Ten years ago today I started Light Stalking.
I enjoyed photography and thought I would enjoy writing about it. Turns out I loved it (and continue to).
Boom! Day one and we had over 6,000 readers (remember Digg and Stumbleupon?) and from there we never looked back.
Over the following 12 months over a quarter million people visited the site and it was going better than I could have believed! Light Stalking even got onto the “Who to Follow” on Twitter in photography and started to hit a bunch of top ten lists online for our industry.
That's when things got interesting. But, I needed help!
Enter the awesomely talented Mike Panic in February of 2010 who wrote for you for two and a half years. His knowledge and engaging style really helped set Light Stalking's path. It also augured well for the staggeringly high quality of people who came to help the Light Staking project and helped take us to be among the five most-read photography blogs in the world.
In the years since then, some amazing people have given serious help to this ship.
And some have gone above and beyond the call with Jason Row, Jason Little, Dahlia Ambrose, Federico Alegria, Kehl Bayern, Sheen Watkins, Dzvonko Petrovski and Scott Johnson all contributing over a hundred articles each and keeping us at those high levels. Hell, the two Jasons are at over 600 articles each – that's some dedication!
Other crowd favourites who wrote prolifically for us included Jasenka Grujin, Ritesh Saini, Christopher O'Donnell, Rachael Towne, Aloha Lavina, Chase Guttman, Tiffany Mueller, Taissia Iv, Russell Goodman, Jacob Maentz and Kent DuFault.
I am proud to call them all friends and I loved (and love) working with each of these talented people.
The following year, another wonderful thing happened. On Oct 21, 2010 The Light Stalking forums opened and were instantly successful. People streamed in from the blog and social media. This really turned on the taps of meeting some incredible people, many of whom are still on the site to this day as old friends join new ones.
Diane Kidd has been a rock on the forums since they started and can take as much credit for their ongoing success and anybody. David Chesterfield has volunteered for years to keep them going as have John Thompson, Tobie Schalkwyk and Dru Stone for which I am eternally grateful. I love how people have really stepped up to build that section of the site. Seriously, among the visitors in this past week, there are 29 people who have produced over 1000 forum responses each since they joined (several of them many more)!! I love that the community is so tight-knit.
During those years I also met a creative guy named Brett Fox and we swapped a lot of notes about running websites and whatnot. Almost three years to the day after Light Stalking was launched, the deal to start Photzy with Brett was made on March 17, 2012 with a three line email. And boy did he run with it.
Brett formed his own team with some former Light Stalking writers and went from strength to strength, building one of the most prolific digital publishers in the industry. Former Light Stalking writers Kent Dufault, Karlo De Leon and Ritesh Saini have been amazing in that company. These days the teams are totally separate, but Photzy continues to draw talented photographers and writers from the Light Stalking community and both companies work closely together.
On July 11, 2013 we opened another section of the site, The Shark Tank, aimed at giving people meaningful feedback on their images and differentiating ourselves from a lot of communities that become “nice shot” clubs. This one was for people who really wanted to improve. And wow, it took off too. These days it is responsible for well over half of the posts in the community and, dare I say, it is about the best place online to get genuine critique on a photograph?
Since that time we have also released several dozen products for photographers and continue to explore new ways to help people improve and enjoy the craft. Twenty million people have found their way to the site and I like to think all of them enjoyed it… well most of them anyway.
Today, Light Stalking still sits in the top 5 most read photography blogs in the world. People continue to reference our amazing articles in their books, blogs and sites. The community continually gets ranked among the best photography communities.
This past decade has been nothing short of amazing for me. The people I have met. The team that has been built around this site. These are things I will be grateful for forever.
But the wonderful thing is that I don't feel like we're done yet. Not by a long shot. Something about making useful photography tutorials and helping people take their photography up a notch is quite addictive. Seeing the pride people take in their own improvement is so satisfying to me personally. It just feels right and I know the team feels the same way.
Combined with the fact that our current team works so well together… Dahlia, Jasenka, Federico, Angie, Kehl, Jason R and Jason L – I feel like we're only just starting to hit our straps.
And because of the wonderful people, the wonderful community and the wonderful readers, well that's why we'll be back tomorrow.
Thank you for joining us on the ride.
Great vision, great people, great journey. Well done Rob!
Thanks mate – your contributions in the community have been great too. Has been a blast.
Wow, 10 years Rob, it’s hard to believe it! Light Stalking has evolved wonderfully in that time, great people and great photos, and really good informative posts.
Thanks Tersha – Could not have done it without your help with the forums. You joined in week one! And even managed to survive through all of my temper tantrums! Thank you! 🙂
Hey Rob, congratulations on your ten years! What a great, informative and innovative website. I must have been a fan of it for at least 8 years now and it just keeps getting better.
Great to have had you on for so long, Bobby! 🙂
At last – I’ve finally found out your full name – I need it for attribution purposes, on all the articles you’ve posted on Light Stalking, and copied into my library of technical articles. 😉
Thanks for everything – and thanks for being you.
lol – I am glad you enjoyed them so much!
Wonderful site Rob.
Made better by your contributions to the community, Robert. 🙂
Congratulations Rob and team. I always look forward to reading and learning from your posts!
Thanks, Michael! 🙂
I believe I may have been one of your initial subscribers. I love your site and forward your emails to my other Photography friends. Great job !!
Thank you, Mary. Thanks for sticking with us for so long!
Good work in a difficult environment. Congratulations and Thanks are in order.
I always learn something.
Congratulations and HAPPY BIRTH DAY. and wish you many many more.
The articles were wonderful and informative. I enjoyed them and learned quiet a lot.
I have found the articles and comments to be extremely interesting and challenging. Keep up the good work!
Lightstalking has propelled me further into the world of photography than any other site I visit. In fact, I rarely visit other sites now since I feel so much a part of a family. There is a wealth of knowledge available and it is shared freely.
Although answers to any technical issues are feely provided, for me Lighstalking’s true power lies the analysis and critique of not just mine but other’s images. This is where I learn about the true ‘Art’ of photography not just about the dials and buttons on my camera.
Thank you for being part of it too, Graham. Your banter in the community helps make it the wonderful place it is.
Congratulations on your 10th anniversary of helping and teaching your passion to others, I know I’ve loved it!
Congratulations Rob et al for reaching this milestone. I get and have gotten tremendous value from reading the daily blurbs and the information you share has opened up a large number of new opportunities for my photography. Thank you!
Thanks, Stephen! 🙂
Congratulations Rob, you have helped so many people like myself, to be proud of their photos.
It’s a nice feeling, isn’t it Diane? Thank you for being part of the story 🙂
Thanks to all of the hard work of everyone involved and the supportive community that’s evident in every nook and cranny of the site, this is the only photography site I visit regularly and the one I recommend to others.
Thanks for starting it and sticking with it Rob! You and everyone else are doing a fantastic job.
And thank you for being part of it for so long, Bobbie. 🙂
congratulations Rob, you have a great job.
Happy Birthday to Lightstalking! Congratulations and well done!
I have been so grateful for having been a part of the journey. I had such a blast with Lightstalking, and I do still stalk the site. 🙂
Here’s the next ten years!
Thank you Aloha! One of your articles is why I bought the mighty Sigma 10-20 which I used for that shot above! 🙂
Congrats on the 10 year anniversary.
Rob, first congratulations. sticking around that long in this medium, with the increased following is a major accomplishment. it speaks to your dedication and the quality content. Since coming across the site, I visit almost every day, or I guess technically I do visit every day since I follow on Flipboard. Thanks for all you and all the contributors do to help us. I’ve learned a ton and enjoy the help I’ve gotten on my shots I’ve posted.
So you’re the one coming from Flipboard! 😉 Thanks for the kind words, Chris.
And a happy happy day to LIGHTSTALKING. One of the better photo sites. Avid reader.
And I think that my photography is evolving (dare I say improving) as I filter in the excellent advice and tips and tricks of a truly noble Art.
Well done and DO NOT close Lightstalking!
We will do our best, Darryl 🙂
Hey Rob, Great job ! Thanks !!
Ten years is a very impressive accomplishment in today’s changing world Rob. Yes, Light Stalking has made me a better and more “satisfied” photographer circled by a supportive community. Thank you Rob and on to the ten.
Thanks, Gray. Glad you’re getting some good results from the site.
Congratulations. You have been a beacon of light. Yes!
Thank you, Susan! 🙂
Congratulations!! Always enjoy the information you provide!
Congratulations! And thank you for all the information and goodies you hand out. I am a novice photographer and really enjoying learning all this great stuff!
Gad you’re enjoying it, Wendy.
As a newbie, I sure am grateful for Rob’s journey and all his mates.
Congrats and thanks!
This is one of the few I am still subscribed to 🙂
Love the articles and the posts. Just sorry about too little time to contribute.
Thanks Rob for your help and articles. We now have a number of books written by Kent and you guys have helped us to learn more about photography.
Thanks, Ron. I am glad you’re enjoying it as much as we do!
Congrats Rob! So good to see how Light Stalking has grown over the years. It was great to be part of it for a short time. Hoping the journey will continue to be successful for many years to come.
Was awesome working with you, Jacob! 🙂
That’s quite a journey, Rob. 10 years… wow. Seems like yesterday. I still remember quite vividly the day that I received your email about writing for Light Stalking. Neither of us knew it at the time, but it completely changed my life in such a positive way. Thank you for bringing me along.
For both of us, mate. Glad I sent that email. 😉
You’ve built a great site from the ground up Rob. I feel lucky to have found Light Stalking and enjoy it every time I visit. Continued success and thank you.
Thank you Dave! 🙂
Congrats!! Thanks for all the sharing
Thank you for all of your insights on photography. I’ve recently retired and trying to get into more concepts of photography. Did engagement photo shoot this past weekend and now a wedding scheduled eom. It’s a lot of hard work, however love it when I make memories special for people.
Great to have you along for the ride, Verna!
only image site i visit regularly……..’too regularly’…..i heard that!! 🙂
thx again for putting up with me……….been here for most of the decade……….learnt is an understatement,may wax and wane but this site(Robs site)has given me refuge and meaning to my artistic side…..waffle,waffle
thx man!! 🙂
Ahh, it wouldn’t be the same without you keeping us on our toes, Falxy.
Light Stalking is one of the very few photography information sites I keep emails from. I appreciate everyone’s time and efforts they put into this. I have to admit I found you through posts I saw on FB and have not been to your actual website. (slapping myself up along side of my head) I know I won’t be able to stop visiting. Thank you for all your work and obvious love of photography! Dorothy
Thank you Dorothy, and great to see you on the site proper!
Rob, Great journey with a great team.
Thank you all for making this possible and for us keep on enjoying it.
And it’s is only the beginning.
Congratulations on PBTD (Photography Blog of The Decade!)
Thanks Erik – your role in helping build up the community has been hugely appreciated too.
Thank you Rob for a job well done.I have followed your progress over the years and learn a lot from your generous contribution to photography. I followed you while in Canada. Now that I’m in Sydney, I’m planning to pay you a visit and get to meet you in person.
Congratulations to you Rob – you have definitely been a huge contributor to the global photography community! It’s an absolute privilege writing for Light Stalking, interfacing with the writers and seeing the site and offerings continue to evolve! Rock it!!
Thanks Sheen. Your articles have been a massive help to get where we are 🙂
So glad I found LS when I did. I can see how my own photography has changed and how much I have grown. It is truly what keeps me shooting at times. Well done and thank you.
Thanks, David. You have been a big part of it.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to write for this wonderful site, I look back fondly on all the articles I helped contribute!