It is hard to believe we are now in the final week of 2011. As I promised in last weeks post I would like to close out this year with two final posts and the first of those is today. It’s been a year of highs and lows for me both photographically speaking and elsewhere in my life. Given the time of year it is time for a little retrospective I think and today like last year I’d like to talk to you a little about how the year has gone for me in terms of personal photographic work and how my web presence has further evolved over the year.
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It was a fairly quite year from a personal photographic perspective this year, primarily because it was such a commercially busy year. And it gives me a great deal of pleasure to be able to say that. The long hours of dedication to both the craft and marketing began to pay off this year. One project in particular, which is still on going took up a lot of my time. Unfortunately I can’t share much about it with you at this time but am looking forward to discussing it towards the middle of next year when we wrap things up. Suffice it to say that I have produced over 150 fully post produced images for the project so far. From someone who was happily producing 40 or 50 Fine Art images a year that was quite some change in pace for me. Indeed that was something I needed to get used to this year as I completed more corporate assignment work also. The nature of the work not only had me shooting more but also demanded I produce far more finished images then I was used to from a single shoot. For instance during a one and a half day corporate conference I covered during the year I produced 125 finished images; that’s actually over three times what I produced in personal work for the entire year. I’m reminded of a statement I made last year..
“I do find it interesting when I see other Photographers talk about the volume of images they shot or published in any given year – 1,000, 10,000 even 100,000 images. I suppose these numbers make a lot of sense if you’re an Event or Sports Photographer but as a Fine Art Photographer it just gives me the shivers.”
I guess I am beginning to experience these kind of volumes as I expand beyond Fine Art; of course I also need to ask my self “do I want to expand beyond Fine Art?” but that is for another post.
I had hoped to show more fancy graphs like I did last year about lenses used but that wonderful application I referred to last year “Aperture Inspector” seems to have disappeared off the face of the interweb and I can not get my hands on a new copy. A little disappointing given it was a paid app but I suppose they are the risks with purchasing from the “pop up shop” app developer types. Although for $10 I can’t complain too much. I have however cobbled together a few graphs to titillate you all 🙂
Last year I noted a nice progression in personal outings from 2008 of 23 to 29 to a total of 33 last year, well I suppose not surprising based on the lead-in to this article I had just 19 outings this year. Many of them were to stalwart locations that I simply love to return to, such as the Botanical Gardens and many locations around Wicklow. However there were some new locations also, such as Wexford, and the amazing Donegal which my wife whisked me away to for 6 days in September.
This year I decided to restructure my galleries, which I’ll talk a little bit more about in my Website section but you may note from the above that I removed the Topic ‘The Sun’ and added ‘The Sea’. The Sun Gallery is still on my site and contains any scene where the Sun plays an important part in the image, but I needed to be able to properly split those landscape images that captured the Sea vs the Land. The above graphic indicates how my published images break down by subject and there is no surprises in there for me. My love affair for Floral Macro work continues taking the lions share of my published work. Landscapes and Seascapes both take 2nd place with the other subjects following behind. I produced just 38 images in total this year which breakdown as follow’s;
In terms of image orientation things didn’t change tremendously this year with a slightly more even distribution between Portrait and Landscape over earlier years. I have commented before on how I naturally gravitate towards the Portrait Orientation however this year I made a more conscious effort to produce images with a Landscape orientation.
And finally to Lens usage. Nothing has changed from a gear perspective in 2011, I still have just the 3 lenses above. Slight variation in distribution this year with the 70-200 seeing a slight reduction along with the 17-40 while the 100mm has increased. I must admit a little disappointment here as I intended to shoot a lot more with the 70-200, particularly landscapes but actually ended up just producing one Panoramic entitled The Sun and the Moon taken in the Wicklow mountains last Winter.
On the topic of gear, not much has changed this year at all really. I am blessed to have acquired some fantastic equipment over the last couple of years and while my wish list is long I have never let this hold me back. However I did get some ‘stuff’ this year. As many of you that read this blog regularly will know I replaced my aging MacPro with a new iMac in September which was driven by the aforementioned demands place by my commercial work. Actually I wrote a fair few articles about it including the unboxing and first impressions as well as a list of likes and dislikes. I also picked up an iPad 2 earlier this month which I am really enjoying so stay tuned for a photographically orientated review of that on the site early next year. From an actual photographic perspective I did pick up a Visible Dust cleaning kit for my camera which I plan to also review in the new year. Oh, Santa did bring me one Photographic related present a couple of days ago; a lovely new Camera Bag which again I will review sometime in the new year. Still no 24-105mm though but maybe 2012 will bring it?!
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2011 saw another significant update of my presence here on the interweb. After the complete site overhaul in July 2010 I spent the rest of that year living with the new site and tweaking as I went. However I also uncovered some pretty major parts of the site that I was unhappy with and that simple tweaks would not address. So early in 2011 I set about a rework, not as large a project as the original revamp but a pretty major piece of work nevertheless. Indeed as I noted in my June blog post announcing the new site I ended up writing more than 850 lines of code, no facet of the site remained untouched. You can read more details from that original post here. As you can imagine that rework took a significant amount of time and had an impact on my ability to add new posts to the blog with the same regularity I had in 2010. One of the major changes I made to the structure of the website was my galleries. I have already mentioned above the introduction of a ‘The Sea’ Gallery however I also created 2 brand new gallery collections. The first organises my landscape images by the location they were captured in, and the 2nd organises all my images by their dominant colour. My website analytics along with customer feedback indicates that these were (are) very well received as it allows visitors to quickly view a location they are interested in; or a colour that they are looking to match with their home decor.
When I launched the new site in 2010 I aimed to produce 3 posts a week, mainly about my images; and I delivered on that throughout the year. In 2011 I realised that was untenable in the long-term and I reduced it to just 1 or 2 a week. However during heavy periods of the site rework like February, April and May I actually only published 3 articles a month!
This inevitably had an effect on the traffic to my site and that is very clear from the graphic above. Let nobody tell you otherwise and I spoke about this last year also; running a website is hard work and needs constant attention. However it is not all bad news as the dip during the quite periods on the blog is still 10 times what it was on my old site where I did little in the way of SEO or Social Media Engagement. I am also seeing a nice return to the kind of traffic I saw late last year; and that is with less than half of the content I was publishing.
And talking of SEO and Social Media this is where I see a very different story to last year, and indeed why visits remained relatively high even during quiet periods on the blog. My search traffic accounted for just 26% in 2010 where as it now accounts for nearly half of the site traffic. Traffic from the good folks over at PhotoShelter has seen a 50% increase no doubt due to them interviewing me in August for their featured photographer profiles. Also I see a big change in the traffic that Twitter and Facebook drove to my site, something I will need to spend some time figuring out early next year. Google+ appears on the list this year which is very impressive given it only formally launched to the public in September. G+ will definitely get a lot of attention from me next year. Digital Photography School which is a great website for all things photography related was a surprise to me though. DPS featured mine among another 161 talented photographers list of Top 10 images for the year 2010 which had been kindly curated by the very talented Jim M. Goldstein and this post alone was enough to drive 5% of my site traffic. I guess I need to spend some time with the good folks over on DPS in 2012.
And where were all those site visitors from? Well this is another change from last year, while the Top 3 have remained the same the US has gone from 23% to 30%, UK is up by 1% while Ireland has dropped by 8%.
And to finish this little post I’d like to share the top 10 posts from the blog for 2010;
- My Top 10 Favourite Images of 2010 (793 Views)
- A Wicklow Landscape | Glenmacnass Waterfall – Wicklow, Ireland (585 Views)
- A Dublin Seascape | Sunrise upon the Rocks – Howth, Dublin, Ireland (430 Views)
- A Dublin Landscape | The Hell Fire Club – Dublin Mountains, Ireland (407 Views)
- 2010 in numbers (or Stats, Stats and more Stats) (295 Views)
- A Wicklow Seascape | Sunrise at Greystones Beach – Wicklow, Ireland (254 Views)
- A Wicklow Landscape | Early Morning upon Lough Tay – Wicklow, Ireland (245 Views)
- My New iMac | Unboxing and First Impressions (191 Views)
- Complete Site Revamp – Part I, A History (173 Views)
- A Donegal Seascape | Wild Seas at Fanad Lighthouse – Donegal, Ireland (162 Views)
An interesting mix in their with 3 of the 10 being non- image related. The Top 10 from last year was a clear winner with an astounding number of views and I am really looking forward to hearing your responses to the 2011 list. This same post from 2010 is at #5 so I guess it is worth while me writing this one. Interesting to see #10 as I only published this in November but it certainly has been a very popular image during my recent print sale also.
So there you have it, another year in my photographic life draws to a close. It has been a year of increasing commercial work creating a challenge for me to produce Fine Art pieces. It has been another year of Website revamping with significantly improved search engine optimisation but one of relatively stagnant visitor numbers due to the aforementioned drop in blog posts. All in all though I must say I am very happy with 2011 and I honestly cannot wait to jump in to 2012 with both feet. Next up will be the last post of the year but definitely my favorite; my personal Top 10 Favorite Images for 2011, so stay tuned. Feel free to check out my list from 2010 until then.