August 6, 2017

Lets Chat About Blog Photography And Community Changes.

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“They f*ck you up, your Mum and Dad. They don’t mean to, but they do.”

A grafitti quote referencing a poem by Phillip Larkin that really got me thinking about society.
About the blogging community.
The group of individuals that come together by default when they hit publish on the first post.

This post could flutter off in so many directions so I apologise if this is a little hard to follow..

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I couldn’t tell you when I actually started my blog but I know that its been a few years. It was a hobby that took away from my studies and allowed me to express my creativity that turned into my full time job almost a year ago. It still is a hobby that I enjoy more than anything, but I’m lucky enough to call it my career now too.

Its pretty incredible that taking some pictures of makeup or an outfit and posting it on your own website or even filming a video in your bedroom can turn into a well-paid job. But it happened and team internet isn’t going anywhere. Its only getting stronger. We’re being recognised in the media, taken seriously by the worlds top brands and amongst the younger generation – some influencers are now more influential than the celebrities and reality stars that we grew up admiring. Its no secret that I’m ridiculously proud of any bloggers achievements. Even if they aren’t a close friend of mine, I still feel a sense of achievement for our growing community whenever another blogger succeeds. For example, watching Beth land a killer campaign with L’Oreal or seeing Carly launching her Get Gorgeous Guide with such an amazing response!

What I love most about it all is that social media allows us to have a platform to be heard. Heck, social media is part of the reason that so many young people decided to vote in the last election and we managed to create a strong voice. We made a difference to the future of Britain because we came together and pushed for what we believe in. Its part of the reason that the fashion industry is beginning to accept that we aren’t all stick thin models too with so many gorgeous bloggers fighting for normality and acceptance for all sizes – but this is a story for another time.

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copper garden, summer  autumn transitional style

But however much I prefer to see through rose tinted glasses, the blogging community is a far cry from what it once was. Its no longer about the weekly blogger chats on twitter, taking pictures on a digital camera of your latest make-up purchase or how you’re styling your disco pants this week. The days when the community was smaller, more collective and before we really knew anything about how to use a DSLR or got featured in fancy TV adverts. I guess the change came with growth and the more it continues to grow, the more it will continue to change.

But will it change for the better?
Has it changed for the better so far?
I know that change is inevitable and while we have to embrace it, we also have a few things to think about.
The quality and expectations have grown. It was inevitable that we’d begin to push ourselves and try to branch out from the usual content. Gone are the days when you could upload average quality images and a quick write up about why you love your disco pants so much – now we’re using DSLR cameras, proper editing software and hiring photographers (or roping in our boyfriends) because a tripod in our bedroom isn’t good enough. Can you believe that I used to shoot every outfit in my bedroom, agains a wall with my legs cropped off!?

Its crazy to think about how high the quality of everything is now and its a constant energy to keep up.

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Blogging truly sparked my love for photography and I don’t think I’m alone in that. Having Copper Garden made me appreciate quality imagery, lighting, set-ups, props, location and everything that goes with a great shot. I spend a lot longer planning each outfit post or flatlay to achieve the most visually appealing imagery that I can. My friend Paige also has a love for photography and we often chat about different styles and ways that we have found and love – like how to give a more editorial vibe.

The most incredible part? Most of us are entirely self taught, learning by trial and error and not by trained course.

And its not even just photography. Over time we needed to learn about SEO, how to ace the social media game, keeping up with fashion trends, writing blogposts/articles/features to a higher quality and even learning how to do our own taxes..thinking about it, we’re pretty bloody skilled to learn so much from a hobby! We’ve gone from just setting up a website to learning a bunch of new skills that help in different aspects of life.

However, with all of the pressure to be bigger and better comes something else.
The ugly face of blogging.
Jealousy, comparisons.. or whatever you want to call it.

I want to stress that photography is an art form. Its no secret that most images (if not all) online are slightly altered to make ourselves and the overall image look a bit better – like wearing heels for an outfit post when actually we can’t wait to put our converse back on.  I openly admit to using FaceTune on my blemishes, adjusting the lighting and adding a filter. I like making my images editorial, but I’d never go as far as changing the shape of my body. Obviously I’m not a model, nor a professional photographer or anything like that. I just want to create a visual journey because to me, pictures speak louder than words.

There are bloggers who have been thrust into the limelight and shamed recently for doing the same thing. Creating beautiful imagery. Artwork to enhance the beauty of a city or show of an outfit in a better light. The indirect tweets about how ‘disgraceful’ or ‘misleading’ it is to do such a thing. When the whole twitter rampage started, I almost deleted the app because I was so angry that our community wasn’t standing together and was instead tearing itself apart. So what if someone wants to add a bloody flock of birds into a picture to make it look more visually appealing? Or completely changing the colour of a picture to give the shot some Summer vibes with a filter? Let them do it. Its their platform to express themselves. We all have a space online to share whatever we want and shouldn’t fear doing anything outside of the ‘blogger norm’ because god forbid we should try and have some creativity.

I guess what I’m trying to say in this post is that blogging is a creative outlet. Its whatever you want it to be and as a community, we should be supporting each other and praising the incredible work that is being put out there. Aren’t we all guilty of only showing our highlights online? Whens the last time you saw someone sharing an image of them on a Saturday morning wearing a fake-tan stained t-shirt, pumping their body with coffee to get through a workload? Never.

If you’re reading this from whichever side – blogger or reader, just know that most bloggers are genuine, lovely people. We’d never hurt a fly and would much rather bring each other up than tear each other down.

I’m going to end this post with two images. The one that sparked this post, and the one that should influence some love.

If theres one thing you do today, make sure you tell someone how much you appreciate or admire their work.

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6 comments so far.

6 responses to “Lets Chat About Blog Photography And Community Changes.”

  1. Lucy Cole says:

    I miss the disco pant days! I used to shoot in my room too, sometimes I’d venture into the garden, but my photography has improved so much, partly thanks to my boyf haha. I agree though, our community is kicking butt and I’m so proud of us all!xx

    Lucy |

  2. Kelly says:

    My blog turns four this week and it’s made me reflect a bit about the whole experience. The community has definitely changed and you’re right, quality expectations have definitely stepped up. But I do think there is still that kinship among bloggers – not all, but it’s still there. Brands getting more involved in the game has brought out some people’s jealousy and tendency to always compare – but I think those that keep marching to the beat of their own drum (like you) will continue to shine. It’s hard work blogging..and it’s not really something you can ‘fake it till you make it’. Who knows where things will go next!!

    xoxo – Kelly

  3. Imogen says:

    This was such an interesting read. I recently wrote a post which was similar but from a different point of view. I think it’s important for the community to stand together but from the other point to not influence young readers with unattainable images also. Very interesting read from you lovely. Xxx Imogen

  4. Emma says:

    Such an interesting read Jess and lovely to spread some positivity 🙂 x

  5. Lottie says:

    Totally agree that the qualities and expectations have grown. Gone are the webcam days!

  6. Lisa Autumn says:

    Absolutely loved the post girl! Well done!

    xx Lisa |

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Jess | London Style and Travel Blogger

a twenty-something exploring the world with a double espresso and a camera.