Visual Blogging

A picture made of words! Click to read, “Text Art Sexier Than Your Average Comic Sans,” by Jared Thompson for Design Juices (UK).

This article originally appeared as a “post” (February, 2013). Because it became popular, I added it – in edited form – to my primary section of articles. The next phase of my “visual blogging” may be found on YouTube, where I am creating video collages using my iPhone photographs and videos. Follow the link to reach my page.

The past five years, I have been learning how to document events using photography and to “visually” blog (or tell a story without words). As French leader Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) wisely stated,

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

I have found this to be true, but it takes a lot of practice to tell a story visually without any professional training in photography. Having said that, there are several apps that make your photographs look more professional and enhance your innate creativity.

One of my favorites is Instagram. For the first time, in 2013 I participated in the nation’s largest Martin Luther King, Jr. March in San Antonio, Texas. It was a life-changing experience and I recommend it to everyone!

As I marched along with 100,000 others, I snapped iPhone photographs of the crowd, filtered them using Instagram, and uploaded them immediately afterward. Follow this link to my Tumblr write-up with more images from the march, or watch my video collage – my first YouTube Video Editor production – above. This piece combines brief video clips taken with now-defunct app Viddy, and Instagram imagery. This experiment set the stage for several other videos that you will find on my YouTube page.

Twitter’s six second video app Vine takes patience to learn, but one can convey quite a bit of information in only six-seconds. The platform recently changed to a modified Vine “camera.”

Video continues to increase in popularity, and YouTube is one of the world’s largest and most-used search engines. I have posted a variety of helpful video resources at the conclusion of my WordPress article, “Video to the Rescue.” Nonprofits need to be paying attention to this trend and make use of video to convey their many worthy missions and needs for support. If you need help, contact me using the secure contact form found on this blog. I have come to enjoy creating YouTube Video Editor productions, I have a development mindset, and I am budget conscious, which is so important for nonprofits today!

I have continued to expand my work on Tumblr and Instagram. I have also been experimenting with other terrific photography apps and platforms, 100 Cameras in 1 by Trey Ratcliff, Aviary and Google Photo. The iPhone that I use also has its own filter set in the context of the built-in “photo” app. I have really enjoyed the panoramic “pano” photo option on my iPhone camera. If you follow me online, you will find a few of those images now and again.

An Instagram taken during the fashion show in 2012 for Fashion Week SA. Click on the photograph to reach my Tumblr and more imagery. In hindsight, I may have been one of the first people to live blog a fashion show using Instagram! From this experience, I discovered how tough shooting live action can be.

To see two of my first “visual blogging” experiences using Tumblr – and they are among my favorites – follow the links to San Antonio Fashion Week 2012 and Artpace’s 2012 “Chalk-it-Up.” My Tumblr profile now contains many similar examples. Tumblr is one of my favorite platforms and is a wonderful counterpart to WordPress and other more word-based platforms.

Another nice thing about Tumblr is very “shareable.” When you create a Tumblr, you can post the link on other platforms and it comes out looking very professional. I find it a clean and convenient method for posting photographs online that keeps my other platforms free of photographic “clutter” (i.e., unnecessary uploads of many individual photos). Google Photo can also provide this capability in an entirely unique fashion.

Best wishes … and the experiments continue.

Carolyn M. Appleton

I lived in San Antonio from fall, 2010 to summer, 2013. I then moved to my old home town of Austin, but I love San Antonio and enjoy visiting as often as I can. Follow this link to my Pinterest board, “San Antonio Dreaming” for some of my favorite photographs from those years. This blog post was begun in San Antonio, but updated from Austin.


NTEN: Nonprofit Technology Network has devoted part of the September, 2014 issue of its e-journal CHANGE to the importance of visual communications. To access it free of charge, follow the link.

Online Life in Pictures is a study conducted by Pew Internet Research Project (September 13, 2012). It underscores the importance of visual imagery in communications today.

“Photos and videos have become key social currencies online.

46% of adult internet users post original photos or videos online that they themselves have created. We call them creators.

41% of adult internet users take photos or videos that they have found online and repost them on sites designed for sharing images with many people. We call them curators.”

You might also enjoy reading, “Picture This: Instagram Is The Fastest Growing Social Network For Brands” by Greg Finn for Marketing Land (May 9, 2013).

“Since Facebook purchased the filter-friendly photo app Instagram last year, brand adoption has skyrocketed, according to a new study of the top 100 brands by SimplyMeasured. Since purchase last year, the Facebook-owned Instagram has flourished. The post-purchase growth jumped 500% in just a year, going from 22 million active monthly users to nearly 100 million current active users.”


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