Launching Your First Photo Blog Today

If photography’s your passion, you’re not alone.

Since Daguerre captured the first known candid photo of a person in 1838, over 3.5 trillion photos have been taken worldwide, with most of them taken in the last few decades. Today, more than 380 million pictures are taken every year.

Thinking of sharing your passion for photography with a blog? With so many millions of pictures being shared and uploaded online – more than 1.8 billion every single day – it’s tough to stand out from the crowd.

It is possible, though: there are plenty of successful photography blogs out there, including Scott Bourne’s PhotoFocus, the blog of famous photographer Joe McNally, and the educational site Sprouting Photographer.

But replicating their success isn’t easy. If your blog is going to take off, you’ll need to use some strategy.

It starts with choosing a niche. If you try to appeal to everyone, you’ll appeal to no one. The more focused your niche is, the more targeted your blog can be toward a specific audience. Consider choosing a niche based on your subject matter, your unique style of photography, or a specific skill such as photo composition, darkroom development, or digital manipulation. When you choose a specific niche, you can become known as an expert and a leader in your field.

Besides your blog niche, there’s also the technical side of starting a blog to consider. You’re an expert in photography, but do you know all the ins and outs of choosing a domain and picking a web hosting plan? There’s also the software that runs your blog to consider, as well as themes and plugins to give your site a unique look and more features and flexibility.

If you’re looking to start your own photography blog, take a look at our guide below to get started on the path to success.

How-to-Start-a-PhotographyBlog

How to Start a Fantastic Photography Blog

You can pick the best shutter speed and aperture settings without even looking at your light meter, you know how to compose a perfect shot, and you’ve mastered Photoshop and Lightroom. Why not share your passion for photography with the world by creating your very own photo blog? Here are some simple tips to help you get started.

Choose Your Niche

In order to stand out from the many photography blogs already out there, it’s a good idea to focus on a niche. When choosing your niche area, consider the following:

  • Does this topic excite me?
    • If the subject matter you’ve chosen doesn’t excite you, it probably won’t excite your audience
  • Do I know about this topic?
    • You can’t expect people to respect your authority on a subject if you aren’t actually an authority
  • Are other people interested in this topic?
    • If your focus is too narrow, you might not have a large enough audience
  • What makes you different?
    • You’re unique and your blog should be too
    • Capitalize on your strengths, whether that’s your composition, writing style, or technical skills

There are plenty of photography niches to consider:

  • Food
  • Fashion
  • Nature
  • Animals
  • Weather
  • Sports
  • Urban
  • Travel
  • Portraits
  • Panoramas
  • Black & white
  • Editing or digital darkroom
  • Events in your own life

Here are three photographers who have excelled in their niches:

  • Jasmine Star (jasminestarblog.com)
    • A talented writer who puts effort into understanding her subjects’ stories and then tells those stories in a romantic way
    • Her how-to posts provide tips for other wedding photographers
  • David DuChemin (davidduchemin.com)
    • David is a world and humanitarian photographer that travels the world capturing incredible photos.
    • His photos and writing are said to be inspiring.
  • Laurens Kuipers (blog.laurenskuipers.nl)
    • A Dutch photographer focusing on architecture and natural landscapes.
    • Laurens’s approach attempts to take into account how landscapes and structures are used, so his photos often include moving things like people and automobiles.

What’s in a Name?

  • Your blog’s domain name should be short, catchy and memorable.
  • Be creative, use these ideas to create a unique blog name:
    • Make a list of keywords related to your blog then look for synonyms and etymologies of those words.
    • Compound two words (Facebook)
    • Add a prefix or suffix to a word (Friendster)
    • Blend parts of two words together (Netscape, Microsoft)
    • Make up something completely new and unique (Squidoo, Etsy)
    • Use a phrase (StumbleUpon)
    • Misspell a word (Digg, Topix)
  • Make sure your name is unique.
    • Check social media networks to make sure the name is available there as well.
    • Use knowem.com to check hundreds of social media sites.
  • Avoid hyphens, they can diminish your credibility.
    • Arguably, they indicate spam and can make it more difficult for you to earn links.

Set Up Your Site

Once you know what you’re going to call your blog, it’s time to create it. You’ll need a hosting company, a domain name, and a blogging platform to begin.

Hosting Company

  • These companies provide you with:
    • Bandwidth (so people can visit your site)
    • Storage space (pictures take up a lot of space)
    • Tools and plugins for your website
  • Hosts recommended by WordPress include:
    • Bluehost
    • Dreamhost

Domain Names

  • Typically, you can purchase your domain name from your hosting company, allowing you to bundle domain registration and hosting all in one place.
  • Many hosts offer a free domain name with purchase of a hosting plan.
  • Alternatively, you can use a separate domain registrar to to register and manage your domain names such as:
    • NameCheap.com
    • Domain.com
    • GoDaddy.com

Pick a Platform

  • Not only do you need a place for your website, you also need a blogging platform to run it. A platform is software that runs your website on a hosting server.
  • WordPress is a good choice for a number of reasons:
    • 3% of all websites use WordPress
    • WordPress powers nearly 75 million websites worldwide
    • You can use WordPress in 40 different languages
    • It has a large support community and numerous of 3rd-party resources, in addition to the dedicated support team at Automattic (the company behind WordPress)
    • There are 35,777 plugins for WordPress (and new one gets added almost every hour).
  • WordPress Alternatives:
    • MovableType.org
    • Koken.me
    • Exposure.so

Focus on the Visual

Photography is all about what you see, and people coming to a photo blog expect to see a nice-looking website. High-quality images are important, but the way those images appear on the page is vital.

Themes to Customize WordPress

  • Themes are the way you present and control information on your blog.
  • Pick a theme that showcases the main focus of your photo blog: the photos.
  • A great theme will be clean and simple, without a lot of visual clutter to distract from your pictures, and one that gives you a lot of room.
  • Example themes:
    • Nishita
    • Duotone
    • Modularity Lite
    • Anthem
  • You can find themes directly on the WordPress site under the “Themes” tab, or from sites like Theme Forest and Elegant Themes.
  • While you can find themes for free, expect to pay around $50 for one that looks professional.

Plugins

  • Plugins add widgets to your blog, giving your website greater flexibility.
  • Plugins to help with photo blogs:
    • Lazy Load
      • Large pictures can slow things down on your server, especially if you post a lot of them on a single page.
      • Lazy Load will cause images to load only as users scroll to them on a page.
      • This saves your readers load time and saves you bandwidth.
    • Flickr Feed Gallery
      • If you already have a presence on Flickr, you can connect your account to your website, making it even easier for people to check out your photos.
    • NextGEN Gallery
      • One of the most popular WordPress photo gallery plugins, NextGen Gallery makes arranging your images quick and easy.
    • Soliloquy
      • This plugin lets you create responsive sliders that you can embed on pages and blogs.

Blogging Essentials

  • Disqus Comment System
    • Part of the fun of creating a blog is interacting with your audience.
    • The Disqus comment system makes commenting easier and replaces the standard WordPress comment system.
  • Akismet
    • Any website receives its share of spam, but Akismet compares any comments it finds on your site to its library of robo-content.
    • If a comment looks like it was made by a bot, Akismet filters it.
  • AddThis.com Share/Follow buttons
    • Make it easy for your readers to follow your website and share it with others by adding social media buttons.
    • AddThis.com’s plugin even lets you track which social media platform your audience uses most.
  • WordPress SEO
    • This plugin makes creating searchable content even easier by letting you examine keyword density, write your own meta-descriptions, and check for alt-tags on your images.

Uploading Pictures: Dos and Don’ts

Don’t:

  • Upload your originals to your blog
  • Forget to save your original files before editing them

Do:

  • Upload your pictures as JPEG files (the best format for viewing photos on the web)
  • Edit your pictures before uploading them
    • Make sure to resize images so that they’ll fit the page
      • Blogs have different content area sizes
      • Use photo-editing software to resize photos so that they’ll fit comfortably on the page
        • Some options for photo-editing programs include:
          • GIMP
          • Photo Pos Pro
          • Pixlr

Don’t Forget the Content

Remember: Search engines like Bing and Google consider the words on your page in order to determine what your website is about.

Use heading, title, meta-description and alt tags in a logical, descriptive way.

  • Don’t forget about WordPress SEO (mentioned above).
    • The plugin helps bloggers implement these tags and gives suggestions on best practices.

To increase your rankings in search engines (and image searches especially) be sure to assign alt-text to your photographs.

  • Alt-text
    • Stands for “Alternate text”
    • Shows up when a cursor hovers over an image.
    • Add this information by clicking on the image in WordPress and then filling in the “Alt” field
    • Don’t use too many keywords, or the value of each one will be diluted.

In general, text relevant to your niche can help boost rankings in search results, and complementary content can increase readership.

Examples of content:

  • Camera/equipment reviews
  • The story behind each photograph
  • Photography tutorials
  • Photographers you admire
  • Be creative:
    • Brainstorm ideas you would enjoy writing

Blogs are a great way to share your passion with the world, and if your passion is photography, blogging has made it easier than ever to show off your art.

“Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world.” — Bruno Barbey

Sources

KeriLynn Engel

About KeriLynn Engel

KeriLynn has worked as a freelance writer for various websites. She is an advocate for domestic abuse victims and has way too many hobbies.

Comments

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Matt Oaks

August 31, 2015

This is a great post, I have been thinking about starting a photo blog, these things make it seem less daunting for sure! I have so many photo books that I gain inspirations from, right now I am into architecture photography, been looking at Michael Saint James’ book Bridges of Paris, bridgesofparis.com for his site. But his photos of these Paris bridges are so fantastic, I am headed there just to see these places he’s photographed! Then my photo blog would be mostly architecture.

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Money Aggarwal

October 11, 2015

At the risk of repeating what has already been shared, this was a great read. I’m definitely going to change my photo blog around. I think another piece of advice is “know your audience.” When I started my blog, I didn’t know if I was targeting potential clients, other photographers, or just supporters of my photography. Therefore I put “a little something for everyone.” I’m definitely going to incorporate KIIFM from here on out. (Actually, I’ll probably got back and add a little something to old posts to keep my blog KIIFM compliant!)
Thanks for sharing!

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November 13, 2015

Great post! Creating both versions of graphics and wordings is useful for me. I would like to add that
it is essential to have a better hosting plan instead of getting shared hosting when hosting a photography blog. The size of the photos are huge as compared to other websites and the number of photos will be increasing in time to come. It is important to choose a hosting server that is able to sustain and expand in future. Just my 2 cents.

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Shawn

November 27, 2015

I started my photography blog in July and I’m still not sure who my target audience will (should?) be. Right now I’m mostly following my own story as I develop my skill, but my site name actually means a lot. It means that you don’t have to be perfect if you’re practical. Not everyone has time or money to set up every shot as if they’re a paid photographer. I’ve got a lot of experience squeezing every drop out of inexpensive equipment and taking great photos in fast moving situations. I know I’ve got a lot to teach. Thank you for the reminder – I definitely need to write more teaching articles!

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KeriLynn Engel

November 30, 2015

Sounds like you’re on the right track, Shawn! As you continue blogging, you’ll be able to gather more information to narrow down your target audience as you see the kinds of people who are attracted to your blog.