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Photographers: A Book Review and Online Social Networking

2 Sep

As I feared, my blog got neglected for a while.  It’s been a busy month, but I’m finally getting back in the swing of things between taking classes, my photography, and the general things you must do to get by in life.  My intentions are to schedule a set amount of time each week for proper updates.  In fact I have a whole new vigor for updating my blog and other social networking sites after reading a great book this past evening.

The Linked Photographers’ Guide to Online Marketing and Social Media caught my eye at the library, especially after spending quite a bit of time struggling to merge as many social networking aspects of the internet as I could together in regards to my photography.  The initial sensation was that of being overwhelmed.

However as I was reading the book it dawned on me that myself and other photographers have an extremely unique opportunity to be functioning in this era of digitized everything.  We can reach out and connect with not only our photographer colleagues, but our clients as well in an amazing way.

I am never detached from the people that I shoot.  I often find that after spending several hours with them during a shoot and even more hours carefully post processing the images that are soon to be their memories we have formed some level of intimacy, even if it is initially only on a small level.  It is never “just a job” to me.  I am invested in capturing not just an image or memory for them, but also giving them an experience.  Sometimes the experience is a very direct one, interacting with them on a personal level and sometimes the experience is me fading in the background capturing those images and memories so that they can be fully engrossed in the moment that they want me there to capture.

I have loved and continue to love various photography subjects.  Sometimes there is nothing better than sneaking out into nature with my camera and getting lost in the world that is somewhere between my view finder and my lens.  But the most rewarding jobs of all always involve people.  There is no greater thrill than to capture a candid shot that captures the true human emotion of a moment, or to watch someone open up and let you into their world while you are standing there capturing it, or to see even somebody transform into something else in order to portray the image they want to convey…. or you want them to convey.  It is a fascinating world, one that cannot be blunted or jaded for me.

That said, it seems only natural to continue a relationship with your clients and people interested in your work through various means and with the huge boom in online social networking sites, it seems only natural that connecting with them through those is the logical step to take.  I know it seems a vast majority of photographers would look at me and simply say “duh”, but I am sure there are others out there like me, who despite pretty much growing up with the internet, have not fully thrown themselves into all the various uses of online social mediums and/or not used them to their full advantage.

I have stayed connected with various clients and models of mine through Facebook already, and sometimes even their families as well!  It has already proved beneficial in many ways. The Linked Photographers’ Guide to Online Marketing and Social Media points out more ways to connect with others and how to best utilize those sources.

The book manages to be written in a format that is easy for anybody to understand.  There isn’t a lot of technical jargon.  It is absolutely suited for even the newbiest of newbs to social networking sites.  The first five chapters give a brief outline about social networking online and how it became so popular, some tips on thinking about what you want to share with your online community, and an outline of what you need to know/do to get started.  The book then moves on to exploring your options within various online social communities.

The next part of the book is devoted to the absolute basics one should probably have and know when it comes to bringing their brand to life online.  These include having a website, a blog, understanding search engine optimization and analytics (if that throws you off, no worries!  The book explains it all and even gives you links the websites you can use), and information on ad words to drive business to your website.

Part III dissects the various online communities for photographers to explore.  In depth explorations are devoted to: Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and YouTube.  Although this book is not going to tell you absolutely everything you can do using these sites, it gives an overview that if you are not familiar, you will feel much more comfortable jumping in after reading than you would be if you simply tried navigating your way around without much prior knowledge.    And not only do you get a simple how to, but you also get to know some of the advantages of using a particular site to expand your photography.

Part IV brings the stories of those who have made a name for themselves in online social networking to life, sharing stories, tips, and suggestions.  After reading through the whole book of what you can do with your photography brand it is super inspiring to see people who brought their photography and brand to life through online tools and social networks!

The book finally concludes with a reference manual which gives a whole slew of helpful links for managing yourself and your accounts online.

This book is definitely a must read for photographers who want to discover how to start connecting with their clients and other photographers online.

If you’re a photographer and reading this feel free to chime in… how do you stay connected to your clients and other photographers online?  And if you’re a client… how do you want to connect with your photographer online?