Having shot diptychs for a year I have been trying to move onto photo essays which tell more of a story over a series of images. And I’ve found just the place to display the results: a new publishing platform called Exposure. It’s a bit like a blogging platform, but it’s designed for publishing photo narratives. For those familiar with Medium, a blogging platform known for its gorgeous design, it’s like Medium for photos.
Both Exposure and Medium make it easy to create beautiful layouts, essentially by limiting user choice and, where choice is available, making it difficult for users to make bad choices. Much of the layout is done automatically, for example, and there are no horrible fonts and gaudy colours. The result is amazingly professional-looking and elegant pages that are simple to create.
Support for full-width pictures, a massive trend in web design at the moment, is a big part of this. The editing tools make it easy to arrange images in groups and move them around. You can sprinkle text and headings in as well. If you’re familiar with any blogging platform, you’ll find Exposure very simple to use. There are no image libraries or dashboards to grapple with. As with Medium, it’s essentially a what-you-see-is-what-you-get editing environment. You never see any HTML code or tags.
Another big difference, compared with traditional blogging platforms, is that when you post on Exposure you are contributing to a big pool of content, rather than creating your own blog. So it’s much more inviting if you just want to do a one-off post, because you don’t need to set up a whole blog for it, and there’s no pressure to follow up with a stream of new posts. There are no comments, either; just an “Enjoy” button (like a “Like” button) and the option to share posts to various social networks. That said, if you do create multiple posts, it’s easy for people to click from one post to the next. It all looks great on a tablet or a smartphone, too.
The first three posts are free, and if you want to post more than that, you have to pay a small fee ($5 a month). For $9 a month you can have your own domain name, so it could be used as a portfolio site or a blog. It can sometimes be difficult to upload images (you have to drag them into the browser), and the staff picks seem to be a bit heavy on coffee-drinking hipsters. But perhaps that reflects the platform’s early user base.
If you’re thinking of trying Exposure, here are a couple of hints. First, full-width images can take some getting used to if you’ve been using WordPress or Blogger for years. Also, the full-width approach favours landscape-format images and doesn’t work at all for vertical/portrait images, because you can’t see the whole image. So group vertical images together into a row instead. Be sure to save often as you’re going along, because the editor sometimes gets a bit confused.