Prepping Images for Social Media
Preparing images for social media. Now I've kind of already covered this to some degree. It's basically the same thing I do for jpegs. I just size them 2000 pixels on the long side. There might be people out there who have really played with this and optimized their images for things like Facebook or other things, but I think with especially us moving up to retina monitors and all of the different higher resolution monitors we have these days, I think Facebook's probably improved their compression ratios. This looks great on Instagram and I have a giant phone so it looks great even on a big phone. It works for me. So it's the same way I output web-ready images for clients. but it depends on the social media in terms of what a client's gonna do with it, 'cuz they may actually want a larger file. I don't do every social media site there is out there. I'm only Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Behance, which is an Adobe thing, and maybe one other one. I'm not on Reddit and all these...
other 50 things out there. So there may be other uses that the clients are using the image for, so I just see what they need and if they need something bigger, I'll just output the same specs, but maybe it's 3000 pixels wide, especially if it's going on their website, and they want it to span the entire website, which is not social media, so to speak, but whatever they need to do. And I know Instagram is squishing things down. It's not keeping the file size at 2000 pixels, but regardless of that, it's been working for years and it looks really good. And it doesn't choke up my phone either with giant file sizes, and still looks pretty sharp. So that's a really quick and dirty section there, 'cause it's not that difficult what I do. The other thing to note here is with the retina screens that we have on our Apple laptops, or if you are in many other laptops and then also if you have a 4K monitor or much higher resolution monitor, you don't really have to worry about the pixels per inch setting, because it's gonna stretch or conform that image to whatever the resolution of your monitor is.
For your social media, when you're trying to get your images from Lightroom or Photoshop onto your phone, so you can get them on Instagram, what is your workflow for that?
It's pretty hilarious. Let me bring this back up. I email them to myself, and then save them off of my email because they're embedded in the email and then save them to my phone. I have played with Mylio, which is a software that came up a few years ago, which is very nice. And PhotoShelter, technically, I could log into my PhotoShelter account where all my high-res images are, output jpegs or whatever I wanted to, straight out of my PhotoShelter account onto my phone. It just depends, but typically I have a giant, whatever the hard drive is that's available for your phone, I pretty much max it out so that I have tons of room on my phone for images to post to Instagram, and also, so I have tons of room for movies to watch on planes. So, I don't know, I've probably got five or six thousand images on my phone and that way I can just thumb through the phone and find that image. And I only put up worked-up images shot on DSLRs onto my Instagram account. I might have put up one or two pictures I shot with my iPhone and it'd have to be pretty spectacular off the iPhone for me to actually put it onto my Instagram account, 'cause it's a marketing thing for me. And, it's fun to share these images, but it's definitely a marketing thing. And so is Facebook, so is all the social media for me. It's definitely part fun, but a good chunk of it for me is marketing. And how good that marketing is, is debatable. But, Instagram especially, I mean Instagram blew up because it's so easy to share, it's so intuitive, and you know, It's pretty amazing space. I guess we have a few extra minutes here, so I'll just go off on Instagram in a good way. 'Cause it pushes me and drives me. I follow a lot of photographers on Instagram. There's so much good work out there. And honestly there's amateurs producing insanely good work, sometimes better than professionals are producing. That really drives me to be better at all of this and also as a photographer, and it's also very depressing because, you're like, "Dang! That person really created an insane image. "How am I ever gonna create something that good?" So I better get my act together and get to work, but that's part of the fun, comparing yourself. Not comparing yourself, but just seeing what's out there. As a professional, it's my job to know what's being done in the industry. Not necessarily on Instagram, but if I wanna stay competitive with this, I need to know, what is the best of the best work being done. So, it's not just Instagram. Communication Arts is a magazine that is very industry standard or PDN, which is Photo District News, is the photo industry magazine. They have photo contests. I mean, there's hundreds, and hundreds of photo contests out there, but there's only a few that really matter for the professional world in terms of recognition among your peers, or recognition among the industry so that art buyers at ad agencies and corporations or magazines see your work, like the Communication Arts Photo Annual. To me, there's a couple other ones out there, IPA, there's the World Press Photo Awards that just happened for photojournalist. My good friend, Amy Vitale won for National Geographic with one of her stories from last year on the elephants. I mean, that's a huge recognition if you're a photojournalist. That's the Mount Everest of awards, so that gets you into a really small club of photographers if you win that. For advertising, it's more the photo annual for the Communication Arts Magazine, and every year, it's about 30 bucks, it's like a book, and they don't have a huge subscriber base. It's a fairly small magazine, but it's really beautifully done. And if you buy that, it comes out every August, if you wanna see what's the best of the best, the Communication Arts Photo Annual, buy this August issue, the photo annual, and just look. Nobody actually wins the contest, they just include the best work that was submitted to them for the competition, so it could be up to 200 images. But looking through there, is just like the who's who of the best photographers in the world. And, there's websites that do this too, and so, for me I've got to stay on top of this stuff, or at least I feel the need to stay on top of this stuff to see what's being done to adjust what I'm doing to make sure it's up to snuff. And it's not copying anybody else, it's just how can I push my work because I'm so inspired by this other work. To be better, Instagram's part of that. And that's a big reason why Instagram is such a success for me at least, because it is pushing me to be better. And a lot of photographers complain about Instagram, but imagine, in the old days, Climbing Magazine, I think they still probably only have a circulation of 60 to 80,000 subscribers for Climbing Magazine. One of my favorite climbing magazines. They're a great magazine. I now have 60,000 or more follwers on Instagram, so I can instantaneously publish myself to the same number of people that a major magazine is publishing to. And many of my peers have way more than I do. They're up there to like 250,000 or a million or three million followers and that's why they're very attractive to certain clients because they want to get access to their followers for advertising. So, social media is probably more important than it's every been to the professional photographer, hence, how I present myself and how my images look on social media, is more important than it's ever been.