Ask a blogger with a boyfriend ‘who takes your photos?’ and more likely than not, the answer will be her significant other. One of the most common grievances that I hear from my friends in the industry is how hard it is to produce great quality images on a consistent basis when they don’t have a dedicated man with a cam. If you look at some of the most successful bloggers out there like Kristina Bazan and Chiara Ferragni, their rise to success had a lot to do with their equally talented boyfriends. Not having an artistically inclined boyfriend or in fact, any boyfriend at all obviously doesn’t spell the end of a potential online career. Personally, my boyfriend only takes photos for me when we’re on holiday as we’ve been doing long distance for four years now, so I’ve had to rely on other ways to create (you can read how I choose photographers to work with here). Oh yeah, and apparently his mum did his art GCSE for him (sorry for outing you babe) so it’s not like there’s an 80’s power ballad and smoke machines when we shoot – there’s a lot of communication and patience needed from both of us. For those of you that have a blog and a partner that maybe doesn’t always step up to help out – maybe this is something your guy should read.
It took a while for my boyfriend to happily take my photos. He’s my best ear when I tell him about any potential projects I have coming up, when I show him work from new photographers I want to work with or ask him his opinion on which products I should feature. However, at the beginning, photos were a whole other story – probably because it involves an individual standing in the cold and wind with a camera, under the scrutiny of those passing by. It all started off with me telling him that I need help with shooting products and outfits. He would accompany me to buy the flowers I need for my flatlays and even sacrifice some of our alone time so I can run off to a shoot somewhere. When we are abroad where I have no contacts and I am in definite need of his assistance, some lengths he’s gone to helping me include standing on top of a table on tiptoes (don’t worry not in a public place haha) and nearly getting knocked into traffic on the streets of Tokyo.
Not bragging or anything but I’ve perched on the edge of rooftops trying to contain an impending nip slip, waded through murky water in an almost-sheer dress, been harassed and photographed by other pedestrians, sat in dirt countless times – not to mention the scores of drivers that have suffered from a surge in blood pressure and when I’ve stood in the middle of roads. I’m particularly gifted at inspiring road rage but I’m still not as annoying as cyclists (ha sorry, could not resist). My point is that my boyfriend knows that I do all of this because I tell him everything about my shoots. Quite quickly he realised that blogging is not a cute little hobby that I can look back on in a few years and think, ‘oh that was fun!’ He knows that I spend at least three of my four weekends in a month, shooting, editing and liasing with PRs and other bloggers. He knows that I spend almost an hour everyday curating my feed and editing blog posts. And even more hours are spent answering DMs, comments, emails and fighting for my worth. It’s definitely not always about money but when someone is asking for a lot from you, product gifting alone won’t cut it. And I’m not complaining because here’s the key thing that all significant others need to realise – my blog is my work.
I’m sure many of you reading this can relate. As much as we bloggers joke and complain about our grumpy boyfriends moaning about taking our photos, there’s a very serious issue behind this. I’m not just trying to prise out the most negative thing about being a blogger in a relationship but I’ve realised that this issue can’t be reduced to funny viral videos. I think we need to acknowledge how important a partner’s role is in our success.
To put it simply: if blogging is your passion and could lead to a potential dream job or is your dream job – why isn’t your partner fully respecting that? Imagine this parallel situation – you need a plus one for a company party and almost everyone is bringing a friend or partner, would you expect your boyfriend to come with you and help you make a good impression for your career?
Some of my friends have incredibly helpful and dedicated boyfriends. One friend in particular, E for the sake of ‘anonymity’, has grown so much in the last year and always has beautiful images to post. Her boyfriend has contributed to that by spending every weekend helping her to take and edit photos. He helps her market and revamp her blog too as his day job equips him with the knowledge that she can learn from. This is starting to sound like a weird public sector post on how to help people so I’ll leave it at that and move on to say that E, like me, views social media as a job – albeit a fun one. I believe that one of the best ways to get your partner to take your passion seriously is for you to show how sincere you are. Otherwise why should your boyfriend, your friends or in fact, the general public see it as anything less than a vanity project or a popularity contest – because let’s face it, that’s how a lot of people who aren’t involved in our industry see things. And that’s how a lot of younger bloggers do too.
We may say that we don’t care about what others think but this apathy towards correcting people’s misjudgement is part of the problem as to why bloggers aren’t taken seriously. What I also care about is how my blogger friends are stressed and anxious because they can’t express their creativity, even though a pair of hands in perfectly working order and a camera is at their disposal. Because that pair of hands won’t take thirty minutes out of their day to shoot an outfit or two on the way to brunch or before catching a movie. Yes, we can joke about our moody partners and having to end shoots early because they’re bored and not getting the opportunity to catch that amazing sunset yesterday in fear that we’d annoy them. We can joke but we have to ask ourselves – why is it okay for them to have this negative attitude towards something we love but it’s not okay for the same reactions when it comes to our jobs? Are we fuelling the plight of blogger’s boyfriends?
Shot by Yusuf, @yusufeksk
Calla Atelier dress
Charles and Keith sandals
Kurt Geiger bag