Photography News 05

Opinion

15

SPEAKERS’ CORNER

Get networking Social network sites offer clubs and club members an incredible opportunity to communicate, share and enjoy their passion for photography. Lee Iggulden of Welshot Imaging puts forward her case for getting online

not, until recently, been possible. And it will often cost you nothing but some time and a little effort with maximum reward. Just think of the different people you could meet from the comfort of your own armchair. I know of many enthusiast photographers getting the chance to photograph stuff that they wouldn’t have had a chance to shoot if it had not been for the interaction on Facebook or Twitter, from shooting at live band gigs to winning competitions and even getting work published in a photographic magazine. I myself got a chance to attend a photography magazine’s reader challenge a few years ago just because someone introduced me to someone through a photographic online forum. Social media – from Facebook to Twitter, from Flickr to Instagram, from photographic websites to online blogs and not to mention Google+ – gives you access to a whole world of photography and a chance to interact with people from Australia to Zimbabwe. It’s amazing if you use it properly. Unless I am getting it really wrong. And I am really sorry but that won’t happen by using your personal or club website alone, no matter how great it is. Even our business website with a forum doesn’t get the traffic that our group and business Facebook pages get. It’s a fact of life and instead of trying to beat it, I am using it to our advantage. You should do the same. Social media has opened up a whole new world; gone are the days when people who couldn’t get to a camera club missed out – social media can be accessed anywhere as long as there is an Internet connection. You can join online groups (like a virtual camera club really) – you could even form your own group if you wanted. What about creating one just for your camera club where members could see images all year round? Ask people to join your group and who knows what will happen. You can take part in webinars, competitions, challenges and you can learn by watching others or you can jump right in and ask questions and make new friends. Instant gratification I remember belonging to a postal camera club. Each month prints would arrive at my door, I’d look through them, I’d make comments in the book and then post it on to the next person. I gave up: anyone who knows me could have told you it was not for me, because it wasn’t instant enough. I wanted results and conversation NOW! Well, social media has done that for me and more. I’ve made new friends, I’ve networked, and I’ve interacted, read blogs and seen wonderful images; and it’s all because of social media. I’ve lost count of howmany times I’ve asked ‘How do I…?’ or ‘Anyone know where I can park when I go to…?’ and in the group that I run I see time and

Words by Lee Iggulden

Social media. Love it or loathe it, it is here to stay in some way, shape or form. It’s how people communicate and interact, regardless of whether you want them to or not. If you’re not using social media as a platform, as a way of getting your work or website seen, you are missing a trick. That goes for your camera club’s website as well. I am going to do something I very rarely do in my business: assume. I’ve already figured you must love photography, but I am going to assume you are an enthusiast, albeit a serious enthusiast who is dedicated and committed to a life of cameras, lenses, tripods and bags. The reason I’ve done that is because if you are a semi-pro or professional photographer I’d like to think you are already doing your bit on social media – but in a considered, methodical and well-planned marketing and business manner. If not, I suggest you get onto some social media training courses and learn pretty smartish because it’s the way business is done now – and it’s a perfect platform for the photographer if used correctly. Reaching the masses Why would you want to use social media if you are not a semi-pro or professional photographer? Why would you go to the bother of setting up walls and pages on Facebook, learning how to tweet and retweet on Twitter or learning how to tag, hashtag and post images so they can be seen by a wide audience, or learn how to make new friends and follow people you don’t know? Why would you need to be on social media if you have your own website – people can find you there can’t they? Why would your club need a Facebook group if it has a website and a forum? I am working again on the assumption that your website, personal or club, does not have the volume of people coming to it like those of Facebook, Twitter or Google+ do. No offence meant but you can’t beat the resources and the mass appeal – no use trying to beat it so get in there and use it to your own benefit. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ can be used to promote your club. Get some likes and shares and that could lead to new members, more people coming to see your club exhibition, Facebook competitions between clubs – the ideas are limitless and the boundaries almost non-existent. As a photographer the first question to ask yourself is: what do you want the outcome to be if you are not interested in running a photography business? And that comes down, in many cases, to making friends, interacting with like-minded people, and learning in an environment that has

time again people with a passion for photography helping one another. Yes, you do have to be careful and there are all sorts of things to consider, from security settings to tagging your images, from the recent controversy around orphan works to people stealing your images – BUT, that’s a whole other story and maybe I could come back and help you with those things. First, get yourself onto Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Google+. Make friends, get followers, join groups, create circles, get yourself into hangouts and have some fun while you learn about a whole new world of photography available to the passionate photographer at the click of a button.

Socialmedia has openedup awhole new world; gone are the dayswhen peoplewho couldn’t get to a camera club missed out

π To find out more, go to www.welshotimaging. co.uk. Or search for them on Facebook.

IMAGE Lee has learnt the true benefits of getting online, and recognises its importance to her photography.

Are you a hashtagging whizz, a Facebook fanatic, or yet to jump on board? Tell us about your experiences of social media, good and bad, at opinion@photography- news.co.uk. WHATDOYOUTHINK?

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Issue 5 | Photography News

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