John is not a professional photographer, the day job keeps him busy, but he’s an enthusiast who loves photography. One fine evening, he got a call from someone in his friend’s network who was willing to hire John for a photo shoot but, before signing the contract, they wanted to see more of his work.
John has captured some stunning and impressive photographs over the years but they are clearly not sorted and arranged in a manner that can be easily shared with a client. His photographs can be found all over the social web - from Facebook to Instagram to Flickr - but, for lack of time and technical know-how, he never considered building a portfolio website to showcase his work.
There are WYSIWYG website building tools, Squarespace and WordPress for example, that make it extremely easy for you to build beautiful photography websites but the little downside with these tools is that you’ve manually update them every few weeks or months.
Siftr is a new web app that is trying to tackle the same problem but with a “build it, forget it” approach. The app, created by ex-Adobe employees, monitors your Instagram and other social networks, and automatically makes a portfolio website by pulling your ‘best’ photographs. Unlike other website builders that require you to manually upload photographs, Siftr syncs pictures from your social accounts, where you are actively posting pictures anyway, and puts them in your portfolio website.
Here’s a sample photography website that Siftr created using my Instagram page. It created the website and curated the photos automatically and the total time I spent in the entire exercise is 0 minutes. The website is responsive and looks great on a mobile too. Here are better examples.
You may be wondering why would anyone need such a tool when similar functionality can be emulated in WordPress using services like IFTTT. For instance, you can have an IFTTT recipe that will automatically cross-post your pictures to WordPress as soon you put them on Facebook or Flickr.
Well, there’s more to Siftr than just syncing your photos from social networks. The tool uses object recognition techniques to automatically classify your photos in categories. For instance, there are categories like “Nature”, “Buildings”, “People”, etc. and the photos are tagged automatically based on the pixels. So if a prospective client is only interested in the landscape photographs, you can directly point him to the relevant tag.
Siftr offers a host of layout templates and you also have the option to remove pictures that you do not wish to show in your portfolio website. At the time of writing this, Siftr can import your photos from Instagram, Flickr and Facebook but there’re adding support for 500px too, all the popular destinations where you’re more likely to upload photographs.
Siftr.co is completely free at though some of the upcoming features, like custom domains, templates, etc. could only be available to premium users.