I still think I’m a little crazy for starting a blog. I probably ask myself “what the hell am I doing” at least three times a day right now. Why? Because there are hundreds of thousands of blogs started everyday and, really, if I was going to start blogging it should’ve been 8 years ago when fashion and beauty blogs were really taking off. So, why do I do it? Because I absolutely love it. There’s no plan or strategy, I’m taking every day as it comes. But very time I push ‘publish’ and get butterflies in my stomach or I get a comment, tweet or text from someone telling me how much they love my blog or post, it gives me the biggest rush, it makes me want to carry on (so please keep those coming!).
I’m still a total newbie when it comes to blogging, it’s not been very long but my god, I’ve learnt so much in the last few months. Everything from photography to law to marketing to SEO, I think I’m rolling about five different careers into one role! Although there’s a lot of websites and forums about blogging out there, there isn’t a lot of info about the ins and outs of starting a blog so I’ll be posting a lot more about that over the next few months. Here are just a few things I’ve learnt since I’ve been blogging (seriously) for the last 3 months…
YOU DOUBT YOURSELF…ALOT
If I had a pound for every time I’ve said “this is pointless, I give up!” I’d be very rich indeed. It’s usually after I’ve been on Twitter or Instagram and seen all the amazing bloggers out there rocking hundreds of thousands of followers. Some are authors, others are brand ambassadors for L’Oreal and at times I just think “why bother?” BUT, I try to bring myself back to it by getting inspired for future posts or editing some photos I’ve taken because it reminds me how much I love the process and everything else doesn’t matter. The most important thing to remember is that it doesn’t matter if 2 people or 2 million people read it, if you enjoy doing something, that’s all that matters.
YOU COMPARE YOURSELF
Which brings me onto my next point. Although it’s great to read other blogs, be inspired and see what’s going on in the industry, it’s important to try not to compare too much. Everyone has their own journey and are at different stages of their career. It can be really soul destroying and I have to remind myself that everyone is different to me and most of them have been doing it for 4 or 5 years. PLUS, I’m holding down a full-time job as well as blogging which is more restricting than those who blog full time. On the plus side, it shows how exciting blogging is as an industry and what opportunities and possibilities are out there if you put the work in.
YOU HAVE TO PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE
Social media is amazing for getting the word out there but it is a huge portal and more often than not, it’s not enough. With so many blogs available you literally have to scream about yours to not get lost. I always try to email PR’s, journalists and other bloggers to tell them you’re there and show your support otherwise they’re never going to know. Diary Directory or Gorkana are great online address books to sign up to.
INVEST IN PHOTOGRAPHY
I am NOT a professional photographer – as if you couldn’t tell! I had no idea how much there was to learn about a camera until I started blogging. I use an Olympus PEN for all my photographs with a 45mm lens and I’m still finding out how to change the lighting or autofocus everytime I use it. Yeah, there are times when I get home after a shoot and hate everything or nothing is as sharp as I want, but I’ll get there. My best tip would be to invest in a good camera and spend the time watching YouTube tutorials on how to use it, it’s invaluable. The three things I try to get right is the ISO, shutterspeed and white balance – everything else seems to fall into place and I always tend to shoot on manual to give me more control over the image. If you want the blurred background, there’s no way you can get it with the kit lens I’m afraid, the 45mm or 75mm are you best options.
DON’T OVER-EDIT PHOTOS
This one is a bit controversial but here goes. I know a lot of bloggers who have a distinct ‘look’ because they go nuts on the contrast or clarity and they look awesome! I’m still trying to find my feet when it comes to this but my one rule is to not mess around with my images too much. A lot of mine is down to good lighting (3.30pm on a sunny day is best), even better make-up products or angles and finding the right camera setting (VITAL to look good!). In post-production it’s just a matter of tweaking lighting and cropping passers-by out, other than that I don’t want it to look fake or lose the natural feel to it. I like to use Snapseed or Photoshop on my MacBook to alter the temperatures, saturation and contrast but that’s it.
DON’T GIVE UP
It would be really easy to stop my blog right now. I’d have evenings and weekends free and less stress but, there’s something in me that wants to see where it goes. I have to remind myself that it hasn’t been long at all and things take time to build and grow. In three short months I’ve worked with some amazing brands like Ted Baker, Monica Vinader and Charlotte Tilbury and my social media following has grown really quickly as a result. The best reason to do any hobby or skill is for yourself. There are times when I wonder if anyone really reads this but I love the process and learning something new everyday and surely that’s reason enough, right?