Photography blogs do indeed seem quite common these days. As I have said here before, it seems a natural path for the keen amateur/professional photographer to take, to have their own platform to display their images and I think (obviously) they are wonderful things. I very much enjoy visiting photography blogs, seeing all the new photos people have uploaded and thoughts they have shared. I do though seem to have formed fairly strong opinions recently on what makes a good photography blog/blogger and rather than just keep them to myself, thought I would share them all today. So I'm going to look at it in reverse, i.e what I don't like about photography blogs. Please bear in mind that the following list is just my humble opinion. It's one of the great things about having a photography blog. These are not cast in stone rules and are certainly not meant to criticise anyone in particular. I'm very happy though for everyone to share their thoughts or comment on anything I have said.
So here it goes, in no particular order, these are things I think do not make a good photography blog:
* No interactivity by the blogger whatsoever - This is one that seems to have grated me a little recently. It's not that I want a full thank you and critique of my thoughts if I leave them on your page, but to say nothing to anyone who has posted is just ridiculous. I'm particularly referring to 'celebrity photographers' (which of course is only used within photography circles - most people do not know any photographers they can name, which is a good thing), some of them are lucky to get even 1 comment and still they do not acknowledge that comment. I have been 1 of 2 or 3 people to share my thoughts on a particular blog that has interested me, and the author chooses not to respond to these thoughts. It's actually quite illogical to me. You are never too big not to respond to people commenting on your site. The best photography bloggers do acknowledge comments and respond to thoughts shared.
* Infrequent posting - Yes I know, we are all very busy and nearly all of us have commitments outside the photography world. I know it isn't easy. I promise 3 blogs a week and struggle sometimes to find the inspiration to post. So I do understand the other commitments. But the problem you have to face is, if you do not post for a long time, people are going to stop checking your site for content. If you are going to be away for a while, you may as well just let people know, rather than just leave us guessing what's happened. And yes I do worry.....
* Lack of variety - I am working on this one myself. Rarely does someone post great photo after great photo, so it pays to have other thoughts and concepts to share. How about a video you like? Or a slideshow you have created? Or a blog about the latest photography rumours/releases? Again, I am working on all this like the rest of you, I have just come to realise that the best blogs, have something a bit more to offer than just photos.
* Routine comments - Now this one I know might be a bit controversial. I have to get it off my chest though and for good reason. Because I think it hinders you as a photographer rather than helps you progress. What I mean is there are many blogs out there that have the 'I scratch your back, you scratch mine philosophy'. Now of course I am not saying do not share your thoughts or interact with other bloggers. It's great that these micro communities build up and comment on each other's pictures, but again I refuse to believe you like every single picture a particular person posts. If you just comment on people's posts because they comment on yours, you are not really being honest. I'm only saying this is as I said because it's like the 'American Idol' false belief mentality. As long as people who like you, are telling you are really good, you are deluding yourself and won't become any better. I think there is an unwritten rule with my blogger friends that we comment on pictures we particularly like and that way, we know if it's 'a good one' or not. If I get more than a few comments, I know it's probably a genuinely good picture. I'd like to balance this up by saying I rarely look at a photo and think 'I don't like that'. But if you are going to comment regularly on someone's blog, then you should say what you like and what could be improved (some people are good at that) but I rarely see that.
* Having an agenda against a certain photographer/photography company - This is the last but certainly not least element. Again this one you see mainly in the 'celebrity photographer' arena. I'd love to point out examples but then that might seem to be having an agenda of my own. Needless to say there are well-known photographers who have written huge rants about what they think of another photographer's recent actions/efforts and to me it is as unprofessional as you can get. Over criticising one photo company or site, shows to me you have connections or money coming in from opposite sources as well. Again, I'm not saying don't have an opinion, we are all indeed entitled to it, but there is a difference between sharing your thoughts and looking like a petulant 15 year old whose girlfriend left him. Don't make it personal.....
So those are some of my thoughts. Having written this, I will probably think of many more but very happy anyway to hear your thoughts on what makes a good photography blog.
Today's picture is taken from Hever Castle in Kent, at the magnificent lake within it's grounds.