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November 16th, 2015

New Services Helps You Automate Photo Posting on Social Media

screenshotOne of the key challenges in growing a social media presence is keeping various social media outlets fed with content. A variety of services, like Buffer and HootSuite, are available to automate Facebook and Twitter posts, but a new service dubbed PhotoBuffer promises to tackle a variety of photo-friendly social sites.

With PhotoBuffer, you can upload a single image and automatically schedule a posting to Facebook (profile and pages); Twitter, 500px, Flickr and Tumblr (no Instagram yet).

The service is broken out into tiers. A free tier allows you to queue up to 10 posts to PhotoBuffer with a file limit of 10MB per image. Facebook posting isn’t available in the free tier and a PhotoBuffer message will be attached to images you share.

To remove the branding and expand your buffer to 20 images at 15MB in size, you’ll have to pay about $5/month (pricing is listed in Euros at the moment). A $10/month tier provides Facebook support, up to 30 photos in your queue and a 20MB file size limit. Step up to $20/month and your buffer grows to 50 photos with a 35MB file size limit and the ability to add your own custom text on the bottom of each share. Finally, a $40/month tier allows for an unlimited photo queue, 50MB file size limit and customized messages with each share.

There’s no contact info to speak of on the PhotoBuffer site and no terms of service yet, though when we reached out through an online chat on the service, we were told one is coming soon and will be geared around a simple theme: “the photos are yours and we will use them only to post them on your photo account.”

Given the recent contretemps with InstaAgent, photographers may want to wait a bit until PhotoBuffer has its legal ducks in a row. Still, it sounds interesting.

Via: Hacker News

Read More:

Using This Instagram App? Delete It

How Photographers With Huge Followings Grew Their Social Networks

This Is the Most Liked Photo on Instagram

October 28th, 2015

Keeping Your Photo Business Profitable During the Holidays


Sponsored by Zenfolio

The holidays can be a stressful time when you may find yourself spending more money than you’re making. But if you’re a photographer, fear not! You can turn the holidays into a very profitable season. The experts at Zenfolio provide five easy ways to market your photography business during the holidays, because let’s face it: what says “personal” more than giving a photo gift to loved ones?


Here, Zenfolio provides five ways to advertise your site (and how to host a sale) during the busiest shopping season of the year:

  1. Offer Coupons and Gift Certificates

Everyone loves a good deal. Offer clients a coupon during the holiday season for an incentive to buy. Zenfolio offers three types of coupons: amount-based, percentage-based and base cost. Amount-based coupons subtract the discount amount from the order total, percentage coupons subtract discounts as a percentage of order total (sales tax excluded) and, lastly, base-cost coupons allow customers to order products at their base cost, bypassing any markup you may have added. You also have the option with Zenfolio to create a huge batch of coupons all at once.

Gift certificates are foolproof: they allow the gift recipient to pick exactly what they want for the holidays. Zenfolio offers gift certificates that act as a credit where the photographer creates the code to share with clients, and can be a form of payment during checkout to make the process simpler.

  1. Banner Advertisement

What’s better than advertising your sale front and center on your homepage? Zenfolio allows users to display banners in several different ways: photo, video, slideshow or a horizontal photo strip. It’s easy to display a sale you’re having, and you can even link it directly to the products offered for sale.


  1. Expiring Galleries

A different approach to getting customers to act is to set a deadline on their galleries. This means you can put an expiration date on when their photos will be available for viewing online. This will give them a gentle nudge to buy before their photos disappear. Zenfolio gives the option to set expiration dates on galleries, and after that date it is only seen as private. A notification email is sent to clients to remind them of this date.

  1. Visitor Sign-In

A great way to build clients is to have a visitor sign-in page, so you can market to your visitors later. Think of it as a modern day guest book for your website. With Zenfolio, you can apply a sign-in page to a group or gallery to gather information from those interested in your photography. This will be a helpful list to have on hand when you have sales so you can share the sale details to your entire list.


  1. Email Campaigns

Once you have that list of followers (even if it’s a small group, at first), Zenfolio allows you to send emails to your entire list, or to a selected tagged group of contacts. You can send out promotional emails for your sale with coupon code information inside, and push it with an expiration date (for example: two-day sale!). If it’s a previous client, it may be wise to direct them to a specific gallery. For example, you can entice them to buy framed prints from an old portrait that they can give to a loved one.

For more detailed information about how to advertise during the holidays, watch this free Zenfolio webinar. Get started on your own website with the two-week free trial today.

October 24th, 2015

PhotoPlus Expo 2015: Photo Book Editors on How to Publish Your Photo Book

There may not be much money in photo book publishing, but is money a photographer’s only reason to publish a book? As Aperture book program publisher Lesley Martin said, “Books have become an integral part of photographic practice.” So for the legions of  photographers driven to publish a photo book despite the costs, a panel of experts gathered at PhotoPlus Expo to explain the how-to. Besides Martin, panelists included Abrams publisher Michael Sand, veteran book editor and agent Robert Morton, and photographer Lauren Henkin. PDN Editor Holly Stuart Hughes moderated the discussion.

The panelists discussed how to conceptualize a book project, how to pitch it to publishers, how to raise funds for publication, and how to market your book once it is published.

As veteran book editor and agent Robert Morton explained, technology has dramatically changed the photo book business. On the one hand, it’s easier than ever for photographers to create a book themselves thanks to online, on-demand publishing. On the other hand, photo books are much harder to sell because independent bookstores have closed by the hundreds, so potential buyers of photo books have no good way to browse. “Amazon doesn’t show you what’s inside the book,” he said.

The editors on the panel strongly advised against publishing albums of personal work. “Your material has to have a subject,” Morton said. “If it’s purely personal work, you’re going to have a hard time coming up with a subject. Fine art books that are purely and simply a photographer’s vision of the world are almost impossible to sell, [and were] even in the days when there were 4,000 bookstores.”

Hughes directed the audience to the Princeton Architectural Press submission guidelines for authors interested in pitching book ideas. Its questionnaire requires authors to figure out who the primary and secondary audiences are for their proposed book, to research comparable titles to the books they are proposing and answer other tough questions. The questionnaire had been recommended by Mary Virginia Swanson, co-author of Publish Your Photography Book.

“It gets to the heart of [the question]: Why does the world need your book?” Quoting Swanson, Hughes said, “If you can answer the questions, you can [pitch your book project] to any editor.”

Sand ran through his list of “14 thoughts on placing your book with a commercial publisher.” The list underscored the difficulty of getting a commercial trade publisher to publish and market photo book. Some of the items on Sand’s how-to list included:

1. Be famous. (Sand pointed to Drew Barrymore’s books of snapshots titled Find It in Everything)
2. Be famous and dead (e.g., Ansel Adams)
3. Be famous, live a complicated life, and write about it. (e.g., Sally Mann)
5. Get in a helicopter for a fresh perspective (e.g., George Steinmetz)
6. Associate with interesting people (e.g., Todd Selby, creator of The Selby)
9. Animals make good subjects
10. Consider food [cookbooks]

Martin explained that the two critical issues for publishers and self-publishers alike are how to pay for the production, printing, and distribution of a book, and how to find potential buyers in order to sell the book. A non-profit publisher, Aperture has traditionally raised funds through grants and print sales, but has recently worked with photographers by running Kickstarter crowd-funding campaigns —a strategy that not only raises money, but also helps to pre-sell copies of a book. For instance, a Kickstarter campaign for Richard Renaldi’s Touching Strangers book raised $80,000 in pre-publication book sales. Another Kickstarter campaign for Robin Schwartz’s Amelia & the Animals raised about $30,000.

Martin advised the audience that “the photo book community is a self-organized, highly networked, international community. So be part of it.” For instance, web sites such as offer resources and ideas for marketing a photo book–at festivals, book fairs, meet up, and through photo blogs. She also referred the audience to The Photobook Review, a free, twice-a-year publication from Aperture about book publishing. And Martin noted that “one of the myths of self-publishing is that have to do [everything] yourself. You don’t.” She added that the most successful books are the result of a collaborative effort.

And that has been the experience of Henkin, who has self-published several successful fine art books since 2010.

Having studied architecture, Henkin is as much concerned with materiality and scale of the books as she is with the content. Her books, which she has produced in editions of a few hundred,  are collectible as objects, as she discovered when she set about figuring out who might be interested in buying her first book. She found interest among a community of special collections librarians, who led her to private rare book dealers and collectors.

“I banged on a lot of doors to build that audience,” she said.

Her third (and most recent) book, Still Standing, Standing Still, is a sculptural object. It contains just 14 images of a single tree, place in a wooden box. The images are mounted on a stiff backing, and bound so they can be displayed radially on top of the box. Viewers can then walk around and view the images as if they’re walking around the tree Henkin photographed.

Henkin made 300 copies of the book, and priced it at $500. It sold out in a day.

by David Walker

You’ve Published Your Photo Book. Now How Do You Market It?
How to Pitch Your Photo Book to Publishers
Leveraging an Online Audience to Atrract Book Publishers
Lauren Henkin: How (and Why) to Hand-Make Your Photo Book

October 22nd, 2015

How Photographers With Huge Followings Grew Their Social Networks

Photographers looking to build their social media presence are often focused on the tactical questions of who to follow, how often to post and what networks to exploit. But according to photographers at the PhotoPlus Expo #Trending panel, the route to success in social media doesn’t follow a neat script and has far less to do with a given tactic and far more to do with honesty, positivity and having something of value to share with the world.

The panel, moderated by PDN senior editor Conor Risch, saw photographers Sue Bryce, Vincent Laforet, Jeremy Cowart and Chase Jarvis discuss before a packed house how they grew their substantial social followings–and the challenges that come with feeding a ravenous Internet.

Bryce’s approach to social media follows a basic formula that consists of 40 percent positive opinion, 40 percent knowledge-sharing, 10 percent sell and 10 percent personality–all anchored, she said, by consistency and positive intentions. Having a strictly mercenary view of your social media presence, where all you try to do is sell your followers, is a dead end, Bryce insisted. “You need your followers to be entertained and engaged,” she said.

“You have to think of how you add value,” Jarvis seconded.

For Cowart, engaging on social media begins with humility. “I don’t want to the be the guy speaking down to people on Twitter and Instagram,” he said. His advice: tend to your social presence humbly and feel free to share. “I’ve always debated whether I should share my personal life [online] and I landed on the side of sharing, being honest and real.”

If Cowart is open to sharing his personal details, not every platform earns his personal attention. “Google+ is a useless platform for me,” he said, despite the fact that he has 1.5 million Google+ followers. “I gave up on SnapChat…. I think Periscope has a long future.”

The tactics of growing a social media audience shouldn’t be the first thing photographers worry about when they go online, Jarvis noted. “It’s all about the why. Why are you doing something?” Humans naturally gravitate to a narrative, Jarvis said, so photographers with a story to tell and the patience to tell it over social media will grow their followers organically. In this game, Jarvis said, “the reality is that stamina wins.”

“If you treat [social media] like a marketing exercise, you’ve failed from the get go,” said Laforet. Of all the photographers on the panel, Laforet was the most ambivalent about social media, admitting that acquiring a large following can be a curse as well as a blessing. “The more followers you get, the less honest you can be,” he lamented.

Laforet confessed that he had grown “tired of the ever-expanding black hole” of social media and also the medium’s “lack of intonation” and emotional depth.

Bryce, however, maintained that a positive self image and positive intentions online were the wellspring of social media success. Her approach to any new technology, she said, was simple. “Will it help evolve my career? If it doesn’t, I don’t need it.” But, she warned, failing to adapt and evolve with new technology was a one-way ticket to extinction. One thing we know from nature, Bryce said, “is that if a species doesn’t evolve, it dies.”

August 3rd, 2015

W.M. Hunt on Making “Art” and Artists’ Statements

Veteran collector, curator and photography consultant W.M. Hunt has a reputation for his straight-talking career advice. In this exclusive PDN video, he talks about a strategic mistake made by many aspiring fine-art photographers, and how to avoid it. He also demystifies the process of writing a good artist’s statement, and makes a case against spending a lot of time or energy sweating over it.

PDN Video: W.M. Hunt on How to Build Career Bridges (Not Burn Them)
PDN Video: Mary Virginia Swanson on How to Get the Most Out of a Portfolio Review
13 Tips for Building Your Fine-Art Network (PDN subscribers can log in to
read this article)

Is the Art World Biased Against Commercial Photographers?
Career Advice: Photographer Kitra Cahana on Elevating Your Work
PDN Video: Lens Blog’s James Estrin’s Career Tips for Photojournalists

July 29th, 2015

PDN Video: W.M. Hunt on How to Build Career Bridges (Not Burn Them)

Photography careers are built on talent and hard work. But they also depend upon relationships–with mentors, editors, art directors, curators and others who can provide the critical support required for any career to grow and thrive. Veteran collector, curator and photography consultant W.M. Hunt explains in this exclusive PDN video how to build those important relationships, with tips on how to find a mentor, how to make an impression on the people who can help propel your career, and how to get industry professionals to look at your portfolio–including tips on what NOT to do.

PDN Video: Mary Virginia Swanson on How to Get the Most Out of a Portfolio Review
13 Tips for Building Your Fine-Art Network (PDN subscribers can log in to
read this article)
Is the Art World Biased Against Commercial Photographers?
Career Advice: Photographer Kitra Cahana on Elevating Your Work
PDN Video: Lens Blog’s James Estrin’s Career Tips for Photojournalists

June 17th, 2015

A Photo Editor for Medium Makes the Case for Self-Publishing Platforms

Self-publishing opportunities abound, as we report in a feature story that’s now available at, called “Are Visual Storytelling Platforms a Good Thing for Photographers?” We interviewed photographers about how they’ve benefitted (or not) from using a variety of platforms, including, Maptia, VSCO Journal, and Medium.

In an effort to promote their work, photographers are filling those sites with what amounts to free content–much of it high-quality content. So the question is, are photographers benefiting from the exposure provided by those platforms, as much as the platform owners are benefitting from the free content they’re vacuuming up?

As the story was going to press, we got a thoughtful response to the question from Keith Axline, the former editor of Wired magazine’s Raw File blog, and now editor of Vantage. An offshoot of Medium, Vantage is new online magazine established to highlight the best photo projects that photographers post on Medium.

Axline’s response came too late to be included in our story. But here’s the question as we posed it, and his response:

PDN: What’s in it for photographers? With a few exceptions, those I’m talking to are reporting that their stories pretty much get buried on these self-publishing platforms, and they don’t really attract clients and assignments. Which suggests they’re of marginal self-promotional value so far. So my question is, how would you try to convince skeptical photographers that these aren’t just more sites vacuuming up free content (photo stories) shot by hungry professionals, for the benefit of the site owners looking to generate ad revenue for themselves?

Keith Axline: It’s a really tough question. Some projects that Vantage profiles, I really love, but they don’t get much traction with readers. It was the same when I was at Raw File at Wired. But others find their audience on Medium when they wouldn’t have found it anywhere else. There’s no one-size-fits-all for every photo project or photographer. Any of these sites, including Medium, is just a tool for photographers and it’s up to them to make the most out of it.

I totally understand the perspective that photo blogs are exploiting photographers by running their stuff without payment. That’s one way to look at it. I see that. Though I disagree with it. At Vantage we only want to make that ask of photographers who are excited to be featured by us and for whom the attention is an asset that outweighs the granted one-time use. It’s not for everyone. Our posts are promotional in nature because we’re excited to talk about photographers’ work. So in that sense whatever the perceived cost of the granted use can be viewed as a marketing expense. We also encourage photographers to contribute to us directly so that there’s no middleman between them and potential fans. They get to see all the traffic to their story, where it came from, and reply directly to comments that readers make.

I also think that it’s not clear to photographers, or most people for that matter, how to turn traffic and viewers into a plus for their business. Hopefully in the future Vantage and Medium can get closer to facilitating that, and I’m happy to have a “best practices” discussion with contributors (I’ve been meaning to even write a few posts about it).

I think anyone who runs a photo publication is passionate about photography to some degree and they’re probably not exactly raking it in from ad revenue. Participating doesn’t make sense for everyone, but there is a large swath of people who would love to be featured. I’ve never heard of anyone regretting being profiled by us, but maybe they’re just being nice.

Are Visual Storytelling Platforms a Good Thing for Photographers?

June 8th, 2015

Photojournalist Charles Mostoller on the Advantage of Shooting Photo Projects Close to Home

Seventeen-year-old Shahir Drayton rears back on a horse in a vacant Philadelphia lot. ©Charles Mostoller

Seventeen-year-old Shahir Drayton rears back on a horse in a vacant Philadelphia lot. ©Charles Mostoller

Philadelphia-based photographer Charles Mostoller was on assignment in the city one day when a group of African-American teenage boys rode by on horseback. It was an incongruous scene, which Mostoller turned into a personal project that was eventually published by The Wall Street Journal. The project is the subject of “Picture Story: Urban Cowboys,” which is now available on PDNOnline.

When we interviewed Mostoller, he made a persuasive case for shooting personal projects close to home. He picks it up from here:

“As a freelancer who is not making tons of money, doing personal projects that are in my backyard makes sense financially. But also, I truly believe in general [that] running to the exotic, or running away and looking to do a story somewhere else because you think that’s where people want to see you, or that’s where the story is, I think that’s a backwards way of going about it. I think the best way to make quality work is to do it in a place that you’re familiar with, where you can actually understand the situation and can really say something about what’s  going on.

“Also, if you’re trying to show [potential clients] you can hack it, it’s much more difficult to make very good stories that are kind of pedestrian, or where nobody would expect them. Nobody would expect this story [about teenage urban cowboys] out of Philly, but everyone is expecting young photographers to want to go to Haiti. So I could show Haiti pictures, and no one’s going to care, but this one story has people everywhere coming up to me, saying, ‘Oh my god, I saw this!’ It made the rounds because it was so surprising. I’m not always looking for something exotic in Philadelphia. this one just happened to be that. but I think it’s important to focus on where you’re at as a young photographer doing personal work, rather than saying, OK, I need to go somewhere else to do my work.”

Related Articles:
Documenting Philadelphia’s Teenage Urban Cowboys
PDN Video Pick: Lens Blog’s James Estrin’s Career Tips for Photojournalists
How to Find Projects in Your Own Backyard

May 21st, 2015

Science Says: People Like Filtered Photos

Love them or hate them, photo filters are a staple of photo sharing. While some may view them as a shortcut to creativity, new research suggests they’re also a powerful lure for eyeballs on the web’s most popular photo platforms.

New research from Saeideh Bakhshi, David Shamma and Lyndon Kennedy of Yahoo Labs and Eric Gilbert at Georgia Tech aims to understand how filtering and “visual post-processing” impacts photo sharing.

What they found, simply put, is that filtering photos drives more engagement: photos with filters were 21 percent more likely to be viewed on Flickr and Instagram than those without. What’s more, filtered photos were 45 percent more likely to be commented on.

There is an art to filtering, though.

“Filters that increase contrast and correct exposure can help a photo’s engagement, and filters that create a warmer color temperature are more engaging than those with cooler color effects,” the authors write. “Photographically speaking, filters which auto-enhance a photo (e.g. correct for contrast and exposure) drive more engagement. We find the less-engaging filters exhibit transformation effects which are exaggerated and often cause photographic artifacts and/or loss of highlight details. The exception being filters which make a photo look antique.”

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 9.24.50 AM

The study gleaned insights from interviews with Flickr users, plus a quantitative analysis of over 7.6 million images from both Flickr and Instagram.

Incidentally, filters aren’t the only means of increasing engagement with images. The researchers also found that the more tags a Flickr image had, the more likely it was to surface in a search. The age of a Flickr account also had a “positive but small role” in the number of eyeballs an image attracted.

The full report, which provides a detailed breakdown on the methodology used in the study, is available here.

May 19th, 2015

A Website As a Calling Card: Robert Gallagher Dishes on His Online Tools

Sponsored by Clickbooq

Robert Gallagher’s photography career is dynamic: One day he’s shooting a travel feature in Bora Bora for The Guardian; another day it’s the cofounder and CEO of the dating app, Tinder, for the cover of Forbes. When we connect over the phone, he’s brimming with excitement over a shoot in Los Angeles with singer, songwriter and musician John Lydon, who is best known by his former stage name as the Sex Pistols’ front man, Johnny Rotten. The shoot was a treat for the photographer, who having grown up in England in the 1970s, notes that it was “Margaret Thatcher vs. the Sex Pistols” in the spectrum of cultural iconography. He had the opportunity to get to know the family-man side of the infamous English punk rock singer when he gave him a ride home from the shoot. “That’s why I love my job,” he says. “You never know who you’re going to meet from one day to the next—I love those little vignettes of life.” But what really struck him about Lydon was that he showed up to the set with only a simple plastic bag full of his belongings. “He still a little bit anti-establishment,” Gallagher laughs.

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 12.13.32 PM

John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, on / Photo by Robert Gallagher

Gallagher has a no-nonsense approach both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. In marketing his work, he believes his images should do the talking. That means he wants a website design “without all the unnecessary bells and whistles.” His site, he explains, is his “calling card” and a “marketing piece in itself,” so a clean design and a gallery that displays his images edge-to-edge is what gives the photographer’s work the most impact. “I have to get out of my own way and let the images do the selling for me,” he explains.


Billy Idol, photographed for Der Spiegel / Photo by Robert Gallagher

And sell his images do. Gallagher’s celebrity portraiture, travel editorial and personal surfing images have landed him jobs with top clients: from Vogue, Forbes and TIME to MTV, Apple and Nike. When the photographer isn’t on the road, he’s running the day-to-day aspects of his business. He doesn’t have a web designer, but having started his photography business before the digital era, he’s no stranger to adaptation. “I’ve had to learn how to think like a computer but I don’t want to spend all of my time learning a new program,” he explains.

Bora Bora with Andrew O'Hagan. Travel feature for The Guardian W

Bora Bora with Andrew O’Hagan. Travel feature for The Guardian / Photo by Robert Gallagher


Tinder cofounders Jonathan Badeen, Sean Rad and Justin Mateen. / Photo by Robert Gallagher

This is why he turned to Clickbooq when he wanted to build a website: The templates are user-friendly and intuitive so he doesn’t have to spend his time learning new technologies, and the new HTML5 sites are search engine optimized and fully responsive so he knows he’s on the cutting-edge of web design. Further, the highly-customizable Moderna template displays his portfolio in a grid-style that gives an overview of his work, but can also be expanded edge-to-edge, allowing portraits of icons like Lydon to shine. “I personally think [the grid] is what people look at—they want to see the general [portfolio] overview. I love how it repopulates based on the browser size,” he says. “It kicks butt.” He also notes his delight over the full-screen images that “show off” his web page. “I know it will have an impact.”

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 12.14.55 PM

“Tearsheets” thumbnail view on

Gallagher is also enthusiastic about the possibilities of integrating his more recent motion work into his website; he recently added a video page in just a few minutes, describing the “user-friendly” process of embedding “video playboxes” as “genius.” Over the phone he asks me to refresh my screen to see if I prefer his videos in a larger format. “I just made that change while we’ve been talking,” he laughs. But on a more serious note, he says, “Clickbooq is genuine about wanting to make their websites better for photographers.” And for a photographer who is as forthright as Gallagher, that makes all the difference.

Ready to launch a new website? Sign up for a free 14-day trial and take 15% off any new plan with promotion code, PDNNATIVE.