April marks the one year anniversary of my blog. While I am certainly no expert and still have a long way to go, I wanted to share a few things that I've learned in the past year for any other bloggers out there.
Invest in a Camera:
In the beginning I couldn't (and still can't) afford to pay a photographer. At first, I worked with friends and acquaintances who owned professional cameras and graciously helped take photos of me. However, it was often hard to coordinate schedules or take and edit the pictures in a timely manner, especially because I work a 9-5 full time job. So I decided to get my own camera. It's just a simple point and shoot Cannon, under $500, and easily fits in my purse, but it takes sharper images than my phone. You don't need a crazy fancy camera to take good blog photos, but I definitely recommend investing in some type of camera because it has been a huge stress relief not having to rely on others to create content for my blog and Instagram. Which brings me to my next point...
Create Your Own Content:
I like to keep my Instagram feed as close to real time and organic as possible. I'm personally not a fan of going out and shooting a bunch of outfits at once, stockpiling the photos, and then sporadically posting them later. I want every photo I post to be purposefully and I try to avoid sharing old photos just for the sake of posting. However, I used to just meander around New York City, hoping I would stumble upon something insta-worthy, and that also fit into my feed. While this isn't impossible living in a huge metropolis like NYC, I honestly used to get stressed out and felt pressured if I couldn't find something good to post.
I've finally accepted the fact that there's no shame in sometimes planning ahead and creating your own content. In fact, that is the only way to be truly original and stand out from the sea of bloggers. Anyone can take a photo of the Empire State Building or a cool mural in Soho, but it's the truly unique photos you create yourself that will set you apart from the crowd. Planning ahead also allows me to be more present and live in the moment when I am out, instead of just focusing on finding something to take a photo of. In my opinion the best Instagram feeds are a healthy combination of both planned and spontaneous posts.
Find Your Own Voice (literally):
Opening up and making myself vulnerable through writing is something I've always struggled with. Because of this, I used to play it safe when it came to the writing aspect of blogging. Everything from my Instagram bio and captions, to my blog posts, were super cliche because I didn't want to put myself out there too much. For example, my first few blog posts were very short and strictly about what I was wearing in the photos, which really doesn't need an explanation. I never gave any thought to my Instagram captions and would just type the first thing that popped into my head, which was usually something super generic and cliche, like "happy friday" or "weekend vibes". My Instagram bio read "fashion and style blogger" which is extremely unspecific in today's saturated industry.
In the beginning of the year, I analyzed my Instagram to see what was working and what wasn't, as well as refined my personal brand a bit. After doing so, I finally feel like I have a voice as a blogger and an overall stronger point of view. I am definitely putting myself out there more, which can be scary, but taking risks is the only way you will ever achieve success. I still have a lot of growing to do, but I have definitely learned a lot about blogging in the last year.
I hope these realizations were insightful to any fellow bloggers. What are some things you've learned about blogging?
(Notebook C/O Graphique de France)