Interview with Freelance Photographer Ming Gullo

N-Photo screenshot featuring Ode to the MoonI recently had the opportunity to interview Ming Gullo, who is a very talented freelance photographer that uses WordPress to showcase some of her work. Ming is one of the featured photographers that has written articles for the Photography 101 series of the Daily Post. She has written a great two part article series titled, A Primer on Color Photography. One of her most popular photos, Ode to the Moon, was published by N-Photo Magazine in the November 2013 issue. The screenshot to the right shows the N-Photo issue that featured Ode to the Moon. I would like to give a big thanks to Ming for taking time out of her busy life to share some of her thoughts on WordPress.

Jake: Why did you decide to start using WordPress?

Ming: I started to use WordPress in June of 2012. Initially, I just wanted to set up a place to share my work with my clients, where I didn’t need to invest too much of my time. I decided not to setup a standalone website, because, at the time, I was maintaining many other websites. After trying different blog services, such as blog.com and blogger.com, I settled on WordPress because I like their ease of use, flexibility on themes and customization, and they don’t down-grade the quality of photos very much. I wanted a photo blog so that I could present photos in decent quality.

Jake: What do you enjoy most about having a WordPress site?

Ming: I love the community on WordPress. I have met many wonderful people and many great photographers through WordPress. This is not what I had expected, because my initial purpose was only to showcase my work to my clients. It is a very pleasant surprise. It is also the main reason why I will keep using WordPress. Even if I decide to go for a full website, I may just upgrade to the Premium package and use the domain redirect.

Jake: Is there anything that you dislike or would change about WordPress?

Ming: I don’t really have any dislikes. The only thing I wish I had, would be more freedom on customizing the look and feel of my blog by using my code. The option is available through a fee, and is part of the Premium package. It is understandable that WordPress needs to make some money. Not really a dislike, it’s a like-to-have. I’ll have the option once I upgrade my account with them.

Jake: How much has WordPress and social media impacted your work with photography?

Ming: I don’t really know how much WordPress and social media may have impacted promoting my work. If I had a studio, it may be a different story. The fast sharing world definitely can get good words spread more widely. However, to a freelance photographer like me, who does it outside of a full-time job, the impact on generating business remains an unknown. I do share some of my work on my Facebook page (A View with Ming), but Facebook does butcher the photo quality quite a bit. I also know tons of photographers that don’t use social media at all, though most of them do keep a website or a blog. Some of my friends are in the field almost all the time, such as mountains in Tibet, jungles in Africa, or in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. They barely have internet access, so they have no time for social media, but they do update their websites and blogs with their wonderful stories and images when they get a chance. Most of the serious photography magazines know that. So they’ll look for these wonderful photographers through other avenues. Of course, these photographers are promoting themselves through other avenues as well. However, I have to say, the world is changing. Social media will sooner or later be used by all the photographers to reach their audience.

For me right now, it’s maybe too early to tell the impact of WordPress or social media on the business side, since I only started sharing my work through them a year and half ago. It’s a relatively short period of time to make a impact in the crowded photography world. Most of my clients are collectors and decorators that come from word of mouth.

Jake: How did you get involved with The Daily Post and writing for the Photography 101 series?

Ming: First of all, I want to say, I’m very honored to be a part of it. It is wonderful to contribute, along with many great photographers on WordPress.

Cheri Lucas Rowlands of the Daily Post reached out to me, asking me if I could write something about the fundamentals of color in photography. The goal is to introduce the basics to the Daily Post readers, who may or may not have experiences in photography. I was pretty surprised and excited about the request. I did wonder how she had noticed my blog myself, until I read the comments after the first part was published. Merilee Mitchell, one of the followers of my blog, suggested me to the Daily Post without me knowing it. I owe a big thanks to her. Check out her site, she is a great artist.

Because color in photography has a lot involved, and I didn’t want to be too technically complicated so it would scare people off. I spent some time trying to simplify it into more ‘plain English’ while trying to be clear on the fundamentals. Hope I got some points across, and it is helpful for people who are interested in photography. Working with the Daily Post was a very pleasant experience. They kept pretty much everything I submitted, very minor edits were made. It was stress free, compared to some other publishing houses I’ve worked with.

Jake: Do you ever find yourself inspired by the photography that has been shared by other WordPress users?

Ming: Yes. I get inspired by many of them, Images of China Through English Eyes, Rudolf Abraham, Chi Khong Photography, to name a few. I also get inspired by many WordPress blogs that are not photography related. I love to read, and I love to be moved.

Once again, I would like to thank Ming Gullo for taking part in this interview. If you have an interest in photography then I highly recommend visiting her site, A View with Ming.

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