Tips Just for Fashion Bloggers
Sometimes giving blog tips can be tricky, because every type of blog is different, and what works for one might not work for another.
Fashion blogging, for instance, requires a completely different set of skills from something like food blogging, say, or even lifestyle blogging, and although fashion only makes up a small part of my own blog, today I thought I’d concentrate on some tips specific to fashion bloggers. (Er, if you have some other kind of blog, this one’s going to be of no use to you whatsoever: sorry about that. Here is a picture of a kitten in a hat to make up for it. You’re welcome.)
If you’re a fashion blogger, though? Here are some tips just for you…
01. Don’t live in Scotland
OK, this one is totally tongue in cheek, and I’m not for a second suggesting you should up sticks and move to a different location just to start a fashion blog, but there’s also no denying that some places are harder to blog from than others. If you’re a UK-based blogger, for instance, the weather is going to make it WAY more difficult to get decent outfit shots than someone who lives in southern California, for instance, and so you’re going to have to put in a bit more effort with it if you want to get amazing outdoor shots. I know, it’s not fair. I really AM joking about moving, though, so if you DO live in a place where outdoor photography is always going to be tricky…
02. Invest in decent lighting
Blogging is known for being a very low-cost hobby/profession to get into, but if you’re blogging about fashion, I do think there are some investments that need to be made, and one of those is lighting. (Unless, of course, you happen to live somewhere sun-drenched, in which case lucky you, and feel free to skip this one.) Studio lighting is bulky and annoying, true, but it will allow you to continue taking photos on those winter days (and weeks) when the sun just doesn’t seem to come up.
03. And a good camera
I’ve said in the past that you don’t need a fancy DSLR camera to start a blog, and I stand by that. You may not need a a good camera to START your blog, however, but once you decide to get serious about it (and especially if you’re going to be shooting outfit photos), it’s a good investment to make. I’m still not saying you need to spend an absolute fortune here, because you’re not shooting for Vogue, after all, and you can get decent equipment for not too much money: what I AM saying, though, is that I wouldn’t recommend depending on your camera phone forever. Yes, you can get OK photos from it, but it’s still not the same quality you’ll get from a “real” camera: images are incredibly important to fashion blogs, so this is one area you really can’t afford to scrimp on.
There’s one very important caveat to this point, however….
04. Learn how to use it
Lots of new fashion bloggers seem to get the idea into their heads that if they go out and buy a top-of-the-range DSLR, their photos will be all over Pinterest before they know it. Nuh-uh. The problem with DSLR cameras is that they’re not point-and-shoot: as in, you can’t really just pick one up and fire off a stream of awesome photos with them. Yes, you can use the “auto” function to do something like that, but if you’re just going to shoot on “auto” all the time, your photos won’t be that much better than you’d get with a point and shoot, and if you want to get those dreamy blurred backgrounds and sharp images you see on all of the “big” fashion blogs, you’re going to have to learn how to use that expensive camera you just bought, to its full capacity.
This can be easier said than done, but honestly, if you’re NOT going to bother learning how to use your DSLR, it’ll be a complete waste of money, and you’ll probably end up with worse photos than you had from your old camera, I, for instance, have a Nikon D7000, and I’ve taken some truly horrendous photos with that thing: in fact, there have been times when I’ve been struggling so much I’ve just picked up my iPhone and used that instead – and I’ve gotten a better photo from it, too.
The reason for this is that point-and-shoot cameras (or phone cameras) are designed to take OK photos in pretty much any circumstances, with very little effort on the part of the photographer, whereas a DSLR will take AMAZING photos… but only in the hands of someone who knows what they’re doing with it. When Terry and I are on holiday, for instance, we can’t just hand our camera to a random passer-by and ask them to take a photo of us together, because the photo will likely be unuseable.
The point of this long ramble? Learn how to use your camera. Read the manual, watch You Tube tutorials, take a course – don’t just buy it and expect it to take fabulous photos with no effort.
05. Get a tripod and remote
If you’re lucky enough to have an Instagram Boyfriend to take your photos, your job as a fashion blogger will be 100 times easier, obviously. (There’s a reason why so many of the REALLY big bloggers either have partners who are professional photographers, or simply hire professional photographers to shoot their outfits) If you don’t, however, don’t worry: you can still get decent photos with a tripod and remote – again, it’s just a a case of working out how to use them and, if you’re shooting outdoors, building up the confidence to prance around in front of a camera on your own.
Even if you do have someone to take your outfit photos, a tripod can be a good investment for all of the other photos you might want to take for your blog: you’ll get a sharper photo when the camera is completely still, and it’s easier to keep it still on a tripod than in your hand.
06. Know your angles
This sounds horribly pretentious, but here’s the thing: if you’re going to be taking photos of yourself, it’s worth practicing a bit, and working out what kind of poses and angles look best for you. You’ll work this out through trial and error, really, so when you’ve taken a set of photos, go through them and pay particular attention to which poses you like best, and which ones really don’t work. In my case, I always feel really awkward if I’m just standing face-on to the camera, grinning at it, which is why I’m looking off to one side in most of my photos. It looks a bit silly when you see them all together (Like, WHAT IS SHE ALWAYS LOOKING AT ON THAT ONE SIDE?), but for me it’s just more natural looking than the “mugshot” look I get when I’m just staring right at the camera, so it works.
07. Develop your own style
Even if you just read fashion blogs occasionally, you’ll notice there are certain “fashion blogger” trends that sweep the internet: one morning you’ll wake up, log onto Bloglovin’ or Pinterest and feel like every single person is wearing exactly the same thing. Now, I’m not saying you should avoid trends if you genuinely like them, or that you should force yourself to wear stuff you don’t like just to be “different”, but fashion blogging is SO competitive these days that if you really want to stand out, you have to be able to bring something different to the table. That might mean putting your own twist on a particular style, or finding a non-style related way to make your blog that little bit different from the millions of others out there, but however you do it, try not to lose sight of who YOU are, and what YOU like to wear/do.
08. Don’t accept freebies unless you genuinely love them
Once your blog starts to grow, there’s a good chance you’ll start to be offered “freebies”, normally in the form of clothing which brands want you to wear on your blog or Instagram. The first thing to note here is that these aren’t actually “free” in the true sense of that word, because you will be expected to work for them by writing a post to publicize the brand. The other thing to note is that freebies are only worth getting if it’s something you really love, and will wear in your “real” life, rather than just for the blog. A lot of new fashion bloggers get a bit carried away with the idea of freebies, and accept everything that comes their way – which is a really easy way to burn yourself out, and make your audience stop trusting you, because you’re no longer wearing the clothes that made them follow you in the first place. That doesn’t mean you can’t ever change your style, of course – just make sure that what you wear is always YOUR style, not just something you’re wearing because you’re being paid, or you got it for free.
09. Disclose all sponsorships and gifts
On the subject of freebies and sponsorships, you MUST disclose it any time you’re paid to post about something, or receive it for free. If you don’t do this, not only will you risk getting in trouble with the ASA (or whichever agency governs advertising in your country), you’ll also put off readers, who’ll work out that something’s up, and feel mislead by your failure to disclose.
10. Don’t take photos in direct sunlight or late at night
It’s tempting to think a bright, sunny day will give you the best possible light for photos, but direct sunlight can be REALLY unflattering, creating harsh shadows and highlighting every flaw. If you have no choice but to shoot in sunlight, chose a shaded area, or wait until the sun starts to go down – that “golden hour” right before the sun sets is one of the best times for outfit photos!
11. Don’t post a hundred photos of the same outfit
Just done a photo shoot you’re really proud of? That’s great, but seriously: don’t post every single photo. Only you can tell the difference between them all, and readers hate having to scroll throug dozens of near-identical shots of the same outfit. Just pick a handful of the best ones, and keep the rest for yourself: your readers will thank you.
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Any fashion bloggers out there? Got any tips for us?