The best advice I can give you to thrive as a photographer in today’s digital age: OWN YOUR OWN PLATFORM, which means: make your own photography website/blog, and make sure you own the FTP, the backend, and the open-source platform!
Why own your own website/blog/platform?
Okay, let me best explain my reasoning, rationale, and why you must own your own website/platform, and to clarify some things:
First of all, I think if you’re an artist, you desire the maximum amount of control over your artwork; in terms of how you present it, publish it, share it, and how it is viewed on the internet.
The reason why Facebook/Instagram sucks is because you’re stuck in their little box, their own little bubble. You cannot do more innovative things in sharing your photos– simple things like full-screening your photos, having the option to REMOVE ads, and the ability to add music, slideshows, etc.
Simple things you have no control on Instagram: You cannot disable the ‘likes’ function. You cannot control that your own profile will link to the profiles of other people. Essentially, you have no control over how to present your photos. Whereas if you owned your own website, you have 100% control how your viewers consume your images.
Now, the difficult thing: there is a much steeper learning curve to building your own website, especially if you end up using 1and1.com and wordpress.org as your framework. If you’ve never built your own photography website before, I highly recommend taking my Photography Entrepreneurship Online Course, where I teach you to do it, step-by-step, with video tutorials.
Anyways the basic concept is this:
- Signup with a website host like 1and.com, or bluehost.com
- Install ‘wordpress.org’ on your website host (1and1 and bluehost have an easy ‘1 click installation’ that will install wordpress directly onto your website)
- Once your WordPress.org installation is done, login to your website with your admin name and password, and start customizing your website, posting photos and blogs, and publish anything you desire!
Use wordpress.org (not wordpress.com)
Now the question is this: What is the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?
Well, wordpress.org is an ‘open source’ (free and open) “backend” platform which you can install on any website, server, or FTP (file transfer protocol). I personally use wordpress.org to power my website, and I highly highly recommend it for long-term thriving as a photographer/visual artist/entrepreneur.
WordPress.com is the simpler option, and for the most part, a very good option to start your own website and start blogging immediately. The great thing about wordpress.com is that ‘everything works’, and is simple to setup. But for long-term flexibility, control, and innovation, I would recommend NOT using wordpress.com, and instead using wordpress.org (even though the learning curve for wordpress.org is more difficult; but consider it a fun challenge).
What should I post?
My suggestion: treat your own website/blog like your own Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat. Don’t take it too seriously. Have fun, just post whatever you want to record, document, and chronicle for yourself.
In the early days of the web, a “weblog” (blog) was just a digital depository of your life. You recorded a daily (public) diary, what we do now with Facebook.
Except the big difference: with your own website or blog, you have more control, flexibility, and control. Not only that, but your website/blog is able to be indexed by Google, which means more people will be able to access your website or platform.
I’ve used all the themes for WordPress, and the best is the Genesis theme/framework.
Your first 10,000 posts are your worst
I asked my friend Brandon Phan to guess how many blog posts I’ve written. He guessed 10,000. I was a bit shocked, I have only written around 4,000+ blog posts so far.
But it made me think of the famous Henri Cartier-Bresson quote, “Your first 10,000 photos are your worst”. At least in photography with digital, it’s probably more like:
Your first million photos are your worst.
Anyways, with blogging, uploading stuff to your website, writing, making videos, making poems, making photos, whatever; you’re always learning and in a state of flux, which means you’re never static. You’re always changing as a person, even right now on a molecular level. So realize with blogging or anything creative:
You’re always in a state of “becoming”; there is no “final state” for you to achieve.
Build your own Instagram
I deleted my Instagram about a year ago, and it was the best thing for my innovation. For example:
- Because I didn’t have an Instagram anymore, I had to update my erickimphotography.com website portfolio. If I still had Instagram, I would never have an impetus to do so.
- I’ve been uploading more of my photos to this website/blog, instead of uploading it to Facebook or Instagram (Instagram is owned by Facebook).
- I feel more creative, empowered, and excited! I’ve been experimenting more with studying cinema, writing poetry, and making new videos (I’m pro-Youtube, because it allows you to host 360/virtual reality content.
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