am not happy with the quality of video when posted on Blogger, so all videos, photos, and interviews for the Identity Project will be posted on my website.  I have created a link specifically for the project.  The video from the first shoot has been posted.

Check it out here:  The Identity Project  

Please send me a message if you are interested in participating in the project.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Identity Project

Artist Statement

Our society frequently asks people to identify and define themselves through rigid, closed-ended questions, thus forcing people to either identify as something they are not or forcing the individual not to answer certain questions. The purpose of this project is to give people a space to identify themselves in a way they would like to be identified. "The Identity Project" will use environmental portraits, short audio interviews, and an open-ended questionnaire to give participants the chance to identify themselves in the way they see fit.

Two areas that will be specifically focused on in this project will be gender identity and sexual identity. In order to protect the confidentiality of participants and to encourage honest responses, no names will be associated with the project. Through this project, I hope that stereotypes will be broken and that conversations will develop around topics that are difficult to discuss. I hope that this project empowers people to speak-up about how they would like to be seen and encourages people to be proud of their identity.