How I make photography posts to my blog.

Jumping! This is one of my favorite things to do on a sand dune.
Someone asked “Why the hell don’t you get a Flickr account? It must be a far better way to share your photos than posting 20+ at a time.”

So I wrote back with something like this:

Let me tell you a little how I make my blog posts.

What I want:
A single post with lots of photos, all viewable at the first look, at a size that does the photos justice, but that still fit on most displays. For a great example of this, check out the Big Picture blog from the Boston Globe.

What I don’t want:
Any “Click here to see the next image” links.
Scripts (although I’d love the “J for next photo” link on the Big Picture blog).
Any external controls on how any photo displays.

Here’s my method:
– I use Lightroom to export all the photos I want, with a set prefix, and individually numbered, all at the right size for viewing on my blog.
– These go into a set file on my laptop, named with the same prefix.
– I use a text file to write the blog post. Each line starts with a number. If the number is 0 it means there is no photo. Any number above that means I write about the photo with that number.
– I name that file with the same prefix.
– I run a python script that takes all the writing in the text file and converts it to HTML (with the photo descriptions as alt-text), and spits out two files.
– The first file is a html file that I can load locally, to check all the photos look good, and all the descriptions make sense, and there are no errors.
– The second file (and the terminal window) displays the HTML code, ready to copy and paste.

So far, I can do all of this while not connected to the internet. This is very important for me, because as you can see from my blog posts, I spend a lot of time traveling. It’s no good to me to only be able to work when connected to the internet, when I’m also on a plane. Or I’m on a cruise ship with satellite internet, which is very slow and very expensive, and I might not have wifi in my room. For example, I wrote this post while offline, or else it might have cost me a dollar to write while connected.

Back to my method:
– At this point, I can connect to the internet, and use ftp to upload the folder with the photos to my server.
– Because the files are already at the exact size and quality for display on my blog, it takes no longer than necessary. These 26 photos took about 10 minutes over satellite internet.
– Meanwhile, I paste the HTML into my wordpress blog “new post” form, tick a few boxes, and hit “Publish”.
– I now disconnect from the internet.

Sometimes, if I also want to share the original resolution files along with smaller display images, I export each photo from Lightroom twice, with the same number, and use a slightly different python script. Of course, these photos then take a massive amount of bandwidth compared to only the smaller images, and so I rarely do this when traveling.

Also, I often upload my favorite photos to Facebook, to share them there too, especially if the photos show friends or events my friends attended.

I have a Flickr account. For the number of images I share, I’d have to get a paid account, and so far I’ve not seen how it will help me share images on my blog. It’ll add many steps to the entire process, and steps I can only do online.

Again, if you could explain what I’m missing, I’d really appreciate it.

2 comments to this article

  1. Emil

    on 2010/10/25 at 09:11 -

    I honestly think Flickr is a waste of time, especially since you use Sosauce as an additional source for a lot of your travel pictures. Someone gave me crap about it a few weeks ago (a client, believe it or not) because all my images weren’t consolidated into one simple to view-all gallery unless it was a set I had published on gallery site, all of which I’ve pulled down now. For me right now that’s entirely the point, and I still wouldn’t want to just upload everything to a view-all by everyone database unless it was directly connected to my blog or otherwise.
    I really like the method you devised for preparing a post offline. Are the python scripts you’re using generated or self written? I’ve recently been trying out a few blog client apps which I think are even easier than your current method, but for anything beyond trial versions they cost money…

  2. admin

    on 2010/10/25 at 11:46 -

    Hey Emil,

    As it happens, Sosauce probably isn’t going to stick around for that long. It’s an internet startup that started up just fine, and because the guy running it has brains, he didn’t just stick to one thing. He employed two people to make some silly video games to go along side the website, and those proved quite popular. So popular, in fact, that now the company employs about 30 people, and they all work on video games! Nobody is currently developing the sosauce website.

    Which is another reason why I like to keep everything on my own server. Or maybe not everything, but as much as possible. The more I use other services, spread around the internet, the more I find that I prefer to do things myself. Invariably I find a way to do the same thing better, and offline, which is very important.

    Then again, sharing photos on Facebook is very important to me too. I get hundred or responses on there for every comment or email I get from my blog. But the focus is different. Facebook is all about the social side of sharing my photos, and my blog is very personal, like a diary, or a record of what I do and what I create, all kept in one place.

    I think the combination of the two works best for me.

    The python script is one I wrote myself. Again, there are probably services or software packages out there that would do the same job, but there would be some bullshit to go along with it that I wouldn’t be able to control. Writing a CMS from scratch, as I have done twice now, once for my blog and once for the main bulk of my website, gives me 100% offline control of a not-perfect-but-suitable website, compared to 50% online-only control of a website that looks a bit better.

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