Until now i've tried to help you choose your camera and find a good computer to satisfy your needs as a new On The Go photographer.
So now we have worked on those two points, the camera, and your portable digital lab, let' talk about your web visibility ! Yes, you can create really beautiful photo (i already believe in you ;) ), and i think it's time for you to show them to the world (or maybe to your friends and family at first )!
We also know the classic web media like having your own web site, or an online gallery !
But how to use them ? How to integrate them in your OTG creation lifecycle ? Is it really easy to manage all those web plateform when you're travelling ?
As i told you before, social medias are the easy way to show your work to the world. But easy don't mean you don't have to take some precautions. At first you have to distinguish two type of social medias, those for day to day updates or fast updates, and those for regular or classic updates
Fast update social medias
In this category we can find Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat for example. On those ones, your publications have to be short, and not as well finished or thinked than usual. The goal of those social medias is to provide fast updates about your work, backstage, early results, travel etc, but not your final or best photographies for example. See it like a daily agenda where you put some short informations to keep people updated about what you're doing. By the way that's a good place to do some teasing about a project, or to show people how original you can be ! More than your contents, you can use other people publications to illustrate your likes or your vision, by following them and liking their publications. On twitter, you can easily share news or articles you like ( maybe one of mine ?) to express yourself on a different way, by sharing your inspirations or your interests.
Here an example of one of my publication on Instagram :
If your want to beefficient on those medias you'll have to be a master of hashtags and keywords !
Classic update social medias
In this category we can find Facebook for example. On those ones, you can take your time to prepare your publication, and show people the best of your work ! If you're not just publishing pictures but also content (like my articles for example) it is the right place. Personaly, i'm using Facebook as the main hub for all my contents, except my best picutres (reserved to my website). Because of the functionalities of a facebook page, you can do a lot of things by this way (it's almost a secondary personal website).
Here my publication for my last Iceland album :
Social Media interactions
One big advantage of those social medias (fast/classic update) is their capacity of interaction. By publishing on one of them you can automatically publish on the others.
For example, from instagram, you can publish on your Facebook Page and on your Twitter after, so you're reaching any type of public from your three social media accounts in one shot. From your Facebook page you can also publish on Twitter at the same time.
There is multiple combinations you can use depending of the publication you'll do and the public you want to reach, but the main goal of this configuration is to improve your capacity of communication by using only one entry point. When you are "On The Go", time and data, i mean data consumed by your phone/computer when you're travelling for your publication, are important. Using that way you'll be more efficient on those points.
Remember my instagram publication?
Everytime you're publishing something you have to think about the value of your content, and in the case of a classic update, to prepare your images by integrating some copyrights and watermarks on it. Most of those social media, for example, let visitors download your pictures if you don't configure correctly your publications/pages settings, so be careful.
To help your publications reaching a large audience, you should integrate in your publications some keywords, mostly known as hashtags. Those hashtags are used by social medias artificial intelligence to reference content and show them to different people. More accurate/popular are your hashtags, more chance you have to grab people interest and make them follow you and share your content. More than hashtags, you can link friends account or other pages to your publication to attract new people with interest for those subjects.
Now the way i prefer to communicate, a website.
A website is the most complete way to express yourself and to share your pictures on a personalized media. You can control everything, the design, the way you're publishing, the quality of your pictures, links used to share your contents, etc... A lot of solutions allow you to easily create and publish a website depending of the level of control/personlization you want. You have to define what you want on two parts, hosting and website
For the hosting(you should understand by hosting, the place where your website will be installed/stored), you have free services, like with your ISP (Internet Service Provider) where, most of the time, a website hosting is included in your contract, or a paid hosting like OVH and Gandi. If you're familiar with web hosting, and if you have at home a web server, you can choose to host your website on it (that's what i'm doing). You have to know that on free hosting, there is no warranty of availability, no support if you have a problem, less control on who access your data, etc... On paid hosting, you have all of this thing, proportionaly of the price you'll pay. On home hosting, you can control everything, but it can cost you a lot (in time and money) if you're starting with nothing (No server, No router, etc..).
For your website, you have a lot of solutions like Joomla, and the famous Wordpress you can use to create and design your new publication tool.They are easy to install, and you have a lot of templates available (free or not) to personalize your website. Most of the hosting providers can deploy those solutions for you automatically when you order your hosting. If they can't, both solution have really good documentations and community to help you in your installation. Those solutions are called CMS (Content Management System) and are designed to give you a website, and an administration interface where you can manage all your website contents.
As an IT engineer, the choice for me was easy. Because i know how to proceed, configure, and because i already own some equipement, i've choose to host my website at home (Maybe it is also an excuse to play with all those gadgets i'm buying ! ).
We will see later that it is important to backup all your data, and for that a NAS could be a good solution (Network Attached Storage, see it like a classic hard drive, connected to network, and with advanced features). But why talking about backup now ? Because depending of the solution you want to buy (if you want to buy one), you can choose a NAS with integrated solutions for web hosting ! And i'll give you an easy advice, buy a Synology ! I'll go more in depth later about why Synology's NAS are a perfect solution for all your photographer needs, but now, juste keep in mind that it offer the possibility to easily create a web hosting solution at home.
So i got my hosting solution, what about the website ? Before i was talking about two CMS, Joomla and Wordpress. Because they are leader of CMS solutions i've tried both. For me it's too difficult to reach a good level of personalization easily with those solutons, and even after, my website was not as good and simple as i was expecting it to be. After discussions with some web designer colleagues, they show me another solution... Koken !
This CMS is really different, created and designed focusing on photographer's needs, simple to install and manage, high quality template available for free (or for an accessible price), responsive design, compatible with all mobile devices by default, it was the solution i was looking for ! This CMS is really good on every points, but there is some bonuses ! You're a lightroom fan ? Guess how is the design of the management interface ? ;)
You'll not feel desoriented here, everything is designed to make you operational really fast. Manage your albums, configure your website, pages, tags, etc is really easy to do. But this CMS is not good only for those points. Koken is one of the rare CMS to be innovative ! If the "basic package" is not enough for you, you can add some extensions/plugins. For example, you can add image protection (block the possibility for people to download your images), watermark integration (without degrade picture quality, applied at html level), etc... And as for the design, if you are a Lightroom addict, Koken provide a really cool fonctionnality ! Lightroom/Koken website album synchronisation. By this way, you'll be able to easily push some new pictures/albums directly to your website from Lightroom from anywhere you are ! Easy trick for image publication process optimization.
With all those informations, you'll now be able to start your publication process. As usual, if you have any questions, or you need more details about how to configure / use those solutions, feel free to send me an email using the form available on my website, or by contacting me on my Facebook page.
The next article, one of the most interesting, will be about how to correctly secure your data (backup, encryption, copy, etc..), so see you at next episode ;)
In my previous article i was talking about the choice of your camera. And because it is a really personal decision, even after you've define the most important technical requirements for you, i haven't cover the subject in dept.
Now let's move to something more objective, and easy to define, your photographic lab.
First things first, what's a lab ?
A lab in photography, was first a place where you can develop and transform your negatives (remember silver photogaphy ? ). For those processes you were supposed to have some chemical skills, because every modification on your raw image was done across specific "recipes" of chemical solutions.
Now we've moved to the digital photography era, a lab is more a reference than a real idea. Still the place where you can develop and transform your raw image, but instead of a place it is a computer, and instead of chemical formula, you have some powerfull softwares.
What is the "OTG" version of the lab ?
Following the previous analysis, the goal is still to switch from an heavy and fixed equipment to something light, scalable and easy to transport.
On our modern version of the photographic lab, we have three major components
- The compute : Any powerfull computer
- The interface : A good screen and an optional graphics tablet
- The intelligence : An advanced photographic software
My first lab was composed of a MacPro, an Apple Cinema Display 30" and the famous Adobe Photoshop CC. If you don't know what it look like, just check this picture :
Not really "light" right ?
But when you've worked with this level of equipment it's difficult to think about working on something more transportable, and loosing performance and comfort. And shall we work on a Mac or a Windows ? (i'm personally an Apple fan, please don't rage...)
So what are the solutions ? One of this heavy professional or gaming "laptop" ? A laptop with a touchscreen to replace the graphics tablet ? An expensive Macbook Pro ? I don't think so.
Hybrid still the solution..
We have a new category where we can found an answer to those needs, as the camera, the hybrid laptop. This new category of computer exist in different versions.
- The laptop which dream of being a tablet : Those laptops look like the others. They are special because they have a touchscreen and generaly some advanced screen articulation which permit to "transform" them into an almost-tablet computer. The advantages of this solution are about battery and power you can have. But the major problem of this computers is, they are design as a computer. So even if they have those improvements, when you want to use it as a tablet, or as a graphic tablet, it's a pain in the ***.
- The tablet which dream of being a laptop : This solution is my favorite (one more time it is my own point of view). Basically your device was designed as a tablet so it is easy to use as, and easy to take away. even if you are limited in term of power and battery, you can have enought of each to use it without restriction. The limitation is more about scalability. Because of the small format, this device is not customizable.
Personnaly i've spend a lot of time with a Macbook Pro, an iPad, and a MacPro ( as i told you... Apple "fan"). Each of them were good in their segment. But none of them can satisfy the needs of an On The Go Lab (MacBook Pro is close but really too expensive for a powerful configuration). So i've finally switch to Windows, and more than just switch the OS, i've bought a Surface Pro (aka Microsoft home made tablet) !
Best Compute/Interface : The Microsoft Surface Pro
So why the Microsoft Surface Pro ?
Across all the devices i've tested (HP, Dell, Toshiba), this one have the best finish, is really complete in term of technology and power, and there is a lot of accessories that make it look like a real computer. Full aluminium, beautiful HD screen, advanced tablet function, high sensitive pen, powerful processor, ssd, sd slot, and a lot of technology densely-packed inside this awesome device ! Ok... maybe i'm too enthusiastic ! But if you haven't already try one you should !
So now we have a tablet with the power of a computer and a good screen (Compute+Interface)! Fine, what about the intelligence ?
Intelligence ? Combo Adobe Lr + Ps
Here, no surprises, Adobe still a leader in photograpic software. But we can introduce some variations.
Photoshop don't have to be the first step of your development process (that's what i was doing at first). Now, Lightroom is a better choice. It was more a library management software than an advanced photo edition solution, but version after version, more and more photo tools were integrated inside. You can direclty import your raw data and edit some basics, and if you need more, Photoshop still THE solution.
I'm just a beginner with Lightroom and i'm still searching how to use it on an efficient way. This software is a good mix between your library management and your photographic edition tool. I'll show you in next article that it can be more, it can be your photographic process hub (i mean, it will be the link between each step of your creation).
If you need more information about those two software feel free to search on the internet about tutorials. Because they are the major solution for photography edition and library management, it is easy to find help or videos about them.
What's next ?
Now i've helped you define your Lab, we'll be able to continue our journey to a complete OTG environment. As before i'm just giving you some advices across an explanation of the way i followed during my reflections. My advices are volontary global to let you find your way to the most adapted solution for you. In my next article i'll talk about the publication, followed by a part about security. Now you have your camera, your lab, and can already create, what about publishing those creations ? And what if during your walk your laptop fall to the floor ? You'll loose all your work ? Impossible !
In my previous post, I've talked about an environment a photographer needs to work, or just for living his passion.
Because it is the new philosophy I want to try, let's focus on the "street photographer" point of view or on any case where a freedom of movement is more important than your confort.
During this phase of improvisation, the photographer have to be as "free" as he can. The goal is to let the creativity manages the limits he has. Not the material or the environment.
For a "walking session" for example, one of my favorite (the most compatible with creativity I think), the camera is the most important. Not too heavy, not too small, with enought battery and memory capacity, with a bag for the most important accessories (lenses, tripod, etc...) and with your creativity for sure! And that's all !
The way we photograph when everything can be improvisation, where nothing is prepared for you, but you have to be prepared for everything.
This is the basic definition of the "On The Go" philosophy i want to share with you.
My camera switch
Since more than 7 years now, I've started having some interest in photography. From my point of view, reflex was the finest photography material, and a MacPro and the 30" cinema display that comes with, were the lab I needed !
I've always prefered Street Photography above shootings in a studio configuration. My satisfaction was always resulting from a pic taken in pure improvisation. This is when a lot of different elements are gathered on a specific moment, that we can create what makes the picture so original, artistic, or just pleasant to look at.
After a lot of walks and the acquisition of my complete "must have" photography equipment, I've felt that something was missing.
Past year before my first travel trip to Iceland, I've decided to buy one of that new species of camera, "the hybrid camera". Supposed to be the perfect mix between compact and reflex, lightweight but performant, and with the possbility of changing lenses, it was looking more adapted to my Iceland roadtrip than my heavy backpack and my Nikon D80.
So I've bought a Fujifilm XM-1. Not so expensive, with this Leica format I really love, with tons of options and really simple to use, this camera was my preferred one compared to any Nikon/Canon/Sony I already knew.
2 Years ago, Fujifilm was not really recognized for their digital camera but everyone agreed about the fact that their continuous improvement philosophy would make them more and more represented in the camera maker competition.
My journey in Iceland was a complete test for the XM-1. With some Leica lenses and without having any time before to practice with that new toy, the result was not so bad (check the Iceland album ;D ).
I was really enthousiatic about the possibilities offered by this new camera, and i've used it for all my trips and hiking sessions through the year.
Define the camera needs
Really convinced by Fujifilm and the XM-1, I've switched to their professional camera, the X-PRO2
And it is through this camera that I think the "needs" for my OTG philosophy can be reached.
This camera is just an example, and any hybrid camera could reach your satisfaction. I really incite you to make your own opinion, but this one is really my favorite.
You have a lot of interesting stuff here! Really good sensor, with a high definition (24mp), dual SD slot for RAW/JPEG picture saving, wireless connectivity to control your camera and transfer pictures, a lot of configurable thumb wheels and buttons for a lot of usefull functions, dedicated thumb wheels for speed, iso, etc... But for details you'll easily find technical description, or advanced testing on the internet.
All those functionalities, small format, lightweight, make every of your move and action easy to realize.
Coupling this with the fact that you can switch to different lenses, and adapt to the situation, this type of camera is really a must have when you're "On The Go".
This first part was not really "in depth" because the choice of your camera can only be done after experiences. A test you can find on the internet will help you for sure, but don't forget that everybody has his own feeling with a camera, and a detail that can be ridiculous for the tester, can be the most important for you.
The goal of this first part was essentialy to transmit a vision. So when you'll choose your camera, remember those two keywords, freedom of movement and adaptation.