Flickr

FLICKR TOP TEN - PART II

Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash Camera
January 13, 2011. Title: Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash Camera Description: Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash Model dates from 1950-61. Original cost for the Hawkeye was $5.50 and the flash was $7.00. Stats: 1,561 views, 4 faves, 0 comments Tags: brownie, kodak, hawkeye, camera, vintage, classic. Groups: None.
In Part II of my Flickr top ten blog post, I share photos five through ten, which in some ways are very different from the top five, however, there are also are a few similarities.

Number six, seven and ten, are some of the earliest photos I posted to Flickr and were part of a series I was working on about vintage cameras. I suppose that just given the amount of time they have been on Flickr, naturally they would accumulate views. I did notice that I was not sharing my photos to groups during this time, so realistically views could have been much higher. At some point, I did add number ten to several groups after they reached out to me with a request.

Polaroid Swinger Model 20
January 19, 2011. Title: Polaroid Swinger Model 20 Description: The Polaroid Model 20 Swinger was produced by the Polaroid Corporation between 1965 and 1970 and cost $19.95. Stats: 1,545 views, 0 faves, 0 comments Tags: Polaroid, swinger, model 20, vintage, camera, land camera. Groups: None.
Another thing about these photos is that only 400 views separate the number six photo from the number ten photo. I don't know exactly what that means, except that it stood out to me.

Number eight is another photo which features the Manneken Pis, although in a very different way that my number one most-viewed photo which was featured in Part I. In this photo I was focusing on the three people at the table and it was only later during post production that I notice the woman to the left.

Manneken Waffles
August 18, 2013. Title: Manneken Waffles Description: Manneken Pis is a famous Brussels landmark depicting a naked little boy urinating, and can be seen in advertising all over the city. Stats: 1,515 views, 1 faves, 0 comments Tags: X100S, Fuji, Manneken Pis, Brussels, Belguim, Belgium, advertising, coke. Groups: Fuji x100s
Number nine is a photo that I like, but certainly not one that I would put in my top ten favorites. I notice that many of my photos from Europe, especially those taken in Germany, do very well on my Flickr site. If I continued on down the most viewed list you would see many more photos from Germany and Belgium, including another Manneken Pis in the top twenty.

Cologne Cathedral
August 20, 2013. Title: Cologne Cathedral Description: The Cologne Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church in Cologne, Germany, and the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne and the administration of the Archdiocese of Cologne. Stats: 1,221 views, 2 faves, 0 comments Tags: X100S, Fuji, Cologne Cathedral, Germany, church, catholic. Groups: Cologne black & white, Fuji x100s, Digital Black and White.
This has been a fun two-part post to write and has given me a chance to look back over some photographs  that I posted about the same time that I relaunched this blog in 2011. I am constantly reminded how wonderful it is to have photo sharing sites like Flickr, along with social media, to get your work out there, to be shared and viewed by others. I know it has made me fall in love with photography, particularly, my personal work, all over again.

I think back to when I started taking photographs professionally in 1985 and at that time I never had any idea that my work would be seen by this many people. I'm still a small fish on Flickr, something I'm working on changing, but for now I'm content with my followers and looking at the work of those I follow.

Thank you, and let me know you Flickr username. I'll be sure to visit, leave a comment and follow you.
Majestic Toy Camera
July 26, 2011. Title: Majestic Toy Camera Description: Majestic toy camera from the Monarch Manufacturing Company, Chicago. Stats: 1,140 views, 2 faves, 2 comments Tags: Majestic, Toy Camera, Monarch Mfg.Co., Chicago. Groups: Historic Camera, Camera-wiki.org

FLICKR TOP TEN - PART I

Manneken Pis
October 17, 2013. Title: Manneken Pis Description: The small bronze fountain sculpture in Brussels, Belgium, depicts a naked little boy urinating into the fountain's basin. Stats: 4,947 views, 1 fav. Tags: fuji, X100S, Europe, Brussels, Belgium, Manneken Pis, pee, boy, Black and White, sculpture, fountain, attraction, tourist. Groups: Fuji x100s, Fuji X100s B&W, Digital Black and White.
I was recently looking at my Flickr stats and thought it would be interesting to take a closer look at my top ten most viewed photographs and see what, if anything, I could learn about them or learn about Flickr.

First, let's look at my stats. I've been a member since 2008 and posted 661 photos that have been viewed 172,321 times. I currently follow 123 photographers and have 105 following me.

Santa Claus
December 24, 2013. Title: Santa Claus Description: Hope that the Long Island Railroad guides him home safely tonight. Merry Christmas! Stats: 3,709 views, 31 faves, 1 comment Tags: fuji, X100S, Santa Claus, Penn Station, New York City, Christmas, holiday, St. Nick, NYC. Groups: Fuji x100s, New York Photography, The Candid Frame, in explore.
In part one of this two-part post, I share the top five along with relevant information about each photo and try to see if I can understand why these photos rose to the top.

The number one photo, Mannekin Pis, with over one thousand more views than the number two photograph, is somewhat of a mystery to me. First, I don't think it is a particularly remarkable photo although I do like it, but is it a 1000 times more remarkable than any other photo on my page. My only guess on why this is at the top has to do with tags. And if this is the case and you go back and read the tags under the photo you might be a little disturbed. Unintentional on my part, but who knows what people are searching for. Also, having been to Belguim a half dozen times in the past three years, I know that there is always a crowd around this site, so maybe it has nothing to do with specific tags.

Stairwell Portrait
June 1, 2013. Title: Stairwell Portrait Description: Fuji X100S portrait taken in the stairwell of the Marriott Residence inn in Mississagua, Ontario. Stats: 3,074 views Tags: blog.jfpwhoto.com, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, portrait, light, mississagua. Groups: None.
The number two photo is one that I do like and is currently featured on my website. It also was featured in Explore on Flickr which I'm sure added to the total number of views, especially if everyone who received a new digital device on Christmas morning was browsing Flickr.

Number three is a very simple portrait, taken in a few seconds, mostly to test the capabilities of a Fujifilm X100s that I had on loan before I decided to purchase the camera myself. I have very few portraits on posted to my Flickr site, so maybe portraits just do better. This photo also was never shared to a group and I misspelled Mississauga in both the description and tags. (Flickr updated with correction)

Cornfield
September 14, 2013. Title: Cornfield Description: None Stats: 2,656 views, 48 faves, 4 comments Tags: Kentwood Park, Md., USA, Delaware Bay, Chesapeake Bay, Bridge, light, Lens Flare. Groups: None.
At number four is a photo titled Cornfield and it is one that I didn't even upload until I happened to see the Flickr blog post with the theme of starbursts and remembered that I had taken this photo earlier that year. I posted the photo and it was picked up by Flickr and featured, which explains the number of views, despite no description and not being shared with any groups.

And like the first photo, I don't think the fifth most viewed photo, the ceiling of the Armenian Classroom taken during a visit to the University of Pittsburgh for my son's graduation, is all that great. It could be the title, or detailed description that helps people find this photo.

Armenian Classroom
April 28, 2013. Title: Armenian Classroom Description: The ceiling of the Armenian Classroom located in the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning. The Nationality Rooms are located on the first and third floors and were designed to represent the culture of various ethnic groups that settled in Allegheny County and are supported by these cultural groups and governments. Stats: 2,543 views, 4 faves, 3 comments Tags: Pittsburgh, Pa. USA, Armenian Classroom, University of Pittsburgh, Cathedral of Learning. Groups: Fuji X10, X20 and X30, Fujifilm X10, digital compact only -- p1 / a2 -- open EXIF --.
If you are on Flickr, check your stats which can be accessed in the drop-down menu under You at the top of the page. In Part II of this blog post, I'll share number five through ten. 

5 TIPS TO GET YOU OUT TAKING PHOTOGRAPHS

This sun flare photo was featured on  Flickr's blog  as part of a Flickr Friday project and now is one of my most popular photographs on the service with over 2,000 views and favorited 47 times.

This sun flare photo was featured on Flickr's blog as part of a Flickr Friday project and now is one of my most popular photographs on the service with over 2,000 views and favorited 47 times.

Do you find yourself with a desire to head out shooting but are really stuck for inspiration? Maybe you have a new camera or lens and want to put them through the paces and make wonderful photographs but can't think of anything compelling to shoot. Or worse, maybe you have a mental block and just can't visualize yourself taking photos.

First, let's understand that this happens to everyone, professionals, amateurs and all levels in between. There are some days you just aren't feeling it. And it's easy to think just pick up the camera, get out there and shoot, but that really isn't an answer or you would not have to read any further.

Professional photographers can normally push through those thoughts and so can you with these helpful tips to get your creative photographic juices flowing.

1. The reason professional photographers push through those thoughts is because the fear of returning from an assignment without a usable image forces them to. So why not start by simply giving yourself an assignment. It can be anything from pretending you are a National Geographic photographer sent to document a location or making a commitment to show others your results. How would a Geographic photographer approach a subject? And nothing motivates a professional more than having to show images to their editor following an assignment so think who could play the role of editor in your life.

I was looking for a reason to get out of the house, so I headed to  Glen Echo Park  in Maryland, a location I've been wanting to photograph for some time. Once there I decided my theme would be the Victorian architecture and while I don't think I captured any particularly compelling images, I know it is a location I will return to again.

I was looking for a reason to get out of the house, so I headed to Glen Echo Park in Maryland, a location I've been wanting to photograph for some time. Once there I decided my theme would be the Victorian architecture and while I don't think I captured any particularly compelling images, I know it is a location I will return to again.

2. Pick a theme. It could be anything from shadows, color, texture or something broader like weather, love, aging. This theme allows you to begin really observing the environment around you. And maybe while searching for photographs to fit that theme, you begin to see something else that catches your eye. Keep an open mind, but if you can stick to your original theme it really forces you to "see."

3. Participate in an online photo community and look for assignments there such as Flickr Friday or Instagram's Weekend Hashtag Project. In this case you don't even have to pick a theme yourself. For instance, every Friday Instagram's community team picks a theme and provides a hashtag so you just shoot and post the photos. Find out if there is a Google Plus Drink & Click photo walk in your area or any photo walk for that matter. Or just find a friend who also is looking for a reason to get out and shoot and get together.

Photograph taken with my cell phone at the U.S. Postal Museum in Washington, D.C. as part of an Instagram Hashtag Project. #WHPsentbymail. I don't have a big presence on Instagram, but this photo drew eight likes and I picked up followers.

Photograph taken with my cell phone at the U.S. Postal Museum in Washington, D.C. as part of an Instagram Hashtag Project. #WHPsentbymail. I don't have a big presence on Instagram, but this photo drew eight likes and I picked up followers.

4. Think beyond that one day with your camera and look for longer term projects. Is there something in the news that sparks your interest or are you a member of a group or club that is looking for someone to document their activities. These projects keep you thinking long term and will have you looking forward to shooting every chance you get. It is still helpful to set goals along the way and sharing your work will help you refine the project.

5. Think about a technique you want to get better at and develop a photo shoot around that. You can watch tutorials on the web all day long, but if you never attempt to try them, then nothing is gained. Say you just watched a video on shooting portraits with off camera flash, then grab a friend and get out there and try it. Both Adorama and B & H have YouTube channels that offer great tips for photographers at all levels. Additionally, websites such as Creative Live, Kelbyone and a whole host of other free and paid sites are available to find both instruction and inspiration.

I find myself returning often to Rosslyn in Arlington, Va., where i'm drawn by the shadows, shapes and architecture. This photo was taken during the 2013 Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk I led and subsequently was featured on  Ibaroinex Perello's   YouTube channel on finding the  extraordinary in the ordinary  .

I find myself returning often to Rosslyn in Arlington, Va., where i'm drawn by the shadows, shapes and architecture. This photo was taken during the 2013 Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk I led and subsequently was featured on Ibaroinex Perello's  YouTube channel on finding the extraordinary in the ordinary .

So even if you find yourself going to the same location over and over again, I hope that following some of the tips I've offered will force you to get out and shoot, force you to dust off that camera and most importantly force you see differently.

Anything that gets you out of the house with a camera in hand means that there is a potential for wonderful photographs and the potential for you to improve.

Remember that even if you don't take any photographs that thrill you each time you are out shooting, you've lost nothing, except the guilt of not trying.

(NO) WATERMARKS ON PHOTOGRAPHS

Bad watermark example
Over the top, YES, but I've seen worse.
I hope this post doesn't come off as a rant, however, I will state right up front that I am not a fan of placing watermarks on photographs.

A watermark is an image, logo, or text that is placed directly on the photograph, most often to brand the photo, discourage reuse or to somehow imply copyright. In the past we might have stamped PROOF over the photograph, thus preventing copies being made. This was effective and that's not really what I'm talking about in this case, because I do understand the argument for continuing this practice when you have wedding, event photos or portraits that you're sharing with a client with the intent to sell.

What I'm talking about is selected images that you post to the web as examples of your work, or post to sites like 500px or Flickr were you are hoping for feedback. In these cases it is my opinion that the watermark comes off as a distraction and that's only if it is a tasteful muted watermark of appropriate size. In many cases the watermark is just plain ugly, too big and demonstrates poor post production skills.

To be fair, I've struggled with watermarks over the years and even created a few and tried them out on my images. It just never looked right to me, which maybe says something about my post production skills.

However, for me it's gotten so bad that when I'm browsing through sites like 500px, Flickr or Google+, I won't favorite or like a photo that has a watermark. In fact, I get really disappointed when an image I like has a watermark on it. I don't even know when this started, but it did, and now I can't get past it.

Some  photographers, such as Trey Ratcliff over at Stuck in Customs, provide large images on the web, available for anyone to download for personal use. The key is personal use.

My feeling is that whether an image contains a watermark or not, it can still be downloaded and used by someone as a background on their iPad for example. And that's assuming that whoever right clicks and downloads doesn't just eliminate the watermark by cropping or even using the content aware tool in Photoshop. Sounds pretty easy doesn't it.

So do I worry about my images being stolen? First, all the photos I shoot as part of my job are publicly released, so it isn't an issue. Second, when it comes to my personal images shared on sites like Flickr and 500px, I make them available as creative commons, non-commercial, attribute required. In the end, I'm not worried if a blogger uses the image as long as they provide photo credit in the form of a link because that potentially drives more traffic to my site. If they don't, then I'm not going to lose sleep.

So how do you truly protect your images. One word, copyright. That is the only real protection you have if one of your images ends up being used without permission, watermark or not. Copyrighting your photographs also provides you with additional protections. I'm planning a future post on the process and work flow I use to copyright my work, and why this is important. In the meantime, check out eCO FAQs, or visit Ed Greenberg and Jack Reznicki's thecopyrightzone.com blog.