By ALISON AGUDO
Many people have blogs – or at least have started a blog at one point or another – but what about photo blogging?
In journalism, images can be equally (if not more) powerful than words themselves and many journalists incorporate photography into some aspect of their work.
Photo blogging is a great way to showcase your talents (or learning process) and explore journalism visually.
As with any type of blog, starting it is relatively easy – the tricky part is keeping up with it.
The first thing to think about is branding: how do you want your work to be displayed and how will that reflect upon you as a journalist? Do you want it colorful and creative or simple and sleek? Do you want viewers to have to click on images to see the full size or will you display it directly on the main page? Will you photos be centered for symmetry or off-centered for effect? What fonts will you use for captions? All of these details seem minor, but in the end they are what will determine viewers perception of your blog as a whole.
The next thing to think about when photo blogging is what theme your photos will follow. Sometimes it will work for a photographer to have a wide array of themes, but typically sticking to one category of images will draw in viewers specifically looking for a certain thing that you can provide both in quantity and quality.
To start, pick a platform. There are many options for free blogging, but the most popular “starter” blogs are:
Blogger: This is the Google blog platform that is quite basic and easy to use. It’s fast and easy to set up and provides users with editable templates that make customizing the blog simple. Photo sharing is also uncomplicated. This is a good choice for people who don’t’ have much experience with building websites as a lot of it is self-explanatory.
Tumblr: This is a very simplified yet extremely social micro blogging platform that enables short-form blogging in a social network type process. The set-up is simple and intuitive and the templates are all customizable. This platform allows users to “reblog” and share content from others on their own pages (and vice versa) in addition to like, comment or ask questions of other users.
WordPress: WordPress is used for more professional websites because of its customizability and wide range of plug-ins. It has great photo sharing capabilities and simple to use even if you only have a small bit of website knowledge.
A good example of a photo blog The Sartorialist; a popular “street fashion” photo blog created on Blogger with images taken by former fashion photographer, Scott Schuman. In addition to the fact that his photos are spectacular, the web page is popular for many reasons: it’s clean, simple, consistent and updated frequently.
Resizing photos to be the same dimensions on your website is a good way to keep your photo blog clean and user friendly. Making credits and captions consistent in language and appearance are also a good idea.
While keeping your blog updated frequently is also very important, there is a fine line between keeping it updated and bombarding viewers with too much information. Don’t upload hundreds of photos every day – give viewers a little taste of what you have and they will keep coming back for more. If it gets too overwhelming, they will lose interest quickly.
Promoting your photo blog is important too. Use social media tools (Facebook/Twitter) to let your audience know you updated your site and feature fellow photo bloggers as a way of sharing and encouraging friendly competition.