11.24.2015

Luminous-Landscape.com heads behind the paywall and I salute them. It's content that's (generally) worth paying for.



For those of you who are unfamiliar with Luminous-Landscape.com let me take a go at describing the website. Imagine an ardent photographer who also made some money in various other careers. Imagine he and a partner start a website in the early days of digital imaging and write a series of articles, over more than a decade, which intelligently trace the evolution of photography through this period. They offered us reviews of cameras that fascinated us and became parts of our own stories, as well as aspirational cameras we knew we personally would never buy but wanted to know all about (medium format digital). They also offered articles on technique and videos that helped us understand better, how to make the most of video features and "darkroom" techniques.

That all sounds good but add to that a real objectivity, decent writing and logical thinking and you come up with a compelling website for serious photographers.

I've read the primary content for years and I've also found the input on the forum, from a large number of very well informed pros, to be very valuable to me in my journey of video and digital photography. Since the inception of the site it has be available for free and was subsidized/monetized by advertising and affiliate links. The owners of the site have discovered what most bloggers and special interest websites have found in the past year or so: ad engagement, revenue, participation and every other measure having to do with making money online has gone into a controlled crash and burn trajectory. They have decided to try their luck in making the site on that requires a paid subscription from readers. They are charging a mere $12 A YEAR to make all the content (including videos that were usually sold as products on the site) available to subscribers.

Using the Kirk Tuck Latte Value measurement tool we can see that the price of a year's worth of knowledge and reading pleasure barely budges the needle, equalling three grande lattes from Starbucks. Not a high price to pay.

Their site goes to the paid model on November 30th and I plan to show my support by being a member from day one. If you want to support smart content on the web please think about supporting their site. I'm sure most of you read it already.

No big changes at VSL. We're just trying to stay relevant.

disclosure: I have no connection with Luminous Landscape and no person relationship with any of the writers or owners of the site. I wrote this blog (above) as a public service as I feel the site I am discussing has both contemporary and historic value. 

12 comments:

Joe Gilbert said...

Me too!

Anonymous said...

I regularly used to read its Sunday Morning Photographer feature on Sunday mornings.
It's probably me, but in recent years it seems the quality and abundance of its content has tapered off. There are a larger number of seemingly one-sided reviews than there used to be, and the reader forums for responses still seem like products of the 90s. I find I just don't go there like I used to (whereas I'll pop over to VSL almost daily).
That's just me, of course. I wish them well and hopefully they can expand and prosper.

Larry Cordeiro said...

Good one Kirk, thanks for bringing that to our attention. I've also followed LuLa for many years, and plan to join when available on the 30th.

Edward Richards said...

Definitely a fair price and worth it to support all the good work they have done over the years. The videos are a wonderful bonus.

I suspect that a factor in the fall off of ad revenue, in addition to the general market forces, is that they moved away from gear reviews. Not a criticism - the WWW is full of gear reviews - but they are reliable click bait. (The best review sites are also behind paywalls.)

James Pilcher said...

The desire and need to feed one's family is certainly compelling. I wish LuLa well. I am considering becoming a charter member also. On the other hand, I do not see how one remains relevant whilst hiding behind a wall. It's a difficult Landscape (minor pun intended).

David Zivic said...

Nice comments Tuck, I also will be joining and between LuLa, TOP and this site I can "talk the talk" when it comes to Photography.....or at least I think I can.

Snaci Xemon said...

Will there still be advertisements?

Kirk Tuck said...

Sorry Snaci, It's not my job to know that. Direct your inquiries to the owners of that site.

Noons said...

Never been a fan of LuLa, and now even less...
Still, I wish MR all the best in this new endeavour.

Anthony Bridges said...

Luminous Landscapes is one of my bookmarks. However, I rarely visit them anymore. Maybe once or twice a month. I do find their articles on composition and art interesting from time to time.

Scott Kirkpatrick said...

I'm not a fan of the kind of photography LuLa seems to stress, but there is a lot to learn there. I noticed that ALL of the video tutorials that they have put together come along for free at their $1/month. That seems like a pretty good deal. I'm in.

scott

Michael Ferron said...

The only site I personally pay for is the old and still fun photo.net.
LL is often about the latest, mega$$ equipment and I can not to do that anymore. I have more fun on walking 6th St with B&W film loaded in a dated camera and chatting with those hanging out than a person has a right to :) (and maybe it's just me but B&W is still hard to duplicate via digital) I love the look.