First of all, thanks for reading!
The fact that you are here is kinda critical to the whole process. And as such, I thought you might like a look into the ecosystem in which this blog exists.
I started Strobist in 2006 as a way to pass along what I have learned about lighting to photojournalism students and young professionals. I had been a staff newspaper shooter for 20 years, and it seemed a logical thing to do.
There was no way of knowing then what would happen with the site, and suffice to say that no one has been more surprised by its growth over the last few years than I have.
It has evolved into a focal point for the discussion of lighting techniques, tools and trends all over the world. Strobist now averages about 100,000 pageviews a day (via the blog, RSS and email) from readers in nearly every country in the world. (We're still working on North Korea and Zimbabwe.)
The site, which was originally supported mostly by my wife's patience, has since grown into a self-sustaining community of readers, one pretty frazzled writer and a small but dedicated group of business partners.
I say partners because some of them have gone to great lengths to nurture this group -- even as much as continuing to be supporters during early time periods when it didn't make sense in a purely financial way to do so. In other words, some continued to support the site as advertisers at a net loss simply because they felt strongly about the value of the information.
I can't tell you how much that meant to me at that point, and fortunately it is no longer the case. Strobist is a strong, healthy, symbiotic community. But I have long realized that the readership and partners are a very special group.
Some might be surprised to know that the advertising space on Strobist is not allocated by price but rather by the appropriateness of the advertiser. At any given time, there are many more companies who have expressed an interest in the site than there is space to display them. And when space opens up, I try to choose the company among them that is most closely aligned with the interests of the readers.
Our current crop, most of whom are long-time supporters, includes:
• Midwest Photo Exchange (AKA Moishe and crew) who have focused their business in large part around the needs of small flash shooters. Not only do they now sell complete, self-contained small flash lighting kits, but they have gone as far as to create all-new items specifically for us. Those include the Universal Translator and the LP 160 manual flash.
• MAC Group US (whom you likely know as Profoto, Creative Light, PocketWizard, and many others) is one of the largest photo gear distributors in the US. From their association with this site, Matt and the guys have refocused their efforts on the broad introduction of high-quality educational material to support their various gear brands. This is an exciting development for such a large commercial group.
• HonlPhoto, created by the appropriately named David Honl, an agency photojournalist who started out hand-sewing speedlight modifiers between news assignments in Turkey and Kazakhstan. HonlPhoto's gear resonates so well with photographers because it is designed, tested and continually improved by photographers.
• LumiQuest, who has been making their wide array of collapsible, small-flash lighting modifiers since I was a greenhorn -- and I am no spring chicken. Quest Couch, of LumiQuest, actually uses the Strobist Flickr group as a focus group for new products.
• California Sunbounce, who brings German engineering to a system-oriented range of super-light, super-strong collapsible light bouncers and shapers. And even so, Peter will happily show you how to make your own DIY light shapers for free. (Somewhere, a business school grad is scratching her head…)
• Orbis, who manufactures one of the two leading speedlight-based ring flash adapters. Now a world-wide company, Orbis started as an idea in the head of Strobist reader James Madelin, who was not previously connected with the photo gear industry in any way. I think that's way cool.
• And Amherst Media, who specializes in publishing a wide-range of photographic "how-to" books. You'll find a steady stream of them featured on the footer bar at the bottom of any page. Kate and her crew are constantly looking for the next great teacher, and some of their most popular books have been proposed and authored by readers of this site.
So, if you find the information on this site valuable and want to help to sustain it, you could hardly ask for a more appropriate group of businesses to thank with your support.
While I'm At It...
There is no monkey business going on behind the scenes. I do not do paid posts, reviews in exchange for free stuff, etc. Not dissing people who do -- just not my thing. It should go without saying that we do not sell your address if you sign up for emailed posts, either.