Why do people photoblog?
Over the past couple years I have heard about people blogging and I honestly never paid much attention and just had no interest in it. To me blogging, was for vain or bored people - and I was certainly neither. Then a little over a year ago I heard the term photoblog and I was suddenly interested in blogging again.
After some research I learned that photoblogging has really exploded across the internet. Now more than ever there are multiple options for affordable digital cameras and a plethora of photosharing websites. People from all different walks of life are photoblogging and for a variety of reasons. Some are amateurs, others professionals, and still others are somewhere in between. All in all, people around the world like to be connected, get feedback, and share ideas and photoblogging is a great way to accomplish this. Read on for additional information and ideas about starting your own photoblog.
Beth Can Blog! by Beth Rankin on flickr (licensed CC-BY)
What is a photoblog?
A photoblog is basically a blog or weblog created for the purpose of sharing photos. Generally photos are posted and organized in reverse chronological order so that each new post with current pictures rises to the top or front page. The photos are usually accompanied by captions that tell others where and how pictures were taken. Often a photoblog has a unifying theme but other times they are just as random and scattered as the people who blog them.
What should you call your photoblog?
Whether you are photoblogging for pleasure or for business, creating a good name can help build your online identity and will help people find and connect to you. Coming up with a good name deserves some thought. If you want to stand out above the crowd you will want a unique and easy to remember name. However, you may also want to be careful not to limit yourself with a name that is too specific and won't leave room for future creativity. Whatever you choose to name your photoblog here are a few ideas to consider:
Where are you located? Consider using your hometown name or region as part of you name. For instance, if you live in Centralia, Washington, like I do, you might consider a name like "Centralia-Close-Ups" or "Candid-Centralia."
Who are you? Are you a diva, a wanna-be world traveler, a homemaker, a teacher, an avid hiker, or an amateur photographer. Tell the world. You might consider using this as part of your name.
Is your photoblog easy to pronounce and well thought out? Make sure your name isn't hard to say. Chances are if it is too lengthy or too wordy it will be hard to spell and hard for your audience to find online. Also be careful that you carefully choose words that make sense when you stack them together. For instance a name like "Cameras Exchange" is identical to "CameraSexchange. Be careful!
Is your photoblog memorable and unique? Avoid generic or over-inclusive terms. Make it a one of a kind name that reflects you, your interest, or your audience's interests.
What can you photoblog about?
The short answer is: anything. Photoblogs can be well organized around a theme or be more fluid and random like a stream of thought. No matter how structured you decide for your photoblog to be, here are some great theme ideas to get you started:
Objects - Get out of the house and find interesting people, places, and things. Point and shoot. Good places to go and find interesting photo opportunities include parks, playgrounds, old buildings, cemeteries, hiking trails, gardens, beaches, mountain views, and community events.
Strollin' by Sebastian Fritzon on flickr (licensed CC-BY-ND)
Timelapse - With some patience, a good tripod, and tape (to mark your tripod location) you can take a series of pictures of the same object or place over time. You may consider taking a picture a day of a seedling that struggles upward and finally blooms with a beautiful flower.
Photo a day - Easy as it sounds. Take one picture per day, post it, and comment or caption it. Your pictures can be random or centered around a theme. But beware of photoblogger block. 365 days is a big commitment. Perhaps consider a photo per week.
Angel - 365 8-5-2011 by Shezamm on flickr (licensed CC-BY-SA)
Show progress - Not everyone is a great professional or can afford the newest and best cameras, but this doesn't mean you should wait to photoblog for when you have mastered the art of photography. Instead consider just posting pictures as you take them, invite feedback, journal your experience, and you may surprise yourself about the progress you can make in your photographic skills.
Share techniques - People who use the internet and read blogs often value community and the free flow of information. Consider telling the world what you know. Start by publishing good "how-to" photoblog posts, discuss techniques used in the field or studio, share valuable and relevant information, and invite feedback. Consider choosing one topic at a time, become an expert on it, and then share your experience and knowledge.
Travelogue - Do you have the urge to set sail, trek across the wilderness, or travel to new and exciting places? Consider documenting it with pictures in a travelogue. And keep in mind that you don't have to be rich or travel to some exotic destination. Just get off the beaten path and explore interesting places, meet memorable people and participate in fun pastimes. Then photoblog it. Even if your activity or destination isn't extreme or breathtaking, take pictures and document your experience from your perspective. Others may find it interesting.
Friendly man playing Mandolin in the park near Notre Dame Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Eustaquio Santimano on flickr (licensed CC-BY)
What photoblogging platform or domain should you use?
There are a variety of places to go to when creating photoblogs on the Internet. Below is a list of some free websites to check out. This is by no means exhaustive.
Blogger - A blog site affiliated with Google that is not primarily focused on photoblogs. However, the Blogger interface is relatively easy to use and adaptable. The simplest way to create a photoblog would be to just paste your pictures into your post using the default template and then save it. From here you can polish your photoblog further with a few of the available pre-customized front end templates. This is the platform I choose primarily because I already had a Google account. Check it out at www.blogger.com.
WordPress - Probably the most popular photoblogging option currently available. There are countless themes and templates available for both free photoblogging and also for commercial accounts. One advantage is that users can easily utilize free webspace provided or pay for extra storage if needed. Also, for less than $20 per year users can add their own domain name to their WordPress account or transfer an existing one. Check it out at www.wordpress.com.
Flickr - Not technically a photoblog website, Flickr is actually an image hosting website and online community that hosts over 5 billion images. Each user can upload thousands of pictures with captions and tag to their photostream. Each image can be viewed by other users, favorited, or organized together into sets. In addition, user can host and join different groups and participate in niche communities. Check it out at https://www.flickr.com/. Also Flickr appears to be working on Brushed Pixels, a photoblogging platform being developed for Flickr users. (As of 2015 it appears that Brushed Pixels has been abandoned).
Final Word on Photoblogging
Creating your own photoblog is a fun and exciting hobby that can be done by the amateur and professional alike. With some luck and a little hard work you may even create an online following for yourself and participate in one of the fastest growing communities on the Internet. Good luck!