Morning Orchids

A Shit-Hot Photo Library – Don Charisma’s Guide to SEO

This topic came up in conversation with a friend who I was discussing SEO with. Promoting a website or blog is about many things, it’s a multi-skilled discipline. One of the things another good friend of mine taught me early on is the importance of photos. After all they say a picture says a thousand words.

I’m NO different than anyone else – I’ve said this many times before. What I lack in talent and skill, I make up for in persistence and effort. My photography I’m pretty pleased with, it’s really coming along nicely. The best way to learn is to do. And do I have done, probably edited several thousand photos by now. My tool of choice is Photoshop, but there’s also Elements which is cheaper and GIMP which is free. Plus there are others.

Something that’s become obvious to me is to start building my library of photos as early as possible. Digital cameras are relatively cheap these days. I use the one on my iPhone 4s so it’s always with me. So once you’ve acquired the camera, the photos are virtually free, as opposed to paying for stock photos. If you want to be a professional on the web, you do need to obey copyright laws, and stop leeching off of Google – It may catch up with you. Having your own photo library bypasses this problem. ALSO original content is ALWAYS best, people can’t find it anywhere else. It’s therefore scarce and therefore valuable.

(Almost) All my photos are now on cloud storage and organised so I can find them relatively quickly. This wasn’t a short process as I have now thousands, if not tens of thousands. Cloud storage requires time and patience, a lot of it due to the limitations in the size of pipe between me and the cloud storage facility. I’ve invested probably weeks of man hours in this process, but it’s entirely worth it.

So what has this to do with SEO ? Personally I feel the word SEO is overused, I prefer promoting, but people I’m talking to prefer SEO. So rather than re-invent the wheel, go with the flow, so to speak. For promoting, photographs and graphic design are gold, diamond, platinum. They add that extra something to whatever you’re writing or presenting in what you are publishing. It could make the difference between someone visiting your page (and staying on your site) or not. Charismatic Furniture Lady

How to gather photos ? Every time I get my camera out, I take between 100-300 photos, there are photo ops everywhere. I try to photograph everything at least twice, if in doubt then I’ll take 10 photos. I do this because often shots will be out of focus, blurry, badly lit etc etc. Taking more photos of the same thing, almost guarantees I’ll have a usable photo straight off the camera for everything I shoot. I also use different exposure settings (touch the screen on iPhone), so that I’ve got a choice. And lastly I try to experiment with different angles, closeups etc. Sometimes these pay off big time, for which I double win – I’ve added a skill in my toolbox, and have a lovely photo.

How to organise ? I tend to date my folders say “20140216 Beach Evening (Location)”, once they are in the archive … straight of the camera something quick like “iPhone 46, iPhone 47 etc”. Try use location and dates/timing to break up the library, is my main point. The photos come straight off my camera into a folder. They then go straight onto the cloud storage, automagically. It means I have a backup straight away, and I can access the photos from anywhere and on any device. It also means I can share with colleges or co-workers. You’ll need to develop a system of organising that works for you, main thing is to be able to find what you need and not get overwhelmed by thousands of files in few directories. Get those files into the cloud ASAP.,Flowers 4 & Gazebo Canberra Floriade 2013

Last tip – I always keep the originals unedited. So once edited IMG_3045.jpg will be IMG_3045_edited.jpg or IMG_3045_cropped.jpg and so on. Why ? Well I might want to come back to it and re-edit in a different way, overwriting it is destructive and one way process.

Very last tip – NEVER EVER use the Windows photo viewer to rotate or do anything with the image (apart from viewing if you must). Why, because the sneeky program does exactly what I just advised not to do. Rotate it and it’ll overwrite your original file. DON’T do it. Rotate in Photoshop or whatever and save like I just explained. The Parrot Pimp 2

For bottom feeders (summary readers)

A photo library is (for me an essential) part of any online professional’s toolkit. It’s an absolute gold mine for enhancing one’s online presence in everything from posts to banners. Almost everything you’re doing in your publishing in fact. Get started building and organising it as early as possible. Use cloud storage to backup and share the library with colleagues and co-workers.

Your library will give you an edge over your competitors, and could be a deciding factor between success and failure. So really I can’t underscore this enough.

Wow, I’m already passed 900 words – so enough for now, people can always ask questions in the comments !



PS No manipulative parrot-pimps were harmed in the making of this production.

Resources & Sources

ALL photos (c) Don Charisma
Tulips taken by Chris Herron so also (c) Chris Herron

Notes for commenters:

Comments are invited. BUT you are reminded that this is a public blog and you are also reminded to think before you press the “post comment” button. 

Good manners are a mark of a charismatic person – so please keep comments civil, non-argumentative, constructive and related, or they will be moderated. If you feel you can’t comply, press the “unfollow” button and/or refrain from commenting.

I read ALL comments but can’t always reply. I will comment if I think there’s something that I can add to what you’ve said. I do delete without notice comments that don’t follow rules above. For persistent offenders I will ignore you permanently and/or report you.

Most decent people already know how to behave respectfully. Thank you for your co-operation on the above.

Warm regards, Don Charisma

53 thoughts on “A Shit-Hot Photo Library – Don Charisma’s Guide to SEO

  1. When I first started with my photos, I had a problem figuring out the organization of it all as well. I decided on “first letter, last name_Year_Place_sequential number” I’ve found this to work really well for me. I used Lightroom exclusively and once I’ve done an edit, I export to the same folder as the original with “LR” added to the new file name. It’s a really easy way to pick out the edited photos and keep the original. LR is non-destructive as well, so you can edit and export as many times as you want. The new file will be LR_2 etc. Great post! I think this is a common problem for people like us taking hundreds of photos at a time….thought I’d share my strategy!

  2. I really prefer original photos instead of stock photos. I always noticed that every ‘professional’ looking blog post always had some kind of stock photo at the beginning, and the stock photo is supposed to somehow express the essence of the article. However, I find these stock photos to be boring, useless, meaningless, and annoying. For example, if an article mentions something about ‘secrets,’ it will have a stock photo of a person putting their finger to lips to say ‘shh.’ Those types of photos don’t add anything to the article. I’ve been thinking about this recently because one of my favorite RSS feeds recently changed so it no longer has any summary at all, it just has nothing but the title and the meaningless stock photo, so I’m reading fewer articles there because I just don’t know what they’re about.

    But original photos catch my attention. They have so much more life, and they haven’t been dumbed down and neutralized for general audiences. I know photos do have to be viewable by general audiences, but they don’t have to be completely lifeless. The emotions expressed in stock photos are just so boring to me.

    I myself could qualify for the ‘Not Featured On Freshly Pressed Award,’ but then again, at the moment I’m not trying to get my blog featured anywhere.

  3. Another excellent advice post for writers/bloggers. I really like the way you speak to these issues Don. Very plainspoken and thus understandable. I agree about making sure to save your photos in the original format first. Which reminds me, I probably should be looking through the 1000s of photos I have for use in my blog now. I really hadn’t thought about that.

    I also loathe the term SEO now, probably because I get a daily average of 5 to 15 SEO promotion emails clogging up my work email.


  4. I keep mine on external hard drive and flash drives. Also have them in folders on Photoshop, so I can hopefully find them when I want them. Doesn’t mean the stupid computer always does what I want it to do, but it will be safe until my sore toe stops hurting. Then a swift kick in the hard drive will put it out of commission long enough for me to cool my engines again.

    1. Awesome … I’m getting an English streak in your writing, are you guys English ?

      It’s good general advice, and you’ll need plenty of photos for you sites … suggest dad has camera too, and make sure he’s always snapping and getting photos uploaded into the cloud ASAP …

      Warm regards


      1. Ha! I guess you could call what we ‘Murricans speak “English” :). Just a good ole boy from MD relocated to CO.

        The dad will have a camera, the wifey will, and I will. Going to carry around the laptop a lot of the time too so as to make sure we don’t run out of capacity. Lots of uploading next week!

      2. Great, so you’re all prepared for next week … when do you leave ?

        I asked because some of your expressions I thought more English than Murrican …

      3. Heh! I try to hide my humble roots. 🙂

        We’re hoping a flight to Newark tomorrow night to meet up with the Doug In Chief, and flying together with him to Milan overnight Tuesday.

        Brooke’s taking a tiramisu class with Cook Mama Isa in Padova on the 6th, and we’ll be filming in Venice the rest of the week. It’s on!

      4. LOL, don’t we all !

        Great so your hard drive will be gradually filling up with all the material you’ll need 🙂

        Sounds like you’re going to be busy so I’m not going to rush a reply to your email …



  5. (Apology in advance for putting this message in your comments, but I’m not savvy enough to figure out where else to contact you.)
    I see that you signed up to follow my genealogy blog (which is pretty much inactive right now), and I’m just wondering what your interest in it is.
    — Greta Schmidt Perleberg (prairiepearls)

  6. Very good advice. I’ve been shooting everyday since Jan 1st, 2012 so I have a bunch of stock photos to use. Now, it’s to get more organized than I am. Love the blog. Keep up the outstanding work.

    1. Thanks John, and good to have this confirmed by photographers … I’m building up stock, taking shots of random stuff, current one is closeups of sand, sometimes the colours are just outstanding … also reckon they’d be good for backgrounds for graphic design stuff … I have a friend who works as professional fundraiser and he has to spend a lot of money on stock photos, so does his best to photograph what he can …

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