When Should You Publish Your Photograph?

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Publishing your photographs can be as simple as uploading it to Facebook for all your friends and family to see or as complex as having it printed in a magazine, book, or newspaper.  The question of when you should upload your photograph to a social network or media outlet all depends on the type of photographer you are or would like to be.  You’ve got to ask yourself a couple of questions,  do you want your photography to stand out and be noticed for its quality or are you just trying to capture and share an important personal moment (e.g. your dog Max sleeping next to Maximus the cat).  Next, you need to ask yourself if you’d like that photograph to be the one that would be associated with you and the quality of photography you are capable of.

Think of it this way, if you can remember back to before you had a camera attached to your chest 24/7 you’ll remember that when you looked at a photograph you noticed things like how cute it was or how a photograph “looks like summer” or “reminds me of when I was a kid”.  That’s all well and good but if you revisit some of those photographs now, after you’ve got some photography skill under your belt, you’ll not be so easily pleased.  Is the photograph perfectly sharp?  Are there any distracting elements (power line, trash can, bystander, bright color)?  Should the rule of thirds have been used?  Do the lines lead toward or away from the subject?  Is the photograph even interesting?  If you are asking yourself these questions about others photography then you’ve got to be even more critical of your own.

With photography becoming more and more popular there has been a tsunami of photographs uploaded to the web over the last 6 years.  Just doing a quick peruse of Flickr, Facebook, or Instagram you’ll see the mediocre photographs are outnumbering the high quality images 10 to 1.

Here are some ways to ensure your photographs are adding to the quality images out there as opposed to the hordes of mediocre images.

1.  Avoid the unintentional blur at all costs (scrutinize your photographs to make sure they are sharp).

2.  Follow the rule of thirds (occasionally breaking the rule of third if it’ll make the image more interesting).

3.  Use leading lines and other compositional elements to strengthen the image.

4.  Get your white balance correct.

5.  If you’re on the fence about the quality of an image keep it in your private collection for your pleasure.

6.  Avoid being redundant, 50 shots of the same subject from different angles is as if your camera vomited out the images to the internet.  Pick your favorite and upload just one or two.

7.  Use an “interest scale,” a mental scale of 1 – 10 that gauges how interesting the photograph seems.  Anything less than a 5 belongs in your private collection.

8.  Leave people wanting more, if you upload 10 photographs a day then by the end of the year you will have 3,650 photographs that no one wants to look at.  If you upload 1 of your best once a month then you’ll have people anticipating your next upload.

9.  Be creative.  An image of your baby smiling centered in your photograph looks a lot like the 10 billion before it.  An image of your baby dressed up like a cowboy (or girl) riding your dog like a horse is fun and interesting (obviously you should hold the baby there and not let your dog run willy-nilly through the house with your baby strapped to its back). 

10.  Find your niche.  Are you good at long exposure photography?  Do you like to photograph the stars?  Landscape?  Portrait?  Try to get really good at one as opposed to mediocre at all.

Sure, you can upload whatever you want to the internet.  You can also shave your cat and give it a tattoo… that doesn’t mean you should.  Be critical of your photography and only allow people to see the very best you are capable of, it represents you as a photographer whether you’re a professional or an enthusiast.  No one wants to be known for sub-par photography and with the amount of free information on the internet (ahem…) you can learn the basics of photography in less than a day, there is no excuse.

Have a great shot you’d like to share?  Head up to Articles above and click on the Submit an Article to share with everyone.  Use what you’ve read here to choose a quality photograph that will represent your skills as a photographer.

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