Archive for the ‘Photo Sharing’ Category

How to Browse Flickr Like a Pro

Important keyboard shortcuts for flickr. (Note: for a PC cmd=ctl)

cmd-click (to load a page in a tab in the background)
cmd-w (to close a window)
f (to fave a photo)
c (to comment on a photo)
cmd-option-arrow key (to move between open tabbed windows)

One of the things that I’ve learned over the years is that how you browse photosharing sites matters quite a bit. Not just where you go to find great photos to see and interact with, but specifically *how* you navigate the site with maximum efficiency.

My two favorite photosharing sites at present are 500px and Flickr. In this post I’ll try to explain how I browse photos on on Flickr to find and uncover great photographs and also how to navigate the site. You can see the companion article How to Browse 500px Like a Pro here.

How to Browse Flickr Like a Pro

The first place I go to browse photos on Flickr is in my contacts/friends most recent photos. Here you can toggle between friends/contacts (I keep people I actually know or whose work I super admire in my closer circle of friends and I pretty much add anybody who adds me as a contact back in the contacts grouping).

This should probably be your starting page on Flickr for looking for new flickr photos.

One of the most important ways to increase efficiency when browsing photosharing sites is to avoid wasting time while pages load. So typically what I do first after loading this page is cmd-click on each of the paging icons at the bottom of the page — this loads me the most recent 7 pages of my friends/contacts photos in new background tabs.

Next I go through each of these thumbnail pages and cmd click every thumbnail that I want to see larger. What this does is opens up many, many tabs in my browser of choice Chrome (doing the page loading while I’m doing something else). Once I finish with a page I cmd-w the page to close the page and it automatically starts taking me to the photo pages that I’ve opened.

On a photo page I can see the photo larger and have more choices of things I can do. If I want to fave a photo, rather than use the mouse, I’ll simply press the F key. This is much faster. If I want to comment on the photo, I’ll simply press the C key. This will automatically jump my browser right into the comment field where I can start typing a comment.

Because I have Dan Pupius FittrFlickr installed, I can also easily see (very unobtrusively) the major EXIF data for a photo right beneath the photo. I also have links to different sizes (including large and original if available) that I can cmd click to load an even larger version of the photo in the background if I need a closer look.

How to Browse Flickr Like a Pro 4

After going to my contacts photo uploads page, next I’ll go to my recent activity page. This is where reciprocation on flickr takes place. Looking at the most recent activity on my photos I see who has been interacting with them – who has been active on the site recently with my work. From here I start cmd clicking on their names. This loads up their photostreams where I can see their first page of photos. From here I’ll cmd-click the photos that I want to see larger and possibly interact with.

How to Brows Flickr LIke a Pro 2

The next place I go to find great photos is to The Hot Box. The Hot Box is a group that I’m active on in Flickr where great photos are voted into a pool of winners. Here, again, I’ll cmd-click the photos that i might be interested in and then interact with them.

How to Browse Flickr Like a Pro 3

After this I might go favorite diving. Here I will look for some of the people on Flickr whose taste I admire the most, and go through their favorites and cmd-click anything that looks interesting. This is such a superior way to find new contacts and photographs vs. Flickr’s crappy Explore section which not only blacklists photographers but is full of mediocre photos by strangers with the worst signatures, watermarks and borders humanly possible.

By using the techniques described above, I can find some really amazing photos by some really amazing photographers on Flickr. By relying heavily on the cmd-click function, I can more rapidly and efficiently navigate the site, allowing load time to take place in background tabs, leaving as much time as possible for me to actually spend appreciating and interacting with a photograph.

Pinterest

As a bonus tip, one other thing that I’m starting to do on both Flickr and 500px is curate photographs with Pinterest. I’ve just started doing this, but if I especially like a photograph on flickr or 500px (or anywhere on the web really) I’ll pin it to a gallery on Pinterest. Here is a gallery I’ve started called “So This is America” which includes interesting and compelling photographs of America and here is another gallery that I’ve started of some of my favorite photographs by one of my greatest inspirations, American photographer William Eggleston. Pinterest is really what Flickr’s own galleries should have looked like if they hadn’t of done it so half-ass and with so many restrictions and limitations.

How to Browse 500px Like a Pro

Important keyboard shortcuts for 500px (Note: for a PC cmd=ctl)

cmd-click (to load a page in a tab in the background)
cmd-w (to close a window)
f (to fave a photo)
L (to like a photo)
cmd-option-arrow key (to move between open tabbed windows)

One of the things that I’ve learned over the years is that how you browse photosharing sites matters quite a bit. Not just where you go to find great photos to see and interact with, but specifically *how* you navigate the site with maximum efficiency.

My two favorite photosharing sites at present are 500px and Flickr. In this post I’ll try to explain how I browse photos on 500px to find and uncover great photographs and also how to navigate the site. You can see the companion article How to Browse Flickr Like a Pro here.

500px is one of the most exciting photosharing sites on the scene today. It’s a stark contrast to Flickr.

Flickr is a slow moving slow innovating behemoth owned by crappy Yahoo. 500px is a scrappy, fast moving, weekly innovating startup that just received over 500k in VC financing.

Flickr’s community managers / staffers are abusive with their users and ban and censor people and ridicule their users. 500px owners are nice and pleasant and actually interact with their users on their site, Twitter, etc.

500px has a fresh new elegant photo page design. Flickr still looks like a tired old website from 2004.

500px seems to actually care about great photography. Flickr could care less (the quality on flickr declined dramatically overall when they turned it into a dumping ground by integrating Yahoo photos into it a few years ago and has gotten worse and worse).

500px is not frightened by the artistic female form. Flickr is scared to death of the female form (they censored this photo of a painting I took of a painting at the Art Institute of Chicago — ridiculous).

It’s exciting to see people that actually care about photography and photographers in charge at 500px. And it’s been great watching so many of the best flickr accounts migrate over there over the past several months.

So where do I go to find great photos on 500px? All over the place.

How to Browse 500px Like a Pro

For starters (like flickr) I go to my friends most recent uploads. Unlike Flickr (who will only show you the last 1 or 5 photos by your contacts) 500px shows you all of your contacts most recent uploads. The first thing I do here is cmd-click all of the paging icons at the bottom. This opens up the photo thumbnail pages in background tabs that I can tab to later without wasting time while they load. As they load in the background I’m cmd-clicking other photos on the page most recently loaded where I want to see larger photos. 500px gives you nice big thumbnails on this page in contrast to flickr’s tired old page.

After browsing my friends most recent uploads to 500px, next I move on to my own recent activity page there. They just started paging this page this week and so now you can see all of your recent activity (like Flickr). Here, similar to flickr, I’ll cmd-click the names of people who have interacted with my photos to load their photo pages in background tabs. From there I cmd-click the photos that I like on their page to open them up bigger and so that I can interact with them. If I like the photo I’ll use the keyboard to quickly press “F” and “L” to both fave and like the photo.

How to Browse 500px like a Pro 2

Next I go to 500px’s version of Explore (called Popular Photos). Here you will find some of the best photographs being published on the web today. I’m not kidding. 500px’s Popular Photos page BLOWS flickr’s Explore page out of the water. And 500px doesn’t even need a secret “magic blacklisting donkey” algorithm to produce it.

Along with Popular Photos, 500px also has Fresh Photos, Upcoming Photos, and a staff curated section called Editor’s Choice.

On each of these pages I’ll cmd-click thumbnails to load photos to interact with in background tabs. Further, 500px allows you to filter these sections by subject, landscapes, people, nature, fine art NUDES! (did he just say nudes? don’t worry folks, you have to check a NSFW tab in order to see these — can you imagine FLICKR actually giving people an option to see the most popular nudes?)

By using the techniques described above, I can find some really amazing photos by some really amazing photographers on 500px. By relying heavily on the cmd-click function, I can more rapidly and efficiently navigate the site, allowing load time to take place in background tabs, leaving as much time as possible for me to actually spend appreciating and interacting with a photograph.

Pinterest

As a bonus tip, one other thing that I’m starting to do on both Flickr and 500px is curate photographs with Pinterest. I’ve just started doing this, but if I especially like a photograph on flickr or 500px (or anywhere on the web really) I’ll pin it to a gallery on Pinterest. Here is a gallery I’ve started called “So This is America” which includes interesting and compelling photographs of America and here is another gallery that I’ve started of some of my favorite photographs by one of my greatest inspirations, American photographer William Eggleston. Pinterest is really what Flickr’s own galleries should have looked like if they hadn’t of done it so half-ass and with so many restrictions and limitations.

Testing Out Twitter’s New Photo Sharing Feature

Testing Out Twitter's New Photo Sharing Feature

I just sent my first tweet with Twitter’s new integrated photo sharing feature. I was one of the lucky ones to get early access today to the new feature. 🙂

The feature seems pretty straightforward. If you click on the message box there is a little camera icon right below it and you just click that to add a photo. You can then attach a photo and send it to your Twitter. So easy, even a Congressman could use it.

The first photo I tried didn’t take, because it only supports photos 3MB or smaller. It’s not really meant to be a replacement for Flickr or anything in that regard (Flickr allows photos up to 20MB in size — and some more forward thinking photosharing sites like 500px actually allow photos up to 30MB in size, time to step up your game Flickr) — but with most phone photos being smaller then 3MB, this shouldn’t really be a problem for mobile uploads.

The second photo I tried sending was a smaller one that I’d taken with my phone (pictured above) and it worked just fine.

I was impressed with the speed at which the photo had uploaded to Twitter. In the past I’d had problems with twitpic hanging on me when trying to upload, but the photo to Twitter’s own service was fast and flawless.

The photos are hosted at photobucket, but you don’t have to have a photobucket account to use the service.

I updated my Android Twitter app on my Samsung (piece of crap) phone to the most current version, but when I clicked on add a photo using that it still sent the photo to twitpic, not to to the new twitter service — so I don’t know if the new service supports the Android app yet — I don’t think it does.

Supposedly the new Twitter photo service is integrated with the new IOS5 on the iPhone though — which I suppose will be one more reason to ditch my horrible piece of crap Samsung phone and go back to the iPhone when the new ones come out this Summer or Fall — although I’m sure Twitter probably plans on integrating the photo sharing feature into their Android app too at some point in the future.

I also tried downloading “Snapbucket” to my Android phone (which was the app that the photobucket promo page suggested). I was able to get the app installed (you have to set up a photobucket account) and tried to send a photo to Twitter with it, but it seemed to take a long time. I sent the photo to photobucket (and it’s in my account) about ten minutes ago, but I told it to send it to Twitter and it’s not posted to twitter yet for me. I’ll probably still continue using mobypicture to share mobile phone shots directly until either Twitter updates their Android App or I move over to the iPhone.

One thing that is nice about this new Twitter photo sharing service, is that like all of your text tweets, the photos that you upload to it belong 100% to you. This is in stark contrast to the sleazy move by Twitpic to try to try and actually sell people’s Twitpic photos (keeping 100% of the money for themselves and giving the photographers 0%). There’s a certain sense of satisfaction that comes with knowing that this new photo sharing service by Twitter is going to end up putting Twitpic and their sleazy photographer rip offs out of commission.

Overall I’d say the new service is a win for Twitter. It simple, easy to use, and most importantly FAST! Nice work Twitter! This new service is just what I need to upload all those awesome new shots of my buffed out totally waxed new body.

More on the new service from TechCrunch here.

500px Shows Promise as Sort of a More Artistic Version of Flickr

My 500px Photostream

For the past week or so I’ve been spending some time playing around with the photosharing site 500px and am really starting to like it. The site has been around awhile (since 2003) but went through some major redesigns, most notably in the Fall of last year. The result seems to be a very elegant photosharing community that is far more focused on fine art and artistic oriented photography than Flickr is.

In a lot of ways, the site reminds me of an early Flickr, back when the staff seemed to care more and back when Flickr actually seemed to care about beautiful photography and their users.

The site has two different versions. There is a free version which features a basic photostream and limits you to 20 uploads per week and one collection. And then there is a paid version at $50 per year which offers unlimited uploads and collections.

Both versions offer unlimited hosting and a basic photostream organized by most recently uploaded photo in an elegant large square format with oversized photos when you click through. Both versions also include a free photoblog to blog your work in a different way if you’d prefer that over the traditional photostream as well as a wall where people can leave comments about you. 500px also claims that the photos are optimized for SEO so that your work can be found.

In addition to allowing unlimited uploads, the paid version allows a number of other features including the ability to link your photostream to a custom domain, an RSS feed, the ability to remove all 500px branding from your stream (aka white label), advertising free, as well as the ability to hook your stream up to a Google analytics account to better monitor traffic and activity.

My 500px Favorites

In addition to your own photostream, like Flickr, you can build favorites of other photographs, comment on photographs and either “like” or “dislike” photographs which results in a public numerical score that a photograph receives. There are several areas where you can also explore some pretty amazing photography, including popular, editor’s choice, upcoming and fresh.

Perhaps what I find most refreshing about the site as it’s structured right now is that it seems to be attracting some of the most talented photographers I’ve seen on the web in any one place in long time.

Scrolling through many of the members photostreams it reminds me of some of the early photographers who gravitated to flickr using it to express the beauty of the world around them. Comparing some of the showcase areas above, for example, with Flickr’s super crappy Explore (complete with blacklisting users, sparkly gifs, and obnoxious watermarks) there simply is no comparison as to which is showing superior fine art photography. 500px is better.

Also, in contrast to Flickr’s puritanical censorship, 500px doesn’t seem to have a problem with the occasional artistic representation of the female form that, God forbid, might (gasp) actually show a naked breast. I guess it probably helps that they are Canadian and more laid back about those sorts of things. Flickr on the other hand censored this photograph of mine of an 1874 painting by Jules-Joseph Lefebvre from the Chicago Art Institute that doesn’t even show boobs.

Creating an account and profile was very easy on 500px. I liked that they don’t seem to have a problem with html markup in your profile and I was able to link all of my other social media sites. It’s also nice that your profile accompanies your photostream, favorites, etc. giving good exposure to the photographer.

Uploading photos was pretty easy. It’s also nice that 500px allows images sized up to 30MB. Flickr is stuck in the dark ages with the pre-2004 20MB limit still. When popular cameras like the Canon 5DM2 routinely produce images between 20MB and 30MB it sucks that when you use Flickr’s bulk uploader that they mangle images so badly, resizing them in some cases down to less than 500kb (example). It’s bad enough to have your images resized without being told about it, but to resize a 22MB image down to less than 5% of it’s original size just seems really cheap on Flickr’s part.

It is a drag that 500px doesn’t seem to read a photo’s metadata and allow you to auto-populate titles, keywords, descriptions/captions, etc. Hopefully they enable that soon as there is no sense in doing that work in lightroom only to have to rekey that data in after uploading to 500px. There are also lots of areas that 500px seems to have room to grow in. It would be nice to see groups there like Flickr has.

Like Flickr, 500px allows you an embed code to blog your images, as well as the buttons necessary to share your image to other popular social networking sites like Twitter, StumbleUpon, Facebook, Google Buzz, etc.

I think more than any of the above items, what’s got me most interested in 500px though, is what feels to me like a truly refreshing view of photography from the people who work there. Flickr staffers have routinely expressed their disdain over the years for the fine art photographer. They’ve deleted accounts without warning, they’ve censored artists, they’ve blacklisted many from Explore, they’ve banned artists from the public help forum areas, and in general just routinely treat us (their users) like garbage. We’ve been talked down to, treated like children, and been openly abused.

Compare and contrast Flickr’s disdain for the artistic fine art photographer with this “about” page from 500px.

“The mission
Being an artist has never been easy, especially in today’s fast paced, digital age. Photographers can’t be just artists anymore, they have to be managers, accountants, marketing teams, assistants, web developers, and their own ‘mean, lean, shutter-clicking machines”. Too many things to handle? We sure think so! We started the company to help photographers get greater exposure, reduce some of the marketing headaches, and to let creatives concentrate on what they do best. We love seeing amazing work and equally love promoting it! A sense of inspired community is also important to us. We believe that the way forward is through presenting, discussing, supporting, and socializing with like-minded people.”

Our Team
500px is a group of individuals that live and breathe photography. We like to share art with others and have the means to do so. Our small company is based in Toronto and from there we broadcast the awesomeness. We truly enjoy what we do.

That reads so refreshing.

500px still has a lot of work to do to continue competing with Flickr, but thus far I’ve found it to be very community centered and certainly with great potential. They state that they are currently seeking angel and VC funding here.

You can check out my photostream and follow me on 500px here.

Thanks by the way to my good rooftopping Pal Tomms, for turning me on to this awesome site. Check out this amazing photograph that he posted on 500px!

Update: Ian Sobolev, one of the founders of 500px, commented in the comment section below and added a link where readers can get a 20% discount on the paid Awesome Upgrade for the site. If you want to upgrade to the paid version you can save 20% by upgrading through this link, with no expiration date. Thanks, Ian!