On August 2, 2012, I attended the first ever BLOGRAPHER hosted by Adorama, an event focusing on photography education, creative tips & techniques and strategies for a successful partnership between photography and blogging. From checking in on foursquare, to posting instagram photos of the event to tweeting my notes with the #blographer hastag, I must say, I had such a great time learning about blogging, photography, business, and branding while infusing social media into the mix.
The program was broken up into three session with some of the top photo bloggers in the industry and between each session there were numerous giveaways that included prizes such as ONA and Kelly Moore bags, cameras, lens, and more. In addition to the wonderful giveaways, there were also goodie bags and a pleasant surprise from Adorama.
I first heard about the Blographer event via twitter. I was fascinated and definitely wanted to attend but I decided it wasn’t the best business financial decision. I already have loads of ecourses I’ve purchased, I have paid memberships to various communities ranging from Lynda.com to the Goddess Circle via Leonie Dawson and I couldn’t fathom shelling out more money when I haven’t tapped into all of my already paid resources.
A week passed and the day before the Blographer event, I found myself on the Adorama website again. I kept reading about the panel speakers, the session descriptions and my intuition told me I needed to be there. Within two minutes I registered for the event. I realized considering the caliber of the speakers and the range of topics that were to be covered AND the amount of sponsors & unlimited networking opportunities, I really wanted to be there. How surprised was I to later learn at the Blographer event that anyone who paid to attend would be given a gift card to Adorama for the price of the ticket? It turned out that they wanted as many people there to learn as much as they could that they decided the event should be free! On top of that, I learned that none of the speakers were paid either. Before the first session even began, I knew I was exactly where I needed to be. Let me share with you my notes and what I learned. (All my notes were done via twitter with the hastag #blographer.)
SESSION ONE: 10 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR PHOTOS BLOG WORTHY
“The photos are the voice of my blog” ~Amanda Bottoms
Erin and Amanda provided the audience with their 10 tips on making your photos blog worthy while infusing personal stories and examples through their presentation. Their tips were as follows…..
1. Empower your images to tell your story. “Your images should always reinforce your story. What is your overarching story?”
2. Find the best light. Then move your subject to it. Erin spoke on how she takes the time to walk around her subject looking for the light, highlights & shadows. My note to self from her examples is to take more time with my photography. I want to be more intentional and experimental before the shot & as I take it. A few other tips while speaking on light were as follows, “If you want the big blue sky, shoot with the sun behind you,” “Find where the light hits your subject’s eyes,” and “Look for non conventional light sources.” Erin then gave the example of using her friend’s phone and a candle for lighting to take a great photo in a pitch black restaurant.
3. Be consistent in style and skill. This is of course the tip I need to most work on as I develop my photographic eye and personal brand. How would you describe your photography style? What 5 words describe the stories you tell in photos? Amanda focused on this tip and some of her comments to note where to be consistent in your photography style. She said that you should set the tone for what the experience will be like in your photography and blogging content. Always reaffirm your brand in the consistency of your photography and blogging as it pertains to style.
4. Use aperture to focus on important elements. Noted.
6. Select images that support your style/brand. Amanda recommended that you storyboard your photos and blog post to capture consistent tones, stories and intentions for your website. When choosing images think, “Story first, Tone later.”
7. Shoot with skill & edit for impact. Two of my favorite quotes regarding this tip are, “Photoshop is like makeup. It works best when it looks like you’re not using it.” and “Leaving an image out of a blog post can do more than putting it in.” You want to ask yourself does your image support your story or is it redundant? And please note, Photoshop is best when using it to edit for impact, not when used to point out the editing that you’ve done.
8. Lighten (your photos) to emphasize details. This tip emphasized one of my biggest challenges with photography. I need to work on finding the light, enhancing the light and showing the light.
9. Train your eyes to recognize proper white balance. While I know how to change the white balance on my camera, as soon as this tip came up, I promptly tweeted, “How do we train our eyes to do that?” Within seconds my question was answered. We were told to experiment, try all the settings and to play with our camera. Simple. Easy. Thanks!
10. Prepare (your photos) properly for the web. When preparing your images for the web, RESIZE & SHARPEN. It’s different than printing images.
After providing us with their 10 tips Amanda and Erin then answered a few questions. One lady wanted to know if their opinions regarding copyrights & watermarks and whether they added them to their photos. Both Amanda and Erin said Yes and No. They had their various reasons. What you should note is that whether you watermark your images or not, that watermark does not “copyright” your images legally. You actually have to register your photos to do that. Here’s one article on how to copyright your images. http://ow.ly/cGQCS Here’s another post on copyrighting & registering your photography. http://ow.ly/cGQKK
By the end of session one, I realized a few things. My images need to tell the story of my life and my brand; the style I shoot & edit it, the colors that reveal themselves and even the perspective that I shoot from. I feel as if some of my latest videos capture the colors, branding and story that I’m telling but I need to transfer that to my videos. I think one of the best websites that always tells a story with amazing photography is A Beautiful Mess.
By the end of session one, I had also met a new friend, Jessica Lark who asked via twitter to all #blographer attendees, “What are you most hoping to learn today?” I tweeted her back, “My goal is to learn to tell better stories in my images. My values are authenticity & expression. I love to talk about spirituality, sensuality, sexuality & freedom in everything. I tell stories of personal development, healing, connection & passion…to name a few. I have 5 blogs on 1 website. Overall my goal is to inspire others to live authentic & powerful lives.” Therefore my goal is to share that same sentiment in the photographs I take. By the end of Blographer, I had a great idea on how to begin achieving this. I’m going to wait to tell you how I plan to do this later on in my Blographer series. Stay tuned.