More and more in this online world of ours, we photographers are losing creative control. Like when we try to showcase our photographs. These days, the most popular ways to do so are through social media and through our websites. But just think about the way places like Facebook and Instagram are structured. There really is no control whatsoever about how you may want to display the images you place there. Basically, you can upload, post, and add a few remarks to them. That’s it. The app or website makes all the decisions as to how it’ll be displayed. You can’t choose layouts, nor can you provide some sort of backdrop against which your photographs will show well. It’s seriously limiting when I stop to think about it. Especially when we’re promoting ourselves and could really use all the tools possible to show our work to the best effect.
The same is true even if you design your own website. Sure, on your own website, you have worlds more control than you do on social media. Here, you can choose backdrops and layouts to your heart’s content. But still, there are limits to websites, and screen size is one of those limits. On the mobile web, for instance, no matter how carefully you design the site, much like with social media, you have very little control over things like the layout.
So what’s the solution? I really think PDFs are it! They’re a shareable medium, one that is unalterable. Design a PDF, and it will look the same on desktop platforms and mobile alike, no shifting around of your images to make them fit on screens of different shapes and sizes. They give you all the flexibility you could possibly wish for, at least in a digital setting. You get to choose the backdrops, the fonts, the number of characters you’d like to include, and so on.
Of course, designing PDFs is all well and good, but how useful are they if no one can see them? This, I think, is where social media comes in handy. On social media, you can share a couple of sample images, perhaps images designed to display well on the platform of your choice. These can serve as teasers, and with them, you can offer links to PDFs available for download, or links to your website, where viewers can find a variety of PDFs to enjoy. You could even take it a step further by adding an email signup offer to your website, something simple where people can register to receive monthly or semi-annual emails that direct them to PDFs displaying your newest work.
No matter how you choose to go about it, PDFs give you the flexibility other sharing mediums simply can’t offer. When we’re showing off our work and promoting ourselves, we really need to be able to show our photographs in the best way that we can, so this is one option to help you do that!