One of first questions I’m asked by photographers is “What exactly is Pixtures?” Personally, I think that this question is answered by browsing through the site and looking at the photography supplied by our contributors but it never hurts to explain what my vision is for Pixtures in the longer term.
Simply put, Pixtures is a collaborative platform, an online photographic gallery if you like. It’s designed to provide a permanent and dynamic display of your photography and to grow with you as you develop as a photographer. Here’s a summary of the key features that make Pixtures tick before I go any further.
– a free, comprehensive online photo display service including an attractive, full featured portfolio of your photography including links to your social media and website, if you have them
– the opportunity for you to promote external events, exhibitions and other news worthy activities
– ultra tight integration with Flickr, the world’s largest collaborative photo platform
– options to take part in photo competitions and collaborative exhibitions
– the ability to comment on other photographers’ portfolios and any other articles we create, eg exhibitions and photographic genres
– options to sell your photography as downloads or as prints through Pixtures
– full recognition of your rights as the image copyright holder
So, having explained what Pixtures is, how did it all start? Well, Pixtures started life as a showcase for my personal and commercial photography. I had already built a couple of photography based websites for photographers and photo clubs and so creating something to showcase my personal work wasn’t particularly difficult. Having built the basic platform I soon realised that in order to make Pixtures really buzz it needed to include the work of other photographers who, like me, want to share their work in a more dynamic and visible way. Don’t get me wrong, Facebook pages and groups in general are a great way to make new friends, show your photos and to ask and answer questions but I don’t feel they are an ideal way to promote your abilities or your photography in the round. To my mind that really has to be done outside of a social network.
So, how to do it better? The problem with most photo sharing sites is that they don’t add much, if any, additional value. A good example of this is SmugMug which is currently a very popular photo display platform. However, it’s not perfect, is difficult to setup and manage and it’s certainly not cheap. There is no free option and the cheapest subscription model is £8/month. If you want to market your work for sale, this increases to a maximum of £50/month for the pro service. That’s a very significant cost. Pixtures by contrast offers very similar functionally, ie a comprehensive online gallery for your work but, in addition, also provides news stories, educational content, photo competitions, collaborative exhibitions and more – and all for free. And if you want to sell your photos, which of course is purely optional, you can opt to pay a very low annual fee to add on this service.
So, how does the Pixtures platform work. Simply put, it can do really clever things because it integrates seamlessly with Flickr, which is a predominantly free photo display service. We do this through the Flickr API which is a clever name for a conduit or pipe, down which your images flow. With Flickr as a partner, Pixtures is able to pull albums and photos from any member account registered on both Pixtures and Flickr displaying them instantly in a variety of ways on Pixtures. Sounds complex? It’s really not, read on.
For those that don’t know Flickr, or who have dropped it in favour of facebook, Instagram or SmugMug let me explain. Flickr is an easy to use, comprehensive photographic community that allows photographers to show and share their images. You can also follow photographers you admire, and in turn, other photographers can follow you. There are also various groups you can join such as the Nikon D600 group that I’m a member of. As I mentioned earlier, it’s also free if you want to display less than 1000 images, with a Pro option and unlimited storage for just £4.99/month (I’m not on commission by the way). That’s a good deal given the cost of SmugMug for example. It’s also dead easy to get started with Flickr, simply signup for free, create a few albums and upload some images to them. You’re online and part of a global photographic community from that moment on.
Now the good part! Having created the means by which Pixtures can pull any album or indeed, any photo from Flickr, photographers signing up with Pixtures, even with the free membership option we offer, can have any of their Flickr albums and photos instantly promoted on Pixtures and with it, through any of our social media channels and the social media channels of our visitors. Delete or add an image to an album and those changes are reflected on Pixtures in minutes. Add a new album, tell us about it and again, it’s added in minutes. Crazy easy!
In summary, Pixtures is a young platform that can only benefit from your collaboration and photo content. Content is king in the world of Google and photo oriented sites achieve the highest ratings and most visitors. This benefits you and us. I really hope then that you will consider joining us on our exciting journey.
If you would like space to promote your photography based content, then please contact me. The ethos of OneCameraOneLens is that everyone is entitled to share things that others will find useful. I’m sure that some here will find this article very useful.