Effectiveness, Audience, and Competition- Factors to Consider When Creating a Photoblog
For my blog, effectiveness has to incorporate storytelling. My intention for this blog is to tell my story of being a transplant from sunny southern California to the pacific northwestern. There is a common misconception that Seattle is gloomy and depressing because it always rains, but in the two months I’ve been here I’ve seen a lot of the beauty it offers. Every week, I force myself to go out and explore something new. Pictures will be used as a storytelling tool. And while it’s true that a photo can speak for itself, I intend to initiate a conversation with post captions. Two to three sentences about the photo and why I took the shot would add a whole new level of interest and get people to comment.
In terms of design, there are several important factors that go into creating an effective photoblog. First, there is no need for fancy imagery in the banner. This isn’t an ecommerce site where you’re trying to gain brand recognition. A gaudy banner will only compete with the other images of the page. Instead, I plan to use a solid, plain logo and let the photo on the page sell my skills. Fast-loading is also crucial. Most first-time viewers skip from one photo to the next. They typically lack patience if a site loads slowly and even a few seconds between each image will get on a person’s nerves.
It is also important not to follow the usual standard for text blogs when creating a photoblog. Most text driven blogs need a sidebar, but I cannot justify a sidebar for my site. I don’t want it taking space if it doesn’t serve a purpose. As a photographer, I am interested in the camera/lens combination that a photographer uses , but it gets irritating if its repeated on every single page. For my blog, I will simply name the camera and provide a link to a certain section of the “My Cameras” page.
Audiences- My primary audience is my close friends and relatives. No member of my immediate family has visited Washington, so I want to share my experience with them. I also want my blog to have a broader appeal for all transplants unfamiliar with Seattle. Most of the people I’ve met at the University of Washington are new to the area and have suggested places to go hiking and explore. I want my blog to document where I’ve explored and encourage other newcomers to travel. The last audience I want to attract to my website are other photographers. I hope that my collection will compel them to provide feedback in the comment section to refine my shooting and editing skills. This site is purely aesthetic and I’m not solicitation people to hire me as a freelancer. I don’t claim to be a professional; photography is a hobby that I enjoy to do in my spare time. For the most part, my blog will target the younger, artistic demographic.
Daily Dose of Imagery (http://wvs.topleftpixel.com/) was created by photographer Sam Javanrouh who posts one photo a day about urban life in Toronto, Canada. The city and its surroundings are the subject of most his photographs, but he also shares his views from his travels. The blog has won several awards and nearly every photo is stunningly beautiful with minimal photo editing. What I like about the site is the emphasis of his work- there aren’t annoying sidebars that distract from the image. However, the top menu bar is difficult to navigate. There also isn’t a simple and efficient way to scroll through his catalog.
Seattle Daily Photo (http://seattle-daily-photo.blogspot.com/) is the closest blog that I could find that is similar to what I want to create. The photos are prominent on the homepage. I do like the idea of using accompanying text to supplement the photo. For my blog, I will implement a similar design- underneath the picture have a short two to three description about the image and where it was taken. This way people who aren’t from the area will have a more comprehensive understanding. Again, I don’t think the menu bar is as effective as it could be. For my blog, I want to have the option to choose which neighborhood of Seattle the photos are taken. Google Maps has an option to put a geographical mark on where the image was taken.
I love the concept of this blog (http://wanderinginseattle.blogspot.com/). I love the simple concept of being lost in a foreign place and using photography as a way to familiarize and acclimate. From a storytelling perspective, I am going to artistically “borrow” (not steal) this idea. What hurts this blog is the lack of new content. When you first visit the site, the visitor is met with text, not an image. The first impressions visitors should be greeted with is my work.