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5 and a bit years ago I left the comfort of a staff job of 17 years with Sky News to venture into the big scary world of being a freelancer. Scary as hell. Goodbye 6 weeks holiday pay, pension, health care, stability, a life!
I started my website, PhilipBloom.co.uk simply as a place to show my reel. I tried using the wayback machine to see if I could find any screengrabs, but no luck. The only ones I have are from around two years in, just before my site was professional redesigned. My site is due to be relaunched very soon, well it’s about 5 months late to be honest. I would like to launch it this year…hopefully.
Initially, it started as just me and iWeb. I am clueless when it comes to HTML. I am sure if I sat down and learnt it I would be fine, but I just have no time! The blog itself came about because I had just bought a Sony EX1 and a Letus 35mm adaptor and I wanted to try this blog thing and just share my experiences with it.
The first post on my new blog was very short and just talking a little bit about the ex1. I hosted video on the dotmac site which gives you limited bandwidth. More than enough I thought…nope. I posted Piccadilly Furs a couple of days later and my bandwidth was sucked up in about 2 days closing my site down for the rest of the month. Not a good start! I thankfully found someone willing to host the quicktime movies for me.
Short shot on Sony EX1 and Letus Extreme
Music by the Velvet underground. Venus in Furs
I joined Vimeo in Feb 2008. This was the start of a turning point. With the version of iWeb I used then no embed codes worked. Things improved with iWeb later and I was able to embed my work via exposure room and Vimeo. Vimeo has now been my site of a choice for quite some time and their embeds are very good. If you have the pro account you can even add logos to them.
My site’s aim was simply to help me get work. The blog, was about me giving back to the community. Today the blog has become the site really. Its aim is still to get me shooting jobs, as that is my first true love, but I couldn’t imagine not doing the sharing part. Of course it is a double edged sword. Since my site became very popular and was getting lots of visitors, it has naturally been a target for haters, trolls etc. Nothing you can do about them. They are part of existence. What I try and do, to various degrees of success, is to just delete the hate and attempt to ignore it. That is easier said than done. I am working hard on that, but all it takes is for you to be having a bad day and read something really nasty to upset you. It would be great to be more zen about it all…I can but try! Sometimes I get snappy and I’m sorry for that, but it can be very difficult not to take some things people say personally, especially when you are as passionate about my work as I am.
I added affiliates and ads to my site 2 years ago, thanks to Den Lennie for this – prior to this there were none. Would I prefer to have zero ads? Of course, but I have to earn money. The site has become a victim of its own success. It is not quite a full time job but pretty damn close. Prior to the ads I was doing all my bread and butter shooting to pay the bills, working on the site the rest of the time, evenings, nights, weekends… Now with the ads I am able to actually pace myself and not burn out. I still work crazy hard on it, but I don’t have to do as much bread and butter work anymore thankfully! This is beneficial to me and to my readers. I always get perplexed when I read people who are angry at me for earning money from my site. Really quite silly that! Remember, the ads are ONLY for gear and companies I use and recommend. I was offered a nice financial deal to take all sorts of ads. Nice money, ethically all wrong. I had never used most of the stuff being advertised. I politely declined.
With the streamlining relaunch that is due soon, the site will be much easier to find stuff. I have no intention of scaling back what I do on it. Although I do now have Preston Kanak, who has helped me on shoots, on board to write the odd guest post and to help me approve comments that don’t require answers. It would be great to be able to let all comments go through without approval, but you can’t. People can be really nasty and not just to me, to other commenters, and I simply won’t tolerate that! No need for it! Politeness is so much easier than nastiness! For me, the most important thing is that it will always be me answering questions, writing most of the posts, being very easy to reach. If that changed, the whole point of my site would be lost.
Of course not everyone is going to like me or my work, or what I have to say. I do get confused when they keep coming back to watch more and read more. Odd!
Yes, there are times when I feel it’s all too much and I just want to shoot, but this is part of who I am, the sharing, the teaching…are as important to me as the shooting. I have no intention of changing that.
Remember, my reviews, my advice…everything is just my opinion. Not always the correct one and very subjective. Always read and listen to other people. Never take my word as gospel!
Thank you SO much to all the great people who come here. It’s been a crazy fun four years! If you want to say thanks then a donation to my prostate cancer awareness Movember fundraiser is always welcome…PLUS you get entered into a draw for great gear!!
The site will carry on as it is, same format, same style, same me. Hopefully just with more content, more education, more advice. My site is not a news blog – there are many that do that. I occasionally talk about announcements but very rarely. A forum is coming as well with the relaunch, and I hope to build a great community with this, as I found the buddypress system quite lacking. I will be looking for moderators to help me with this. Not only do I want it to become a great place to get advice, but I also want it to be a directory for people to find talented individuals to work with. If there is anything that YOU would like to see me do with the site, then please comment below. I’m always keen to hear suggestions. Without you, there would be no site so really this is a big thank you to everyone, even the haters – it makes me appreciate the rest of you so much more
Below are some of my favourite bits of work I have done over the past four years! Enjoy… there is A LOT of stuff there, I found it hard to be selective