Carolina

Social Media Platforms Vs Having Your Own Website

Facebook-Twitter-Instagram

As most people know that read my blog regularly, I am not a real fan of social media platforms even though they are extremely popular in our society today. Just because a social media platform is popular doesn't mean it has real value. Three of the most popular social media platforms are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. In this post, I want to express my views on the three platforms and explain why having your own website can be much more beneficial for one's business and even one's personal life. But first, I want to share my views on the top three social media platforms.

FACEBOOK

One of the biggest social media platforms is Facebook. Facebook has been around for a long time and over the years has had its problems with security issues, privacy issues, content bias, and poor leadership in how the platform was being run. I remember back in the day when the use of Facebook was fairly innocent. Families and friends could post articles and express themselves on a regular basis. It was fun. But today Facebook has become a platform to post content that is, in my opinion, brings no real value to my life, especially if I want to use it for my business or to advertise my content and brand. It is not a place to express one's thoughts, ideas, and creative processes. It is limited and greatly controlled. Post on Facebook is never current. Think about it. Have you ever liked a post on Facebook and went back to find a post a week or later and it took you forever to find it? That can be very frustrating and total waste of my time.

If you are a creative person who likes to express yourself, Facebook is not a great place to do that. You are limited by what you can put on Facebook. Besides, most people are not going to read a long article listed in a post on Facebook. Facebook is not made for that. Thankfully, one can visit an external link on Facebook if Facebook does not block it. Depending on who reviews content, information is routinely blocked by Facebook. They can do that. It is their platform. I understand why content may need to be controlled, but I don't like the idea of someone else deciding what should be controlled and limited when it comes to my content. With my own domain, I get to decide what content can be posted, when it can be posted, and how much. As the owner of my site, I am in control.

Facebook is a good platform if you want to see what others are doing and to be kept updated with friends and family. However, it is also a place to waste a lot of time and energy on mindless content. Facebook is also a place to be bombarded with advertising you really don't need or want. If you have your own website, there is no advertising that needs to be ignored or blocked. Better yet, with your own website, you can put as much advertising as you want for free.

Facebook does have some useful attributes but for me, it is a waste of time, energy, money, and productivity. If I want to hear from family and friends, I can always pick up the phone and communicate as we did back in the good old days. There is nothing truly social about Facebook in my opinion.

INSTAGRAM

Instagram is a different beast from Facebook. Where Facebook provides you with the ability to post more content, Instagram is all about photos, favoriting post, likes, and followers. If you have the need to be liked and followed it is the place for you. But not for me. I do enjoy the ability to get feedback on the content I post. When I post a photo on Instagram I am looking for feedback and not likes or followers. I could care less about how many followers I get and I am not going to buy followers and many Instagram user do. Like Facebook, Instagram can present the illusion that people on Instagram are popular and successful, but the reality is many are not. I have followers on Instagram. Do I personally know them? No, I do not. Are they real? I have no idea. Do I care? Not really. That is why I do not spend too much of my time on Instagram. Instagram, like Facebook, provides me with no real value in my business and personal life. However, if you like to spend most of your day looking at other photos, it is the place to be. For me, I would rather be out taking the photos.

As for me posting content on Instagram, I am limited. I cannot post active links to my Instagram post. No one is going to copy a link I post on an Instagram feed to get to my website no matter what click bate image I use for a photo. Having to copy a link is too much trouble and a waste of others time they are not going to do it. However, Instagram is good for posting images. As a photographer, I like that. What I don't like is how the quality of my photos are presented on Instagram. As a photographer, I want to present my images that I may want to sell in the best possible way. Facebook and Instagram are not the best resources for showcasing my images. By using my website, I can present my images more effectively.

Instagram is a better platform than Facebook in my opinion. Facebook, in my opinion, is losing ground in the social media platform arena. Instagram is growing more in popularity for the masses, but I am becoming less-and-less a fan. I can post photos on Instagram, but I can't post my content. For example, even with this post, I would not be able to express myself or provide information the way I would like on Instagram. Instagram was not created to do that. Instagram has limits. Limitations are not a good thing for a creator. That is why I rarely use Instagram today. I prefer my own website with no limitations.

TWITTER

Oh, Twitter. How I hate Twitter. Of the main three social media platforms, I hate Twitter the most. The reason is that Twitter over the years has become a place where a lot of people like to complain, harass, attack others, and post some of the most useless information on the Internet. I rarely visit Twitter or post there. If I do, I post on photography related topics. I do have followers and I follow a selected few. In other words, I don't follow or care about others that don't have similar interest. I don't care about retweets or random followers. I do enjoy blocking followers that want to follow me and really don't know me. Blocking Twitter followers in one of my favorite activities when I do go on Twitter. I do have to give Twitter a couple of thumbs up. Twitter has increased its character length and allows me to use hashtags. But most importantly, it allows me to create active hyperlinks for my website. So I can redirect people to my site. Which is where I want my followers, customers, and future subscribers to go. The goal for me is to redirect my visitors to my website. As I mentioned earlier, I hate Twitter.

WHY I LIKE HAVING MY OWN WEBSITE

There are a variety of reasons why I enjoy having my own website over using social media platforms to distribute my content. One of the main reasons is I like owning my own website. I am the owner. By being the sole owner I get to create my own content. I get to decide what I want to put on the website, how much, the design of the site, who can post to it, when I want to post information, and I can express what information is important to me. I get to share my interest with others and hopeful, over time, meet others who share the same passions. If I want to advertise anything I can do it and it requires no additional cost to me. I can get analytical data, reports, site activity information and even sell my products online. I am the creator of my website and that is very important to me.

Having my own website allows me to build my own brand. I understand that building my own brand takes focus and time. It is a process. If you took a hard look at many successful creators, you will find they have developed there own brand and utilizing a great website helped them do it over time. Building my own brand is a continuing process and over time my brand, views, and photography business may change. That is okay with me. I like "change". I like the journey and looking forward to new experiences over time.

Owning my website allows me to be more creative with no limitations like having to adjust to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter company policies. I get to be creative in what I want to develop as far as information, products, and additional content. As a creator, it is important to have no limitations. Creators who are limited cannot create or express themselves when using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. When using any of the three social media platforms, creators can only provide a snapshot of their ideas during a specific moment in time. Over time, their information gets lost within the garbage the social media platforms collect and propagandizes.

Another important reason that I like having my own website is I have the ability to collect feedback on my website. I can collect and review productive feedback for others. I also have the ability to control feedback that is useless. For example, I can review feedback before it is posted to my website. I get to choose if I want the feedback to be public. On many social media platforms you don't have to the ability to remove replies from trolls that love to post stupid replies to get attention. By having my website, I get to decide if the feedback provided within the post will benefit others in their growth as a creator. My goal for my website is to build a great community. I cannot do that on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It may sound like having my own website sounds like having the power to control others. It is not. Having my own website allows me the ability to control what information I allow in my life without being limited by others. Trolls are not allowed on my website. Just the "Cool Kids".

If you don't have your own website and have considered it before, I suggest you go for it. Having your own website can be a learning process but well worth it over-relying on social media sites and apps to share your thoughts, ideas, and views. My advice is if you are considering getting your own website (I use Square Space), do your research, buy your own domain, evaluate your website features, and then get to work. It can be a lot of fun.

Until next time!

Roger

Preserving Your Old Photos is So Important

I have always loved old photos. The types of photos where there is only one original copy that still exists. One-of-a-kind photos are special and many times are irreplaceable if they are lost or damaged. The sad part is many people don't think about very old photos until they are lost or damaged. Many historic and family photos are usually located in old boxes or still in an old glass frame where the old photo is usually stuck to the glass and can be damaged if you try to remove it. Believe me, I have had my share of photos that were difficult to remove from an old glass frame and several times the print was totally destroyed. 

Today, people don't think too much about photos because we live in a digital world where current photos are easily taken and shared. But for many old photos that are printed and where is only one copy that is not the case. Old photos need to be taken care of, restored (if possible) and most importantly digitalized. If an old photo can be digitalized it can easily be shared and treasured for years to come. Sadly, some people don't think about it until an old historic or family photo is lost forever. 

Below is an old photo I restored for a friend that is no longer with us. He was a mayor of a small town in North Carolina who truly wanted to help preserve the town's history and had me restore several very old photos that were over 75 years old. He only had the originals and wanted the old photos digitalized so they could be shared for many years to come. He understood the importance of restoring old images of the past and took steps to do that. If you look at the old photo and think about it, those people are gone forever and that photo help preserves their life's history and legacy. That is a power of an old image one-of-a-kind image. 

photography-restoration-photo-picture-edited-legacy-historic-family-photography-photographer-history

Do you have old images that need to be restored and digitalized? If you do I suggest you take the time to gather up those old images and have they scanned, enhanced, and stored away. It is important to take the time to do that. I personally gathered up every photo I could find and scanned them so I could preserve them. The tasked took me over 5 days to sit down and scan every image I could get my hands on. It was tedious work but it was worth it. Now I have all my photos backed up and I can share them. Just remember, once an old image is damaged, destroyed, or lost you can never get it back. 

If you have old images you would like restored or if you have old photos that you would like scanned just let me know I can do that for you. I would love to help you preserve your photos and history. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

My New Toy and Tool; DJI Phantom Pro Drone!

As most people know drones have become very popular today. More and more people are getting drones for a variety of reasons. Most of the time people want a drone because they are fun to fly and give the pilot a cool view or perspective of a particular location or subject that most of us can't see without the use of a drone. Photographers, videographers, and filmmakers are increasingly interested in drones and the unique footage they provide. That includes me.

DJI Phantom Pro

DJI Phantom Pro

Just recently my son gave me his old drone. He gave me his Phantom Pro from DJI. He got a new and bigger one and he thought of his old dad. I wasn't really sure if I would ever use or want a drone. I did think they were cool and I was very interested and impressed with all the technology that goes into a drone and what they are capable of doing. As a kid, I never had or was interested in remote control devices and to be totally honest if a drone did not have a camera I would not be interested in today's drones. As a photographer, a drone with a camera will come in handy in the future for me and I have a lot of plans for the drone.

Once I received my drone I knew I needed training, practice, and a lot of information on how to use the drone, how to take videos and images, and information on when and where I could fly the drone. There is more to flying a drone than just taking off and landing. I got together with my son who started training and teaching me about flying my drone. My son is a very talented photographer, videographer, and certified drone pilot. What is great for me is that even though I am not certified to fly in many locations (the cool places), I can fly at more interesting locations that he can fly in as long as I am with him.

Drone Sample Test Flight

Drone Sample Test Flight

My plans for using the drone is simple. First, I need to practice with the drone as much as possible. I don't want to crash my new toy. I want to get comfortable with the controls and be able to shoot unique images and videos with the drone. The DJU Phantom Pro drone does take nice images and I am very impressed with the quality of the 4K video. I plan to continue to scout out locations to video. One location I plan to photograph and video in the near future will be off the coast of North Carolina. I plan to shoot a lot of video and photos in the North Carolina mountains as well.

For me, having a drone opens up a lot of opportunities to capture interesting footage and images that I could have never had the opportunity to capture. Becoming proficient in shooting drone footage allows me the opportunity to offer additional services to my clients and customers. It will allow me to shoot footage for those that may request unique landscape or real estate footage. Having a drone will allow me to become more creative with my work and hopefully provide more quality images to my customers. If you are a photographer and don't have a drone, I recommend getting one. Not only are they a lot of fun they are can be a useful tool for any photographer.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Vlogging at Sunset Beach, Bird Island, South Port, and Bald Head Island

Vlogging can be a lot of fun and is increasing more and more with the help of Youtube. Vlogging a special event, trip, or even everyday task can be entertaining for many people today. I see many well-known vloggers and filmmakers taking advantage of vlogging. For me, vlogging is a method to record special events in my life. Just recently, I vlogged a trip I took and I wanted to record my trip for personal reasons and to share with those that might find the adventures interesting or entertaining. Vlogging to me is a way to explore another creative process and improve my videography skills.

My trips involved visiting four locations and vlogging some of the sites along the way. I visited Sunset Beach, Bird Island, South Port, and Bald Head Island in North Carolina. My objective was to record "B" roll from my vlogs that I plan to put on Youtube. I am new to recording a vlog and I did understand I needed a lot of "B" roll footage to create a good vlog so I could tell a story. I needed to record clips as I traveled to each location and clips that would feature the uniqueness of the locations. So, with that in mind, I recorded a lot of video footage. Actually, I recorded more video footage than still photos. After studying other videographers, I found out that you can never have too much footage you plan to be a vlogger.

My first stop was Sunset Beach in North Carolina. Sunset Beach is a location that my wife and I try to visit each year. We stay at the Sunset Beach Inn for our anniversary each year. This year marks our 36 anniversary. Besides celebrating our anniversary, I wanted to shoot video at Sunset Beach and capture a couple of early morning sunrises images. I also wanted to get a nice time-lapse of the sunrise. I have ever done a sunrise or sunset time-lapse but I was able to capture for both events. Surprisingly they turned out pretty well. I discovered that there is a reason why most people don't do time-lapse. Time-lapse take a lot of time to capture. Getting the morning sunrises at Sunset Beach was a lot of fun except for having to get up a 5:30 a.m. for the sunrise. Lucky for me, I am an early morning riser so it wasn't too difficult for me. I was surprised how many photographers were present for the sunrise. It was great to see others that shared the same passion and enjoyed seeing a beautiful sunrise and start to a new day. Checkout the Sunset Beach Sunrise Time-Lap or Sunset Beach Sunset Time-Lapse videos.

Start of a New Day

Start of a New Day

travel-dock-pier-sunrise-photography-photographer-carolina-beach-rogeryouncephotography-ocean-morning-water-youtube-vlog-vlogging-southport-island-roger-younce-blogger-blog-blogging

My second stop on my journey was Bird Island. Bird Island is a unique location to photograph and shoot video. The location is very quiet and calming for many people. From my hotel, it took me about 1:30 minutes to reach the location. I would have gotten there quicker if I had not stopped to get all the additional "B" roll footage I needed. On my walk to Bird Island, I had the chance to stop at the old Kindred Spirits mailbox. That is a nice location to stop and take a break. What is unique about the Kindred Spirits mailbox is there is actually things there to read that are in the mailbox. People enjoy reading messages left in the mailbox from those that visited the mailbox before them. You can actually leave a message too. So, if you get a chance to visit the mailbox, I suggest you sit back and enjoy reading the messages, enjoy the sunshine, and the sounds of the ocean waves. It is very relaxing. One interesting note, the manager at the Sunset Beach Inn, told us that Nicholas Sparks visited that Inn about a week before we arrived and she said he was planning to write a story about Bird Island and the Kindred Spirits location. So, if you are a Nicholas Sparks fan, be looking for a book and maybe a movie in the future.

Kindred Spirits at Bird Island

Kindred Spirits at Bird Island

My third stop on my travels was to South Port, North Carolina. South Port is a nice quiet little town on the coast of North Carolina. What is unique about South Port are some of the homes. Some of the homes were built back in the late 1800's. The town could be described as a "Slice of the South". The town is very nice and has a southern charm to it. The town has sailboats and a relaxing waterfront to enjoy. What is also unique about the town is that several Hollywood films were filmed there. If you visit the town hall or museum you can see what films were done there. Several of the films were romantic films that most ladies will remember.

South Port Bird

South Port Bird

South Port also has the Bald Head Island Ferry. We were able to take the ferry to Bald Head Island. My plan was to photograph and record video of the Bald Head Island Lighthouse. The lighthouse is not like other lighthouses off the coast of North Carolina. Not only is the structure of the lighthouse different from other lighthouses, it is the oldest lighthouse in North Carolina. For me, it was very difficult to video or photograph the lighthouse. Selecting a composition was very difficult. I realized there were not too many options for photographing or videoing the lighthouse. That is why you don't see very many awesome photos of the lighthouse. It is difficult to find a good shot. That did not stop me. I needed "B" roll footage. Visiting the island was worth the time. I suggest if you visit Bald Head Island, plan to eat before you go. Food choices are limited and can be pretty pricey. If you plan to explore the island, rent a golf cart. If you go, enjoy the island.

Bald Head Lighthouse on Bald Head Island

Bald Head Lighthouse on Bald Head Island

Bald Head Island Port

Bald Head Island Port

My vlogging adventure was a lot of fun and I learned a great deal from the trips. I learned that I need to take a lot of video footage and still photos if I plan to continue vlogging in the future. I did have a lot of footage from the trip and I learned I need to be very selective on what footage will go into my vlog. I had to cut out a lot of footage because my video from my trip was way too long when I post processed the footage. I learned that time-lapse footages take a lot of time and I am not sure if the time is worth the reward. The most valuable lesson I learned from post-processing a video is to create video content in segments. I created my video as one video and put it together after the trip. It would have been better if I had created a vlog for each day rather than wait to do all the footage at one time.

I enjoyed vlogging my trips and I was able to purposely capture photos and videos I can look back on in the future. I will be vlogging more in the future and I will get better if I continue to work on my vlogging skills and storytelling. When people ask what makes a good vlog, the answer is not the equipment you use or the places you visit. A good vlog is all about the story. To see my vlog of the trip visit my Roger Younce Youtube Channel at "Sunset Beach, Bird Island, South Port, and Bald Head Island Trip".

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger

Getting the Image

Living Country

Living Country

Photographers are always looking for great images. It is what we do. We look for compositions, lighting, angles, and other elements that could make a great image. In the past, I have had jobs that required me to travel. I am not a big fan of traveling unless it is for pleasure like a great photo shoot. On one business trip a few years ago I traveled to a another part of my state and I and my trip back and forth between home and my assignment required me to drive. I really don’t have a problem with driving because it gives me an opportunity to explore new locations and of course, photo shoot opportunities.  

On one of my trips I passed by a location that really caught my eye. The location featured a pasture and farmland off of the main highway. Those that know me know I love to take photos of old historic locations that represent a part of the past. My job required me to travel pass by a beautiful county side location for about 5 days. Each morning and each evening I told myself I have to get the shot before my assignment was up. I really had no reason not too, but each day I put off stopping to get the shot. Each day was a nice day for the photo but not a great day. The skies were clear, cloudless, and blown out. However, on my last day, I told myself, no matter what the conditions I will stop and get the image.

On the last day, the conditions were completely different from the other four days. On the last day and my last opportunity to get shot, the weather began to become rainy, stormy and a low-level fog blanketed the county side. Most people would think that the conditions were too bad to get the shot. Of course, I did not. I felt the conditions for the shot provided the mood I was looking for the the image. The mood was perfect.

I learned a valuable lesson about putting off getting a shot. I learned to never think I could always get the shot anytime and get the results I want. Sometimes it is better to be patient and wait for the right conditions to get the right shot. I also know that sometimes there may never be a good shot. I was lucky to photograph the image that I call “Living Country”. Those that grew up in the country understand what this image means and it creates a warm feeling for them. I love to hear stories of how others grew up in a place just like the one I photographed. When others tell me how the image touched their hearts, I know I got the right image. A great image should move people, regardless if it is the viewer of the photographer. My advice is, never pass up a great opportunity to get a great shot and never take for granted the image will always be there. 

Until next time, keep shooting! 

Roger Younce  

Reediting a Not-So-Old Image

As most people know I love waterfalls. I can't get enough of them. When I can't photograph a beautiful waterfall I do the next best thing; I reediting the ones I have. Today was a great day to look through some of my favorite waterfall photos to see if I could work some creative magic on an old image. I decided to work on a small but beautiful waterfall called the Mountain Meadows Falls. My objective was to use a combination of Lightroom CC and Luminar to edit the image. Here lately, I have started my editing process by beginning with Luminar. Luminar provides me with a nice baseline to start my edits. Some of the presets are great for landscapes and provides some creavity options to work with. 

Mountain Meadows Falls is a simple waterfall in North Carolina and the location provides a nice hidden type of mood to the image. I wanted to focus on the rock formations and the beautiful flowing water from the falls. After I found a nice preset in Luminar I exported the image to Lightroom and used a couple of my favorite presets from Sleeklens. Sleeklen presets are awesome and there many preset packages to choose from to get the look I wanted for the waterfall. I think the image turned out great and judging from the positive feedback from my socials media channels, the image was a hig hit.  

 

5E641E95-B030-424A-9492-2CB99E42ED7E.JPG

Mountain Meadows Falls. 

Until next time, keep shooting. 

Roger