I was originally going to label this post Glam Girl in the Grocery Store, but after the response to my post about my three fears, I decided to keep it real. I LOVE these photos that Hannah took. The reality is, I take quite a bit of time to figure out what I’m going to wear, where to shoot , and than what I’m going to write about. The idea of relaying Instagram life vs. reality popped into my head as I looked at these photos.
When I first started blogging, I shared about style, fashion, and where to buy it. As I learned more about business, online websites, and looking at what my readers liked to read, I started posting new topics. When I decided to do this full time, I dived into figuring out what topics you guys might be interested in mixed in with things I love. So food and travel were layered in more frequently (which more to come) and content about me and my life. I consider my blog a part of me and a part of you. Creating things I love, but also providing you what you want to read. Having both is the best combination.
Social media has put a tremendous weight on us to make sure our life looks good in photos and videos (which all should be shareable of course :). I mean why does Instagram have a billion active users? We love diving in on other people’s lives, try not to compare, but we find it inspirational and quite frankly fun, quick, and easy. At the tip of your fingers you can dive into people’s lives and feel like you know them (hello, Kardashians). So as I wrote more about me, I got so many messages of encouragement, and the understanding that what I choose to share on my blog and Instagram are supposed to be pretty. I like pretty, I like clothes, and I love going out. My words and posts here can convey what’s really going on. So I thought I would share a bit of my Instagram life vs. reality.
#1) Shots are setup and preplanned. From collaborations, to picnics, to styling of clothes, there are props, colors, and accessories that make sure the photo look everyday but professional. It’s a mix of both. The time it takes to find one photo for Instagram could take an hour before even editing the photo. A recent picnic photo I took, I spent a hour buying props and food, than hauling everything to a local park, taking 50 photos and I only shared one. It was a collaboration, and I love being creative, but it takes longer than you think for that ONE photo. If you really scroll through anyone’s feed, the photos we first took as bloggers, are NOT great. It takes practice and also figuring out what you want your own brand to be. Those readers wondering why their photos don’t look the same as a blogger, it’s cause I’m sure you don’t take 100 photos for one share, and you don’t bring flowers or have a matching setting to match your outfit :).
#2) We don’t wear what we are showing that exact day every time we post. As mentioned above, we have a ton of photos for one share. Great to have options so we can fill the blog with pretty photos and share the outfit more than once on Instagram. But in a hour with my photographer, I can also do 4-5 outfits. So no, we don’t always shoot what we are wearing that day, and yes we plan the heck out of each shoot to maximize our time and money. A cost of a fashion blogger is not only the clothes at times but the photography.
#3) For every instastory I share I probably do at least 3 outtakes (that’s not many,) I’ve seen some girls take like 15 takes and even run out of room on their phone because they were sharing too much. Instastories are supposed to be instant, but they are also curated to show you the day or what we choose to share!
#4) EVERYONE uses filters. Unless you are a super model or a Victoria Secret model, if you are in this game you recognize the filters on the faces and we all know it. Facetune, snap chat filters, Instagram filters, we all use them to cover our uneven skin, zits, and give us a certain glow. There’s a ton of apps that help us look good when talking to the camera.
#5) No one’s life is perfect. Doesn’t matter what it looks like online. AND most bloggers who have a beautiful home, $700 dress, and that perfect tan on vacation, already had money before they started blogging. It is EXTREMELY hard to be a style, travel, or fashion blogger starting at zero dollars in the bank. I do now that YouTube has created superstars, but those that blog/instagram. . . it’s really hard to afford those things without something in the beginning.
I have a beautiful home, two fantastic kids, and started my T&J Designs business because I had the support of my ex. I will always be open and honest about that. But I did work hard in SF and NY and had a great salary when I worked in corporate fashion. I still work extremely hard and all the things I share here, collaborate with and experience are now because I’ve been blogging for 6+ years. I probably send 50-100 emails a day. From brands, to my family for my business, to replying to events and negotiating deals. And than some of the time each week is spent in meetings and doing outside activities.
My best times in my life have been unshared, when my best friend comes into town and we spend it together with no photos, no stories, and just drinking and catching up. So reality is, don’t take Instagram as 100% of what someone is like. It’s a platform that we use to create a brand of ourselves and show great things happen. Some do use it to show other issues they deal with, but overall, remember, it’s like a magazine we used to flip through ten years ago. It’s a curated life that will always look good. Reality is, we all wake up with crusty eyes, bad breathe, and feeling bloated. We just take photos on the days that we look good :).
Happy week – I’m off to Los Angeles to explore the city and share the best parts. My Instagram life is taking me on an adventure and yes, so grateful. Shoot me any comments or questions as you know I love hearing from you.