Diary of a Failed Fashion Blogger: When Should You Hire a Professional Photographer?

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Photography has been a very real struggle for me all along my fashion blogging journey. Right around the time I launched my blog, my husband bought an expensive DSLR. Sounds like kismet, right? Totally wrong.

He had little interest in fashion, and slightly less interest in accommodating my blogging schedule to squeeze in shoots when neither of us was working, which wasn't very often.

Then there was my insistence on achieving that perfect bokeh background in a photo that was also up to my standards in the face, body and hair departments. To make sure we were on the right track, I always asked to see what he'd shot after we've taken a few.

This seemingly simple act of looking at the camera's screen always turned into a battle. You see, the husband likes to wrap the camera strap around is wrist multiple times, just in case a camera bandit might be lurking nearby. This meant looking at the photos required an unwrapping of this situation and resulted in much huffing and puffing from both of us. Was it really necessary to look at the photos every 60 seconds? Yes. Was it absolutely necessary to wrap the GD strap around your wrist. Yes, always yes.

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So I resorted to asking friends to take my photo whenever possible, but I always felt awkward and like I was putting them out. I even set up a tripod on a few occasions and took photos myself by using the timer and running back and forth hundreds of times (because I bought a remote clicker but never managed to find the correct battery for the thing).

After six years, I'm finally throwing money at my photography problem. I've accepted that the husband is just never going stop wrapping that #$%^& strap around his arm, and I'm always going to want to look at every third photo.

I recently hired Anna-Alexia Basile to take photos for me for the next few months—pro tip: you can often get a discount with a photographer if you buy a package. Another way to save money is to try to find someone who does photography as a side gig, or who is currently in photography school. I have used Brad Wittke, who falls into the former category, and Sofala Mai and Fujio Emura who are in the latter.

Are you also thinking it might be time to bring in a professional? Here are some questions to ask yourself if you're having a tough time deciding.

  1. Do you have a boyfriend or husband who's willing to acquire the skills and patience to shoot your outfits a few times per week?
  2. Are you making enough money from your blog that it makes sense to hire a pro who can help you get to the next level?
  3. Are low quality photos holding you back?
  4. Did you land a coveted sponsorship and really want to  knock it out of the park?
  5. Is asking your partner to shoot your photos threatening your relationship?

If you answered “no” to number one and “yes” to the rest, it's probably time to bring in someone who really knows what they're doing with a camera. It's one of the most worthy blog investments you can make, especially when you consider that most of your “readers” are probably not there to read.

[Photos by Sofala Mai]

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About The Author

In addition to being editor at IFB, Kristen writes for Forbes, Eat, Sleep, Denim, and her own blog, Stylenik. Previously, she served as the San Francisco editor for Racked, covering the intersection of retail, fashion, and technology. She has written about everything from human cloning to luxury shopping for publications including Wired, Gizmodo, Refinery 29, and the San Francisco Chronicle. She lives in a '70s house in '70s clothes on the Northern California coast. 

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12 Responses

  1. Laurie

    I too have problems with photography. I just can’t figure it all out. all the settings etc. I’m tempted to go to photography school myself, but this post has also spurned me on to find someone who is getting started and needs to practice. Wish me luck !
    http://www.vanityandmestyle.com

    Reply
  2. Devinne S.

    I take all my own photos with a tripod and timer. I’ve been doing it twice a week for over a year, so it’s really not so bad anymore! I’ve thought about hiring a photographer, but honestly, I’m such a control freak that I don’t think I could do it. Plus I’m really proud of what I’m able to do by myself!

    Reply
  3. Ty

    Great article and thank you for sharing. I can so relate. My husband not wanting to take photos of me made me feel some type of way, like he didn’t find me attractive. It was like pulling teeth and I didn’t understand what the problem was, especially since we both love fashion/editorial style photography. The romantic in me was hoping he would just love taking photos of me and watching me excel at what I love. It did not work that way at all and I just stopped asking. The struggle is sadly real, however it is a business, so I’ve decided I have to treat it as such. Sadly I came to this revelation 2 years in, but I guess better late than never.

    Reply
  4. Alex

    As someone who’s been doing professional photography, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is! Most people usually start by thinking oh you just point and shoot, but it’s so much more. I encourage everyone to try it but if you at some point stop enjoying it and the photos are just not looking good then definitely hire a pro. I love your suggestion to hire someone in photography school, great idea!

    Reply
  5. Tim

    I used to have to take photos for my wife during her stint as a fashion blogger as well. It’s definitely not the most fun thing to be the guy taking pictures. Not only do you have to give up your time to go to different locations and snap shots, but you also have to deal with the criticism or feelings of failure when the fashion blogger doesn’t like how they looked. There’s not much reward in it.

    Reply