3 reasons why you should keep a photoblog

by Chris Dunn

Last week, we went over three reasons why you should keep your photojournalism portfolio updated, as well as a few tools to help you publish your portfolio. Here’s something else all photojournalists (and any journalist who totes a camera around) should consider: Keep a photoblog.

Your photoblog can be a rough draft of your portfolio: It’s a great way to showcase your best recent work and to show that you’re an active photographer. Photoblogging is also an excellent medium for…

1. Posting photos that weren’t published by your news outlet.

No doubt you had a lot of great photos from an assignment, but for an editorial or any number of reasons, some of your best or favorite shots didn’t make the official cut. Your photoblog is the perfect place to publish these photos. (You might want to consider posting your news outlet’s copyright information, too, to cover your legal bases.)

Here, Romanian photojournalist Catalin Abagiu — who interned in Vermont/New Hampshire last fall — blogged three frames of the same boy catching the season’s first snowflakes. Only one was published, but you can read in the comments how divided different photographers’ opinions were over which was the most effective photo.

2. Giving a “behind-the-lens” look at your photos.

Want to explain why you messed up or completely aced a shoot? Share what camera settings and light set-ups you used to make a standout photo? Give readers more complete information about a photo than a two- or three-sentence caption can provide? Do it in your photoblog.

Corey Perrine is a newspaper photographer now in Augusta, Ga. His blog hasn’t seen an update since January, but the posts he published are well-written and delve into his thought processes and techniques for each of the photos.

3. Posting photos that were taken off-assignment.

Probably one of the most annoying aspects of being friends with a photojournalist is, photojournalists rarely put their cameras down even when they’re off-shift. The resulting photos of personal travels, food adventures and whatever else may not be strictly journalistic in nature, but they’re still a great way to show who you are as a person, not just as a photojournalist.

In one of his blog posts, Mark Mulligan — a newspaper photographer in Everett, Wa. — shares a few Polaroids from his honeymoon. His post doesn’t tell much about who he is as a photojournalist, but it does say a lot about who he is as a photographer.

Other notes about photoblogging

How often you update your blog depends on how often you’re making pictures and how inclined you are to edit and post them. Some photojournalists take this seriously and (attempt to) participate in one-photo-a-day challenges. Others go months without blogging and suddenly dump all their best work into one or several posts.

Another area where photojournalists vary in their photoblogging styles is how text-heavy their posts are. Some are comfortable with writing lengthy posts — for example, Portland, Ore., sports photographer Bruce Ely published a detailed post explaining how he wanted and got behind-the-scenes access to the local NBA team.

On the other end of the spectrum, Midland, Mich., newspaper photographer Nick King tends to publish a single photo and caption per post.

Choose how you want to present yourself and be conscious of that with every post you publish. Whether you want to blog straight-up photojournalism or add a little bit of your own personality to the mix is entirely up to you. The most important thing is to enjoy sharing your work with others.

Next week, I’ll chat a little more about photoblogging tools and other gizmos that can help you photoblog more effectively. In the meantime, what are other reasons why you should keep a photoblog? Share in the comments!