How Photography and Blogging Get More Rewarding Over Time

My first intentional photography was not all that long ago.

In 2006, for the first time I chose a mobile phone for its camera’s capabilities above all else – the now very humble sounding 3.2MP sensor that graced the Sony Ericsson K800i.

39887553594_25198e530c_b
Sony K800i, surprising what a seemingly too low res to bother with 3.2MP sensor could capture

Compositionally, the images I made with the Sony aren’t that different to those I made this week. I’m not sure if this is a good thing, but that’s a line of thought to explore in another post!

My first blog was a little earlier, around 2005, for the life coaching venture I was exploring at the time.

Though both the camera phone and my original blog are long gone, the lessons and experience gained from both were invaluable.

26768626718_6611ce1d60_b
Made with my next camera phone, the 5MP Sony K850i. I could probably still use this phonecam today and be happy with the images…

Even after having one blog, when you start your next one, you’re not a virgin blogger anymore. You have a few (/few dozen /few hundred) posts under your belt, some of the related experiences of how to set up the blog, and what it feels like to have readers.

Photography for me has also become more rewarding over time.

Twelve years, 20 digital cameras and 130 film cameras later (yikes, and these are just ones I actually shot at least one roll of film with, I’ve had maybe 50 more which never had a taste of film in my hands), and I’m probably happier than ever about the kit I’m using (essentially these three) and the photographs I’m making.

39744598905_f73845bc72_b
Over years, we gather a cumulative knowledge about what works.

This experiential process is the same in most walks of life – Try stuff. Find what works and do more of that. Find what doesn’t work and tweak it until it does work, or drop it entirely and focus your energy and time on what does.

On the photography front then, firstly we find what works as a pleasing photograph (and how to choose the elements that make up irreversible photography as best we can). Even if most of the shots we take are lessons in what not to choose to shoot next time.

And secondly, what works for us in terms of camera experience, and which ultimately decides why we may favour a Pentax Spotmatic over a Canon AE-1, or a Ricoh digital compact over an iPhone, or a Sony.

40522336001_a5cc4668f9_b

With blogging, we gain knowledge about how to find a regular pattern for writing and publishing blog posts that fits us, as well as our readers. 

We learn how to generate and capture ideas so we’re never staring anxiously at a blank page with no clue what to write. (Hint: I currently have 45 posts in draft, even though some are merely a working title and six words about the content, plus maybe another 20 sketched ideas saved on the Notes app of my iPhone.)

And we figure out how to find time to respond and engage with those kind enough to share their words and thoughts with us.

But personally, a huge factor that makes both photography and blogging increasingly rewarding over time essentially amounts to the same thing – building a body of work you’re proud of.

More than this, a body of work that, because it’s published and out there, is gathering you new viewers and readers by the day, the hour, even sometimes by the minute.

When I look at my Flickr stats for the day just passed, the photograph that has gained most views for that day is an image I made nearly a year ago –

34902881815_535af13033_b

Also in yesterday’s top 10, this picture I made with a Minolta compact I had fleetingly back in 2014.

15184609000_904b257759_b

Rubbing shoulders with those two, an image I took only a couple of days ago.

39886991014_4c3ee17418_b

When I look at 35hunter‘s stats for, say, last week, the most viewed post is one I wrote in the summer of 2016 – How I Shoot Film Simply Without A Light Meter.

Also scoring high amongst predominantly more recent posts, is one about a fairly lowly Pentacon lens I published a year ago – Lens Love #1 – Pentacon 50mm f/1.8 M42.

The point with both is that the more you publish, the more little gatherers you have out there, like tiny eager hands reaching out to draw new readers and viewers back to your work.

The long tail theory comes into play in its internet form here.

In short, having, say, a hundred gatherers out in the world each able to collect one new interested person a day, has a greater impact than just one gatherer, even if that one is able to gather 30 or 40, or even 50.

As you steadily build your body of work (in this case photographs and articles on photography), those sent out into the world days, months, years ago, are still working for you, still gathering.

9339229825_de31342b6e_b

The two major lessons of this are, I hope, obvious.

1. If you’re thinking about starting a blog, just do it.

The quicker you start writing and sharing, the quicker you’ll start to build your audience, and the quicker you’ll start finding and enriching a community around what you’ve decided you love enough to write about often.

2. If you want people to see your photographs, it’s no good looking at them once then saving them on a hard drive never to see daylight ever again.

The sooner you start sharing what you’ve considered beautiful and interesting enough to immortalise in a photograph, the sooner other people who love your way of seeing the world can discover and enjoy that too.

24877029133_d19aa40181_b

The title of this post could have easily been – Get Off Your Backside, Share Your Photographs And Start Blogging.

But I wanted a slightly more gentle title, and one that emphasises how the benefits grow over time, as does the satisfaction.

I hope I’ve convinced you.

Are you sharing your photography as much as you’d like? Have you been thinking about blogging for a while but just never got started (or started then gave up after a handful of posts?)

Please let us know in the comments below, we’d love to be able to encourage you! (Remember to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

Thanks for reading. Please share this post with others you feel will enjoy it too.

10 thoughts on “How Photography and Blogging Get More Rewarding Over Time”

  1. I sort of wish I didn’t care so much about having my written words read. Because Flickr really is a much more successful platform for me in terms of having my photography viewed. It’s no contest. With zero promotion on my part, my Flickr stream gets way more views than my blog. Since 2007, the blog has had 1,327,311 views. Since 2006, my Flickr stream has had 3,613,428 views.

    In the last week, my most visited blog post is https://blog.jimgrey.net/2017/08/09/where-can-you-still-get-film-developed-freshly-updated-for-2017/

    I wish Flickr had deeper stats. But at least I know that today the most viewed photo so far is https://www.flickr.com/photos/mobilene/5203218878/

    1. If you’re using Flickr, and actively adding new photos, then you are promoting it, or at least you’re sustaining its presence as an ever growing gallery of your work.

      When people find one of your photos – whether you posted it eight minutes ago or eight years ago like your Kodak Six-20 – if they like it enough they’ll explore others in your photo stream.

      Something I’ve started doing in recent months on my Flickr is posting a link to my blog in the description of each photo. Basically I copy and paste from the last photo I uploaded! Not sure this brings me much traffic but over time it must get your blog more exposure.

      In the past sometimes I’ve published a new blog post, then posted a new photo on Flickr with the same title as the blog post, and having a link to it. I need to do this more consistently to see if it generates more interest.

      Sometimes Flickr feels a bit lifeless, and you expect to see a tumbleweed drift across your screen. But when I look at the stats and see I’m getting a few thousand views a day, it must be doing some good.

      I see a bit like having your own cafe (blog) where you’d like people to come and hang out, see your photos on the wall and chat about photography. But you also visit a couple of other cafes owned by other people (other blogs, Flickr, Twitter etc) where you can also engage with people. Maybe some of the people you meet at the other cafes will come back to yours sometimes, and become regulars. Others you’ll only talk to you at the other cafes, but that’s worthwhile too.

      Re the proportion of stats, yeh somewhat annoyingly on a good day on Flickr I’ll easily get five times the views of a good day on my own blog. Which is one of the reasons it’s still well worth using!

  2. I did a bit of blogging in my early computer days but don’t do it now. I don’t share my photography with anybody!!! I’m laughing now. I’m not really interested in sharing my photography. I may change in the future. It is a solitary pursuit for me xoxo susanJOY

    1. Susan, you’ve found what you enjoy and what works for you. I just want to encourage people who do want to blog and share more, and highlight some of the benefits. 🙂

      1. Dan, I enjoy reading your blog. I hope I didn’t appear critical before. Just sharing what I do in contrast. I hope that is OK susanJOY

        1. Susan no I didn’t think you were being critical. This post is aimed at people who have maybe been reluctant to share their photographs and/or start a photograph blog, and I just wanted to offer encouragement and outline the pros. 😀 Glad to have you as a reader.

  3. Interesting post Dan. One of the things I like about Jim’s blog is that he curates other blogs so I don;t have to slog through so many myself. Would the world be a better place if we all had a blog? I wonder.

    1. It depends who blogs… I was reading an article the other day just about making a DIY macro lens for a phone and how to clip it on. Bizarrely the comments quickly descended into US politics, absolutely nothing to do with the post. But then they were all anonymous commenters. I think if people have a blog, even if they use a pseudonym, they might be more thoughtful about the relevance and content of what they post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s