I Don’t Have to Explain My Art to You Warren (or 5 things I have learnt from 500 posts)

Get ready to Ramble

A few days ago Aperture 64 broke the 500 post milestone after a year and a half of  blogging. Although there was a hiatus for a short while in between this blog has been alive and kicking. Why this blog started was simple enough, changes in my life brought me back to photography. I have been taking photographs since I was young and I had dreams of making a solid career from photography and then I finished university and you know, life happened.

This blog was born out of a need of, “can I do it?” Of course I had no idea what I was doing, most of the time I was writing long posts which were more or less my musings. And there has been a lot changes in the way I do things. Early on I had themed days which I have now scrapped, though some may come back as I try and work out what I really want out of this blog as I am asking more questions about what I want and maybe need from photography as well. I can say for sure that photography is becoming bigger and my images (IMHO) are getting a lot better, like an athlete getting back into training after years of not competing.

So, what have I learnt from blogging? Here are 5 things.

  1. If you build it they will come (with some persuasion)

When I first started I thought that just by blogging people would emerge to read it. In one way this is true as we do stumble over things online.  Spreading the word is important but there needs to be a balance between blogging and “marketing” especially with all the social medias people tell you should sign up too. And yes I set up a Facebook page but in reality this is just a necessity as unless you want to pile cash into it. With a small number of likes it really won’t help you grow. I have found that my twitter has been the best way to interact with people and other photographers, even some “famous ones”, just yesterday Trey Ratcliff replied to one of my tweets ;). But just by having a blog doesn’t mean people come, just because you have followers doesn’t mean they follow and yes you do need to be part of and interact in a community of photographers.
Personally I think that if you are spending all your time on all these social platforms, you will spread yourself too thin as the amount of time you can devote to each one will become less the more you require.

  1. Eat fibre and be regular

One thing I have found with this blogging experience is to regularly post and interact. We are all busy and unless our blogs sustain our living this will be an aspect of our lives not the sum of it. I have come to realise that you don’t need to post something every day but if you are regular with what you do then people will keep coming back. The same applies to reading or checking out other blogs, of course you may not be able to do this every day but finding time to regularly do this is good.
Personally when I came to this realisation I started to be able to post everyday as the pressure of having to blog had gone.

  1. Stop rewind, do that again

I have also found that looking back over old posts some of them were atrocious. I have come to the conclusion especially when I am now writing longer posts to do this over a few days, planning first with pen and paper, writing, reading, checking, writing.
This hasn’t just affected my writing but my photography as well.  After editing I like to leave the image and then come back a few days later to look it over and to make sure I haven’t missed anything while editing.

  1. Follow your own advice “Just Keep Shooting”

As all creative people, I have lulls in my inspiration or I am feeling flustered with what I am doing. My advice to people is just go out and take your camera when you get this feeling, as you never know what you will see. To be honest the best advice is always the advice you never follow.  So you better follow your own advise.

  1. Take the path less travelled but listen to others

It is so easy to just listen to what others say and their advice on how to run a blog. I was listening to them a lot when I started. You must have a presence on social media, this one or that one is good for spreading the word, you need posts to be certain length also be current and up to date. Have video, and have pictures but not too much text. The same is in photography as well. You need this lens, this camera, this program.

The funny thing is this makes all the content the same. I used to write news stories on Mondays sourcing them from the web. Yet I came to realise that all I was doing was rehashing what everyone else was doing. It is so easy to do that and get views. One of my most viewed posts from last year was about Istock’s dealings with Google, it still gets a lot of traffic. Why did it get views? I was quick to get it up and share it on twitter and it was shared on stock photo forums, really a a bit of a fluke.

There is always a grain of truth though. When reading and listening to advice I think that you need to filter what is relevant to you. One thing I have done recently is add Photography after Aperture 64 on the blog’s title. This was after a community pool session; someone said that they didn’t know what my blog was about. I asked my wife, “If you didn’t know this was mine, what do you think the blog is about?” Her reply was, “It needs to say photography otherwise it just looks like pictures.” and I realised she was right. Also during the community pool someone suggested I used smaller areas of an image as a preview. I tried this but it didn’t work for me. In the end, just because someone gives you advice does not mean you should follow it.

We must go back to the future

What are the plans for Aperture64?
At the moment am thinking I will have a separate page for musings about photography as well as tutorials. I have really liked writing groups of posts about a specific topics, which are published over a few days or weeks eg image quality and I would and these to my musing page. I just have to work out how to do it with WordPress.
I am also entering more competitions and contests as well as this I will be updating update my 500px page more often. I am also looking at a way of selling my images as I want my photographs to help invest in my photography.
Twitter chats are great but I would love to create a podcast with some fellow blogging photographers more for fun and to talk about our passions than monetary gain, but I am not sure how this will work in reality. If you are interested, drop me a line.
Weekly and monthly photo challenges I have found difficult with my work schedule to complete and this failure adds to my own frustration. I have found a great challenge called #1day12pics that is easy to participate in and because it is only one day a month it has been easier for me to complete.

I’m a Doctor not a Photoblogger

Since this is a photo blog I will share a picture I edited for #RexManningDay which was on Tuesday. The internet’s way of celebrating the great film Empire Records (The same film the title of this posts comes from, in case you thought it was strange).


Why Don’t You Just Fade Away

Edited with Pixlr

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All images are the Copyright of Benjamin Rowe , ALL RIGHTS Reserved unless credited to another photographer.
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