Photography Podcast

PhotoNetCast #58 – Advantages and Disadvantages of hosting your own photoblog

Posted in PhotoNetCast Shows on 19-06-2011 | 11 Comments

While editing the last episode, I decided to split the conversation in two so that we wouldn’t end up with an episode far too long.

This episode is the second part of that conversation, and we discuss the good and the bad of hosting your own photoblog, as opposed using third-party services.image

As in episode 57, you’ll be hearing me (Antonio Marques), Dave Wilson, Sean Galbraith and our two guests Brian Matiash and Bob Lussier.

Also, if you have a few seconds, head on to our latest poll and help us figure out how the photography podcasting market has evolved since we started publishing.

Enjoy the show…



Show notes


Selected from the Web

Comments (11)

Hey guys! Thanks for addressing this issue. Of course, I had to post about the show on my blog. Here’s the link:

Thanks for that Jon.

I hope that our conclusions weren’t too different from my initial recommendations, and you’re not regreting it already :).

Good show as usual, the reason someone would use or is for the unlimited space they give you to keep you images online. These sites can be used as a back-ends for any self hosted blog that one may use.


That’s a good point.

I think the major advantage of such services is the ease of use.
I’m going to say this without checking the prices, so I may be completely wrong, but if we talk about space alone, my current host gives me 300 Gb for a very modest montlhy fee that will probably be comparable to zenfolio or smugmug.
Since I only upload low res imagery, this is of absolutely no concern to me, but if someone wants to have hi res images (for example, for automatically order processing) then, you are absolutely right.

Thanks for your comment…

Long Live Flickr. Its the peoples photostream and has millions of images from all over the world. I have found flickr a great resource for connecting with people who love photography and come from all walks of life.

Who are any of you to judge the work of others in such a way. There are plenty of great photographers on flickr you just have to push aside your snobbery and look.

Hi Peter…

Let’s see if I can explain the issue at hand to avoid any misunderstanding.

We were discussing advantages and disadvantages of hosting your own photoblog, and we compared this option against using third-party services to display your work – one of these services is Flickr.
Now, of the four of us, Bob was the only mentioning he doesn’t use Flickr. That should already tell you something. In fact, in my workflow, every image I decide to publish online goes first into Flickr and only after into my photoblog.

Addressing your points specifically:
– you never heard us say that anyone should stop using Flickr in favor of a photoblog – we said that you should not use Flickr as your only way of displaying imagery;
– you never heard say that Flickr is not a great way of connecting with people. Listen to many of the back episodes and you’ll see that we many times have made a point of mentioning the importance of Flickr for networking;
– you never heard us say, in our “snobbish” manner, that there isn’t great work on Flickr. There is. You’ve heard us say that there is a lot of bad work on Flickr. One is not exclusive of the other.

Flickr and all the other 3rd party applications, as we mentioned, have intrinsic problems to be used as your own “brand”. To name a few, the lack of control for design, being subject to ever changing ToS, accounts disappearing without warning, and the one that would cause me major concern, the fact that I have no idea if the service will exist in 10 years.

If, after reading this, you still feel that we’ve addressed the issue wrongly, please do let us know so that we can discuss it further.

Having finally re-listened to the episode, I’m not sure I agree with the accusation of snobbery. Flickr did take a bit of flak for it’s uninspired layout, I admit, but we weren’t wholeheartedly anti-Flickr at all.

From my perspective, Flickr has some enormous pluses:

1. I can upload as many pictures at full resolution as I want without having to worry about bandwidth charges from my web hosting service.
2. I can embed images from Flickr on my blog or other sites without having to have sufficient local storage for all the images.
3. I get 3 times more traffic on my Flickr photostream than I do on my photoblog. I also get the majority of my licensing enquiries via Flickr.
4. There’s a huge community of photographers on Flickr and, regardless of the fact that a large portion of the content is of the “snap” variety rather than art photography, you can always find a users with similar interests and groups to hang out in.

On the negative side:

1. If I replace an image on Flickr with a modified version, all previously embedded versions disappear to be replaced with a “this image is no longer available” image instead.
2. There are worries about the safety of using Flickr for images to be shown elsewhere several recent examples of accounts being closed down or deleted without giving owners the option to address the complaint first.
3. Flickr forbids any attempts at sales except for licensing via Getty so, if I want to sell prints or license my images, I can’t use Flickr as a direct platform for this.

Overall, though, I’m enormously positive about Flickr and am, frankly, a Flickr junkie. That said, I will still be posting images to 500px, SmugMug, ImageKind, my own photoblog and my blog too since each serves a different purpose for me.

Interesting podcast as always. I would like to throw in my two cents on a few things.

The biggest barrier I have faced is on the coding side instead of the financial side. I’ve tried it all including having my own server space and hosted blogs. I found that doing it myself did not work for me. I am not a web designer or coder and I was frustrated with the template options and the resources out there. I even hired a designer and that was disastrous. My brain refused to wrap around how to work with servers and honestly I didn’t want to spend all my time learning how to do that. I wanted a place to share my photographs. Of course I started in 2004 so I imagine options have become more numerous and hopefully easier. Thankfully I have landed at a hosted company that works perfectly for me.

Someone (sorry I’m just learning to sort out the new voices) said something along the lines that a photoblog had to have a higher purpose than just sharing photos and I disagree with that. A blog can be anything the owners wants it to be. If someone wants to go into depth on the meaning or means of achieving their photograph then they can. If someone just wants a personalized placed to share their photos (that’s me!) then they can do that too. I’m not a professional photographer and I’m not looking to become one. I just want a customized, personal space to share my photos as I take them.

I am going to side with Peter a little bit and say that in the context of this particular conversation Flickr did not seem to be on your good side. I’m not saying that you tore Flickr down or even that it is your job to build Flickr up but it seemed that several participants had the attitude that the photos on Flickr were very pedestrian and that it was hard to find good work there. I agree that it is hard to find that stellar, inspirational work, but it IS there. You have to put some effort though into finding it. I am very discriminating with who I add as a contact and what groups I follow. Sometimes I will go and change my contacts out when I want new inspiration. It is all in how you use it.

And finally (no really! jeez I’m wordy) it took me a long time to figure out a balance between my photoblog and Flickr. What works for me is to put my best work on my photoblog and to use Flickr for my B roll, my mobile photos, my videos, my everything else. I know that is to the dismay of one of your panelists. I have had this system in place forever so something like 500px is throwing me off. I’m not sure how I feel about my best work being somewhere other than my photoblog. It is giving me something to ponder.

Looking forward to the next podcast.

Thanks for these explanations and advice. Even as an amateur, I was wondering whether I had to continue hosting my photos or not. Now I have the answer 🙂


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