I have mentioned before that I have a pretty long commute to work, and that I listen to podcasts while I'm driving. If you want to start a blog, or want to take your blog to the next level, I highly recommend the Problogger podcast by Darren Rowse. Well, I have purchased Darren's e-book, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, and I am going to be making my way through it. There's no way I can do a challenge a day, as I've already proven in November that I don't have time to post even five days a week. So it might take a couple of months. I'm fine with that, as it will help me to continue building momentum and getting used to writing. I am learning that writing is a craft, and if I want to get better at it, then I need practice and to just do it.
So, Lesson 1 in 31 Days to Build a Better Blog is to create an elevator pitch. I know of an elevator pitch as something you can deliver to a complete stranger in about ten seconds to explain what your business is about. It needs to be short and to the point. So without giving away the content of Darren's book (definitely don't want to do that), here are my thoughts on what the elevator pitch could be for this blog.
Short Version (to be put in my tagline)- Helping Self-taught photographers understand plug-ins.
The longer versions help to tell a little bit more of the story and who my target audience is:
Long Version Number 1 - I am a self-taught photographer who understands it can be frustrating trying to figure out a post-processing workflow. Many plug-ins that rely on templates and presets don’t come with a manual. I am here to figure out how these software programs work, and if I can teach other self-taught photographers something as well, then we both will win and be creating beautiful photographs that go well beyond the snapshot.
Long Version Number 2 - FocustheFrame is one self-taught photographer’s way of helping other people interested in taking their photography to the next level shorten their learning curve. We all need help learning how to quickly and efficiently post process the photographs that we take. FocustheFrame explores how to effectively use plug-ins, presets and filters during your post processing workflow.
There is also an expanded pitch, which is an exercise to get you to think about answers to the next logical questions. I came up with these questions myself. They are not in the ebook and are distinct for what I think a new reader or someone I'm talking to might ask me.
Expanded Pitch (what are the answers to potential next logical questions) -
Potential Question #1: Why do you need to know where presets and filters start, when all you have to do is click on them?
Answer #1: The starting point of presets and filters is just that, a starting point. There might be certain areas of an image that can be tweaked even further to bring out the details in the shadows, or increase (or decrease) local contrast, etc. Knowing where and how the presets and filters begin allows us to carefully craft our images to meet our artistic vision.
Potential Question #2: What’s the best way to break down a pre-set?
Answer #2: I’m not sure right now as we’re just getting started, but the plan is to take a raw image, and experimenting with basic pre-sets. If I select one and don’t like it, I will undo to get back to the starting image. After my selection speaks to me, I’ll carefully note where the sliders are. For example if it’s a high key image, where are the sliders for the highlights and whites? Is it the opposite for a low key image with lots of mood? Doing this will give me the “muscle memory” for the next time I am processing a similar image, whether it be next week or next month. It will also help if I want to create a similar look. I can use the base knowledge to recreate something that appeals to me.
Potential Question #3: Why play with sliders at all?
This is very similar to Question #1. But let me answer it with a question of my own. What if we want to create our own pre-sets and filters with our own custom look? There are an infinite number of possibilities for us to create with these software programs. As artists, we should be passionate about pushing the boundaries of what we are capable of doing in the digital darkroom. If we don’t push sliders around in both directions, we are relying on someone else’s work to accomplish our vision. I want to create my own vision.
I am happy that I did this exercise. It took me nine days to complete it, and I honestly don't know if I'm quite there yet with the final draft. I know I have some readers out there. If you're a returning visitor (or even here for the first time!), I would love to get your feedback on which long form elevator pitch you think might suit me. You've read the blog, so what do you think? Also, what other questions should I be asking, or do you have for me? Be sure to let me know in the comments below.