When I first started this pet blog, it was more about words than photos. My first real post in September of 2012 only included one photo! My second post had three, all bunched together at the end of the post, and my third post had none. It didn’t increase much from there, at least not for months, and the photos I did include were small and poorly placed.
This post is sponsored by the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network™. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about how BlogPaws helps educate and inspire pet influencers but Wag ‘n Woof Pets only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. BlogPaws is not responsible for the content of this article.
I started my blog because I wanted to write, not share photos. It took quite a while for me to realize how much these two things could complement each other, and how sharing photos could even help my writing. As my creative process has evolved, almost every post I write is rich with photos. People who read blogs are probably not looking for something that reads like a book with so many words. I tend to get wordy when I write, and I believe that breaking up those words with some photos can help hold people’s interest.
How is it that photos can help my writing? They can:
Make or inspire a story. It’s important to always have a camera handy when you’re a pet blogger. You never know when the crew will do something cute and if I can grab a camera and capture it, that can give me a new story idea. One day Luke and Sheba were just being silly playing in the yard. Cricket was out of commission and their antics I photographed gave me the idea for my post “Where’s the Team Spirit?”. The photos illustrated the two of them screwing off without their “team captain” Cricket. I even managed to work a football reference in there, as football season was opening.
Tell the whole story. It’s very difficult for us bloggers to be truly wordless on the pet blog hop Wordless Wednesday, hosted by BlogPaws, but sometimes a picture really can tell the whole story. Cricket on her bed with her ball next to her and her tongue hanging out said it all in our post “Tired but Happy”.
Illustrate a story. This is most often used for sponsored posts. I like to tie in products we’re reviewing with a little story whenever possible. Showing the dogs or Sam with or using products makes the products more attractive. We have the most fun weaving stories around our Pet Treater subscription boxes. “Luke Parties on with Pet Treater” was so enjoyable to put together!
Be edited to make a different and fun story. Sometimes I have photos marked for sharing, but they just seem kind of boring on their own. I love it when an idea comes to me to make those more fun. I had a photo of Cricket in a Chewy box I wanted to share, and when I looked back at it realized I had a series of shots. I turned them into a silly story with just a little editing, in our post “Vanishing Beagle”.
Then there are the stories I have yet to tell that need photo illustration; but I just cannot capture those photos. I’m on constant watch for those photos yet to be taken. I had written recently about our cat Samantha and the little tower I had gotten her, and how she didn’t use it. One evening I turned around and she was inside the cubby hole on the bottom! Sometimes you have to be quick to capture these moments. My phone was the handiest thing and in the low light the photos were not the greatest. The photo below was the best of the lot, and at least they prove she really did go in there!
That goes to show that photography, especially of pets, can be very challenging on its own. It’s not always easy to get them to stay still or do what you want them to. Working with them, using treats, can help a lot. Luke will work even when the treats aren’t constantly coming. Having an easily trainable dog like Luke helps; he even gets excited when he sees the camera come out. I really do think he enjoys it, and he has become our chief spokesmodel here. Cricket and Samantha are less cooperative. Samantha is just going to do what she wants anyway, so most photos of her are candid. If I’m holding a treat to give Cricket once I’ve gotten my photo, she often just keeps trying to get closer to the treat!
The fun thing about today’s digital cameras is that you can simply shoot a series of photos and then see what you’ve got, and delete what you don’t want. I captured an expression on Cricket’s face once, without realizing it, that showed her impatience with waiting for treats, and shared that in our post: “#Beagletude”.
That illustrates the fact that with pets, you just never know what you might get with photos. My crew are truly my assistants in my creative process. They can inspire many ideas; and their antics (or sometimes just perfect poses), captured in photos enhance my words every time.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of BlogPaws. The opinions and text are all mine.
This is all true. I was so frustrated with my pictures that never came out well that I didn’t bother with many pictures when I started blogging. After a couple months …. especially after viewing other blogs and seeing how necessary pictures are (and that even I prefer posts with pictures), I started taking pictures again. I still have a lot to learn. With time, Bear’s gotten more used to the camera, though he still stops what he’s doing most of the time. My biggest improvements came from 1) recognizing that by taking tons of pictures, I’ll get lucky and get a few keepers and 2) using a photo editor. Very rarely, Bear will mug for the camera … but usually, I have to bribe him with treats to stay in one place.
Bear is such a photogenic cat, and I love all the photos you include in your posts. You’ve got this all figured out, and probably did so quicker than I did! 🙂
Sand Spring Chesapeakes says
I love taking photos and going through looking for the perfect one. I love that photo of luke with his paws crossed, nice capture.
Thank you! I love that photo too. He really can strike a pose sometimes!
The Island Cats says
So true. As Rod Stewart said…every picture tells a story, don’t it? 😉
M. K. Clinton says
Skipper does all of my photography and that is where most of our posts begin…behind the lens! Great post ♥
Thank you! You and Skipper have the perfect working relationship – each of your work complements the other’s!
I feel like I can never even start writing a blog post until I’ve taken the photos! As a blog reader, I think the photos do really help tell the story and let the readers get a closer peek into the blogger’s life. This is wonderful advice.
I’m with you, Ann, I almost never write a post before taking the photos. You never know how the photos might influence your words, so it really makes sense to do it that way.
You could have been writing about me.
Although I’m an awful photographer, I realize that the pictures help people stick with the dense text. And when we have something to share that can really help someone, it’s really important that we remove any barriers to getting people to read.
I’m starting to wish I had a camera phone. Because you really need to be fast when our pets (or wildlife) are getting interesting.
Brian Frum says
True, true, true and we always love your photos and words!
Mom can’t do a post without her own photos. She always has a story in mind, but the photos shape the story. It’s such a great creative outlet taking photos and writing, and it is also great for training dogs!
Barley love the camera so much that I have always used a lot of photos–my challenge is narrowing it down so that I don’t include all 1000 we take on an adventure 🙂 I’m so glad that you started using more photos as the blog grew because you have a very photogenic crew!
I hear you on the challenge of narrowing it down! 🙂
We love to tell stories through photos.
I hear you… and I wait for such special photos too… and they actually happen… when I have no cam LOL
If I had a nickel for every time that happened, right? 🙂
Great post and I totally agree! I had no idea when I started how important photos would be, and I always carry my camera now just in case!
2 Brown Dawgs says
I use photos a lot. I think for me they are a really important part of my blogging.
I love your diagrams too! 🙂