Photographer Gevon Servo wrote an article called Five Reasons Why I Replaced My Camera Phone With an Eye-Fi Card. He described a work flow for using an Eye-Fi card for “near instant” publishing to Instagram of the images taken on his DSLR. At first, I wrote this off as gimmicky and I had a number of reasons why this was impractical.
But as I thought more about I realized that Gevon’s idea was actually quite brilliant. I decided to test his workflow out for myself. I’ve used Pressgram for almost a month and have loved the ability this app gives me to instantly post iPhone photos to my blog. It’s a simple process; photo + filter + WordPress. I planned to attend the Asbury Agile 2013 conference and I thought it would be cool to use both Pressgram and Gevon’s workflow.
I’ve had an Eye-Fi card for about a year. It’s never worked reliably for me. I always had problems getting it to connect with my Wi-Fi and in the field it would often only transfer a few photos before failing. After reading and re-reading the online manual and some trial and error I finally paired the Eye-Fi card with my iPhone. I could have paired it with my iPad but my iPhone is more portable and fits easily in my pants pockets.
Before heading out to Asbury Agile I took some test shots around my neighborhood. I set my Nikon D5100 to RAW+FINE. Since the Eye-Fi card model I have only transfers JPG files, this setting me to capture and transfer a high quality JPG to my iPhone while keeping a RAW image for later importing to Adobe Lightroom. I took a few test shots and connected my iPhone 5 to the ad-hoc Wi-FI hotspot created by the Eye-Fi card. At first no images transferred to my iPhone. After fiddling around with my Nikon D5100 I discovered a menu setting to enable or disable the Eye-Fi card transfer. Once I enabled this feature the Eye-Fi card transferred images to the photo library on my iPhone.
The transfers aren’t blazingly fast but they are fast enough. I can shoot just one image, wait for it to transfer to the iPhone and then edit, apply filter and upload to Pressgram (and my blog). Or I can shoot as fast as I want (within the limits of the Eye-Fi card and my cameras shooting rate) and wait for the Eye-Fi card to download each image. I can edit and process when the transfer completes.
You can see the results. I have photos of independent UX Designer/Writer Sarah Doody and Sandeep Chand, Director for R&D at iCIMS. These images were taken from the second row with my AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 at high ISO (3200 to 6400) and f/1.8 (it was a very dimly lit room). After taking the photo, it took about 15 seconds for the images to download, another 15-30 seconds to select the right image, square crop, add a filter (or not) and import into Pressgram. A few lines of text, some hash tags, and I was ready to post to my blog (or Facebook or Twitter).
As Gevon mentions in his article, this workflow gives the photographer the freedom to choose the right lens to express his/her creative vision. I have control over depth of field, shutter speed, etc. But I really like about this workflow is that I can share my creation instantly with my social network while creating content for my blog. I plan on using this workflow on my next photography event — Scott Kelby World Wide Photo Walk along the Highline.
Since the launch of Pressgram I have thought a lot about how my photos are published. While Pressgram allows me to snap a photo, add a filter, and post my photo to my WordPress blog1 it doesn’t offer an easy way to publish photos I’ve taken with my DSLR. With Pressgram, I have full creative control over my photos and since the photos are hosted on my blog, I benefit from the traffic to my blog that would otherwise go to a social network.
But as I thought about this some and I realized that for certain photo, photos taken with my DSLR and processed in some other software like Adobe Lightroom, that I would prefer posting these photos to other communities like Flickr or 500px while at the same time driving traffic back to my blog. I could publish my DSLR photos to Pressgram but I felt that I was better served publishing them into a more appropriate community. The communities on 500px and Flickr are more geared toward the DSLR and compact systems camera (CSC) photographer2. I have accounts on both but recently have leaned toward using 500px more.
A few years ago, I settled on using Adobe Lightroom for cataloging and editing my photos. The “good” ones the ones I feel comfortable sharing publicly, end up on my blog. My current workflow for publishing photos involves exporting a suitably sized photo to a local folder, optionally optimizing the photo using JPEGmini, then uploading and posting to my blog3. JPEGmini helps improve the performance of my photo heavy blog. Occasionally I remember to upload them to 500px via a 500px export plugin for Lightroom.
Here’s the current “publish” workflow.
It’s not a complicated workflow but it seemed to me that there was room for improvement. When I export photos to 500px, I can set certain parameters for quality of the photo including sizing and JPEG compression. What if I could skip the JPEGmini optimization step and use the 500px optimized photo on my blog? My photos would be hosted at 500px and I would benefit from improved performance on my site since photos would be served from 500px servers instead of mine.
What I wanted was to post my photos to 500px, along with some text, while at the same time creating a blog post. Basically I wanted a Pressgram style workflow for my DSLR photos.
I had messed around with IFTTT, a service that lets anyone create connections between various online services (channels). I could create a recipe to connect 500px and WordPress. Each upload to 500px would trigger the recipe to create a blog entry. Posting my photos to 500px and WordPress would be as simple as using the 500px Lightroom plugin. My recipe requires that the photo is tagged with keyword “wordpress”. This allows me the flexibility of sometimes publishing to 500px without also creating a blog post.
Here’s the new “publish” workflow.
When the IFTTT recipe is triggered, my content and photo will post to WordPress. Since I use Markdown to create my blog post the 500px text will appear formatted in Markdown. This isn’t much of a problem since most of my photos post don’t include links and Markdown text is easy to read. A plugin on my WordPress blog converts the Markdown to HTML. The blog posting will also include a small piece of text with a link back to my 500px photo.
There is one downside to this. My photos will be hosted on 500px. I am will be subject to 500px TOS and if I close my 500px account or delete a photo from 500px, the photo links on my blog will break. However, I think 500px’s TOS is designed to favour the rights of the photographer. 500px keeps adding new features most of which benefit me as a photographer. I especially love the portfolio feature and I can mark my photos for sale.
This modified workflow will work with Flickr. Adobe has a built-in Flickr4 export plugin and it’s easy to create a workable IFTTT recipe.
Pressgram has built-in support for publishing links to your images (and associated blog posts) to Facebook and Twitter social networks. But what if you prefer the [App Developer Network](http://alpha.app.net/khurtwilliams)? There are two solutions that I’ve used that seem to work but both involve publishing your photo a WordPress blog first.
If This Then That (IFTTT) is a service that lets you connect various online services (channels) and do actions based on simple rules triggered by actions. The combination of online service and rule is called a recipe. I created a [IFTTT recipe](http://ifttt.com/myrecipes/personal/5745091) to push links from my WordPress blog that have been tagged “#pressgram-photo” to my app.net stream. When I want to post my Pressgram image to ADN, I follow the same procedure that I would for posting to my WordPress blog but I add the tag “pressgram-photo’ to the tag field in the bog information section, and hit the check mark to publish. It may take some time before your image is posted to ADN. It depends on when IFTTT checks your blog for updates.
The second method involves using PourOver. [PourOver is an ADN service](http://adn-pourover.appspot.com/signup/) that uses the RSS feed from your blog to publish links to your ADN stream. My WordPress blog already has an RSS feed so using PourOver involved the trivial task of authorizing to my ADN account and pasting in a link to my RSS feed. Now, every time I post content ( any content ) to my WordPress site a link is posted to ADN.
So you’ve decided to dump Instagram and put control of your images back in your hands. You’ve setup your WordPress blog, downloaded the Pressgram app and connected it to the new ( or existing ) blog. You’re ready to go. But what about your existing Instagram images? They need to be rescued before you delete your Instagram account. Here’s how.
First you’ll need to export all your photos to your computer via Instaport, a simple web application that will backup all your Instagram photos in a single zipped file. To export your Instagram photos and save them locally, go to the Instaport website, sign in with your Instagram ID and click ‘Yes’ to authorize Instaport’s access to Instagram.
Once access is granted and Instaport has found all your photos, you’ll need to choose some export options. Select ‘Download .zip file’ and choose to download all photos. Next click the ‘Start Export’ button.
It may take a long time for Instaport to complete your request. If you’ve been an Instagram user for a long time or have a few thousand images this could take very long time. Be patient. Once completed, click on the download link to download all of your Instagram photos into a zip file.
That was the easy part. The hard part is getting your images into Pressgram. Pressgram does not offer any bulk import feature so you’ll have to manually import each image via the Pressgram app.