July 23, 2006 10:32 AM   Subscribe

PhotoBlogFilter: Tips on starting a photo journal? Oh, snap! There's

I've been in love with photography for ages, and am trying to work on honing my skills without just taking loads of meaningless photos. I've also tried to commit myself to blogging every other day- but that's never worked in the past. I thought a photo diary might be a great way to combine them both, so I though I'd ask for tips here- What do you guys thing the most interesting things to look at are? This diary wouldn't include pictures of me (since I'm obviously the ninja behind the camera) but I'd like to be able to tell a story about my day without using words if at all possible, save for a couple of place captions. Also, how can I commit myself to my every other day regime? I figured AskMeFi would know, if anyone would. Thanks in advance, guys, and please give me any other tips you can think of, or words of wisdom.
posted by Glitter Ninja to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
1. Get a blog (I set up a modified version of folderblog for myself -- no database, no fuss)
2. Take camera with you everywhere.
3. Post photos soon after you take them.

That's it really. The crucial step is #2. If you don't have your camera, you can't take pictures. You may still find it hard to take photos, but try to remind yourself that you have your camera everytime you see something interesting.
posted by beerbajay at 1:11 PM on July 23, 2006

I've been keeping a photoblog for over a year now. I post a new photo every day, and the photo is always from the day before.

This was actually my third attempt at keeping a photoblog... the first two died in their first month.

Two things I did differently with this one that I think made the difference:

First, I committed to posting every single day. I can't tell you why, but for me, it's a simple, straightforward discipline that works.

Second, I allow myself to post anything. Some shots are great, and some are not. Some days I'll even write in my entry, "Okay, this picture is really really boring." And that's okay. Some entries I write a lot, and some I don't write at all.

Some more practical advice:

I agree with beerbajay - take a camera with you everywhere. I take two; I keep an ultralight, ultraslim 7.2 megapixel camera in my pants pocket at all times, and my DSLR comes with me on special outings or is ready in the car.

Set up a blog system that is dead simple, or you will hate it. Don't try to get too fancy to start with; don't bother trying to hyperlink your images to larger versions, or use Flash, or auto-generate "email this to your friends" links, or anything. Simplify, simplify until it works and it is quick.

Name the photos you post on your blog so you can find them later. You might make backups, or move to different blog software, or who knows what. Your going to have a lot of files, name them well.

I name photos like this:




One last thing, I guess - I use photoshop to get a picture ready to post. I have a bunch of macros (or 'actions') set up to perform certain tasks to conform my photos to the right size, etc. for posting to my blog. I open the photo, crop it a little, hit one of my trusty macros, and save. Done. The most important features in photoshop, IMHO, are the three auto-adjusts: auto levels, auto contrast, auto color, and the "save for web" feature, which optimizes the file size for web viewing.

Good luck! Remember, keep it simple and fun. The rewards are so worth it.
posted by blahtsk at 2:41 PM on July 23, 2006 [1 favorite]

Some great advice in this thread. I'll just add one thing that helps me: Sometimes I give myself assignments. If I see an interesting building on the way to work but don't have time to stop and shoot it, I'll make a point of going back later and giving it plenty of time. In addition to the shots I was expecting, I almost always find some other photogenic thing I hadn't noticed before.

Oh, one more thing: Include captions. Maybe it's the journalist in me, but I appreciate a good photo even more when I know a bit about it. No need say much unless you want to; most of the captions on my photoblog are nothing more than when and where.

Good luck, and have fun.
posted by diddlegnome at 3:56 PM on July 23, 2006

I, too, have photoshop actions for resizing photos. My blog has only one size for the photo (usually 640x480)

I have folderblog sort all my photos by name, and since my camera names things sequentially, I just leave the filenames as-is. When I do adjustments (not often) I'll just append an 'A' to distinguish the photo from the original.

It also helps that my laptop has a builtin SD card reader so transferring photos is super simple.
posted by beerbajay at 5:06 PM on July 23, 2006

Everything I was going to suggest has already been posted. Avoiding perfectionism about what you put online and bringing a camera everywhere even when you think you won't need it are both crucial. If you can get those down, you'll be set.

One little thing: consider carrying a small notebook and writing reminders to yourself about photogenic things you see but don't get a chance to photograph right away. Then you'll have subject matter to revisit on days when your normal surroundings seem visually bland. I'm constantly going "oh wow, I want to take a picture of that!" and then forgetting about it 5 minutes later.
posted by introcosm at 6:26 PM on July 23, 2006

I post to my photoblog pitifully sporadically, but find it to be one of the most satisfying things I've ever done. I currently use PixelPost and find it to be really nice. Used Movable Type for a while, but it's too cumbersome for a photoblog (at least for me it was). If you don't want to or aren't capable of hosting your own site, it can be done with free blog engines like Blogger, too (this is what my brother did and it turned out fairly well).

As far as everything else goes, the advice given here is stellar. Follow it. It's not rocket science. You'll be glad you did.

Good luck!
posted by chaosscontrol at 8:38 AM on July 24, 2006

I'd like to post an opinion that is a dissent from the advice thus far. I find the way to keep blogging enjoyable is to only post when you have something interesting to say/show.

Still take photos of everything, just only put up the ones you like or are proud of or you feel compelled to show people or write about. One of the main things that keeps me posting to my blog is looking back over past posts and liking them. If I looked back over my archives and saw a lot of writing that I didn't like, or descriptions or boring events (stuff I'd just put up to keep to a post-every-day routine), I think I'd get discouraged and stop.

Mind you, unlike most, I don't look at blogs as diaries, more as edited highlights.
posted by pollystark at 3:18 AM on July 25, 2006

The much more interesting question is what do YOU think the most interesting things to look at are? The answer to that question is what being a photographer is all about. If you try to take photos to please other people, you'll go nowhere fast. Share YOUR vision of the world.
posted by BobsterLobster at 8:50 AM on July 25, 2006

Sorry, half my post is missing! It started off with 'What do you guys thing the most interesting things to look at are?'
posted by BobsterLobster at 8:51 AM on July 25, 2006

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