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Posts tagged ‘Blogging’

Something for Friday

Some decisions have been made recently and one of them is to do my posts on two blogs. This one and the one on my website. I would like the one on my website to become my main blog, and in time I hope everyone will find their way there.

Some other changes are going to happen as well. I plan on cutting down on how often I blog. I think I will go to four times a week, and see how that goes. I need to find some time to do some other things, which I am excited about. My posts on Friday are going to combine my Bits and Bobs post as well as looking at images I have put up on Social Media.

Social Media seems to be a very important aspect for any photographer these days. With that in mind I’ve been trying to use it a lot more and putting more photos on certain platforms. I have been building up Instagram and trying to put one or two photos up there each day. It has been good going through all my older images and seeing what I can put up. I have also worked on some new images. I really like how my Instagram account is looking. I hope you enjoy the new and old photos.

There have been some people who have asked that I show some images of what the inside of the magazine looks like. Here are four samples of pages that can be found in the latest edition. If you haven’t got your copy yet then here is the link.

Dynamic Range Magazine.

 

Tuesday’s Bits and Bobs: Getting Ready

This time next Tuesday I will getting ready to board a plane. I would be almost at the airport and, I no doubt, will be feeling incredibly anxious as I get ready to take my first international flight in over 20 years, and my first ever on my own.

Trip the USAmacro-mallee-viv-garden-mine089

This week is very busy, but I don’t have a lot to report. I am spending the week getting things finished before I go and getting other things finalized.

Blog

The blog will be different while I’m away. I don’t want to stop doing it, but somethings I do now take a bit of time, like Monochrome Madness, so I am going to take a break from my usual routine. I will still blog, but I am going to do more a journal style and write about my trip.

The laptop I will be using isn’t great for processing, I also won’t have the time to do lots of work on images, so there might be a lot of photos taken with the phone, or processed very quickly. I macro-mallee-viv-garden-mine085will have Lightroom with me so I will be able to do some basic processing. I will wait until I get back to do most of the photos.

This will start from next week, most probably on Monday. There will be a Monochrome Madness post, but it will be on Tuesday, my time, and from there it will be the journal of my trip.

Monochrome Madness, if you don’t get your image to me by Sunday, it won’t go in the post.

Gear

Two new lens from Tamron Australia have arrived.  They have sent me the 15-30mm which is going to be brilliant in New York, and the 28-300mm. I went out yesterday with a friend to Banyule Flats and took the 28-300mm with me, can I start by saying wow. I’ve never used a lens macro-mallee-viv-garden-mine088like that would let me get that close to objects. It was almost as good as my macro, almost. I knew I wasn’t going to take my macro with me, there are only so many I can, but with this lens I will still be able to get close things and I think it will be a great compromise.

I am going to be using the Lowepro ProRunner II backpack on this trip. The bag has been loaned to me by Lowepro and it looks perfect for what I need. It is the smaller one, but there is enough room in it for my camera, three lenses, a few other pieces, but also my laptop will fit in as well. It will be my carry on luggage. The great thick straps are going to make it fine to wear.

Maxwell International Australia have also loaned me a gorrillapod. I’ve never used one before, so I’m really looking forward to trying that out. It is a Joby and is rather cool. It has a ballhead on it macro-mallee-viv-garden-mine091and a good size, so it is going to be fun seeing the different ways I can use it.  As I said, it will be my first time using it, and I think I will take it out with me each day and see how I can use it.

I’ve had my Merrell Moab hiking shoes for a little while and I’ve been getting out and wearing them as much as possible. I don’t want my trip to be spoiled by uncomfortable feet.

I’ve ordered some new memory cards and have decided to give SanDisk a miss on this trip and go with Lexar. I keep hearing good things about their cards, and that’s enough for me.

Clothes

I don’t know what clothes to pack, I assume summer ones, and maybe a couple of things for if the weather starts to cool. We are still wearing winter stuff here, so I’m not sure. Any tips from macro-mallee-viv-garden-mine084people about the weather there would be great.

Photos Today

I found some photos that were taken almost exactly a year ago. They are flowers from my mothers garden, so I was in the Mallee a year ago. It seemed like a good idea to show them today, I hope you enjoy seeing them again.

UfD: My Seven Tips for Blogging

Sometimes it is hard to find a topic for these posts, but for a while I’ve been thinking about blogging. I get asked questions all the time about my blog and I thought if you wanted to know my seven top tips for blogging, then what would they be. So I’ve been thinking about them for awhile and this is what I’ve come up with.

1 – Blog like you like to read blogs.

It sounds cliché but it is so true. If you want people to read your blog, think about the blogs you love and then ask  yourself why you like them. Then take those answers and apply them to yours. It is a valuable exercise. You want to railway-0709-1scattract like minded people to yourself, so blog the way they do. Don’t copy them, but look at the ways they do things and see if you can incorporate some of that yourself.

2 – You get what you put in.

I was going to call this point ‘if you build it they won’t come’, but thought maybe not. However, it is true, if you want people to visit your blog, then you need to start visiting other blogs as well. Looking, and liking posts let’s others know you are there and saying hello really let’s them know.

3 – Think about your followers.

I think sometimes people don’t think enough about their followers and how their blog affects them. We all know blogs sczinnia-hdr4that post a single photo and then do that a 100 times a day. If you are following them then every time they post you get an email. Your inbox is filling up quickly. It goes back to that first point, if you don’t like that, then make sure you don’t do it.

4 – Resize your images.

If you post large res images you run the risk of people stealing them. High res images can be used for anything. Don’t think your photos aren’t good enough, there are many people who have thought their images weren’t and found out they had been stolen.

The other problem is that large images can make your blog very hard to load. There are places around the world where the internet connection can be very bad, or people don’t have unlimited data. Make it easy for people to see your blog and make sure you resize your images to smaller files.

5 – People don’t have a lot of time to read.scdwight-hpm6877-5

Someone asked me once how much should they write. I said try for around 500 words. I know that lots of people don’t read my blog and only look at the photos. I can’t be disappointed with that, but for those that do read it I try very hard not to write too many words. I think blog posts shouldn’t be longer than 1000 words at the most. I know it isn’t always easy, but I try hard for that. Now that is my personal preference, you might decide differently. Again it goes back to that first point, if you like reading very long blogs then you could write them.

I have heard, I don’t know if it is still true, that if you want Google to find you that you need at least 300 words. I try to write at least that much, but sometimes I don’t worry.

6 – Be Consistent

Really the trick here is that you shouldn’t be inconsistent. If you blog on regular basis then people will know when to look at your blog. Blogs who only post every now and then are hard to follow. You don’t have to blog every day, but you scbarwon-8016-se1could blog three times a week, once a week or even once a month, just do it consistently.

7 – Be certain about what your blog is about.

It is important to know why you are blogging and follow that through. My blog is about photography, so I won’t suddenly do a post on sewing quilts. If there is no photography angle then I don’t blog about it. Sometimes I sneak things in, but really, I am very strict about that. I suggest you do the same, I think it helps make your blog a lot stronger.

So they are my tips, what would you suggest to someone if they asked you?

The photos are all from the first couple of years that I was blogging. I’m coming up to 5 years soon, so it is always interesting looking back.

Up for Discussion: Up for Discussion

This week I thought we could talk about these posts, what is good about them, what you like, and maybe what we can do with them next year. It is the time of year to be winding down, so I didn’t want to do anything heavy today, I know many are very busy getting ready for Christmas next year, so I thought we could have a post here on Up for Discussion.

Guest Posting

I have loved having people guest post.  It has been interesting and gives you all more diversity having others come in and discuss things that I don’t know anything about.  IMG_20140921_231953

It is also a great opportunity for me to learn something new as well. They are something I would like to continue next year, though finding people to guest post isn’t always easy.

It has been wonderful when people have come to me with an idea of what they would like to guest post about and then we can talk about it.  Many of the guest posts I’ve had have been from people approaching me.  I will continue to allow people to do guest posts next year, so if you have an idea of something you think would be good, send me an email.

Topics

IMG_20140924_112930I would also like to hear from you what topics you would like covered.

I am at a loss sometimes, and don’t know what to write about.  I do these posts for you, so I wouldn’t mind at all if you told me what you want me to post about.  Doesn’t mean I will be able to do it, but then again, I might be able to find someone else who could do a post on that.

Do you want more photography posts, or would you like to see some more posts about blogging?  I think both those topics are fine for a photography blog.  I know some of the previous posts on blogging have been very popular, but I don’t quite know what to post about, so your input and ideas would be valuable.

Travel PostsIMG_20140903_154442

One thing I thought we might start are some travel posts.  Maybe once a month we could do a city from around the world, where we can talk about places that people can go and take photos.  Where you are and aren’t allowed to go, if tripods are practical, that sort of thing.  I want them to be interactive, so people can add to the post.  That probably doesn’t make sense, but it is something I want to try.IMG_20140828_180756

Your Say

I’m going to leave it there for this week.  Lots of things to think about, but I would really like to hear from you and see what you would like from these posts.  Maybe you have an idea that I haven’t thought of, or you think some of my ideas are great and want me to go ahead with them.  All things would be welcomed.

Photos Today

For this post I have got many of my Instagram photos and thought I would share them with your here.  I don’t do Instagram much, but try to do it when I go somewhere to take photos.  The idea being if you follow me on Instagram you get an idea of what posts will be coming up.  The photos here are from the last six months.

 

Up for Discussions – SEO for Photographers, Part 1

labeToday’s Up for Discussion post has been written by Mary McAvoy, she also has a WordPress blog, Sublime Days.  Mary wrote commented on my post last week about post production and started telling me about what I should be doing to get better at SEO. I’m sure many or most of you have heard of this. I keep getting emails from people telling me if I pay them they can get my SEO rating a lot higher, and my husbnad keeps saying Google hate them and if you do it, it will make it worse.  So Mary was telling me things I didn’t know, so thought it would be great for us all to hear.  It is tough area, but really, it is so very important and you all should read it, think about it, and see you can make some changes to your blog/website, next week she will talk about images.

I will hand it over to Mary now.

I’m grateful to Leanne for giving me this opportunity to share with her readers what I know about search engine optimization (SEO) and how it pertains to photographers who blog and who have a website on WordPress.

This article will come to you in two parts. Part 2 will post next week.

First, about SEO generally.

I’m surmising that pretty much everyone who reads this post has, at one time or another, “searched” or “googled” a topic. You typed in words that you hoped would bring you to web pages that specifically addressed the particular topic about which you had interest. The words you typed in are “search terms.”

Search “engines” or “spiders” or “robots” or “bots” read those terms and in milliseconds they scoured the world wide web and then presented to you pages of results, listed about ten to a page. If you were accurate in your choice of search terms, your hoped for results came right up on that first page, perhaps even in the first three sites presented on the first page.

To understand SEO, you need to know that the bots’ search behavior is governed by an algorithm – a set of instructions that tells them how to prioritize what they find on the millions of sites they are scanning for you. This algorithm is changed and refined all the time by search services (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.) in an effort to make search results more accurate for the person who is searching the internet, and also to weed out spam from being listed in the search results. Also, different search services have their own algorithms, though there is much overlap. What I’ll discuss in this post is pretty standard in any search service.

Now, let’s look at that same topic but from your point of view as a blogging photographer or a photographer with a website. For the purpose of this post (and for Leanne’s benefit), I’m going to assume that your photography is a business enterprise. And I’m going to assume that your two goals in having a website are to sell your images and to offer lessons in photography. I’m also going to give instructions based on using WordPress (WP).

Here we go.

When you write a post or create pages of your website, you should have a few things on our mind:

1) good content (i.e. quality writing or text)

2) an exceptional and deliberate heading (h1) or title for your post while keeping SEO in mind

3) well labeled photos

and last but hardly least, here’s what’s most important in terms of SEO as you prepare a post:

– in your content and when labeling photos, use the terms a person would type into a search box to find the post you are writing. Think as they would think and use the terms you imagine them using to find the topic of your post. Those terms should be throughout the post and also added as category and tag words

Below I’ll elaborate on each of the above.

1) About good content – believe it or not, the bots do care that the quality of your writing is good. This is one way they can sift out spam sites. If your writing is done well and stays on the topic of the keywords you add as “categories” and “tags” (and also on the topic of your overall site) then you’ll be better viewed by the bots. As you write, know that the first paragraph is the most important in terms of what the bots “read” so put your keywords in that paragraph. Make this opening paragraph concise and directly related to your topic.

2 About your heading (h1) – the heading(h1) of your post is the “title” you put into the title bar at the top of the page where you write your post on WordPress. (It is also the page titles of the pages on a site. But I won’t digress to that in this post.) In the image below “Leanne Cole Offers Lesson for Street Photographers” is the title. It’s of utmost importance that the most defining words (the search words) of your post appear in this title line. This is the top hierarchy for the bots. This title bar creates an “h1” level heading. In the search algorithm, the number one thing the searching bot looks for is h1 content. H1 content is brief – generally the title. (So, you can’t change your whole content to h1! To do that would probably be looked upon as spamming!)


SEO post title sample

 

Often as you write a post, if you are thinking about SEO (and you should be if your site’s purpose is to promote your business), you’ll change to more targeted and succinct titles (h1 content). To help you understand refining your h1 content, let’s say you decided to change the title above to something even more focused on searchability. So, you might changed it to: Street Photography Lessons by Leanne Cole.

A WP tip: If you change the heading at any point while you are preparing a post, be sure you edit it in the line just below the title bar. To do so, click on the Edit button. The text that now shows (in the image below) in yellow will turn to blue. Copy the text in your title bar and paste it into the edit bar, replacing what was there.

So, before (as you change the title/h1):

SEO post h1 edit in WordPress

And after:

SEO post h1 title change

Then press OK. WP automatically puts the whole title in lowercase and adds the dashes between the words so that you don’t have to. But read it to be sure it’s correct. You should make a habit of checking this bar before you Publish your post to be sure it’s accurate. It is the most important SEO content in your post.

NOTE: While I’m on the topic of headings, do you see that Paragraph bar in the first image above – it’s in the lower row all the way to the left in the tool bar? If you click on the down arrow next to Paragraph, you’ll see all your heading choices.

It will look like this:

Wordpress dropdown menu for headings

These options are not just about the font look. Anything you change to heading 1 (h1), heading 2 (h2), heading 3 (h3), etc. will set a hierarchy of search importance. So, you might make a short subheading (one or two brief sentences) in h2, placed as your first paragraph in the post body area. It would be made up of content that includes the next most important keywords that are not in your title (h1), though it might also repeat the content of your title. Unlike the writing we were taught in school, in blog writing you should repeat your key words and phrases in the most natural way you can. For this post example Leanne might add an h2 that reads: I’m offering a Street Photography lesson in Melbourne this Saturday, September 21, 2013, at noon.”

Part 2 of this topic will be published by Leanne next week.

It will cover 3) labeling your photos.

Please let me know if you have questions and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Mary McAvoy-Syntax and Style

Mary McAvoy is an author and photographer. She owns Syntax and Style, a business that specializes in the web presence of writers and photographers. Mary’s been blogging since 2007.

Her sites are:

sublime days – where Mary writes about all sorts of things and shares about her writing and her books

The Ripest Pics – Mary’s photography site

MaryMcAvoy-Photography – Mary’s photography-for-sale site (hosted by Fine Art America)

SilverLining-MaryMcAvoy – Mary’s photo-blog about a pond in New England

 

Up for Discussion – Pros and Cons of Blogs

I am so sorry, I have to make this quick today, I am attending a seminar this morning that the AIPP is running on portrait photos, The Simple Creative, and I can’t talk for too long here, but today I thought it would be interesting to LeanneCole-pinklakes-6263talk about blogs, maybe get some advice to people starting them up, or on tips how people can make them better.

Cons

Recently I received an email from a blogger friend who asked me why don’t people put where in the world they are in their About section or somewhere on their blog.  I wrote back saying, I know, why don’t they.  I often seeing images from people on their blogs and since I am always interested in places I often go to peoples About pages read through it to see where they are.  Most of the time there is nothing.  I don’t think you need to be really specific, like I tell people I live in Australia, I am in the city of Melbourne, but I live in suburb near Heidelberg.  Actually I don’t think I tell people that last part, though I do tell people when they ask.

It is important, because if you are taking photos of a place that catches someone eye then there is the possibility that they want to see that place for themselves oneLeanneCole-pinklakes-6277 day and go there.

Another thing I don’t like, is when you see an amazing photo on someone’s blog, or a photo of an amazing place and there is no clue where it was taken.  I see that on Facebook too, people go away and put up photos of their trip, but they don’t have any explanations about where the photos were taken.  On a blog you could put it in the tags if you really don’t want to put any writing in the post.

Pros

I like to know something about the person who is doing the post and I like to feel like I am getting to know that person.  I really relate well to artistic people, and I LeanneCole-pinklakes-6171find so many here. I feel that through my own blog and those of
others I have built up a fantastic friendship group.  Emails are always going back and forward.

I like to read blogs they are easy to follow, have nice breaks in them and wonderful images.  I am a visual person and I love looking at photos. I just love the visual world.

My best advice I could give someone who was starting a blog is, write it the same way as the blogs you love to read.

My turn to stop now.  What do you like to see on other peoples blogs?  What information do you go looking for when you visit a blog?  What do people LeanneCole-pinklakes-6333do that you don’t like?  What advice would you give someone who was just starting a blog?

These posts are a great way to share knowledge, so please contribute.

I will approve them, as long as they are nice and not nasty in any way. Please address your comment and advice to Stacy.

Feel free to respond or reply to other comments.  It would be good to generate some discussion.

If you have a topic that you would like discussed, or a problem you need help with then please send me an email and we will see if we can do a post about it.

A gallery for you to see the images individually now.  The images in this post, one you have seen before, but the others are new, I have worked on them to see about entering them into a competition.

Up for Discussion – Why We Blog

Yesterday, in a comment, someone said something about why people blog.  I thought it was a great idea to discuss this.  It is different for everyone and, if you are anything like me, those reasons have changed over time.  So I will start, this is why I blog.

I started blogging just over 4 years ago, but I started on another platform, but I did come to WordPress in September 2010.  Originally it started as a way to help me make art.  I was an artist but I was/am a lazy person and I need a push.  My good friend from Uni had started blogging to get her to create art, it seemed like a good idea, so I did the same.

SAMSUNGNot photographed very well, but a lino print I did from I photo I had taken at a cycling race.  I was back into photography then, but not totally committed.  I was trying to find some way to do both.

SAMSUNGI kept drawing.

bitsandpiecesI wanted to keep painting.

It was all getting too much, so in June 2011 I made the decision to stop doing art, as in anything like drawing or painting.  I had to concentrate on one thing, and get as good as I could at that, I chose photography.  It is a decision I have never regretted. I’m totally committed to it now.

20110103-1066I was still photographing cycling, but it wasn’t going to last for much longer.  Once I realised that I could still take photos of anything, I knew that I had to get back to some other things.

sctulips-hpm5613-7I really liked where my work was going and I really liked what was happening on this blog.  In the last twelve months my blog has grown a lot and I have wanted to share it with more people, I like doing the Introductions/Influencing Me posts, it is a great way to showcase other peoples work.  I like that it is becoming more a community sort of thing, and now with the Monochromatic Madness Challenge, it great to share the work of so many others.  It also helps to push me.

I think my blog is still about art, but my life as a photographic artist, and that is great with me. One of the most rewarding things about blogging has been the huge number of friends that I have made.  A virtual world wide group.  That has been so amazing, and now I chat with some on facebook and Google+, virtual friendships.

So why do you blog?  How long have you been blogging for?  Has your reasons for blogging changed since you started?

You can comment and tell us how, but if you have blogged about this already, or want to, then just leave a link in the comments section.

I thought I would share some random photos from the last few years.