Title: Shoot and Share by Stuart Sipahigil
Available at Craft and Vision, www.craftandvision.com
As photographers, we are constantly capturing the world around us; be it for personal pleasure, or commercial projects. But how do we follow through and make our art accessible to the general public? Too often, great images are left forgotten in shoe boxes and on hard drives. Stuart Sipahigil’s eBook “Shoot + Share” sheds light on this dilemma.
Sipahigil points to the digital age as a catalyst for the explosion of photo sharing and has written this book to share his thoughts on the various avenues available to photographers (both amateur and professional) from simple photo sharing to blogging. With the myriad of choices available, he focuses the reader’s attention onto some of the pertinent questions one should ask in order to determine which options would work best for your self-promotion.
The first question Sipahigil looks at is the Why? Beyond the sharing of memories with family and friends, what is the driving force behind the sharing of imagery? He suggests that for some, it would be to evoke a reaction; while others may wish to have their work reviewed and so grow from the experience, or even build a client base.
The second question is Who? (pondering the audience to whom the reader may wish to subject his work). Besides connecting with people you already know, Sipahigil suggests that photographers use social media and photo sharing platforms to engage with other creatives, so as to build a network and get feedback from their peers. However, the author points at pitfalls in the latter, as criticisms from photo sharing sites are often less than constructive. For those making a career of photography, the most important audience is – of course – the client.
The author proposes that photographers utilise the knowledge of the audience they wish to attract in order to determine which images to display in the portfolio. He points at the importance of editing skills in making a final selection and advises that failure to remove yourself from your work may require a reliable and experienced third party to help in this regard.
The greater part of the book focuses on the Where? (to help determine which venues the artist’s particular audience may visit). Sipahigil goes on to explain the difference between social networks such as Facebook and Twitter and online photo sharing platforms like Flickr. He also covers other options including: blogging, hosted sites and building your own website. By sharing links and website addresses for all of the platforms discussed, the author has created a valuable set of resources in this book.
While the focus of the book is clearly on online options, the writer still encourages the reader to consider printed media; be it as a printed portfolio, photo book, or public display and discusses various options surrounding each of these.
In conclusion, Sipahigil advices that you continually evaluate your choices in sharing; keeping abreast with the latest developments in online portfolios and constantly reviewing the traffic and feedback from the selected sources to ascertain whether there is value in your efforts to create an online presence. Sipahigil himself seems to have opted for posting on his own site and using social media to socialize and drive traffic to his website. With fewer pages to update, this may well leave more time for that which really interests us: photography.
Review by Natalie Field