Most of us here are in the highly privileged position of being able to publish their words and images online with great freedom.
But the easier it’s become to publish online, obviously the more people have done so. Whether they have anything worth sharing or not.
Rather than get into the argument of how the internet has ruined our ability to find wonderful photography (or indeed many other art forms and past times), I wanted to talk about the connection between being a photographer, and having access to online publishing platforms.
In short, if you want to share your photography, try a handful of different platforms, and see what works best for you.
But don’t feel that you should have a photography blog, Instagram account, Flickr profile or anything else, just because others do.
I’m obviously biased by my own needs, and what I’ve tried and have found works for me.
Which means these days I use two platforms.
Flickr to share and back up my photographs, and to make it easy to share them on 35hunter without blowing my WordPress storage.
And WordPress to publish 35hunter, and to follow and support other photographs blogs.
Before I used WordPress, I essentially used Flickr as a blog.
I liked sharing new photographs I’d made, and using the description box to add my thoughts about the images, the gear I used, what I’d learned, where I was heading and so on.
The tags helped me organise and find my images easily (and still do!)
The comments section helped me get feedback and interaction from others along the way.
My online “home” evolved into a stand alone blog – 35hunter – when I noticed how much quieter Flickr had become as a social platform, and when I also realised I wanted more control over the layout and look of the place I shared my images.
I wanted it to feel like my own place, not just a generic rented room in someone else’s building.
So I went with WordPress and began 35hunter in December 2015.
These two sites are still working well for me, and whilst I don’t use it for publishing publicly, I also use Google Photos to back up photos and make them easy to edit and process between devices.
But just because this set up works for me, it doesn’t mean it will for you.
You may prefer to just use something like Flickr on its own, and post images with no further text or thoughts.
Perhaps you want a platform like Instagram that appears to be the widest used image sharing app today, if its format works for you.
For me, being so heavily mobile device focused (both for uploading and for viewing), and the, in my experience, far more superficial level of conversation compared with blogs, doesn’t work for my needs. It might be perfect for you.
Or you might want to have a blog on WordPress (or another blog platform) that allows very straightforward publishing of photos and text, and an easy way to encourage and manage conversations via the comments.
The best option for publishing your photographs might simply be to make proper physical prints of your favourite images and hand them or post them to people you know.
You don’t even have to share online. It’s not written in the laws of the land.
I emphasise again, do what works for you! Don’t feel that just because you’re a photographer, you should have a photography blog, or a Flickr or Instagram or Twitter presence, or anything else.
For every photography blog I love, I’ve found 20 or 30 or more others that are either abandoned entirely, half built, rarely updated, lacking ideas, or a combination of all of these.
The general message these blogs convey to me is “I really can’t be bothered to have this blog, but I feel I should because I’m a photographer”. Which doesn’t serve the author or the reader, and at worst just wastes everyone’s precious time.
So please just feel free to experiment with different approaches.
Find what works, do more of that.
Find want doesn’t work, and evolve it into something that does.
Do it because you want to, not just because you think you should.
How about you? Do you feel an obligation to share your photography online, just because you can and “everyone” else appears to be doing so?
Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).
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14 thoughts on “Just Because You’re A Photographer, It Doesn’t Mean You Should Have A Photography Blog”
A very solid post Dan. I remember watching an interview with Bellamy Hunt where he said he just stopped sharing his photographs online altogether because it was ruining photography for him. It was a revelation to me and I followed suit at once. I feel a little silly that it had just never occurred to me that I could opt out.
Exactly Jon, participation is optional online, and whilst I enjoy blogging and commenting on other blogs, I don’t do much else.
I’ve chosen to opt out of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linked In and many more so I have more time and focus for what I enjoy – online and off.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard “I don’t really want to be on Facebook but if I don’t I’ll be missing out…”
It’s like everyone is there because everyone else is, not because of a reasoned, independent decision they’ve made for themselves.
I deleted Facebook and IM last week and will admit to going through withdrawal symptoms. I’m sure I’ll be glad of it in the long run.
It’ll be interesting to hear more in the coming weeks Jon, will you update us? I think many of those sites people use kind of absent-mindedly just to kill time, rather than do something more engaging, just flicking through without taking much in, like a learned habit that we’ve stopped questioning the value of.
A helpful reminder. I enjoy the comparatively safe and sedate space that WordPress provides and have also left Facebook. I do miss out on some news from friends and family, but does it matter? No.
Thanks Rachel. Like you I find WordPress more relaxed and spacious. It encourages deeper thought and there never feels a need to reply instantaneously as with sites like Twitter etc.
I agree. Even emails sometimes seem more urgent and yet connections on WordPress seem like real people. A clever, efficient, almost old fashioned platform.
It’s funny in my day job how people will email someone in the same office, expect an immediate reply, then five minutes later walk over to their desk and say “did you not get my email?” !!
I have a blog. But I don’t really care if my viewers increase or decrease. I think of it as a way to organize my photos for myself. Like the old albums that people use to have. So I have my photos in light room organized by month. I post on instagram … but largely stopped tagging the photos and just let my follows see them.
But you are right, …the blog to blog sake is a real trap.
I remember you saying before about starting with the intention of posting every day (hence your blog’s name) but you found it difficult to sustain.
There’s another blog I follow where the photographer started out posting every day, and initially replied to every comment. But as the comments increased they found it hard to keep up, and one day a few months in just disappeared, for months. They returned, saying they couldn’t keep up with the pace. They now post much less frequently, and have disabled comments entirely. A good example of someone finding what works for them by trail and error, and settling on a pace that suits them and means they enjoy it again.
I really like Google Photos for organising by date as it automatically puts your whole photostream as a timeline. You can have albums too for specific projects, topics etc, but I like the timeline too. Especially as I have quite a few family photos there too. It’s very easy to look back at certain times when our kids where certain ages in a matter of seconds.
Interesting post Dan, I gave up smoking and Facebook at the same time a little over 6 years ago. I suffered withdrawals from not being on Facebook, not from smoking!
The number of posts on IG this year can be counted on two hands. For me IG and Flickr lost their appeal some time ago. I found that people really posted their photos to increase the number of likes and not to share their work or story.
I did go looking elsewhere and I found VERO, MeWe and 500px. I didn’t take to any of them for similar reasons.
In the end I decided to invest time and post regularly to my blog, I’m not in it for likes, stats or comments, I post to my blog because it represents me and my images and quite frankly there is nothing else out there where I can be me.
Thanks for your thoughts. What’s interesting too is that this post was meant to just be about encouraging each of us to find what works as a photographer, and how we want to share our work (and if we do at all). It didn’t set out as being anti social media, but that’s the way many of the comments have gone. Which shows again the disillusionment many people have with these social platforms now.
As you know, I completely agree about blogs. You just have more control about how you want it to look and feel, and how you present yourself to the world – without ads or anyone else’s branding… It can be your own place, not just rented space in someone else’s building.
Another good read Dan, I have arrived later than most to the world of blogging, but it has now become a third facet of my photography routine.
I had always enjoyed walking, so taking a camera was a logical step in making the memories of the trip.
Increasingly I have explored Dartmoor far more over the last few years, where I have enjoyed researching the various areas I had been, then writing a small journal , which I have come to really enjoy.
Thanks Andy, yes walking, photography and blogging make a formidable triumvirate!