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.
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.
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.
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.
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 –
Also in yesterday’s top 10, this picture I made with a Minolta compact I had fleetingly back in 2014.
Rubbing shoulders with those two, an image I took only a couple of days ago.
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.
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.
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).
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