After months of thought, I'm excited to bring some new things to Improve Photography today. I explain all of the reasons and details in this post, but here's the short version.
- Improve Photography was going to delete the Facebook groups, but no more! I'm updating this post to change that decision. The group just means too much to too many people.
- We are moving our podcasts to one simple feed. If you're subscribed to the Improve Photography Podcast, you'll now get two episodes per week. One episode will be the regular IP Podcast but “improved,” and the other will rotate between Photo Taco, Tripod, Latitude, and Portrait Session each week. I think you'll like this change.
I'll explain the changes and thoughts behind them below, but first I want to sincerely thank all of you for your support. Making changes like this is never easy, but I believe it's the right direction to go. Thank you to those who can see the reasons behind it and how this will actually be a very good thing for you.
Why the Podcasts Are Moving to One Feed
The Improve Photography Podcast is one of the very largest and longest running and highest rated photography podcasts out there. I'm so grateful for the many thousands of people who support it by downloading and listening to our episodes. Sometimes I'm not sure why you all put up with me.
Improve Photography has also launched a number of other podcasts, like Portrait Session, Tripod, Latitude, Photo Taco, and the late Thoughts on Photography. The shows have all been successful but the pace of publishing has also spread us quite thin. There are things I'd love to do on the Improve Photography Podcast which I simply don't have the resources to do with all the other things I do.
Right now, Improve Photography and Photo Taco publish each week, but all the other shows publish only 2-4 weeks in reality. On average we're getting out 2.7 podcasts per week right now and sometimes they are hurriedly put together since all of the hosts are busy. Also, when we launch a new show like Latitude, we have to go on a months-long campaign to get everyone to subscribe to the new feed.
The change here is a simple one, which I think will be very positive for listeners. From now on, podcasts will only publish on the main Improve Photography feed. We'll publish two shows a week. On Monday you'll get an episode of one of our podcasts which will rotate between Photo Taco, Tripod, Latitude, and Portrait Session. On Thursday you'll get an episode of Improve Photography.
Thus, Improve Photography will cease to be a podcast network and will instead be one really awesome podcast that publishes twice a week. Episodes of the other shows (Photo Taco, Latitude, Tripod, etc) will now be branded as such. For example, we'll say “This is a Photo Taco episode of Improve Photography” instead of the show being “on the Improve Photography network.” I believe this will make the branding more clear and succinct.
The podcasts will be better than they've ever been. The SLIGHTLY reduced publishing schedule (down from 2.7 podcasts per week to just 2 per week) will open up enough bandwidth to do some cool things. For example:
- The Improve Photography Hotline! The conversation about podcasts won't be on Facebook anymore, so it'll continue right on the show. If you disagree with anything we say on the podcasts, want to ask a question, or you just want to comment on something happening in the photography industry, you can call in and leave a message. A new segment of the Improve Photography Podcast will be “The Hotline” where we play YOUR thoughts and commentary. This will make the show more interactive and thought-provoking. The hotline is ready right now for your thoughts and calls. Here is how to send audio to the hotline–you can send your thoughts right now for next week's show.
- Fewer Ads. I'm also cutting down on the ads so we can have more time for the good stuff. Right now we do up to four ads per episode, and that is changing to a maximum of 3 ads per episode. With a target length of 45 minutes per episode, that means no more than 4% of the podcast is advertising. Compare that to network TV which has an average of 24% advertising time. The ads on Improve Photography have never turned a profit. They really only pay for the expenses incurred by the podcast such as paying my assistant to do the publishing, as well as giving the ad broker their cut and hosting, post-production software, etc.
- Better Research and Prep. I hate the feeling of hurriedly throwing together a podcast episode 20 minutes before recording. I feel a lot of responsibility to you all who trust me with your time. With this new schedule, I can now carve out a significant chunk of my day to prep for each podcast and ensure it's worthy of your download. Each show will be better produced and have better content. I'm setting a higher bar for what podcast episodes will be published.
- More Interviews with Industry Experts. I almost never do interviews on Improve Photography. We've only had 3 interviews in the last 75 episodes. Some interviews are boring. “I started photography back in the film days… yada yada yada…” But when interesting news stories are happening in the industry, I want to cover them deeply. For example, when a new camera is released, I want to be certain we have someone on who has been shooting the camera as a beta tester so you can spend your gear dollars well. Similarly, when I find people releasing a thought-provoking book on composition or photography as art or whatever, I'd like to have them on and pick their brains. With this new schedule, I can do that.
To be clear, all you need to do to get all of the updates to the podcasts is to be subscribed to the normal Improve Photography Podcast. Everything will come on that feed from now on.
Lastly, change is happening to Apple Podcasts which were announced last week at WWDC. It looks like Apple is finally bringing some features to podcasting which podcasters have wanted for many years. I'd like to make these changes now to take advantage of a medium which seem to be growing lately.
Tomorrow (Tuesday, June 13), I'm going to the airport in Boise Idaho. What country will I be photographing? I have absolutely no idea. I had my awesome assistant Jesse book me a plane ticket to a country without telling me where I'm going. I'm going to show up to the airport, read the ticket, and get on the plane with absolutely zero prep. Each day during the trip, I'll be posting a photo and you can all guess where I am. After the trip, I'll be posting a series of 8 videos on the Improve Photography Youtube Channel–one for each day of the trip so you can watch my disasters (probably) in travel photography 🙂 You can follow the adventure by checking ImprovePhotography.com each day where I'll post the picture, and subscribing to the Improve Photography Youtube channel for the videos.
I have now spent over a year working on the Really Good Photo Spots app. I anticipated a release in March, then April, then May…. ugh… But it's ALMOST ready for launch. I'm doing the best I can, but this was a harder project than I anticipated. I sent out a beta copy to 46 testers last week and we discovered 3 last bugs that needed to be squashed. Today I sent out a release candidate to the testers and if there are no further bugs, we'll be ready for launch. Keep your fingers crossed!