Preparing to Photoblog
Photoblogging "nearly' requires a digital camera, because you could conceivably photoblog with a film camera and digitizing service provided by a developer, or a camera/scanner combination. But using film doesn't lead to a happy photoblogging life. The path from film to blog is too slow, too expensive, and too complicated.
A digital camera stores photos on a memory card, from which they can be uploaded to your computer. Many digital cameras are marketed with printers, promoting how easy it is to put the memory card into the printer and print photos — without putting the pictures in the computer at all. Indeed, bypassing the computer is convenient when the goal is a collection of printed snapshots. But in photoblogging, the goal is a photo posted on your site, so it's the printer you want to bypass. That's not to say you shouldn't own a printer, of course. But the printer is irrelevant to blogging.
Other camera considerations:
- Picture quality in a digital camera is most commonly measured in megapixels (millions of pixels). A higher number of megapixels yields more detailed pictures, especially when the photos are enlarged. Blogging and photoblogging are not known for high-quality photos, where the size is often constrained to fit into an entry or a sidebar. (Some professional photographers do use photoblogs to showcase their work, and they display their albums using thumbnails that expand when clicked.) You don't need a great, expensive camera to photoblog. Even a 1-megapixel camera delivers photos that are just fine for a blog.
- More important than picture quality might be the size of the memory card. One of the joys of digital photography is its freedom from film's cost-per-exposure expense. After you buy the camera, digital photography doesn't cost anything per photo, and most people quickly get in the habit of snapping the shutter freely and sorting it all out later. High-quality cameras (5 megapixels and above) need large memory cards because their photos result in large file sizes.
- Most cameras use a USB connector to upload pictures to the computer. USB 2.0 is much faster than USB 1.0; you'll be glad you have it. Many computers are equipped with memory card slots, enabling you to remove the card from the camera and stick it in the computer, uploading the pictures without a cable.
- Camera-equipped cell phones (camera phones) represent another possibility. A camera phone, when combined with a blogging service that supports remote hosting, makes it possible to send a photo to a blog immediately after taking it, without removing the picture from the camera.
Photoblogging, just like written blog entries, can be as profound or superficial and as objective or personal as you like. Serious photobloggers are like amateur photojournalists, covering current events with a camera. Casual photobloggers document their lives with photos like a picture diary.