How To Start a Photography Blog
Starting a blog is one of the best ways to build an audience, get your ideas out into the world, and possibly make some (or a lot) of money while doing what you love.
Getting started and taking the first steps can feel like a huge challenge. Building a website, planning your content, and finding the right business model are just a few of the tasks you’ll need to do to succeed.
Don’t worry! By the end of this article, you should have the knowledge and tools you need to feel confident and prepared to start your photography blog today.
What Is Your Blog About?
The fact that you are reading this article right now means you are probably wanting to write a photography blog - but what kind? There are so many different areas you can cover in photography. Do you want to write a photography blog for teens? A blog about lighting for portrait photography? A blog about tripods?
Knowing on a deeper level what kind of blog you want to write will help you focus and determine what content you want to create.
There’s a quote that fits this situation perfectly:
"If you try to be everything for everybody, you will be nothing to no one."
Establish Your Niche
When creating a new blog, you need to find your niche. This is the corner of the market that you have the most knowledge about, the place you can establish yourself as an absolute authority. If you try to take on PhotographyBlog.com all at once, you are guaranteed to be overwhelmed and seriously outmatched.
The important thing is that you choose a blog niche that hits the sweet spot - not too wide, like “photography”, but not too narrow, like “lenses from 1989”. Too wide and you risk not standing out. Too narrow and you will likely run out of things to say. You need something in the middle.
Some examples of niche photography blogs are:
- Photography Blog Showcasing Professionals - Feature Shoot
- Commercial Photography Blog - Joe McNally
- Fashion Photography Blog - The Sartorialist
Name Your Blog
Once you’ve found your niche, it’s a great time to start brainstorming a web domain name for your blog. You’ll want to pick a name that’s brandable and available. Use our domain name tool to check if your name is available. If it is, scoop it up before someone else gets to it first.
Find a Domain Now
Brand Your Blog
The strongest and most memorable businesses are built on a solid brand. When developing your brand, think about what your business stands for. Customers and clients are looking for companies that have a compelling brand, as much as they are shopping for high-quality products and services.
Creating a logo for your business is vital for increasing brand awareness. You can design your own unique logo using our Free Logo Generator. Our free tool will help you brand your business with a unique logo to make your business stand out.
Finding Your Audience
Having a good sense of who is going to be reading your blog is one of the best ways to know what type of content to create, how to shape it, and, ultimately, how to grow your following. With a clear understanding of your niche, understanding your audience should come more naturally.
Finding your target audience - the people you want hanging out on your blog - isn’t only statistics and demographics. It requires a deeper understanding of who these people are and what they want. Your target audience is the people you’re writing to when you write your blog.
Are you writing to professional photographers who need to know how to get an edge over the competition, or are you writing to newcomers who have never held a camera before? Maybe somewhere in between? You can focus on whatever audience you like, but you need to choose one so that you can decide your blog’s tone and content.
Create a Persona
One way to understand your audience is to create a persona of your perfect target audience member. This essentially means creating a mock-up of the ideal person you hope to reach with your blog.
Here is an example of a target audience persona:
Having a persona for your perfect audience member helps you to visualize and understand who you are writing for and provides important direction to your content.
Be Your Own Persona
Another popular way to find your perfect target audience is to be your own persona. Many of the best products and services come from scratching your own itch. It’s possible you’ve searched for the perfect photography blog to read, came up short, and decided to create it yourself. This makes you the perfect audience member for your own blog.
This can be a great strategy for creating highly effective content. If you’ve noticed a meaningful omission in blog content, chances are you are not alone. By writing personally satisfying content you are likely to reach an audience in search of the same things.
Where Is Your Audience Hanging Out?
No web content exists in a vacuum. While you should strive to create uniquely entertaining content for your blog, your target audience is almost certainly already out there reading other blogs, engaging on specialized forums, and using social media. Finding the sites where your audience already mingles is a great way to discover what topics they are most interested in, what language they are using, and what valuable content you can add to that mix.
Some examples for your photography blog may include:
Visiting these sites is also a great way to begin engaging with your audience before your blog has even gone live. Jump into conversations on forums and in comments sections and get to know the people you’ll be writing for. This is a great, organic way to build relationships and direct people to your blog in its early days. Sharing your passion with like-minded people will make them more excited and passionate about supporting you in your blogging endeavor.
How Will You Present Your Work?
Traditionally, when most people think about a blog they picture written content on a page. However, there are several different ways to present your ideas on your blog, depending on your subject matter and target audience. Every blog will thrive with different formats, so it’s important to think carefully about how to best showcase your content before you start.
There are several effective methods of presenting the material on your photography blog. They include:
As the name suggests, evergreen articles are composed of content that lasts. These articles are designed to have a long shelf life and continue drawing readers to your blog over time. They are typically long-form, text-based articles that delve more deeply into a particular topic.
Reviews are an easy way to start creating evergreen content for your photography blog. Plenty of readers are looking for reviews of different products, ranging from the newest releases to products that everyone tells them are tried and true. You can start writing reviews on products in your niche and post them periodically to build up a library of evergreen content. Readers will come searching for such reviews year after year.
While the video format is not new, the explosive growth of YouTube and the advent of new and innovative video-based tech like Snapchat and TikTok have shown the true power of video as an online medium. While you may think that creating video is much more difficult and expensive than writing your content, you have access to all the technology you need to make high-quality video content right on your smartphone.
Creating how-to videos for your audience is a great way to start exploring video content. You may already have how-to articles planned for your blog. You can use the same structure from your writing to base your videos on. Don’t worry if you are not a skilled videographer. You will get better at making videos, and your photography skills will come in handy while you are learning. Your audience will appreciate having videos to watch - beyond the articles that you create.
News articles or other “announcement” type content can be a great way to gather new readers. One benefit of news content is the short-term but powerful increase in search volume during an event. While this bump may be temporary, it can be a great tool for grabbing new readers who end up coming back for more.
Writing about current events or new happenings also means there will typically be less competition for readers. Other blogs and media sources are all getting the information as it develops. Since the base of knowledge available is smaller, this gives you a good opportunity to add your own flavor to the article.
The downside to news-type articles is that they tend to lose popularity much more quickly than evergreen content. While the interest for an event may be very large one day, the next day people may already be moving on to the next shiny object.
There is always something new happening in the world of photography. Whether it is new releases of exciting products, news of a famous photographer producing new work, or something else, you can find news that is worth writing about - things that your audience is interested in based on your niche. News-type blogs do not need to be long, either. They will drive traffic to your site if they cover something people are looking for, but they will also be forgotten soon enough, so don’t spend too much time going in-depth.
While most people expect to be reading when they visit a blog, image-heavy content can be very appealing and break up your text-focused posts to keep people’s attention. Depending on the topic of your post, displaying multiple images per page on a single subject can give your audience a better sense of what you are trying to convey.
While some topics may take to images very easily, like a car blog or a celebrity gossip site, others may require some deeper thinking to make this strategy work.
Since you are creating a photography blog, chances are you already have some serious plans for how to produce image-heavy content. Whatever your niche is, you can definitely produce plenty of images that your audience will be excited to see.
You may focus on travel photography, choosing lenses based on the task at hand, or underwater photography. In every photography niche, you will find numerous opportunities to take photos and add them to your blog. A great thing about creating a photography blog is that you get to practice your photography as part of building the blog. You can expect to improve over time, simply by serving the needs of your audience.
Mix and Match
Every photography blog needs a mix of content delivery styles to appeal to the widest possible audience. You may have a strong preference for certain types of content, such as writing up how-to articles and filling them with photos you took. But even if you are great at one type of content, you and your audience will benefit from your efforts to stretch yourself and move outside your comfort zone. Whatever type of content makes you uncomfortable, try to make more of it. Over time you will definitely get better at all these types of content if you continue practicing and producing.
How To Make Money From A Photography Blog
One of the main reasons people start blogs is to generate some sort of profit. Whether you’re looking for a few hundred dollars per month or a job-replacing income, blogging is still an excellent way to make those dreams a reality.
There are a few great ways to make money from a photography blog:
Display Ad Networks
Display ads are the simplest way for websites to generate any sort of income. Ad networks, like Google Adsense, are fairly simple to be accepted into, and implementation onto your site is streamlined and clean. If you’re just beginning to see some traffic to your blog and want to turn this into dollars, display ads are where most people start.
There are a few downsides to display ads, however. The first is that some feel they detract from the user experience on your blog. Most people have been to a site where large ads pop up and block the content in the middle of reading. This can be distracting, frustrating, and even drive people away from your blog. While it’s possible to clean up and control the type of ads you use, it can be a constant battle to balance effective ad placement with aesthetics and readability.
The other main downside is that they don’t pay a lot. These networks generally use a pay-per-click (PPC) model which, depending on the niche, can pay anywhere from $0.01 to $1.50 per click, most on the lower end.
While display ads are a great way to make your first dollars, you’ll want to make sure any negatives they bring are worth the profits they provide. Once you develop a solid following, you can consider moving on to more lucrative and effective profit-making options.
Affiliate marketing programs like Amazon Affiliate have become much more popular over the past few years, as they take the payment model from pay-per-click to cost-per-acquisition (CPA). This means you can refer as many users to an advertiser’s product as you want, but will only get paid when the user makes a purchase.
Both advertisers and publishers benefit from an affiliate marketing setup. The advertiser pays nothing until a sale is made and the publisher enjoys much higher commissions than the pay-per-click model.
There is no shortage of affiliate options for a photography blog. You can pick and choose based on your niche and your personal preferences - some offer better commission rates than others, but some may also not be what you want to promote on your blog. You want to incorporate affiliate programs that you believe your audience will benefit from over the long-term.
PastBook is one affiliate program that many photography blogs use. The product they offer takes customer photos and turn them into beautiful photo books. When someone makes a purchase on PastBook after clicking the link you provide, you will get a 20% commission.
Keth Camera is another popular affiliate program. Keth Camera is a major supplier of used camera equipment and accessories. Used products are a great way for new photographers to get less expensive equipment that they want to try out, so your audience could benefit from the program. If they make a purchase, you get a 4% commission.
Sell Digital Products
Digital products are an online entrepreneur's dream. You create the item once, then sell it as many times as you can, with little to no cost of reproduction. This means that you can scale your business to infinity.
Examples of digital products are:
- Ebooks - A piece of writing, generally in PDF format. These can contain literally anything that your audience would want. They can either be true book-length all the way down to a few pages of content. Depending on your niche, audience, and subject, these can run from $1 to $100 per sale fairly easily.
- Gated Content - This is content that is served on your website just like any other article, except that is behind a “paywall”. If you are creating content that you don’t want to be released to anyone but your true followers, you have them sign up for an account on your site and charge them a subscription fee for access. Generally, authors charge anywhere from $5 to $200 per month for access to gated content.
- Online Courses - If you can teach a skill that your audience wants to learn, you can create an online course to sell to them. These courses can be formatted in whatever way makes the most sense to you, but most nowadays are video courses. Online courses can sell from $10 to well over $10,000 per course, obviously depending on the subject matter and audience.
A great example of a digital product that fits a photography blog is an online instructional course in photography. If you teach your audience certain skills, such as landscape photography, you could design an online course for those that want to take their abilities to the next level. You could even ask for ideas from your readers for things to cover in the course. A well-produced course in this niche can range from $50 to $300 or more, depending on the complexity of the subject.
Sell Physical Products
Selling physical products is the original money-making strategy. You gather an audience that is hungry for something, you sell it to them, and everyone wins. You don’t have to be an inventor, designer, or manufacturer to sell products. Sites like Alibaba and AliExpress import already-made items into the United States and sell them for a markup.
The two main methods for the distribution of these items are: dropshipping and self-fulfilled.
Dropshipping is a method where you advertise a product on your site that you do not own. Once you make the sale, you inform the manufacturer, who will handle the shipping and handling to the end-user. While this is simple because you don’t have to worry about storing or shipping any items yourself, you’ll find that the margins can be quite slim.
Self-fulfilled sales are much more of a hands-on approach to sales. You buy the item from the manufacturer, store it, then ship it to the end-user once you have made the sale. While there is much more work involved, you’ll find that the margins per sale are much higher.
It may seem difficult to come up with products to sell on a photography blog, but it can be done - and done well once your popularity grows. The key is to start small and wait until you have a following before getting ambitious. You could begin with branded apparel, which you can get for cheap and then sell for a premium. Eventually, you could design your own photography products or partner with popular manufacturers to design products your audience will want to snatch up.
While it can be very profitable when done well, selling products is not generally recommended for the beginner blogger. It’s best to secure an audience that you know will be receptive to the product before making a large investment in product development or acquisition.
Create a Service
Providing a service is another very basic money-making plan. If you can provide a service that you know your audience needs, you have a viable business on your hands.
Whether this service is delivered through one-on-one interaction with the user, through a piece of software that you develop, or by directly completing a task for the user, this is a great way to monetize your skillset and your blog.
The services you offer through your photography blog will need to make sense based on your niche, your skills, and your audience needs. If you write about lighting, you could offer lighting seminars. If you write about travel photography, you could offer guided tours focused on photography.
Your time is valuable, especially when your blog is popular. Try to avoid overcommitting yourself when offering a service. You still need to keep up with your blog - it’s what drives traffic to your service and keeps your business going, so it needs to be your priority. With a focus on balance, you can serve your audience through your blog and by offering your services.
Next Steps To Get Your Photography Blog Started
Now that you have the strategies in place to build and grow your own blog, check out our free course: How To Start A Blog.
This course includes all the essentials on how to get your blog out of your head and onto its own website. Starting a blog is simple and inexpensive, so there’s no reason that you shouldn’t start today!
Free Course: How To Start A Blog
Get your blog up and running today with our step-by-step course.Start Lesson One