This post is to accompany the discussion on photgrapher's blogs and the strategy, if any, that should be employed. That discussion will be on Sunday evening at 6PM Pacific, 9PM Eastern, August 22, 2010.
To be sure, there are a lot of photographers with a lot of personal reasons to have a blog, and this discussion is not directed toward anyone who is currently happy with their blog, its content and the audience it attracts. I am not here to try to change anyones mind. Do what makes you happy.
This discussion is for the photographers who are NOT sure what they should do - or even if they should have one at all? There are many questions to be asked, and we want to look at them from a 'goal - directed' standpoint.
If your goal is to write about your gear, that's fine with me. Lots of photographers do. If you want to share stories from our side of the lens, that is great as well. And to the philosophers and motivators and keepers of the traditions, fantastic that you are there and working hard on so many fronts.
And if you are happy working on what you are doing, great. We are not here to dissuade you or in any way denigrate your great work.
However, if you are starting out as a photographer, you must think long and hard about what kind of blog you want to have. And I see what I consider to be way too many blogs about learning the craft of photography, and blogs that train or teach photography, and blogs that remind the viewer that the photographer is a beginner.
I don't want to hire a photographer who is working on finding a way to use his meter... ya know. Some things are a given. Posts on the angst of a first shoot, or the ponderings of a 'worst day ever' shoot are not going to give serious clients a reason to call you.
Nor is being ecstatic over your new lens. Or Pocket Wizard. Or lens baby. That stuff is a given when you are a professional. And clients rarely are interested in the tools and insider gear talk that photographers seem to love so much.
To me it shows a problem in the defining of the audience. Why would a photographer want to have other photographers as his/her main audience? Well, he/she could be a workshop teacher (www.learntolight.com), or an author, or provide tools of the trade, or even as someone who is just so technically minded that it simply is the thing that makes them tick. All fine and dandy.
But what if you are trying to start out as a photographer in the rough and tumble world of editorial, fashion and advertising? What would a blog for other photographers do for you? If I was a wedding photographer would I want 2000 photographers reading my blog, or 2000 soon to be brides reading my blog. And, by the way, brides are not interested in your new lens or what kind of radio trigger you use... are they?
So first we define our goal, then we define our audience. Once those are defined, we will know what kind of content to provide to be of interest to the audiences we have chosen to reach.
Direct to client photographers should look at talking to their prospects,,, moms, brides to be, seniors, and the people who support them like wedding planners and dress stores, Becoming a resource to brides and the people who plan weddings would seem to be more of a strategic move than a blog about lenses, Talking to seniors about how cool the senior session can be, providing a sharing forum, and becoming a resource for that group would be a sure way to increase visibility and top of mind interest.
Commercial shooters need to get in front of Art Directors, Editors, Photo buyers, MarCom directors and Corporate art buyers. Fashion photographers must look for ways to become on the radar of that special group of fashion editors that hire fashion photographers.
Now, for sure, what I am advocating is a bit harder than writing about that which you know so easily. It means working to find a voice, and refining that voice to a point where it can cut through the noise of so many bloggers. And if you are hoping for a magic bullet moment, you can stop reading now. There isn't one, It will take a lot of hard work and soul searching to find what you need to do... kinda like when you are out there struggling to find a vision and style for your photography.
This will be the focus of our discussion this evening at the beginning of our show. At midpoint, we will be joined by HipHop Music Photographer, John Ricard who will discuss music photography in the "big apple." Bring questions.
I have compiled a few photographer bloggers who have created blogs that speak to their work, the work they do for clients, and the clients interests and the communities at large that they need to reach to get more attention and more assignments.
Will Steacy discusses the art of his art, as well as the things that catch his fancy. The blog features his art, and the musings of the artist as he creates.
Richard Renaldi discusses the world of photography with emphasis on large format work. He reviews shows and books and provides inspiration for the portrait work he loves. Not a how-to blog, but one of images and stories.
Jonathan Saunders (I Like to Tell Stories) the focus is on visual storytelling. A very popular blog for people who like using photographs to illustrate or define stories.
Jeff Singer shows work, discusses the business, and even chats a bit about gear in a fresh way that keeps him interesting to non-gear heads too.
Ben Huff discusses his work and how it is an integral part of his life. Lots to think about and lots to see.
John Loomis takes us through projects he is working on, shows new work and discusses recent assignments.
This very small list can get your ideas flowing maybe... or provide a new way of thinking about what you do. There are many more and I encourage you to look for them. See the blog rolls on each of these blogs to explore.
I have been tasked to discuss these 4 questions this evening:
1. Why not talk about gear if gear is what you love to talk about?
2. What part should your family play in the blog - if any?
3. If we are to write about what we know, and gear is what we know most about, doesn't it stand to reason we should discuss gear?
4. Is it important to remain positive in your blog? If you are going to be "authentic" you may have to include some negative aspects of the work. Right?
We will do that and also discuss how to find your voice, what kind of strategies you can use to find what you love to write about and answer questions from the audience. As always, I am not the definitive answer on anything. I have opinions based on more than assumptions, so take them for what they are, and do - or do not.
See you all at 6PM Pacific, 9PM Eastern for our chat about blogs for photographers. www.lighting-essentials.com