Facebook is the new stamping ground for up and coming young photographers. Together with Flickr, the combination is quite deadly. We wade through these sites to pick the photographers from the fauxtographers, and encounter these gems. They’re all young students, and they’ve been smart enough to make social media their main platform for publicity. Here they speak to us about social media, copyright thieves, jealous boyfriends, and being bitten by the shutterbug.
On choosing social media as the outlet for their photography, all four photographers maintain that it is the best, and cheapest means for a bit of publicity. “Most of my gigs come from people who see my pictures online,” says Charith, adding that his blog hits keep increasing day by day due to this as well. Charith will upload an album of each photo shoot onto his Octane Heads page, and then post links to it on automobile groups and fan pages. “I know my audience, so I know where to publicise,” he says. Dylan Seedin uses Facebook to upload pictures, but prefers to keep it professional with his own website dylanseedin.com. “As a photographer, Facebook definitely helps me to get exposure, but I want to maintain a certain level of professionalism and I don’t believe Facebook gives me that.”
For Migara, nothing beats Flickr when it comes to sharing his pictures. “Facebook sets a limit on picture capacity, so we have to crop and fit it into that frame,’ he says ruefully. “Flickr is much more supportive to photographers.” This is a sentiment that the other photographers seem to share.
Charith also finds photo-blogging a great way to reach out to his audience. For instance, when he did what is known as a ‘rolling shoot’ in the vehicle photography world (taking pictures of vehicles while they’re on the move), he found it easier to describe the shoot step by step on Blogspot.For Joel, editing pictures starts with the rim finder. ‘I will obviously add finishing touches to my pictures, but I would never alter it beyond recognition.’ He believes that if you’re a talented photographer, you will have the perfect shot at the click, not three days later after intense Photoshop.
This is on the subject of the growing trend of editing pictures until they’re so altered the subject can’t recognize themselves-sad, but increasingly common on social media. Migara is first to acknowledge that Flickr is a great place to be if you’re looking to improve. ‘For instance, I’m into wildlife photography, and whenever I take pictures like that, I will share it with other wildlife photographers, and they will always comment with constructive criticism and positive feedback.
Not all feedback is helpful, however. “Occasionally, I do get the odd person commenting on a picture with nothing but insults,” Dylan rolls his eyes. ‘I’ve lost count of the number of times guys have messaged me or commented on pictures asking why I’ve taken pictures of their ex/girlfriend, and to stay away!’Sometimes, they make some social media bloopers as well. ‘Some people don’t like it when you upload pictures of their event,’ he says.
‘So you learn to consult with them before making them public. It’s about ethics.” On the subject of ethics, copyright infringement still remains the biggest drawback of social media for these guys. ‘I’ve seen my pictures up on other sites often,’ says Charith. ‘Often though, it’s just a matter of contacting them and nicely asking them to take it down or credit you.’‘But sometimes, things get nasty.’
Dylan sighs. ‘People will take your pictures, cut out the watermark, and upload them as their own. It’s a serious threat to our profession when things like that happen.’Migara says he uploads pictures with a clearly visible watermark. Dylan often tries to incorporate it into the lower middle side of a picture.
Joel says it would be nice if journalist-friends contact and ask for permission before using their pictures on print. ‘At least give us a credit!’ he smiles.These are just a few among the new generation of photographers-smart, talented and social-media savvy.
Migara Wijesinghe is into the abstract. Going into the photographic equivalent of Picasso can be a challenge, and he uses Flickr to manage things.
Find him here -flckr.com/photos/migaraclickshots and on Facebook (facebook.com/migara.wijesinghe)
Joel Isaac is the quintessential metal-head. His photos are a reflection of the music that inspires him. A self-confessed lover of clicking away at night-time, Joel can be found at facebook.com/joel.p.isaac
Charith Kulasiri loves cars with a passion, so it’s no surprise he finds them the most photogenic things around him! Find him on facebook.com/octane-heads-sri-lanka and on Blogspot (octaneheads.blogspot.com)
Dylan Seedin sees beauty in every person. His pictures are a cure for an eye sore. Full of light and joy, they bring out the best in his subject. Find him on Facebook (facebook.com/dylan.seedin) or visit his website on dylanseedin.com