New Year - New Features!

Happy New Year’s FlashFrame users. We spent the holidays working on a lot of great changes to FlashFrame, both aesthetically and behind the scenes, and wanted to use our first blog post of the new year to detail some of the new features you can take advantage of!

If you’re a freelance photographer that wants to use FlashFrame you might have previously enjoyed a lot of the cool features but suffered a bit from a usability and marketability standpoint. We’ve completely overhauled the photographer experience to better serve the freelance photographers that love our site, all based on feedback from you, our users.

Your New Homepage
Your homepage, the page you arrive at upon logging in, has changed drastically. No longer is the blank screen with photo albums hanging listlessly and a few functional buttons, we have fully embraced a useable style. What follows is a full photo sales center that you can use to monitor all aspects of your photography.

A Screenshot of a typical new FlashFrame homepage

  • Across the top bar there you will find a count of the total photos you’ve uploaded, the number of events you’ve attended, how much revenue you’d made to date, and the number of photos people have downloaded from you
  • Below your stats is a graph which shows your revenue over a monthly basis, try to keep that line above 0!
  • On the left-hand side of your homepage is your dashboard. You can choose a profile picture as well as edit your username, visible name, and Instagram handle.
  • There are buttons below your dashboard to upload photos and submit a new event. The process to upload photos hasn’t changed much aesthetically but should be significantly smoother and more efficient under the hood.
  • You can now request a new event with the click of a button. Fill out the information and submit the form. Currently this sends a form to the FlashFrame team to review your requested photo album. We do this to ensure that nobody adds events that are long in the past, far in the future, or violate any copy-write laws.
  • Lastly in the left-hand dash is your list of events. Here you can find the albums you've contributed photos to, and how many photos you’ve uploaded to each. By clicking on the links your page will reload to show your photos from that album and you can view and edit the tags on the images.

Your External Photographer Page:
Nate R's Curated Photos

One of our most exciting new features, the external photographer page allows photographers to market their own photos much like they would with other sites like SmugMug. Photographers can customize this page, choosing up to 8 “curated photos” to be on their external page. Viewers will also be able to see a photographer's profile picture, username, first name, and Instagram handle, as well as scroll through and click into available photo albums.
  • Photographers also have a contact button, if someone is interested in buying more pictures from you or hiring you for an event, they can reach out via that contact button. Don’t worry, you won’t get spammed, FlashFrame verifies that every email is of merit before passing it on to you.
  • You can view and direct people to your FlashFrame page via our URL. It will always follow the same pattern, replacing the variable {username} with your username in the following URL will be the link to your page!{username}/

The New Settings
Some commonly requested features are now available in your settings page. When you are signed into your home page, you can access the settings via the top right corner of the nav-bar.
Photo of FlashFrame User Robby running a blazing fast 5k

  • Create a custom message to accompany any of your photos that are downloaded. Use this as an opportunity to promote yourself as a photographer, direct runners to your Instagram, or even just pass on a kind word event participants.
  • Within the settings you may choose the “curated photos” that appear on your external photographer page. Pick the 8 best ones that will show off your skills as a photographer and draw people into looking through more of your work.
  • Settings now include the ability to delete photos. Are you embarrassed by a few blurry photos from an event a few months back, choose the event and the file names and to delete and simply click and wait, those photos will be removed from FlashFrame. Be careful, don’t want to accidentally delete everything!

Aesthetic Changes
Due to popular demand, we’ve included a few aesthetic changes that we hope will make the FlashFrame experience unparalleled.
  • No longer are the days of the annoying pinwheel-of-doom-esque spinners dominating our site, rather, smooth loading bars have now taken up residence across the top of our pages.
  • Don’t remember your bib number, but frustrated of clicking through endless pages of the “all photos” option. You can now change the number of photos displayed per page and skip ahead up to 5 pages to make the process less cumbersome. If you’re a real pro you can change the page number in the URL to jump ahead 10, 20, even 100 pages at a time.
  • Overhauls to email follow-up! Many users were frustrated by the need to input an email to view photos. While there were good reasons behind this feature we found that it proved a barrier to many and so bent to the will of the masses and removed it. You now have the option to enter your email for search follow-up. If a photo is uploaded in the future that matches your bib-search, then you will receive an email with a link to that new photo. This is a nifty feature for people who want to search once and then wait as more photos are uploaded.

Improvements Under the Hood
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While many of the changes above are easy to see, there are also many updates that happen behind the scenes unbeknownst to our users.
  • You may be thinking, “my oh my, FlashFrame has been running significantly faster since I last used it.” Well that is due to many fixes that our developers have leveraged over the holidays. Santa’s elves may have been working hard, but we were working harder. A host of caching changes, backend efficiency changes, and page optimizations have led to a blazing fast website – at least as far as photo sharing goes. Even Google has given us a top rating for page speed.
  • When it comes down to it, what matters to our users is our photo tagging accuracy. Image recognition is a field on the forefront of our current technological revolution and we’re doing our best to push the boundaries. Our algorithms should be slightly better than they were in 2016, and for the most part, perform exceedingly well on clear, in-focus, well contrasted bibs. But, we aren’t stopping there. We’re in development of advanced neural nets to increase our tagging accuracy on blurry, lower definition, low contrast, and in general harder to tag images. We expect these updates to be pushed by the end of February and are very excited to see them in action!
  • Now as a photographer, especially beginning and aspiring photographers, what happens when you go to an event and only sell one photo? You’re obviously frustrated, but what went wrong and how can you fix it? FlashFrame wants to offer you ways to up your game. We’re beginning to implement a standalone photo ranking feature. This will allow you to receive a “score” on your photos and see what you need to improve at to become a top photographer. This paves the way towards many new features, from displaying your best photos at the beginning of an album, to offering interactive photography tips as you upload images. Soon you can upload all your images without discretion because your photos will all receive a score and low-scoring/unusable photos can be automatically filtered out.
  • The photo scoring feature is being developed with artificial-intelligence. It takes many different factors into account including photo blur, image contrast, resolution, number of recognizable faces, type of camera, size of image, and framing to determine what leads to a good photo. But remember, in the end, photos are still a subject experience, so don't be discouraged.
  • The end goal of FlashFrame is to be a true photo marketplace for all types of events and photographers. But, to do that, we must move beyond just bib-tagging. We’ve been working on algorithms to filter pictures by shirt color. Soon you’ll be able to pick a color and search among images of people at your event wearing that color.
  • Mobile First! Our site is fully optimized for mobile. All the functionality and features are available on our site via your mobile web browser. Also, make sure to download our app for taking photos at an event or quick image searches.
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Premium Features
    Many of our more professional photographers want access to premium features available on other photo sales sites. We’re now offering paid accounts for premium photographers on monthly subscriptions. This will include many new abilities. Premium photographers can alter the price of their photos relative to the standard price in an album, they can include their own branding watermarks on photos, they can store their photos for longer than the standard 6 months, and they can access our API to self-host any features of our site. More information and pricing options can be found here!

We’d like to thank everyone who’s helped us get to where we are and those who are helping us continue to grow. Make sure to keep using FlashFrame and let other people know about us at your local races!