Honestly speaking, my blog following (the true kind of following when people actually know and remember your posts!) has been close to zero. Miserable performance, to put it mildly. You know why? Well, because my blog has been awfully boring. With a lot of beautiful pictures (yes! I am good at taking beautiful pictures, I am a full time, professional photographer, after all), but – still – boring! Over the last few weeks, I think I developed an understanding “why.”
Two weeks ago, I returned from a 5-day landscape photography workshop in Northern Arizona, which brought about many new thoughts and ideas and got me to revisit many old ones, both on a personal and a professional level. It may not have seemed like it at the time of the workshop, but it was truly enlightening, in a “spiritual journey” kind of way. In preparation for the workshop, I had spent much time researching landscape photography and reading travel and nature photographers’ blogs and websites. Then, during and after the workshop, armed with the knowledge and experience of shooting my own images, I researched other photographers’ work from the same locations (among them, the inspirational articles and beautiful imagery by the workshop instructor Don Smith and his workshop co-instructor Gary Hart).
And I made a stunning (Yes! It was stunning to me!) discovery about the way nature and landscape photographers blog and write about their images. Every image has a story! Every image entails an adventure, a thoughtful process that’s put into making that image, a physical journey, a mental pre-visualization of what it would look like after the shutter clicks, and a personal connection to a specific point in the photographer’s life. Every image has so much to say for itself! Therefore, landscape photographers have it easy when it comes to blogging – they actually do have stories to tell!
Now, what about me? I am a newborn, baby and child photographer (and when I blog, I tend to sound like a hard-to-read SEO robot too). Since I am mostly a studio photographer, day in and day out I go to my photography studio (which is located in Reston, same wonderful little town where I live, so it’s not much of a journey getting there). I meet wonderful families who trust me with their “once in a lifetime” memories. My job involves a lot of love (yes! love! photography is only a small part of it) and a lot of holding, soothing, and photographing their newborns and their very little ones. Many of these same wonderful families come back to me over the years and I photograph their little ones growing up, first as babies, and then as sweet, curious, rambunctious toddlers. I love being part to this “circle of life”. It is the reason why I do what I do, why I love newborn and baby and child photography so much. All the littles I meet are beautiful, unique, sweet and precious. Absolutely precious. Each and every single one of them. When I work with them, I love them and care about them as if they were my own. I play with the toddlers, and notice the newborns’Â beautiful little details – skin folds, long lashes, ten little fingers and toes, baby cheeks – the way their mommies and daddies do! And I try to capture them, as if I were a parent trying to capture my own child – so I can remember all these sweet precious, fleeting, little details forever
Yet, when I get to blogging these sessions and the beautiful images from them, I feel like I hit this giant wall and end up with the same old adage. (“Just look at this beautiful baby, awww! We put this cute pink hat (blue hat, baby tie – insert whatever accessory was used) on and (s)he was so cute. Don’t you just love it? And then we put her/him in this crate, and it just looked gorgeous”.)
You know what I mean? You’ve probably read the same variation of all my blog posts on most other newborn and child photographer’s blogs. It is a failing attempt to render in words just how beautiful that one sweet Baby is, and how truly special these images will be to his/her mommy and daddy will be forever and ever. It doesn’t sound personal, memorable or unique.Â There is really no story, no adventure, no unique emotion in these blog posts. (Not like in an “I got up at 2am, drove to the mountains, hiked for two hours, and photographed this breathtaking sunrise on the mountain top” (well, actually, now that I wrote it – it sounds like a cliche too…). These words are average, common and boring. So is my blog. And if you are a photographer struggling to blog the way I struggle – you know exactly what I mean.
All in all, it has been a sort of a liberating growth, and I am coming out on this end of this “spiritual journey” with a firm set of new rules and commitments about photography and writing. I will no longer be the “meaningless blogger” writing for SEO or sneak peeks or just to “keep the blog fresh”. I want to be a meaningful blogger who writes honestly both for prospective clients and for other photographers. Let me repeat – I want to be a “meaningful” writer. I want to write what’s on my mind. What truly happens during sessions. What crazy amount of work and preparation (and laundry!) goes into each session. I want to write about business struggles and client relations. Personal growth and failures. About the good, the bad and the ugly. I will relate to my own life an my own journey as a photographer and a person, a mom, a wife, a friend (oh, believe it or not, but these “personal” topics have been considered taboos by many photographer bloggers too).
So, here’s to the “new me” – the “honest, meaningful” photographer-blogger. Cheers!