When I began using Flickr in 2009 it was for two reasons – a back up of my best photos, and a public “portfolio” of those photos.
Nine years and, somewhat shockingly, over 4500 uploaded photos later, I’m thinking about where to go with it next.
I still want to use it as an archive/back up.
It’s very convenient to use images in Flickr to display in posts here on 35hunter, instead of filling up my WordPress storage allowance, as I wrote about recently, so I still want to use Flickr for that purpose too.
As a portfolio though, I don’t feel it works for two reasons.
First, the sheer volume of photographs. Who wants to wade through that many photos?
Second, the quality of many of the older photographs, compared with those I’ve made with more experience, and hopefully an increasing skill in knowing what makes a great photo, and being brave enough to cull anything that doesn’t.
My ideal is that when a stranger lands on any one of my photos for the first time, they are inspired and impressed enough to check out more of my work – on Flickr and on 35hunter.
If they land on something mediocre, they’re not likely to look any further and are probably lost forever.
But how do you even begin to sift through 4500 photos isolating the stellar from the why-on-earth-did-I-bother?
Even spending 30 seconds per photo this would take longer than the average working week. Time that I can spend far better elsewhere (online and offline).
A possibility is deleting everything and starting again. But this wouldn’t work on many levels – I’d lose the images posted on 35hunter, I’d lose the archive, I’d lose the favourites I’ve gathered as inspiration over the years. It’s a dead end avenue. Er, a cul-de-sac.
So another option is to make absolutely every photo private, in effect performing a master reset of my public portfolio.
This wouldn’t affect my archive or the images displayed here (I realised some time ago that I can upload an image as private on Flickr and still display it fine here), or the comments on photos that were previously public (I think, I need to try this one to double check), or lose my favourites of other people’s photos. Plus all of my stats etc would be intact.
I’m very fond of the idea of a reset in general, as we spoke about not long ago with regard to a camera collection reboot.
So this option appeals greatly.
I could then go through (starting with my most recent photos) and gradually make those I felt were good enough public again, in my own time. And maybe end up with a few hundred images public, rather than nearly 5000.
Another counterpoint to this though is the fewer photographs you have, the less the internet long tail theory comes in to play. In other words, 4500 photos getting one view a month each is as much exposure overall as 45 getting 100 views each.
But I’d rather have 45 photos where every one is fabulous than 4500 where three quarters are average and diluting the best ones.
You can see I’m rather undecided!
So I’m curious to hear your thoughts.
What kind of online portfolio do you have, on Flickr or elsewhere? What is the purpose of it? How do you keep it full of only your very best work?
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts below (remember to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).
Thanks for looking. Please share this post with others you feel will enjoy it too. If you’re interested, this is what my photography life looks like right now.