I get so many messages on the regular that I have a great job. Yes, I agree, and I am grateful. But the general perception is that all I do is wake up, make up, look cute for the camera and my minions do all the work for me. Another misconception is that bloggers are models, they model clothes & accessories for brands and get paid for it. My DMs are filled with questions like “R U Modal” , “Can you make me modal” , “Ma’am, can you give me modelling break?” At this point, I immediately decline these messages – not to be rude but my bio clearly says what my job is.
The “job” is not just to look good , although looking good on social media is no easy task in itself. What I & most other bloggers do is much more….it’s a business – there’s art direction, lead generation, marketing, location scouting, talent scouting, public relations, direction, styling, photography, make up & hair, editing , copy writing, social media manager, accounting…. and all of this is done by ONE individual – ME. So think about it for a second – is this one great job or many tough ones together?
I have never come across a detailed account of what a blogger’s life actually is like. (Don’t hate me on this, I’m sure there must be, but I haven’t come across any) So here’s to busting myths and a brutally honest (& maybe controversial) step by step account of what it’s actually like. The tea. Is hot.
So Many Myths….
Finding good projects : My fellow bloggers would understand how difficult this is. In the start, when you’re trying to build your portfolio, it’s okay to accept all the work. Even I did, I was too scared to lose an opportunity to showcase my idea. As time passes by, and you start working with really good brands (which happened really early with me ) you realise your worth. Honestly I do say no to a lot of projects, because they don’t make sense to me.
Why would I promote an online store that sells “A1” first copies for example? Or why would I promote a blogger who wants me to post her picture on my Instagram wishing her a Happy Birthday in return for a chance to be at her birthday party after paying ‘entry fees’ ? Instafam would know about this haha. And there are way too many more examples, but let’s not make them public now.
How to find good projects? Have kickass content. And try to do better every time. 🙂 And still, sometimes weeks would go by without a good project. Ahhh…such is this life.
Standing out : A lot of times, companies like to collaborate with bloggers when they decide to do a campaign for which the brief for every blogger is the pretty much the same. The guidelines make it almost impossible to stand out from your peers. All content looks the same & that’s what the brand wants so that there is recall value. So I have to extremely smart with my concepts. Then there are times when you are allowed to do whatever you want. Which is great for me! Styling comes very naturally to me (not being cocky) but when it comes to products, it gets difficult. Will you pose holding it, place it next to you, do a flatlay, or create a concept?
Photographer : I find it so unfair when I see some kids on Instagram with a DSLR & a feed that makes me cringe calling themselves photographers just because they got it as a birthday present, please learn a bit before adding ‘professional’ to your bio. I have been lucky that most people I have worked with contacted me because it would’ve been impossible to find them. And I encourage people to DM/mail me as I like to work with new people. A good photographer that understands your vision & direction is so important and I have been lucky to work with such talent.
On the other hand, I have had photographers can on me the morning of the shoot, someone who made me wait over 4 hours at the location & didn’t show up, a guy tell me in the middle of a shoot that they would not continue shooting a pre-decided number of looks and refuse to hand over my pictures to me (long story, wanna hear it with his name?) I have shot with someone who decided he was too tired after two looks and couldn’t shoot the third because it was too hot…
And the latest experience – my photographer not sending me my videos and photos for days, cutting my calls, ignoring my messages, and what not. I had to chase him to get my own material. I always carry my laptop for immediate data transfer but that shoot day my battery died halfway through it….
But I have also had photographers who have never said no (like Darayus) who have always been there for me even when they had a back pain (like Ipshita) . My friends and family help too. I am so grateful. This was shot by my friend Dhwani on her iPhone just before we had to go to work.
Location : What did you think, the photographer or brand does that? Nope. I need to find the locations. If I am lucky it’s a cafe or restaurant with good lighting, and this is a tiresome process. My blogger friends help in this sometimes. 🙂 If I am unlucky (which is the case most of the time with me lol) I have to do a recce & scout for a good outdoor location. And pray to the rain gods that the weather is in my favour.
And then there are times when people ask you to shoot in really specific locations and you’re like F**K I’m screwed.
Sometimes there are trips involved, but instead of enjoying the whole time, we have to concentrate on making content. I recently travelled and wrote about it in detail here explaining why I will go again without the intention of blogging.
Changing outfits : How come no one talks about this? I see this question on so many bloggers’ comments. Let’s refer to the previous point – if it’s a cafe then it’s cool. But when it’s outdoors, I have changed in cabs (covering all windows with cloth & newspapers) as well as nearby restaurants’ washrooms. Kya kar sakte hai? Kabhi kabhi karna padta hai. And this involves me carrying multiple outfits, shoes, bags, accessories for each look. Dragging the suitcase everywhere I go on the streets. Still think this is easy? Both these blog posts/looks were shot at the same place on the same day. I changed in a cafe. See this & this.
Environmental Factors : Sounds like a school textbook point but I mean, yeah, it matters. Rain is one big factor that can cancel shoots at any time. Rain doesn’t care about your deadlines. There’s A/C if you get an indoor location, but then the pictures are so dark & grainy if you don’t use extra lights or flash. The light is much better outdoors but get ready to sweat all your make up off. And if you’re wearing heels & walking from place to place, darling I feel you. I can show you a picture of my blistered feet! Most shoots are early morning because the light is the best. For an insomniac like me, that means never sleeping before shoots. I stay up all night just so that I’m not late. I do not advice this at all.
For example, here we walked in the heat to so many locations & I was wearing heels and had not slept. Can you tell?
Like I mentioned earlier, sometimes a brand would require a specific location to match their theme. I recently shot in a jungle-type location for the same and was bitten by mosquitoes over a 100 times. And my heels were so deep in the muck, I could never clean them :'(
Editing : I edit my own pictures, as you might know. That can take upto an hour for each photo respectively. There are so many amazing bloggers who have created such amazing individual editing styles that I find so inspiring! However, there are bloggers who use pictures edited by the photographers and that is completely fine. I am just trying to explain what all I do as a blogger.
Social Media : The time you post is so important, along with a good caption & hashtags. It requires a thorough knowledge of your statistics and planning. But to be fair, I don’t always think so much before posting. Secondly, you also need to keep up with your other social accounts (which I am unable to, for real. It just becomes too much!) Any help here would be appreciated, so please support. 🙂 Like my FB page & subscribe to my Youtube channel (my entire hair transformation video is coming soon!)
Payments : Follow up, follow up, follow up. That’s all I will say, girl!
This post is not to scare or discourage anyone. The positives obviously outweigh the negatives, the most important being – getting to do what you love. It’s just that people still take this so casually and want to become “influencers” & “public figures” without understanding what really happens behind the scenes. You see the finished product & the appreciation we get but it takes a lot of perseverance, dedication & patience from one person to get there. Start early in college or keep this as a side gig till you feel confident enough to go full-time.
I have taken really stupid decisions too and gone with the flow in the hopes of a future benefit. But you should never make the same mistake twice. Don’t let anyone take advantage of you. What you do directly correlates with what happens with your fellow bloggers. You let someone knowingly take advantage of you, the same would be expected from your peers. You are responsible not only for yourself, but this entire industry, whether you have 100 followers or 1 million.
We are the industry. We have the power. So let’s know our worth. 🙂
Ps. This was shot by Avinash Salvi on Independence Day so we don’t have holidays either haha!