Tag Archives: Controversy

How to…Know When it’s Right to Take on Blog Sponsors

Credit: Emma Case Photography

I like writing posts like this. They get my brain a-flexing and they’re always a little bit controversial…and that’s all good to me! I constantly receive emails from newbie (or sometimes even quite established) bloggers from all niches (not just wedding) asking for my help or opinion on how to go about taking on blog sponsors and how to make money from their blog. I try to reply to every single one, however of course how much detail I go into generally depends on my current busy-ness situation. So, I’ve been toying with the idea for a little while to put all my thoughts, musings and opinions (for that’s what these are) into one place so I can hopefully direct future question-askers right here. I’m sharing my own experience and the trials and tribulations I’ve had through this ‘making money from blogging thing’ and am in no way claiming to be an expert. However I hope in some way I can help some of your starting out in this journey we call blogging…oh and for those of you out there that berate me for making money as a blogger…well…I’d suggest not reading on.

When I started blogging nearly 3 years ago I didn’t really understand the potential of the medium or really what it was all about. I had no idea about SEO, I didn’t understand the ‘unwritten rules’ about how or what to blog and  it certainly didn’t even cross my mind that any money could be made from it.

In the Beginning…

I made mistakes. We all do. I blogged things that I didn’t have permission to do so. I didn’t credit properly. I didn’t know that blogs had exclusivity policies…and yes I pissed some people off. When you first start blogging its scary, exciting and exhilarating. You really don’t know what you’re letting yourself in for and anyone who thinks running a successful blog is a walk in the park or an easy money maker needs to get their head examined. Egos, turf wars and a (more often than not) predominantly female group (certainly in the wedding blogging industry) can and does lead to fierce competition for the best features…and something which I’m seeing more now than I ever have before, a hell of a lot of bitchiness. 

Nowadays blogging, particularly in the UK seems much more prominent. Most people now do seem to be aware of the magnitude of blogs, how important they are to suppliers, wedding vendors and brides and therefore have some kind idea of things like exclusivity and transparency. I wanted to be open and honest about my (sordid haha!) past so you can all be acutely aware that I ain’t some kind of guru. I’ve made the same mistakes a lot of newbie bloggers have and will continue to do. I was just a few years ahead of you is all. So firstly, don’t beat yourselves up about it. When I got my first ‘Oi, you’ve copieeeeed me’ email I died a little bit inside. But do I care now? Do I hell! Learn from it. Move on and become a better blogger.

OK, soul-bearing over, let’s get on with the real reason behind this post shall we?

As soon as I started blogging, I loved it. I’d found something I enjoyed and the inner geek inside me rejoiced that there seemed to be like-minded people like me out there. I worked extremely hard to make connections within the industry – both with other bloggers and with suppliers and vendors. I definitely learnt the hard way how to do this and it took at least a year before I actually met anyone in this country (everything and everyone was in The States at this point!) Even though, looking back at how much time and effort I put into establishing myself, it was a pretty hard slog, I’m happy to say that not only have I somehow come out the other side making a living from doing what I love, but I’ve made some pretty damn awesome friends along the way.

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How To Blog – Originality & Connections

For a while now I have had a little nugget of an idea floating around my head, a teeny tiny musing that could turn into something if nurtured. I have been thinking of starting a mini series about ‘How to Blog’. I’d love to be able to share my experiences and hopefully impart some wisdom on others wanting to expand their blogging success. I’m primarily thinking about those who want to blog in order to share other people’s work and inspiration.

For this first instalment I want to draw attention to a small part of the whole affair that I feel is quite an important one. I am making reference to bloggers and photographers solely because this is what I know and this is the circle I move in, yet I hope the basic ideas can be transferred to your own preferred network.  Let me know what you think…

erica

Credit: Erica Berger

Maybe you visit other blogs for inspiration for your own blog. Maybe you take daily trips around blog-land to network with other bloggers or hell, maybe you even sneak into other places to take weddings and images for your own blog. The internet is a big old vast universe and policing it is pretty much futile, but in my (relatively short) time as an online writer I have come to witness and be annoyed by the same thing over and over.

So here’s the story – photographer shoots a kick ass wedding. Photographer blogs said kick ass wedding. Blogger A picks up on the wedding and steals (because however you sugar coat it that is essentially what you’re doing) the images and posts them on their own blog, which is then seen by blogger B who steal the images from blogger A to put on their own website.
On the flipside we have scenario two – photographer shoots and blogs the kick ass wedding. Blogger A picks up on the wedding and emails the photographer asking permission to use the images on their site, with the appropriate credit of course. Photographer says they’d be delighted and sends the images over right away.
The difference? In scenario two a connection is established between the photographer and the blogger. This is social networking after all. For me, my blog has become more than just a place to post pretty pictures, it is a vehicle to connect with like minded individuals, to have a voice and to feel like my opinion is being heard and respected.
 
To others it may be a place where they want to show ‘the best of the best’ the most beautiful or the most sought after (in my case) weddings and photography for some kind of kudos. But by doing this you are essentially missing out the very best part of being a blogger. I’m not trying to come across all ‘peace and love’ but would my site be where it is today without making those vital connections with others online? The simple answer is ‘no’.

Sure, I could regurgitate what every other website or blog includes and have a very pretty site with all the most sought after weddings on, but would I have the loyal following I have today with such a method? I would not be distinctive, I would not have the online companionship and I would not have respect. I would not only be a carbon copy of everyone else but a lonely one at that. If Blog A is already doing something, why would anybody visit Blog B if all they did was re-post the same images?

A crude example but think of it like this. Jordan was a phenomenally successful glamour model over here in the UK. She made a fortune by taking her clothes off and being photographed falling out of clubs. In 2002 a TV show was broadcast called ‘Essex Wives’. The ‘star’ of the show was Jodie Marsh – an over the top, Jordon wannabe with big boobs and skimpy outfits. She prided herself on being new and different. She had real boobs whereas Jordon’s were fake after all! However essentially she was a complete carbon copy of the original.
Jodie had some fame and made some money being Jordon’s rival, but let’s look at them now. Jordon has a massively popular TV show, is breaking America and makes millions every minute with her various perfume, home ware, book and equestrian (I kid you not) lines whereas poor little Jodie did a series on MTV to find her a husband (which later was exposed to be a set up) and continues to desperately cling to fame with various stunts – her most recent being her new found lesbianism.
As I said before, a crude example yes but if you had to, who would you be? The original or the copycat?

The moral of the story? Be different, stand out, find your voice and make the connection!

If you like what you’ve read I’d love to continue with this series. Why not drop me an email with any questions you might have and I’ll try to work the answers into the next issue.

Edit: For some reason, I feel the need to justify myself to some particular people who think they have the right to come onto my site and slate me. If only these people would comment with real email addresses I could speak to them directly but I guess that’s just not their style. I am well aware that some people would rather hide behind a computer than make an actual connection.

Anyway…I hope that I have not come across here like I’m perfect or a know-it-all when it comes to how to make the best of blogging. I simply want to share my experiences as a blogger to hopefully impart whatever small wisdom I have on simple ideas. Yes, I will openly admit that in the past I have blogged things without speaking to photographers first. Back when I began Rock n Roll Bride I had no idea about etiquette or the ‘right’ way to credit or link to people. However since learning a little bit more and reaching out to people my relationship with others online has grown immensely, isn’t that what blogging is all about after all? My only wish with this post was to maybe help some other newbie bloggers along so they don’t make the same mistakes I did.

As I have said before there are no rules. If you want to carry on and blog without getting consent, be my guest, but I promise you, you will be pretty lonely in blog-land.

The Anti-Rock n Roll…

So I’m on Facebook the other day, and my photographer friend Noa’s status is “Heidi & Spencer’s wedding. No, I am not kidding.”  Now I think it’s time for a confession – The Hills is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine…but I can only watch it when Gareth is out of the room as he can’t stand it, so I’m not totally up to date on all the comings and goings or whatever. However this was a rather exciting development.

Turns out Noa was asked by their wedding coordinator, Michelle of Mint Julep & Michael Antonia of The Flash Dance to be there. Now, as rock n roll as Noa is, she was actually chucked out by ‘Speidi’..here is her story

So to cut a very long story short. There was the hired paparazzi photographer, and then there was me. I don’t watch TV and I have never watched The Hills so I had no idea who was there but I just snapped away anyways. I can say that it was totally awesome to meet Perez Hilton (and get a pic snapped with him, see below). He is ultra-sweet. I can also say that the vendors did a really incredible job.

Also, it was so great to finally meet Michael Antonia (The Flash Dance DJ) who is just as nice in person as he has been on the phone & email. And I HAVE to say that YES, he really IS that good of a DJ!! You can see some pics below of Perez Hiltoncutting a mean rug to Michael’s beats! (btw, Perez throws down some badass dance moves!) No wonder The Flash Dance has had such a media frenzy around him lately, the guy totally rules and he had half of Hollywood shaking their asses last night. All the vendors did a phenomenal job! Seriously. Check out the photos below to see flowers, cake etc. Here’s the vendor list:

DJ: Michael Antonia (The Flash Dance)
Coordinator: Michelle, Mint Julep
Venue: Social Hollywood
Florist: Brent Wang of Eggs, Los Angeles
Cake: Sweet Gems

So anyways, Speidi is cutting the cake and all of a sudden they get really upset and they start yelling at me and telling me to give them my CF card and how did I get in, and which magazine do I work for. Ha! They thought I was paparazzi! (This may or may not all end up on The Hills- who knows). Well, then I was asked to delete my photos in front of their photographer so he could watch me do it, and then some very VERY large men started to “remove” me. It was pretty crazy. There was one guy who stopped them and said he would follow me (along with two giant bodyguards) and make sure I left without the whole, like, throw-me-out thing. I think he realized that I was NOT going to sell the photos to some magazine but that I really was just a vendor. I kept saying “but I’m not a paparazzi- I’m an artist!”. The whole thing was seriously hilarious- especially because they thought I was some sleazy photographer who was going to sell their photos… Here I was asked to shoot details and people at this wedding and next thing I know, I was being “escorted out”.

What tools those two are!! Hey but it was worth it right, she got some fabulous photographs!  Even though the couple are clearly fame hungry morons I do have to say their details are beautiful (I think it’s all down to Noa’s gorgeous photography myself) and Heidi does look…nice. Plain but nice.

Enjoy these, and make sure you chuckle to yourself as you do about the ridiculousness of the whole situation!

Credit: Featherlove Photography

A Little Gothic Gem

Have you seen the photographs of Marilyn Manson and Dita Von Teese’s wedding?  Even though the marriage didn’t last very long (boo) I think these are defiantly worth a post, because if you haven’t seen these you are missing out on an absolute Gothic gem!
Seriously though how many dresses did this glamorous lady have?  I absolutely want to be her.

(I’ve included the text from the Vogue article becuase I think it’s defiantly worth a read!)

Credit: The Nachikabarett via We Heart It – Images Scanned From Vogue –

The Light.

This could be one of the most naturally stunning Bride’s I’ve ever featured. I say could because I seem to say stuff like this a lot and I really don’t want to go back and find another post where I’ve said exactly the same thing…I’d look like a fool!…and I’m a chicken like that.  But anyway, you see what I mean right? 

The gorgeous photography is actually amazing here.  The light, the dark, the shadows and the sunshine…stunning.  Wow

Credit: E. Leigh Photography