I genuinely hope that you’ve all had a wonderful weekend. I’ve been working for most of it; in fact, Anthony and I were both working pretty much 12 hours ago from when this is being published.
This post is a note on some of the big changes that are coming to the Phoblographer, but even more importantly to La Noir Image. To refresh, La Noir Image is our black and white photography website that we’ve had on the side for around a year now. We did a Kickstarter to turn it into a magazine for tablets and phones, failed, and we’ve been at work doing revamps to the website since.
Here’s the latest news about what’s going on here.
La Noir Image
Of anything business-wise that I’ve done, La Noir Image has to be the most exciting by far. Over the weekend, I let backers know that they can go ahead and purchase their subscriptions. Currently, you can register on the website as a guest and check out all the content that we’ve published so far. Once we start cranking out produced content on September 1st, you’ll need to have a subscription to see most of it. I’ll probably allow one free post per month afterwards.
This past week, the staff and I have been hard at work putting together and laying out content. In September alone, you’re getting around 20 (more than that actually) stories centered on the month’s theme: Street Photography. Twenty stories at what essentially comes out to $1.25/month with the basic subscription. That’s more than some magazines put out. If I really had to describe it, take the British Journal of Photography, remove the news, make it clearly very American, and for the month of September focus it only on Street Photography. Oh right, and focus the entire publication on black and white photography only.
Update: you can check out one post that we’ve published here for free to get a glimpse of what’s coming in September.
Plus you get access to forums to have thought provoking conversations with other artists, the membership giveaway perk (which for the month of September is being donated by Zeiss. It’s their mobile phone lens and case, which is actually very decent.), and more depending on what level you decide to purchase. The more we earn, the more we can actually do with the site. We’ll eventually put in a donation link too.
New content starts being published on September 1st at 7AM EST. On that date, you’re going to get a number of posts to enjoy during your commute or even through the weekend. Stories will continue to be published through the month. In October, we’re currently discussing the idea of featuring Surreal Horror photographers.
By the way: The paywall is in place now. Basic membership starts at $15/year while intermediate will be $40/year, and advanced will slate in at $100/year. They all come with their own specific and really nice perks for the prices. It’s still currently being tweaked! The new content is going to look totally different on tablets, phones and desktops. There are no ads on the website, one member gets a really cool high end freebie a month, and there are forums.
“The more we earn, the more we can actually do with the site. We’ll eventually put in a donation link too.”
If you head over to LaNoirImage.com right now, you’ll be able to see a specific log-in page. You can log in there, and if you don’t have a log-in, you just register and select the payment you’d like to give. At the moment, we’re only accepting Paypal payments (yes, it can link straight over to your Credit Card.) But we’re going to consider Google Checkout soon.
Let us know if you have any questions by shooting an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you don’t wish to subscribe, please do know that you still have the truest and most sincere words of thanks from me for ever even considering to help.
La Noir Image is a place where we’re trying to cultivate higher end, more genuine conversations. They’re about art and the ones about technique and gear are targeted at the more experienced audience as well. I guarantee you that you’re not going to find anything like what we’re doing on the free web. That’s why this site is being slated to the more experienced and art-driven shooters while the Phoblographer will be more towards the beginners, enthusiasts, hobbyists, and less serious photographers. We explain more about that in the next section. FYI: if you’re not actually going pro, you’re probably less serious, especially if your primary fascination in photography is gear.
Personally, that’s also where my head is right now. Every lens and camera manufacturer is doing such a damned good job that you can get similar results with every product you play with. In the end, you’re the person that creates images; not the camera.
Changes Coming to the Phoblographer
The Phoblographer will be turning eight later on this year. It’s been the longest job that I’ve ever held considering that I’m the creator, publisher and Editor in Chief. As we’ve progressed, I’ve learned a lot, failed a lot and found new ways to adapt that will be coming soon.
Do I want to keep doing this for the rest of my life? Yes. But I also want my role to evolve and my business to grow. So my role over the next two years will continue to change, though I will always have some sort of leadership role in editorial content on the site.
To start, long time readers of the site have known that I originally completely embraced comments. Then a few years ago, I removed them partially for security reasons. Then I brought them back. My rules are pretty simple: constructive criticism, don’t be a jerk and no harsh attacks on one another. For the most part, people have been doing that and I like to think that I’ve worked pretty hard to foster a community that cares here with the exception of the recent MastinLabs review where I’m convinced someone sent an army of users after us to slander our name. Situations like this are rare though; and to be quite honest we mostly expect them from Pentax fans.
I’m once again considering removing comments from the website because I don’t think that they add any specific value to our content. I’m willing to be convinced otherwise, but this is how I’ve always felt. When comments were gone, what we found is that we used to get wonderful and thought out emails simply because the act of opening an email, typing and thinking about what you want to say is a significantly different action than clicking on a “comment here” box of some sort and spewing what’s sometimes complete garbage.
Regrowth of the Team
Years ago The Phoblographer had a pretty large team of somewhere around seven writers. Then times got really tough, and we needed to cut back. For a while, I was alone on the site until I recruited Anthony. I’m glad to say that the site’s staff is going to grow yet again too. Returning to the site soon will be Jamiya Wilson–a reviewer who wrote for us a few years back and is going to be contributing to news and culture. Additionally, Robin Wong will be joining our team. Yes, that Robin Wong. Both of these contributors will join Anthony and I in daily content production while I shift most of my focus to content development and growing the business.
Speaking of which: we’re going to be changing our content approach yet again.
A while back, we changed up to become mostly an arts and tutorial based blog. Originally it worked, but in the long run it seems you all really prefer when we talk about gear, tutorials, news, etc. That’s what we used to do and that’s what we’re going to go back to doing. There will still be some artist focused pieces, but they won’t be the primary features that we post very soon. Phoblographer is a free website; and to that end it’s a business that fosters most of the values of the free web. People that want stuff for free aren’t generally super serious about trying to move into something incredibly high end–and on that train of thought they usually do this as a hobby. We’re going to target those people more; and those people are generally those that I like to segment as not reaching for higher bearing fruit.
When someone really wants to expand and learn or they feel that they’ve outgrown the conversations that the Phoblographer puts out there, we encourage them to move onto La Noir Image.
Questions? Thoughts? We’d love to hear them.