Friday, 31 December 2010

A photographer made a plan!

Back on 1 February I made a long post entitled "Social networking? A photographer make a plan.....". I thought I'd go back and review it.

First thing to jump out of me is that I left an 's' out of the title. 'Makes a plan' is much better - but leaving that aside what exactly has gone on?.

Going straight to the end of the post, Photoshelter did something about the lack of print provider in the UK and in September I decided to dive in and do just what I only regarded as a possibility and that was to centre my web presence on a Photoshelter site which you now see at lighttouch.photoshelter.com.

The time and effort in setting this up has dominated the last quarter. That and setting up house in Brighton after a move down here from London. So there's been the knock on effects of sorting that move out on the web too. But what happened to all that social networking?

The blog - Well, here I am. Tick.

Twitter - this blog should be automatically tweeted. Tick.

Facebook - 'Fan Page' or is it "Facebook page" too. Tick.

Linkedin - Still a mystery, but hanging on in there....

Flickr - With Photoshelter on tap, this is social networking too far. Untick.

I wrote "if I don't get one new client directly recruited from the Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn axis then I'll be very disappointed". Well, there's a fail on that score. But it's easy to see that I did not give myself a chance because although I wrote the post in February I did nothing substantial about it until after I moved to Brighton and set up the Photoshelter site in September.

One can be too contrived about social networking. The professional tweeters are turn offs; but yes, I know they can be my friend. I've a sound base but I know that I need to do much more.

Here's to 2011!

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Saatchi Online and other blasts from the past

I have just discovered a portfolio belonging to Scott Hortop at the Saatchi Online gallery. It's not really a portfolio - it's two images...

Yet another long forgotten outpost for my work! It's moved on and got a lot slicker than when I last looked at it. I'm unsure what to make of it for the future but like many others needing updating I've now established myself at my new location in Brighton and updated the link that was to my long lost website at scottyh.com to the newer one at Light Touch.

Then there's Scott Hortop at Acclaim Images, a portfolio of stock images that looks to be faded and needs to be tidied up.

It's a bit lazy not to have dealt with such stuff previously - it just serves to confuse search engines and even.... people!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Photos of Bath - updated

Before today the Bath photos in my photo library were languishing rather - only 4 and considering there's a home page link to those images that's a bit of a pathetic showing. Anyway, I've started to do something about that and pushed on there now a bunch more images.


That of course is the Royal Crescent. So far I've more or less been sticking with the big sights, but there's more to come along.

So why is a Brighton photographer setting up a Bath photo gallery? Well. my son happens to be at University there and I visit often enough to build up a useful library of images. Similarly my daughter is in Birmingham - now only a few photos but expect a grittier collection of images to be uploaded for that city soon!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Artwork on the beach at Aldeburgh, Suffolk




A large scale sculpture on the beach at Aldeburgh, Suffolk - "Scallop" was conceived by Maggi Hambling and made by Aldeburgh craftsmen Sam and Dennis Pegg. Despite it being (to me)so impressive, it has been the subject of some controversy for being out of place, disturbing the otherwise continuous sweep of pebble beach on the Suffolk coats away from the town of Aldeburgh.

See other photos from the UK coast at Light Touch.

Photos from Burning the Clocks - Brighton 2010

Burning the Clocks was cancelled last year because of the weather, but surprisingly a window opened and in 2010 the parade went ahead. Good thing because this is my first Christmas in Brighton and this Winter Solstice celebration is something to write home about.

Sadly I had to miss the big burning on the beach. Perhaps next year.


Photos from Burning the Clocks, Brighton 2010

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Party photos, familiar territory, new methods

Here's a few images from my most recent company party shoot on a boat on the Thames in London about a week ago. The request was for photos in the relatively short period between guests arriving and the time that they sat down to eat, so to maximise imact I worked with my usual co-photographer Meeyoung Son.

I set up a gallery of the images which were available on the Monday morning when they returned to work. Guests were able to download images to share online or create their own prints. For maximum convenience they also had the option to directly order images online.

This was the first time that I'd used my photoshelter library site to deliver photos. It seems to have worked without a hitch. See the link below for the wider party photography portfolio and details of the packages I now make available.



Party photographers - Light Touch

Thursday, 16 December 2010

The rewards of photographing a different generation

Those familiar with my work will notice quite a few photos of young people, in education or partying, so it's a little different to be asked to shoot at a care home for the elderly. In the end the approach that I took was the same, trying to get people to relax, even forget I'm there, as opposed to organise them into place for my benefit.

It was not only the elderly - on the same day for the same organisation (OrioneCare) I also spent a short time at a home for individuals with learning difficulties. Some of the results from the shoot are gathered in the slideshow below.

This was a curiously rewarding experience. Firstly very few seemed to be camera shy. Secondly I was really pleased in both locations to observe a genuine caring relationship between the staff and those they cared for. And finally when I got home and saw the images I just could not help smiling.



Photos by Scott Hortop

Monday, 6 December 2010

Duplicating website content - always a bad idea

This is a slighly techie post for photographers with sites at Photoshelter but may also be of interest to anyone who thinks that putting up two identical sites at different domains is a good idea. (It's not).

Google has an easy way of sorting out people who put up the same content in two or more different web domains - it simply chooses to ignore one of them and index the other.

That may be a little over simplified but in effect that is what happens. I've just been careless and stumbled into the position of setting up duplicate websites without appreciating what is going on.

How? Well, in using Photoshelter.com to set up a website at their sub-domain lighttouch.photoshelter.com and then using a facility that they provide to run the site from my own domain at library.lighttouchimages.co.uk, I omitted to observe (or get told), that lighttouch.photoshelter.com would continue to exist as a complete duplicate of library.lighttouchimages.co.uk.

There are many other photographers in this position (using a CNAME to run a site off their own domain or sub-domain) and several may be wondering why their efforts to get their sites noticed by Google are not yielding the results they should.

Simplifying something which is no doubt very complicated, Google quite sensibly detects that photoshelter.com is a far bigger and more authoritative presence on the web than my little site lighttouchimages.co.uk. It would also note that almost immediately after hitting library.lighttouchimages.co.uk the links on that site direct traffic to lighttouch.photoshelter.com.

So behaving as any rational robot backed by an algorithm would, it pays attention to the pages at lighttouch.photoshelter.com and more or less ignores the pages at library.lighttouchimages.co.uk.

The upshot is that most of the work put in by photographers to help with a site's Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a waste of time. There could be more issues issues, but if there are others, I believe this will still be the biggest.

Why? Photoshelter educates photographers to link to their sites from blogs, social media such a Facebook and garner links from third party sites. It kindly sets up gizmos to make this a bit easier. It provides the ready made links too - but those links are directed to the photographer's own domain, (in my case library.lighttouchimages.co.uk), the site which Google is most likely to ignore!

So in the end the photographer's efforts mean little or nothing. Some traffic still goes to the site hosted at photoshelter, because the photoshelter.com domain is indexed by Google without a duplication penalty, but there could be much more traffic if the SEO efforts were directed at those photoshelter.com pages.

It seems that this is something that Photoshelter, in all their SEO wisdom, should be smarter about. It seems to me they could do one of two things:

1) Educate photographers about the existing situation: perhaps photographers should do what I have just done and make sure that all inward links go to the photoshelter.com sub-domain (I've gone through all the links I can find amending them)

2) Set up the domain at photoshelter.com so that Google is told to treat the photographer's domain as the site to have precedence. Those that know more about this than I do say this is is apparently possible but this seems to have been either overlooked or for some reason not adopted by Photoshelter.

I've raised this issue on the forums at Photoshelter and in doing so learnt some more about how Photoshelter works, but in all the noise (I'm by no means the first to raise the issue) the issue seems to be lost. If and when it's sorted out I may have to redirect my links again, but at least now I'm in a bit more control of my SEO destiny while those who know about library.lighttouchimages.co.uk will continue to find a site there.

Friday, 3 December 2010

More snow in Brighton!

Living in the somewhat uncool sleepy neighbourhood of Bevendean does have its advantages and other than easy access to the city the other is easy access to the South Downs....







It was not far to this expanse on nothingness...



I've added these and several images to the East Sussex and Brighton and Hove galleries at my photo library

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Snowy Brighton scene

I went down to the Brighton beach yesterday armed with a 20 year old brick of a camera that runs on something called 'film'. I also had a wee digital with me and took a few with that and have now added some snowy Brighton scenes to the Brighton photo collection at my image library.