In today's Let's Get Coffee, I wanted to chat about fashion blogging as a job, and talk about the different elements of work that go into running a full-time blog. When I was 19 years old, I became interested in Instagram bloggers, and started playing with photo editing, and taking OOTDs on my iPhone. The nature of social media can make everything we do appear easy and effortless, so I wanted to know: how hard could it be?
Exactly how much work goes into fashion blogging?
Is it just a bunch of women snapping a couple photos in exchange for free stuff and money?
The short answer is... well, no. But I'm sure you suspected that much. When I was 19 and became interested in blogging, I had no idea what sort of time commitment it would be, nor the amount of work and stress it would involve.
Every blogger is different (and puts in a different level of work and commitment), but I am coming from the perspective of a student blogger; I am a full-time college student (i'm taking 20 credits this semester!), I work a part-time job at a hotel, and I run a full-time blog as well. For anyone wondering what it's like to be a student blogger, and asking questions along the lines of...
"Exactly how much work is fashion blogging?"
"What different components go into running a full-time blog?"
This is the blog post for you!
Creating Content is Expensive:
Sponsored photos and brand collaborations definitely help to ease the cost, but the airy, luxurious, full-of-fun life that fashion bloggers feel the pressure to uphold is expensive. Brunch is expensive, drinks are expensive, and those $5 lattes and $4 croissants add up. Coffee shots are some of my favorite to create, but they can definitely get pricey.
Keeping up with trends is also expensive- I try to pick out trendy pieces when I work with brands (because if something is going to go out of style quickly, I'd rather receive it for free- fair?) but I still pay for most of my own clothes. And when you are first starting out as a blogger, no one is paying you or sending you anything: it is all out of pocket.
Shopping is part of the job-description: whether this sounds like a pro or con is up to you, but regular shopping is necessary to keep up with trends, and create new and fresh content.
Unless you live a charmed life with endless freedom, and a photographer boyfriend / girlfriend / best friend constantly at your hip (carrying a DSLR at all times), most of us need to plan shooting days.
This is the reality behind being a college blogger: my every day fashion is actually super boring. Monday through Friday, I sit in classes all day, so I often wear loose t-shirts and turtlenecks, and comfortable trousers. While I love the outfits I shoot, they are not always reflective of the outfits I wear in real life. I often style looks specifically for shooting, so it takes a fair bit of planning.
I shoot 1-2 times a week, and style 2-4 looks a shoot. Each photo shoot typically requires 2-3 hours- about 15 minutes of it is shooting, while the rest of the time is spent running around, trying to find shooting locations. There are many factors that go into the time-management of a shoot: weather (direct sunlight vs. overcast), temperature (is it miserably hot or freezing cold out?), the number of looks (will I find a convenient bathroom or risk getting arrested for public indecency to change in a corner?). If a shoot is well-planned, it may only take an hour, but things rarely go that smoothly. I often shoot with Sam (@capturingsam) as well, in which case each of us has 2-4 outfits, and things take even longer.
Editing + Planning a Feed:
I spend hours and hours a week, editing photos and planning out my feed. Aesthetically beautiful feeds do not happen magically- it takes a lot of editing, re-editing, adding, taking away, re-re-editing, and playing around. I am also a perfectionist, so if something looks even a little bit off, I will spend hours trying to figure out how to make it look right.
Writing Blog Posts:
Some blog posts come naturally and essentially write themselves. Those are the best, because they take half an hour, and immediately feel ready for publishing.
Other blog posts are a struggle, every step of the way: from thinking up the idea, to writing an introduction, to having enough content to write a full, well-developed blog post. Posts like this one usually take a few hours to fully flesh out. I don't want to be vague, but I also don't want to bore you with too many details. I want things to be clear, without being repetitive.
I try to post a blog post every 2-4 days (I'm sorry if I don't always succeed), but this means that I write 2-3 blog posts a week. I work really hard to make these blog posts interesting and fully thought out: I try not to post any"half-assed" content. My blog posts are primarily writing focused, not photo focused (I figure if you want photos, you can look at my Instagram) so that often makes my blog posts more time-consuming.
Keeping Up with Instagram:
As a blogger, Instagram requires a significant amount of attention. Between the necessary engagement (taking time every day to like + comment on other peoples photos, and engage with the explore page), posting multiple times a day, making Instagram Stories, creating IGTV videos... it takes a lot of time and commitment.
So, how much time goes into fashion blogging?
If you want your content to look good, it takes a lot of time. Fashion blogging requires constant attention, because it needs to be both efficient, and aesthetically beautiful. A good blogger is constantly creating new, and beautiful content: that can get exhausting. The moment you're done creating something, you have to be off to the next. My Instagram is always 5-6 photos ahead, because it has to be. Even as I post something, I am already done with a new shoot, and planning the next one. There is no time to admire or relish in your work, before you move onto the next thing. But not only does content need to be created constantly, but it all has to be good content. How else do you grow, if your content isn't good? Blogging is time-consuming, because it requires both quantity and quality, if you want to keep up.
By the time you add everything up, fashion blogging becomes a full-time job. I used to glorify fashion bloggers, romanticizing the idea of receiving free things and getting paid to travel the world, and working a job that feels like an endless vacation...but I definitely underestimated the amount of work, and pressure, and constant stress that goes into maintaining a fashion blog. Social media is instant, and fast-paced, and it requires the blogger to be too.
Don't get me wrong, I think fashion blogging is one of the coolest jobs in the world, and if I could one day make it into a full-time job, I would not hesitate. Fashion blogging requires a type of person who is creative, innovative, organized, and self-motivated, and the amount of work that goes into creating consistently good, daily content is not something to be underestimated.
Is blogging the hardest job in the world?
No. But in this blog post, I'm not trying to argue that blogging is the hardest job in the world. I'm trying to argue that blogging is work, and not an endless vacation, wearing free clothes and drinking skinny-lattes all day.
I also wanted to write this post for the people on Instagram who are interested in starting a blog, but have no idea what to expect. When I was 19, I didn't know anything about fashion blogging, or the work load behind it. Now, at 21, I'm still young and inexperienced, but I know a lot more than I did. I've worked with lots of brands (paid and unpaid collaborations), I've learned how to conduct business emails, and manage time, and set due dates, and build (and maintain) a website, and create a media kit... I've learned how to model (it was real awkward at the beginning guys), and use a DSLR, and shoot, and edit... I've learned how to see the fashion industry from both the perspectives of a consumer, and an advertiser.
For many of us, running a fashion blog is a one-woman business, and it is a lot of work. Between emails, and shoots, and editing, and blog posts, and Instagram, there are so many pieces that go into maintaining a successful blog, and all of them are necessary to keep things running. I think that fashion blogging is one of the best jobs in the world; I love how creatively stimulating it is, and it's incredibly fun and interesting work, but it's still hard work.