I started writing this post as a reflection to when I first started blogging and how things have changed since then and realised there’s SO MANY aspects to it – I couldn’t possibly cover it all in one blog post, so I decided to create a little series instead. I get asked about my job all the time and although not many people understand blogging / influencer marketing, I thought it would be interesting to talk about my experience and my journey. How I began my blogging career, all the good, the bad and the ugly truths about it. More good, but there are certainly a few “hidden truths” the world don’t see behind a perfectly curated production of content.
In this post I’d like to talk about blogging and relationships.
I started blogging right about this time 6 years ago. It was the best decision ever as from the beginning I knew I wanted to make it a business. I knew I had to be consistent with my content output and continue improving the quality and quantity of my posts. There was no monetary return for any of the hard-working hours for the first 2 years I think, but I loved it so much, it didn’t matter. I won’t lie, my dedication to making my blog a success in the first couple of years affected my relationships. Not so much with Sasha or any of my true friends (not so true friends suddenly disappeared), but definitely my partner, who was / is a huge part of this blog and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without him. We learnt together what works for us in terms of photography, work around the time to shoot outfits together and everything else that blogging involves from my part. It all affects my closest – any business would. All the admin, writing and social media is done by me solely whenever possible. Like this blog post – I probably got interrupted 179 times whilst writing it and it’s taking me 3-4 days. Whereas in the past it would have taken me 2-3 hours maximum to write, SEO and publish. Anyway…
I was so determined to stick to my own deadlines I created when I started out, I may have used a few “date nights” and coffee outings as an excuse to create content. Selfishly, of course and completely unaware and ignorant about the consequences or others’ feelings. Don’t touch that coffee or food until I’m done with the shot. I mean, one or two pictures won’t hurt right? But they have to be “perfect”, so sitting at the right table and not actually drinking the coffee we ordered until I’m done with that picture. How silly? But when you’re in the excitement of it all, you’re kind of blind. This was way before Instagram stories appeared and “candid” coffee shots in a cafe were a “thing” on the gram and on the feed. Now content consumption is a whole new story, bu I’ll leave that for another post. I still love my coffee and cute coffee cups and I will take a picture of everything I find cute, but half of it doesn’t make it online because lets be honest, who cares, right? Or those who do care and find it interesting on how I interpret life won’t see it online even if I posted, because you know… Instagram. But that’s for another day.
It took many years of mistakes and errors to finally get to something that works for us as a family when it comes to my job / blogging. That coupled with the fact that we now have two kids and very little time for perfecting that coffee cup shot in a cafe, our photoshoots take time whenever we can squeeze them in. If baby’s sleeping in the car we sometimes shoot right outside the car while it still runs (he wakes up otherwise), or if he’s awake we’ll have him in the pram or on daddy’s chest in the carrier. Sometimes with tears, hunger screams and other times silently… You just never know. It really helps Sasha is so grown up and can either stay in the car with Leon or even take my pictures for me. There were times when Luis was away and I’ve had no choice but to ask Sasha to take photos for paid work. She doesn’t mind now and is really good at it, but there were times when I know she was so embarrassed it broke my heart. Should I have just refused the job to protect Sasha’s feelings? Or did those experiences make her stronger, more resilient towards other people’s thoughts about her? She tells me all the time she’s proud of me and my blog, so I guess I’m doing something right. Resourcefulness is an important aspect of any entrepreneur and I’m happy she’s learning it from me. She’s almost 14 and she already knows she wants to own her own business soon. With LAFOTKA though, I try and keep her out of the blog as much as possible as I don’t want to force my kids into anything they don’t want to be involved in. I’ve turned down a couple of campaigns involving Sasha as she wasn’t up for being featured and as soon as Leon starts turning away from the camera and it takes me more than 3 takes to take the shot – we stop. There’s nothing worse than having your kids pose for that “candid” shot smiling and holding the product perfectly when in actual fact the blogger’s spent hours of tears and sweat creating the shot. Not for us.
AnBack to previous mistakes and how they affected my relationship with my partner… We don’t have time for this now and we both treat this as a serious job so we work together, but it’s not all fun and games when you decide to work together instead of hiring a photographer. There are arguments. A lot of arguments and hardly anyone talks about it. There were even tears (dried up and covered up with sunglasses) behind some of the shoots. Some shoots were even scrapped we’ve hated each other so much we couldn’t even squeeze in a tiny bit of strength to drop our prides for the deadline. We argued about time, locations, my lack of prep, rain, wind, you name it. We argued about me using my partner to take pictures of me after our “coffee date” because I “happened to have my camera” in the bag. As if I didn’t plan the entire afternoon just for the “bloody pictures” as he used to call them and didn’t get dressed just for them. It sounds so awful and vain, doesn’t it? And then there’s the “sucking up” when you’ve actually fallen out about something else and need pictures. Yeah… Don’t get me wrong we don’t actually fight all the time, but it does happen when you live and work together. I don’t believe those who say they never fight.
What I’m wondering about now is whether any of that helped my success. I asked my partner and he thinks the dedication and consistency definitely helped to get the blog where it is now. It’s our decision to work together and perhaps better planning and communication would have worked, but when you’re new to running your own business – it’s kind of hard to know what’s right. A creative business especially, where photography and content is at the heart of it. Creativity you’ve been holding in all those years, finally free to express and use to make a living from? I was too excited and there was nobody to tell me to turn it down. I got carried away and a without meaning to, ended up taking my very supportive partner for granted. I’ve tried using other photographers and still love / prefer working with Luis. It’s our baby. It’s something we have learnt together and through mistakes and hardship, we’ve stuck at it and those challenges are a big part of my blogging business.
Was any of this surprising? What would you like me to talk about next time?
WHAT I’M WEARING:
Top – H&M
Jeans – Levi’s
Boots – Jigsaw via Brands at Next*
Bag – STAUD
Sunnies – Chloe