Don’t stress over your precious images

I have heard people say that they “don’t want to go near Pinterest because of their Terms of Service.” Hum, I thought. That’s your choice.

Pinterest’s terms of service (TOS) are shifting and changing frequently, by the way, so I can’t be sure which version anyone saw when they made that decision. The TOS on the site as of today are the most clearly presented I’ve ever seen. Pinterest has good graphic designers.

But later, I wondered. I run a site for a balloon twister. As a rule, event planners don’t exactly Search for these entertainers. They see a clown working one party, and they save the idea, and then they try to find the person they saw at the last event, and if they miss or lose the business card, they get whoever shows up in Google.
From a balloon twister’s point of view, being seen by an event planner, working parties in Pinterest, is almost the exact same thing as being seen working a real in-person event.

Ubi the Clown

Ubi the Clown’s Pinterest Account

What’s so bad about letting people copy your images, if you’re a balloon twister? You’ll be in the picture. Most balloon animals are stock items, known to all in the trade. Twisters have to be seen. Why not be seen in Pinterest? An image of a line of children waiting their turn for their own balloon animal, –what twisters call a “45-minute line? THAT’s good marketing!!

The problem, I believe, comes down to a mistaken evaluation of the dollar value of images.

Few pictures are “worth something.” The photographers who create images with resale value work VERY hard to market and sell them. I am not talking about professional photographers or their work in this post. I’m talking about pictures taken of balloon twisters at work entertaining children or convention-goers, when the photographer is the spouse or partner, and the camera fits in a pocket, and the lighting is ambient. What we used to call “snapshots.”

Understood, “Pinterest wants GOOD images,” but “good” is defined by your market. Trust me, the balloon twisting market will accept snapshots. If you’re marketing to the wedding crowd, God bless you; you need good photography. Child’s party planning? Not so much. You can go a long way with a well-planned snapshot. (Photoshop Elements helps. Crop. Crop. Crop.)

I can drive 100 visitors to a clown’s website because they saw a picture of him twisting balloons at a church picnic. If one of those people calls him and book a party, the picture is worth the party fee, which is 100% MORE than he would have been able to sell the image itself.

I don’t know about you, but I do not search the web so I can decorate my home with pictures of balloon twisters working at parties. For that matter, I don’t print and frame pictures of granite countertops, or place settings, or chimineas.

But really: what are you worried about losing if someone repins your image?

Caveat: I am NOT writing about professional photographers, fine artists, or jewelers, or anyone else whose work can be knocked off by a factory in China using only an image.

I’m talking to the balloon twister here. The professional seamstress selling steam punk. “They’ll copy my ideas.” Yeah, somebody will. But anyone who can sew that well would have copied them anyway once she saw the dress at RenFaire. Just as many might want to buy one for themselves, and they might find you through a good image on Pinterest.

So go ahead. Don’t put yourself in Pinterest. I can use all the lack-of-competition I can get.

Better Before and After Pins

I created a before-and-after pin to illustrate photo cropping for my Improve Pinterest Images post. In order to manage the way text flows in a WordPress post, I created a one side-by-side image image with both the before and after versions in Photoshop Elements. That way, I didn’t have to worry about how WordPress would align the images and the surrounding text.

Horizontal Before and After Pin

Horizontal Before and After images in pin format.

I pinned the image to the Pinterest Photography board so it would point back to the blog post. The pin looked pretty insignificant on the board, because it was wider than it was tall and Pinterest formats all pins to be the same width.

OK enough, but not really eye-catching enough to drive traffic to the blog post, which was the point of creating the pin in the first place.

The next morning, I thought about the problem while I was writing my Daily Pages.

Because you can edit the link in an “uploaded by user” image to point anywhere you want, you don’t HAVE to use exactly the same images on both sides of a Pinterest board-blog post pairing.  I could create a vertical before and after pin, load it to the board, and edit the link to point to the blog post.

The new pin is shown below.  It stands out much better on the Pinterest board.

Vertical Before and After Images

Vertical Before and After Images in Pin Format

Here’s a picture of the board before I deleted the horizontal image:

Pinterest Photography Board

Pinterest Photography board, showing both versions of the before-and-after cropping pin.

Understood, this exercise took way too much time for the potential value. I’ll know better next time. Stack images vertically for pins; horizontally for WordPress. Edit the link. Repeat.

How to Photograph Jewelry for Pins

Look at the following boards:

Diamond jewelry on white background

Diamond jewelry against white background looks flat.

and this one, from Michaan’s Auctions:

Jewelry on a black background

Jewelry shown on a black background shows up.

Any one of the pins on the first board is probably worth more than everything seen on the second, but which one are you more likely to repin?

If you don’t have Harry Winston’s brand recognition or advertising budget, make your jewelry do your marketing work for you.

(I’ll write a whole ‘nother post about all those “uploaded by user” tags that leave clickable URLs on the table…)

Overused stock photography

I thought I was alone, but apparently not so:

Top 12 Overused Stock Photos

from Marketing Profs

And while I’m on the topic, a funny, from a most unexpected source:

Cloud Computing

Incidentally, the book Photography Best Sellers: One Hundred Top Moneymaking Stock Photos shows that pictures of clouds occupied positions #1, 2, 3 (sunset + ocean), 11 (sunset + mountains),14, 60, and 67 in a list of the best sellers of 1985 from the Four by Five company.

Load a Portfolio to Linkedin

Post a Portfolio of Your Work to Linkedin

Linkedin is not a very image-friendly application. If you are successfully displaying your work on any of the portfolio sites including Pinterest, you may not need to worry about Linkedin. However, lots of professionals use the site, and adding either or both of the two portfolio display options to your profile doesn’t take very long.

Behance Creative Portfolio Display

If you already maintain a portfolio at Behance, link to it using the Creative Portfolio Display application (More / Get More Applications / scroll — on my account, Behance is #10).

Behance is the portfolio engine for Pantone, BTW.

SlideShare

At the time of this blog post, you can’t open a SlideShare account through Linkedin directly. (Check under More / Add more applications / Slide Share.) You can create a free account at SlideShare, and then link a presentation to your Linkedin Profile (as well as share it in your updates and groups).

Use MS PowerPoint or your choice of presentation software (most formats are supported) to create a deck with images of your work.

Think about a useful file name if you are going to allow downloading. Once files are downloaded, they are easily lost if the file name is something like “Portfolio 2012.” Use your own name and useful search terms to help viewers find the file again. (Put contact information in the header or footer of each slied, as well.)
Add captions and watermarks as needed. Load your portfolio presentation to SlideShare, and then let your network and groups know, as appropriate.

Use a good picture

Clearly, I am not a big believer in the power of photographic illustration for my blog posts.  I had to laugh this morning, when I received an email newsletter with the heading, “Three Hurdles for New Businesses” and this illustration:  Hurdler wearing socks

People who know me in person understand what I mean when I say, “both feet rarely leave the ground at the same time anymore.”  I have never been a hurdler, or a runner of any distance, for that matter.  I put the shot in high school.  But even when I was in high school (back in the dark ages, when high school athletes first started weight training and Wake Forest football trounced the ACC because their players worked out in the gym in the off-season), hurdlers worked to get over the hurdles as smoothly as possible.

Good hurdling looks like this.

So what am I supposed to think when the illustration is completely wrong for the point of the article?  I get that images are supposed to capture the eye and engage the mind and make your writing more interesting to the casual reader.  Just sometimes, you create exactly the WRONG outcome.