What Should I Blog About as a Photographer? With Heather Burris
The "What Should I Blog About?" Series gives you examples of what real business owners are blogging about to promote their work in their industry. These interviews from others who blog for business will spark new ideas for your own blog and give you encouragement in overcoming your blogging struggles. Check out other posts in the series here. Today we're talking with photographer Heather Burris. Heather is a twenty-something photographer and business owner in Raleigh, North Carolina, married to her high school prom date and expecting her first baby in March. When she's not pregnant, she rides unicycles for fun.
I know so many photographers who are passionate about their work, but aren't sure how to promote what they do through blogging. Should you just post recent photos from your portfolio? How can you draw in new clients without looking like all the other photographers out there? Heather is sharing how she's built a community of dedicated blog readers and how she uses her blog to stand out from other photographers.
Tell us a bit about your business and yourself.
I am a pastor’s wife and soon to be new mom living in Raleigh, North Carolina. I officially started my photography business a year ago and mostly focus on documentary style photography, including weddings and newborns.
When did you first start blogging? Did you ever imagine your blog as a way to support your business?
I actually started my first blog in college---gosh, seven years ago now! I was never super consistent, but I have been blogging off and on ever since. I always kind of hoped in the back of my mind that blogging would turn into a business, or something bigger, and it has definitely opened some doors and opportunities over the years. Being a part of an online community, learning the ins and outs of social media, was excellent training for starting a business. I can’t imagine launching my business without all those years of trials and errors.
What does your blog look like these days?
When I first started, I was all about the categories and series and interviews, but I quickly realized that I am a bit of a rebel in that it’s impossible to me to stick to any set formula. Now, when I’m not blogging client sessions, I treat my blog as sort of a journal, like many bloggers did in the early days. I’m not at all consistent (which I would like to change!) but I love the process of opening a new blog post draft and wondering where it will lead.
Are there any struggles you’ve had to overcome in blogging for your business?
My biggest struggle, since my very first post, has always been wondering if anyone actually cares what I have to say. It feels a little self-indulgent sometimes, pouring your heart out onto a blog for total strangers to read. But what I remind myself over and over is that I have to write what I like to read, and I love blogs where the authors are vulnerable and funny and maybe even a little self-indulgent. There’s something powerful in reading the deepest thoughts and hopes and fears of someone else and realizing that there are other people just like you, and that maybe you’re not so crazy after all.
You do an amazing job of blending the personal with the professional on your blog. How do you decide how much of your own life to share with your readers?
That’s a great question, and something I wrestled with for a long time. I always want to be professional, but at the end of the day I know that I became a photographer first and foremost to express myself artistically. Having a creative outlet is extremely important to me, and I think I would shrivel up inside if I only ever shared client work. In the beginning I was worried that getting too personal would deter clients, but I’ve found the opposite to be true. I love that when I meet a client for the first time they feel like they already know me, rather than just the photos I take, and we already have things to talk about. Being vulnerable online is risky, but it makes people feel like they can trust you, and in business, that’s worth its weight in gold.
How do you balance making time to blog with doing the actual work of your business?
I consider blogging part of my workflow, and one of the more fun aspects of my job, so it’s not hard for me to make time for it when I have a post idea in mind. The hard part is sitting down to write when I’m not feeling “inspired,” and that’s something I really want to start making time for, even if I only end up staring at a blank screen for thirty minutes.
Photography is a crowded industry these days, but your blog has always stood out to me. Do you have any tips to share with other photographers who want to blog but don’t want to blend in with what everyone else is doing?
Thank you! Absolutely---I would say to go with your gut and share whatever it is you’re passionate about, in photography and otherwise. If you’re a wedding photographer but also a foodie, share some recipes on your blog! The more unique you are in what you share, the more you’ll attract your ideal readers and clients.
Heather is hands down one of my favorite bloggers to follow along with. Check out her gorgeous Instagram account and stop by her blog---and of course, book her for your next photography session if you're in the Raleigh area (Heather does especially beautiful motherhood sessions)!
Are you struggling to blend the personal into your business blog? I'd love to hear what's worked for you (or what hasn't)!