Get the Most Out of the Google+ Daily Photography Themes
by Eric Leslie
Let's talk about how to bring more people into your life through the Daily Photography themes that are just oh so popular on Google+. I take pictures to share with others and hopefully leave a positive impact on them, so it makes sense to flock to a social network like Google+ putting yourself out there. Unfortunately the "if you build it, they will come" philosophy isn't enough. It doesn't matter if you work is the best, throwing it out into a vacuum will leave you wanting more.
Along comes this idea of daily photo themes whereby you can tag your photos with any imaginable topic in hopes that people who are interested in that subject, say #MountainMonday, will browse through all the submissions from that day and hopefully discover your shot. If they really like it, they may +1 it, comment on it or go all out share it with their followers. Ultimately, we hope they'll like us enough to circle us.
As a guy that was getting themes going before Google+ had clickable hash-tags or any kind of search—the one who started the first list of themes to help people get plugged in, I want to share few tips to help you get the most out of the themes. Most of my thoughts stem from watching the themes grow into a lot of different things. Some of them, not that great. Let's begin:
- Be Full of Passion This may seem like a no brainier, but participate in the themes you are truly passionate about. It's something you should be thinking about all week leading up to that particular day. You will have photos that you want to process just for that day. Too often I see what looks like someone who just has "some" photo and they go down the list to see what it might fit into. If you do that, the image just won't connect as well.
- Choose One Theme, One I don't know how many times I see someone include ten different hash tags on a single photo. This is just a cheap attempt to game a few extra views. Don't post the same photo in #WaterfallWednesday with #WaterscapeWednesday and then push the day the week a bit to throw #ThirstyThursdayPics in there too. Please stay on the day you're posting from. This ties closely in with having passion about a subject matter. If you really cared about trees and look forward to #TreeTuesday, you won't even think to include the #PortraitTuesday tag even though the shot may have featured a person. Please just stick with one theme.
- Get Involved A huge problem is a lack of interaction. Sometimes people think if they just throw a hash-tag on their photo they deserve to have comments and +1s. Why not spend 15-20 minutes and scroll threw all the submissions and be the first to interact with others. Not only is it just a nice thing to do, but I'm always inspired by all the gifted photographers on Google+. You don't have to be a theme curator to take leadership around a theme and influence that subset of the photography community. Pay the interaction forward.
- Don't Worry About The Curators This will likely upset some people, but lets be honest, most of them don't do anything special. Myself included. I work full-time on top of my photography career, so I don't always have the time to feature my favorite shots or organize sub-themes for #WaterfallWednesday. When we were starting to organize the curators with various themes, I originally pushed to exclude the curator's name next to the hash-tag. For me, this is so much more about the photography than the person "organizing" a theme. I know most of the curators try to go through as many of the submissions and leave feedback, but I want to encourage everyone who is passionate about that theme to do that. It's not like my feedback as a curator is anymore valuable than anyone else's. So it will never hurt my feelings if you don't list me. I don't want this to be a blast towards those curators that do put a lot of work and effort into promoting the themes they're passionate about. I fully expect people to continue listing the curators names. I just want to make sure your focus is correctly set on the photography itself.
- Just Use Hash-tags Another bone of contention I have is how the theme curators are using the tagging system and business pages together to sort of organize all the images together under one roof. At the surface, the business pages are a great way to organize a theme and share the highlights. In the early days, many of the themes had sub-themes much like #PanoPoker and #SelfieSunday, where the selfies might have to include hats one day and the next there must be water etcetera. Theme pages are a great way to share that information. I just don't care for photo tagging hack because it just complicates the process. The searchable hash-tags are super simple and do the exact same thing. Why make a mountain out of a mole hill?
The rolling issue throughout all of these points is to focus on the photography and connect with others who are equally as passionate about a particular theme as you are. Check out my list of themes where I have included what I consider the major themes. There are other lists that include over a thousand little themes that are super narrow in focus. There is something for everyone. It always surprises me which themes are trending on Google+ for any given day. Get out there, share, get inspired and help motivate others with your feedback.