I love blogs. I think they are a revolution in publishing, and the effects of a democratized publishing platform have not been truly revealed. They give people who may never have had a chance to publish an elegant and rich platform. Words, video, photographs, graphs, charts, presentations… all can be created and shared.
As I work with photographers in their growth, many will ask about blogging. I have some thoughts that I would like to share on how I believe photographers can grow their market with blogging.
Firs, some ground rules: I believe the web to have a language (syntax?) that is its own. It is not ‘multi-media’, nor is it a digital representation of the analog world. It has its own feel and interface logic, and that has been slowly growing into a ‘standards’ of sort. The millions of people who use the web have become accustomed to certain things being ubiquitous, and I don’t think it a good idea to frustrate them.
Blogs are a way for photographers to reach their clients with images, words, thoughts, processes, challenges/solutions and approaches to the work.
Speaking to your clients, and addressing their lives, work, challenges and goals can put a photographer into a better position when being considered, and it can lead to dialog with possible clients. Very successful bloggers can create evangelists in the community, and the reach of their blog can be increased virally.
But… and this is a big BUT… what do you blog about?
Photographers tend to blog to two different communities. And in many cases the choice that is made may not be the right one for the photographer and their goal for the blog.
Far too many photographers begin to blog with a look toward other photographers. And yes, Lighting Essentials is one such blog, but I will explain this in a moment.
I do not see how a blog that targets other photographers will help an emerging photographer gain traction in the community they want to be seen in… the client market. They choose to blog about lights and lenses and how cool this DIY thing is or how they are waiting for their new stand or umbrellas. The amount of blog posts covering every aspect of using a Pocket Wizard are in the thousands.
Do your clients care about how you can modify a cheap wireless rig to go further, or if your new lens is not sharp on the edges or how much you hate it when someone says something inappropriate about your photoshop skills?
I am going out on a limb here to say NO… they do not care.
In fact, some of that information I would NEVER want my clients to see. Would you? Really?
Why is it that beginning bloggers go automatically to that genre? It is easy. It is what they know. It is what they currently read. There are a great deal of wonderful blogs out there to support photographers. That is what this blog is about. Support. The owner of LE, while being a dapper and incredibly good looking chap, is not seeking work as a photographer with this blog.
I, er, he wants to create something of value to the community at large who are emerging into the career that has served him well for nearly 40 years.
To court clients, one would make a far different blog than this one.
In fact, I have several that I will share with you that DO get the idea of blogging for clients instead of blogging for peers. And, hey, I don’t care if you really want to blog to peers with an effort to help. Great… we need more good support blogs for photographers. But if you want to reach clients who will PAY you for photographs (something most of your peers will not do) then you must make some editorial decisions regarding how you go about it.
More on that after the jump…
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I am out for Sacramento this weekend and we have workshops coming up in West Palm Beach, Omaha, New York and Boston. These small group workshops are very exciting, intensive and they work. You know how to use your lights when we are done. Blending ambient, using strobe, natural light tips, studio work, location and more. It is two full days of lighting and photography and fun. See the Learn to Light workshop page for more information.
Now on to the blogs that ‘get it’.
Jaime Hogge is a photographer in Toronto, Canada. His work is quirky and fun and very loose. Jaime’s blog is focused on the editorial and advertising clients he wants to work for, and he does it by showing work and discussing assignments that he has completed.
Check out how he discusses working with a photo editor in this post. And in this post, Jaime shares some photos from a recent gig. This kind of work keeps the clients and potential clients informed of what he is doing NOW.
Andrew Hethrington’s excellent and popular blog, “What’s the Jackanory?”, has many industry followers. Andrew’s fun and witty approach to photography and his blog are consistent. His posts cover what is happening in NY, to out-takes from recent gigs.
Rodney Smith is one of my favorite photographers, and his blog “The End Starts Here” is a must read for me. I love his approach to photography and writing and the site is totally involved with the philosophy and art of photography. I think his blog is well read by clients and those in the business for the thoughtful and intimate articles he writes.
Mark Tucker, Nashville Photographer, takes a very visual approach to his blog. He shows older images and new images together and ties small amounts of text to bring to the visitor a bit of Mark’s style and approach to his work.
Mark has created a new blog to delve deeper into shoots, presenting more of a ‘story’ approach to the posts. “My Day With” is a fantastic idea and will spawn great interest I believe.
I would like to offer a shout out to Seattle Photographer Jan Klier who is blogging with info for his clients. Jan’s blog is focused on the work he is bringing in, and how he solves the challenges presented. His blog is fairly new, but I like the direction of it a lot.
So here are six bloggers that “get it” when it comes to subject matter and approach. At least… that’s how I see it.
How about you? Do you have some blogs that you love that you think help the photographer in the quest for increased interest? If so, add them to the list in the comments.