Bouquets & Brickbats

It has been over a year now with this new website. The year has been full of interesting incidents related to this site. Those of you who know me for the last many years might remember my earlier websites too but this one is different from all those. This is direct from my heart.

Broken pathway

(A broken pathway with some round rocks at the end. Nikon Df with Zeiss 25mm lens at f/8, 1/125 sec, 100 ISO, post-processed in Affinity Photo)

The decision to not monetize

I started this site with the sole purpose of penning down my thoughts related to photography. I have seen many similar sites on the internet and recollected my annoyance on the advertisements that would get embedded all over the site. So, my first decision was to avoid any such advertisements. This meant losing some income that I could have generated from advertisements but this also meant being true to myself. I have therefore not monetized my site. There are no advertisements here. The only method by which I gain financially is when someone opts to send me some money using paypal or instamojo links on the right side (or at the end of the page if you are viewing the site on your phone). The site will remain advertisements-free in the future too.

My readers

Initially, I did not have many readers of the blog but lately, I have been getting a good number of visits. Some of the readers have even started following my website using their emails. Similar to the no-advertisements policy, I also follow a no-spam policy. Any person who opts to follow my site on email gets a small preview of the latest articles when they get publishes. Nothing more. I do not like my inbox getting flooded with unwanted messages so why should I feel that it can be done for others?

Over the last year, my readers have grown up in numbers and the best part is that most of them are regular visitors to my site. I thank them for their interest.

I have also been suggested topics from time to time by some of my readers, that have made it to the site. Some of the articles that appeared here after being requested are –
Curves Tool at your service,
Composition Rules – Part I,
Composition Rules – Part II.

Professional assignments

Turning semi-professional (a word that I use to indicate that I do professional photography but also have some other sources of income), gave me many assignments that I had to do. Some of them came with permission to use the photographs for my site promotion. Others had strict conditions where I am not allowed to use those photographs anywhere and considering the kind of assignment, I totally agree with that. Sorry, I can’t divulge the information about those assignments here.

Occasionally, interesting stories came out of some of the assignments –
Majuli Island,
Walking around with a heavy camera,
Photographing Children,
Model Release

Fern Leaf

(A fern that I found growing on the roadside. The bright leaf against the dark background caught my attention)

Marketing my website

My business card has my website address. My email is linked to my domain name. However I was told by a person that to get a large following, I should also market my website. In fact, according to him more than 90% of my efforts should go into marketing and remaining into the website. I disagree. The purpose of my website is not to generate income. So even if I am able to reach out to a handful of readers, I am happy. My purpose is to write what I feel about photography and that is being fulfilled now.

I had to create a facebook page for letting the masses know about my site and even had to add a facebook button on this site. (Now I can’t even say that I hate facebook) In some of the forums where I have been active, I have added my website address to my profile and sometimes even provide links to articles to my website where relevant.

In one particular forum, I was banned because my profile had a link to my website, and no I had not posted any links anywhere else. On another very friendly forum, the moderator told me to post links to my site where required.

Marketing my website is not my cup of tea and it is something I am not going to spend my time on. I love writing articles and so this is what I will continue to focus on.

Photography Courses

These are at a standstill. I am getting the venue ready for these courses. I did interact with some photographers sometime back, casually. The discussion lasted half a day and involved lots of things related to improving composition. However, this was not a photography course. The discussions were centered around mobile phone cameras, the selfie craze, some new camera models, and mostly around composition skills.

Some of the inquiries that I had last year about the all-inclusive course found it to be too expensive. Now when I get it running again, I’ll separate the stay charges from the course fee. Keeping everything all-inclusive seemed to blow up the costs. Like I had said earlier, I am not a marketing person.

If you are interested in photography courses, be on the lookout here – Photography Courses

Ups and Downs with the website

The traffic keeps varying. When it falls, I tend to think that my content is not up to the mark. When it rises, I feel that it is my good luck. I try to keep a tab on everyday visits to my site and this keeps me anxious. Maybe I should stop checking out these statistics.

When it was time to pay for my site, my card failed to work. I then had to use paypal. WordPress team was very helpful.

Sometimes, as is the case with most writers, I face writer’s block. The mind goes blank and I do not know what to write about. Usually, it is the beginning of the article that is the toughest. At times, I do not have a good enough topic to write about and so my posts get delayed. Lately, people around me keep providing ideas for topics to write about.

The construction keeps me busy

The construction of the cottages (the venue for photography courses as well) keeps me busy. Whenever I get time, I drive to the place to monitor the progress. My camera always accompanies me but not always do I get the time to photograph. In such trips I prefer to feel happy, seeing the wonderful sights nature has created around me. I have relocated to a small town from where reaching these cottages is convenient.

This is the link to my other website – Maini’s Hill Cottages (The link opens in a new tab).

I was able to write some articles based on the incidents from the trips that I made while overseeing the construction work. Here are some of those –
Another Hill Trip – Phone vs Camera!,
Enchanted by Mountain Stream

(Pine forest not far from my new home. This is an example of an overcooked photo but somehow it garners a lot of wows.)

My special thanks to all my readers, supporters, and critiques. It has been a wonderful year with its own ups and downs. Thanks for being there.

Further Reading:
Photography Blog

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