There are definitely advantages to sharing your photos online; it can put you into contact with other photographers, and importantly can raise your profile, helping you to attract new clients or sell your existing photographs.
But some photographers seem to be much more successful online than others. What is it that they’re doing differently?
SEO (or search engine optimisation) is a popular technique used on websites and blogs that helps increase traffic and page views by increasing your visibility in popular web searches. It’s possible to apply similar techniques for your photographs when you share them online, either on your own website or blog, or on dedicated photo sharing websites.
Tagging your images
Many photo sharing sites (including Flickr, 500px, and Canon’s Project1709) offer you the option of tagging your shots with any keyword you choose. Not only can this be a really useful function for when you’re searching through your own photo archive, it’s a very valuable means of others finding your work.
When people go in search for a particular image – a beach landscape at sunset for example – they will go to the photo sharing site’s search function and type in relevant keywords. If you have a photograph of a beach at sunset, it stands a far better chance of being found in the vast collection of images online if it includes appropriate tags.
Add a relevant title to your photograph – this will help the search engine to rank your image higher so that when someone searches for this keyword it has an increased likelihood of appearing further up on the page of the search engine.
Adding descriptions to your images is very important in terms of search. Be sure to input appropriate keywords when writing your description – this can bring in traffic from search engines such as Google, as well as traffic from people using search engines built into specific photo sharing sites.
If you’re uploading your work to your own blog or website, it’s best practice to label your image relevant to its subject matter; so for example if it’s a shot of sunset at Yellowstone Park, you might want to label it something like ‘sunset_at_yellowstone_park’.
If you’re uploading to a photo sharing site, this isn’t something you need to consider as the sites will create their own file name for each image.
Joining groups on Flickr or Google+
Unlike many other photo sharing sites, Flickr and Google+ allow you the option of joining any number of member-run groups. Joining these groups and sharing your photos with them can go a long way in raising your profile online, especially if you choose to share your shots with groups who boast the most members.
Including links on your profiles
Many photographers share their work on a number of photo sharing websites. If you have a profile on more than one, be sure to remember to include a link to each in your ‘about’ section. This will draw traffic to your profile on each site you’re on.
Commenting on the work of others
Commenting on the work of other photographers, as well as being a great way to get involved in the photographic community, is also a good way to raise your profile. It’s best practice to post something encouraging, or offer constructive criticism, as long as your comment offers value to the shot you’re commenting on. Shameless self-promotion, such as ‘view my photography here’, is easily noticed and won’t be appreciated by the other photographers in the community.
How important is sharing your image online to you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.