Squarespace Integrates Use of Unsplash Images

  (not my image)

(not my image)

We Squarespace users got an email from them this week, letting us know about their new feature of integrating the use of free Unsplash images within their service. For those of you that aren’t current customers, here’s their online article describing the new feature.

This is an an interesting and potentially very useful new feature. For those not familiar with Unsplash, as I wasn’t before being notified of this new integration, they’re a stock image service like Getty or iStock (which is now also owned by Getty), except that their images are totally free to use for both non-commercial and commercial use. The only real exception to free use that I can see after reading through their FAQ and terms is that you can’t turn around try to offer your own stock photo service by offering photos you got from their site. Other than that, use away, including any modifications you see fit.

For photographers such as myself, this feature probably won’t be used much, as we typically tend to use our own images. However, for anyone else building a site that isn’t a photographer and can’t afford to pay for professional photography, this is a very powerful new feature, as these people now have access to a ton of imagery to bolster the visual impact of their site without breaking the bank. Look at the image I posted at the top of this blog post, which I grabbed from this Unsplash integration - pretty cool, powerful image, and I got this from barely scrolling down the first main page that pops up when I clicked on the search pane in Squarespace’s add-image tool. If I were writing a blog post about mountaineering or simply looking for a decent header image for my outdoor-based website, this would be a very cool image to be able to use for free.

Now, as a photographer, many of my fellow photographers might suggest that I should be upset by this, that it’s devaluing our work, making it harder for us to get paid. I totally get that. On the other hand, as a technologist, I can see the immense value in this, as this would be a VERY handy asset to have in place when building a website for a potential client, as the sky’s the limit when it comes to free imagery they can use for their site. I could build them a site and charge them a lower fee because I only have to charge them for my time and output, and not extra for my or anyone else’s photography that costs some real $$. At any rate, any photographer who has a problem with this model would have to take it up with Unsplash and the photographers who supply them, as Squarespace is just providing a free service to its users that’s made available to them.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. As a photographer, how do you feel about such services? Valuable exposure and a chance to share your work with the world, or cheap manipulation that devalues your work? For the rest of you, what value do you find in such a service?

Also, for the photographer crowd, here’s an article about a photographer who unleashed his photo archive onto Unleashed, detailing how it lead to more work for him. Take from it what you will.

Squarespace's Image Management Problem

Squarespace has what I consider an image management problem, at least when it comes to using images in blog posts.  Inserting an "image block" into a post in order to display an image is relatively straightforward, but when it comes to choosing the image in that block, that's where the problem lies.

You see, oft times the image I want to use as the leading image for a blog post is an image I already have on my website in one of my existing galleries.  However, as SP's image blocks work today, you can't simply point to an image in one of your galleries; no, you have to upload a new image.  So that means, even though I have an image on my website already, and thus already taking up some of my allotted space, I have to re-upload that image separately into the image block if I want it displayed in my blog post.  That's ridiculous!  You should be able to point to the image files already on your website without having to duplicate it - hell, I could easily do that with a super-basic HTML-only website.  But I can't do that with an advanced CMS like Squarespace?  Again: ridiculous.

With slideshows, as I have displayed at the top of this post, there's a little more functionality, but there's still really less than there should be, in my opinion.  For a slideshow, you can at least point to an existing gallery on your website; you don't have to upload new images.  That's a big step in the right direction.  If they gave us that same functionality for single images, I'd be relatively happy.  However, one thing I'd like to see them implement is the "collection" functionality like you get on photography image-hosting web platforms like Zenfolio or SmugMug.  On those platforms, you can create galleries that are really just collections of photos from other other galleries; that is, the photo isn't being duplicated in the new "gallery", but is simply pointing back to the photo in the original gallery.  This makes it easy to create a collection of Fall photos (for example) that's really just collecting Fall photos from your other various landscape image galleries, and then present that collection as a slideshow in a blog post, on another custom webpage, etc.  It's a really handy feature.  I've been a Zenfolio customer for years, and I've really enjoyed that functionality.

Now, you might be thinking, "well, just use Zenfolio or Smugmug then; Squarespace isn't a photography site."  I would get your point, but really, Squarespace markets itself heavily to visual artists, and to photographers in particular.  Listen to any photo podcast or watch any photo vlog on YouTube, and Squarespace sponsorship is all over those things.  I don't think you can find a single one that isn't sponsored by them!  As such, I think these photo management touches should be a major focus for them.  I don't really do photography professionally anymore, so I've been thinking it's time to finally turn the second, professional site off (it's already got a front page saying, "thanks for the memories; buh-bye").  I'm kind of debating whether the platform I stick with should be this Squarespace or my other Zenfolio site.  My personal space has always been here, and yeah, there's a little more website customization flexibility overall with Squarespace, but...  I still get a blog with Zenfolio, the templates are mostly good enough, and the use of my existing imagery within that blog is MUCH easier/better there than it is here.  Considering most of my focus on my website is on my photography and I mostly use the existing images in my galleries for my blog posts, what's the argument to stick with Squarespace over Zen?

So Squarespace, I hope you're listening, as I really doubt I'm the only one that feels this way.  These asks are actually pretty basic things to implement - one of your interns could probably code it.  So please get with 2011 and get us this functionality already.

Sincerely,
A frustrated photo blogger.

Updating and backlog...

Upper Falls on the Brule River in Judge C.R. Magney State Park in Northern MN

I'm finally getting around to updating my image content in the photo galleries.  I realized just recently that I hadn't updated the website in some time, even as I've processed and posted images to other image hosting sites I use (Flickr, Instagram, 500px, etc.).  If you look now, you'll already see some new images posted in the galleries, and I'll be posting some more over the next few days.

I've also come to realize that I really have quite a backlog of photos to edit.  I've been kind of down on myself lately for not getting out for proper photo outings nearly enough, but honestly, with all the photos I still haven't edited from various trips over the past 5 years, I could probably be busy with my existing stock of unedited photos for some time.  For instance, I only had one new (edited) photo to drop in my Nightscapes gallery right now, but I also have folders of images from night photo outings back in 2013 and 2014 that I still haven't touched to date!  I really need to get on it! :)

Anyway, just checking in, as I haven't blogged in a while again, and just wanted to let you know to keep checking the galleries, as they are finally getting updated with some fresh content.

Cheers,
Ryan

Galleries slowly growing...

Hey All,

Hope you're doing well out there in Internet Land...  I'm slowly, but surely, expanding the gallery content on the site.  If you were already familiar with my professional photography site, much of the content will look familiar, but there is some new content here, especially all the Minnesota stuff.  The Colorado landscape gallery I'm adding to more slowly, as I'm trying to be very judicious about what I add, filtering out old works that I no longer feel pass muster. We all grow as artists as we go along, and what might have seemed great a couple years ago can now leave us scratching our heads, wondering how we ever thought a particular work(s) was worthy of publishing.  So it goes...  So anyway, I'm working at culling pretty hard as I move that gallery over here.  I have added some new images, though, as well as new images in the Cityscapes gallery (including one from my days back in Colorado Springs that I really like).  I've also added the Nightscapes gallery, which I hope you'll enjoy.  Hopefully I'll be able to make some fresh images for that gallery this coming Spring/Summer, as I'm kinda anxious to get out to some dark skies areas (outside the city) again and do some Milky Way shooting.  I've also got some night images in my files from the past couple of years that I haven't even processed yet, so will try to get some of those done soon, too.

Beyond that, I'm planning to get a couple/few more galleries up in the coming weeks that showcase my portrait and conceptual work.  Stay tuned for those to show up over the next week or two.

Anyway, just checking in and updating you all on progress of site.  I hope you're all doing well.

 

Cheers,

Ryan

 

Tumblr readers:  Link to original post (with working links) here.

The New RyanFonkert.com - A New Beginning.

Welcome to my new website.  Those of you familiar with my previous website over the years have probably noticed that it had gotten kind of stale, in more ways than one.  Not only had I gotten pretty sporadic in updating content, but the design of the site was also several years old and in need of an update.  Now, I could have simply updated the design, or imported everything into this new space to continue what I had going, but beyond just refreshing what I had, I really desired a fresh start, a new ground zero.  I feel like my old site had become too much of a hodge-podge over the years; lacking any real, coherent identity.  I started thinking about how I wanted to present myself to the world, and really, I just wanted to scrap my online past and just start fresh.  This is that fresh start.

The site is still a work in progress.  At the time of this post, I only have a few galleries created, with a small handful of images in each.  That content will grow as I continue to round out this site, moving more content over here.  I plan to upgrade the image viewing experience, too.  So please stay tuned as the site grows richer.

Anyway, that's it for now; just wanted to give a quick introduction.  I hope you'll follow the blog and my galleries, and I'll certainly appreciate any interaction in the comments.  Thanks for stopping by.

 

Cheers,

Ryan

 

p.s. If you're viewing this post on Tumblr, link to original site is here.