Your photography blog could land you on the first page of Google, allowing the right clients to find you just when they need you. Maybe it encourages your followers to offer direct feedback that helps generate new creative ideas, or perhaps it inspires you to launch a whole new product or service, whether it’s mentoring courses for other photographers or an online print shop featuring highlights from your portfolio.
We recently caught up with seven professionals—three wedding photographers, a travel photographer, a mountain/wilderness photographer, a nature photographer/photo editing expert, and a commercial photographer/art director. Each had a different speciality, and each had a different reason for launching a blog. But they all agreed that blogging had expanded their audience, challenged them to try new things, and opened up new opportunities. We asked them to divulge their secrets for starting—and maintaining—a successful photography blog.
“Sharing tips on your blog is a really great way to increase traffic to your site and to pay it forward.”
1. Pay it forward
Types of content that consistently do well, across almost all genres and niches, include tutorials, guides, and tips and tricks. These tips can vary based on your unique skill set, whether it’s studio lighting, post-processing, styling, or even marketing.
“Sharing tips on your blog is a really great way to increase traffic to your site and to pay it forward,” the Big Sur-based wedding and elopement photographer Heather K Purdy tells us. “I remember being a newer photographer and being so grateful for all the posts I came across that shared tips and tricks, so I always try to keep this in mind when I share blog posts for other photographers on topics like: How to Find Your Ideal Client.
“You can also share things that are specific to your clients and not just other photographers. I have a whole post on which wedding gowns work best for elopements. My brides have told me repeatedly how much they have appreciated that post.”
2. Listen to your audience
Our second tip comes from Matt Kloskowski, a wildlife and nature photographer and educator specialising in the art of photo-editing. “One of the most common blogging mistakes I see is when people write about (or create videos about) things that they want to show people,” he explains. “And, to me, that’s the wrong approach. You need to create content about what your audience wants to see.”
The only way to know what they want is to start sharing content, while watching what people respond to, reading comments, and accepting feedback. “There are tens of thousands of amazing photographers and millions of great photos, so you need to bring something else to the table besides a great image,” Matt continues. “You get these ideas through interactions with your audience and learning what resonates with them.”
What if you don’t have an audience yet? “Start somewhere,” Matt suggests. “Don’t wait for the ‘perfect’ time. It doesn’t exist. You have to get started before you gain any momentum. Once you start moving ahead, so many of the other things fall into place.”
“By blogging my sessions and targeting specific keywords, I’m on the first page of Google, which allows more clients to find and book me.”
3. Learn the basics of SEO
Search engine optimisation (or SEO) ensures your website (and blog) surfaces in search results, making it exponentially easier for clients to find your work. An understanding of the basics, such as using target keywords and regularly refreshing/updating your site, goes a long way. “My blog has absolutely been the reason that my business gets found so easily on Google,” the Las Vegas-based wedding and elopement photojournalist Amber Garrett says.
“By blogging my sessions and targeting specific keywords, I’m on the first page of Google, which allows more clients to find and book me. This has led to an increase in my business’ revenue, which ultimately allowed me to work full time in my business, supporting myself and my husband (and our house full of animals). Blogging can seem so daunting as a photographer, but learning the best practices for SEO and organising your workflow for it will help tremendously.”
4. Be selective
“It’s so important to be able to curate and edit yourself to present a story in a concise way,” the travel and lifestyle photographer Kirsten Alana says. “We don’t have editors for our own sites like writers do for the big outlets. And we get so passionate about the photos that we think we have to share them all. I say ‘we’ because I absolutely make this same mistake myself. I’m trying to change, though! Having a blog allows me to be more in control of what stories I tell, and how I tell them, so I’m intentional and selective about what I put out there.” That is, don’t share content for content’s sake; make sure it aligns with your brand and goals.
“In the beginning, I remember overthinking every aspect of every entry, but the reality is that each and every post has value and you need to realise that and just start posting. The more you’ll do it, the better you’ll get at it.”
5. Try not to overthink it
“If you think that this is something that you’d like to do, then you just need to start,” says Simon Migaj, a commercial photographer specialising in documentary, architectural, and lifestyle work. “In the beginning, I remember overthinking every aspect of every entry, but the reality is that each and every post has value, and you need to realise that and just start posting. The more you’ll do it, the better you’ll get at it.”
When he started, Simon anticipated his blog would help attract clients, but he didn’t expect the added benefit of connecting with people, including other photographers, who flocked to his blog for travel tips. As long as you’re creating something that’s valuable to your audience or helps them learn something new, you’re on the right track. “Try not to be worried about whether it’s the best blog post you’ve ever seen,” Simon says. “A good published entry has more value than a perfect eternal draft.”
6. Stay consistent
“Post often,” Simon urges. “I don’t mean that you have to post daily; it can even be once a month, but help people remember and stay up-to-date on your blog.” Updating your site also helps with SEO. Another tip from Simon: “Share across numerous platforms. If you want to reach a bigger audience, don’t be afraid to post the same content to your blog, Medium, or Google.” You can also share your blog posts on social media; maybe you add them to your Instagram bio or include a link sticker on your Stories.
7. Chase your passion
While running a successful blog boils down to creating something of value for your audience, remember to stay true to what inspired you to pick up a camera in the first place. That’s what you’ll come back to when you need encouragement or motivation. “I think we all need to start within ourselves,” the mountain and wilderness photographer Magnus Lindbom tells us.
“What is your passion? What are you interested in? Write about that, while at the same time trying to keep your audience in mind. If you’re just starting a blog, you might find that it’s hard to gain traction and followers. Don’t give up. If you write about things that you love, people will eventually find you.”
“If your main website is more of a professional, polished portfolio rather than an expressive outlet, you can still communicate to prospective clients on a more personal level via your blog.”
8. Show us who you are
In a similar vein, Catherine O’Hara, a wedding and elopement photographer based between Ireland and France, recommends revealing something about your personality, within and beyond your role as a photographer. Great blogs attract followers because they have a distinctive voice—not because they follow a cookie—cutter formula.
“It’s a mistake to look at what everyone else is doing and try to fit in rather than stand out,” Catherine explains. “If your main website is more of a professional, polished portfolio rather than an expressive outlet, you can still communicate to prospective clients on a more personal level via your blog. Be more expressive and educational—and give them useful information that may not necessarily fit on your main site.”
About the contributor
Feature Shoot showcases the work of international emerging and established photographers who are transforming the medium through compelling, cutting-edge projects, with contributing writers from all over the world.