Photography 101: Your Workflow, Part II
Last week, fellow photographers on WordPress.com introduced their workflows and editing processes, and talked about how their very best images move from their cameras to their blogs. Today, we’ll wrap up this discussion and focus on important pre-publish tasks and ways to protect your photography online.
- Ron Mayhew at Ron Mayhew’s Blog
- Heather Mason at 2Summers
- Helen Boyd at Helen’s Journal
- Frank Cademartori at Endless Frame
- Boris Buschardt at Wild Places
- Madey Edlin at Madey Edlin
- Børge Indergaard at Bo Photography
What tasks do you always do when creating a new post?
Heather: After I finish editing my photos, I resize each to 1000 pixels wide (or about 600 pixels tall for vertical pics, or 500 x 500 for squares). Then, I do a second round of “unsharp mask” (a sharpening tool) so the resized photo is nice and sharp. I give each image a short yet descriptive filename. I don’t fill in image details or embedded captions because I caption my photos in the posts themselves.
Borge: I have an export preset in Lightroom that’s specifically for WordPress use, with the optimal resolution and JPEG compression settings.
Boris: I have no real pre-publish checklist, but I have some saved default export settings in Lightroom for resizing images for galleries and posts. Before publishing a new post, I double-check the spelling of the text and image captions.
Quick tip: Do you know what image sizes work best with your theme? Each theme has its own page in our Theme Showcase. Find your theme page, and scroll to the bottom. The specs are listed for most themes, which list exact measurements of content areas and ideal image sizes. These dimensions are helpful if you want to display images at their very best.
Madey: Keywording my photos is essential for SEO. For example, I make sure my blog’s name is in my image metadata. I also make sure the post itself is keyworded with relevant words, the title is short and searchable, the post is free of typos, and my set of images is cohesive.
Quick tip: Some of you might want to add details to your images, from titles and captions to alt text and descriptions. You can add this info to individual images in the Media Library:
While not mandatory, some of these details, like the title, caption, and description, appear on your blog — in a carousel view of a gallery, or in hover-over text of an image. The alt text is helpful, too — it’s displayed when your image isn’t available, and is the text seen by search engines.
Frank: I think it’s essential you have a routine when you’re posting. There are so many benefits — mainly to show consistency and save time. If you’re creating each post from scratch or making each one different, you might confuse your readers. Have a format that you plan on using and stick to it. There’s a “Copy a Post” option in the dashboard, under Writing Helper in the Post Screen, where you can copy an existing template. It’s a time saver and helps make your posts look consistent.
With my theme, AutoFocus, it’s important to visualize my featured image when creating a post. Is it horizontal? If so, do I have any strong horizontal images that represent my post’s theme? If the answer is “no” to one of those, I usually take several pictures and stitch them together in a collage. This visual compilation features prominently both on my homepage and the post itself.
Quick tip: Want to make a collage or create a featured image out of multiple photos? You can do this in Pixlr Express, PicMonkey, and more. These editors make it super-simple to create collages, often with a drag-and-drop process. Here’s a glimpse at the interface in Pixlr Express:
You select a pre-made layout at the bottom left, then drag/insert your images into the boxes. For many WordPress.com themes, a wide horizontal layout is ideal for a featured image. Neat, huh?
How do you protect your work online?
Heather: My copyright page helps, which you can access from my primary menu (shown below), but some people totally ignore it.
One way to protect your photos is by using a watermark, which is harder to ignore than a copyright page. I’m not a big fan of watermarks, but I’ve had problems with people downloading my photos and using them without permission, so I add a “copyright 2Summers” watermark to my images.
I wish I’d started watermarking sooner, because I have thousands of un-watermarked photos still being used without my permission. That’d be my biggest piece of advice for new photobloggers.
Madey: For protection, I include metadata in my URLs, and I only upload small versions of images that won’t print well. I ask people to email me if they want to use my images (and I’ve never turned down a request to use one of them).
Quick tip: If you don’t have a contact form on your site, include your email address or other ways your visitors can contact you on your About page or in your sidebar (or both!). You can also include your policy and brief instructions about photo permissions.
Boris: I put a small watermark on all of my images (see below, on the bottom right of the photo). I also have an exclusive contract with Ghetty/iStock for selling licenses of my images. So, if I ever see one of my images on the web used illegally, I can contact them and they take care of it.
We also asked Boris about his Disclaimer page:
Boris: There’s no common international law for the internet. A disclaimer page in Germany looks significantly different from typical pages in the US. On my blog, I translated my German disclaimer page in English and added some typical phrases used in the US. While I’m not a lawyer, so far I’ve not had problems with my website.
Borge: To me, watermarks are too easy to edit out of any image. I don’t use them.
Ron: We put locks on our doors to keep honest people honest. I have a copyright notice on the bottom of my blog for this reason. Just because an image is found on the internet doesn’t mean it’s available for anyone to use in any way they’d like. Using an image without attribution is akin to plagiarism. It’s no different than copying pirated music or movies.
Helen: I think watermarks are distracting and spoil the aesthetic.
I believe that what makes a good blogger is the ability and desire to share. It takes courage and persistence to put yourself out there. We have to put all this into context. With websites out there like Pinterest, the standards of photography have gone up several notches, and there are millions of people blogging around the world. Amateur photographers are doing some amazingly creative work. So, I simply share. I don’t worry too much about protecting my work. I just hope that other bloggers will respect my artwork and credit me.
Quick tip: You can resize an image right in your Media Library — it’s a quick way to proportionally scale a photo. Our digital cameras take high-resolution images (several megabytes or more), which are great for printing, but not always necessarily for posting and sharing on the web.
As you can see, photographers develop their own workflows and policies — specific processes that work for them. We hope these discussions on a post-shooting workflow and pre-publishing process have been helpful and given you ideas on how to approach your own photography and blogging.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our Photography 101 series! Posts on improving your photos and getting the most out of photoblogging have been popular this year, so we’ll continue with a new photography series soon.
Other posts in the Photography 101 series
- Philosophy of Photography
- Viewing the World with a Photographer’s Eye, I
- Viewing the World with a Photographer’s Eye, II
- The Fundamentals of Light
- The Quality of Light
- The Rules and Elements of Composition
- Finding the Best Shot — Portrait or Landscape?
- Finding Your Focus
- Establishing a Point of View
- Shape, Line, Texture, and Pattern
- A Primer on Color Photography, I
- A Primer on Color Photography, II
- Shooting in Black and White
- Editing Basics
- Your Workflow, I