Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Advertising on Blog


This humble, small blog of mine, simplyROBIN which I have started and actively maintained since 2005 (and picking up pace in photography world on 2008 onward) has made an unexpected turn some time in 2010 that became some sort of an unofficial Olympus gear reviewing site. I never did intend to review any photography equipment in the first place, but the opportunity came and as most sane photographers would react, it was impossible to turn the invitation down. Consequently, something I have never expected has happened: this blog has become one of the important references when it comes to Olympus gear review, and have been mentioned many times in online discussions, may it be in photography forums or Flickr groups.  In addition, the audience has grown exponentially over the years, and I have come to appreciate the interactions I have had with all you beautiful people who took some time to leave a comment or feedback, and even dropped me an email to say hi. Life indeed has been more colorful ever since.

In Pink


Nonetheless, one of the most popular misconceptions that happened was me having an Olympus OM-D E-M5 and all the accompanying lenses that I have been reviewing over the past one or two years. From dozens and dozens of emails I have replied, many were shocked to find that I do not even own any of those Olympus equipment that I have reviewed, and they started to wonder why I have not switched fully over to the micro 4/3 system since I was one of the fore-front runner in praising micro 4/3 system's amazing performance and impressive optical quality. Lets face it, I was one of the loudest guys out there proclaiming how great Olympus lenses are, and I am not ashamed to admit that I have come to love and become a fan of Olympus system. Now comes the plain, straightforward truth: I simply could not afford getting micro 4/3 system. My engineering pay (typical to Malaysians) was not sufficient to fund a full change of system (not just a lens and a camera, but also some important dedicated lens such as macro, tele-photo, etc).

The second part of the most popularly asked questions has something to do with what I have mentioned about me being an underpaid and overworked Malaysian engineer. Why don't I advertise on this blog to generate some income? For so long I have held on to the belief that I can truly be myself and spoke whatever I wanted free from the clutches of monetary gain or advertising influences. I wanted to be in full control of this place and its contents, and I wanted it to reflect only my own thoughts and opinion. This is after all, a personal blog, and placing advertisement in any form would somehow dilute and pollute that idealism. It was a privilege that I fought hard to keep: the ability to say what I wanted to say and do what I wanted to do here. In contrary to popular belief I was not exactly that fanatical about the readership or page-ranking of this blog in any way, because I would rather have 5 regular readers who follow my site because they truly can relate to the photographs that I share here and what I write, than 50,000 readers who came here just for my gear review entries. If I was crazy about fan-collecting and expanding my readership, why don't I have twitter account, 500px, Flickr, Facebook Fanpage or Tumblr? Heck I do not even have a Google+ which is the most favorable hang-out (pun intended) venue for photographers these days. I only had one online outlet for my photographs and thoughts, which is solely this blog.

I think I  can only kid myself when I have spent so much time and effort (you have NO idea) to keep this blog alive, and not expecting anything in return. This blog is the first thing I check when I wake up in the morning (even before I take my morning pee) and the last thing I check before I go to sleep at night. I have poured out a huge part of myself into this blog, and that was directly affected by my  obsession with photography. I have spent countless hours replying comments and emails, and I have enjoyed every single process, no matter how tiring or time-consuming they were. I wanted to say that I have successfully created a small online community but the truth is more closer to me tapping into the already existing photography societies and somehow managed to steal a small portion of their attention toward my blog. Either way, my presence in the online photography world has slowly and steadily gained more recognition, which is a nice welcome. In contrary to that, it would be false to use this to validate my photography work or anything else that are published here, and I hope people do not see me negatively in that way. At the end of the day, it was always a nice feeling when you know a lot of people do actually care and truly appreciate what you have contributed and done!

I think most of you who do follow my blog would find that I have been contradicting myself all this time. On one hand I was always saying the tools are not that critical in creating great images and the photographer is the one deciding how the results will turn out to be. On the other hand, I was reviewing Olympus latest equipment like any other gear-head or measurebators out there. It was such a contrast to hear myself saying "the tool does not matter" and then "oh this latest 75mm F1.8 is possibly the sharpest lens on this planet". I find it strange no one has pointed this out, or barked at me even the slightest bit. I do feel guilty sometimes after all the gear talk and pixel-peeping. To balance things off, I always made sure I shot even more photographs with whatever gear I have in my usual shutter therapy sessions or other arranged photo-shoots with friends. Ultimately, I want to be known as the photographer who shoots nice photographs, instead of the blogger who reviews Olympus gear. For now, I will settle for the latter (people start calling me the Olympus guy), but hey, being an accomplished photographer takes a hell lot of effort and time. It does not happen over-night.

I think I am digressing too much here, but what I was trying to get to, was the new intention that has sparked recently: to take the advantage of my blog readership to earn a few extra bucks. Yes, I am contradicting myself again, congratulations Robin Wong. I know I have just mentioned (and probably have done so a trillion times over) on why I keep this place advertising free, but the truth is, I am not poor, but VERY poor. There were moments that I was so low in cash that I ALMOST decided to sell ALL my photography equipment and give up photography. I am not kidding. Sometimes, other things in life come as higher priorities than a selfish hobby such as photography. I do take in paid photography assignment from time to time but it was obviously still not sufficient (they pay freelance photographers peanuts here). Therefore, in all honesty, you cannot exactly blame me for having the temptations of turning this blog into a money making machine (now that I have written it, it sounded a lot dirtier than I thought). I am well aware of the fact that whenever advertisements are placed into a blog, there will be some compromise in terms of the content quality that the blog delivers. That is the missing puzzle that I must figure out for myself, and sort it out, if I were to start earning from this blog.

I have explained earlier on the importance of staying true to myself here, and I would genuinely like to keep it that way. However, I also need to eat. Sometimes, I also want to buy that new lens. Do you know how painful it is to be able to review a new equipment unit, loaned to you for just a few days, and then that was taken away from you, and you have NO way of getting it back? It was like waving ice-cream in front of a kid, and letting him have a lick, and immediately snatched it away from him. Ok that was not the best way to describe my situation but it certainly did feel that way.

I plan to have some advertisements up here soon. I am not sure how this will change things but I am willing to give it a try. I do hope you all will stay with me as I go through these changes. I am not expecting to earn much but hey, that few extra bucks can mean a lot when you do not have much. Every little bit counts.

Advertisements on blog or not, rest assured, shutter therapy goes on. 

108 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Times have indeed changed, bro! May they earn you extra money.

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    1. Hey Jason,
      So true, nothing stays the same forever. Perhaps, it is time I consider Twitter. Yes yes I hear your evil laughter all the way from here.

      Delete
    2. Jian, I want flowers instead of color paper can ah? Rose petals, red one !! ahahhaha

      Delete
  3. Dearest Robin,

    Rest assured that you can have your cake and eat it too i.e. you can make money (via ads or otherwise) and you can still remain true to yourself. On your own blog you are your own master so you can “rig” the game in such a way as to never undermine your own integrity, as I am sure you never will. (Just beware that ads are going to be by far the least profitable, most basic way to make money with your blog.)

    As a struggling blogger myself I know that what we do we do for love. But the sad fact of life remains that we are physical beings that need food and shelter, and this means we need to make money. So there is indeed nothing wrong making money from what you love to do. In fact, I would urge you to consider whether you love engineering more than photography. If the latter is your true passion then think about a way of going “pro” with your blog. It seems to me that this will make both you and your readers happier because you would have more time to take photos and deal with blog issues, and improve at both of those, while following your true passion.

    Whatever you decide to do, be aware that your loyal readers will stand by you - I know I will!
    Good luck and never give up because even the longest journey begins with a single step, though it seems to me you are already half-way there ;-)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for the encouragement and some very useful advice. You were right, indeed we do need food and shelter, though we do what we love to do. Thanks so much for the support and I will do my best to stay true to myself.

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  4. Hi Robin, More power to you!! Go for it. When Oly finally (please) comes out with a fast standard zoom, I'll click through your links to buy one. I owe you!

    BTW, I don't see the contradition between (1) its all about the photographer not the equipment and (2) the new 75mm is unbelieveably awesomely sharp and a "must have". I think those statements represent completely separate aspects of this "hobby" (or career, for some). I think, for example, there must be people out there who love collecting gear and who rarely take pictures. Nothing wrong with that! The gear itself can be a "end into itself".... It's all about having fun, and to wake up in the morning with something to be excited or passionate about!

    Take care...

    Peter

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    1. Hello Peter,
      Thank you so so much for the kind support, really appreciate it. I guess there is that guilt in me that tells me not to "measurebate" too much, but then again we always fall prey to pixel peeping !! But I always make sure I compensate that guilt with tonnes and tonnes of photographs I take on the streets.

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    2. I like your mix of content! Pixel peeping is fun even if we also choose to ignore it when it actually comes to our photos. Also, you're an engineer!! You'll never be able to stop the "measuring" haha.

      Peter

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    3. You hit it right on the spot, because of being an engineer, i will always be obsessed with the technical details !

      Delete
  5. "Sometimes, other things in life come as higher priorities than a selfish hobby such as photography." True that. *nods*

    It's your site and you can do whatever you want with it. That said, with advertisement or not, I believe your contents will always remains the same; true and humble.

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    Replies
    1. Hey Chong,
      Thanks so much for the kind words, and your constant support. Lets have breakfast or tea one of these days !!

      Delete
  6. Go for it Robin! I regularly use affiliate links from blogs I enjoy to support them. You certainly deserve it for all your efforts.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Wataru for the kind support. Really appreciate it.

      Delete
  7. You make it sound like a long excuse for starting something evil. Ads and sponsored entries are not, if you clearly mark them as such.

    Your blog makes you and the products you use popular. Some ideas of mine for you to incentive on that without polluting your site with banner-ads, which some of us will block anyway by using AdBlock and friends, and which don't sell our data (tracking!) to third parties:

    1. You can sell your photos/full-size images for personal use. Doesn't need more than numbers (the filename should work, too) below them here in your blog and a line at the bottom, saying where (Paypal address) to send how much Euros.

    2.1. You could sell them as physical goods, separately, or in books. Blurb.com and similar will print and deliver them on your behalf. I've always enjoyed your architecture-shots along with the description how you made them. »Architecture photos by example« or »Macros by example« could be the titles. I bet you have something unpublished in your collection. (Drop me a line and I will send you my template for LuaLaTeX for photo-books for free. It will make sure your images are not altered by any PDF-creators.)

    2.2. If you need to take a day off or two, and rent or purchase a lens, setup a crowd-funding page at Kickstarter. Include some old photos of yours and the audience will recognize that you can deliver.

    3. Offer sponsored blog-posts, published every so many weeks, in which you say thanks to your sponsor (so we recognize the ad) and say 4–5 lines about the product as seen by you. (»My thanks to Olivetti for sponsoring the blog this week to promote their classical typewriter. It enables you to add descriptions to your photo prints in a nice font, and unlike your handwriting, completely decipherable. They're making them for decades now and are popular in Italy. You can get them at McBucks (link).«)

    4. Ask the manufacturers of the products you write about here for a free sample. Or a discount, if it is something expensive and you wanted to buy it in the first place. You *are* actually advertising that stuff! (For example, your experience with the Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm f1.8 has made the difference for me in deciding whether to abandon my Sony A35 (incl. the 50mm-lens you picked up later) and going for 4/3 or not. ;-)

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    1. Thanks Mark for the kind words and words of support. Also I appreciate the pointers and tips. Shall look into them and may implement those I find applicable. Thanks again for sharing !!

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  8. Just go for it Robin. Advertisements or not, I believe you will stay true to yourself. Irregardless, I will still be following your blog.

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    1. Btw, finally got hold of my OM-D today. It was your excellent review of the OM-D which convinced me to switch to M43 system. Thanks

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    2. Thanks Tai Foong, for the continuous support. And congratulations on the OM-D !! I am sure your hands are itchy all over. Lets shoot somewhere this weekend.

      Delete
  9. Robin,

    I know that I speak for many others literally around the planet (amazing when you think of it, but it's true) who look forward to
    each blog, and enjoy following the self-evident joy and seeking of your artistic journey, your insights, your humor and infectious
    enthusiasm, and of course the growing talent of your pictures.

    And many have, and do, benefit from your personal technical evaluations and unique equipment reviews (especially the Olympus ones).
    And make no mistake about it, your reviews are recognized internationally on the internet for their quality by so many
    sources, photographers, blogs, and sites, and are rightfully recommended and linked by those sites -- most of which
    are money making operations themselves ! And among them, believe me the mighty Olympus knows too !

    Let me put it simply and directly:
    Robin, you have ALREADY been earning "it" for a long while now, with your time and dedication, and so many are benefitting
    worldwide, many financially -- all those other sites and blogs I just referenced, and companies (I'm lookin' at you, Olympus !).

    And don't worry, you can eat AND maintain your integrity. (because it's part of who you are)

    Excuse me for humorously paraphrasing an old adage but: "Man does not live by shutter therapy alone."
    In fact, you can't even do that without money !

    By any measure: Personal, Artistic, and especially Economic --
    ROBIN, YOU SIMPLY DESERVE TO FINALLY BEGIN ENJOYING THE FRUITS OF YOUR LABOR, PERIOD.
    It's only fair.
    It's only right.

    So do it.
    Don't waste another nano-second rationalizing . . . . BEGIN . . . NOW !

    Much success and all the best to you. (Including, but not limited to, ALL the best new Olympus stuff ! Starting with an OMD fully, and I mean fully, "lensed up" !)

    Ben

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    1. Hello Ben,
      Thank you so much for such kind words of encouragement. I like it when you mentioned "man does not live by shutter therapy alone". So true !!
      Thanks also for pointing out that many others have indeed benefited financially from linking to my review works. I have no issues or concerns with that, after all, I willingly did it out of my own free will in the first place.
      Of course, now I am starting to want to earn a little from my effort and time spent. I figured, why not? After all, this blog and my review works are very important to me. If I can squeeze something out of them, I should !!
      Thanks for the kind support.

      Delete
  10. I enjoy your blog and check it daily. Do what is best for you.
    Good luck, on your new venture.

    Larry

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  11. Great move Robin... as the bible says:'...for the worker deserves his wages.' Luke 10:7
    When I first looked into your blog. I thought you were some kind of a pro-photographer then when I discovered that you were not actually a pro... I wondered why were not a pro with your skills and effort that you put in photography. I guess its very legitimate for anybody to reap what they sow.. no guilt here. Your honesty and integrity is what I like when I read the blog... the writing also is great and you deserve credit. Furthermore, its for the reader to decide whether to click on the advertising link.

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    1. Hey Johan,
      Thanks for the words of encouragement ! Indeed we reap what we sow, a friend used to remind me of that. Lets just hope this will work out. Thanks again for your constant support to this blog, I do appreciate it !

      Delete
  12. True enough, the first time I landed here, it was because your blog had come up in a search for E-M5 reviews, and I certainly did enjoy all of the reviews I have read here since. They feel honest and speak of what interests me, of photography instead of numbers (even though I'm an engineer as well ;).

    But the thing is, seeing that I haven't missed a single post of yours since my first visit (thanks RSS! :), my coming back must have something to do with your photography, don't you think? ;-D You see, I have always been genuinely curious about life in other places (I'm from Montreal, Canada) so, whenever I traveled, I managed to mostly steer away from the tourist paths and explore "the real thing". Having never had a chance to visit your part of the world, I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate the honesty of your photography, daring to explore aspects of life in K-L that are very unlikely to appear in travel guides and books! For that, I thank you, sincerely.

    I suppose that every regular visitor here has his own reason for coming back but I would bet that, for the vast majority, it has more to do with your photography (and your kind nature) than anything else, gear reviews included. I, for one, certainly won't stop visiting because of a few ads!

    On the topic of wanting newer or better gear, methinks it's only natural and very human, it's the contrary that would be surprising. There also are many reasons for wanting new tools, not just the so-called gear acquisition syndrome. Please excuse the worn-out metaphor but, while it certainly has been amply demonstrated that one can make true and gorgeous art with watercolors, there is nothing wrong in wanting to use oil paints to achieve different results. Yes, tons of genuine and valuable art has been produced with early digital cameras, but the subtlety of the rendering was often left wanting, to say the least. Again, there's nothing wrong with wanting to keep up with the times and benefit from expanded capabilities to widen your horizons. Go for it!

    I certainly can appreciate the somewhat awkward situation you are in, too. Owning some of the finest lenses ever made, you certainly must pray for Olympus to step up to the plate and deliver the 4:3 gear upgrade they have been promising for awhile now. Let's hope we see this happening soon.

    In any case, I wish you all the best in whatever you want to try and certainly hope that ads will indeed help you out and perhaps even pay for some new gear. This is your home in cyber-space, you certainly don't have to justify yourself about anything you choose to do. In the end, just like it is for any other home, people will keep coming back for your presence, not because of your choice of furniture...

    Keep well, and best regards from half a world away.

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    1. Hello Bert,
      Thank you so much for the kind words. I think this blog really hit it off during the OM-D E-M5 reviews. That was probably the highest point (in terms of readership and exposure). I am glad you found your way here.

      One of the things that I like to shoot is definitely people and culture. I must consider myself fortunate to be in Malaysia, because we are comprised of such diverse mult-cultural background, with rich tradition and history. Yet, the most amazing thing is seeing all the people from different background come and live together in the country. That itself is a beauty, and worth every effort to photograph. I did not do much really, but to document what was already there.

      You were right about the gear-lust, it only means I am human, just like everyone else. I am conscious of what I am writing here, because of the many readers that come here, many are experienced photographers, and are more knowledgable and surely, seasoned than I am. I think it is a general agreement that gear-lust is a bad thing but then we all do fall for it at some point.

      Thank you again for the words of wisdom, I surely can take them home with me. Montreal, Canada is a beautiful place I do plan to visit some time in the future, but I must quickly grow my money tree first before any of that can happen.

      Delete
  13. Robin, don't worry. Of course you can earn something from adverts on your blog - don't forget, it remains YOUR blog and no amount of ads can change any of that. So go for it! Put up some links to Amazon, B&H and the like and when we buy something -anything- you get a small percentage. And the buyer doesn't pay a penny more for it. So do that, too!

    Also, my friend, you are most certainly not contradicting yourself. In fact you have proven many times over that it is not the gear, but the person behind the camera. Yes, you look at gear -which we all appreciate, as you are an excellent reviewer too!- but you prove that even "lesser" gear (like my Jurassic D80, and your Sony) can yield excellent results with some care.

    So don't worry - keep doing what you do! Obviously I am not the only one absolutely loving it.

    More power (and earnings!) to you!

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    1. Hello again Andre !!
      As usual, it is always great to hear from you. Sometimes I think you are being too kind in your words that I do not deserve half of them !
      I am getting affiliated with B&H, and soon you will see adverts coming up in blog entries, and also my gear freview pages.
      And yes, that D80 is an amazing camera, it is not a dinosaur !! I have seen that camera in action and it can deliver impressive results, no doubt.
      Thanks again for the support and encouragment !!

      Delete
  14. My very first comment here.
    I came here through a link in a forum (forgot which one) to read a gear review. I stayed because of your photos and even more because i admire how you constantly 'go and shoot more'. You never seem to have problems motivating yourself. That is very inspiring to me :)

    Go ahead. Maybe put up some afiliate links to popular stores in the sidebar, so readers can buy through it to support you? I would.

    in any case: thank you very much for this great place!

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    1. Hello hannes,
      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment here, I do love to hear what my visitors have to say !
      I admit I do get a little obsessed when it comes to shooting, my fingers are always itchy !! But then again I worked on the weekdays so that did not leave me with much free time on my own, but when the weekend comes all hell breaks loose, and I will find every opportunity I have to shoot whatever I can.
      Yes I am considering affiliate links, and still setting things up at the moment. Lets hope all thoings go well ! Cheers for the support.

      Delete
  15. Robin, like so many people have mentioned in their comments, your reviews determined my micro four-thirds purchase decisions. The close-ups of the faces (eg the girl painting henna designs and the others) at the Batu Caves in the E-M5 review showed us all what the camera could do. If you had had B&H or Amazon links you would have made substantial pennies off your fans' new gear already.

    Of course you have to balance purity/integrity with practicality and the place to listen is your intentions. As you have mentioned and as your blog abundantly reveals, your intention is to share your love of photography and also to open a window to the rest of the world on the beautiful (and occasionally troubled) place called Malaysia. With that as your intention and with your big heart showing through each image, your motives is sufficiently sincere. So pay attention to the practical side of the equation and take steps to insure that you can continue in this purpose. We fans are the ones who benefit by being able to get our daily fix of Simply Robin! - - Heng Sure

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    1. Hello Reverend Heng Sure !!
      I am very glad to hear from you again. You are always giving very wise observations and useful advise.
      You were right: I must listen to my intentions. I do have to keep myself in check, and not let distractions ruin what I love most about this blog, and have worked hard to maintain it. Oh dear, daily fix is difficult to do, but I shall do my best to blog as often as I can.

      Delete
  16. Robin, you got to do what you have to do and that is to survive and earn money to leaving. It's a fact, we need money to move on. Anyway, if you don't have money and you end up selling your equipment then what will your followers read, nada! My advise to you my friend is go for it. Some may say you're selfish, some will support you and some will be neutral. That's all given. For the supporters, I'm one of them by the way, you have no problem. For the negative feedback, just ignore them. I mean take it for what it is worth. If it's useless/meaningless don't let it affect you. That's part of the business. With all that I say good luck and hope to see this blog going.

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    1. Hey Eugene,
      Thanks for the reassurance on my decision to go forward with advertising on this blog. I agree with you, we need to survive, and while I do not earn a living from this blog, every bit of cash earned will perhaps help to fund my equipment purchase and move on with even more reviews !

      Delete
  17. Robin, seriously do it. I've just join the Olympus Micro 4/3 community and your blog clearly help me decide on wich piece of equipment I should invest for. Your review and articles express so much your love for photography and olympus hardware. Yes it is biased because you're mono branded, but who cares, at least your review are based from real life journey with your gear.
    It's like showing photos of your weekends or your holidays to friends.
    within 48 hours I spent an insane amount of money because you showed me what this little piece of hardware could do. It would be right you get some fees out of it.
    So please post links to Amazon or B&H and keep this blog alive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Son,
      I am glad to find that you have found my review works useful in helping your decisions when it comes to micro 4/3 system. Sometimes I do feel guilty of making people buy new stuff, but I always do my best to be truthful and honest in my reviews.
      Thanks for the show of support !

      Delete
  18. Please get something in return for your hours you put in this blog.
    Try ads and maybe that's a good way.

    For those people who don't like to see ads and use adblockers, maybe consider adding Flattr-Buttons to your blog and posts ( https://flattr.com/ ).
    That way, people can just give you some money for your blogpost to say "thank you!" by clicking the button. :)

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    Replies
    1. Hello Faldrian,
      Thanks for the suggestion !!

      Delete
  19. I think there's another option for you . Why not organise photo shoot outings and teach people basic photography whether it is with compact, micro 4/3rd . I think u can easily charged RM 300-500 per person on basic street photography skills.

    Try it out by having a group of 2 people ...and take them to different places. Then organize another followup class in post processing.

    I think many people will appreciate the photos you've taken and would be interested to know how to start ..

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    Replies
    1. Hello Joshua,
      Thanks for the kind suggestion. Nonetheless knowing my own shooting style and post-processing techniques, there really is nothing special to teach. I use very simple and straightforward methods and basically, if you are to follow me on the etreets and witness me in action, you would see that there is nothing to "charge" for. If I did it would be daylight roberry !
      Perhaps I can consider something more unique or "workshop" worthy before I can start thinking about asking people to pay.

      Delete
  20. At last, you made up your mind. Nothing wrong to put up some ad and sell some of the space on your blog. As long as you keep continue to do what you like to do here, more review please!

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    Replies
    1. Kelvin, how was singapore? Shot any street photos?

      Delete
  21. Robin,

    Go for it. You deserved some extra buck for your efforts. You have enough talents to fulfill your dreams. I am very confident that you will still be a humble and honest person in whatever you are doing. Your blog make peoples feel that you are just one of us, and it is a pleasure to read what you wrote here.

    Just my two cents.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks but please leave a name when you comment next time.
      You feel like I am one of you, because I really am !!

      Delete
  22. Robin, just thought you might like to know that I came to your site because of your review of the Olympus OM-D E-M5, but I keep returning to your site because of the inspiration I find and the education I get about what great photography can be and is.

    Photog Gary

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Gary !! I am glad my sharing on blog entries are useful!

      Delete
  23. Hi, Robin.

    I am a regular visitor on your blog, not because of any other thing, but your photos are so good. It is not a matter to me even there are 100 advs on your blog, as long as your photos, your words, and your enthusiasm are still here :-)
    Keep going! I will always support you.

    Raymond, from Macau.

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    1. Hello Raymond !!
      I think you are the first to comment from Macau (unless the others never mentioned).
      Thanks for the show of support, really appreciate it a lot. Cheers.

      Delete
  24. Robin

    From one engineer to another, the truth is in the details. Yes, I know it is a curse. But it is ours to bare. That is why we are engineers and that is why we are the way we are.

    There really is not conflict between the art of seeing and equipment. It really is a symbiotic relationship. Michael Reichman at the Luminous Lands published an article countering the notion that the gear is not important. Good tools make for good work. Just ask a top musician if they perform better with a first rate instrument vs. a beginners instrument. In the end it is the combination of the tool and the artist. I remember reading in one of Ansel Adams books a comment he made about the concept of equipment being more important than skill. He wrote, (I think am paraphrasing) Having a camera makes you a photographer no more than having a piano makes you a musician. They go together.

    Concerning advertising on your blog. Go for it. Photography in general is expensive and so is maintaining your blog. So anything you can do to offset the cost will be beneficial. If you are concerned about giving the impression that your opinion is being purchased, then limit your advertisers to retailers that are brand neutral, like B&H or other large retailers. A lot of photography sites carry advertising, including blogs, so you are not the first and your won't be the last either.

    Making the transition from hobby, to lucrative hobby, to profession, is something that is difficult to do Most people don't do it in one giant step. Usually it is a lot of small steps. And many people just want the hobby to be sort of self supporting rather than a profession; because then it is just work. One method to earning some income from your photography is to photograph events that you are participating in and then selling prints to other participants. An example is a friend of a co-worker of mine. This guy's daughter was a competitive horse rider (barrel racing) and he and his wife went to every competition. So before every race he would set up his camera and photograph each rider as they went around the first barrel. The next week he would have a print of each rider for them to buy if they wanted to. Usually he left the prints on the front seat of the car with a box for the participants to put their money into; he only charged a few dollars for each print. I was told that over the course of a season he would make a couple thousand dollars. Other options are to print and sell post cards and greeting cards with your photo's on them. Though this is easier if you live in an area with locations that are popular with tourists. But it can be done anywhere. The idea is to sell the cards to shops that attract tourists, rather than sell them directly to tourists. Finally, you can go the traditional starving artist route and sell prints, though they will need to be big enough to see; probably no smaller than 8x10 inch, with mat and frame at the next larger size as a minimum. One way to get started is to make prints of some of your images and find a coffee shop or small restaurant to let you hang your images there for sale in exchange for a portion of the sale price; usually half.

    Take care
    PaulB

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Paul,

      Thank you so much for your sharing and insight. I appreciate your encouragement and support.

      I believe you are right on the money when you say equipment does go together with art. I also remembered blogging about being practical and having the right tool to get the job done. Sometimes, the right equipment can create certain results that is intended, but of course ultimately it is a part of the whole photography workflow to achieve the vision that was planned.

      Yes, I will be putting up ads (and doing so as we speak) onto this blog. I will be affiliated with online retailers and hopefully this will earn me a few extra bucks. Indeed photography is not a cheap hobby, and we do spend a lot to keep going. I am not sure how much I will be able to earn from this blog by putting ads but I am willing to give it a try and see how things go.

      Thanks for the suggestion on other means on making money through photography. I do freelance shooting as well, taking in paid wedding shoots and event coverage mostly. I would be happy to get at least a job per month and the truth is, if I take in more it would be too exhaustive for me as I do have my day job as well. I am talking about a full day shoot kind of event coverage.

      Delete
  25. Robin put link to Ebay as well... since I mainly buy from Ebay... I will definitely support you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Johan, will consider doing so.

      Delete
  26. As long as you do not change your style or shooting preferences I see no reason why you should not get a financial return for the effort and love you put into your photography, especially as you share it so well with the rest of the world who obviously enjoy reading your blog.

    BTW I found your site because a while ago I was looking for a camera to take some old Minolta lenses left over from the time before digital and was very interested in the A350. Of course your blogs re that camera confirmed my interest and I duly bought one and have been happy with it since then! It does tick many boxes.

    Best wishes for the future and thanks for the blog. Very informative and entertaining!

    Regards JohnL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello JohnL,
      Thank you so much for understanding, and also the words of support. I am surprised to hear that you got yourself an A350 !! I hope the camera has been treating you well. I love the image quality (at lower ISO of course) and I think it can still deliver impressive results, against even today's latest camera.

      Delete
  27. Robin,


    For 30 years I was a NIkonian. I love the IQ of Nikon full frame but it is very heavy.
    My full frame line up : two full frame D700, 16-35/4, 50/1.8G, 85/1.8G and 135/2DC with the total weight 4,180 kg.
    As an 69 years old amateur with 90% travel photography, the weight of the equipment is important to me.

    After reading your OMD review I sold the Nikon gear. Thank you Robin. December last year I bought Olympus OM-D, E-PL5, 12mm/2, 20mm/1.7, 45mm/1.8 and 75mm/1.8 with 1,400kg only. I can not differentiate which is “full frame” or “m43″ on 20 inch Apple computer, 27x43cm screen, and I am happy with the quality of Oly lenses.

    Olympus 75mm/1,8 …vs… Nikon Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 AF-D
    http://www.wlcastleman.com/equip/reviews/olympus75mm/index.htm

    A lot of people make money from their hobby, it is nothing wrong. I support your idea and will be glad to see more Olympus photos.
    Your articles are stimulation and inspiration for me to make better pictures.

    pt
    Netherland

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey pt,
      I am very glad to hear that you have come over the micro 4/3 camp, and find that it serves you well. Indeed the image quality of micro 4/3 is more than sufficient for most of our photography needs. Considering the weight and size advantage, surely the micro 4/3 seems to be an excellent option in comparison to full frame system.
      Thanks for your support and kind words about my blog. Appreciate it.

      Delete
  28. I have been following your blog for the past few years and I kept saying to myself how come you are not getting rewarded for all your hardwork you put in your blog. Glad that u have changed your mind. Keep up the good work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words and thanks for the continuous support !!

      Delete
  29. Like many who have already commented, my first requirement of your blog is that it continue. I can count on one hand the number of sites I visit regularly simply to see what they have been shooting. Yes I am interested in reading about the gear they have been using especially when I was considering buying the OM-D and suitable lenses. I have made my purchase and now am interested in the photographs you take. So yes, please take advertising and investigate any other way of boosting your income. From your photographs of Holi, I'm sure you could lead an excellent day of shooting next festival. Macro photography in the Butterfly House was another post I enjoyed. Even Ming has a donation button.

    On a completely different topic Malaysia appears to be the hotbed of Olympus photography. I always read more reviews and always more insightful and real world testing from Malaysia than anywhere else.

    Keep up the good work.

    PaulS

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello PaulS,
      Thank you for the kind compliments and I appreciate your support. Yes, this blog must go on, and I do not intend to do otherwise. I am also glad to find that you are an OM-D user! I am sure you are loving the system well. Thanks for the suggestion about a "donate" button. Might consider using it.
      I think advertising and marketing of photography gear is a lot more competitive here in Malaysia!

      Delete
  30. Hi Robin,
    Publishing ad's is perfectly fine. Because you are pending your quality time to maintain this blog. Time is money dear. So please go ahead and I wish you get paid well for all the wonderful work you are doing and sharing with us. Looking forward to see more beautiful photos and your thoughts here.

    Cheers
    Dibin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Dibin,
      Thanks for understanding and thanks for the show of support. Will do my best to keep this site going and improve my contents here.

      Delete
  31. Hi Robin, I don't think it's a problem by taking ad. You spend your time / money to maintain your blog and it is worth to have it cover. By the way, I still agree with you, tool is doesn't matter, this is the photographer taking the photo... of course if you have better equipment you can take better photo (it's only a bonus, not a essential).
    Best Regards
    Francis from Toronto

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Francis,
      Thank you for the kind remarks. You were right, I do need to spend time and money (plenty of hidden costs to run a site) to keep this blog going. Surely placing adverts would offset the costs a little.
      Indeed, I also have to remind myself that it is the photographer creating the photograph, not the camera.

      Delete
  32. Robin: I have complete confidence in your integrity and photographic wisdom. You certainly deserve to augment your income from all the incredible work you have put into this blog. I have learned a lot, and made my purchasing decisions of the OMD and various lenses based on your very informative reviews. Your passion for this work is inspiring to me, and I love your images.
    Don turner, Fairbanks, Alaska

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Don,
      Thank you so much for the confidence in me, I am not even sure if I deserve that ! I appreciate your kind words on my photography work and blog contents.

      Delete
  33. As an engineer, you should consider relocating to Canada. We tend to pay our engineers well, especially talented ones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello George,
      After all that I have been going through lately, I am starting to think your idea is a great one. Will keep it in consideration.

      Delete
  34. Hey Robin,

    there are so many "Robin-Fans" on this BIG Planet. I am only one of them...

    What do you think about a simple "PayPal-Donate-Button" in your "Support this Site-Box". Maybe some will use it and send a little 'ThankYou'. If you went to a store to buy a review magazine you will pay for that. And you will read a lot of crap. I come to your blog every single day and WANT to send some money for your mindblowing work. If 50, 100, 200, 500 other people will think the same, that could make a big difference for you. And there is nothing wrong with that...

    For people from Europe it will make no sense to buy gear from B&H or Amazon.com. Give them a possibility to help you "quick and dirty"...- I will..!!!

    Cheers,
    Andreas

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Andreas,
      Oh dear, I am not sure about fans, but I know I do have a growing reader base. I would rather see everyone as visitors, rather than fans !
      Yes, I shall put in a "donate via paypal" button soon. It does seem to be a great idea. Thanks for the suggestion.
      As for magazine reviews, I do think they have a place. It is always nice to see photographs in print, even though the magazine does not necessarily have the best of print quality. Some images come out better in printed pages.

      Delete
  35. Hi Robin:
    I personally think having several ads on the side of your column, likely relating to photo gear (Olympus, Sony or other) probably will not change your views or ideals, on how you see the pursuit of the art of photography and expressing ideas through photos. Knowing how honest your column is with integrity, that would still show through in each article. As long as any advertisers only ask for honest reviews, should you be using their equipment or reviewing, this should not be a problem at all. You have hit almost 5 million page views. Kirk Tuck has even more at last count I saw (he writes constantly as well), but he puts ads at the bottom of his articles (on photo gear or his books), and still he gives very honest commentary on his life as photographer (both in personal photography and business work). Your own readers come back often, as we enjoy reading your honest commentary and seeing your personal style of photography, learning a few things and seeing new events, and that likely will not change, with putting some ads on your site. I say go for it!
    Best wishes,
    Adrian V from Canada

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello again Adrian !
      It is always a pleasure to hear from you. I agree with you, I must make sure that whatever advertising I am doing it should not affect my own contents which I think is the most important thing in this blog. Kirk is an amazing photographer that I admire and look up to, and it was not an easy feat which he pulled off, being able to constantly blog such quality content (his writing skill is commendable) one after another !
      Thanks for your constant support, I really do appreciate it !

      Delete
  36. I look forward to your blog. You have helped me decide on going to Olympus for most of my gear(if I write a letter maybe we can get you some commisions-joke!). While I understand your concerns, I think you should do what you need to do for your own financial security. This is purely for selfish reasons on my part since I am a fan and wish you to continue doing what you do on this blog. I, like previous posters see no conflict in advertising on your site. I mean you gotta eat right? You have to give your readers some credit in knowing the difference between your honest opinion in the text of your blog and discrete advertising in sidebars. We trust you. You take great pains to note that all comments are your opinion and just that(althought I value your opinion greatly). Advertising doesn't offend me, I actually find it educational at times since I am fairly new to photography.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Steven,
      Thank you for letting me know that my blog has helped your decision in jumping into the Olympus bandwagon. I am sure you enjoy the system !!
      And yes, I gotta eat !! Thanks for the trust and I will do my best to keep this site as truthful to myself as possible. I appreciate your support.

      Delete
  37. Hi Robin,

    i'll be sad if u don't review olympus new gear :D, or other gear beside olympus, i really never mind it, yeah you right about "photography not always about a gear", but still we need right tools for the right job, if u know what i mean ... :)

    mean while, life change, life always change, and we all do the best not to give up, specially for what we love for ... :)

    for me, change is like, try some thing new, go out from the comfort zone, trial and error, some thing like that, and why people not like to change ? coz we don't know what direction that change take us to, to the way that we hope to ? or to the way we won't to ?
    but all of that, still not change the faq that u still the origin of shutter therapy :) ...
    go for your idealism, go for the change, still u "simply robin wong" :)

    i support u not because u and me have same gear, :D but because we love the same thing ... that is photography !! :)

    cheers, denie from indonesia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Denie,
      I strongly agree, we do need the right tool for the right job ! That is one important point that I always emphasize, and you do not use a hammer to drive a screw, or otherwise.
      Thanks for the reminder of what made this blog special: my shutter therapy sessions. There is no way in the world I will stop doing my usual shutter therapy.
      Thanks again for the show of support !! Yes, we love the same thing, photography, and that is what keeps us all alive and going.

      Delete
  38. I love your blog and I didn't realize you didn't own Olympus. But it doesn't matter, your work is excellent, your writing is excellent and your ability as a photographer, also extremely impressive. Bravo. And if ads mean I get to enjoy for nothing the material you freely put here with your own time, which enriches my life, then WOW, that's a win win. Bravo and bring on the ads!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please leave a name the next time you comment, that would be appreciated.
      I do have Olympus gear, just not the OM-D and micro 4/3 gear. I currently use E-5 and a few DSLR lenses, all Olympus.
      Thanks for understanding, and the show of support. I shall place adds and at the same time, continue to provide my materials !!

      Delete
  39. Hi Robin,

    It's your photos and writing that drive readership. I don't think a couple ads on the side will not drive them away. So go for it and make some pocket money.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Shi Heng Cheong,
      Thanks for the kind remarks, I do like your logic and the way you see my blog !!

      Delete
  40. Dear Robin,
    Fully concur that it is your presentations and photos that attracts the readership. It was after reading your blog that convinced me to purchase the OMD-EM5 last month. I was undecided on the SONY NEX, FUJI or OLYMPUS. You really inspired me to be interested in photography so please keep up your excellent work. Having some ads to earn money is certainly not wrong and I am all for it.
    SiewKS

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello again SiewKS,
      It was nice meeting you in person during the Athena Carey photowalk !! Glad to also know that you are using Olympus. I sure hope you continue to go out and make wonderful photos !! Thanks for the constant support. Hope to shoot with you one day.

      Delete
  41. Hey Robin,

    Echoing Shi Heng Cheong above - I regularly stop by for the photos and the writing and will keep doing so. If ads get you some new, shiny gear go for it! :).

    Eoin
    (Ireland)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the show of support Eoin !!

      Delete
  42. Go go go Robin.. Your blog is on my 1st list in my handphone that i read most of the time.(besides Kirks blog and Flickr Oly E-System Community) All the best for you bro. You inspire me though i'm lazy enough to spend shootin out there nowdays.. ^_^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Nafim,
      It is an honor to hear you say that my blog is one of the few that you do read constantly !! Thank you so much, that does make my day ! And Kirk is one of the few that I read everyday too. Whenever he does not update I do get a bit upset (just a bit).

      Delete
  43. Hi Robin,
    I think I am back here (this blog) just at the right time to give an extra support to your latest decision. You have done many things that I admired, Robin especially your gift of sharing your knowledge of 'what you know' and 'how you do it'. I used to be a Ken Rockwell and Jim Richardson's follower but since I know your blog, I spend more time here. Always looking forward for something new in your blog except when I am drown in my load of photos as in this few weeks.
    My decison on purchasing an OMD-EM5 is partly due to your OMD-EM5 review (actually it's out of my budget) but it's sound and looks so good in your review and it is really good. I will do the shutter therapy with Ivan Tan this coming Saturday using OMD but bringing along my D7000 as backup in case battery dry up.
    Your blog and your review work on your readers. It's the right time to get some incentive via AD.
    Go for teh Ad, Robin. We support you!
    My prayer: "May your bank account increase as your readers increase and you getting healthier in the process." Amen.
    May you have a great weekend.
    John Ragai - Shoot with Passion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks John for the constant support. I wish I could join you tomorrow, but work is holding me up. I will have to work till late night again tomorrow. Do go and grab some amazing shots with the OM-D E-M5 ! And yes you will need spare batteries for that E-M5, it drains out the battery like hungry horse drinking water !

      Delete
  44. Just do it!

    Please place a link to bhphoto or Adorama...

    Thanks for all your hard work in sharing your passion with us...

    TH

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks TH !! It was my genuine pleasure to share !

      Delete
  45. advertise away. Your blog is great and creates value to the photographic community. You should have no worries about accepting ads.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Jim,
      Thanks for understanding !!

      Delete
  46. Robin, I visit your web site for your photography and also for your writing. Your photography is inspirational to me, and I guess I just plain like your writing style and subject matter. If you add some advertising to your blog, I doubt that it will have any negative effect on either your photography or your writing. I say go for it, and I hope that it is monetarily rewarding enough so that you can go out and buy any camera and/or lens that you wish to own!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Gregg,
      Thanks for your constant visits and kind support. I sure hope everything goes well, thanks for the well wishes !

      Delete
  47. Dear Robin,
    it is always a great joy for me to visit your blog and you have my biggest respect for the lot of work and time your are spending here! I really like the stories you are telling as they sound full of integrity - a your photos are usually extraordinary (at least, in my point of view)! This place is not just a place for a short stop-by just to scroll down the news and go further. I often come here and read the stories much more than one time and enjoy looking at your pictures. Sometimes, when I am in hurry due to business needs and when I see that you posted a new story I am very pleased because I know that I will visit this blog in the evening for further reading. Let me say "Thank You" for giving me so much joy and of course, a lot of input!

    I really believe you that this blog got to be a part of you. Spending so much time with sharing photos and thoughts give the public some kind of view about you. You never said, that your way of making photos is the only one somebody should choose. It is just the way *you* have choosen. And I think that is the same when you are talking about gear. You give a really personal hands-on on the devices - and here again: it is your view! To come to an end: I don't believe that you would change your results or point of view just because of advertisements here. Although I never met you in real life I am really sure, that ads won't let you change you opinion!

    Therefore, just take the chance and give it a try! It woul be great, if you get some necessary extra income! This would not change anything in your reputation.

    Best regards,
    Klaus

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Klaus,
      Thank you so much for the kind compliments on my blog and photography work. I am glad you have found my blog a good place to visit, certainly I felt I have accomplished something good. It was my pleasure to share and blog!
      I shall give the ads a try, and see how it goes from there. I sure love to keep my blog as is without changing it too much. Thanks again for the encouraging remarks!

      Delete
  48. I think you can get paid from the companies you make so good real user reviews, and make a deal of being free to comment your own opinion about.

    Claudio

    ReplyDelete
  49. Have you considered even just a simple 'subscribe' button linked through PayPal or something like that? I think many would considering sending a few dollars your way a more than fair bargain - myself included - and preferable to ads (though I wouldn't object to that either)! Check out the Online Photographer's subscribe model - they make some good points about avoiding fees while keeping voluntary 'subscription' costs low.

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
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