The image to the left is the header of my personal photo blog.
The general idea of a blog gives me the giggles. If I think about it in a certain way, it seems borderline narcissistic. “I’m Soooo wonderful that I MUST self publish so the world can be a part of the glory that is me.” Kinda forces you to crack a smile and nod in agreement, eh? I recently saw a man wearing a shirt that said, “I’m SO blogging this.” I was watching television not long ago and after a big “to do” the main character said something to the effect of, “If I had a blog, this would be a big day for me.” I remember the first time (in the relatively recent past) someone suggested I check out their blog. I had absolutely NO concept of what on Earth they could be taking about. For all I knew it was a medical condition and I may want to keep my distance. So what is this blog mania that has swept the world, and what does it mean to you as a photographer?
10 Reasons to Set Up a Photoblog
Here are 10 reasons you may want to consider getting a photo blog of your own, particularly if you really are serious about becoming a notable photographer and/or making the jump to the status of professional.
1. It’ll Turn Up the Heat:
My blog has been a phenomenal motivational tool for me. I truly believe that ultimately, technical jargon aside, the best thing you can do to achieve steady improvement as a photographer is get out and shoot, shoot, and shoot some more. A blog will light the fire under you to get out and do just that. It does this by causing you to feel accountable in two arenas. First off, in order to keep readers, you feel accountable to post new images regularly, thus ensuring that you’re out there shooting. Second, you feel pressure to post your very best, thus you feel pressure to stay on top of your craft. For me, even lack of traffic in the early days of my blog didn’t let me off the hook. In the beginning I still felt that sense of accountability even though I’m almost certain that at that point there were only 4 people checking my blog on a regular basis, two of whom were my parents.
2. Track Your Progress:
Blogs are a fantastic way to track your progress. If you were to take a second to search through the archives of my personal blog, my growth as a photographer would be beyond merely evident. It’s so fun for me to look back and see how far I’ve come, particularly when I’m feeling discouraged by the prospect of how far I still have to go!
Photo blogs are excellent places to receive feedback. If you’re serious about becoming a better photographer, you may find it helpful to ask others what they think of your work. I know this is scary, but it can be invaluable. Post a picture and ask your readers to comment with their thoughts. NOTE: don’t be discouraged if not every comment is complimentary- positive comments may boost confidence, but sometimes it’s the negative ones that really lead us to great achievement.
Blogs are a great way to get your name out there. People will find you who NEVER would have otherwise. If you have a plan to make the push at some point to the status of professional, or if you’re a pro already, there’s no greater (or cheaper) way to get your name out there than a photo blog.
Publicity is more than marketing, more than just getting your name out there. Anyone can do that by simply paying for an advertisement in a magazine or newspaper. Publicity is actually EARNING people’s attention because of the quality of the work you’re pumping out. As you continue shooting and posting your work on your blog, you’ll soon find that people are recommending that their friends and family go visit your blog. Then they tell their friends. Then they tell THEIR friends. And so on and so forth. This is what you’re gong for. You’ll be amazed as this process truly spreads like wildfire. Along with this, remember that it’s one thing when you see an ad in a paper for a photographer, it’s another thing when someone tells you, “Oh my gosh! You’ve got to check out so and so’s photography blog. It’s fantastic!” Which publicity seems more credible? Clearly the second because it’s unsolicited. It’s genuine.
Blogs are a great way to create a more personal relationship with potential clients. They not only have an opportunity to see your work on a regular basis, but they also get to know you through the text you include. Then when they’re looking to hire a photographer, you’ll be first on their list, because though you don’t know much, if anything, about them, they on the other hand feel like you’re an old friend.
I commonly get people asking me how I built my portfolio so quickly. Well, here you go: I announced promotions (and hosted give aways) on my blog. When I noticed that I needed to do more head shots to plump up that aspect of my portfolio, for example, I did a post on my blog offering one lucky winner a free head shot sitting. Then I offered discounted sittings to 3 other readers ($30 for a half hour down from $100). I quickly had filled the discounted slots and booked a handful of other clients at full price. It was astonishing. It all happened within the space of a couple of HOURS. Lets say you’re not really prepared enough to be charging but are desperate for experience. In the VERY beginning, when I had JUST bought my first DSLR, I spread the word that I was looking to gain experience and would be happy to photograph families for their Christmas cards for free. I was RIDICULOUSLY BUSY for about a month before Christmas that year. It was a fantastic way to get some experience under my belt in a relatively short amount of time. I know it seems crazy to give away so much time for free, but I’ll tell you what, I was so passionate, so desperate to learn about photography, I probably would have paid THEM to LET me take their pictures. Actually getting out and SHOOTING is FAR more effective in my opinion than any class you could take. EVER.
Blogs are a great way to build a network with other photographers, up and coming and pro alike. You can link back and forth, offer feedback, publicize each other’s events and promotions. The possibilities are endless. For more information on the importance of this tip, check out my recent DPS article on Networking.
I’m currently in the process of designing my new blog and website. There will obviously be a section of testimonials. Thankfully, because of all the wonderful comments on my blog, all the testimonials will be completely unsolicited. It’s so wonderful to read through the comments people have made about my work, clearly because it boosts my confidence but it’s proving useful in another way too- AWESOME, GENUINE, UNSOLICITED TESTIMONIALS!
10. It’s Plain ol’ Fun:
Blogging is just so darn fun. It’s that simple. It’s just fun to go out and shoot, come out of it with something you’re proud of and immediately have an audience to showcase it for. It’s wonderfully wonderful in every way.
Little did I know 1 year ago when I first began my life as a blogger that it would literally change they way I saw my world, push me to greater heights as a photographer and literally put my career in hyper-drive.
THE BOTTOM LINE?
Blogs are powerful. It’s quite remarkable the reach of a well thought out blog. If you’d like to encourage yourself to keep on shooting, keep on improving and perhaps to get your name out there in the photography industry, I definitely suggest you create a photo blog. Be sure to check back in the next week for the follow up to this post entitled, Building Your Blog: 10 things to consider when building your own rockin’ photo blog.