What I've learned from 10 years of blogging ...


"Ten years ago, PhotoShelter launched our website product to help photographers store, distribute and sell photography. Concurrent with that launch, I started blogging on the mundane topic of Total Cost of Ownership. It’s a yawner, and reads like your grandpa telling you about how they never had cellphones in college. Being the nostalgic and self-indulgent fellow that I am, I thought I would share a few thoughts on blogging, marketing yourself, and why you won’t find me on Twitter very often."

This image was shot with the iPhone 6 Plus. Post-processing and image enhancement done on the iOS Photos app. Photo management on Photos for Mac OS X. Copyright © 2015. All rights reserved. To see more pictures, please visit my photography website at www.dominiquejames.com. Thanks!

Since I heard Allen Murabayashi some years ago extoll the virtues of PhotoShelter to the members of one particular, special-interest photo club in New York City (of which I used to attend), a photo club seemingly composed of mostly hobby photographers, I knew right there and then that I wanted my portfolio to be hosted by PhotoShelter.

As Allen enumerated all the things that are packaged into a photography-centric PhotoShelter account, I became absolutely convinced that it was the best hosting platform for me. (Of course, it helped that Allen Murabayashi, during that talk, looked so handsome and adorable in his white, freshly pressed long-sleeve shirt.)

As it happened, It took me some time before I actually signed up for a PhotoShelter account. To date, my online professional photography portfolio called The Domininque James Photography Studio (www.dominiquejames.com) has been on PhotoShelter for only a little over a year-and-a-half. Looking back, I wished I wasted no time and made the decision to sign up right away.

Today, right this moment, despite the rise and development of several other photography portfolio hosting sites that seems to have the look-and-feel that's suspiciously similar to PhotoShelter, I am convinced that PhotoShelter still is the best option out there for me, and I will not hesitate to recommend PhotoShelter to any other photographers as well.

I can do anything and everything I wanted to do from within PhotoShelter.

Well, almost anything and everything. From the start, there is, this one thing that I wanted to do from within PhotoShelter that I couldn't and haven't been able to do to this day, and that is to write a blog.

I've been blogging on and off for quite some time before PhotoShelter, and at the time that I signed up, I was blogging on WordPress, which I linked to my PhotoShelter account.

It worked quite well for quite some time until I decided to rethink what I like my photo blog to be and what purpose it will serve. Eventually, after having worked out and decided on some kind of a sensible blogging strategy, on what, exactly, I wanted to do, how to do it, and what to blog about, in particular, taking liberal inspiration from mostly Apple-centric bloggers whom I've been following for quite some time, whose voice I trust and respect, and whom I admire deeply, such as John Gruber, Jason Snell and Dan Moren, Federico Viticci, Marco Arment, and Jim Dalrymple and Dave Mark, and even from podcasters like Myke Hurley and Stephen Hackett, along with the rest of the gang, among others, I decided to start blogging afresh.

But not on PhotoShelter.

PhotoShelter doesn't have the blogging component and feature that I wanted and needed to come up with the kind of blog that I want. In a pinch--in a roundabout kind of way--I certainly could, but it made so much more sense for me to look elsewhere and figure out which among the different blogging (and website) platforms would be right for me. That's when I decided to try to blog using Squarespace.

To begin with, Squarespace is more than just a blogging platform. It's a thoroughly modern and amazing all-purpose website creating platform that can serve the needs of many different types of individuals and businesses in the form of a beautifully-designed and compelling online presence, including those who wanted some kind of robust commerce components built-in.

I signed up for Squarespace's free trial period, started blogging, and I never looked back. It has been more than a quarter of a year since I began blogging with Squarespace, and I can say with certainty that I never regretted going with Squarespace for my blog.

So, right now, my setup is quite interesting: my growing portfolio of professional images for licensing is hosted on PhotoShelter, and my daily blog on all things photography (where I also blog about a few other things on the side), is hosted on Squarespace.

I don't know how many other photographers, or how many others in general have this kind of setup that's similar to mine (and I'd definitely be very interested to know), but that's how it's working out for me. I didn't initially plan it to be this way, but it simply made sense to set things up this way.

Of course, I would much rather do everything online on just one platform, which is what seems to make sense, but as it is, there's not one platform that provides all the things I wanted to do.

Maybe, sometime in the near future, PhotoShelter will finally take pity on photographers like me and finally offer a built-in blogging component with tools that will allow me to do what I can and have been doing on Squarespace, and make Allen Murayabashi's admonition for photographers to blog so much easier to follow.

Or maybe, Squarespace will develop a set of professional-grade portfolio components that will rival the breadth and depth that PhotoShelter is offering right now.

Or maybe, PhotoShelter and Squarespace can just merge, with all the obvious benefits from such a merger. (By the way, I'm also all for Ancestry.com to merge into Facebook. This is one of those things that I think makes sense--the past, the present, and the future coming together on a single platform.)

For now, and whatever happens, an independent professional photographer like me who likes to blog as much as show pictures, will have to keep paying attention to the continually evolving online subscription services for all the best way to do all things.

Anyway, I digress. Read more what Allen Murabayashi has learned from 10 years of blogging, here.