How I Share My Photos
I share my mobile photography with a variety of online social networks. While you may choose to focus on one location, I prefer to spread my images far and wide using a mixture of Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (Figure 46).
Figure 46. The four social networks I focus on are Instagram, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.
Each of these platforms is unique, with its own feature set and demographic. My followers on Instagram respond differently to a post than my followers on Google+. Over the years, I have learned which images work best for which platforms, and what time of day is the best to post. It is good practice to pay attention to the social networks you regularly post to and find your own strategies for success.
Understanding Instant Upload
Many social platforms—such as Google+, Facebook, and even Dropbox—now allow you to instantly upload every mobile image you take to their respective networks. While most allow you to decide if you want to upload images only when you are connected to Wi-Fi, you can also choose to upload using your cell service, meaning that your photos are available for you to share right away.
It is important to note that no one can see these images. They are simply uploaded to a private location on the network. This is a handy feature to have enabled if you ever lose your phone, as all of your images will be stored online. I upload all my mobile images to all three major services. It makes sharing images even easier (especially while on the road), and it is always nice to have the peace of mind that I will never lose a shot.
Figure 47. On Facebook, the service is called Photo Syncing; turn it on via the settings menu.
Figure 48. The Google+ Instant Upload settings are near the bottom of the main Google+ settings menu.
Figure 49. Although not a social network, Dropbox is used by many professionals for storing personal and business data. Now you can use it to store your mobile images as well.
Think of Google+ as the digital membrane that ties all Google products together. Google+ now ties into Android, Gmail, Google Calendar, YouTube, Google Maps, and many other Google services. On top of that, it has a thriving and engaging photography community that loves sharing and consuming content. The Google+ mobile application is arguably the best of all of the social networks, as it has a very fluid user interface that puts an emphasis on the visuals—meaning your images will look good, even when viewed on another mobile device.
Follow these step-by-step instructions to post a photo to Google+.
In the Google+ app, tap the Photo icon in the navigation bar at the bottom of your screen.
You should now see a number of image thumbnails. These images have already been uploaded to Google+ through the Instant Upload feature. To share a photo that is not already in your Instant Upload folder, tap the first thumbnail, titled Camera.
Select the image(s) you wish to share; a blue check mark will appear above each selected photo. When you are ready, press Done in the upper-right corner of your screen.
You are now in the Publish Post box on the Google+ mobile app. Choose the Google+ circles (groups of users you follow) you wish to share to. If you want your image(s) to be visible to everyone, select the Public circle.
Fill out the description box for your post. Know that all public posts on Google+ show up in Google search results, so include any necessary keywords in your post to get more eyes on your images.
If you’re still in the place where you took the photo, you can also attach a GPS location to your post. This feature is limited, however, as it has a short radius of functionality. For example, if I am in Denver when I post an image I took in San Francisco, I would not be able to geo-tag it.
Tap the Share button in the upper-right corner of your screen to publish your image to Google+.
Auto Enhance and Auto Awesome
Hidden inside the Google+ settings menu are two great features that can improve the quality of the images and content you share.
- Auto Enhance. Allows Google+ to analyze your photos as you upload them. It then optimizes the brightness, contrast, details, noise, and focus to help the image pop and stand out. Having this feature on will not overwrite the original images you upload. You can also turn it on or off once an image has been uploaded.
- Auto Awesome. Allows Google+ to pull anywhere from 5 to 50 images together to form an animated GIF, HDR, panorama, or photo booth–style image that you can share. Just upload the images together, and Google+ will do the rest for you.
When you think of social networks, Facebook is generally number one. Why? It is by far the largest social network on the Internet, with well over a billion users across the globe. Many photographers have found success with Facebook—especially event, wedding, and portrait photographers, where the viral nature of sharing content with friends and family really comes into play.
Facebook has worked hard to create a more compelling mobile app, but although it is faster and more efficient than before, it still falls behind the aesthetics of the Google+ Android app.
Follow these step-by-step instructions to post a photo to Facebook.
In the Facebook app, tap the Photo button in the navigation bar near the top of your screen.
You should now see a number of image thumbnails. These are images that have already been uploaded to Facebook.
Select the image(s) you wish to share. Selected images gain a green check mark. You can also easily tag something anywhere in a selected image by tapping it. When you are ready, press the blue Compose icon in the lower-right corner.
You are now in the Compose Post box on the Facebook mobile app. Enter any text you want to accompany your post. The five icons at the bottom of the screen allow you to (from left to right) tag someone in a post; select the location where the photo was taken; add additional photos to the post; select the album the image should be placed in; and choose who to make your post visible to. When you are ready, press the blue Post button in the upper-right corner.
When it comes to mobile social interaction, Twitter is considered by many to be king of the hill. This mostly comes down to the 140-character limit for a Tweet, which not so coincidentally is the exact limit for a text message. Twitter has become a hot spot for the discovery of breaking news, and it provides direct communication pathways between consumers and companies. Twitter uses hashtags to help you search for keywords in a tweet. They are indicated by the hashtag symbol (#), as in #coloradophotography or #sunset.
As a photographer, I use Twitter as an incredibly simple, albeit limiting, means to share an image or other content with my followers. No more worrying about what to say in a two-paragraph introduction to a Facebook post, as I have only 140 characters to tell my story.
Follow these step-by-step instructions to post a photo to Twitter.
In the Twitter app, tap the Compose icon in the navigation bar at the top of your screen.
You will now see the first stage of your Tweet. Press the Gallery icon at the bottom of the screen.
Press the Camera thumbnail to bring up a scrolling list of your images. Select the image you wish to share by tapping it.
Inside Twitter, you can edit any images you upload. At the bottom of the screen are the icons for, from left to right, Auto Enhance, Filters, and Move and Scale. Once you have applied adjustments, press the white Apply button in the upper-right corner.
Add text to accompany your tweet, and don’t forget to include any necessary hashtags. Keep an eye on the character counter at the top of the screen. The link to your photo will take up a set amount of characters, so you will need to try to make it all fit. When you are ready, tap the blue Tweet button.
If you are looking for an easygoing social network to share your mobile images, look no further than Instagram. After having been around for less than 18 months, the mobile photo-sharing network was purchased by Facebook for a billion dollars. If Facebook is willing to spend that amount of cash on Instagram, you know it was for a reason. At the time of this writing, Instagram has over 100 million active users and is still growing strong. Since the platform is geared toward simple forms of interaction (you can only like or comment on a photo) and every image is limited to a perfectly square image ratio, it’s easy to jump in headfirst and start having some fun.
Like Twitter, Instagram utilizes hashtags, allowing you to add keywords to any image you post and, hopefully, helping others find the content you are sharing. The key is to make sure they’re relevant—don’t use the hashtag #australia on a photo taken in Chicago.
Follow these step-by-step instructions to post a photo to Instagram.
In the Instagram app, tap the blue camera icon in the middle of the navigation bar at the bottom of your screen.
Take a photo, or tap the Gallery icon in the lower-right corner.
In the Gallery, select the Camera album, find the photo you wish to share, and tap it.
Because Instagram requires all images to have a 1:1 square ratio, you now have to decide how you want to crop the image you selected. Once you are satisfied with the crop, press the blue double-arrows in the upper-right corner.
Edit your image using Instagram’s built-in features. At the bottom of the screen, you will find the image editing presets; scroll to the right, because there are 14 in all. At the top of the screen are the icons for, from left to right, Border, Blur, Lux, and Rotate. When you have completed your image edits, tap the blue double-arrows in the upper-right corner.
On the Share Photo page, you have a number of options. Enter any text, including any hashtags you want to include with your Instagram post. Then add any people or company brand pages that might be included in your shot. If you are on location, you can add the GPS coordinates of your photo by pressing the black box in the Add to Photo Map field. Lastly, you can choose to upload your photo to any of the following networks while you upload it to Instagram: Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Twitter, and Foursquare. When you are ready to share your photo, press the green check mark in the upper-right corner.