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May 27th, 2009

Blogs are the new small magazines – a great place to get your name and photos out in the world

Posted by Lou Lesko

There is something very validating about seeing your name in the gutter of a magazine, or, even better, in the “about the cover” blurb. Kind of like a great one night stand: You feel confident as hell the next day and you get great bragging rights for as long as the magazine is on the news stand.

Lately my throne reading has included the Magazine Death Pool blog (you may recognize their logo at left), which I peruse with the fascination of a rubber necker passing a freeway accident. Part of me is sad so many periodicals are ascending to printing-press heaven. If I hadn’t landed the occasional regional magazine cover when I was a rookie, I would have had to look for a real job a long time ago.

As I watch the weekly demise of many small and large publications on the Magazine Death Pool, I wonder about the next generation of shooters. Will they be shit out of luck? Will they even have the opportunity to get underpaid to shoot magazine assignments in return for promotional and bragging rights? There is still hope.

As blog content continues to improve, some blogs are being thought of as replacements for expiring print publications. Most  of the images those blogs run are either micro stock images purchased for a buck or an image legally lifted under the fair-use provision of the copyright law. These should be the images of enterprising photographers looking to get some notoriety. I know that you won’t get paid enough to buy a single pinto bean for your next burrito, but avoiding blog publications ain’t doin’ nothing for nobody.

But before you take my advice and go bounding, portfolio in hand, into the living rooms of the bigger blog publications, I’d like to make a salient point. There is a distinct difference between needing to get exposure and already having exposure, like my favorite editorial shooter Brian Smith.

Mr. Smith has earned a phenomenal reputation along with a Pulitzer Prize. He is trusted with heavyweight assignments and heavyweight celebrities because he has proven on several thousand occasions that he can deliver what editors need. The strength of his work and his name gives him a lot of syndication opportunities. He’s definitely not a candidate for throwing his work at the blogging community until they start offering real money. That is an appropriate option for photographers who are looking to build a name like Brian Smith, though, preferably using different letters.

There is nothing more important in the photography world than exposure of your name. It used to be that you would go to a library, research all the periodicals, large and small, and make a list of the magazines that would be a good fit with the style of your work. The small publications were particularly attractive because they were approachable and offered a better-than-average chance of publishing your photos. Granted it was for the price of a single frosty beverage, but fame is fame.

The blogs of today are no different — except for one thing. Young photographers are not yet approaching the high-profile blogs offering images for attribution. Why not be one of the first? Search around the web for blogs that have large readerships. Services like Alexa can help you determine how popular a blog is. Then drop them an email with a link to your site. Tell them where you live and what you’d be willing to do to get your photography with a link attribution on their site (please wipe that smirk off your face). The bonus could be free access to events, a corporate shooting gig, who knows. Nothing ventured… The goal of this is to get your name out of the coffee shop and into the real world.

At some point you’ll have to draw a line in the sand and determine when the freebies stop. A couple of factors to keep in mind when determining the location of that line: Has any connection in the last nine months been a result of your efforts? Has anyone commented that they saw your work on any of the blogs? Is the time you’re putting into creating images for a blog starting to cost you more than its worth?

These questions are no different than the ones you would ask yourself if you were doing the same for a magazine. Magazines just seem more legitimate because they’re paper and stuff. But in the contemporary grand scheme o’ things, and given the rate magazines are disappearing, the gap between online publication and printed ones is diminishing rapidly. Get your name out there. Then please let me know your experiences by leaving a comment here or contacting me through my web site at Lou Lesko Dot Com.


  1. May 27th, 2009 at 8:45 am

    This weeks Resolve Blog column: Blogs are the new magazines. : Lou Lesko

    […] Read the rest of the article here. […]

  2. May 27th, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    Thanks Lou! « BRIAN SMITH PHOTO

    […] Thanks Lou! By Brian Smith Lou Lesko of BlinkBid pimps me out today on the Livebooks blog. […]

  3. May 27th, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Thanks Lou… « BRIAN SMITH PHOTO

    […] By Brian Smith Lou Lesko of BlinkBid pimped me out today on the Livebooks blog on the future of editorial photography. Thanks for the bloglove, […]

  4. August 12th, 2009 at 7:41 am

    Andre Friedmann

    Sometimes, the best way to establish and enhance a reputation for working cheaply or for free is to work cheaply or for free. It helps get the word out. Blogs can easily guarantee a credit line and a link, but often have a hard time getting it together to do just that. Everything else is a vague promise that *maybe* the right eyes will see the work. But those right eyes aren’t dumb, they’re savvy enough to know our photographer gave it away for free.

  5. November 21st, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Thanks Lou…

    […] Lesko of BlinkBid pimped me out today on the Livebooks blog about the future of editorial photography. I don’t necessarily share Lou’s views about […]

  6. February 1st, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    Thanks Lou... - Portrait Photographers Miami Florida Celebrity Portrait Photography

    […] Lesko of BlinkBid pimped me out today on the Livebooks blog about the future of editorial photography. I don’t necessarily share Lou’s views about […]

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