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Author Topic: Thoughts About My Articles  (Read 2448 times)
Henrik Paul
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« on: November 11, 2006, 05:25:51 AM »
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Hi all,

For some while ago I put up a website with the primary aim to sell some of my photos for wall-hanging purposes, with a side dish of some photography-related articles in trying to keep people coming back. Today I'm not quite sure if I consider it as a site with articles to read, with prints for sale as a side dish.

Due to lack of actually any kind of useful feedback on either part (articles/prints), I thought to ask of you about the articles; I wonder if you could take the time to read some of my articles and just tell what you think - should I continue writing them.

The prints, I know, aren't top notch quality, and there hasn't been too much business regarding them anyhow, but it's nice when someone I don't know decides to order a print or two.

The URL to my site is http://www.henrik.paul.fi/ (click on "Articles" on the top menu) - any critique/ideas/comments are appreciated.
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2006, 09:18:58 AM »
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A couple of thoughts...

Your site isn't constructed to encourage feedback.  There's no email link etc. on any of the article pages I looked at.  You might want to use one of the free blogging applications that invites and manages comments.

Also the navigation isn't great, often clicking on the bottom of the pages doesn't lead the user to where they would expect to end up..

eg: http://www.henrik.paul.fi/articles.php?a=9   if you click on "opinon" at the bottom of the page you end up in basically a blank page.   If the site is under construction, ask again when it's finished.

As for content - if it has value to you, then keep writing, journaling is a valuable technique - although not necessarily valuable to others.  You're competing with a large number of professional sites/blogs for "shelf space" - if your images aren't outstanding, then the content of your articles has to provide clear differentiation.

Sorry if this comes across as overly critical, but I learned a long time ago, that if my motiviation and inspriation as a photographer depended on the acclaim of others I'd have given up long ago.

So the answer is YES, but in the context of managed expectations.
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Henrik Paul
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« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2006, 09:51:29 AM »
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Your site isn't constructed to encourage feedback.  There's no email link etc. on any of the article pages I looked at.  You might want to use one of the free blogging applications that invites and manages comments.
I made a conscious decision in not including comments after posts. The web is full of blogs, and I just feel like that I don't need to be one of them. Just to clarify, I'm not expecting all that much interaction (be it by email or otherwise), but what I meant was that after posting some links to articles on other photography forums, not many have commented. This is the first time I explicitly ask for comments, previously I have just provided something to read.

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Also the navigation isn't great, often clicking on the bottom of the pages doesn't lead the user to where they would expect to end up..

eg: http://www.henrik.paul.fi/articles.php?a=9   if you click on "opinon" at the bottom of the page you end up in basically a blank page.   If the site is under construction, ask again when it's finished.
You are absolutely right there, and those tags at the bottom are kind of a nightmare for me, because I have not many ideas on how to improve that in a significant manner. It was meant to be a quick filtering kind of thing, but it's pretty much nothing at the moment. I'll surely give this more thought, maybe even scrapping them altogether.

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As for content - if it has value to you, then keep writing, journaling is a valuable technique - although not necessarily valuable to others.  You're competing with a large number of professional sites/blogs for "shelf space" - if your images aren't outstanding, then the content of your articles has to provide clear differentiation.
I know what you mean, but from my point of view, it's not competing per se, just giving my thoughts to others, in the hope of they having some value to someone, some day, somehow.

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Sorry if this comes across as overly critical, but I learned a long time ago, that if my motiviation and inspriation as a photographer depended on the acclaim of others I'd have given up long ago.

So the answer is YES, but in the context of managed expectations.
You don't have to be sorry, I asked for it, and received what I wanted - a straight answer. Sugar-coated answers are only unhelpful, at best.

I wouldn't say that my motivation and inspiration are linked to the feedback I get. I would continue photographing regardless of the feedback, and I have other media for venting my writing urges. Writing thoughts down (in two languages) can be time consuming, so what I'm wondering is, is there any value of what I do to others? I'm not striving to be the next Luminous Landscape, I'm hoping to give someone something to think. I don't think I would continue writing for my own self - I already know my thoughts, opinions and ideas, so I don't need to read what I think.

That's why I asked for you (as a collective) to read and tell your thoughts - as a reality check.

Am I making sense?
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You are welcome to look at my thoughts of and about photography at http://www.henrik.paul.fi/
LoisWakeman
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« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2006, 11:42:10 AM »
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Henrik: if you want to sell art over the web, you have to engage with the surfer: unlike in a real gallery or wrokshop where you can talk to them. I think that having some articles that reveal your personality and inspiration can only be a good thing, myself (but I am biased as I do the same sort of thing on my site. I have however had positive feedback about how much of me comes through from the page.)
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feppe
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« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2006, 12:16:59 PM »
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Your photography is really good and I'd be surprised if you didn't sell a print here or there. But my major complaint is the limited payment methods. COD limits you to Finland and I don't even know what giro is, and I'm Finnish, too. You need to have credit card payment or PayPal to enable most people to buy your prints.

Opening a merchant account for CC is quite expensive but there are other options. There are websites which do all processing of the prints for you - from CC processing to printing and shipping. There's also at least one site which allows you to send the prints yourself, if you so prefer. I don't remember sites but googling helps.

Good luck with tax officials, arcane anti-small-business laws and red tape in socialist Finland, though.
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Henrik Paul
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« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2006, 12:32:21 PM »
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Your photography is really good and I'd be surprised if you didn't sell a print here or there.
Thanks! There has been some interest in the close social circles, and I'm waiting for the word of mouth spreading and yielding greater results.

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But my major complaint is the limited payment methods. COD limits you to Finland and I don't even know what giro is, and I'm Finnish, too. You need to have credit card payment or PayPal to enable most people to buy your prints.
I know this, and I hate the fact too. I have been looking at several Paypal-type services, but Paypal seems to be the most convenient one for the so-far low volume of sales. The reason of me not using Paypal is the bad experiences others have had with Paypal - frozen accounts for no good reason, leading to not-insubstantial money losses and non-existent customer service. I'm watching on what becomes of Google Checkout, but it seems to be available only for US merchants at this time.

Giro is the same as direct deposit (as I mention on the website, perhaps a bit unclearly), that is transferring money between two banks directly. "Tilisiirto" in finnish

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Opening a merchant account for CC is quite expensive but there are other options. There are websites which do all processing of the prints for you - from CC processing to printing and shipping. There's also at least one site which allows you to send the prints yourself, if you so prefer. I don't remember sites but googling helps.
I will try to have the most control of the resulting prints myself, preferably looking at them before shipping, so that if I find their print quality poor, I have the opportunity to reprint them. Once my photography budget allows it, I'm going to buy a HP 9180-printer, so that I could print them myself.

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Good luck with tax officials, arcane anti-small-business laws and red tape in socialist Finland, though.
Thanks. Yeah, the red tape is quite discouraging, at best.
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You are welcome to look at my thoughts of and about photography at http://www.henrik.paul.fi/
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