daily kibble for photo dawgs



About Mike

Regular, recurring Patreon donations are helping the THE ONLINE PHOTOGRAPHER survive in the YouTube age. For as little as $1 a month (contributions range from $1 to $40 a month, with most being $2 or $3), you can keep the site open—and help me avoid doing the work it would take to proceed to the endgame and make the website subscription-only. Which I really don't want to do.  :-)

Your Patreon donation
stands between The Online Photographer and oblivion!

The Internet has changed since 2005. Back then, written-word blogs were the latest thing. Now, Google's YouTube has taken over. The written word is not quite as antiquated as flash powder and cameras with leather bellows, but it's definitely obsolescent on the Web.

"Monetizing" a website is an ever-changing challenge. For a while, ads kept me alive. Then it was affiliate income (which is still important). Then print sales started taking a larger role.

Now, Patreon is becoming more and more important.

Here's how 2018's gifts helped. (Warning: This isn't terribly exciting.) First, health insurance. And bless you for that! In 2019 that will pay for something very much photography-related—an operation I need on my right eye, which has become more or less useless. (Being newly left-eyed is part of why I liked the Panasonic GX8 so much. Great camera for left-eyed photographers). I need a procedure called a "DMEK," or Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty, a partial-thickness cornea transplant. Some of the expenses won't be paid for by insurance, but most will. I'm scared of the recovery period: it is definitely an operation for people who are partnered. The prognosis for fully restored eyesight, though, is very good. I'll believe it when I see out of it.

Unromantic as it may be, the remainder of your Patreon gift goes to...well, taxes. I know, right? Well, as you professional photographers out there know, "sole proprietors" have to pay self-employment taxes. I pay 36% of my total income in taxes, and taxes are my number one expense, more than the monthly mortgage bite. I'm not saying I don't like working for myself, but there are advantages to working for a salary! Happily, other than my mortgage I'll be debt-free as of April this year, when I'll make the final payment on my little Acura (a Civic in Sunday go-to-meeting clothes). My main financial goal is to pay off the mortgage before I'm forced to retire. A big ask. Eventually, it will probably entail yet another move, to more basic housing. In the meantime I plan to enjoy every minute I get to live here in the lovely Finger Lakes.

As TOP's earnings have gone down with the camera market and the rise of YouTube, I've successfully tightened my belt in a number of ways. I will admit that I've started looking into "real jobs,"—like becoming an alcoholism counselor—but I'm hoping I can keep TOP going strong at least until I'm fully vested in Social Security, which will happen in August of 2023. Of course it would be great to keep Ye Olde Site hopping beyond that, and I'll try!

Long live the written word.

No matter what happens, I'm proud of The Online Photographer. About a third of new small businesses fail within the first two years. More than half are gone in the first five years, and only a third survive for a decade or more. TOP just passed its 13th birthday. I stopped working my last outside paying gig (as a columnist) in 2009, and I've been a so-called "elite blogger"—one who makes all or most of his or her living from a blog—since then. So it's already been a success.

I have some huge advantages. Long experience in the field, a certain way with words, and loyal and appreciative readers: You. Your Patreon donation keeps TOP alive, make no mistake. Still, only 3–5% of repeat TOP visitors make any sort of contribution, so anyone who does so is doing a favor not only to me, but, indirectly, to all the other casual readers who never click a link and never flip me a dime. If you go from being a non-contributing reader to being a contributing reader, or from being a small contributor to being a larger one, you're making a big difference to our peaceful little corner of the Internet.

Patreon gifts are entirely voluntary and you won't get anything in return except for one thing—which is that I'll do my best to "keep up the good work." As many people often ask me to do.  :-)

BIG THANKS! You are very kind. 
723 of 1,000 patrons
Wow! I can't believe you helped me reach my first two goals of 500 and 750 supporters. Thanks so much. Now on to a new goal!
1 of 1
By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 1 exclusive post
By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 1 exclusive post

Recent posts by Mike