For the last couple of weeks I’ve been mulling over this idea; I’m thinking of starting a podcast about photography. I would like all of you to stop me.
Here’s my problem: I’m having trouble finding photography podcasts I want to listen to. What I don’t want:
Podcasts aimed at beginners. I really don’t need to have aperture mode explained to me ever again.
Podcasts that are interview shows of lots of photographers I’ve never heard of. When they interview a photographer I do know, they usually tweet it out and I listen to that.
Podcasts that are groups of photographers getting together shooting the breeze without any real point to them recording it, other than sponsorship or because they think people care what they think.
Podcasts that are groups of photographers where I consistently get about ten minutes into the show and then yell “if you’d done five minutes of basic research about the topic before starting you’d know that was wrong”
Podcasts that have hosts that explain to me that the only lens I really need is that magical 50mm thing.
Podcasts that mention the word “wedding”. Or, for that matter, SEO. or how to succeed in your photography business (by buying me ebook)
Where what I want:
I want podcasts that are about nature and wildlife photography, not street, studio or wedding.
I want podcasts that are speaking to the intermediate or advanced photographer about what’s going on in the field, about how to deal with problems in the field, and about how to solve real world problems on a shoot or in the digital darkroom.
I’m not against interviews, but please, not as the primary material. I’m not against panels or group discussions of topics, but again, please, do some prep before firing up the microphones.
What’s out there?
I’ve started doing research into this, getting away from the podcasts I’ve already decided aren’t for me and trying to see what’s out there that I’ve missed.
So far, two podcasts have stood out to me as fairly close to what I want. Both, it turns out, are from the folks at improvephotography.com, which is a new site to me and which I think having dug into it for a few days I’d define as “digital photography school for intermediates”, which is intended as a compliment to both sites. They do a roundtable podcast with different hosts on different subjects, and they do the tripod podcast on nature photography.
I honestly think that it’s somewhere between hard and impossible to do a decent photography podcast that doesn’t have a video component. the only photography oriented podcast I’ve been following the last few months is David duChemin’s Vision is Better, which I think is well aimed at the intermediate/advanced person trying to move beyond the nerd details of the camera into the esthetic aspects of the image. His recent discussions on personal projects is what booted my butt into finally getting going and building things like my recent It’s All About the Eyes.
a new photography I’ve run into that seems to be doing interesting things is Eric Wahlstrom, and I was really impressed with his On Nature Photography video. Another that impressed me (and I want to see more of) was Jeff Harmon’s Editing a Landscape (another Improve Photography piece. See a trend?).
Here’s how you can help
So here’s how you can help: point me at the podcasts, both audio and youtube/video, that I’m missing. My research indicates right now that there is (a) too much material chasing the same beginner enthusiasts, especially given that the growth in people joining the ranks of enthusiast photographers is flattening out; (b) there are too many “hey, we can just fire up the mic and wing it” chat shows, and (c) we don’t need more “let’s all interview each other for our podcasts” shows. When you search for them, you find lots and lots of these, including a huge number that have been abandoned and are no longer being produced.
What I’m not finding is a lot of material that has a real opinion on the field and explains it well (as Wahstrom does) or goes in depth on tough problems like that Jeff Harmon did (there’s a lot more about Photoshop — hell, entire industries spun around Photoshop — but honestly, you don’t really need Photoshop for photography work any more, except for edge cases or if you really want to go play with Luminosity Masks for some reason).
I keep feeling like I’m just not finding it, not that it’s not there. So please, feel free to point me to stuff. I’ll post a follow up later linking to people’s favorite photography podcasts and which ones I’ve decided to subscribe to.
What I’m thinking of doing
This is real preliminary and my working title is Pixel Splitting, mostly because five minutes of basic searching didn’t turn up any notable conflicts with other productions. I can guarantee it’ll change as my research moves forward, but what I’m currently thinking about is something hybrid, likely twice a month, once audio-only, once on youtube to discuss technique or something else that really requires a video component. I don’t consider audio-only with a “there’s a link in the show notes” adequate since so much audio podcast is listened to mobile and on the move. Show note material needs to be supplemental, not mandatory for understanding or enjoying the podcast.
The audio part of the podcast would include a segment on industry news every episode. I’d want there to be a topic discussed in more depth, either by the host(s) or with a guest. I’m not against guests or guest interviews but I’d want to slant them more towards discussion of topics rather than “hey, send me over some questions to ask you so you can plug your new ebook”. I’d also like to include a section that discusses (with links in the show notes) sites, photographers, images and bodies of work that have come to our attention recently. the challenge with that is it’s a lot more work to do well than it seems.
The video/youtube side, well, what Jeff Harmon did with that image is what I’m looking at, honestly. Very well done with techniques not aimed at beginners. It could be on my own images or on submitted images, that’s all TBD. and to be honest, I’d been thinking of how I might do something like this before this concept expanded or I’d found Harmon’s piece, which if nothing else tells me this is the core I should be working around to build this all out.
I have no intention of launching this any time soon (if ever); there’s a lot of background work that needs to be done, starting with building out a six month topic list so I know there’s enough content to warrant it; deciding if its solo of if I should require other hosts; etc etc etc. Perhaps I’ll find the right set of podcasts that I can link to them and be happy I don’t need to do it myself. We’ll see.
But for now, this is one of my “not quite a projects” that I’m putting some thought into, and I figured I’d discuss it here to see what all of you thought, and what podcasts you listen to that I should add to my lists. Please drop me a note, and I’ll follow up later with the info I get from all of you and how that modifies my plans (or not).