Many of you I’m sure are aware of the Occupy Wall Street protests, whether your with them or against them makes no difference to me. I saw the protest as an opportunity to photograph a variety of passionate people from all walks of life so I recently set up a mini photo studio on the block near the OccupySF protests and took over 60 portraits of the individual protestors. Feeling very satisfied with the results of the shoot, I thought it was done right there.
In less than 24 hours after I posted the images they had 4,100 views. My servers crashed. The images started popping up in various places, facebook and social media, news sources and more. People contacted me and told me they were inspired. This project suddenly became much bigger. I have setup a fund to raise money to fly to various other cities around California and do the same thing there. The images will be donated to the Occupy Wallstreet effort, in an attempt to raise awareness of the individuals involved. The money donated will go towards getting flights, train tickets, hostels and fuel to make this project happen. Donors will receive limited edition prints, posters, cards, books and more.
If you don’t want to contribute, that’s fine. But please, unless you are deadset against this movement, spread the word. Forward this to a friend. Post the link on Facebook. Go and “like” the indie-go-go page. This project means a lot to me, and I want to see it through.
So many photographers I know take hundreds of photos, some of them great, some of them not-so-great… and nobody ever sees them. These photographers usually have a digital archive or several boxes full of negatives. And they say that nobody appreciates what they do, and nobody ever sees their work.
Well, thanks to the internet, they no longer have any excuses. Websites like flickr and Tumblr allow you to easily share photos as easy as sending a text-message or e-mail. And if you have a cellphone that has a camera, boy are you selling yourself short. Cellphone cameras used to be a gimmick, something that pros and amateurs alike scoffed at, but now with social media and the internet, photographers like Lisa Wiseman and many others are using phone-cameras to promote themselves and even do work with them. The technology is improving. More megapixels, higher resolution – Though not as customizable as a DSLR, the simplicity and availability of phone-cameras are beginning to be compared to the likes of the Holga, the Polaroid and other cult cameras. And the ability to share the photos instantly is truly changing the medium. Even websites that don’t focus exclusively on photography like Facebook or even Twitter are being used to show the world the photography of the every-day-man.
I know for awhile I was frustrated because if I wanted to take photos and share them it was a process – I had to lug my camera-bag around and upload the photos to my computer and then finally to the internet – but now it takes almost no effort. I carry around my phone-camera and snap pics whenever I want, and I feel it’s good for me as a photographer – it keeps me sharp and aware. Now go and put that phone-camera to work and show the world your photos!
So you have a few photoblogs that you regularly visit (Hopefully Some Photographer is one of them) for a variety of reasons. Maybe one has a great “Photo of the week” post or maybe another one is a great news source. You say to yourself “I take pictures! I write! I can do this too!” Running a photoblog can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a lot of work. If you start to gather a following, there’s more pressure to write and you’d be surprised how easy it is to get writer’s block. So before you jump in and starting snapping pics and writing tutorials here are a few things to consider.
What kind of audience do you want to appeal to? Beginners? Enthusiasts? Pros? It’s important to carve out your niche but to do so carefully – you don’t want to get in over your head. Most of the people that write blogs are pros, enthusiasts or beginners themselves and you can tell by what they write. This can also be reflected in the title of your blog. Take A Photo Editor for example – the titles says it all. Lou Lesko is allowed to use his own name as a title, because he’s well known enough in the industry. One day maybe you can name your blog after yourself too!
What sort of photoblog will you be doing? Whats the theme? The idea? Are you going to do daily posts like a 365 photos project? Are you going to post other people’s work as a way of showing the world great artists? Are you going to focus on industry news? Write tutorials? Or will it be all about you? Find out what would suite you best and stick with it. A combination of these themes can make your blog versatile and appeal to a wider audience, but it’s more difficult to keep up.
There are a myriad of blog hosting services and websites you can use to set up your blog. You can buy your own domain name and have it that much more professional – or you can start out with a free service and see where it all goes. Most blog services have a free program that allows you to do all of the basics post-dating your posts, themes and looks for your blog, etc. Then they usually offer a premium service as well that allows more customization or storage space.
There’s a lot of things to consider when joing a blog service. Besides everything I mentioned above, you want a good community of bloggers, and bloggers who stick with it. WordPress is definitely the most popular blogging service, and you will find thousands of bloggers blogging about everything you can imagine. It might make your site a bit difficult to find, but if you tag and categorize properly you shouldn’t have a problem.
While I don’t believe that Blogger’s community is as dedicated as WordPress’, It is quite user-friendly and there are lots of ways to customize, even without a premium service. It’s affiliated with google, so you go straight to a search directory without any steps or registrations.
Make sure that whatever service you use has a lot of storage space for photos. Most places have at least 1 gig of storage, but you’d be surprised at how fast you can fill that up. You can always host your images through a different service like Flickr or Photobucket.
Flickr is easily the largest photo-sharing community and is aimed at photographers.
Photobucket is designed for mass photo-storage and sharing
So you have the theme, the host and the pictures – how often should you update? The answer is as much as you want – within reason. If your new at this and not sure what you want out of it yet, Once a week is a good place to start. Unless you’re doing a photo-a-day type blog, you won’t need to post every day – this gets tiresome for some readers. I would say even 3 times a week is a bit excessive. Twice a week is nice and comfortable, if you have a lot to write about. Spread out your posts don’t update two days in a row, get a schedule going so your readers know when to come back. And be consistent, don’t post 3 times in one week and then one time again a month later. No one will take you seriously.
You’re probably doing this for one of the following reasons: (1) You have an opinion to share. (2) You have a lot of photos to share. (3) You have the inside scoop of the industry. (4) You like photo gear.
All of these reasons are fine – if you’re passionate about it, you will write well about it. A lot of up and coming professionals (like myself) get a blog to show potential clients that they can do more besides photography, and that they are diverse. Understand why you are writing and have a goal. When you reach that goal, make another one.
Proper spelling and grammar is important. Readers will not take u srsly if u pst lik ths. Have a minimum/maximum wordcount. No one like s a rambler, but you should not have 50 word posts. I have a minimum of 250 words and a max of 1000. Use social networking like Facebook and Twitter or LinkedIn and Friendfeed to tie into your blog or advertise it. Don’t be excessive – nobody likes spam. Services like BlogExplosion work ok to get traffic initially – but if you want quality traffic you should stick with forums and websites for photographers to promote it on. Engage your readers – have polls and ask questions to encourage participation – it will stick in their minds and they will come back. Have links, lots of links. Links to other blogs, websites, etc.
So there you have it, the foundations to starting a photoblog. Have fun and experiment. Take risks – I am dangerously close to my word limit – and be consistent. Good luck and happy photoblogging!
In the last few weeks between school, searching for work, and setting up this blog I noticed something. I spend a lot of time on my computer. This isn’t to say that I’m not productive during my day, I do a lot of things for personal enrichment such as reading, looking at art, socializing… But today, all of these activities can be done online. I’m trying to make it all work to my advantage. I use twitter and Facebook for both pleasure and networking, and it seems like something that used to be done so formally – meet-ups and gatherings – have been made so much more casual by the internet.
Now, I’m not knocking these services at all. I have had much success from cruising the likes of Craig’s List and LinkedIn, it just seems so different now. Promo mailers seems to be quickly becoming a thing of the past, and photographers have to find new ways to get themselves noticed. A website with your portfolio doesn’t seem to be enough anymore. For those dewy-eyed newborn photographers; get into social networking. Use it all, twitter, friendfeed, facebook… it can only help you in this new age of electronic marketing. And while I had a difficult time getting myself to use twitter – I have now discovered that a lot of my favorite artists and magazines and companies are on it, giving me a new way to keep up with the industry.
I encourage you to surf message boards, start a blog, anything to get your name out there. The internet gives anyone the opportunity to become known, and as a photographer in this fast-paced, super competitive world, you should take advantage of it. Because if no one knows who you are, how will you ever get work?