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So you’re thinking of seriously photo blogging in 2014?
One of my recent posts about buying art online from independent artists generated more than a few email inquiries from fellow photographers looking to take a more serious approach to photo blogging in 2014.
I’ve started to see more of a trend on social media outlets where more photographers are taking a serious look at developing content within their own space and accompanying their social media presence with links back to their blogs and websites.
I know more than a few photographers that abandoned their blogs when Google+ came on the scene, leaving these vacated blogs to fall into search engine wasteland.
It’s seems that this recent post ended up generating some interest from both the hobby and semi-professional level photographers alike, I was asked to visit 18 blogs / sites to offer some advice and insight on where to start, where to learn and where to get motivated with better blogging habits.
Find Your Own Voice – I think finding your own voice is the most important step in developing a following when photo blogging, you need to develop your own voice and unique style, immerse your own personality into your content and not just put a spin on someone’s personality or content. When you find your own voice you not only develop readership but you also will earn respect and trust within your niche, you also stand more of a chance of turning visitors into customers.
More than pictures – If you are just posting pictures and disgruntle that you haven’t achieved the level of blogging success that you are looking for it’s time to do some research. You will read over and over within the marketing circles that content is king, sharing just a pretty picture on Facebook may get you some likes but it is doing nothing for your search traffic. Photo blogging with just pictures may have worked in 2007 but in 2014 photo blogging is about providing the written content to accompany the photograph.
Know your customer – Maybe you have a great day job and you’re only looking to sell a few prints to cover gas or just a monthly a fix of Dopamine. That’s OK, you need to know who is going to buy a print from you and if that is your goal here is the secret sauce, if you are marketing yourself to other photographers you are missing the boat.
Now if you feel that confident that you have something that hasn’t been said before, can say it better or feel confident in being an educator by all means develop that educational content and jump in knee deep in pushing your skills and knowledge. There are plenty of people looking for photo education and it’s a great way to build a community especially if you are looking for some workshop revenue.
Givers Gain – This is something I truly believe in and something that comes from my sales and marketing background, “Givers Gain” is a phrase we commonly used when I was a BNI chapter president and it works for me even till this day. I still have friends and contacts that keep me in mind knowing that I either supported their efforts or helped them by generating a lead that was easily closed based on the value of a relationship.
Relationships – You need to build sincere relationships both online and offline, find out who influences your potential customers and you have an interest in networking with and build that relationship and trust. You don’t need a large army of brand advocates to get your message out, you need a small platoon of active relationships all working towards one goal. In 2014 photo blogging is more than just building a website, it’s not a field of dreams and if you build it they will come. You need to promote and be promoted as a trust worthy source online in order to build and maintain your authority.
Print sales don’t come easy – Don’t expect to put a blog post a week, 1 tweet a week to build a lucrative fine art business. You’ve just decided to enter one of the most competitive niches online and it will take more focus, time and determination than that if you are going to get serious about photo blogging for print sales.
Get Social – A photographer recently told me they were going to go back and spend more time on Facebook, Google Plus wasn’t generating enough +1’s on their work. I thought to myself are you crazy, you’re interested in selling prints and joined in on the ground level of an expanding social empire, Google plus is more than just about +1’s, get out there and develop circles outside of your photography niche and interact on different levels where your potential clients are. This is not to mention just the authority alone with Google+ can benefit your website and photo blog, I’m not saying place all your eggs in one basket but if you are serious about social media and building your website authority Google+ is where you need to be.
Check out this recent article on Photography Talk about 3 common social media mistakes photographers make.
A vision and inspiration with art, the collaboration of New England art with myself and painter Barbara Andrews
This past year I had the opportunity to meet and speak with New Hampshire painter and mural artist Barbara Andrews. Barbara is a well established New England artist and has been following my fine art photography for some time, this past year Barbara contacted me with interest in applying my photographic vision onto the canvas for her own inspired interpretation.
When two like minded artists click great things can be achieved, Barbara and I have the same thoughts and interests when it comes to interpreting the coastal scenes of New England. We both have a visual connection to the colors of the early morning light as well as the peace and tranquility that surrounds the bays and harbors of our beautiful New England seascape.
New England provides such beautiful land and seascape inspirations for art in all mediums of art.
You can find several of Barbara’s paintings inspired by my photographic work and she just recently finished up another painting that I really love called “Peace at the dock”.
It’s very eye opening for me as a photographer to have someone else interpret tones, mood, and composition.
My original photograph was captured in Bristol harbor located mid-way up Narragansett Bay; a lovely seafaring community with its shipping heritage and history dating back well over 100 years. . Bristol, Rhode Island also happens to be my home and an area I tend to focus on with much of my art photography.
The particular day I set out to photograph the original print it was a foggy and muted gray day, the serene sounds of the sea and a mystical fog provided a harbor with literally boat loads of inspiration.
Although much of my work involves the use of light and motion, it was soothing to work on a tranquil print like the one I had envisioned.
Barbara did a fantastic job with bringing to life the composition and tonal features, looking at her work reminded me so much of just how that morning felt. You can view and purchase the painted print and many others by visiting the website of Barbara Andrews and you can purchase my photography prints in my fine art gallery, I look forward to future collaborations between photography and paint.
Seeing the light whether it is art, business and life
Looking into a dark space you see nothing but visualize everything – do you see the light in everything you do?
No matter what we do in life it’s important to see the light and to visualize and dream of the right path of discovery. Like life, I feel an important aspect of photography is not only visualizing what is in front of you both also what the final path or creation is.
Light is the foundation of everything when it comes to photography, finding the right light and understanding how to interpret that light leads to unlimited possibilities, but yet I feel there is more to that for me.
I just read an interesting blog by John C. Bader called “are you a light worker“, within the first sentence of the blog post he lured me right in. John asks the question what is so curious about light?
He also spoke about how within our mildly chaotic existence we take the rising and setting sun for granted.
Although I have not practiced meditation myself I truly understand the important part it plays within our own existence and self discovery. I’m a light worker in a sense, I can’t tell you the amount of times I stand alone on a beach basking in the beautiful rays and color of a sunrise and just want to scream do you see and feel this?
I recently was out photographing the sunrise with a good friend who also happens to be another photographer, I had captured some pre-dawn light photographs I was pleased with and made my way to the back of a hill where he was working the sunrise. The sky erupted in color and many would have scrambled to captured that sudden burst of energy, instead I stood with my tripod firmly grasped in my hand and said this is why I do what I do. I stood there and watched him take his final shots as the sunrise streaked across the sky like fingers pulling back the night in awe of the power and energy of the morning sun.
When you see the light in everything you do you feel determined in moving forward down the right path, whether that path is business, personal or even financial.
This fine art photographic print is called “Life in the Middle” and is now currently available in my fine art photographic gallery online.
About Ed King – Ed King is a dedicated fine art landscape photographer finding the most interesting and creative fine art prints of the New England coastline; enjoying life and living the coastal New England experience each and every day brings home more than just photographs.
Can you feel a connection through the power of art?
Art has a tremendous and power connection to the soul, beautiful imagery can have an uplifting impact on your daily life if you can let yourself connect and relate.
Did you know that art is used and widely practiced by many professional therapists? The power of art is benefited on both sides of the canvas or photography print, those who immerse themselves in creating art as well as those appreciating it can feel empowered and inspired.
I know photography can trigger memories, many customers who purchase my landscape photography prints will usually say “I remember when” and that is the power of art. Whether it is remembering that coastal drive with our grandparents, or a fishing location shared with a parent, art has a way of reaching out and touching you when you connect with it.
Creating powerful art is not something one sets out to do, art has to reach out and touch the creator to feel his or her own special connection. Developing a sense for creating powerful art is about soul searching and not ever snap of the shutter will have the same effect. As we develop and hone our skills as photographers we tend to search and explore more, we seem to take less pictures but those that we do tend to have that special meaning and connection.
My newest fine art print “Remember me for more than my footprints” I feel delivers both a powerful visual element within the photograph but the names opens up the possibilities to interpretation as well.
How do you interpret the name?
Can you feel a special connection with the loss of a loved one?
Remembering someone for more than just their footprints is something we all try to achieve and is much deeper than just leaving a home, money or car. How did you touch someones life today is what it means to me.
The fine art print for me feels like a lost soul, striving for acceptance and begging for remembrance.
Be well & happy – this fine art print is now available in my fine art gallery & be sure to sign up for our newsletter for new print releases, photography tips and 2014 workshop dates.
The best camera is the one that you have with you
A common question I get from time to time is what camera do I need for seascape photography? Although the best camera is the one that you have with you, in reality you do need some thought about photography equipment if you plan to get serious and expand your creative vision.
When I meet a new photographer along the beach photographing a sunrise and we start to talk, the conversation usually starts off with “I only have a crop sensor”. There is no need to feel inferior, embarrassed or feel that your gear is any less capable of capturing the beauty and drama of seascape photography just because you have an entry level DSLR.
In fact many of my earlier images were captured with Canon Rebel Xsi and I’ve received numerous compliments from those thinking I had much more expensive gear.
New fancy state of the art photography equipment is great but there is more to art and photography then the best of the best equipment.
Over the course of 2014 I am going to work on providing the fundamentals of seascape photography here on my blog, online workshops as well as on location throughout New England. You will realize the camera is the tool but where the magic happens is within your mind and vision.
You can find a good comparison of features on entry level DSLR cameras for 2014 here http://entry-level-dslr-camera-review.toptenreviews.com/.
What you do need is a camera capable of working in bulb and manual, allowing you to have control of the shutter speed and aperture in low light. You can work with AV/TV when the light is much brighter and work with shutter speeds 30 seconds or less.
You do need a tripod and you do need some type of cable release especially if working in bulb mode, this will help with any camera shake produced by holding the shutter button when the camera is mounted on a tripod.
You should think about investing in some on camera filters such as neutral density and graduated neutral density filters. You don’t have to break the bank when you start out and jump in a $400.00 set. There are many lower cost filter sets and combinations that will get out exploring the world of seascape photography; the most important part is learning the fundamentals and investing time.
During 2014 I will be holding both online and on location seascape photography workshops in New England, opening up a new world of exploration and education for me. I will be sharing a passion and dedication of my seascape photography with both new entry level photographers and those looking to explore more of what the sea has to offer.
Be sure to join my mailing newsletter here on my website for more information as it develops.
Capture the world & enjoy the moment
Landscape photography and conveying that you should have been here kinda feeling
My first blog post of 2014 has me thinking more about where my landscape photography has taken me and where I want to go with it as I move forward. I received quite a bit of inquiries over the past year on my photography prints that are named in such a way that people connect with and I really love that.
I think as a landscape photographer its about telling a story and connecting emotionally with the viewer. Having someone interpret an image for their own emotional connection and tugging at their heart strings is just what I want to try and focus on. I think art and especially photography in my case provides the connection of both reality and fantasy, something we all need in our daily lives.
There is no greater sense of accomplishment for me than when I open an email that starts off like this.
“I just received the photo “Eye of the Storm” It is more amazing than I expected. You are truly talented”. Ken – Los Angeles, California – You can see that print here – Eye of the Storm Black & White Lighthouse Print
When we set out to take pictures that is all we will return home with, when we set out looking for a feeling we return with a work of art and a story to be told.
I know when it comes to naming my fine art prints I feel a picture is just a picture without accompanying words, this is something I’ve grown to appreciate even more now as I develop my own personal goals of not only photographing the scene but taking it to another level through writing.
Landscape photography for me in 2014 is going to be about photography but also developing the story and connection behind each and every image I produce.
I look forward to 2014 as going on record for the best year for me in photography, taking a new approach and exploring a new outlook not only with photography but life in general.
You can find this fine art print “You will never stand alone” as well as many others in my online photography gallery.
Snowy owls are spreading their wings across New England and you don’t have to go very far to see these long distance travelers
Snowy owls are just about everywhere now in New England, as I mentioned in my blog post a week a go you can spot Snowy owls in all of the New England states including Rhode Island with little effort.
I’ve gone years without seeing one for myself and now I’ve come across at least 7 of these birds in the past week. This Snowy owl in particular wasn’t to bothered by my presence and even when I looped around in hopes not to flush him from his perch, he remained on the rock until I passed then swooped down on another rock just ahead of me. He obviously had his eyes on me but at the same time didn’t seem to bothered with my beach combing antics.
Snowy owls in New England is not that uncommon of a sight and in recent years it seems the numbers of birds finding refuge in New England have grown, there are a few different reasons for the overwhelming population currently in New England. One reason for the influx of owls could be an abundance of food in the arctic region they call home, this would establish a banner year for breading forcing these young birds to expand outwards looking for their own territory. The other could be climate change, although from what I have heard winter seemed to get off to an early start this year.
Keep in mind if you head out to view or photograph the snowy owls, many of these birds are young and are hunting for food. They have traveled a great distance, many of these owls are starved and stressed, continuously flushing out the snowy owls will decrease their chances of survival.
Look off into salt water marshes and even along the shorelines of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, the snowy owls like wide open space with enough food in the area to sustain them for their stay.
Capturing seascapes in black and white was all about the mood, contrast and texture on this dreary Sunday morning
I headed out this morning to Westport, Massachusetts and even though it was a cloudy and damp morning, it seemed to work out well for photographing seascapes in black and white. The one important factor and worthy advice many black and white photographers will offer up is to find compositions with contrast and texture and that is exactly what I set out to accomplish with this new print.
The pounding surf of an incoming tide presented more than a few opportunities to find textures by the sea, the foggy and humid atmosphere provided plenty of contrasting features within the scene to make it interesting.
Drawn right in to the meditative sounds of a receding tide, it was a waiting game for the right wave and a combination of the right shutter speed. I just loved seeing the tide working it’s magic and reclaiming the shore, watching the stones being pushed and pulled along the sand in a rhythmic pulse like a swinging pendulum of an old clock are the small details I seem to focus on.
I think a big factor in refining ones seascape photography is having the ability to zone in on the minuscule details and finding a way to use these as an advantage to tell the story. Really no matter whether we are working on a portrait, seascape print or in a journalistic manner, photography is all about revealing a story whether 100% realistic or a creative vision.
My seascapes to be converted into black and white start out as imported RAW files uploaded into Lightroom5, from there I will do my post editing prior to my conversion process. Silver Efex Pro by Nik / Google is the most powerful black and white post processing software available to photographers today. A very smooth conversion process with a unique ability to selectively and creatively fine tune your images makes the transition to black and white with little effort.
We have a long way to go for any color of spring so I am sure you’ll see more black and white prints from me in the future !
Boat Art Prints – A mission, passion or obsession
This week I put together a collection of boat art prints that a client had selected; these prints will be placed in a doctor’s office out of the New England area. Since the doc has ties to New England he thought they would add a nice touch of New England charm to his office and reflect on what he misses most about Massachusetts.
As I looked at my “Old Salt” print I have to say he is right, for me when I see this print I think of the Gorton’s fisherman. I don’t know why, maybe it’s just the back story I envision in my head, maybe even because I named it old salt.
I spend a good amount of time looking for these old nautical treasures, for me they are usually few and far between and not every boat I find makes the cut for my boat art prints.
I couldn’t even tell you the amount of miles I travel over the course of the spring and summer searching for these old boats. My wife laughs and says it takes 10 prints just to cover my breakfast and lunches when I’m out exploring the coastal roads. I even thought about sending out a note looking for leads on locations of old boats, the reward being a print if it fit the vision.
The hardest part is I have these day dreams and visions of an old boat just moored off the shore, beautiful soft light and water that appears like glass. To actually find a boat is one thing, the other part is to have picture perfect conditions line up just right and at the right time.
My goal for the coming season is to explore more of Maine and the beautiful bays and inlets of Down East. As I plan and research, I just know harbors with names like Belfast Harbor, Goose Cove, Owls Head Bay and so many others must be the promise land for my boat art prints.
Art photography is all about connecting three key elements together and achieving one goal
Recently I had an inquiry about a photography workshop, I’ve given a few private workshops, one larger presentation & workshop here in Rhode Island, it has never been something I put together on a regular basis.
This had me thinking, my photography has been a solitary connection for me, something where I connected three key elements and I have never worked myself through my own thought process of creating.
The Vision –
As photographers we are constantly looking for a composition that we connect with, a sky that stops us in our tracks or a slice of light that shines on a lone subject walking down an alley.
The photographer looking to produce artistic photography is on a never ending journey, sometimes looking for the unknown but is it really unknown because we usually know it when we see it.
The unknown is really a vision; the truth of the unknown is if we will ever be able to connect with that vision.
The visual of art photography is about a challenge, endurance and patience and knowing when we have achieved our vision.
I can’t tell you the amount of days my camera hasn’t been even turned on, I take every moment I have and enjoy it, but I know when my enjoyment and my vision are not connecting.
We know what we have seen and felt but art photography is about combining a visual capture to other elements for a grand appreciation.
The Emotion –
The emotional aspect is connecting our vision with our feelings, a photograph without emotion is just a photograph – a photograph with emotion is art.
Artistic photography is the ability to convey what you have seen and felt, the wind blowing at our backs or the bursting rays of sunlight in your eyes. The emotional aspect is the ability to recreate these feelings into the photograph and give the viewer the depth, action, light and feeling and of course emotion.
I know within my own seascape photography, emotion plays a large part of my work, the picture is not only a representation of what I have seen visually but what I was feeling at the time.
Emotion is not something that can be taught in a workshop, emotion in photography comes from finding yourself within your own photography.
Being Unique –
Some may think this is the hardest part and to some extent it just might be. I think influence plays a large role in inspiration but when you have the ability to apply your own unique creativity whether it is in post processing or composition elements, that becomes your style or signature.
One of the greatest compliments I ever received was someone once told me they recognized my work before they even saw that I photographed it. This person felt I had a uniqueness about my prints from the paper that it was on to the creativity within the seascape that had my name on it without a real signature.
Art photography for me is a constantly evolving, I never chase another photographer’s photograph, I drive myself to find my own unique interpretation.
The fact is you could line several photographers up and take the same shot, send them away to make their final edits in post processing, although similar, each photograph will have their own unique signature. Some would even joke if they were there at the same time, I’ve had it happen to me!