Do you want to create an amazing photography blog, one that attracts lots of readers and gets people interested in your photography–or, better yet, in your photography business?
Then you’ve come to the right place.
Because in this article, I’m going to show you how to become an expert photography blogger. I’m going to give you five blogging for photographer tips, each focused on taking your blog to the next level. You’ll discover how to structure your posts to keep people reading, how to gain lots of traffic, and how to quickly outshine the competition.
Let’s get started.
1. Always Write With the Goal of Your Blog in Mind
Here’s the number one tip I have for beginning photography bloggers:
Start every post by asking yourself:
What is the goal of my blog?
In other words, what is the point of your blog? Why are you spending hours typing out blog posts? What do you hope to achieve?
In photography blogging, there are a number of possible reasons why you might want a blog.
For instance, you could be marketing your local photography business.
Or you could be trying to educate people about particular photography techniques.
Or you could be attempting to help readers pick the right gear.
Or you could be promoting an online photography course that you created.
All of these are fundamentally different goals–and each goal requires a different type of blog.
If you’re marketing your local photography business, you might want to cover example photoshoots (e.g., I had a great portrait session with Client X), and you might also want to cover posts that potential customers will find useful (e.g., best portrait photoshoot locations in City Y).
If you’re trying to promote an online photography course, you might want to discuss items that are related to the course, such as basic photography techniques or helpful post-processing tips.
That’s why you need to be up-front about your goals from the very beginning. You don’t want to spend months detailing your various photoshoots only to realize that people buying your course aren’t actually interested in that type of blog post.
(How would you know they’re not interested? That’s in tip number five!)
One way to make sure you’re on track regarding your blogging goals is to ask yourself whether your target readers would find all of your posts interesting. So if you’re promoting your portrait photography business, would a portrait client like what you’re planning to write? And if you’re attempting to educate people about photography fundamentals, then would a beginner photographer be interested in your list of topics?
Because here’s the thing:
A blog takes time–time that you could be spending on something else.
So you need to budget your time wisely.
And part of that budgeting involves making sure you’re getting the most out of your photography blog–and that you’re not wasting it on content that doesn’t help you achieve your goal!
2. Use a Bit of Keyword Research and Guest Posting to Get Traffic to Your Articles
Here’s something that beginning photography bloggers worry about a lot:
In other words, getting eyeballs on their content.
And the truth is that you can have the best-written blog in the world, but nobody will read it–unless you use a traffic-gaining technique.
Now, there are a few ways of getting traffic on your website. You can use advertising, Facebook, Instagram, forums, even word of mouth.
But the easiest way to get traffic to your website in 2020, by far, is with SEO.
SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it’s a fancy way of saying that you need to make Google want to display your articles to readers. If you can write content that Google likes, you can get your posts in front of thousands (even millions) of readers.
Google’s algorithm is always evolving, so it’s impossible to say whether the tricks that work today will work next week. But generally speaking, Google likes content:
- That covers a topic thoroughly
- That uses relevant keywords
- That readers respond well to
- With backlinks (that is, links from other websites to your content)
Let’s tackle these ideas one at a time.
First, if you want to get your articles served up by Google, you need to write thorough posts. Brief articles of 300 words aren’t going to cut it; instead, you should aim for 1000 words at a minimum, and more if you can.
You also want to make sure your articles are comprehensive. Don’t write 900 words of fluff and 100 words of sound advice. Make every word count.
Second, you want to use relevant keywords throughout your article. That is, you want to use keywords that people are searching for–especially in your title and your headings. So if you’re writing an article on selecting the best aperture for portrait photography, don’t call it “The Most Efficacious Method for Setting a Lens Diaphragm Size.”
Instead, call it “The Best Aperture for Portrait Photography: A Guide,” or something similar. This title may sound boring, but it tells Google what your article is about, and lets them serve the article up to people who are genuinely interested in the topic.
If you’re not sure what keywords to slip into an article, try thinking about what people who are interested in your topic might search for–and if you get stuck, you can always look at forums. There are also some great keyword research tools out there, such as Ahrefs, SEMRush, or KWFinder. And I recommend typing your topic into Google and check out the People Also Search For (at the bottom of the page) as well as the Autocomplete function in the search bar for further recommendations.
Third, you want to write content that readers respond well to. Google recognizes if people are hitting the back button as soon as they come upon your article–and Google will compensate for this by burying your article in the search results.
So make sure your content is well written, looks good, and is to the point. Also, give every article a title that clearly conveys the topic you’re about to cover; don’t try to be clever!
And fourth, Google loves articles that have backlinks. In other words, you want other websites to link to your content as much as possible–though you should be careful, because not all backlinks are created equal. It’s not particularly useful to spam forums with links to your articles. Instead, you want backlinks that are from authoritative sources (the more well-known, the better!). And you do this by writing high-quality content that people want to link to.
If you’re struggling to get backlinks (and most photography bloggers will, at the beginning), then it might make sense to write some guest posts for popular photography websites. Guest posts are a great way to get a few links to your site–and, as an added bonus, you’ll often get readers clicking through to check out your own work, including your blog.
3. Include an Email List to Ensure Returning Readers
If a person makes it to your website, either through Google, a link on another website, social media, or word of mouth…
…then how do you ensure that they keep coming back? What stops them from reading an article, forgetting your site name, and moving on forever?
One thing, and one thing only:
Your email list.
By this, I’m referring to a basic method of capturing readers’ email addresses, so that you can start sending them messages–about your latest blog post, for instance!
Here’s how it works:
First, you put a sign-up form on your website. The reader enters their email address, as well as any other details you’re interested in (though it’s generally best to keep things simple).
Then, the next time you publish a blog post, you send out a blast, like this:
Do you want to know how to X?
I just published an article that will explain how–in 3 easy steps!
Check it out here:
Until next time,
And all of your subscribers, everyone who has shown interest in your website by signing up for your email list, will instantly receive news of your post. If it’s the type of article they want to read, then they’ll click, and–voila!–you’ll get regular readers.
Now, creating an email list is an extremely effective way of turning some blog traffic into returning readers (or customers). But it does take a bit of work, because you’ll need to set up your email list through some sort of program, most of which cost money. MailChimp is a decent way to get started for free, but as you grow you’ll want to start looking at other options that provide greater flexibility, such as ConvertKit or Drip.
You’ll also need to create sign-up forms, then distribute these around your website. I’d recommend, at the very least, a form at the end of every article (because anyone who made it to the end of an article is probably interested in more content). You might also add a sidebar sign-up form, and you can even have a dedicated page on your website called Newsletter (or something similar) that allows people to subscribe.
You should also consider creating something called a lead magnet. It works by getting readers to subscribe for your blog in return for a free item–such as an eBook, a cheat sheet, some presets, etc. These can be very effective when used as pop-ups, assuming that you create a high-quality lead magnet that actually provides value and is of interest to the reader.
So think about possible lead magnet ideas, work on getting your email list set up–and pretty soon, you’ll have a real readership!
4. Make Your Posts Easy to Read and Image-Heavy
These days, it’s not enough to be good at driving traffic to your site.
You have to also create content that’s very high quality. You want readers to come to your site and want to sign up for more. You want people who get genuine value out of the articles you write.
How do you do this?
First, you structure your posts carefully. Before creating a new post, you should outline it–identifying the core message of the post, and how you can convey it throughout the article. There should be no detours or asides, only an intense focus on conveying the main topic to the reader.
Then, when you actually write your posts, make them extremely easy to read. In this, simple vocabulary is your friend. You’re not writing a literary novel; instead, you’re giving instructions to the average reader. So instead of writing with flowery, traditional prose, write the way you’d talk.
Use informal language.
And use lots and lots of line breaks.
In fact, it’s okay to create new paragraphs every sentence or two. New paragraphs keep the reader moving through the article–which means that they’ll get more value, which means that they’re more likely to become a subscriber and come back later.
I’d also recommend making your posts as image-heavy as possible.
No, don’t add images every third sentence. And don’t add images that are irrelevant to your main point. But you’re a blogging photographer, which means that people expect images, plus they make your articles much easier to read.
And another note about images:
Whenever possible, use your own. As a photographer, you should have many images to choose from–images that look good, and can help you convey your authority over the topic you’re discussing. While there are some good free stock websites out there (such as Unsplash.com), it’s often obvious when photos are coming from such a site, and it makes readers doubt your capabilities as a shooter.
So, to sum up:
Keep things light and easy to read.
And add lots of images.
But don’t compromise on quality, either. You should be able to write informally while also keeping things very helpful and informative. You want people to leave your site feeling like they took something away from it.
Because that’s what’ll keep people interested in the long run!
5. Make Changes in Response to Your Analytics
Here’s your final blogging for photographers tip:
Pay attention to your website.
And make changes based on what you see.
By website data, I’m referring to the analytics you can get (for free!) from sites such as Google Search Console and Google Analytics.
You see, if you want to be a successful blogger, you’re going to need to generate traffic from somewhere. And this will involve a fair few misses before you end up with hits.
Yet how are you going to know how to replicate the hits when they happen…
…if you don’t know what actually happened?
Or, even worse, if you don’t know that you’ve scored a hit at all?
That’s the purpose of analytics. In the programs mentioned above, you’ll be able to see what keywords you’re ranking for, as well as the click-through rate of searchers. You’ll also be able to see the number of views you have on each article, plus the amount of visitors who stay after reading, how long they read for, and much, much more.
This is extremely powerful, and there’s a lot you can do with analytics information. Just make sure you integrate your blog with these websites as soon as possible, because it takes time to collect data.
Personally, I recommend checking your Google Analytics account at least once per week. Analytics is where you’ll find a lot of the nitty-gritty data, such as:
Bounce rate, which indicates the number of people who hit the back button once they got to that article.
Exit rate, which indicates the number of people who left your site after reading that particular article.
Unique views, which indicates the number of people who actually laid eyes on a particular piece of content.
Imagine what you can do with this information. By knowing your bounce rates, you can decide which content had a good title and introduction (low bounce rate) and which content needs to offer a better first few paragraphs (high bounce rate). By knowing your exit rates, you can funnel people away from the high-exit areas, or you can add compelling lead magnets that will suck people in before they leave.
Blogging for Photographers: Conclusion
Now that you’ve finished this article, you should know all about how to blog as a photographer–and how you can create the best photography-related content possible.
Whether you’re a local photographer, an educator, or just someone blogging for fun, you’ll be able to produce some captivating articles.
So get writing!
Your future readers await.
To become a successful photography blogger, you’re going to want to follow a few guidelines. First, you’re going to need to determine a goal for your blog. Blogs that are aimless don’t do very well, because people don’t know what to expect from them, nor do they provide much in terms of value. Instead, think about how you can provide value as a blogger–what you can do to draw in the reader and keep them coming back for more. For instance, you might create a blog dedicated to flash photography techniques. Or you might start a blog that focuses on your post-processing knowledge.
You’re also going to want to write detailed, in-depth posts that cover topics thoroughly. Make sure your articles are visually appealing, packed full of pictures, and full of value. Creating better articles than the other blogs out there is a surefire way to attract attention.
Finally, make sure you write with the reader and Google in mind. I recommend doing a bit of keyword research before you create an article; that way, you can be sure that there’s enough interest to generate good traffic.
You have a number of keyword software options, though one of the easiest ways to find topic ideas is using Google’s People Also Search For section (at the bottom of the search results). You can also use Google’s Autocomplete function to generate ideas.
If you’re looking for paid software, Mangools is a solid, inexpensive option that offers a great interface and an excellent user experience. On the more expensive, analytics-heavy side you have software such as SEMRush and Ahrefs, which cost a lot but provide a huge amount of data to work with.
I recommend you use a few sources to decide on blogging topics. First, you’re going to want to write on topics that interest you and that you are well-versed in; don’t spend all your time writing on nature photography if your true passion is indoor portraits. So start by thinking about topics that excite you.
From there, you should attempt to refine your topics by using functions such as Google Autocomplete, or a paid keyword research tool. That way, you can make sure you write about subjects from an angle that interests readers.
Note that if you’re struggling to come up with anything to write about, a good way to generate ideas is to look at the competition. Find some photography blogs that you admire and see what they’re producing. Don’t copy their content, of course, but you can always write on the same topic from a different angle. Make sense?
Photography blogging can be a lot of fun–but it’s also a lot of work. In the early days, you’ll spend a lot of time writing with very little interest in your work. It’s only over time that you’ll start to attract an audience, and the work only gets harder (after all, now that you know people are reading, you’ll want to double and triple-check everything!). But if you take to heart the tips I’ve given above, and you’re willing to put in the work, you can become a successful photography blogger.
Jaymes Dempsey is a professional macro and nature photographer from Ann Arbor, Michigan; his work is published across the web, from Digital Photography School to PetaPixel.