• Gina Matarazzo

The Words Behind the Pictures: Why I Decided to Start a Photography Blog + Tips for Your Own Blog

Writing a blog is very similar to writing in a journal. Written informally or in a conversation-like style, blogs are a person’s opinion or view of a topic. Blogs are meant to entertain. They are meant to inform. But most of all, they are meant to tell a story. When I first thought up the idea of creating a photography blog, I was in Boldt Castle in Alexandria Bay. I was photographing some of the original parts of the castle and came across “graffiti,” dating back to the 1920s and 1930s. I thought—this would make a great story! There are so many people out there who probably don’t even know this exists! That is when I wrote my first blog, entitled “The Writings on the Walls.” One year later, that blog entry was published onto my website. It was such a great feeling sharing the story and the history behind the pictures. So, you are probably wondering—where does her inspiration come from? When I look back at my photographs, there is always more than one story attached to them. The first story is the story of the image: what it is and what it represents. For example, if you have a picture of Fort McHenry in Baltimore, the story of the image is that it was a famous fort during the War of 1812. The second story is the story of what is felt by looking at that image. For example, when I look back at my sunflower pictures from the Von Thun Sunflower Farm, I remember a hot day. I remember how my friend and I stopped for bagels and coffee before driving to the farm. I remember the fun times we had. So, the image isn’t just what I see (a sunflower) but also what I feel (happiness, friendship). And when you can bring out the feelings of that picture or pictures to your readers, you are helping them connect to your work on so many levels. Inspiration also comes from how I feel about photography overall. Do I want my photos to bring awareness to something, such as homelessness (see the blog, “Under the Boardwalk, Out of the Sun”)? Do I want to tell my audience how a particular subject, such as the beach, makes me feel? Or do I want to show my audience why, as a photographer, I perform a specific task the way I do, such as organizing my photographs by folders? There are so many ways to use pictures to tell a story.

If you feel your photographs can tell a story or you want to tell a story about why you do what you do as a photographer, here are some of my tips to getting started and creating a successful photography blog: (*) Let your pictures write the words. What I mean by this is, gain inspiration from your photos. What you see and feel is what you should write. Don’t be afraid to share what you feel in your heart. (*) Vary your topics. Write about places you have visited and photographed, but don’t be afraid to write about the equipment you use or why you only shoot a particular subject. Let your audience learn about who you are as a photographer. (*) Blog weekly. I try to write at least three blogs a week, but only post one of those blogs on my website. This way, I have my blogs written and ready to post weekly, so there is consistency. (*) Keep your blogs entertaining. This isn’t a college research paper. It’s okay to be informal and makes jokes. The more engaging your blog is, the more likely your audience will read passed the first paragraph. (*) Include pictures. If I am reading your blog about your trip to Acadia National Park in Maine, I want to see pictures! Pictures help connect your audience to your blog. If you saw an amazing, colorful flower, write about it in your blog and include a photo. Written details are useful, but a picture gives you that added touch. (*) Keep it simple. Try not to use fancy photography jargon, and if you do, put the lay term in parenthesis. It helps to avoid making your audience feel like they have not idea what you are talking about. I hope these tips can be beneficial to you if you decide to start writing your own blog! Until then, keep visiting my website for weekly posts on some of my favorite places to photograph and topics to discuss! Thanks for reading! XO Gina

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