The majority of photographers whose work I have stumbled across keep a glossy but impractical portfolio page; mine resides at michaeltoye.com. For those photos that are pretty good, but fail to make the portfolio grade, we make use of sites like Flickr and Google+.
Personally, I gravitated towards Flickr because of the community photographer spirit it engenders. In addition to following ‘friends’ whose photos and style you appreciate, you can build a catalogue of your favourite images from others. There are groups you can join to share your images with like minded shooters, for instance, I am subscribed to street photography and Leica groups.
I have been active on Flick for years now, but I do remember it didn’t take long to discover Flickr’s Explore page. Each photo that is uploaded to Flickr is assigned an ‘interestingness’ factor. How ‘interesting’ your photo is depends on numerous factors like visits to your photo and from where, how many and how frequently others comment and favourite your image, etc. Each day the 500 most ‘interesting’ photos are collated and presented as Flickr’s Explore page. I don’t think it’s just ‘interestingness’ that gets you selected for this coveted set as I do know adding your photo to numerous groups actually reduces your chances of making the cut!
Flickr guards the algorithmic secret of interestingness and Explore selection closely, but I can comment on my experiences.
I can be fairly optimistic of Explore selection if I…
- Upload a photo relatively late in Flickr’s day. I uploaded ‘The Walls Have Eyes’ about 9:30pm GMT, giving Flickr enough time to see some nice statistics on my photo before the new Flickr day starts at Midnight GMT.
- Don’t add to any groups
- Get about 15+ favourites and a few comments over the course of the first hour after upload. ‘The Walls Have Eyes’ received 100 views, 20 favourites and 2 comments before the end of the Flickr day.
Obviously the third point is the biggest variable and the principal requisite is that you take a good photograph. If it’s also processed well, it will pop off your contacts’ page for new images from friends.
Time is a factor in your photo’s ‘interestingness’, so remaining on the Explore page requires some beefy stats to roll in. At 9am, ‘The Walls Have Eyes’ is at 5000+ views and 112 favourites and is still at #34. I expect it to drop before lunch, but this can be slowed by adding to numerous groups.
I also know Flickr Explore selection ignores you after a while. At the beginning of the year I managed to get 5 images in 5 consecutive days into Flickr’s Explore. Bear in mind there are only 500 spots between the millions of daily uploads, so it seems only reasonable to ‘ban’ people for a period of time.
Does anyone else have a similar or dissimilar proven pattern for Flickr’s Explore?