What do you do when you have hundreds of digital photos stored in your hard drive and you have nothing better to do with them?
Okay, I know your first, and most obvious, option would be to post some of those photos on Facebook and tag your closest friends who would in turn wonder why you needed to tag them in a self-shot photo of you doing your favorite cheeky sideways-peace-sign-while-smiling-like- your-favorite-K-pop-star pose. Another option would be to attach some of them, one at a time, to your tweets and flood your followers’ timeline, although that option would come with a steady exodus of followers afterwards.
Or, you could upload them all, organize them easily in a dedicated online photo gallery, and save everyone the pain of having your photos forcibly appear on their wall or timeline.
As digital photography made picture-taking a breeze for ordinary consumers, it created a consequent need for convenient and painless ways to share the resulting digital images to the world. Most snap shooters use social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to showcase their picture-taking skills (or lack of). But for people who are less facetious about their photography, Facebook and Google+ just wouldn’t cut it.
The Web is actually teeming with photo-sharing sites like Flickr, Pbase, and literally hundreds more. When I recently started doing photography again (after a hiatus of what seemed like an eternity) and searched for a good online gallery for my work, I came across one site that really caught my attention because of its simple but catchy domain name: lens.ph.
The site is obviously Philippine-based and upon closer inspection, I found that it offers nifty features that are perfect for photographers looking to create web presence for their photographic masterpieces. The site has all the basic features an online gallery should have, like the ability to upload digital photos (of course), write captions for each image, organize images into folders, and personalize the look and feel of the gallery. Nothing fancy, but they’re actually all you need to maintain a basic online image portfolio.
Just like most photo-sharing sites, lens.ph offers a free account and a paid PRO account. The free account is good enough for general online portfolio use, with all the features I mentioned above. You also get a decent 512 megabytes of free space for your digital images, big enough to store hundreds of low- to medium-resolution images. The free service is already perfect for amateur photographers who are still building their folios as well as professional photographers who simply want to showcase their galleries.
The paid PRO account, however, offers so much more. For just around 1.3k a year, you get a whopping 5.12 gigabytes of storage. That’s a lot of images right there. You also get access to more professionally designed themes that substantially enhance your audience’s gallery-viewing experience. There is still a bunch of added features like Facebook integration, password-protection for galleries, image protection (right-click saving of images is disabled), gallery descriptions, a cool lens.ph e-mail forwarding address, and more.
Lens.ph was launched in 2010 and in just over a year already has almost 3000 members. In fact, the site gets around four to five new sign-ups every day, according to founder Ronnie Morales, a professional web designer/developer (which explains why the site’s exclusive themes are all deftly laid out). In just over a year, the photo-sharing website has grown exponentially despite not being actively promoted, which is a shame because I believe that the website deserves some kind of exposure.
I myself just stumbled upon the site in my Googling and immediately signed up. I like the site and intend to use it to shamelessly flaunt my crappy work from here on in. Not only do I love the domain name and the consequent URL that it generates (mine is http://aldimalanta.lens.ph, now how cool is that?), I also like the overall look and feel of the site. A bonus is that the site uses the powerful WordPress system that I’m already sufficiently familiar with.
Anyway, maintaining an online photo gallery is imperative for any serious shutterbug. And if you’re a photographer looking to create awareness of your work, lens.ph would be a great place for you to start building your portfolio. Even if you’re just an amateur snap shooter, the site would be perfect for organizing your snapshots for better viewing by your friends and relatives. You also spare them the hassles of, uhm, never mind.
Right now, though, the site is in the process of transferring to a better server and has temporarily disabled signups for a week or so. But if I were you, I’d just check out the site, look at what it has to offer, bookmark it, and come back every now and then to see if registration has already been enabled. Since lens.ph is relatively new, there is a big chance that the username you want is still available. I for a fact know of some obvious photo-related usernames that are surprisingly still not used. But I’m not telling.
Al Dimalanta is a writer, professor, musician, photographer, marketing communicator and as he said – an occasional techie. He is a freelance PR consultant, works as a content editor and writer, and heads a punk band named THROW. Email Al at email@example.com