Julia Dent is a travel photography blogger and a website and SEO consultant for small businesses. Julia moved to Philadelphia in 2015 and writes the weekly blog Through Julia’s Lens. She blogs on travel, photography, and her experiences in Philadelphia. In her interview with The Flat Circle, Julia gives photography and SEO advice. She also discusses her favorite places to photograph in Philadelphia and her bucket list travel destination.
Flat Circle: When did you become interested in blogging?
Julia Dent: I became interested in blogging when I moved to Philadelphia a few years ago. I wanted to share my photos and experiences in my new city with my friends and family back home, so I created a blog to put all my photos in one spot. I didn’t know anything about blogging when I started, so my blog has certainly changed since then!
FC: What are some of the challenges you face as a blogger and freelancer?
JD: For blogging, the biggest challenge for me is finding the time. I publish a post weekly, and there’s so much that happens behind the scenes, from culling and editing all my photos to scheduling social media posts. On a single post, I spend about 10 hours in a week getting it all done.
For freelancing, finding the right clients can be a struggle. I keep my pricing affordable since I work solely with small businesses, but a lot of people still don’t want to pay for services. The best clients I’ve found are ones passionate about their businesses who are eager to take my advice and grow their business!
FC: You are a website and SEO consultant for small businesses. What is some advice that you have for small businesses that are looking to grow their online presence?
JD: The term “SEO” scares a lot of people and they get hung up on trying to format everything in their posts and pages to appease search engines. Before you worry about <h1> tags and keywords, make sure you write quality content first! The better and more relevant your content, the more people are going to want to read your post and the more your current audience is going to share it to other people. If you’re keyword stuffing and writing awkward sentences to try to trick the system, you’re going to lose the audience you already have. So quality comes first!
FC: On Through Julia’s Lens you offer a photography course. Do you have any Photography 101 fundamentals for amateurs who are just starting to learn photography?
JD: My course is on understanding how to use manual mode to improve your photography, and I promise manual mode isn’t as intimidating as it seems! My biggest tip is to understand how your camera works and practice using it. All cameras are made a little differently, so you need to learn where all the functions are and how your camera responds different situations. Practice using it in the bright afternoon sun and at night so you can get used to using it in different lighting. I’ve been a photographer for years, but I’m still improving the more I practice!
FC: You moved to Philadelphia in 2015. As you have discovered the city, what have been some of your favorite spots to photograph in Philly?
JD: My favorite spot is Boathouse Row at sunrise in the fall! I’ve made the early trek out there every fall since I moved to Philly, so it’s become a tradition for me. Boathouse Row is beautiful in itself, but add the rich colors of fall leaves and the golden light from the sunrise, and it’s transformed even more. I also love shooting along the Schuylkill and Delaware River in the winter when they’re frozen over, and I love shooting the historic architecture in places like Old City and Fitler Square.
FC: What has been your most interesting place to travel to so far?
JD: The Faroe Islands! I went there recently (so I’m still going through my photos from that trip), and it was unlike anywhere I had been before. Everything was so untouched, and I would go to towns and not see a single human. The views from the cliffs were incredible! Plus, there were cute sheep everywhere.
FC: What is your main bucket list travel destination?
JD: Antarctica! Taking photos there would be absolutely incredible.
If you are traveling and find yourself marooned on a desert island, what book, movie or TV box set, and luxury item are you taking with you?
For book, probably Anna Karenina because I love it and because it’s long and it would take me a while to read it. For movie, Pride and Prejudice because I could watch that over and over and never get tired. For a luxury item, does my camera count? I would love to shoot at a desert island!
This is the third post in a recurring spotlight series on some of the best Philadelphia bloggers to follow. Check out these interviews with other Philly bloggers:
Click here for the interview with Travel Blogger Tina from Traveleidoscope.
Click here for the interview with Personal Stylist Susan Padron.