Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Facebook: Pros & Cons for Photographers

All photographers want to get their photographs out there, to get exposure and gain popularity. One of the best ways to do this is through a photo sharing site. But there are so many sites out there! Which one should you pick? Every photo sharing site has their own benefits and downfalls, and it’s good to know about these before choosing which site to upload your photographs to. You don’t want to be caught off-guard by privacy settings, low quality images or copyrighting. So I am going to look at just a few of the benefits and downfalls of uploading images to specific photo sharing sites.

First and foremost, let’s have a look at Facebook. As a photographer, Facebook can be a great tool for displaying your images and getting exposure. As the most popular social networking site out there (at the moment), Facebook will provide you with a wide audience to show your work to and it is easy to get feedback on that work. In addition, you can divide your private and professional self by creating a photography page for yourself. This means that, while you can post hundreds of photographs on your personal account for people to see, you can also post your most professional photographs to your photography page and have the best separated from the rest. It is a form of advertising yourself which works out well, particularly if you decide to spend some cash and invest in photography adverts on Facebook as well. This can lead to a lot of business that you would not have received otherwise and can certainly be worthwhile.

On the other hand, Facebook does have its downfalls. Many of you may have heard about the mass of people leaving Facebook due to their privacy settings. Some of you may even be those people who left in the mass exodus. The privacy settings that affect your profile also affect your photographs. While Facebook providing others with access to your personal details may sound far more significant than hundreds and thousands of people having access to your photographs (hell, that almost sounds good!) it also means that your photographs are being exposed to people who may use them for their own personal use. This brings the issue of copyright into question, and you will quickly find that Facebook’s copyright protocols leave a lot to be desired. And then, let’s look at the photographs themselves. Though Facebook has recently introduced a new function, allowing you to upload high resolution photographs, for a long while the photographs that you were uploading were compressed to be very low quality. While this is fine for showing off photos from the party last night, for professional photographers it is not ideal. A lot of detail is lost in the process, and your photographs will not come out the way that you pictured them. There are ways around this, but most people do not know these methods. Hell, even though I know that they are out there, I hardly know about these methods!

Facebook may be the most popular photo sharing site at the moment, but that certainly does not mean that it is the best. Personally, I still upload my photographs using Facebook for the exposure, but it is not my only method of uploading pictures. At least I know and understand the risks and problems, and even use them in some cases! Part of the reason why I continue to use Facebook is that it can provide low-res and low-quality versions of my photographs, giving me the exposure that I want, and I can then provide links to better quality versions or, if requested, provide better quality prints of the photographs. If someone wants to steal an image, it then means that they are taking a low-quality image, one that I would not be too concerned about. It is the high-res and good quality ones that I truly cherish.

Check back soon for the pros and cons of using other photo sharing sites such as Flickr, Twitter and Google Plus.

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