And The Survey Says…
I used to watch the Family Feud all the time growing up and I loved that line, “..and the survey says”. Have you seen the The new Family Feud? It is quite lewd.
I want to start this off by saying thank you! There were a total of 696 responses to the survey, I was only expecting a hundred or so… I am beside myself!
The best thing about a lot of participation in a survey is you can see a more accurate result in the end, especially with one like this where the whole concept of the blog may change dictated by the masses. As for what will change after this survey, let’s take a look at the questions and go from there.
Why is this important? I have honestly never asked. I wanted to see just how useful the free content was. I also changed layouts toward the end of the year and I wanted to see if that transition would affect anyone.
What I found: That not everyone likes something for free! While the masses strongly agree there were a few that were indifferent or disagreed. Those who stated they were indifferent were mainly new users. Those who disagreed typically did not use the programs I did, i.e Lightroom (more on this later).
What will change from the results: More than likely nothing will change from the results from question 1. It appears that 97.7% of the users of EverydayHDR appreciate the site and the layout. Why mess with a good thing, right?
Why is this important? I have recently been doing a lot more marketing for my products. I am not doing this to be some kind of gimmicky salesman, I am doing them because I feel strongly that the products I offer will help you in your photographic journey. It is always nice to know how these efforts are working out.
What I found: That a lot of people own the Exploring HDR ebook! That is awesome! I also found that many people do not own any products for many reasons and that I am 100% okay with as well. There is nothing on the site that says you have to own a product to use it. For the longest time, almost 3 years, I operated the site without any products at all.
To be honest, I didn’t know anyone would be willing to buy anything I had to offer. I lacked confidence in myself and what I could do. I tell people all the time, and I mean it entirely, I get more personal satisfaction out of a sincere thank you than I do a dollar. Unfortunately, thank you’s don’t put diapers on my son and food on the table!
What will change from the results: A lot of what I have heard in the comments of the survey is that some people have not purchased the products due to their new arrival to the site or the cost. The truth about the cost is this, I have seen training packages online that vary greatly in cost, I once bought a 45 minute tutorial for $199 because I wanted to know how the individual got the results they did.
There were several problems with the tutorial, the audio was horrible, the video quality was lower than 720p and the instructor left me hanging with so many questions and was inaccessible. I vowed from that day on that if I ever ended up creating products a few things would happen:
- I would never leave my readers hanging when it came to questions about the techniques, paying or not.
- I would never put out sub-standard quality for the sake of a faster download speed.
- If the product I was creating was not 150% valuable, I would not bother putting it out there for sale
So what will change? Well, I have a plan in mind for 2015 that will create several smaller tutorials that are geared toward very specific photography topics. These will be module based and in a lower price range than the Zone Systems targeted to specific styles of photography.
I have a list of 12 or more already, to include but not limited to Real Estate, Macro, Long Exposure, Vertorama… etc… Will I complete all 12, I certainly hope so! Right now it is in the infancy stages, but I am working on a couple at a time! Stay tuned! Oh, and there will still be plenty of free stuff!
Why is this important? I like to make video tutorials based on what software people are using. This helps me ensure that the content is relevant to the software being used by the masses.
What I found: A lot of people use Lightroom! Fewer people use Elements and Paintshop Pro than I expected. The bulk of the viewers use some form of Photoshop.
A few people said they disagreed with the free content due to my lack of using Lightroom in my workflow. There was a comment that, “most serious photographers use Lightroom” I don’t think they meant any harm by it, I just found that amusing.
I have considered showing some Lightroom tutorials here and there, however, I personally do not care for Lightroom. I know that is a bold personal statement, but there is nothing Lightroom can do that Bridge and Photoshop can’t (for my purposes) except make a photo book. When it comes to my style of work, Adobe Camera Raw is maybe 5-10% of my total Workflow. Sure, Lightroom (and ACR for that matter) are powerful, but not nearly as powerful as Photoshop.
Lightroom is to a Microwave what Photoshop is to a Double Convection Oven with a glass surface stove top capable of combining multiple burners for unlimited capability. Ok, so maybe I went a little overboard with the analogy. My point is, Photoshop can do everything with the user being the only limitation, while Lightroom was created with limitations. I am hear to teach you how to maximize your Photoshop Workflow.
I don’t mean to bash Lightroom in anyway, there is a place for it and it works very well for some people. However, for me it is not as important. I installed Lightroom once on my machine and then it wanted to micromanage my photos, so I chose not to pursue it any further as I am very comfortable with my filing system.
I like what Lightroom can do and I like the concept of Lightroom. I attended Matt Kloskowski’s 8 hour Lightroom course and was thoroughly impressed! I just don’t click well with it.
What will change from the results: I may start showing more tutorials using other programs like OnOne and Nik Software. I did recently purchase Corel Paintshop Pro because I was curious about its capabilities, so I may show one or two tutorials with that as well. As for Lightroom lovers, I am sorry, this year does not look like the year I will be going into Lightroom. However, I am not 100% close minded to it either. Just remember, the develop module in LR is nearly identical to ACR.
Why is this important? Up until this survey I have been creating content that I think you would like to see. I wanted to see what was important to you!
What I found: There are a lot of people in the Intermediate to Advanced category. While many of my free tutorials are for all levels, the paid products are definitely in the intermediate to advanced level. The Zone Systems as well as the Critiques and Workflow Tutorials on HDR Insider are in a league if their own in this regard.
What will change from the results: I will tailor the content of EverydayHDR in the same direction it has been going with the added notion of more advanced concepts sprinkled throughout. As I purchase new photo products I will be more likely to review them and share more of my personal stories with the equipment.
Why is this important? I record a lot of tutorials every year, my YouTube channel is at over 160 videos now! I want to ensure the content gets seen especially because it could be very helpful for you.
What I found: As long as the content is relevant a good chunk of people will watch it! That is great to know as I tend to be long winded. I try to pack all of my tutorials and webinars with everything I know about the topic so you aren’t left hanging in the end.
What will change from the results: Certainly while the masses may watch anything relevant at any length, I am going to try and keep them all under 10 minutes. I am also going to tailor the paid courses to this standard, similar to Exploring HDR: The Video Series. The modules within the courses will be smaller, anywhere from 5-10 minutes. This may yield more videos per package, but it will help keep them in a more palatable form of consumption.
Through the comments I received a ton of testimonials, all of which I copied and pasted into a document (those who said ‘yes’ they were okay with that). I also received some very constructive criticism that I am taking into consideration.
- The Pace: I received an equal number of “slow downs” to “the tutorials are on the right pace”. This is a tricky topic, those who are very proficient will say the pace is right, while those who may not have as much experience with Photoshop will say slow down. Regardless of the skill level, I have received this constructive criticism enough that I will slow the pace down on topics that need extra attention, such as layering, masking, and blending options as those were the ones discussed most.
- More Written Information for the Video Tutorials: While I would love to have step by step instructions for every video tutorial, it is just not feasible. I once wrote a Black and White tutorial, it took me 13 hours to write and screenshot. A few years later I did the same tutorial in video format, it took 15 minutes. For me it is about time. Since I am the sole entity on this site and a business owner and father, it is hard to have the time to write all of the steps down. With that being said, I have started to write short steps on the video tutorial posts on EverydayHDR. While they are not in-depth steps by any means, they will at least cover the topic with enough meat to either pique your interest or remind you of something you may have already learned.
- Not enough info on the DZS and CZS: This is another tricky topic. I do not like to consider myself a salesman, as a matter of fact, I am horrible at selling. I feel like if I were to do too many tutorials showing something that someone does not have that I would be force feeding them something they do not have access to. Sure, I want people to use these systems, because they are awesome but I don’t want to sound like a pusher either!One thing I do have planned for the near future is a DZS and CZS Master class.
- HDR Insider vs EverydayHDR: I received a few comments about HDR Insider vs EverydayHDR and how they can be confusing at times. They are two different sites, one is free (everydayHDR) and HDR Insider is a paid site that contains full-length Workflow tutorials, critiques and so much more! I kept them separate so that the information would not get co-mingled. I also wanted the sites to appear different in structure so you know which site you are on when you are on them.
- Why No Lightroom: We discussed this one thoroughly in Question 3’s analysis!
- Why don’t the tutorials discuss more about change in pixels, depth, color, contrast, etc. : In the free tutorials I don’t go into this a whole lot, because they are about getting the information and moving on. On HDR Insider a lot of this is discussed in great detail during the Critique Sessions and the Workflow Tutorials. This is kind of the dividing line between what should be free and what you may be required to pay to learn more about.
- Get rid of the Pop-Up on iOS devices: I can’t do much about this, but what can I say, it is a free site! While I hate pop-ups as much as the next person, the pop-up on my site is set to come up only two times every 28 days. Meaning, after you visit two pages every 28 days the pop-up should go away. This is based on cookies. If you have cookies disabled you may see it more often.
I received some of the most amazing testimonials! I am very grateful for all of the awesome words that were shared! I wish I would have requested individual emails so I could respond to each and every one. These testimonials I received have all been documented. When I need some inspiration, I open them up and allow my fire to be rekindled. This has been a truly awesome experience! Here’s to an incredible 2015!