Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Blogging Tips for Photographers 101 (Pt. 2): SEO

"Keywords and SEO stuff is so boring! I want my blog to be #1 on Google but I don't want to waste time researching."

Check out Part 1: Challenges of Blogging

Learning about SEO is one of the biggest challenges for photography business owners who are using blogging as a way to market their business. SEO has been a mystery to me for years and I'm absolutely no expert at it. I'm a total SEO rookie and I wish there were a shortcut but sadly, as far as I can tell, there is no magic SEO shortcut.

Here's the fact of the matter… 
-If you want people to find you online, you gotta appear in their Google searches.
-If you want to rank high in Google searches, you gotta optimize your blog for search engines.
-You need to either A) take the time to learn and do the SEO yourself or B) pay someone else to do it for you. 
-If you are going to learn about SEO yourself, it's way too much to learn in one afternoon. Slow and steady is the only way to win this race. SEO is a never ending process that will be evolving & improving FOREVER. So learn a new SEO trick each week, apply it, and get on with business. 

Here are some basic SEO tips to help get you started on your long slog towards achieving your destiny as #1 on Google….

Learn about keywords. It's a challenge to really figure out your perfect keywords. Use Google keywords to help you brainstorm. Think about what your ideal clients are searching for online. Once you have your keywords, you've got to put them into action. For each blog post, choose an appropriate keyword and put it everywhere, at every level: in the title, in the first sentence, hyperlink it, in the tags, in the picture descriptions etc... The same keyword repeated over and over so Google knows that this page really is all about that keyword. 

Social Media BackLinks
You want to have your blog's URL splattered around other websites. You've probably heard that your back links on social media sites like Facebook & Twitter don't count. However, your links WILL be acknowledged on these social media sites: LinkedIn, Google Places, Google Profiles, Digg, Reddit

Getting Published on Other Blogs
When you write guest posts or submit your photos to other blogs, consider how those blogs rank. You may be excited to get published on another blog, but getting published on a blog with a low Google ranking probably won't do anything for your traffic or SEO. Focus on sharing your content with high ranking blogs. Use the Google PageRank Checker:

These website are your new best friends:

I totally know how it feels when you're drowning in a world of SEO research. It all seems like too much to learn. It feels like a waste of time. You don't want to sit there behind your computer all day. I get it. But I'm starting to think that if you really rely on online marketing and you're wanting people to find your business through Google, you're just going to have to put in the hours (or shell out the moola & hire somebody else to do it). 

The hardcore little voice in my head is saying.... "I'm sorry you find SEO research boring but it's probably going to have a bigger payoff for your business than however many hours a day you're spending redesigning your website or logo (for the 200th time)." 

So good luck my friends. I'm sorry for delivering the depressing news but at least now the delusion is broken and you can start to make real progress. Grit your teeth and DO. This SEO learning curve is the "not fun part" of running your photography business. But ya know, things are only NOT fun when you don't understand them or you feel overwhelmed. The good news is that the more you learn about SEO, the more intriguing it becomes. Just researching for this blog series has got me all SEO excited. ha! 

I'd LOVE to hear your SEO tips. 
Please share them in the comments below so other readers can learn from your wise words! ;)

Check out Blogging Tips for Photographers 101 (Part 1): Challenges of Blogging
Check out Blogging Tips for Photographers 101 (Part 3): 10 Ways to Come Up with Interesting Blog Content

Monday, February 24, 2014

Stop Hating on Other Photographers & Start Being Self-Centered

Last week, I sat at Starbucks in Kihei, Maui with my friend Naomi Levit and for two hours we moaned and complained about all of the mental problems that come with the territory of being a photographer. Both of us have been working on our business for a couple years now and we're both feeling dragged down by self-doubt, jealousy of other photographers who seem like they've got it all together, bitterness at photographers who haven't treated us so nicely, constant stress over our logo and website designs, blah blah blah. The cycle of negativity never stops. After hours of spilling our guts, we were feelin' downer than when we started. 

We hopped in our cars and drove down the town to the Thai food restaurant. As we sat outside waiting for our takeout order to be prepared, our conversation switched direction. We realized that sometime the complaining is a healthy exercise, purging all that crap from our systems BUT afterwards, you've got to lace up your boots and start running towards exciting things again. 

You've got to look at your goals, your fun projects, what awesome things you can contribute. The more you focus on yourself and what you're doing, the less time & energy you have left over to focus on other photographers. By the end of the night, we were both pumped up and feeling empowered. We couldn't care less what other photographers were doing because we had our own stuff going' on. When you find yourself in the nasty cycle of comparison & judgement, try redirecting that energy, be totally self-centered for a moment and start planning your own awesome adventures!!

When I got home, I recorded a little video explaining everything that was running through my head. (What an attractive screen shot, not! haha)

What do you think? How do you deal with all those nasty feelings?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Blogging Tips for Photographers 101: Challenges of Blogging (Part 1)

At the end of 2013, I told you I was going to be writing a "Blogging Tips for Photographers 101" series. I surveyed all of wonderful social media followers and asked you questions like, "What is the most difficult thing about blogging?" I analyzed your responses and created a series of blog posts designed to answer all your questions directly! This blog series is for you, my dear friends in the blogosphere, to help you improve your blogging strategies. I promised to deliver the series in January 2014 and it looks like that age old saying "better late than never" is going to jump out of my back pocket today. Lately, I'm in need of my own blogging advice haha. I've been terrible at blogging recently. I'm finding it so difficult to keep up simply because I'm working 40 hours at someone else's photography studio and when I get home I don't have internet and often the last thing I was to do is spend more time on the computer. I'm starting to appreciate why lots of people feel like they don't have time to blog. So, enough chit chat, are you ready to dive into 'Blogging Tips for Photographers 101"? Woopwoop!! 

During my market research, I asked people:
"What are the biggest challenge of blogging?" 
"What would make blogging easier for you?" 
"What do like/dislike about blogging?"

I saw the same questions/answers popping up again and again. 
So, I divided them into three categories:

MARKETING questions
How do I get people to follow my blog?
Keywords & SEO Stuff — It's so Boring, How do I Learn All About It?
How do I turn readers into clients?

CONTENT questions
How do I write interesting content?
How do I come up with new blog ideas & content?
How to find the balance between professional & personal?
How to choose which photos to include?

ADMIN questions
How do I find the time to blog?
How often should I blog?
How do I create a blogging schedule?
How do I design a blog I love?

My answers to these questions and more blogging tips are headed your way.
New episodes of "Blogging Tips for Photographers 101" will publish every other Tuesday (starting now).
Next time, we'll be tackling the big boy... SEO!! See you in two weeks!

Check out Part 2: SEO

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Jenny's Black and White Beauty Portraits in the Trees

I'm so excited to share this third series of Jenny's beauty portraits at Waipuilani Park in Maui. We photographed her beauty portraits and then we took more beauty portraits. As we were walking through the park, Jenny asked if she could climb into the trees. Of course!! She climbed up into a tree that had a V shape for standing in. That series of portraits is in color and I'll share those next week - it's like the never ending photo shoot with 10 parts haha. But first, I want to share this black and white series (which is my favorite) where she climbed up onto a giant tree branch. So beautiful. Thank you again Jenny for being so fun to photograph!

Beauty Portraits - Chamonix Thurston-Rattue

Beauty Portraits - Chamonix Thurston-Rattue

Beauty Portraits - Chamonix Thurston-Rattue

Beauty Portraits - Chamonix Thurston-Rattue

Thursday, February 6, 2014

More Beauty Portraits of Jenny in a Field of Long Grass

A few weeks ago, I photographed Jenny at Waipuilani Park. We explored all over the park doing lots of mini photo shoots in different locations. Check out our first series of her Beauty Portraits in the Buganvilla Bushes. For the second series of photos, we found a cozy spot in the middle of a field of long grass and I delighted in the gorgeous backlight that you can only find when you're closer to the equator. I flippin' love the light in Maui sometimes. It's so beautiful. Jenny and I had so much fun laughing in the grass, avoiding sitting on Kiewe torns, and trying not to flash each other and she posed and I rolled around with my camera looking for 'that perfect angle." haha Check back soon for her next series of photos that we took up in a tree! Woopdewoo! So fun. haha Have a wonderful day :)

Seattle Portrait Photographer
Seattle Portrait Photographer

Seattle Portrait Photographer

Seattle Portrait Photographer

Seattle Portrait Photographer

Check out my last blog post about Dove's Beauty Is Campaign!