The Final 12

It’s hard to believe, but we are in the final 12 days of the 365 Full Frame Project. To celebrate, I will be making a big deal with the final 12 photos starting tonight with #354.

For those who are not familiar with 365 Full Frame, the project was created to add high quality full frame photos to the Internet at a low licensing cost. This was to reaffirm the need for high quality visual assets in the current era of social media. All dollars earned were reinvested in more photography equipment.

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It’s been quite a ride, and there have been times that I just wanted to stop. There were other times where I just thought the whole project was super annoying to people.

But I persisted, and here we are. One year later I have published more than 700 photos for the project, only half of which were selected for public consumption (the pug pic is an one of the 350+ outtakes).

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Along the way I became a better photographer and a professional one, too. I have been hired twice now by companies as a photographer this year and several others have asked to bundle photography with writing or social media services. So there is much to be said for dedicating oneself to consistent practice, photography or some other interest. Or you could say it helps to develop a third pitch. ;)

I plan to publish a photo book using the best 365 Full Frame photos created over the past year. Anyone who sponsors the project at a $100 level or more will get a complimentary copy of the book. And for those at the $50 level, if you chip in another $50 you will get a book, too. No bull (pun intended).

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And yes, after the cost of the books, I will continue to reinvest any 365 Full Frame dollars raised in more equipment. Thank you for your support and on to the final 12.

Chicago Pics: A Demonstrative Evolution

I spent last week in Chicago at the Cause Marketing Forum. Before the show and after the first day was done, I had the opportunity to take a couple of photo walks, which produced some of my best work so far in the 365 Full Frame Project, including the header image for this post.

It is nice to see the progression in my skills via the project over the past 11 months. But what was really amazing to me was how far I’ve come since I picked up my first DSLR in 2009, a Nikon D90. In that year, I visited Chicago and took quite a few pics. I think those images showed some good framing, but overall they were classic tourist shots.

I returned a couple of times in 2012, and took some more pics. This time I was shooting with one of the first micro 4/3 cameras, an Olympus PEN 3. There was clearly a progression, but perhaps at this point I was what is called a casual enthusiast.

In 2015, I published fewer shots and took them with a Nikon D810. In my opinion, these newer photos are clearly better in framing, capture and post production.

It’s a clear evolution. Really, it shows what happens when you stick to something over a long period of time. And of course better equipment helps. But I’ll let you be the judge. Here are three shots from each set.

2009

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2012

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2015

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5 Tips for Posting Pulse Articles on LinkedIn

LinkedIn Pulse uses an algorithm to determine how it should source your post. It matches content to an industry professional’s interests. So if you are a healthcare provider, you won’t receive posts on accounting.

There are ways to optimize LinkedIn Pulse to better reach intended audiences. Here are some suggestions based on research:

1) Social Validation Ratio

Social Ratio

The LinkedIn Pulse algorithm uses as social validation ratio to determine how often it sources a member’s Pulse post, says data scientist Andy Foote. The relative number of views doesn’t matter. Instead, the percentage of likes, reshares and comments per view is what triggers a featured article in Pulse.

Sharing your post as soon as you publish is critical. Send it on to your most engaged communities. You need people to like, share and comment to achieve the right ratio. I can already see scenarios where people are gaming initial social engagement to trigger featured Pulse articles.

2) Timing Is Important

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Because social validation drives success you want to publish on days when most people use LinkedIn. Those tend to be Monday through Friday during business hours, with an emphasis on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. You can further refine time-based optimization by targeting times when people are at their desks; before work, lunch hours, or the end of the business day.

3) Format Posts for Social Validation

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Creating strong posts means requires a few things to make content more share and comment worthy. These are blogging best practices, but just for the sake of being intelligent about formatting let’s offer a few reminders:

  • Use relevant and interesting images. There’s a reason why LinkedIn suggests a strong header image. But go further. Build subheads, and use a new image every three to five paragraphs. Or you can build a BuzzFeed-esque post with subheads for every paragraph. List posts do seem to go further than the average essay, but you better be sure the content is awesome. There’s nothing worse than a lame, self-promotional BuzzFeed hack. You can also embed rich media if you have good video content or Slideshares you’d like to add.

  • Titling is important to drive interest from readers. It should also be descriptive and match back to keywords that will signal to the algorithm which audiences will prefer the post.

  • Offer links to give readers additional insights and depth. LinkedIN’s editor recommends you do this as a matter of good form.

    The social network does recommend generous linking. As far as ranking content goes, LinkedIn’s Pulse algorithm is closely guarded, but if it is anything like Google’s, it rewards posts with strong links. Generally speaking, Google likes sourcing content with frequent and credible links, as it provides an extended and good user experience. Since Google actually indexes LinkedIn posts, this a good practice regardless of how LinkedIn factors links into its algorithm. You want to rank well with your post.


  • There are those that preach long form, and others who say short form matters most. Most of the posts I see succeeding on Pulse are greater than 500 words, but not more than 1000. Brian Lang’s research confirms this observation. At the same time given how few posts actually extend beyond 1000 words, it may be the odds of success are higher with long form.

4) Write for the Audience

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It’s really important to keep content laser focused within the sector. The algorithm will source content to audiences based on keywords and phrases. And it will also exclude audiences if the content won’t appeal to them.

5) Tag Your Posts

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The 10 most overused buzzwords on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn specifically recommends tagging your posts. You can add up to 3 tags in each post, but you cannot customize the tags, instead using what LinkedIn has offered for categories. To add tags:

  • Scroll to the bottom of your post.
  • Click the Tag icon next to Add tags like consulting, sales, marketing…
  • Click into the text box and begin typing.
  • Select an available tag from the drop-down.

These five tips should help your LinkedIn Pulse Article go further than just a standard text-only piece that one might be tempted to post.

12 Happy Holiday Pics for Your Use

It’s that magical time of year when all of us get to spend time with our family and friends. Personally, I hope to rest quite a bit and have fun with some personal projects during the holidays.

You may be like me and have forgotten or did not have time to send holiday cards. Never fear. I’ve been taking lots of holiday photos for the 365 Full Frame Project. You can take one of these photos, download it, and then use the image in Canva (a free image creation app) to send a personalized card to your friends.

The 12 images include the opnening featured image of the National Christmas Tree with the White House in the background, which you can download here. And here are the remaining 11…

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Download the Christmas tree sans text here.

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Download the Old Town holiday lights image sans text here.
lights here.

Happy Chrismukkah
Download the Chrismukkah image sans text here.

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Download the Hanukkah lights here.

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Download the Christmas Carollers here.

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Download Yoda here.

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Download the Nativity scene in ice here.

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Download the Winterberries photo here.

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Download the Union Station photo here.

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Download the Star here.

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Download Frosty, the Snowman here.

Whatever you decide to do during the next couple weeks, have a great time. I will resume blogging on January 5. Happy holidays!

P.S. The 365 Full Frame project does license photos. If you like the work and want to see more, please consider a license. Your money is used to buy more photography equipment.

12 Google+ Headers (Thanks a Million Part II)

I recently passed one million views on Google+, a number that doubled in the past year. This is the second time I have passed a million views on a social network this year, the other being Flickr.

During this time I shifted content production from multiple blog posts a week to produce photos via my 365 Full Frame project, and that has been the primary driver of this grown.

To thank folks for continuing to like and support my photography interests, please find below 12 free Google+ header images. These pictures are my most popular 365 Full Frame photos so far, as rated by 500 Pixels. If you like my photography and want to support the 365 Full Frame Project, please consider a contribution.

And with that, here are the 12 free Google+ headers for your use. Cheers.

1) Las Vegas Strip at Night

Las Vegas Strip at Night for Google+ 2

Grab it!

2) The Lotus Giant

The Lotus Giant for Google+

Grab it!

3) The Queensboro Bridge

Queensboro Bridge for Google+

Grab it!

4) Fire Ball

Fire Ball for Google+

Grab it!

5) Purple Zinnia Gets a Visitor

Purple Zinnia Gets a Visitor for Google+

Grab it!

6) Bridge Over the River Cuyahoga

Bridge Over the River Cuyahoga for Google+

Grab it!

7) Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for Google+

Grab it!

8) From Dawn to Sunrise

From Dawn to Sunrise for Google+

Grab it!

9) Waterfall Way

Waterfall Way for Google+

Grab it!

10) FDR East River Drive

FDR East River Drive for Google+

Grab it!

11) Three Bridge Sunrise

Three Bridge Sunrise

Grab it!

12) Sunset on the Pentagon Marina

Sunset on the Pentagon Marina for Google+

Grab it!

I hope you enjoy your Google+ header. No attribution is necessary, but it’d be fun to know if you used tone. Cheers!

Launching the 365 Full Frame Project #365FF

A couple of weeks ago I asked folks to consider the 365 Full Frame project. Today the project offically launches as a photo blog.

The project began publishing on Friday to help populate the site for today’s launch. The featured image for this post is today’s photo, a shot of McWay Falls in Big Sur. For the remaining 361 days starting tomorrow, the project will publish one high resolution full frame photo a day at 4:00 p.m.

Generally, these photos will be posted on the 365 blog, Pinterest, Google+, Twitter and a cropped version on Instagram. Facebook friends will only see some, but not all posts.

You can see the site has a minimalist blog design. It pretty much is all about the photos, and works well on mobile. That’s what made the most sense to me. Frankly, it’s nice to post because the images are worth sharing and for no other reason, a refreshing return to the old days of social media.

More on #365FF

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In all, 12 supporters came together to raise $2700 to fund the purchase of a a Nikon Df sans the lenses. Each of them has select licensing rights.

Anyone can share the images. Folks that purchase licenses for the photos will help buy more equipment. Rather than become a true professional photographer, I’d rather trade photo rights for more gear. Seems like a fair trade to me, and it helps fuel my hobby.

Thank you to everyone who helped get me here, from supporters to good pals like Richard Binhammer (who may guest photoblog on 365) and others who encouraged me along the way. It’s cool to have an outlet for my photography.

Again, thank you for encouraging me!