around the net: volume 9 – how prophotolife got here


Today’s post actually turned into two posts. In this installment: how prophotolife got to where it is. Tomorrow I’ll post the continuation: where prophotolife.com is headed.

“Today, on a very special episode of Around the ‘Net…”

This has been one of the funnest, busiest weeks of my (pro photo) life. The highlight was Tuesday night’s get-together here at the studio. The Ohio Valley Camera Club made a major showing and, let me say, the members that were here represent all that is good with the profession / hobby that we love: photography. David Ziser, highly respected professional photographer and photo educator, also made the scene with his wife LaDawn. In fact, David wrote so eloquently about the evening on digitalprotalk.blogspot.com that I hope you’ll make the jump there to read about it. I couldn’t recreate the shared experience in words any better. Standing there with that particular group of people, having fun, it took me back to the beginning…

How a blog is born

When I started prophotolife.com some three months ago, I honestly didn’t know where it would go. You may have read earlier about how we downsized Daylight Photo at the beginning of the year and found ourselves without employees to instruct on a daily basis. That’s how this website was born, out of a desire to share information with like-minded people. So I started the blog, had a logo designed, and began writing about the business of photography.

Lee Torrens over at Microstock Diaries was an inspiration right off the bat. Lee writes definitively about the business of microstock photography and shares his monthly earnings and industry news with readers in a way that I really admire. So I contacted Lee and he’s been a great source of encouragement ever since.

Then one day I decided to pick up a video camera to show the world our studio stick-in-a-cans, of all things. The experts might say the way to attract readers is with pretty models, fast cars and expensive lenses…but stick-in-a-cans were what put prophotolife on the map (go figure). Udi at DIYPhotography.net almost immediately pointed his readers over this way to watch that very first video. What a compliment that was, because I was a fan of the site and had been collecting the pieces to make the disposable camera ring flash. I’m determined to settle down and get that project done, but how little time there is right now to start anything new. But, maybe just like you, I do have all the parts in my basement for that and many other DIY projects.

Apple iTunes

The single greatest leap day forward for prophotolife came from the most unassuming rock star in all of photo-dom, David Hobby over at Strobist.com. David sent me a very nice email one day saying he was going to “have fun” with the stick-in-can video. The very next day the prophotolife traffic counter was ringing. I remember Strobist in the early days and how much I admired the tiny but effective lighting setup that David developed. It was, and still is, a pure genius approach (here’s the Strobist Lighting 101). Only now, just a couple years later, he has a following that equals many pro sports teams. The lighting videos here on prophotolife wouldn’t even be relevant if it weren’t for Strobist bringing strobe techniques to the masses. Whether you use a speedlight, studio strobe, the sun or a table lamp: light is light and good technique is good technique. I’m just excited that people want to learn more about it.

The traffic counter was really sent spinning again when (the) Scott Kelby casually mentioned prophotolife.com in his blog, Photoshop Insider. Scott really defines digital photography today, through his many projects including (but not limited to) KelbyTraining.com, Photoshop User, NAPP and Layers Magazine. Oh, and don’t forget the very cool Photoshop User TV. Seriously, I would guess that Scott and his team (which includes the aforementioned David Ziser) have more input on the the digital photography tools we use today than any other single collective. Imagine my surprise to be mentioned on one of his sites. I particularly enjoy Scott’s wit (check out the “security guard video”) and his in-depth explorations like this week-long feature on lighting.

So that’s the short story of the very beginning of prophotolife. Maybe you found this site by way of one of the aforementioned posts or maybe it was through one of the other faithful friends of this website. There have been dozens of equally important sites pointing this way and I want to give them their due and tell the rest of the story in another installment next week.

As I mentioned above, tomorrow there will be a continuation of this post: where prophotolife.com is headed. I hope to see you then…