Creating a Photo Blog – Why building a blog is like getting in shape

Though I am not an exercise fanatic, I do try to keep myself in shape and recently realized that building a blog is like getting yourself into shape!  Unless it’s 1984 again and your last name is Schwarzenegger, you can probably relate to what it takes to get in shape.  And yes, I thought of this while working out!

I started my HDR photography blog over 3 years ago, and have learned a few things along the way and I am still learning every day.  So…

The Royal Galleries of Saint Hubert

Here are 5 reasons why building a blog is like getting in shape:

  • You have to get the foundation right.

Just like strapping on a pair of good shoes for a run or using proper form to lift weights: you have to start out with a solid foundation – that doesn’t just mean camera gear but also choosing what kind of site you want.  Is this an actual blog or is this a portfolio site?  They are very different, and that decision wedding bouncy castle determines what road you take (and yes, you can do both).  If it is a blog, will it be a daily photo-sharing thing, or lots of tutorials and how-to’s, or something else?  There is no “right” answer – but if you choose a blog, then keep in mind that……

  • This is a big commitment.

That stubborn 10 pounds you just can’t lose might take forever to get rid of.  It doesn’t just “disappear”.  It takes a lot of work over a long period of time.  You will think about it a lot.  Probably even when you don’t want to think about it – like when your office mate offers you a donut….mmmm donuts.  Man, I love donuts.  But, I digress.

Same with a blog – you are never “done”.  It takes a lot of work.  It’s essentially another full time job, except that you are your own boss.  It’s something you will continue to work on, adjust, update, change, overhaul, tweak and then reformat for as long as you have it.  And why is that?  Because…..

  • You have to keep it fresh.

There is an exercise principle known as “muscle confusion”, which loosely translated means that if you mix it up and “confuse” your muscles by changing your workouts, they will grow.  That’s because if you always do the same thing, the muscles are no longer being challenged.

It’s the same with blogging.  Keep adding new photos and material and try some different things.  Mix it up.  Experiment.  Remember that a blog is a living, breathing thing – it’s not static, just like you aren’t static.  Change is good.  Variety is the spice of…well, you’ve heard that one.  So keep it fresh.  Your blog will appreciate it, your mind will appreciate, and perhaps most of all, your readers will appreciate it.

A busy bar in Brussels

  • It can take a long time to reach your goals.

I remember setting goals for myself in the weight room and for my running.  It’s important to have goals in any endeavor – it measures progress and keeps you motivated.  But like everyone else, I want to achieve them NOW.  However, I had to put in the time and effort over a sustained period in order to reach them (if I ever did reach them…because, you know…donuts ARE quite tempting.).

I find it’s the same way with taking photographs and running a blog.  There is really no such thing as an “overnight success”.  People that appear to achieve a lot in a short period have actually put in a lot of time and effort to get there.  So focus and put in your time.

  • Find a support group.

There is nothing like the camaraderie you find with people of similar interests.  That probably explains the popularity of running clubs – these folks are all passionate about running and enjoy training together.  Plus, let’s face it – running can be painful as hell, and pain shared is pain divided, or something like that.

Well guess what?  There is a HUGE community of other folks out there running photo blogs and we all enjoy meeting and engaging with folks that share our interests.  So reach out to these folks, get to know them (at least virtually) and learn from them.  We have all made mistakes and are still learning too.  Plus, it’s fun to feel like a part of something.

Most importantly – enjoy what you are doing.  It really comes down to that, whether you are running a photo blog, working out, or…eating a donut. :)

Roland Fountain, Bratislava

Jim Nix is a photographer, traveler, HDR enthusiast, explorer, iPhone shooter, and tea drinker based in Austin, TX. He shares his photos and travel experiences on his blog at

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  • Carl N

    Been taking HDR photos for years and toying with the idea of creating a blog. Thanks for the info. It’s food for thought.

  • sthill

    Some very good points, i’ve just started my own blog recently and am still getting to grips with updating it constantly and understanding what it is i want to share with the world.