An Open Letter to a New “Photography” Blogger

An Open Letter to a New “Photography” Blogger

(from a recent forum post where a new blogger was talking about ‘getting out there and doing it… going pro.)


I just looked at your blog and I have a few questions.

Who are you trying to reach with the blog?


Or other photographers?

Clients would be a good focus, as they will actually hire you. Clients will want to get in touch for a photograph if you inspire them.

Other photographers maybe not so much.

Alright, never.

Other photographers are never gonna pay you for your photography.

Posting about gear is photographer centric stuff that your clients do not care about. Posting that you are just starting out is great for other photographers to ‘share in the adventure’ – but as a client, I don’t really want to be a part of that early, uncharted course.

I’ll wait until you are sure of what you are doing.

Posting that you are running out of money means you are not a pro, or someone that someone else is hiring, and I am not having any of it.

The people who may be interested in this information, ie; other photographers thinking about making the jump, will never ever be a part of your bottom line.

I’m new.
I am not sure how to proceed.
I have cool stuff.
I am in serious financial straights.
Please hire me before I drown in debt and my kids hate me.”

This is not, I repeat NOT a marketing strategy. It will shut you down before you even stand up.

In addition, you call it a “Photographic Diary” and yet there are no photographs, it has no visual identity, and the information is more about the business you do not have rather than talking about the cool stuff you do. In addition, the theme you have chosen is, well, boring and not interesting at all to look at.

We are in the visual business, and something boring is NOT gonna let people know how good you are with visuals… right? Get a new theme and make it something interesting to see.

Then do these things…

1. Talk to your clients. Blog stuff that makes seniors want to shoot with you or brides just die to meet you (or whatever your niche is). Talk about how you solved this challenge or how much fun it was to shoot with that subject, or how you find locations… stuff to make clients take notice.
NOTE: They do not give a crock of shit about how fast your zoom is.

2. Photographs on every post. Post about photographs, not photography. Posts on subjects, not lenses. Make people think that all you ever do is make photographs. Cool photographs. Even, ahem, ‘awesome’ photographs.

3. Become an expert in what you do, in the language of who you do it for instead of your competition. Don’t speak photographer speak, use real people speak. The real people that may think you make great pictures cause of your cool camera speak. They are not the enemy, nor clueless idiots, they are your clients. LOVE them.

For instance:
“I love working with people of all ages, and can take a few years off your portrait if you would like…”


“I use layers in Photoshop to soften the separate channels of color and texture, and then blend them back in with masks to make the lines around the eyes softer.”

Trust me. Telling a forty year old woman how you are gonna use all that technical wizardry to make her look younger is not of any interest to her. That you CAN make her look a shade over 34 IS.

And lastly… never never never complain. Complaining sounds suspiciously like whining to a lot of people. When things are down, show your most lively photographs. Look more busy than you really are, and convey the fact that you are really busy because people love your work and wouldn’t it be cool if the reader could have an opportunity to have such a blast with you and get some incredible photographs.

You didn’t ask for a critique, and I broke my rule about never doing it without being asked, but since I am waiting for the mac to do some video rendering I felt… oh what the hell, why not.

The advice is worth exactly what you paid for it, but I would ask you to consider my concerns as I have a real affinity for people who actually DO shit over those who stand on the sidelines throwing stones.

Good for you for getting out there.

And great luck in all your endeavors.

– wizwow.

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  1. Right on Don, hit the nail on the head as always.

  2. And of course there are the gear bloggers posting about cameras that they don’t own in an effort to get pathetic referral clicks. When they start begging for clicks, I leave. Nuff said I guess.

    I blog for hobbyists. My clients don’t have time to read blogs.

  3. I think there’s a place for a blog aimed at other photographers. Obviously you started one, and whilst it may not have directly gotten you business, I’d say it’s possibly raised your profile in the photographic world. I read somewhere the Todd Owyoung (whose site is obviously aimed at other photographers with gear reviews, and talking about the gear used on each shoot etc) has gotten jobs simply because people liked the way he seemed happy to help other photographers.

    On the other hand, I agree, you need to be crystal clear about who you want reading your blog, why you want to target those people, and what kind of content they’ll be wanting to see…

    • Thanks, Chris.

      Yes, I do have a blog for other photographers. But it is not in any way geared to get me photographic work. It is not even positioned that way.

      It’s purpose is to entertain and hopefully educate those who want to hear what I have to say.

      But it is NOT here to sell me as a photographer.

      Todd’s blog is all about shooting musicians, and I see it as a totally CLIENT driven site as musicians are a genre who will seek out other ‘bands’ to see/hear what they are doing.

      Yes, he has some gear things there… but they are more about letting the band people see how he CAN SOLVE THEIR PROBLEMS with that gear, as well as to educate photographers.

      He also sells gear as an affilate, and has other points of revenue that help him keep the blog alive, as well as provide incentive in keeping the site fresh for more visitors.

      And that is a good thing.

      But in the advertising world, design genre and possibly even some consumer work, that ‘community’ thing is much more difficult to create. Unless the photographer is a ‘celebrity’ shooter who has a distinct and large following, they will have to create content that their client list and targeted clients will want to see.

      So I again go back to the question… does an art director at the local advertising agency care more about your style, your ability to deliver, your approach to getting the shot delivered, how you problem solve, and what it is like to work with you?

      Or how fast your ‘fifty’ is?