Kike Calvo Fotografía

jueves, 9 de diciembre de 2010

The ABC of the Social Networks and the Ipad for Photographers and Journalists by KIKE CALVO

With the advent of the printing industry, companies, after Gutemberg´s invention, began a process of internal reorganization. Immediacy is prevalent nowadays, and the media, anxious to maintain their dominating status as news “transmitters”, have started to explore new means. It is no longer unusual to find alliances between large corporations and highly specialized, well-known individuals who have a unique potential to spread tendencies, products, and so on.

Neither media nor enterprises be content with providing information in a unidirectional way. We are in an immediately bidirectional period. Media provides news, but it is the people involved who can give immediate feedback, or complement the job of media workers.
During a recent expedition to the Galapago Islands, I had the pleasure of sharing good times with Olivier Chouraki, founder of the Mobiluck net. After my return, and far away from neoprene suits and sea lions feeding their young, I had many conversations via skype with Olivier. I had been using social networks for a long time, but probably in the wrong way.

There are so many options for photographers that it is complicated to keep up-to-date with it all. However, I think the secret is not so much to be updated on everything, but to be able to foresee tendencies, and apply the most convenient ones to our business, in this case, photography.

Although my first contact with Twitter and Facebook was frivolous and personal, I quickly saw the viral marketing potential involved. However, the promise of such potential could lead to forgetting that the essence of all media is the message, and even more so, the quality of the service being offered. No campaign can be effective if the final product is not worth it.

Beyond sharing our emotional state of mind with the world, I believe social networks are the future. It is a revolution as radical as the press was in its day. I always defended paper, its smell, the feeling of reading a magazine back to front, or admiring the work of one of your favorite photographers in a large-format book.

During a recent visit to the Big Apple; and after popping into an Apple Store in Fifth Avenue, I decided to explore the different options that the Ipad had to offer. Only a few hours later and my imagination could not stop investigating all these possibilities. I was fascinated by the absolute integration of it all…a tool for photographers unique until now.

The Ipad has become my small office, where the views look straight to the world. The light comes in with news and feedback from clients and students. The light follows to my blog posts, ideas and commentaries, emails, reflections... Almost a notebook as Leonardo da Vinci´s, with notes of my world and your world...

Just to mention a few ideas, an Ipad can offer a photographer the following advantages:

. Store different portfolios to present to clients in an elegant, easy and efficient manner.
. Photoshoot brainstorming with the use of free programs like the Popplet Lite or Adobe.
. Explore interesting blogs in a comfortable and almost instinctive way.
. Download podcasts, available anytime and anywhere. Some of my favorite programs include Camera Dojo, The Candid Frame, or Freelance Studio.
. Carry and manage our licenses (model releases and property releases) with programs such as Easy Release
. Recreate our favourite photographic processes in our own images using Camera Bag.
. Backup our photographs, if necessary, for instance, in an expedition.
. Have conversations through Skype with our clients, or even our students, for those like me who do workshops on a regular basis.

And this is only a brushstroke on the potential. And what can I say about Twitter, going
beyond mentioning if we already walk our dog, the Twitter platform allows us to:

.Get access to an efficient platform of information distribution, limited to 140 characters, in which we must summarize our message.
.Immediacy. Tendencies and news start to burst in a unique manner and with unplanned synchrony by users or witnesses from all around the world.

.For those who are passionate about their work, as it is photography in my case,
we search for information, references, news…and social networks become a way to locate, share and produce.

.It allows us to look for information. Furthermore it gives us the possibility to
interact or follow whoever generates this information, without mass media filters.

.The audience likes to participate. There is nothing more precious than obtaining
a response in real time from our photography teacher, our most respected photography idol or even our initial mentor.
. Marketing. Just as Facebook and other social networks, Twitter allows us as users to alert our followers on updates for our blogs, upcoming trips or expositions, or even the date of a photography workshop in a given city. If our message is of interest to our supporters they will share our updates in an almost “viral” way. As an example, Twitter has highly increased the number of visitors to my blog, that has already become a reference corner for photography
fans from all over the Spanish-speaking countries, where you can find news, grants or references of interest, for alumni or professors.
. It is not a limiting platform and it is our capacity to generate interesting content what stimulates the number of followers. As I indicated at the beginning no marketing plan will work if the essence is not good. Users look for immediacy, what gives them access to an almost unlimited number of sources. It is the quality, the reputation, and the “brand” or “image” what invites people to become followers. All of us, unconsciously, become a part of a trend system.

Many say they don´t have time for social networking. There are tools already
in the market to save us time like TweetDeck, speeding up our experience, and even letting us follow some key words, as photography. Unfortunately for many, I think that it is not an option any more for those who aspire to live on photography as a career to not get involved in social networks.

If as an
economist I always recommended that every career or academic degree on photography should include accounting and interpersonal skills, I feel that I am not mistaken by posting on my cyberspace corner, that those CVs should also have some credits oriented to social networking. And for those who already worked as photographers before this new wave began, we can do it slowly and with no pressure, using an, I was tempted to affirm “that through a notebook”. But would I be true to my observations on the field?

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