There’s a dirty little secret with photography blogs — it’s the equipment reviews that pulls in the views.
You might notice that some of the popular blogs shift more and more to reviews. I’m not immune to these realities either, though I do actively try to resist. I guess it’s human nature to do more of what you are rewarded for. I started thinking of camera reviews because of a post I saw over at mingthein.com, an excellent blog by the way, and one that I follow consistently.
Ming basically writes in his post, A new way to look at reviews, that he is thinking of a palatable way to monetize his camera reviews and by extension his entire blog. Perfectly understandable. And as Ming clearly articulates, it’s a lot of work doing camera reviews and with not much upside, except if lucky, a larger viewership. You see, Mr. Thein is a professional photographer and every minute he spends on his blog is time taken away from other revenue generating opportunities.
It’s a tough world out there, especially for photographers and even successful photo bloggers. It makes sense, if you think about it. Look at the comments on Ming’s post. People acknowledge that he does great reviews but they also seem reluctant to pay for them. It’s certainly hard to fight a growing culture of free. These same forces are killing newspapers and magazines. Heck, this is the same mentality that is killing stock photography as well as the entire recorded music industry. So it’s not shocking, I suppose, that smaller fish down the food chain are also savaged by these strong currents.
So where do I fit in? Well, I’m lucky, I don’t make a living as a photographer or as a blogger. I can continue to do this as long as the sum of the value I derive from this activity outweighs all the negatives — and why I spend so much time on this blog is a topic for another post. But simply stated, it’s a major source of creativity for me, at least for now.
I am unabashedly an amateur photographer, and a passionate one, as you can hopefully tell. While I don’t have the authority of a professional or have 30 years of industry experience on my resume, I think I bring a unique point of view. While a 50-year-old talking about using film seriously for the first time, might sound laughable to the experienced, it’s a genuine experience. One that some of you out there might find interesting.
Am I going to do more camera reviews? Sure, once in a while. But it’s a lot of work and there are unintended negatives. I rather be known for good, even great photography. I fear though, at least from what I can tell from my circle of Austin friends, that I’m merely the blogger that does mirrorless camera reviews. That’s certainly not what I live for and that certainly don’t feed the creative muse. I suspect Ming, in his own professional way, feels the same. Camera reviews, monetized or not, is not the end goal, perhaps with the exception of places like dpreview.com. And how terrible is that? Look, dpreview is a great site and serves a useful purpose but I feel sorry for the folks having to do those camera tests.
Finally, as I’m talking about monetization, I’ll throw in a shameless pitch for my site. I have no plans to add advertising or charge for my reviews but if you find my stories and experiences helpful or entertaining, please considering using my sponsored links. I have that blue box with links to Amazon, B&H Photo and Precision Camera below most of my posts. If you are planning to buy anything from these sites, please click on the relevant link first. You get the same price and I get a small referral fee. You don’t even have to buy camera equipment. Want something from Amazon? Click on my Amazon link first. It’s true that I don’t need to feed my family with this blog, however, your vote with dollars certainly means a lot.
Please support this blog by clicking on my Amazon Link before buying anything.