TRYING TO FIND YOUR TRUE SELF AMONGST INSTAGRAM IMAGE EDIT TRENDS AND A BLOGOSPHERE FULL OF INSPIRING WOMEN CAN BE A TASK
Falling out of love with blogging and taking a step back in blogging; both being my thoughts, materialised into blog posts this year, both probably summing up pretty accurately my state of mind recently. Being a full time blogger, for me (so I’m come to realising more and more) has meant I’m constantly brainstorming, strategising, researching and then re-stragetising again. It’s made me think and over think more than I ever thought possible and naturally, has partially erased the hobby aspect for me, because there’s the pressure that I survive and depend on it. I NEED to grow, I NEED to create content people will read, watch and engage with. (Although I do have a bloody good time doing it, of course!)
The Instagram algorithm *Cue huge groans* has obviously played a part in my determination to strategise – it works for some and is disastrous for others. This has meant I need to channel my energy into other platforms and try to continue to grow an online presence. Somewhere amongst the tinted, Instagram Pink skies, Topshop hauls and regrams, I lost my way. I’m inspired – but how do I channel it into something new, instead of repeating the old? Does our work have to be instantly, uniquely recognisable, or can we get by creating content that goes along with trends?
ARE WE TOO HEAVILY INFLUENCED BY TRENDS AND POPULARITY?
It’ll be no surprise that this whole identity crisis was brought on primarily by the devil himself; Instagram. I’m in the most frustrating position, creatively. I’m BURSTING with inspiration, I have SO. MANY. IDEAS. But I’m totally stumped on how to channel them. Over the past few months, I’ve been experimenting with the way I take images, the poses, the hues on Lightroom and trying to find my brand identity, because at the moment, I feel like it’s a huge mish mash of snippets of my life with no consistency. But why are we so head set on having every, little, curated instagram square the same as another? Why can’t it be irregular, beautifully clashing and inconsistent? We all get swept up in the Instagram trends, taking the same images, in the same locations with the same filter – is there something flawed with this or is it the key to Instagram success? This has also overflowed into my Youtube Channel – I KNOW that the generic videos, which perhaps aren’t so thrilling to me to film, are in fact the ones that bring in the views. Yet, I want to create something new and innovative that will in the long run, benefit me more greatly and allow me to relish in my own creativity. Are we too stuck into repeating the trends we know are successful, instead of trying to start a new trend?
TORN BETWEEN PERSONA’S – DO I WANT TO BE THE COOL GIRL, RELATABLE GIRL, CAN YOU ONLY BE ONE?
In reality, there’s probably no hope of me being the ‘cool girl’ – anyone who knows me, would agree I’m stupid, silly and overly expressive. I pull ugly faces, do accents and will naturally *attempt* to entertain and make others laugh. This dissipates any hope of me alluding people into thinking I’m a cool, laid back and mysterious being. I can uphold this façade for a grand 5 minutes, before giving into the interesting personality I was blessed with. When it comes to my Pinterest folders and saved Instagram images? They’re filled to the brim with smizing, cat eye sunglasses wearing girls waving cigarettes around in their vintage white T’s and Levis, who wouldn’t dare crack a smile to break the sultry illusion. I like looking at images like this and in this Instagram induced inspiration rut, it is these folders of inspiration I turn to, in attempt to determine what I like and in turn, what content I should be producing. Realistically, the only time I’ll ever appear even slightly, painfully cool, is on Instagram.
Ironically, as much as my ‘resting bitch face and Ray Ban sunglasses combo’ images get a lot of saves on the old, ‘gram, it’s the honest, silly and I guess relatable ones that get the most traction. When talking about struggles, real life and amusing mishaps, I get the most engagement and people reaching me out than ever before. As much as I’d like to be known for people admiring my style and poise, it’s much more likely that my matter of fact way of talking and sharing my life with others is what’s going to be me noticed. But with half of people just wanting pretty pictures to look at and half wanting truthful content to devour – can we hit a happy medium with both?
“Realistically, the only time I’ll ever appear even slightly, painfully cool, is on Instagram”
DO I WANT MY CONTENT TO BE INSPIRATIONAL OR ASPIRATIONAL?
So there was that big ‘hoo-ha’ and uproar about a few bloggers who had began to perhaps ‘over-photoshop’ their images more than people would have liked. Placing themselves in locations that apparently didn’t exist, surreal skies, easing tourists and, so someone bought to my attention, photoshopping IN seagulls and pigeons into shots (I was pretty amused at this one I must admit). But where do the lines blur, when does it stop being acceptable and nice to look at, and just ends up offending others? What one person thinks is a work of art, another could say is fake and untruthful, when really the creator could have just fiddled round with tones, a graduated filter and sharpness.
I love to look at those beautifully curated, incredibly well edited images that someone has clearly spent time, learning how to acquire these skills and enhance an image. These inspire me to go out and explore the world, take stunning images and aspire to live the best life I can, whilst watching a million lightroom tutorials. At the same time, I love a gal rocking an all Primark ensemble, stood on double yellows, taken on an iPhone, with a caption talking about shitty relationships. Truthfully, I think we need a lil’ bit of both of these types of inspiration in our lives. They keep us balanced, yet hopeful, inspired, dreaming, yet down to earth with a sensible head.
SHOP THE OUTFIT
I guess as of now, I’m still undecided, still experimenting and the jury’s also still out on how I feel – it’s an on going discussion and battle I’m sure I’ll face many times in my blogging career. I’d really LOVE to particularly hear your thoughts on this, whether you’re struggling too, have decided to go against the grain or even your thoughts on Style Petal – what do you think it needs, am I consistent in my appearance and branding or does that not matter to you? Join the discussion!
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Photography by Ben Kapur