This day and age, one of the most popular lifestyle hypes is starting a photography blog to make money. Blogging, it’s said, allows you to travel full-time, pay your bills and cover pretty much all your expenses.
Often, the whole “blogging thing” is depicted as extremely easy. Influential photobloggers show themselves off on Instagram, laying in a hammock working on their laptop. It’s made to seem like it involves nothing more than simply taking pictures of your travels, writing down a few quick words and sharing it all on social media and on a self-made website.
That’s one of the biggest lies on the Internet right now. Photo Blogging is hard. It’s not easy at all. While it’s understandable that teenagers, unhappy college students and young twenty-somethings are attracted to this seemingly amazing lifestyle, it’s important that you realize what blogging actually entails.
I’ve been maintaining a blog for about a year and, over the years, have focused more and more on adventure travel photography. In this post, I’d like to share some personal thoughts and tips on blogging. What follows is an overview of ten things I think you should definitely be aware of before you start a photography blog.
You’re never too young to become a photographer.
1. Blog For You, Not For Others
The most important thing to realize before you start a photography blog is that the only way you’ll ever stick with it is if you like it. If you just want a blog because you want the perks, your motivation, and therefore your website as well, will be short-lived.
You have to start a blog because you like documenting, sharing and talking about your experiences—not because you’re after free trips or gear. It’s also critical that you maintain your own voice. Brendan Van Son from Brendan’s Adventures is a superb example of that. Blog about what you want, as opposed to what you think other people want to read or see.
Related Article:How To Name A Travel Blog.
2. Where to Start Your Photography Blog
The majority of websites run on WordPress. What sets WordPress apart from other platforms is that it supports so-called plugins. These plugins are basically additions that you can download to customize your entire website. There is a learning curve to setting up your WordPress site and you may need to know a bit of coding, especially if you want to customize your site and optimize it for SEO.
Alternatively, if you don’t have the technical skills to build your own website or would like to use an already-existing blogging platform, posting your work on Photoblog.com is a good option. A convenient place to easily publish blog posts filled with your best photos, this website is a great way to quickly build an audience. It is already optimized for SEO and has an existing audience (so you don’t feel like you are talking to yourself in an isolated blog). Most importantly it makes blogging fun by allowing you to engage with a talented community of photo bloggers.
It’s good to know, though, that Photoblog currently doesn’t have a way to reward or compensate you for publishing your work. Plans are being developed to either include ads on your posts or set up a pay-per-view revenue model as we speak. The thing to realize is, however, that you can start building an audience right now so that you’ll be ready to monetize your content once Photoblog starts offering that option to its content creators.
3. You Don’t Need Fancy Equipment
It’s not because you want to build a successful photography blog that you have to go and buy the most expensive or latest equipment on the market. A fancy camera won’t make you a great photographer—just like a 200,000-dollar Ferrari doesn’t make you a good driver. Everyone who owns a smartphone already has a pretty good camera at their disposal. Use it. Often.
Of course, an actual camera comes in handy, especially if you want to improve your photography skills and eventually sell high-resolution photos. If you’re just starting, though, you can use your smartphone.
Actually, and this is pretty interesting, there are blogs that focus only on iPhone photography. Keep that in mind when picking your niche.
4. Social Media is Key
In a world that gets more visual and interactive every single day, a strong social media presence is the key to photographic success. Although you don’t need to be extremely active on all platforms, Facebook and Instagram are the two (current) main platforms you should focus on as a starting photoblogger.
Another way to let the world know about your awesome photos is syndicating your original blog posts. Syndicating is nothing more than essentially copying content from your own blog to another platform, making sure to clearly state that it was published somewhere else first. This way, you’re able to reach a completely different (and possibly larger) audience with the exact same content.
PhotoBlog.com, for example, offers you the chance to do this on its blogging platform. Syndicating your own work is a superb opportunity to expand your reach and feel appreciated, especially if you’re just starting out as a photo blogger. And it doesn’t take any time at all since you’ve already written everything before.
5. Creating an Audience Takes Years
If you’ve been following other photographers online for many months, admiring their work and wondering how you could live a similar life, the biggest tip I can give you is to start right away. You might not feel like you’re good enough or whatever other reason, but that really doesn’t matter.
Build your photography blog now. Just start. Once you’ve actually started, you can learn as you go along—which is what all photographers, even the most successful ones, continue to do every day.
The reason it’s so important to take that first step is that building an audience takes not mere months, but years. So, consequently, don’t expect instant success. Patience is essential to success. Realize that you’ll have to blog for a long time before you’ll actually see some rewards.
This is also why it’s so important to blog for you and not for others (see number 1 above). If you do it for you and enjoy it, you’ll stick with it. Period.
6. Always, Always, Always Bring a Camera
Whatever you do, wherever you go, take a camera with you. This shouldn’t be a problem for most of you, as we all walk around with a pretty powerful camera in our pockets nowadays. Don’t be afraid to take photos and document your life.
Use whatever camera you have as much as you can. Two main reasons for that: one, you never know what you’ll come across; and two, the more photos you take, the better you’ll get.
7. Don’t Expect to Earn Lots of Money
This is probably one of the most essential things to know on this list. Don’t start photo blogging because you want to make money. It’s a super-competitive market and you need to be good to actually make a buck.
Think long-term. Have a vision and goals. And work toward them. Don’t start with the thought that you’ll be going on sponsored trips four months in. Or that you’ll earn enough passive income to quit your day job.
8. Blogging Is a Part-Time Job
Talking about jobs, you should also realize that blogging requires a lot of your time. If you’re serious about it, be prepared to spend an extra two to three hours a day working on or at least thinking about your photography blog.
And that doesn’t even include heading outside to actually take the photos you want to share online. Blogging is a part-time job, even if you’re not making any money from it (at first)
9. Niches Are Important
Before you start a photography blog, think about your niche, about what topics you like to photograph and about what you’re good at. Is it food photography or architecture? Maybe you like adventure travel and want to focus on that? Some people enjoy taking portraits or documenting weddings.
Different angles to consider are digital versus film, and cameras versus smartphones. A niche doesn’t necessarily need to be about the subject of your photos, but can also be the very equipment you use.
Figure out the categories your blog will be about. Remember that the narrower and the more specific your niche is, the better. Specificity is how you become a master.
10. Expect to Get Addicted
If you’re into photography and you’re at least half-decent at it, you can expect to get completely addicted to blogging. It’s just a bunch of fun to share your own work and get positive feedback on it.
Are you planning to start a photography blog yourself? Or do you already have one? We’d love to hear your thoughts, concerns, questions and extra tips in the comments below!
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