A picture is worth a thousand words. Relevant pictures on your web pages give your website a unique and eye-catching look. But, if you earn your bread through photography or graphic designing, then having an artistic portfolio website is essential. WordPress provides the ease of making such websites as it offers user-friendly plugins for the image galleries, like Photocrati’s famous plugin NextGen gallery for WordPress.
“A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.” – Ansel Adams
This quote fits extremely well for Scott Wyden Kivowitz, an elegant, enthusiastic and passionate digital photographer, who loves his profession to the core. He is currently working with the community of photographers at Photocrati. He is an avid blogger as well. Interviewing Scott was a great experience. He shared his opinions very candidly on issues related to WordPress themes, plugin development, and the release of WordPress 4.0. I hope you will enjoy this read.
Cloudways: You started your career as a Marketing Manager. Now, you have become an accomplished photographer. How was that experience? How do you manage between the two professional roles; being a Marketing Manager and a Photographer?
Scott Wyden: It was actually the other way around. I went to college for photography and built my freelance business working in the industry. During one of my jobs, and when social media became popular, my job shifted into a marketing and community role.
While still working, I got an email from the CEO of Photocrati asking if I was looking for a job change. Basically, my job was thrown in my lap. Now I’m the Community & Blog Wrangler at Photocrati, where I get to interact with and educate other photographers around the world.
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Cloudways: With the passage of time, Koken is becoming a CMS for photographers. What’s your opinion about it? What has made you stick to WordPress at the time when everyone prefers other CMS?
Scott Wyden: I’ve never used Koken, but I hear good things [about it]. WordPress has been a part of my life for many years because of how flexible it is, and how much can be done with it. So, I never see myself moving away from it. I like having control over my website and not letting companies control design or function.
Cloudways: You have been known for using interesting themes within your photographs. Tell us the secret behind your success story. How did you kick start your business with WordPress?
Scott Wyden: I don’t really use themes in all of my photographs. I just photograph what I feel needs to be photographed and do it; however, I visualize it in my mind. I do challenge myself with themes here and there, where I will photograph one specific style on an individual day, or something similar to that.
I didn’t start Photocrati, but the company has been in existence for 5 years at the time of this interview. We started with our WordPress theme and just over 2 years ago, we acquired NextGEN Gallery. Now, we have a complete suite of WordPress tools for photographers to boost their websites and spend less time worrying about it and more time making photographs.
Cloudways: WordPress has become the most popular CMS for bloggers and developers. With an unprecedented recent progress that WordPress has made, how do you see the future of WordPress? Where it will be, after say 5 years or so?
Scott Wyden: WordPress has already transformed from a blog platform into a content management system. Now, with the things AppPresser is doing, I see WordPress bleeding into the app and software market more and more. For example, a YMCA is already using WordPress to check in their members for their workouts. That’s nuts!
Cloudways: Photocrati has an incredible image gallery plugin NextGen Gallery for aspired photographers who want to keep their portfolios online. Have you any plans of integrating an updated version of the plugin in WordPress 4.0?
Scott Wyden: NextGEN Gallery is already compatible with WordPress 4.0. We test all of our software against the upcoming versions during the alpha and beta testing.
Cloudways: The emergence of online WordPress communities and forums on Google+, LinkedIn, etc. is a testimony to the fact that social media has revolutionized the business world. What’s your opinion about these communities? Are they really playing a vital role in the progress of WordPress?
Scott Wyden: I run a Google+ community for WordPress-using photographers. Photographers don’t always want advice from WordPress developers who might offer guidance that’s too technical. Photographers typically need things broken down in easier language and visual aids. Niche communities are great ways to get that advice. I think for such reasons, these communities will continue to do well.
Cloudways: WordCamp events—the flagship events for WordPress users—have become a norm these days. Have you attended any? What’s your opinion about such initiatives? Do these WordCamps really matter? Are these WordCamps good enough for the WordPress community?
Scott Wyden: Although I have been a WordPress user for many years, until (I started my job at) Photocrati, I never (actually) worked in the WordPress industry. So previous to my current job, I never attended a WordCamp. However, this year came my first WordCamp (New York City). It was incredible and very educational. I think WordCamp events are super important. They’re extremely well organized. But in addition to WordCamps, WordPress Meetups are also important to the community. They’re less formal, smaller and more personal. I have attended a local one here in New Jersey and am working with the organizer of the meetup to hopefully bring a WordCamp event to New Jersey. Here is an article I wrote about my first WordCamp experience.
Cloudways: There are many aspirant individuals who want to develop a theme or plugin on their own. How should they go about it? What’s your advice for such individuals?
Scott Wyden: Find something that is needed for WordPress. Not something that already exists that you think you can do better. I say that because the directories are filled with duplicate themes and plugins. They are filled with many items that do the same things, but in a different way. Instead of developing something that already exists, try reaching out to those developers with your improvement ideas. Then move on to something that doesn’t exist, that you believe the WordPress community really needs. Something like that will do extremely well.
You can follow Scott Wyden (@scottwyden) on Twitter.