What is a long-term lens commitment? Most lenses probably take anywhere from one to eight hours to complete and then only require monthly (or less) tweaking. A long -term commitment lens involves more time and generally content and can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to complete.
Do not be afraid to make a long-term lens commitment. I have made lenses that have taken 30 days and up to a year to complete. I highly recommend it because it creates a well-rounded lens and because readers sincerely appreciate your efforts.
This week I completed a lens on the Bleasdell Boulder. Now when I say completed, I mean the main goals of my lens — in this instance, taking photos at a popular trail park during all four seasons — the lens is complete but I will still continue to tweak it as the months and years pass (I already have some ideas floating around). But for the most part I consider it completed and can relax as far as it is concerned. It feels good to have it done.
The good thing about long-term lenses is that it encourages your readers to revisit to view your updates. One of my most popular long term lenses is the one I did on my eye surgery. I had no idea when I started it that it would be so popular. I have had people come and ask questions and return to tell me about the outcomes of their own surgeries even though it is over three years old.
I highly recommend the seasons lens that I discussed first. Think of a pretty landmark or park in your area and commit to taking pictures of it every season.
Things to include so you can publish immediately:
- In the intro give a brief overview of the landmark and what it means to you. You can mention that this lens will be a work-in-progress for the next few seasons but it is not necessary.
- Include a poll asking if they visited the landmark or plan on visiting.
- Gallery module or a few Polaroid modules to show off images of your landmark from all angles.
- Text module sharing any history.
- Use a sticky note module or text module to provide directions
- Add a link list with reasons why people like to visit.
- In your guestbook invite people to comment about their visit.
Be sure to put notes on your calendar at the beginning of each season to remind yourself to revisit your landmark, take fresh pictures, and load them to your lens.