Thursday, April 30, 2015

To Post or Not to Post...

(Originally posted on on March 10, 2015)

... that is the question.

I've been putting my photographs all over the place in an attempt to "get my name out there" for a couple weeks, now.  I have accounts on Smugmug,500pxGoogle PlusFlickr, and of course, Facebook.  My goal, for the next year, and hopefully significantly longer, is to post a single picture, every day, on each of these sites.  There will be days, like when I am traveling, that I won't be able to post.  And that's fine.  I'm posting in this way because if I were to simply post every picture I deem worthy of posting at once - like, now, for instance - what would I talk about and show off to try and garner interest?

Choosing what to post is quite difficult.  I purchased my first DSLR in 2007, and between then and now, my hard drive has accumulated (as of May 10, 2015) 41,594 .jpgs.  I'm not entirely sure what that means as far as pictures I've actually taken in the last 8 years, because I've certainly deleted many more pictures than I've kept.  My hard drive also has 10,467 RAW image files.  These are duplicates of .jpgs, but duplicates that I deemed to be of high enough quality that they may some day be worth editing.  I have 6,778 .tiffs.  These are images that I've created by editing the RAW image files.  All told, my eloquently-named "Pictures" folder contains 69,581 files and 1,813 folders occupying 729 Gigabytes of hard drive space.  Trying to edit and sort through this number of photos in order to choose those that will ultimately be posted on all my sites has been quite an imposing task, but one upon which the last couple years on Jeju have allowed me to make tremendous progress.

And it is here that one difficulty (of many) appears.  How prolific should I be?  Obviously, the more pictures I post, the lower the average quality will become.  I've looked at profile pages of some excellent photographers on 500px who have been members for years and years, and some have only 50 pictures posted.  The fifty pictures some of these photographers have are of unbelievable quality, in some cases better - and I hate to admit this - than the 50 best pictures I've ever taken.  But, in the case of these photographers, they only provide fifty pictures to look at, which I think has a legitimate downside.

Similarly, there are photographers who have thousands of photos posted.  While many of these thousands of photos might be of excellent quality, there are too many 'mediocre' shots for these photographers to stand out.

I don't know where I want to fall on this spectrum.  I tallied the photos I have already posted, as of today (141), and those I intend on posting (390).  531 pictures, total.  That seems like a lot.  And that doesn't take into account the shots I'm hoping to get on my next adventure, which begins in less than two months and will likely be the topic of my next blog post.
I just removed a few pictures a couple hours ago as I thought about this issue.  Here are the four I took down:


Taken off the site.

I like all these shots.  I think they're objectively good... but probably not great.  The two images on top - the crows and the bee - were in my South Korea album, which had 59 pictures already - probably more than what is needed for what I feel will ultimately be one of my weaker albums.  More specifically, while the crows are kind of cool because of the black and white contrast, they're just crows.  Everyone's seen a million crows, and no one wants to purchase a print of a crow.  As for the bee, I have a fair number of better bee shots, and a fair number of better flower shots in the same gallery, so it probably isn't worth keeping an inferior duplicate.

The bottom two shots are from my Nepal album, and raise another difficulty.  I'm aware of my subjectivity in deciding what is a 'good' photo, but I'm not sure awareness is enough.  I like these shots, and again, I think they're good.  And while I think viewers might find the picture of the donkeys interesting, it faces the same difficulty as the crows.  There probably aren't many people out there that want to purchase a picture of donkeys.

I'm now realizing, as I type this, that pictures like these will make good filler for this blog, as I move forward with this whole endeavor.  They might not be sale-worthy, but perhaps an accompanying story will make them at least post-worthy.  On the blog, if nowhere else.

Is 531 pictures too many for someone just trying to get into photography professionally?  Maybe.  I guess I'll have to give this some more thought.

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