A photo blog? Or photoblogging? We see both versions across the web. Either way you spell it, some of us are looking for reasons to start a photoblog. Others are validating their reasons not to blog. The reality is though, some of us drive a photoblog without even realizing it.
If you are posting images on Instagram or Facebook with a brief description, you're on your way there. The intent behind a photo blog follows a similar concept to these platforms. The main difference? More detail, rich content and engagement holds your audience longer.
So before we dive in to the reasons to do this, let's 1) compare blogs and photo blogs and 2) recap a few of the types of photo bloggers out there today.
Photo Blog vs. Blog – What's the Difference?
When you look at blogs today, the lines of photo blogging and blogging move closer together.
Good blogs fill pages with solid, relevant content. That content informs, educates, inspires. Solid, well composed blog writers make us want to share their work and keep us coming back for more. These blogs also include a few images, to support the context.
The crux of the blog resides in the content. For example, this particular article is a blog, as the content is heavy text support by some images.
While traditional blogs continue and have their space, we're photographers. We take pictures. A lot of photographs.
Photo blogs share insight into our work and in our heads. Photo blogs differ from a blog in that the emphasis is on the image, the photo. What's happening in the image, or behind the image taking process drives the content. We're sharing our experiences in our own words. Conversation style.
It's a picture supported by less than a thousand words! And those images with great content hold viewers. Let's take a look at an example of one image with two descriptions. Which do you prefer? Traditional or Photo blog style?
Text example that works for Facebook or Instagram: Bird migration is here. This Baltimore Oriole brightened our garden by visiting daily for a few weeks. Love their sounds, their color and holy smokes, do they love eating oranges! We had to stock up. Followed by hashtags
Photo Blog Example:
Holy smokes! Look who's visiting us. We have a crew of Baltimore Orioles (also called the Northern Oriole) devouring our oranges. There's no shame in their orange eating game.
Who say's you can't get a bird to pose in just the right spot? You can when you know what they like to eat.
The moment we heard them singing from the trees, we placed multiple orange halves in strategic areas. Tree branches, metal fencing, garden stakes.
We speared the oranges in front of vivd yellow forsythia trees and plenty of greens. Then in front of flowers, trees, leaves, grasses. From there it was watch for their appearance from about 25 feet away with my camera on a tripod.
For about 2 weeks, our family of Orioles spent hours each day flying in and out, perching and sharing their treats with each other. Then break time for nesting and raising the kids. And, break time for me too. I have a lot more images to process!
Blog & Photo Blog Types
Today there are over 600 million blogs according to Growth Badger. From serious, fun, even snarky, the list below shares a few photo blog types.
The Trusted Blogs – These are the sites where you go for good content, tips, techniques and even relevant news for your industry. Light Stalking is a trusted site. Our writers for Light Stalking share content with their images, proven tips and experiences. Editors inspect and validate quality. Our site and others similar fall into this category.
The Experts – We know their names. On Instagram and Facebook they have thousands and thousands of followers. Their blogs share their work. They give tips and engage with their audience. They're serving as our mentors. These photographers are sought after and used by media outlets around the world. Two examples: Richard Bernabe and Chase Jarvis.
The Inspirers – Environment – Environmental photo blogs send messages that are seen and heard around the world. Enter the world of Paul Nicklen and your heart will hurt at some of the stories and realities of today. At the same time, you'll be inspired to share, to do something – even if it's something near home – to protect our planet.
My Photo of the Day Photo Blogs – These photographers work it! They're posting an image every day with insight behind the image. These photo bloggers love their work and they love sharing it. The good news is that others do too! Do you have a daily photo blog that you follow? If yes, share in the comments below.
The Get Rich by Blogging Blogs – Seriously, there's tons of bloggers out there claiming six figure incomes by blogging. Then, when you dive in and research, you'll find that many (not all!) have a relatively small follower base. The bloggers that make you go “hmmmmm.” Yes, there's serious money to be made through blogging, but be prepared to work hard and blaze a trail.
The Newbies – The newbies are some of the hardest working photo bloggers out there. These are the ones entering the big world of blogs today. They're loaded with ideas, writing and posting images profusely with anticipation of a following. Some of these newbies will soon emerge to be our future big sites, mentors and trusted advisors.
The Angry, Shock Value Photo blogger – Every industry has them. The way to garner attention is throw in a shock factor. By shock factor I'm referring to harsh language, drama and even negativity. This works for some, not so much for others.
The “I'm Finding My Way” Photo Blog – Well, I confess. This one is me. I started a blog a few years ago. Recently I did a complete revamp and reboot on my old site. My hybrid site Aperture and Light doesn't have a consistent theme yet and that's ok for me today. Some photography tips, a lot of images, some motivation and soon a photography lifestyle angle. The message? Your foundation shifts as your work evolves. You own the message, trial and error, the site and success.
Photography Business Blog – Many websites support their work with a blog. Their blog engages customers, potential clients. The photography business blog showcases their work and their services. A beautiful example of a wedding blog (and a little bit more) is Virgina-based wedding photographer Katelyn James. Enter her blog to see stories and images of weddings, behind the scenes and other fun moments.
5 Reasons to Photo Blog
In reading the types of photo bloggers above, a few consistent themes emerged. These themes illustrate the reasons to blog/photo blog. They include:
- Broaden your reach. When you have a photo blog, your audience reach expands. People love to be inspired by others.
- Build credibility. By sharing and posting content that showcases your work, you're showing that you've got what it takes. When your work is consistently good and visible, you're trusted by others.
- Grow your business. This one, while not first on the list is significant. People buy from people they like, they know and they trust. Your work and words build trust. Add in referrals on your photo blog site and it's another feather in the cap!
- Forces honing your craft. If we're sharing and showing examples of our work, we want it to be our best. This includes finding more subjects and images to include. Additionally, we take a bit more time in post processing when we know our network of viewers will be seeing our work.
- Blogging generates income. The opportunities to monetize your blog exist through affiliate marketing, offering products and services and getting viewers to sign up for promotions. More followers and viewers equate to more clicks to purchase goods from your efforts.
Reason Not to Photo Blog
Make no bones about it, a photo blog is a commitment. It takes time and planning. If the thought of writing combined with your images sends a sense of dread, don't do it! However, if you're not sure. It's worth a try.
Is There an Easy Way to Start a Photo Blog?
Yes. Methods range from simple images with detailed context posts to large WordPress websites that require hosting services. Many website platforms such as Zenfolio, Photoshelter include blog features as part of the custom websites. Then there's Google Blogspot/Blogger (very basic, would recommend only for trying the concept. This is where I started before changing to WordPress. I was able to then import the prior content I wanted to keep), Tumblr , and other social media that are free from a cost standpoint. The real investment regardless of the platform is your time. Time to plan, write, post and engage with your audience.
By it's very nature, a photo blog shares your content and thoughts to viewers. Blogs and photo blogs are friendly, conversational. They reflect you, the passion you have for your work and subjects.
When you share your images and your thoughts about the moment, you're well on your way to photo blogging.
I have been photoblogging since 2007. I enjoy it. I moved to WordPress a couple of years ago and like it.
Steve – first, congratulations on your blogging tenacity and great work. Nice to meet a fellow Arkansan too (I’m from El Dorado originally). Thanks so much for sharing and have a super day!
I have always wanted to do something like this but have always held back .. simply just not a good writer ( never have been ) and i do get that sense of dread .. maybe one day Sheen 😉
Enjoyed reading and thanks for sharing.
Hi P71! Thanks for your kind, honest response and for reading. Sounds like you’ve had some interest from time to time. If you ever decide to give it a whirl….your authentic voice (which resonated in your comments) is really all it takes to get started. If you start one, let me know – would be glad to read. Have a good evening!