I wanted to talk a little about a different kind of exposure for your photography… the kind that results in more people seeing your work. I have had a lot of people ask how to get their photos seen and many believe that simply posting photos to a site like Flickr is all they need to do.
If you are taking the time to create something, I think it is important that you also make the effort to have it seen. It will help you grow as an artist and may lead to new opportunities you didn’t expect.
Here are some tips I recommend for getting your photos out to a wider audience:
1. Find websites that may want to display your work
Realize that the websites don’t have to be photography-related to show your images. Sites like Flickr, Smugmug, DeviantArt, etc are all great places to show your work to other creative types… but non-photography sites may have a bigger pool of potential viewers.
I have seen more and more blogs pop up that post a variety of content, including art… all of those sites are a great place to submit your photos to. If you specialize in a certain type of photography (landscapes, portraits, macro, whatever), do a little searching on the web to try and find websites that might want to use those types of photos. They probably won’t pay for the images, but you’ll get credit for the work and you will probably get a link back to your gallery or website.
2. Use the Creative Commons license
Creative Commons is a way for you to maintain the copyright of your work while still allowing others to copy and distribute your images. Websites are more likely to display your work if the license allows it and there are a number of search engines available that will only show images licensed under Creative Commons.
Since I started licensing my images under Creative Commons, I saw a huge spike in the number of sites using my photographs… all of which have linked back to my website or my Flickr page.
3. Make your photos useful
Try and think of creative uses for your photos that will increase their value (and potential views) beyond just showing them in a gallery. For example, I posted a handful of images on my website to be used as desktop wallpaper. I know others who take and share photos specifically to be used as textures.
Images can be made useful in a variety of ways. Figure out the one that works best for your work and you can bet that it will bring in a whole new audience to your photography.
4. Create a Blurb book
A friend turned me on to Blurb a while back and I have been a fan ever since. A Blurb book (or any photo book publishing service) is a great way to keep a portfolio of images handy. Keep the book in your house to show off to family and friends or have one with you while meeting potential clients. The book will make you look more professional and it can be more convenient than carrying around a traditional portfolio.
As an added bonus, a site like Blurb can be a source of new viewers in and of itself. I put together a collection of images as a Blurb book and I have noticed a fair amount of traffic coming to my personal site from the Blurb listing.
5. Talk to your local paper
The first photograph of mine ever published in print happened because I called my local city paper with an idea for a story and some images they could run along with it. The paper liked the idea and I had a photo in print a few weeks later.
News outlets are always interested in hearing story ideas and they are usually happy to look at any photos you have that they might be able to use. If you think a photo of yours is newsworthy, don’t wait for the papers to come to you.
6. Business cards for your website
When photography comes up in conversation, I will usually mention that I have a website where people can view my work and give them a card printed from Moo.com. It doesn’t have to be a traditional “business card”… usually mine are just a photo on one side with my name, website and contact info on the back. Any type of business card will work, as long as it has your site’s URL included. People are much more likely to remember to check out your stuff if they have a card, so remember to carry a few with you when you can.
7. Social networking
It probably goes without saying, but using services like Twitter and Facebook to show your work is an extremely effective way to expose more people to your work. I generally make a post on Twitter during a shoot and then I will put up another message when those finished photos are uploaded. It’s a great way to let people know what you are working on and where they can see it… it is also a nice way to attract new viewers to your photos.
How do you approach this and get your images viewed?
This post is Chris sharing his experience of getting his images viewed – how have you gone about it? What is the image that you’ve had viewed the most and how did you achieve it?
His photos have been published in newspapers and on numerous websites.