Back in December of 2010, I listed PetaPixel as one of the Top 10 Sites to Help Develop Your Creative Side. Started in May 2009, PetaPixel has just the right mix of interesting photography techniques and up-to-date information on all the latest gear. It's easily one of my favorite daily reads.
Today, we bring you the next installment of our Content Curator series. (See other publishers we've featured in the past: Mike Payne of TheCoolist and Herman Yung of DoobyBrain.) Founder and publisher Michael Zhang was kind enough to answer our questions, giving us a rare, sneak peek into what goes into making the ultimate website for the photography enthusiast.
Can you please introduce yourself to our community?
My name is Michael Zhang, and I'm a 23 year old blogger based in Davis, California. My education was in computer science and I've been developing websites since high school, which is also when I started taking photographs every day and carrying around a camera with me wherever I go.
How did the idea of PetaPixel come about?
Back in college, I read a lot of tech blogs as they started taking off and becoming noteworthy news sources and businesses in and of themselves. I wanted something similar for photography, but never found one, so I decided to start one myself — a blog about photography for photo-enthusiasts with the “coolness” factor of popular tech and gadget blogs.
How long did it take before it started gaining traction?
The blog gained traction pretty quickly once we started getting involved with social media (Twitter, Facebook, and StumbleUpon being the main ones). They continue to be great ways for having the blog reach new readers.
What's been your greatest achievement so far?
Most of the posts that become extremely popular have been ones that feature interesting and unique work done by photographers. One news post that turned out to be big was when word got out that the season finale of the TV show House was filmed with the Canon 5D Mark II DSLR. The post we published got a lot of attention and was cited in all sorts of places, even though we weren't the ones to break the news.
What have you learned from your own site?
In terms of photography, I've gained all kinds of random knowledge, from knowing a little about the latest gear to hit the market, to interesting new trends and techniques that are becoming popular in the photographic community. In terms of running a blog, I've learned to be disciplined and consistent with the content, since readers expect consistency in both quality and quantity.
Where are you taking PetaPixel from here?
We just recently launched an online store for unique photography items, but the goal right now is to get the word out on the blog and to have it continue to grow into a popular source for photo-enthusiasts to get their daily fix of photo-related awesomeness.
Thanks so much for the interview, Michael. We love your site!