Tuesday, March 10, 2015

My Photo Sharing Workflow (and How to Share Pictures on Google+)

Which Photo Sharing Site to Use

First things first: where do I share my photos? I share on Google+, 500px, Instagram, and photography.twoperfect.ca. I share some, but not all on Facebook, since Facebook is more personal and less photography focused. I digress.

Share your photos in as many places as your time and interest allows. If you're a beginner photographer like me, people don't know about you. Your audience wont come to you, so you have to go to them.

More importantly, don't just share your own photos. Browse, follow, and like other people's photos and you might make some friends in the process.

How to Share Pictures on Google+ the Right Way

Google+ is inconsistent in how actions affect photos. Sometimes photos are duplicated, and sometimes they're referenced. Albums are also a mess. Moving is not allowed from "photos from posts" and copying does not include comments. Ideally I want all the stats for a photo (+1s, comments, reshares) to be aggregated no matter where it's viewed from: the album, the community I shared it in, or my profile. I want my photos organized in albums by type - not albums based on upload date. When I share a photo I want viewers to be able to click on it and be taken to the album - not to an album consisting of only that photo nor the "photos from posts" album.

After many trials, a little bit of OCD, and my Quality Assurance experience, I've figured out how to do it right. 

  1. Designate an export folder. Only finished, post-processed photos should go in this folder. RAWs and intermediate files should not go in this folder.

    This is my Portfolio folder. I have subfolders but you can choose your own:
    • All of the Lights - night photography
    • Where the Wild Things Are - animal photography
    • Digital Paintbrush - general portfolio
    • Training Wheels - photos I'm not quite happy with
  2. Set your export folder to be auto uploaded to Google+. Not absolutely necessary but this automates the upload step. The idea is to not clutter up your Google+ auto upload so that photos are easy to find.
  3. On Google+ Photos, create the album structure you want to group your photos into.
  4. When you're ready to share a photo, go to the album (Photos -> More -> Albums -> ) and click Add Photos from the album view. Instead of Upload from Computer, select Photos. Select the previously uploaded photo. The photos here are sorted by date taken, not date uploaded. The key in this step is you don't want to re-upload the photo or it will create a duplicate - Google+ does not de-duplicate uploads.
  5. When you click Add, you should get a box getting you to share the photo. If not, delete the photo from the album and re-try. In the share box, write what you want about the photo (as well as the post itself, this will become the photo description in the photo view) and share it to the circles or community you want. The important thing here is getting that share box. If you didn't get the share box or you skip it and share later, the photo is copied and the newly created post will not take people to the album, and comments from the album will not appear in the post.

Communities, Circles, or Public?

If you're a beginner photographer like me, share to 1 community per photo.

When you share a photo to a community, you can't share with any other circles or communities. It's tempting to share to as many communities as you can, but each post creates a copy of the photo and you lose the aggregated stats and nice clean album. On top of that, your profile will show duplicates of the same post (unless you change your settings) and people who are in the multiple communities you shared to will see your photo multiple times. After a while it will look like spam.

You can still tag people who were involved in the photo, and if the community is public, your post is visible publicly, so sharing to 1 community should be enough.

Why communities instead of Public? It's for the same reason you should share to many photo sharing sites. You're new and unless someone's specifically looking for your name or the hashtags in your post, no one will see your Publicly shared posts. People follow communities - posts in communities show up on their home feed, which makes it easy for them to +1. Once you have many followers who re-share your photos, sharing to Public starts to make sense.