Someone on Reddit asked if blogging was a good idea for photographers. They got all sorts of advice. Most of the input was negative, which I suppose is not surprising, as photography is a visual skill, where as writing is a linguistic skill. I responded with the following. I am posting it here for any photographers who ask Google ‘should a photographer blog?’ See what I did there? I literally included the whole question someone might ask Google in the text! 🙂
I am a professional photographer and I blog quite a bit. You can check out my website and blog on rogierbos.com. I live in the Netherlands and so the main language on my website is Dutch, but there are also a few English posts on there.
I blog for a number of reasons. I write …
- To showcase my work. I put love, passion and energy into my photography, and it frustrates me that some of my best photo’s only every appear on a small brochure or calendar, as that is all the client needs. Blogging allows me to show a wider circle my work.
- To attract new clients. Yes, I have a portfolio, but sometimes a client looks at your portfolio, but they don’t see exactly what they need/want. For instance: I do a lot of industrial photography. As such I frequently find myself in large warehouses. Admittedly not the most inspiring of environments. But when a client is looking for a photographer who can do ‘warehouse photography’, I want them to see on my site (blog) that I have lots and lots of experience with just that. For this reason I write my texts with all the search terms a client might want to use. And I am careful to name all my images with the relevant search terms. Blogging simply allows me to appear in more search results (also because Google likes it when a site’s content is updates regularly).
- To inform my clients on important topics. For instance, I have a lot of articles on copyright and infringement. When someone asks me a question on this subject, I can simply send them the link. A different example: I am often asked by clients if I can send them images AGAIN. Sometimes as many as four or five times. I don’t mind doing that, but it can cost me quite a bit of time. So I charge for that. And I have a blog post about that. When someone asks me ‘can you re-send me the images’, I write a short email, with the cost and a link to my blogpost ‘in case they want to know more’.
- To build report. A lot of photographers are almost anonymous behind their website. Blogging allows people to get to know me. My blog is not read widely, but I often discover clients have read my blog to get to know me. ‘Oh, I see you want on holiday to Tuscany. Great photo’s! Did you enjoy Tuscany?’
- To challenge my fellow professional photographer’s. I like professional photographer’s, but sometimes they can suffer from group-thinking. For instance about the state of the industry, or how badly they are treated by (some) clients. Sometimes I just want to irritate them a bit… 🙂
- To keep my mind agile. Writing is a stimulating exercise. It forces you to think systematically and communicate coherently. I once read: writing is for the mind what going to the gym is for your body.
I suppose those are the pro’s. There are con’s too.
- It is time consuming. It is not just a matter of writing and posting, but also a matter of SEO and understanding WordPress plugins like Yoast.
- As photographers go, I think I am a pretty good writer. But most people read a whole bunch of texts in the course of a day, and it soon becomes apparent I may be a professional photographer, but I am an amateur writer…
- Blogging is definitely less popular than it was a few years ago.
- Sometimes people ask you about this article you wrote, and you discover it is something you wrote 7 years ago — and you don’t hold that viewpoint anymore. Or the images in the post are not a good reflection of your capabilities now.
- Make sure you are on a platform that is very SEO friendly. WordPress, with a good wordpress theme on a fast and reliable server is my choice
- Use the wordpress plugin Yoast. I use the free version.
- Don’t know what to write about? On Pinterest you can find lots of ‘social media calendar’s’ to inspire you.
- Always share your posts on the appropriate social networks. For me those are LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
- Short posts are better than long ones. Seth Godin is the King of short blogposts. Mine, on the other hand, tend to run a little long…
- It’s absolutely no problem if you forget to post for a while and then start back up. Lots of guru’s say you need to do it ‘every week’ or ‘every month’ — but I say ‘do it when you can’.
- Do not aim for perfection! Doing it is more important than doing it incredibly well! I am not trying to win a prize for my writing: I am trying to inform and entertain and attract people. Of course I spell check everyting, but even then stupid mistakes slip by — and I am OK with that.
Hope this helps. Guess what I am going to do now? I am going to take this post and turn it into a blogpost. 🙂