Monday, November 5, 2012

What to blog about in a down economy?!?!?

Countless marketing seminars tell us photographers we should use blogs, twitter, facebook, tweetface, or whatever other social media outlet comes next to gain a broader audience.  This is the best way to market, we are told, but we cannot make it look like marketing.  We need to blog about something meaningful and personal to us...something that will get art directors and editors interested in our lives outside of the business of photography...something that will show them what we are really passionate about.

I've always had trouble coming up with something meaningful to say.  I had this blog for years before I felt like I had actually written something personal.  And, that took a trip to Germany, visiting a concentration camp where my grandparents were interned.  I don't do that sort of thing every week.

So, what are we photographers to blog about?  It's especially hard now, when many of us are worried about our bottom lines.  New clients, especially those willing to pay for the value of good photography, are fewer and farther between.  Don't get me wrong, there is work out there, and some photographers are very busy.  But, many of us are scrapping to keep our businesses sustainable.

Amidst the stress of running a business, and often with families to support, we are supposed to somehow come up with some amazing insights about ourselves and show our personal work, all in the name of marketing, but not really...  I recently attended an APA meeting where a very talented photographer said if you aren't working on at least one personal project every few months, you should get out of photography.   Ouch!

I mean sure, I had dreams of traveling the world, covering all the human interest stories that struck my fancy.  But, more often than not, I'm photographing corporate portraits in a law firm.  I do my best to create a very high quality product, but it's not necessarily an experience that's blogworthy.

On the other hand, I have seen many photographers resort to tips on how to find business in a down economy.  To be fair, I'm sure that is something that is real and personal to all of us photographers.  But, if these tipsters were so good at drumming up work, they would probably have something more interesting to write about.

This weekend, I was speaking with a photographer colleague of mine, complaining that the sky was falling, and that I had to do some personal work, something meaningful, something I could write about.  His response.  "Dude you need to find a hobby."  He told me I should separate work and life and enjoy myself a little on the weekends.

That really made me think.  Maybe the problem is not that I have nothing to say, but that I'm trying to hard to say something.  You don't have to be a David Burnett (my personal photography idol by the way), to say something meaningful.   You just have to say what's meaningful to you.  If that's talking about a nice afternoon you spent reading with your wife, so be it.  Speaking of which, I better get going.  I have a date.