Category Archives: Blogs

WPtouch: WordPress App for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android

WPtouch is a great WordPress plugin that detects if your readers are using an iPhone, iPod Touch, or Android device, and serves up a mobile theme for your blog. My blog loads really fast using this free plugin, and the design is quite elegant. Kudos to the folks at Brave New Code, and thanks to A Photo Folio for pre-loading this plugin. Now both my blog and main website work well on mobile devices! Below are a few screenshots of how my blog looks on an iPhone using the WPtouch mobile theme. [Tip: To take a screenshot on the iPhone, just press the sleep button and home button at the same time.]

WPtouch example 2

Main blog page using WPtouch on an iPhone 3G with 3.0 software. The numbers in red on top of the date show the number of comments on each post.

WPtouch example 1

Clicking through to a single entry, inline images are displayed quite nicely.

Update 8/3/2009: The upgrade to version 1.9 of this app broke the favicon and changed the display around. I can no longer access the settings for this app due to a bug, so I’ve disabled it. Hope these issues are remedied soon.

Update 9/1/2009: The app is back with version 1.9.2, and seems to be working fine.

The Artist Hierarchy: Invisible Jump Shots

Tacqueria mural -- by Joe Reifer

Tacqueria mural — by Joe Reifer

Last year on this blogging contraption we had a lively discussion about fine art print pricing, where I divided print prices into four general quadrants. Earlier this week the DLK Collection wrote a review of Dan Thompson’s book: The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art that included the following graphic analyzing the artist hierarchy:

Artist Hierarchy

A key part of this hierarchy is that 95% of artists never make it out of the Invisible category. Mapping the artist hierarchy categories back to the print pricing levels discussed in my previous article is an interesting exercise. My pricing categories have been revised slightly since last year. These prices are for unframed prints:

  • A: $50-150 for a small/medium sized print
  • B: $250-500 for a medium sized print
  • C: $1500-2500 for a medium/large sized print
  • D: $4000 and up.

 

For most photographers, Invisible maps to Level A. Having some friends that would be categorized by the art world as Emerging, this category maps well to Level C. After raising my prices last year to Level B, my print sales dried up. We all know the simple premise that things are worth what people are willing to pay for them. By raising my prices I found out that Level B barely exists for me. I know photographers who are selling at Level A, C, and D, but don’t know anyone who’s selling at Level B.

Last year I was wondering how to get from Level A to Level C — perhaps a better question is how to go from Invisible to Emerging. The price schedule just follows the trip up the pyramid. Photographer Brad Evans made a remark last year that really stuck with me when he equated the trip up the pyramid with making it to the NBA. Even if you’re quite good, odds are slim to none. It’s rarified air. This ties in well with the 95% Invisible number. I’ve found the NBA analogy to be an easy to understand answer to the question: “Do you make a good living as a fine art photographer?” And the NBA analogy answer is more polite than: “Are you crazy? Fine art photographers either teach, have day jobs, or a rich uncle.”

Anyhow….the place where the NBA analogy breaks down is that traveling up the artist hierarchy has less to do with your skill on the court, and much more to do with talking about your game. The important piece of this puzzle is that it’s not only how you talk about your game, but who you’re talking to. I’ve had some interesting discussions recently with photographers who would be filed under Emerging as to the best way to identify and engage the who. More on this topic later.

For those interested in reading more about the art world, I recommend adding both the DLK Collection and Edward Winkleman to your feedreader. I also found Sarah Thornton’s book Seven Days in the Art World to be both entertaining and thought provoking. See you on the court for a game of H-O-R-S-E later.

Discovering New Photography Blogs

Matching -- by Joe Reifer

Matching — by Joe Reifer

If you don’t quite have enough information bombarding you, perhaps you’d like to find a few new photography blogs to read. Here’s a methodology:

  1. Go to the advanced search on Technorati, and do a URL search for your favorite photography blog(s). This will show you what blogs are linking to a blog that you already like.
  2. Use the drop down menu to sort by authority (lots of links), or freshness (the latest links).

I’ve found a few interesting blogs using this method. Technorati gives blogs a ranking called authority. I’m continually surprised that some of the best photography blogs have somewhat low authority rankings. Mark Hobson’s The Landscapist is consistently thought provoking, but doesn’t garner many links. Tim Atherton’s Muse-ings currently clocks in at an authority of 87, the 79,365th most popular blog online. Paul Butzi’s Musings ranks at 76, the 93,462nd most popular.The well known Online Photographer has an authority of 341, which is 14,157 in the rankings. Joerg Coelberg’s Conscientious has an impressive ranking of 452 — the only photography blog that I read with a ranking in the top 10,000 blogs online. Weird!

So what the heck are most people reading? According to Technorati, they’re linking to blogs about technology, politics, celebrities, and lolcats (#10 of all blogs!). Here’s a list of the top 100 blogs at Technorati.

If you have a website, blog, or participate in an online community, help spread the word about photography blogs that you enjoy by linking to your favorite content!

Tracking photo blogs on Netvibes

I finally signed up for a free account at www.netvibes.com and entered most of my favorite photography blogs onto a page that also includes Google search, weather, Flickr comments, and Technorati links to my blog. The time savings over my.yahoo.com are immense — netvibes is much more elegant and customizable.

If you’re using bookmarks to keep track of your favorite blogs and news sites, the time savings of using a feedreader are even more substantial. Choose a 1, 2, 3 or 4 column layout. Set the number of visible posts based on the frequency of posts on that site. Once you’ve read a post, it’s grayed out. If you read a lot of blogs, you can create separate tabs by subject.

For a quick content assessment, simply hover over a post to see the first few lines of the text. When you click through to a post, the blog is displayed with a left hand table of contents navigation for the previous posts. You can view the blog in a streamlined feed view with plain text on a white background, or quickly switch to the website view. When you’re done reading the post, click the X in the upper right, and you’re back at your netvibes page.

Taking a cue from Musings, I’ve eliminated my blogroll, and will just keep linking to other photography blogs any time there’s some interesting content!

Boards, Blogs, and Bling

The Pro Photo Home photography message boards have started a new program where you get paid to post. I had to check the date on the email to make sure it wasn’t April 1st. A follow up email this morning assured me that the program is real. For contributing content to the site you are paid 10 cents per post, with a maximum of $100 per year. You do need to sign up to be a member, at $35 per year, which takes your potential earnings down to $65 per year. Read more about the Photo Rewards Program.

If you regularly post to photo.net, fredmiranda.com, or another photography forum, this may be an intruguing idea. Your content is worth something. Better content creates a website that more people want to visit, which creates more advertising revenue for the site owner. Pro Photo Home’s acknowledgement of the value their content contributors provide is a step in the right direction.

But now that we’re in the age of the blog, can the message board really survive? The photographers whose opinions I care about do not regularly post on message boards — they have blogs, or write for publications. Here’s why — you have the potential to get paid more, and you own the content.

Let’s pull back the curtain again for a minute. If you follow an Amazon link from a blog and purchase any product, the blog owner gets about a 4% cut from Amazon. Last month someone clicked on a book link on my blog and bought a Nikon D200 and accessories, and my cut from Amazon was close to what I’d get for a whole year of posting on Pro Photo Home. Anyone planning to buy a Leica M8 soon? Maybe a new TV?

B&H Photo has also started an affiliate program. High traffic lens review sites like The Digital Picture utilize a nice blend of photo store links, Amazon, and Google Adsense without being overbearing.

I haven’t really made much of an effort to monetize my blog. The Amazon links are there for your reference. I only recommend things that I really like. My goal is to make enough money each month to cover my web hosting and other expenses, but I’m not worried about it if I don’t.

My tolerance for web advertising depends on the quality of the content. The better the content is, the more likely I am to put up with advertising. Where do I draw the line? I don’t like banners, boxes, or Google ads interspersed within the content. Keep the ads in the sidebar, and I usually don’t have a problem with the design.

Do advertisements and product links change how much you trust the content of a website? I would love to hear some examples of blogs you read regularly that have well designed ads.