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.
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.
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.
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:
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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