Trying to get your images noticed in the image saturated world that we live in today to put it bluntly sometimes feels fucking impossible. I mean you might be lucky if you’ve got a massive social media following or a big artsy friendship group, but generally getting your work seen and seen by people that may find it interesting (rather than showing your images to friends and family and them saying they find it ‘nice’ and say ‘oooh isn’t that a good picture’) can be rather difficult.
Luckily today in the digital age of 2017 however, we photographers have the option of keeping both an online and offline presence to share our images. Both methods, either used seperately or to benefit each other (e.g. selling printed zines via an online store) can work exceptionally well to act as a platform to showcase your work. Below, i’ve listed 5 ways to help get your photographs noticed.
1. SOCIAL MEDIA- INSTAGRAM (ONLINE)
(Here’s an example of my pal/fellow photographers very well coordinated Instagram feed, you can follow him here)
I 10000% (and that’s a big bloody number) believe that Instagram is the most ESSENTIAL social media app for a person wanting to promote their images. The literal purpose of Instagram is to help people share images online, which is obviously greatly fucking helpful for a person wanting to get their images seen. A lot of people, especially young people and of course young photographers and artists already use this app so it’s probably pointless pointing out how obvious it is to use Instagram to promote your work, BUT I do believe it’s worth discussing in using the app to get your images noticed. (NOTE: THIS APP FEEDS YOUR EGO GREATLY, ALLOWING PEOPLE TO LIKE AND COMMENT ON YOUR IMAGES. AVOID IF YOU PREFER TO BE UNKNOWN, MYSTERIOUSLY COOL AND UNDERGROUND WITHOUT ANY ONLINE PRESENCE AS YOUR EGO IS TOO BIG TO TAKE MORE COMPLIMENTS)
Applications useful to edit or format images to use for Instagram:
VSCOCAM (bloody great editing software for you phone, just download it, no question about it) and SQUAREADY (excellent for formatting images for instagram through bordering the image with white space, or playing around with different colour borders).
2. WEBSITE/PORTFOLIO (ONLINE)
This is another main way of showcasing your photographs online, which is especially useful if you want to maintain more of a professional platform for your images. Whether you’re skint or don’t really fancy paying for a website (i’d recommend Cargo Collective, Carbonmade, Tumblr, Flickr, Wix, WordPress or even just Instagram again), or want to go all out and buy your own domain and splash out on a really fancy website (Format or Squarespace is the one I use and it’s brilliant but can be rather expensive, although they do offer 50% student discount and regularly do discounts). Online portfolios work amazingly to act as a permanent home for your images, as well as showcasing your work for all the world to see.
3. ZINES/PHOTO-BOOKS AND PRINTS! (OFFLINE- BUT ADVERTISED ONLINE TOO)
(Cheeky self promotion, i’m sorry…)
For those of you that like making something physical and tangible and want to show off a series of images, i’d fully recommend you make a zine, book or simply turn some of your images into prints; whether you do it for the personal enjoyment and keep it yourself, or decide to make a batch of them and sell them. Whether you want full control over the process and end up making a home-printed, black and white DIY zine with your images in or instead work collaboratively with designers or writers to help create a more high quality publication. There’s a real sense of achievement you get out of taking your images and making them into something else, through designing layouts and adding texts and deciding what paper stock to use and how to bind it etc.. presenting a series of work in this way makes the effort worthwhile in the end process, being able hold and proudly look through the pages of finished zine or a precious photo-book at the end of it.
Programmes to make zines on: Adobe Indesign is the main one I recommend (and a free version maybe be available online somewhere on certain torrent sites but who knows i don’t know… don’t ask me…). Microsoft Word too can be useful! There’s probably a bunch of online sites or software you can download to design and make a layout, probably worth a google if you aren’t sure (I may make a post about this in the future)
Where to print your zines: Blurb, Ex Why Zed and other online companies in which you can pick specific paper stock/binding etc.. OR print them yourself on a home printer or a school/college/university printer, OR contact local printing services to get quotes
4. EXHIBITIONS/ZINE LAUNCHES
Whether you’re wanting to showcase your work for a solo exhibition of a series you’ve spent a lot of time on OR instead want to work collaboratively in a group exhibition showcasing a few prints; i’d totally recommend doing an exhibition at least once in your life. They’re bloody brilliant.
Obviously you’ll need a budget for this one, whether you’re going all DIY with printing and hanging and manage to find a space that charges very little or even for free OR you’re lucky enough to rent out a huge space, can afford custom frames and maybe even have the chance to work with a curator; exhibitions all in all are incredibly enjoyable to set up, enabling you to celebrate your images with friends/family/curious strangers.
LITTLE BIT OF INFO: If you’re a student in Leeds and you want to exhibit your work (or a bunch of you want to come together for a group exhibition), it’s worth emailing LS6 CLOCK CAFE to enquire about their gallery space. Myself and other pals/students in the past have used the space for free, and they’re incredibly accommodating and the staff are lovely. Although it is not the prettiest space in the world, I fully back them as the perfect place to exhibit for us skint students trying to find somewhere to showcase our works)
POSTER: The last exhibition I went to at the Brunswick, Leeds featuring a exhibition/zine launch by Broth Tarn and it was well good.
5. LITERALLY JUST TALK TO PEOPLE. ONLINE OR OFFLINE. MAKE SURE THEY KNOW WHAT YOU’RE ABOUT, SON.
Talk to people that are interested in your work. Talk to people that interest you and your work. Spark up conversations. Message/Email photographers. Ask people questions. Learn. JUST BUILD CONNECTIONS FOR FUCK SAKE TO BUILD THIS WONDERFUL COMMUNITY OF HAPPY AND ACTIVELY ENGAGED YOUNG PHOTOGRAPHERS. WOULDN’T THAT BE LOVELY!