Tag Archives: Photo sharing

5 Excellent Image Sharing and Discovery Tools

22 Oct

Over the past few years of exploring art and developing my own creations through Instagram and smartphone apps like Hipstamatic and Dynamic Light, I’ve come to appreciate the merits of different websites for purposes of expression and curation. Here’s a look at my top 5.

On each of these sites I house some variation of images I make, and I also explore them daily for inspiration. Following is my take on what makes each special and how I get the most from them with their unique characteristics:

500px: The Premiere Gallery

Check me out on 500pxI use 500px.com exclusively to house all my photomontage art. It has the fastest, cleanest, and overall best display, where the focus is on the art with the community and everything else coming after that. There’s a simple mechanism for favoriting, liking and commenting if that’s what you’re into, but primarily the site is about experiencing the art, and there’s generally more refined content than other image-sharing websites. http://500px.com/rsmithing

Pinterest: Mass Consumption Imagery

Check me out on PinterestPinterest is where I tap into a huge image-appreciating community, sharing my montages and other creations that happen along the way on a board called “My Creations.” Not everything there is totally fleshed out, but it’s decent enough to be on display, and interesting enough to repin and share across other boards. lt’s more transient and fleeting than other venues, but feedback in the form of repins and likes helps keep me interested. Plus, I follow a ton of cool boards there along the likes of what I produce, so it’s great visual candy for when the mood to browse strikes, or if I just want to curate some dreamy images or other photomontageshttp://pinterest.com/rsmithing/my-creations

Instagram: Keeping Things Fun

Check me out on InstagramIt’s funny; Instagram is what got me started on this journey of creation and exploration, yet it’s not the ultimate destination for me that it once was. Don’t get me wrong; I find and enjoy many great creations there, but I don’t share my most refined stuff there. The site has so quickly become so saturated, complete with spam and terms of service issues, leading me to keep a certain kind of profile there, and that’s fine. I’ll occasionally post a fully completed photomontage, but I tend to keep it light and more experimental on Instagram. http://instagram.com/rsmithing

Flickr: The Mother Lode

Check me out on FlickrFor me, Flickr has truly evolved into a fantastic tool and a force to be reckoned with. My photostream there is a hodgepodge of montages, original source material, experiments, and a running log of stuff that may or may not fall into any of these categories or even see the light of day. I’ve had a Flickr account for many years, but have only recently delved into the full experience it offers – chiefly because it’s such an excellent tool to share Instagram images on Pinterest and other sites like Tumblr. Plus, you can’t beat its sets/galleries/collections organization, curated groups, favorites browsing and full-size resolution viewing options. http://flickr.com/rsmithing

Tumblr: A Curated Garden

Check me out on TumblrAnd finally, there’s Tumblr, the place where I highlight everything I like, pin and favorite on all these sites, mainly through automation and RSS feeds via ifttt.com, but also through the occasional upload and reblogging of something cool I come across there. It’s taken me a while to get into Tumblr, but I’ve found a ton of great stuff there and have managed to be featured at some cool Tumblr-based blogs like Lensblr and Minus Manhattan, which is always a great feeling, reaching folks with an interest in the kind of art I like to make. http://rsmithing.tumblr.com

What do you think? Do you employ different websites along the same reasons but for different executions? Are you on any image sharing websites? Have you heard of these already, and what’s your experience been like on them? Let us hear from you in the comments.
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Link Instagram and Pinterest with Flickr

9 May
Flickr to Facebook: I'll see your Instagram and raise you a Pinterest

Flickr to Facebook: I’ll see your Instagram and raise you a Pinterest. Photo by Courtney Patubo / edit by rsmithing. Click for full size.

Flickr to Facebook: I’ll see your Instagram and raise you a Pinterest

Hot on the heels of my post on using Pinterest for Instagram images with sites like Gramfeed, Flickr has made this even easier by including Pinterest as an option under the “Share” menu at the top left of any Flickr image. And the best part is, all photos are automatically attributed to the owner – including all photos ever previously pinned from Flickr!

Pinterest for Flickr

This is HUGE, because not only does it mean easy and proper posting from a site with millions of great images, but also it makes posting from Instagram easy as well, since Instagram users can easily link their accounts to post to Flickr when uploading at Instagram.

I personally only started using Flickr seriously as a result of Instagram’s integration, and I now swear by it as a great tool for managing your images with some neat social functionality thrown in. It’s highly customizable, easy to use, and a great value whether you subscribe for free or have a Pro account.

Just two steps gets any Flickr image on your Pinterest board. Click for full details at Flickr’s blog.

Bottom Line: Flickr Gets It Right… First

Maybe they were too busy being bought by Facebook to notice, but the folks at Instagram missed out on being the first major image sharing site to hook up so seamlessly with Pinterest. I’m fairly sure that day is coming, since Instagram already integrates with Twitter, Tumblr, Posterous, Foursquare, and of course, Flickr, but given the competitiveness in Silicon Valley these days, it’s not a given.

Pinterest’s growth is impossible to ignore, and Flickr did the right thing by integrating easily with the site. Rather than interfere with its own goals, this makes an already great platform like Flickr even better.

I don’t work for Flickr, but if you haven’t checked it out – and especially if you want to pin your Instagram images like a boss – definitely give Flickr a look… even if only to find cool images for your Pinterest Boards.

Impress your friends: share this on Twitter!

What do you think? Do you use Flickr in conjunction with Instagram? Do you use Pinterest and have you pinned Flickr images there? What has that been like? Will you be trying this now that Flickr makes it easy to share images originating on Instagram? Let us hear from you in the comments!

Pinterest for Instagram Images

24 Apr

S I N C E   U P D A T E D – You might also like:
>> Link Instagram and Pinterest with Flickr <<


How to post Instagram Images on Pinterest

how to use pinterest with instagramYou probably already know that Instagram and Instagram-web-interface sites like Gramfeed are great tools for discovering amazing images, sharing your own creations and connecting with others through visual art. And you’ve probably also heard about the social and image-sharing website Pinterest, with its incredible growth as another medium for sharing and discovering based on compelling visuals.

Here’s a basic guide to using Instagram and Pinterest together that will help you share what you like on Instagram with others on Pinterest. This also will show you some best practices for crediting Instagram artists for their work, which is not only proper etiquette for Pinterest, but is the right thing to do whenever sharing any artwork anywhere.

If you find this useful, share it on Twitter — thanks!

There are already plenty of resources on how Pinterest works beyond the scope of what’s covered here, so this post will assume you have a basic understanding of Pinterest and an account there.

Post Instagram to Pinterest?

Can you pin pictures from instagram? Absolutely. To link Instagram to Pinterest is just a matter of selecting what to share, and pinning the right way. Now, let’s get started sharing the great images you already like on Instagram at Pinterest, with the help of Gramfeed.

Use Gramfeed & Always Give Credit

Gramfeed is not only a great way to participate on Instagram via the web, but it also gives you a convenient way to share and properly credit Instagram images on Pinterest. And it’s easier than you might think, for your own images as well as those of other Instagramers. Just follow these five steps:

  1. Open the image at full size to pin on Pinterest.

    Open the image at full size to pin on Pinterest.

    Browse in Gramfeed to a photo of your own you’d like to pin, or photos you have liked. “My Likes” in Gramfeed’s top menu is a good place to start — since you already like those images.

  2. Click on the photo you would like to share on Pinterest to open it at full-size view.
  3.  

  4. VERY IMPORTANT –  Pin directly from the image’s Gramfeed page. Just click the red “Pin it” button in the lower right corner on the image’s page.

    EASIEST WAY TO PIN IMAGES FROM INSTAGRAM: Using Gramfeed, just click on the photo you like and click the “Pin It” button to the lower right of the image. Select a board, and pin away. Click for larger view.

     

    Do NOT just pin the small thumbnail images from the list page using the Pinterest tool you may have installed on your browser. If you only share from a page of small preview images, the links associated with your pins will not work, and Pinterest viewers can’t click through to the original sources. By sharing from the full-size image page, visitors can click through your pin to the artist’s actual page, thus giving the proper credit to the owner – while also showing a beautiful full-sized image instead of a small preview. This is important, since larger images get more repins on Pinterest.

    If you pin this way, you're doing it wrong. Artists won't get credit and images will be way small.

     

  5. Finally, to give proper credit where it is due, I suggest you copy the artist name from their photo page and then paste that into the comments box of your pin with something like, “From Instagram by Instagramer-name-here.” You will then have given full credit to the artist whose work you are sharing, and lessen the chance that others may accuse you of stealing or taking credit for someone else’s work. Here’s an example of how I’m doing this with my own Pinterest board I’m calling “Instagram Magic.” Note how all images link to the creators of the images and mention them on the pins.

Bonus Points: since Pinterest is more fun and you will gain more followers by interacting, try to say a few words about what it is that makes the photo special to you. Do you like the contrast, subject matter, or apps used? Say so in the comments when you’re giving credit and ask others what they think. Pretty soon, you’re likely to get comments and start discussions with other like-minded folks on the site.

Pinterest Boards for Instagram Categories

Pinterest is a great way to categorize images you find on Instagram. Just do a search in Gramfeed for a subject you’re passionate about, then set up a new board when pinning those images (while always giving credit). Do this a few times, and before you know it, you’ll have several visually-rich Pinterest boards with your favorite images, and you’ll be establishing yourself as a Pinterest pro.

What do you think? Are you on Pinterest and/or Instagram? Do you have any suggestions on how to share images through Pinterest? Let us hear from you in the comments!

3 Instagram Alternatives: Beyond Facebook’s Instabillion Buy

9 Apr
Disturbance In The Force

Join me and together we will rule the galaxy!

Did anyone else sense a disturbance in The Force recently?

You may have heard the news: Facebook Buys Instagram for $1 BillionMoves Operations to Secret Volcano LairIgnites Hipster Outrage.

I’m not afraid to say I love Instagram, and I anticipate continuing to enjoy it as a casual consumer for some time to come. It’s opened up a world of mobile photography and photo editing via smartphone that I never would have considered before. It’s been just enough of a social network to add engagement and hold my attention, while also making it easy and rewarding to discover some great images and have fun interacting with fun people.

I personally am encouraged by this news, since there’s only so much Instagram’s 13-person operation is capable of, and since their monthly hosting bill alone must equal the GDP of a small country. I think having the vast resources of Facebook will ease more growing pains than it will create, and I don’t plan to change how I use either service, for now anyway.

Instagram’s New HQ (rumored)

That said, this opens up all kinds of questions about whether your Instagram content is now Facebook’s content, if Instagram will now have ads, or if the whole Instagram experience goes down the tubes.

Whatever.

I’m not so concerned, because, simply, Instagram is not the only show in town. It’s service is one of the most streamlined, accessible, and, ironically, the most connected with other networks. I think that’s ironic because it’s these other networks that offer so much of what Instagram already does: easy photo sharing, mobile apps, and interaction with like-minded folks. They also come with web interfaces – something you only get for Instagram through 3rd-party sites like Gramfeed or Statigr.am.

These other networks might not have filters at the ready, but most of my photos don’t even use Instagram filters, since there are so many apps far more capable of turning everyday snapshots into appreciable art. And once you’ve become handy with some photo editing apps that suit your taste, here are three other photo-sharing networks to consider:

If you find this useful, share it on Twitter — thanks!

Flickr

While more general-purpose and slightly more complicated to use than other networks, Flickr is a fantastic value (2 videos and 300MB worth of photos each calendar month for free accounts) and has a very robust web interface for organizing your images. You can use collections, sets, adjust privacy levels for each, and plenty more. Just like Instagram, there’s commenting, favorites (likes), followers (contacts), groups, but then there’s still more beyond that. And they have a wacky sense of humor (big points from me for that). The Flickr mobile app is also a great way to browse images and see those of your contacts.

Hopefully, this could be the business model Facebook anticipates, where the service is practically independent from its parent: much-beloved Flickr is thriving, unlike much-cursed Yahoo. It might take a little more searching to find arty pics here, but it’s worth a look if that’s your thing. If mobile art specifically is your thing, you might like…

iPhoneArt.com

Designed by artists for artists, iPhoneArt.com has an inherent elegance to the interface, both on the site and the mobile app. Full disclosure: I’ve been featured as artist of the day there, but as I’ve noted earlier, it tends to make Instagram look like MySpace, since one major distinguishing feature is that you can only upload five photos per day. So they’d better be good. You won’t find the deluge of mediocre snapshots all over the place highlighted for their so-called popularity, but you will find a talented community of creative folk who are into pushing the limits of what can be done with mobile photography as art. If art beyond the mobile platform is what you’re after, you might like…

DeviantArt

No, liking it doesn’t make you a deviant (let’s hope), but DeviantArt does offer an enthusiastic community and tons of content, all sortable and searchable depending on what your interest may be. DeviantArt is truly a social network for creatives, with a slant toward the artistic. There’s not a specific app, but that’s a non-issue, since their ultra-slick mobile-friendly version of the site gives you the same experience and functionality as the full-site version.

I’m already on Instagram; Why Reinvent the Wheel?

Good point. You don’t have to abandon ship. And I, especially, am not eager to learn a new photo-sharing interface just because of an acquisition – heck, I just recently figured out Pinterest. But one thing to consider is that unlike many other photo sharing apps or networks, these particular examples are very well-established – either in terms of how long they’ve been around, the depth of experience they offer, dedicated user base… or any combination of these and other factors that are of proven appeal to many Instagramers.

So if you think the party is over for our beloved Instagram, have a look at these other, less-likely-to-be-purchased-by-Facebook networks serving up their own style of social art.

What do you think of Facebook’s Instapurchase? Are you already on one or more of these networks? What has your experience there been like vs. Instagram? Is there another network (not app, but network) you would recommend? Let us hear from you in the comments!

iPhoneArt.com – the Next Level of Mobile Photo Sharing

5 Feb

As a fan and avid user of several photo sharing websites for years, I’ve been around the block when it comes to quality of work, features, and ease of use of these online communities, especially as of late with my interest in the area of mobile photography growing into a full-blown obsession (in a good way). Sites and apps I’m most familiar with are Instagram, Statigr.am, Flickr, DeviantArt, Fotki, and now I’m happy to add to that list with iPhoneArt.com.

I'm a Featured Artist of The Day at iPhoneArt.com

I’m a Featured Artist of The Day at iPhoneArt.com – A great site, and not just because they feature moi.

Full Disclosure: They Have Excellent Taste

It so happens that I have been a featured iPhoneArtist of the day on the site 🙂 which is a total honor for me, considering the quality and vastness of most iPA featured artists. I do this for my own enjoyment and expression, so that someone of some authority sees fit to recognize it as exemplary or interesting to others — well, that’s a huge compliment I’m very grateful for.

That said, I was a fan of the site well before being featured. The site recently released a companion app for the iPhone, which I find more enjoyable the more I use it. Here’s what I wrote to that effect in my second-ever app review:

Makes Instagram look like MySpace
Click for larger view - text is at leftDon’t get me wrong; I absolutely love IG (and loved MySpace back in the day), but I’m digging iPhoneArt as an alternative experience. There are no filters, so it’s up to you to create something artistic either with a solid photo or though editing via other apps. The “popular” page content here is considerably more art-based. And the interface is bare-bones, elegant, just enough. There’s also a fully functional website interface with organization through sets and such. Altogether, I see IPA as a relevant, enjoyable evolution in the mobile art sharing experience.

Is the app perfect? No. Is the site as feature-rich as it possibly could be? Of course not. But that’s to be expected with any new platform. The features and enhancements will come. But what about the art? Well, now… this is where iPhoneArt.com really shines. It lives up to the name wonderfully.

For one thing, it was designed by artists for artists, so there’s an inherent elegance to the interface, both on the site and the app. Also, you can only upload five photos per day. So they’d better be good. You won’t find the deluge of mediocre snapshots all over the place and highlighted for their popularity the way you might on, say, other sites. And the whole community there is indeed very creative. Just browse the site and you’ll see.

Seriously, don’t just take my word for it. Have a look at these screenshots from the app and then go download it and visit the site for yourself.

iPhoneArt.com app available for free at iTunes

Galleries, faves, & searches — oh, my! Search in iTunes for “ipa: the mobile art network” to download for iPhone.

Again, I’ll state: I still love Instagram. I’ll still use and endorse it for general sharing and discovery. And I’ll still use Flickr for mass-scale storage and organization of the bulk of my images. And along with those sites, I now I have a home for the arty shots I’m most happy with, and a growing community of like-minded folk to discover and share with.

My sincerest thanks to the folks at iPhoneArt.com for featuring me, and for developing such an enjoyable site and app. I am truly honored.

What do you think? Do you have a preferred photo sharing platform? Do you use different photo sharing sites differently? Is this just a fad, or is this truly opening up a creative world to more people with the rise of smart phones and apps? Let us hear from you in the comments!
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