I haven’t posted in a while but not because I haven’t been thinking about photography. I’ve actually been busy. Oh yes, I’ve been busy avoiding actually sitting down to put a few thoughts to paper (Well…make that tapped out to my phone or computer or other electronic device.). I’ve had a topic in mind lately that I wanted to write about and that is Yahoo’s very fine Photo service we all know as Flickr. We all know there are numerous CLOUD STORAGE solutions but Flickr has always been my favorite.
We all need a place to deposit ever growing libraries of digital images. And we all need to be able to cull the wheat from the chaff – so to speak. It’s a matter of keeping your images under control and discovering and organizing your “Gems.” As a matter of fact, I have been “Busy” this entire week deleting photos and uploading the remaining contents of my pictures folder (Only 6500 images) to my personal account in the Flickr Cloud. I say “Busy,” but it’s been my computer working night and day to get these images to upload. For a week now!! Flickr knows I have images that need to be backed up and stored in the cloud. I’m reminded of this daily with the new auto backup feature found in Flickr and, for that matter, in numerous other software apps you might be familiar with. So finally, I bit the bullet, culled through my images then configured my Mac to take on this big job. That means my Mac can’t be going to sleep and stop uploading for a good week or two until all the images I’ve selected are uploaded. I’m probably on day five of this upload process now. It’s a rather slow process uploading these images. Much slower than downloading.
What’s really great about this whole process is that prior to this upload, I forced myself to go through my files and cull. Culling is a process you need to get your head wrapped around. It’s a process where you look at an image over time and think, “Um, ok… it’s ok, you’re never going to print it, nobody will really be interested in it…” – the emotional attachment starts to wear thin. The delete key becomes your friend. You begin to feel like you have control over your stock. Once you start, it becomes quite easy to keep going.
I like to apply a little test to an image before I delete it. It’s simple. First I ask myself, is it family? Doesn’t really matter about the quality of the image, here – it’s strictly about content. Family stuff, the people you love – those are ALL keepers. All those images, duplicate images, processed images, non processed images – doesn’t matter. They stay. Keepers, all of them.
Then there are your OTHER photos. Your “Artsy” stuff (Or not). Get into the habit of culling your stuff by the following standards. Practice. Be like Nike and “Just do it.” Ask yourself:
- Is there a THEME or a SUBJECT?
- Is ATTENTION drawn to the subject?
- Is it SIMPLIFIED as much as possible?
- Finally, (Again, ALL personal choice here) is there GOOD AND INTERESTING LIGHT displayed in the image?
If you’re a long time photographer like me, then you have a significant data base in your head by which you can quickly compare and contrast your personal images with what is generally accepted as a GOOD image. Use your best judgement and make your OWN self happy. But you gotta get control of your images.
I mentioned earlier that Flickr was my choice as a photo storage and management/viewing entity. There is a lot of personal choice these days with all Social Media and places to store your photos. But Flickr has been around many years and the designers have made it very easy to use with generous and inexpensive (As in FREE) storage options. The content is astounding. It’s like you can find any subject, any group, any category or personal interest on display anywhere, anytime. The images themselves are processed just enough to look very good on our computers, phones and tablets. You are given the options of creating a great set of albums, favorites, groups, galleries, creations, people and collect statistics along the way (And we all secretly want to know which of our images are popular and what’s not). But you really have management ability in Flickr and it’s a great moment when you feel you’ve organized your body of work and are ready to put it up where it can be stored, appreciated and further managed.
What I REALLY like about Flickr is that it gives you the ability to organize in bulk. You can edit your photos, tag people, add dates, put them in albums, tag map locations, add tags and categories, captions and send to or add to groups you may belong to. It’s all very easy to accomplish under the single category of ORGANIZE (If you use Flickr, you’ll find the organize function easily). There’s a whole world of photos on Flickr. Your photos, Other’s photos. Photos you can LEARN from. Even though there are numerous other options to upload your photos to (Fb, Google +, Pinterest, Instagram, Photo-bucket…) Flickr seems to just do it right and it’s a great one stop place to explore not only your own photos but those chosen by the editors as worthy of your exploration. You can even view photos as they are being uploaded by all users on a real time basis. The sum of peoples uploads at any given moment. Pretty interesting at times… Of course, here is where you will see a ton of crap with a few gems mixed in. Truly a good place to hone your own personal photo editing skills. And here I must state something I’ve learned thoroughly over the years. And that is:
There is NO accounting for peoples taste. We all like what we like and that is fine. But there is a world of variety out there, Flickr is a great stopping place to spend some time with. It can help us organize and learn. We can all use a little organization.
So, enough on Flickr. This was not a paid advertisement, by the way. I just like to have a very functional, one stop shop for viewing and managing photos. It tends to keep me off the other sights and prevents bouncing all around and generally getting nothing accomplished.
I just checked and see that I have about an even 3000 images left to upload. That should wrap in just another few days. This old Mac is uploading and doing the job night and day. And when it’s all done I will feel like I’ve accomplished a great photo management task. I’ll get in there and know my images are backed up (Not once but twice as I have hard drive backups as well) and that I can organize quickly into the necessary photostream, album or other categories I need. And moving forward, I can focus my efforts on creating fresh images from new projects I’m becoming involved with. It’s a good feeling. Part of my New Years Resolution and I’m getting it done.