AmericaDnaChristopher Lin, Co-Founder to SLR Lounge

SLR Lounge is an online community for photographers featuring industry news, tutorials, and inspiration. We are also the go-to source for comprehensive yet intuitive premium workshops and resources.
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logoslrSLR Lounge, a photography tutorial blog, started with just a few writers blogging about anything and everything photography related. It was created by professional photographers as a way of giving back to the photography profession that had provided them with so much. Over time the audience grew and so did the team. Today we strive to be your reliable source for photography education, news and more. [SLR Lounge]

Can you please introduce yourself for those who don’t know?

SLR Lounge is an online community for photographers featuring industry news, tutorials, and inspiration.  We are also the go-to source for comprehensive yet intuitive premium workshops and resources.  We have writers and editors from all over the world but started with just a few photographers from Los Angeles blogging about what they were learning as they were building their own photography studio, Lin and Jirsa.  The blog shared knowledge, experiences, mistakes and successes in the competitive and saturated market and grew from there.

Could you tell me a little bit about the SLR Lounge?

This year, we moved from simply being a source for photography news, inspiration and tutorials to a robust, dynamic, and fun community.  For example, we started a constructive critique section where users submit their images, give critique, and earn points for being helpful.  We also started a contests section where every week, we feature a new theme and prize.  We also created a profile system so you can show off your photography portfolio, achievements within the site, your camera bag, and more.

What gave you the idea for your business?

We had the idea to start SLR Lounge because we enjoy teaching and providing value for the photography community.  Also, the best way to truly master something is to try and teach it.  So as we learned new techniques, we simply taught others how to do it in an article on SLR Lounge.  As we learned a new marketing strategy, we summarized our thoughts in another section of the site.  As we developed post production techniques and Lightroom presets, it only made sense to share these with our community as well.  At first it was just for fun, but as the community grew, we became addicted to the idea of growing the site and to helping others learn and develop as photographers.  It became a truly fulfilling part of our day.

What do you think helped to contribute to SLR Lounge´s success?

The success of SLR Lounge can be attributed to many things.   First off, we are lucky to have the support of our community members.   Their participation in the community is what keeps us going in terms of motivation and funding.  Secondly, our incredible writers spend hours a day researching topics, finding inspiration, and sharing their knowledge to build up our community and help them become better photographers.
Thirdly, our core products, like our Lightroom education, Lightroom presets, Photography 101, and others, are taught in a very visual, intuitive, and comprehensive way.  The majority of those who purchased those workshops from us came back to our community to purchase more and to participate in the community.  So at our core, our success is also due to the high quality of our products.

How many unique visitors/day does the site reach?

Around 1 million to 1.5 million unique visitors a month.

What makes SLR Lounge different from other sites?

We are not just a blog or a tutorials site.  We are a full community with many features that allow photographers to become better photographers.  We are continuing to add new features every month.  The next feature, for example, will be implementing more quizzes and full courses so that each member can complete courses and track their progress.  We are also building in more social features like groups and chats.  Add these future sections to our current features of high-quality articles, rewarding contests and helpful constructive critique, and our community is an ideal place to grow as a photographer.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced running SLR Lounge?

The hardest thing with running a website like ours is finding the right features to add to the site.  It’s hard not to try every idea that comes across our table, but in the end, we have to listen to the community and only add features that would benefit them.

What one piece of advice would you give to other young entrepreneurs starting out?

Pick the right team.  It’s a daunting task to do everything yourself.  If you find the right partners, the ride is much more enjoyable.  You go through the highs and lows together.  You develop specialties.  You collaborate and bounce ideas off one another.  You stomach (and split) all financial investments necessary like web expenses, equipment expenses, rent expense, etc.  Find the right team and your business will excel.

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