Two things that I just don’t understand (because I can’t, no matter how hard I search, find a valid reason other than “that’s just what you do”. That should never been a valid reason for anything.) are how wedding photographers are encouraged to blog, and how wedding photographers are supposed to be displayed on Instagram and other social media.
I’m not as concerned about the second one because it’s clear that very few people actually know what they are doing on Instagram or what works (me included). “You need two Instagram accounts! One business one and one personal!” This usually means you just need a vibrant, interesting account (for fun) and a sterile, boring, repetitive “professional” one. This isn’t always the case, but it mostly is. I follow a bunch of wedding accounts, and my feed pretty much feels like the same photos all day long. Not saying that lumping my life and business into @willmalone is the right way, but I know I lose interest quickly in posting the same types of photos over and over and over. Not even that the pro-account photos are always bad, but there’s definitely a de-sensitizing affect that goes on which gets people to either unfollow you or forget about you when you post the same look and style over and over. That said, the secret to Instagram success is basically just showing up every day with good work.
From what I’ve learned about the wedding photography industry over the past couple years, to a wedding photographer, blogging means simply, posting sets of your most recent wedding or portrait sessions. I keep hearing stories on podcasts about how photographers are really hard on themselves about “forgetting to blog” or “I really need to get back to blogging” and so on and so forth. As somewhat of outsider to this area of photography, my question is “What is with this weird “wedding photographer” pressure to blog photo sets? Why is it such a big talking point, and what benefit does it actually have to your photography business? I’ve even heard insane quotes about how blogging is the engine of your business, which may be true for some people, but that gives a lot of photographers a bad impression that if they aren’t “blogging” they are failing in some way.
I know firsthand that “blogging” (in the sense I laid out at the beginning of this post) is important. It’s important for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and getting discovered in Google results. When I blog a lot, my web traffic skyrockets. I went through a phase a couple years ago where I blogged every morning and I was getting an insane amount of website hits a day. That makes sense because I was typing words; if I talked about Iron Man 3, I would get included somewhere in Google results for when people searched for that movie. If I blogged about Iron Man 3 when that movie had just gotten released, I would get a ton of traffic because people were more likely to search for that movie at that time.
Of course, I’m not an Iron Man 3 fansite (at least officially. my avengers references have gotten out of control lately), so those views are somewhat inconsequential to me. If you find me because I talked about Avengers I’m probably going to disappoint you in that I only have a paragraph or two on my entire website dedicated to that topic. When I talk about photography and the different aspects of it, that traffic is a lot more valuable.
When wedding photographers blog photo sets, with almost no words attached, that doesn’t really move the needle in a substantial way. Again, I’m not looking to take anyone to task or call anyone out, I just truly don’t understand why it does anyone any good to only post photo sets, and to also put pressure on oneself to make that a bigger priority. As an extension of your portfolio, I get it, and I feel like I’m probably failing on that front. As a way to improve search-ability, it makes no real sense.
Again, I want to stress, I’M NOT AGAINST POSTING PHOTO SETS FOR WEDDINGS AS BLOGS. I’m against photographers feeling like they just have to do it, without really understand why they are doing it other than “that’s what other photographers say to do”.
Now listen, I’m somewhat self-aware; I disclosed at the top that my mom was a liberal arts micro-influencer before it was cool. I’m obviously some sort of weirdo. I get it. I actually enjoy blogging and it frees me to some extent. Sometimes I write really dumb stuff, sometimes I write stuff I regret later, but overall I enjoy the expression of writing. That’s just me.