The American Society of Media Photographers provides this forum to encourage the development of critical skills and to foster new ideas. Our goal is an informed and savvy professional photography community.
When Blinkbid founder, Lou Lesko, asked the audience at a recent ASMP DC program how many had blogs, nearly every hand went up. When he asked how many had updated their blogs within the past month, nearly every hand went down. The days when bloggers posted daily and readers visited and commented almost as often have morphed into something rather different. This week, our contributors share their thoughts on blogs today.
[by Kat Dalager]
Okay, I’m going to name names: Chris Buck gives great blog.
His posts are witty and fun and they make me want to read the whole thing. His stories are interesting and his photos help tell the story. Sure, not everyone will be able to blog about a shoot with comedian Steve Martin, but the basics should be the same even if it’s a shoot with Mr. Corporate Executive.
- Don’t try to sell. Blogs should be about human interest stories. People are voyeurs by nature so they enjoy a glimpse into someone else’s world.
- Keep it brief. You’ve got me for about 30-60 seconds – and I’m a fast reader/viewer.
- Shoot behind the scenes whenever possible, either video or stills. Make sure you have the client’s permission to post the imagery beforehand.
- Photos and video, yes, but what’s the story? If you don’t write or tell the story well, enlist/hire/beg someone else to write or shoot it for you.
- Have a point of view, but a rule of thumb is to be cautious in approaching any topic that might start an argument at the dinner table with your in-laws – unless you are prepared for the backlash. You risk alienating potential clients if you take a strong point of view on a controversial topic.
- Your blog should reflect your personality. They’re just one more facet to showing potential clients how you see the world (see #4 above).
Kat Dalager has been an Art Producer and voyeur for companies such as Life Time Fitness, Campbell Mithun, Target, Carmichael Lynch and The Martin Agency.
By Kat Dalager |
Posted: October 24th, 2014 |
[by Paul Oemig]
About a year ago, the rather adamant designer Mike Monteiro blogged about an experience after talking to a Quaker near his home in Philadelphia. Not being religious himself, he inquired about how their religious services were conducted. The Quaker told him that during their religious gatherings they simply meet and sit together in silence. No one speaks until they feel moved to. Or as was put in Mike’s post, “They only open their mouths if it improves on the silence.”
Today the web is anything but silent. People are always speaking somewhere, with millions and millions of blogs and the like being updated every moment. It has increasingly become a cacophony of noise, and the experience of trying to make yourself heard to those around you is similar to trying to have a conversation during a concert.
Blogging more and more today feels the same way. So before embarking on a blog ask yourself if those posts will “improve on the silence.” If they do, in time you might find yourself playing music on stage.
Paul Oemig is a Milwaukee-based photographer who goes to plenty of concerts and sometimes gets on stage. He welcomes your perspective at email@example.com and @pauloemig.
By Paul Oemig |
Posted: October 23rd, 2014 |
[by John Welsh]
Yeah, well, I never liked the word Blog. It’s clumsy. I think of Blah and Ugh and other reflections of ugly. And having heard “just read my blog” a few thousand times makes my eyes bleed at the thought of another rambling about a topic surely mundane.
Enter the writer and journalist, they have at least taken some of the sting away from language butchery. And there is the occasional Ordinary Citizen With Talent. They make me hate the word blog just a bit less. So where do all of the visual people fit in? I mean, in the old days, and with the only-speaking-for-me-opinion (how’s that for butchery?), I’ll say photographers shouldn’t have written captions for their own photos. They really were that bad.
Hello 2014. We are no longer mere image creators. Really. We are expected to be literate in many aspects and being professional requires it. And I know it’s been spouted lots of times, that we are communicators and story tellers and we need to live that way – it’s all true. So can photographers compete with the masses who fight for a slice of your ever decreasing attention span?
Yes, they can. How? Read good writing. Read what energizes you. Shoot what’s important to you, then read what’s important to you. Become all hipster-like, shoot some artsy beer can photos…then write a brilliant artist statement for your exhibit. Then the hard work begins. Promote it, talk about it, get it out there. Just write. And enjoy it when you suffer paralysis of the mind at 6am after an all-night video editing session (just like I’m suffering now, as I attempt to scratch this post out). Work hard. And then keep doing this, for years. Somewhere along the way I bet you’ll learn some things and prove The Opinionated wrong. We are more than people with cameras. Good night.
John Welsh is the current ASMP chapter president in Philadelphia and now that he’s half way done filming All Things Coal, he’s busy wracking the brain, juggling many things and wearing many hats in an attempt to hopefully tell a really good story.
By John Welsh |
Posted: October 22nd, 2014 |
[by Pascal Depuhl]
Blog. Don’t blog.
To blog or not to blog, that is the question. Well not really, but more on that in a little bit. First a brief history: In the late 1990′s people began keeping online journals, called weblogs (those morphed into ‘we blog’ as a joke and blog stuck). Posts would include the date they were written, they had a title and would become a repository of a single author writing about a single topic. Readers could comment on these entries and follow a blog automatically via RSS (Real Simple Syndication).
Today’s blogs are totally different from those old weblogs (ok, not really) and the technology behind today’s blogs is light years ahead of where it was, less than 20 years ago (no, actually it’s not). Rick Tuttle, one of the early bloggers and veteran web developers (he’s also one of the organizers of WordCamp Miami, which is the top blogging conference), believes “not that blogging has changed, but the rest of the world has changed.” 17 years ago there was no Facebook, no Twitter and the only way people found you online was via search or by typing in a URL that they found printed on your business card. So today’s question is:
Should you blog or should you not?
According to Wikipedia in early 2014 “there were around 248 million blogs in existence worldwide.” That’s up sharply from the 156 million public blogs 3 years prior. And that’s not even mentioning the 271 million active Twitter users who write half a billion tweets (or micro blog posts) every day – according to Twitter.
Today’s blog is often a MAB – a multi author blog (like the one you’re reading right now), with bloggers being courted by brands to write about them. (I’ve been invited to free pre- movie screening, because I blog. I have a friend in Austria, who got a Mercedes SUV for free for a few months, because he’s a blogger. One of my college buddies runs a social media ad agency and is inundated with gifts, perks and offers from companies – because he is very active and visible on social media and the blogosphere.) So should you blog or shouldn’t you?
If you’re thinking about starting a blog, those numbers seem insurmountable, the competition unbeatable. Is there even anyone who is going to be interested in what you have to say? So, I’ll agree with our blogging expert Rick Tuttle, when he says “Don’t blog, just put a webpage up with a phone number and a picture of yourself. And that’s it.”
Rick does allow for one exception to this rule (and by now you should know how I feel about impossible odds). Wanna know what Rick says about when you should blog? Spend 4 1/2 minutes with this expert and find out …
Strictly Business (ASMP’s MAB) will be talking about blogging all week long. You’ll hear other perspectives and opinions on why blogging is something we all should be doing. Pascal Depuhl has been blogging since the beginning of 2008 and his blog”…catching the light!” will talk about blogging topics all week as well (from how to get started, to why to blog, how to get sponsors for your blog to how to pitch your content to the big blogs.) Contact him on twitter @photosbydepuhl, if you’d like some help in tackling your blog ideas …
By Pascal Depuhl |
Posted: October 21st, 2014 |