Introducing Snapshot Blog Posts

January 2024
AI Polaroid Snapshots
Polaroids from an algorithmic vacation.

I'm excited to introduce a cool new blogging feature for our websites: Snapshot posts! Snapshot blog posts (or just "Snapshots" for short) provide a way to have a "container" blog post to which you can add an ongoing series of simple blog posts - sort of like a blog within a blog. It's a perfect way to blog for ongoing photo projects such as daily "365" projects, or perhaps extended travels when you are blogging from the road, or even just a repository for miscellaneous photos to post regularly to your blog.

Examples of how Snapshots can be utilized

"365" Daily Photo Project: Let's say you want to embark on an ambitious "365" daily photo challenge to try to create and share a new photo on your blog every day of the year. But you probably don't want to create entire new blog posts for every photo every day, as that would quickly drown out the rest of your blog articles (and it wouldn't be organized coherently as a project either). With the Snapshots there's now an elegant way to handle this: you can create a "container" parent blog post for the project called "365 Photo Challenge" (or whatever) and then you can quickly add each new daily Snapshot photo post to be displayed within the "365 Photo Challenge" post. Each Snapshot post will also be included in your blog's RSS feed, so your blog followers will see every new daily photo post, an it's all organized nice and tidy within the "365 Photo Challenge" post.

Rolling Travel Blog: Maybe you're heading out on a long road trip and would like to keep your blog up to date with your latest photos and travel stories. Similar to the above example, you can create something like a "Summer Road Trip 2024" parent blog post, then post your ongoing Snapshot photo posts within there. It's a great way to easily and quickly post your latest photos and thoughts while they are fresh in the moment, and have them all organized into one coherent section in your blog.

Ongoing Seasonal Gallery: During the winter months I take occasional ski photos during my backcountry splitboarding outings as well as miscellaneous snowy shots throughout the winter. I don't necessarily want to create entire blog posts for each of these photos or outings, so typically I just collect the photos for months then at the end of winter I'll publish one big "Winter Photos from 2023" type of blog post with the entire photo collection at once. The problem with this strategy is that I have nothing to post on my blog for the 3-4 winter months in the meantime! Previously, if I were to create this post at the beginning of winter and just keep adding photos, the post would only be included in RSS feeds once at its first publication date, and my followers wouldn't know when I've added more photos. The Snapshots solve this problem. Now what I can do is create an ongoing "Winter Photos from 2024" blog post at the beginning of winter and then quickly post each new photo as a Snapshot post within that parent post. My blog followers will see each new photo in their feed readers as I post them.

Miscellaneous Photo Stream: Maybe you don't have any particular theme or project in mind, but simply want a casual place on your blog and website to just post miscellaneous daily or weekly photos along with perhaps some random thoughts or musings. You could create a sticky "Daily Photos" or "Photo Stream" or "Photo Journal" blog post, and then post all these photos as Snapshots in there.

How Snapshot Posts Work

You will see in the admin Blog menu there are now two "add" options: Add Post and Add Snapshot. Add Post is where you add your normal blog posts. Add Snapshot is where you'll add your snapshots posts. The Add Snapshot interface is stripped-down and streamlined to make this process as quick as possible.

The key to understanding how the Snapshots work is to remember that the Snapshots always need to be posted within a "parent" blog post; in other words, the Snapshot posts are not displayed on their own on the main Blog page, but rather they are always shown within a "container" parent blog post. This allows you to have various Snapshot "streams" - whether it's something like a "Daily Photos" ongoing gallery in your blog, or a "Winter Photos" ongoing blog post as I mentioned above.

The Snapshot posts are combined with all your other normal blog posts into one chronological RSS feed for the Blog as a whole. That means that people who follow your blog in a feed-reader will see every new post you publish, whether it's a Snapshot post or a full blog post.

What's the difference between a Blog post and a Snapshot post?

The normal Blog posts are meant for longer-form multi-photo journals such as trip reports, articles, or sharing a gallery of new photos. These are full-featured gallery-based pages that have all the advanced options such as a variety of gallery formats and settings, SEO metadata inputs, thumbnail options, categories, tags, related posts, and more.

The Snapshot posts, on the other hand, are geared for quick photo posts - basically just for posting one or several new photos along with perhaps a paragraph or two of text below that. With an emphasis on quick and easy posting, many of the advanced Blog features have been stripped out.

Also, as explained above, Snapshots are always posted within another parent blog post; they are not displayed on the main Blog menu with all the other normal Blog posts.

How to Add Snapshots in the Admin

Here are the specific instructions for starting a Snapshots parent post, then adding Snapshots to it. These instructions assume that you've already set up your blog.

  1. First you need to create the parent blog post which you'll be adding your Snapshots to: Go to Blog > Add Post to do this. You probably don't want to publish this blog post quite yet, at least until you've gone through these steps first.
  2. Next you need to switch this post to a "Snapshots" gallery format. Go to Blog > Modify, and click Edit for the post you just created in step 1. Scroll down to the Gallery Layout Settings panel section and for the "Gallery Layout" choose "Sub Galleries - Snapshots" and save.
  3. Now you are ready to add your Snapshot posts!
    1. Go to Blog > Add Snapshot.
    2. For the "Parent Blog Post" choose the parent blog post you created in step 1.
    3. You can fill in the other Snapshot post details, but all you really need to do as a bare minimum is to upload or choose a photo. The rest of the options have defaults (for example if you don't enter a Title or a URL, the title and URL will be the Date).
  4. Finally, if you want you can make the parent Snapshots post a "sticky" post, so that it always stays at the beginning of the blog post list. Go to Blog > Modify, then towards the right side of the table of blog posts there, in the Sticky column, click the "----" line and switch the Sticky Post setting to Yes, and save.

* Don't forget that you must publish the posts that you want to be displayed in your blog!

Snapshot Rules

Because the Snapshots have a unique behavior and purpose compared to normal blog posts, it's worth listing here some details and rules that they must follow:

  • Snapshot posts must be posted within a parent blog post (which has the "Sub Galleries - Snapshots" format).
  • Snapshot posts cannot be posted on the main Blog menu alongside the other normal Blog posts. If you need to do this, just add a normal Blog post.
  • Snapshot posts always post the photo(s) first, then the post text underneath. If you need to add text between photos, just add a normal Blog post instead.
  • Snapshot posts do not get any categories, tags, or related galleries. The reason is because their parent post gets those things, and the Snapshots are not displayed on the main Blog menu anyways.
  • Snapshot posts DO get their own comments (assuming you have Comments set up).
  • If you don't select a thumbnail for the parent Snapshots post, then the latest Snapshot post photo will be shown as the thumbnail. (Which is a nice trick).

The Snapshots are a unique new blogging feature that perhaps many clients may not even understand the purpose for, and that's okay! But I'm sure that at least a few of us (including myself) will totally love this. For those who "get it" the Snapshots will be a fun tool to expand our blogging range, and perhaps it might even motivate us to get out and shoot more photos!

As always, please let me know if you have any questions or feedback!

Posted in Features and tagged Blogging.

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