There’s an old saying. Don’t build your house on quicksand.
Picking the right place to host your photo portfolio online is an important decision. More and more, photographers are tempted to host on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or other social media site.
DO NOT DO IT!
Facebook is notorious for their “My way or the highway” approach. I know at least a half dozen photographers who spent time, and even money buying Facebook ads, to drive traffic to their portfolio and then BAM! Without warning, notice, or explanation, their sites were shut down. No information on why. No appeal. No nothing. Bupkis. YouTube does something similar.
Instagram can and will sell your pictures to clients without compensating you. A recent US District Court decision involving Mashable essentially means that you can (in some cases) have your content used for profit and you don’t get to share in that profit.
This should be a clear warning that if you want to be safe, if you want to protect your Copyrights, host your own site. You are in control. You can move the DNS records. You can re-brand and best of all, you never have to explain yourself to the powers that be at one of the larger social media sites.
As important as social media may be to photographers, it’s a fool’s errand to think that investing your hard-earned, time and money into these sites is a worthwhile endeavor.
They can go out of business…shut you down or suspend you without explanation or reason…and they may just decide to compete with you. There’s nothing you can do about it. They are dictatorships. Best bet is to get on a boat and get off the island.
So where do you go? I think the ultimate safe space is WordPress. You can build a beautiful site with all (if not more) of the functionality you would get from a site like Facebook and have complete control. Yes, you will have to pay a little money, but it’s well worth it.
Then you can build out your portfolio on more reliable sites like SmugMug and/or Flickr and those sites can be auxiliary to the WordsPress site.
Whatever you do, remember, things change. Some of the biggest names in the Internet business back in the 90s (Netscape, AOL, etc.) are no longer with us. Don’t build your house on quicksand because if you do, it may sink.
Picture Methods has partnered with Hunt’s Photo & Video to bring you the best gear at a competitive price and backed by personal service. Call Alan Samiljan at 781-462-2383 or Noah Buchanan at 781.462.2356. If you cannot reach either one try Gary Farber at 781-462-2332. You will ALWAYS get the best prices if you call the store v. Using the web site. You can also email Noah at: firstname.lastname@example.org or Alan at email@example.com or Gary at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Hunt’s has been around a long time and you can trust them. Make sure to mention that Scott Bourne sent you. That will get you the best deal.