Tag Archives: blog

Wix Has a New Photography Blog

[tweetmeme]I was recently informed that one of our sponsors started up a photography blog of their very own! It looks like they have a few posts over the last few months, but I believe that they “officially” launched just a few days ago.

They appear to be off to a good start with some educational articles scattered among their “Photo of the Day” series (great photo submissions from the readers). Aside from the photo posts, they have article categories such as Photographer Zoom, Photography How-To’s, Small Business Toolkit, and Designing with Wix.

I’m also happy to see that Epic Edits is listed in their “Blogs We Love” section on the sidebar. And we’re in good company by the looks of the other characters in that list. So get over there and check out the new Wix Photography Blog.

WIX PHOTOGRAPHY BLOG

Link Roundup 04-15-2010

Link Roundup 04-10-2010

Say Hi to the New Photography Blogs

Ronald Waves
Creative Commons License photo credit: ***Karen

I recently posted some tips for starting a new photography blog and I asked any new bloggers to promote their sites. I had actually expected more of a response, but we did get a few chiming in with their links (similar situation to the recent Twitter post… *hint, *hint). Is nobody blogging anymore? Or is everybody already blogging?!

At any rate, I thought it would be cool to give a shout to the new kids on the block and offer up some encouragement in their early days. Keep at it, you guys — your future returns will be proportional to the effort you put in now.

[tweetmeme]And for those new bloggers who didn’t drop a link… sorry! You missed the boat! That’s blogging for ya — be fast and get lucky.

Be sure to check out a few of these new blogs — you might like what you see (and you never know who will be the next “big thing” in the photography blogging community). Some of them strive to become a community pillar, others post for fun, and others are just exploring the whole blog thing. Whatever their reason may be, click through and see what they’re up to (a rush of new visitors is a huge source of encouragement for new bloggers).

My feed reader is almost filled to the brim, but I found several of these blogs worth adding to my list of follows. So, really… check ‘em out and welcome them to the community.

Tips for Starting a New Photography Blog

Rocket Launch Sequence
Creative Commons License photo credit: Zoramite

Blogging about photography and photo blogging are great ways to improve yourself as a photographer, give back to the community, make new friends and contacts, and express yourself. Not every photographer is interested in starting a blog, but I’m sure there are a few of you out there.

[tweetmeme]Epic Edits is getting to be an “old man” in the blogosphere (over 3 years running!), but I’ve recently launched a new blog (FeelingNegative.com) and I was reminded of all the things that new bloggers have to deal with. As I prepared this new blog for entry into the Web, I found myself making decisions based on my experience here at Epic Edits. Some of these decisions are not so obvious to folks with no prior blogging experience, so I’ve written down a few thoughts to consider if you’re planning to start a photography blog or photo blog.

HAVE A CONCEPT

Start 3 months before launch.

  • Identify some specific audience that you can relate to.
  • Find untapped opportunities and niches.
  • Blog about what you know and shoot.
  • Blog about what you want to learn.

That last point is a big deal. Teaching others about photography or displaying your work to a growing audience will force you to learn and grow at an accelerated rate.

PLAN PROFUSELY

Day 41:What's on your mind?
Creative Commons License photo credit: L S G

Start 2.5 months before launch.

  • Identify your overall site message or theme.
  • Think of possible site names that fit your theme.
  • Choose a blogging platform: WordPress.org, WordPress.com, Drupal, Blogger, etc.
  • Look for possible themes and styles (but don’t pick one yet).
  • Determine a posting frequency that you can keep up with.

Again, the last point is important. Blogging takes a lot of time on a regular schedule, so don’t assume that you can hit 3 posts per day with 1 hour of work. Just be realistic.

OUTLINE THE STRUCTURE

Start 2 months before launch.

  • Lay out 3-5 main topics/genres (should be vastly unique).
  • Use sub-topics to further separate content.
  • List several theoretical post topics/titles for each category.
  • Evaluate the outline and refine the structure.

Getting the site structure is key — you don’t want to be reorganizing a bunch of posts or photos a year down the road because you failed to plan ahead. Of course, leave yourself room to expand the categories and sub-categories.

TECHNICAL STUFF

Start 1.5 months before launch.

  • Set up your platform and theme.
  • Find and install useful plugins and widgets (depending on platform).
  • Do some customization… graphics, colors, etc.

If you’re not familiar with blogging platforms, this might take some time to figure out. In that case, keep it simple and choose a platform that works for you. Otherwise, use what you know!

WRITE, WRITE, WRITE

Start 1 month before launch.

  • Write 2-3 articles for each main category (so about 10 total).
  • Proof, edit, and improve your articles.
  • Test your platform, theme, and plugins with the articles you’ve written.

After you write the articles, check out your site and make sure things are displaying correctly and linking up the way they should. You should be just about finished tweaking the site at this point.

START THE SOCIAL ENGINES

BMX Engine
Creative Commons License photo credit: chilsta

Start .5 months before launch.

  • Get on Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, etc. Find 2 or 3 that you like.
  • Leave out site links if you want to launch the site on a specific date.
  • Connect with other bloggers and photographers in your niche.
  • Invite a few friends to get the site going on launch date.

Social media can be a great source for spreading the word, but use these communities as a sincere participant — pure self-promo is considered spamming in many circles.

PRE-LAUNCH ANNOUNCEMENT

Start 1 week before launch.

  • Post 5+ of your pre-written articles, pull remaining into draft for post-launch.
  • Make the site viewable to the public (if you were using an “under construction” plugin).
  • Contact friends and fellow bloggers for a preview (and tell them the launch date).
  • Take a break! You’ve put in a bunch of work, so take a breather before things kick off.

If you’ve done your homework and spent the time to make a few contacts in the blogospere, you should have a few friends willing to give a hand with the launch party. Just don’t push too hard for promotion and try to connect with other bloggers and photographers on your level. The “big dogs” get a lot of “check out my new site” emails every day, so don’t expect them to act on every single one (they’re not being rude, they’re just trying to keep up with their own affairs).

LAUNCH ANNOUNCEMENT

This is the big day!

  • Make it official and mention your new baby every chance you get!
  • Remind the previewers that today is the big day for you.
  • Watch for comments and stats — this is the exciting part of early blogging, so enjoy it.

Site launches are always different than what you expect, so don’t expect anything and just enjoy the ride. You might get a flood of visitors and you might get a dozen. Just stick with the plan and the word will get out eventually as long as you have something interesting to say or show.

POST-LAUNCH

Weeks after launch.

  • Publish on pre-set schedule and try to stick with it.
  • Seek promo opportunities: guest blogging, links in social profiles, etc.
  • Announce your social extensions on the blog so new visitors can connect with you.
  • Accept feedback on your work and make an effort to improve your blog.
  • Refine your schedule, focus, and intent. Keep an open mind to change.

It can take months to grow into a new blog, so don’t give up after two weeks if you don’t have 5,000 visitors and 50 comments per day. Your blog will grow at a rate proportional to the effort you put into it, but even the best bloggers started at the bottom and worked their way up.

FIND YOUR GROOVE

Months after launch.

  • Split your time between writing, interacting, and promoting.
  • Reach out to other niche bloggers with links and mentions from your site.
  • Give, give, give… and take very little. Blogging is about giving, not taking.
  • Re-evaluate the plan frequently, make sure you’re on track with your goals and ambitions.

Blogging is like playing the stock market — you have your ups and downs. Sometimes it’s your fault, sometimes it’s just how things go. Get into a groove and find your place among the community. Get to know your readers and other bloggers in your niche.

HAVE FUN WITH IT

Blogging and photo-blogging is a rewarding experience if you have the right attitude. Give it some time, share your knowledge and your artwork, participate, build the community, and have fun with it.

Anybody out there thinking of starting up a new photography blog, photo blog, or personal blog? How about the new bloggers on the block? Where are you guys? Throw out some links in the comments if you just started a blog within the last few months. And for you seasoned bloggers, what other tips do you have for starting a blog?

Feeling Negative? Check Out This New Film Photography Blog!

[tweetmeme]OK, so this thing has been in the works for many months now. I’m pleased to announce the launch of a new blog aimed at film photographersFEELINGNEGATIVE.COM

As many of you know, I’ve been heavy into film photography for the last few years. I post a few film-related things here on Epic Edits from time to time, but I never felt really comfortable pushing a ton of it because we have a mixed audience.

This new blog will give me a chance to write about film photography uninhibited. And the best part of this new blog… I’m not doing it alone. My good friend Tomas Webb will be joining me as an equal partner/mastermind. We’ve been brewing ideas and organizing this thing for several months and I’m confident that we’ll be able to provide outstanding content in this particular niche of photography.

WHAT DO WE HAVE IN STORE?

I assure you, we have a bunch of great topics and themes that we’ll be talking about over there. The site is organized into five main sections: Camera Bag, Darkroom, Digital Darkside, Community, and Other Stuff. Each main category has several sub-categories yet to be announced, and they’ll roll out as we publish more articles. At launch, we have one article per main category to get you started.

In the first few weeks, we’ll also be talking about the various ways you can get involved with the new website. One of our main goals is to create a thriving community of film enthusiasts, and we’ll have plenty of ways for you to get in there and take part. Right now, you can join the Feeling Negative Flickr Group and contribute photos that will be exhibited on the site.

You might also notice that the site design is somewhat mild… we’ll work on that eventually. Our thought was to get the content rolling and focus on the frilly stuff later.

WHO IS THIS SITE FOR?

This one is pretty simple: anybody that is already or wants to be involved with film photography. That includes everyone from beginners with a small interest, way out to the seasoned pros with tons of experience.

For the beginners, we’ll be covering the basics of shooting, developing, printing, scanning, etc. For the ol’ timers, we’ll be digging into alternative techniques, various pieces of equipment and film stocks, DIY stuff, and new ways of working with an old process. I’m hoping we can keep a wide variety of photographers engaged in the discussion.

LAST THOUGHTS…

I don’t want to run on for too long about this thing, so get over there and check it out. I would encourage anybody interested in film photography to give it a chance and watch how it “develops” over the next few weeks and months. We have a lot of stuff to talk about over there and it’s going to take some time to get everything up and running.

Again, if you have any inclination toward film photography whatsoever, please check out the site and/or subscribe to the RSS feed:

FEELINGNEGATIVE.COM WEBSITE

FEELINGNEGATIVE.COM RSS FEED

What do you guys think? Is this a good idea worth the effort, or are we just wasting our time in a diminishing medium?

Also feel free to leave any comments, questions, concerns, etc, right here on this post. And have no fear, Epic Edits will continue on as it always has.

My Photography Resolutions for 2010

New Year’s Resolutions… so cliche, I know. But you can’t deny that the turn of the year is a good time to evaluate your life and make some goals for the next year. I’m in the process of defining my photography goals and resolutions for the upcoming year, in part thanks to Andrew Boyd and his list of “Photographer’s New Year’s Resolutions” (and it seems as though his goals are very much in line with my own). I find that writing them down helps me out, so here are my big ones for 2010.

TAKE MORE PHOTOS

Shooting the Argus C3

After pulling together my favorite photos from the past year, I realized that I had been very passive about taking photos. Several months were filled with family photos, but no art/commercial photos. The reason for this is because I didn’t make the effort to get out and take photos of new things. So this year, I’m planning on getting out there more often, either by myself or with friends.

I also want to get the kids taking more photos. They both shoot 35mm now, and they love to print their stuff in the darkroom. The problem is that I don’t take them out enough to have a good base of negatives to choose from.

WHAT’S THE PLAN?

At best, I can probably afford to get out once each week with the the cameras. At worst, I should be hitting twice per month. I’ll be making an effort to head out each weekend, even if just for a local walk-around to fire off a single roll of film. I’m also going to be bringing the kids with me more often so they can start building up their archive for printing. And every one or two months, I want to do a bigger outing that requires me to be out most of the day shooting.

PRINT MORE PHOTOS

The Darkroom

I’ve been investing a lot of time and money into my darkroom, so I should make better use of it. At first, I was getting in there a few times each week learning how it all works. Lately, I’ll be lucky to print something once every two months. This sucks, mostly because the chemicals go bad before I can finish them and I waste even more money. And now that I’m almost ready to print color in addition to b/w, I’ll need to be a lot better about conserving money for those expensive chemicals and papers.

WHAT’S THE PLAN?

I think at least one night per week is a reasonable goal. This will allow me to keep producing a constant flow of prints (most of which are for my personal portfolio or living room wall). I’ll probably also have to allot one of these nights per month to develop film since I’m doing my own b/w and color stuff now. The rotary processor will allow me to run more rolls at once, so a month’s worth of film in one night shouldn’t be unreasonable.

NO NEW EQUIPMENT

I Don't Have A Problem...

I have a confession to make… I have G.A.S. Yes, it’s true. I can’t help myself when I see a good deal on a great piece of equipment — I just have to buy it. I do use most of the stuff I’ve purchased, but I also have a cabinet full of cameras that rarely get used because there are so many of them. At this point, I pretty much have all the cameras I could need. The only thing I’ve been craving lately is a large format camera, but that needs to be put on hold for a while.

I’m also just about there with the darkroom and I don’t anticipate needing any big ticket items. The last outstanding item is a power supply for the dichro head. After that, I’m all set for b/w and color, film developing, and prints up to 16×20″. This is another reason I don’t want a large format camera yet — my current setup is only good up to medium format (large format will require a whole new enlarger).

WHAT’S THE PLAN?

Well, hopefully I can resist the temptation to buy new toys. I’ve been really good about it lately, and the last purchase was the rotary processor for the darkroom. I haven’t bought any cameras for a while, so I think I’m in a good position to keep it up. I’ll have to keep buying film, paper, and chemicals, but the cost of developing my own color film should go down from $4/roll (at the lab) to $1/roll (in my darkroom).

TURN MORE PROFIT

Analog Fruits

There are two ways to turn a higher profit: make more money, or spend less money. So this resolution includes a little bit of both. I’ve been doing the photography and blogging thing for a few years now, but I don’t have much to show for it. My hobby barely pays for itself at this point, but I’m also spending every bit of my free time doing it. I wouldn’t mind making a few extra bucks by the end of the year.

WHAT’S THE PLAN?

The “spend less money” part is basically the point above: no new equipment. If I can manage to follow through, my profits should be considerably higher. The “make more money” part needs to come from selling photos and selling advertising space on the blog (I actually make more with the blog than with my photos). I’ve been slacking on my ImageKind uploads and Fine Art Photoblog posts (I don’t do stock, I just can’t get the hang of it) — so I need to spend more time on those things. I also need to make this blog more profitable because I know it makes far less than what it could. I have a plan for this point, but I’ll lay it out later this month.

MAKE TIME FOR BLOGGING

Brian Auer

I spend far more time blogging about photography than I spend actually taking or working on photos. This thing is a huge time-sink, but I won’t give it up anytime soon. I’ve learned so much and met so many awesome people through blogging. My problem is having enough time to do it. I would love to spend every night with a clear agenda and a head full of ideas to write about, but that just isn’t the case.

WHAT’S THE PLAN?

First off, I need to be more productive and more organized about my time spent blogging. I usually just get around to it whenever I can, writing up the articles right before I publish them. This is not a good way to blog. I need to set aside at least 2.5 nights per week to write content, answer emails, update software, brainstorm, proofread, feed-read, etc. Eventually, I need to work my way back up to having a few finished articles in the queue at any given time.

MAKE MORE TIME OFF

Jake

I have a full time job, a family, plus all this other junk. So I thoroughly enjoy my time off when I can afford to take it. Every once in a while I’ll just drop everything and lay around for a few days watching movies or playing video games… then I spend a solid week catching up on things. This sucks. I need to give myself breaks and nights off here and there so I don’t burn out and go AWOL.

WHAT’S THE PLAN?

It ultimately boils down to the fact that I need to schedule my time better. Work time means work, lazy time means no work. I’ve scheduled my time in the past, but it never stuck because it was either too aggressive or too inflexible. Having a family to look after means that my time comes second, so I have to be flexible with it. But seriously, I love turning off the computer and wasting time with movies and video games.

THE FINAL VERDICT

It’s obvious to me that I need a schedule of some sort. Like I said, I want it to be somewhat flexible, but I also want to cover my bases each week so I don’t put off the important things for too long. What I came up with is a method of blocking off 2 or 4 hours at a time for individual tasks (and the day job eating up 8-9 hours). Some of the pieces can be moved around from day to day so I can adapt to my seemingly chaotic life. Here’s a sample of what my week might look like… keeping in mind that “day job” and “family” time blocks are universal constants and completely inflexible.

I’ll have to give it a shot for a few weeks to see if the time blocks work out for me. But the idea is that each block of time can be moved around to any day of the week to accommodate my life at that time. Oh, and this is also assuming about 16 hours of blocked time, 6 hours of sleep, and 2 hours of “who knows what” time that manages to escape me every day (probably eating food or something else stupid like that).

What about you guys? Do you have any “New Year Resolutions” for 2010? And are you so busy that you have to schedule your time with chunks of paper?

Link Roundup 07-26-2009

How To Participate in Photography Projects

weekend07_04.jpg
Creative Commons License photo credit: smallritual

Photography projects are a great way to improve your skills and expand your creativity (plus they’re fun). These projects can take many forms and have many different requirements for participation. It seems like everywhere you look, there are group projects being hosted by bloggers, forums, and other online clubs.

Online projects can be vastly different from one another, but they all have one thing in common: you need to publish something. Sometimes the host will publish for you, and sometimes they require you to find your own avenue for publication. If you have your own blog or website, it’s pretty easy to meet the publication requirements. But if you don’t have your own site, things can be a little more difficult.

This article will show you a few of the methods you can use for self-publication when it comes to these projects — even some free ones. We’ll also take a look at some general points to remember when participating in projects. So if you’ve been holding back from participating in online photography projects, pay attention and take notes.

HOW TO BE A GOOD PLAYER

First and foremost, you need to be sure that you read the project requirements and rules very thoroughly. If you don’t follow the guidelines set by the project host, you’ll run the risk of disqualifying yourself from the project or having to do it over again the right way. Hosts set the rules to ensure that participants produce similar project entries and keep everybody on the same playing field. Hosting a project is a very big task that requires a lot of work and organization. If you submit a project entry that doesn’t conform with the project requirements, you’re making more work for the host and for yourself. So read the rules 2 or 3 times before you even begin the project.

Secondly, you need to make sure that you meet the deadline set by the project host. Late entries cause a lot of hassle, especially if the host will be publishing the results of the entire project. Aside from just hitting the deadline, it’s also a good courtesy to submit your entry prior to the final days before the deadline. A lot of people submit entries on the last day or two of the project and it puts a strain on the host. You may run the risk of getting overlooked or having your project get lost in the shuffle. Besides, most of the post-project publications from the host will be in some sort of chronological order — so if you’re an early bird, you’ll get a top spot on the list and your work will be seen by more people.

And the last topic is more of a suggestion than anything. It’s always nice to have project participants post a link to the project requirements with their entry. It allows your audience to be informed about the project and it will give them a chance to participate too. Like I said, it’s a nice thing to do but it’s generally not required by the project host (unless they specify that it is).

The following points are a few methods for self-publication of project entries. Like I said before, each project will require different things of the project entry — some will be completely published by the host, while others will require you to publish something yourself.

PUBLISHING ON YOUR BLOG

It’s my opinion that a blog provides the best avenue for project publication. You have total control over what you publish, how you publish it, and how it looks. The ease of self-publication is downright scary. The project entry can be published as a regular post and it will have its own unique URL that the project host can reach easily.

Even if you have a blog, this may not be the best route for you to use. If your blog topic is very much different than the photography project or even photography in general, you may have reservations for what you publish. If this is the case, read on for some of the free options that may suit you better.

If you don’t have a blog of your own, also check out some of the other methods for publication. What I wouldn’t suggest doing is starting up a blog just to publish the project entry, especially if you have no intent of keeping up with the blog. This will eventually result in broken links and non-existent project entries if you ever decide to delete the one-post blog. But if you’ve been meaning to start up a blog anyways, then I say go for it!

PUBLISHING ON OTHER BLOGS

Oh no, here come the Bloggers
Creative Commons License photo credit: Brett L.

If you don’t have a photography blog that you can publish your project to, that doesn’t mean that you can’t publish on another blog out there. Most bloggers are fairly open to guest posts, and their audience is usually full of other photographers like yourself. If you want to guest post on another blog, make sure it’s one that fits well with the content you’ll be providing. It’s also a good idea to go after a blog that you read and interact with on a regular basis. The blogger will be much more open to your post if you have an existing relationship with them.

There are a ton of photography blogs out there, so don’t limit your sights to the big mainstream sites. Bloggers with smaller or newer sites will generally be more approachable because they’ll be less tied up with running a large website. It also helps if you get your project finished early and have your publication written and ready to go before you approach them.

PUBLISHING ON YOUR WEBSITE

A typical website would be the next best option to the blog. Publishing something like a project entry isn’t quite as easy, but it’s not totally impossible. If you’re accustomed to creating your own web pages, then posting a project entry should be no problem. The nice thing about a standard website approach is that you can post something and have it remain unseen by the rest of your website. Why would you want to do this? If the topic of your website isn’t photography, it might seem a little out of place.

PUBLISHING ON FLICKR

Friday Night Tribute to Flickr! (a.k.a. Things To Do With A Mobile Phone) :)
Creative Commons License photo credit: dsevilla

Flickr is actually very accommodating to publishing a project that requires photos and/or written portions. Obviously, Flickr is built for posting photos, but you can also post text and links with those photos. Add in the ability to tag your photos and create sets, and you’ve got lots of options for publishing a project entry.

If the project requires only a photo, then just post the photo to Flickr as you normally would. Like I said before, it’s also a good idea to write a little about the project (or why you took the photo) and possibly link back to the project page so other people can participate. You can just post this text in the description for the photo, and now you’ve got your own project entry on a single web page.

If the project requires more than one photo (like a portfolio), then a Flickr set is the way to go. Include all your photos in a set, and you can also describe the project in the set description. If the project requires a larger portion of written work, then include that text on one of your photos in the set and link to it from the set description. You want to make sure that the project host can find your entire project entry easily.

If you don’t want to include the project photos in a set (because the free Flickr accounts limit the number of sets you can have), then a common tag will also work. Then you can submit your project entry as the collection of photos with that common tag. To do this, you just add the following text to the end of your photostream URL: “/tags/[tag name]” — here’s an example.

PUBLISHING ON FORUMS

Forums are another great avenue to publish content for free. You can start a new thread, post some project photos, and complete the written part of it all in one spot. Other photographers will then be able to comment on your entry piece, and they’ll also have an opportunity to participate if they choose.

Just like guest posting on another photographer’s blog, posting project entries on a forum will go over much better if you have an existing presence there. Don’t just use the forum as a way to publish the project and never return.

PUBLISHING ON OTHER FREE SITES

Now I’m going to turn the discussion over to you. I’ve presented a few methods of publishing photography project entries, some free and some not. I think it would be useful if some of you offered up some additional suggestions — the cheaper the option, the better.