I have written articles that deal with organizing the pictures on your hard drive using efficient folder names. But how about the photo galleries that you publish online for family or customers to see? I also maintain a travel blog where I publish some of my travel pictures and I believe there are many of you who publish some of your pictures online. Today I’m starting a series of articles about the different options available for publishing pictures online. This article will address two fundamental questions that need to be answered before publishing pictures online.
1. Question: What is your purpose for showing pictures on the web?
Is your purpose to sell your pictures to anyone? Do you want to sell advertising ? Or is it just to share family pictures with friends and relatives? These are all questions related to the main question: what is your purpose? In my opinion this is the most fundamental question you need to answer before uploading even one picture. The answer to this question will drive your approach to answering the next question about organizing your galleries as well as selecting the pictures you want to publish. For example, if you want to sell pictures you will most certainly not upload pictures with you and your family. Same thing applies if you want to sell advertising. So, before getting too excited about creating online galleries stop and think about your purpose.
2. Question: How do you organize your image galleries?
Now that you have considered the first question you need to think about organizing your galleries to support your purpose. If your purpose is sharing pictures with your family and friends, then your organization structure can mirror the structure on your computer own computer. I mean that you organize them by events. Your family and friends would be interested in seeing pictures from the events happening in your life: buying a new car, the new house, birthday parties, trips to cool places and so on. Your readers will be interested in you and your family.
However, if you want to show pictures of a particular hobby, maybe the events are no longer your focus. Let’s say your hobby is fishing and you want to show the kinds of fish you’ve caught. So, the kind of fish becomes your focus, so you should name your folders starting with the kind of fish. This way your folders will be organized by this criterion instead of the date.
This question will force you to think about the organization criterion or in other words the driving factor for creating categories for your photo galleries. Do you organize by event? By the subject in the picture? By resolution?
3. A short example of online image library organization
Let me get into more details by giving you an example: my own. Initially I didn’t really think much about setting up my travel blog. My immediate thought was to set up my picture galleries online just like on my hard drive which means organizing them by events. So, I named my online folders exactly like the folders on my computer (for example: 07_06-Yosemite_Natl_Pk_short_trip – using my own naming convention).
I have created quite a few of these folders when I realized that it doesn’t make any sense to name my folders this way. Then I had to back up and ask myself the fundamental question : what is my purpose? Or maybe better: what do I want my readers to see? After thinking a little bit about this question I quickly realized that my approach was wrong.
My purpose was to show my travel pictures but make some money by sell advertising space. So, my potential readers would be interested in seeing pictures from the places I visit and not when I visited them. Therefore I started changing the names of my folders. First off the description of the event (“short_trip”) doesn’t make any sense to anyone except me and my friend Adam. I include this description in the folder name on my computer to help me remember this particular trip. However, none of my readers would have any clue as to what it means. So this has to be taken out from the folder name. Well, now I’m left with 07_06-Yosemite_Natl_Pk. Is this good?
Well, let’s see…the place is definitely needed because that’s what my readers would want to see the most. But what about the date? Do they need that? Here is where it really depends on your web site. If you have 10 trips all to Yosemite National Park then maybe you need to include the month and the day. Also, if you’re trying to show pictures from different times of the year, again you might want to show the month and the year. In my case I decided to keep both the year and the month because I have done multiple trips in the same year for some of the places I visited. This still leaves the question answered only in part.
After thinking a little more I realized that my purpose was to show pictures mostly to internet readers interested in traveling to the places I visited. This site was not intended for my friends and family since I wanted to include mostly nature and city pictures without any people in them. Now I realized that I wouldn’t want my galleries to be sorted by the date but rather by the name of the place. So then, the date becomes less relevant and the place becomes more important. This led me to renaming my folders to [Place]-[date]. So, my folder name became Yosemite_Natl_Pk-2007_06. (See my travel galleries).
How do these questions help? First of all, these two questions helped me a lot with setting up a structure that supports my purpose and that it can also grow just by adding more content. Secondly, these questions helped me understand how to select the pictures I want to publish.
5. What questions do you ask?
I am really interested to know how you publish your pictures online. What thought process do you go through when choosing what pictures to publish? I would also like to know what platform you’re using…does everyone use Flickr? Or something else? What is your experience with the library you’ve been using?