When Did Influencers Become Public Enemy Number One?

Paris Photography

Being a digital influencer is one of the most talked about new career paths of the past few years. As social media exploded and brands began directing significant portions of their budgets towards influencer marketing, more and more people began entering the industry with hopes of becoming Insta-famous. The market is so saturated and there is so much competition, not unlike other highly in-demand fields. However it seems that no other legitimate profession is met with such vitriol.

Portraits in Paris Photography Session
Sunset in Paris Photo Shoot
Sunset Photo Shoot in Paris

It seems like every day there is another negative news story about influencers. In the past week you may have seen headlines about “influencers” taking inappropriate photos at Chernobyl, but when you read the articles and click on the photos in question, it’s obvious the photos were taken by normal tourists, not influencers. When Payless had a marketing stint pretending to be a high-end boutique “Palessi,” so many headlines focused on how influencers were duped into wasting money on cheap shoes. There was almost no mention of the fact that influencers in attendance were invited and in some cases paid by the brand for their participation! They were just independent contractors doing a job they had been hired for, yet the mass media ran with the negative coverage. Instead of focusing on the brilliant event that Payless threw, it became all about how silly and shallow influencers are. And not to mention Marissa Fuchs’s “surprise” proposal, which went viral for all the wrong reasons. In my opinion, she came up with a brilliant way to create some fresh content that hadn’t already been done to death, and professionally pitched the business opportunity to brands. I find it hard to imagine a world in which marketing professionals would publicly share and make fun of a pitch deck that had been sent to them confidentially by a media agency or other brand. Why should an influencer (especially one with legitimate reach and a highly professional pitch and marketing strategy) be treated differently?

One of the biggest examples of influencer hate came out around the Fyre Festival scandal, and resurfaced with the Netflix and Hulu documentaries this year. So much focus was on how influencers promoted the event and convinced their followers to attend, but none of the drama was their fault! They were presented with a paid opportunity that many of their colleagues were also involved in. All of the influencers that posted were managed by big, experienced teams that would vet any potential partnership. The only mistake made in many cases was that some of the influencers failed to disclose that they were paid for the promotion.

However, the Fyre Festival case really only proves that influencer marketing works! The goal of tapping talent in a coordinated effort was to sell tickets, and that is exactly what they did. A consultant or independent contractor wouldn’t necessarily have access to the logistics and details of the event, and their obligation ended with them posting when asked.

I’m not a full-time influencer and don’t aspire to be, but I can’t help but notice the amount of hate and criticism directed at people that are essentially entrepreneurs building their own personal brand. Yes, there are a lot of influencers with loose ethics that are dishonest with their audience and brand partners, but is there any industry that is completely free from corruption?

Why Does Everyone Hate Influencers

If you are someone that loves to hate on influencers, I would LOVE to know why that is! And if you are an influencer and feel like you get a lot of unfair criticism and hatred, let me know why you think that is and how you handle it!

Why I Stopped Working with Photographers

What’s the main tool every blogger needs - photos obviously! In order to create content and maintain your schedule you need a reliable way to get photos for your blog and social media posts. I’ve been blogging for about 3 years now and over the past year I have seriously reduced my reliance on professional photographers to generate content. In this post I outline all the reasons why my content strategy shifted, the pros and cons of working with a professional photographer, and how I maintain my content. Keep scrolling, and check out the photos chosen for this post. They are some of my favorites that I created and edited on my own!

Lifestyle Photograhy Tips.JPG
Portrait Photography Tips
Top of the Rock NYC.JPG

I decided to reduce how much I work with professional photographers for several reasons, but it really all boiled down to one thing - wanting to have more control over my content. I looked at the influencers I admire most, like Asiyami Gold, Mossonyi, Tezza, and Tina from Of Leather and Lace. One thing they all have in common is they are all content creators. Even when they are not taking the photo, they have full creative control over every element of the photo and the final editing process. If you can’t create content without having a pro photographer at your disposal, your creative will always be limited.

Plus the only way to truly maintain a consistent aesthetic is to be in control of all of your visuals. For example, below is a side by side of my feed now, vs in a month when I created and edited all my own images, without using any professional photographers.

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The left is all original work, shot mostly with friends or other blogger girls and edited by me for consistency. And on the right is my most recent look. As you can see, things got a little disjointed! I worked with a few different street style photographers for pictures in between shows, then peppered in some original work for a sponsored project, and then pics from my trip to LA. I’m hoping to get my look back on track in the next few weeks, so will be going back to more of my own work.

The only way to really keep a consistent look and work with a pro is if you always use the same one. Plenty of influencers have a photographer on retainer, which can get expensive! If it’s not in the budget and an Insta-Hubby isn’t an option, take it into your own hands by working with friends or other bloggers in the same situation.

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Creating your own content becomes especially important when you begin doing more brand work. Negotiating sponsored posts with brands can mean they also want rights to use the photos, which technically the photographer would have the copyright to. If you want to truly own your photos and be able to license them to brand partners, you need to either have your photographer sign off on that, or you need to own that content!

I anticipate this year I will create about 65% of my content on my own - enlisting a pro really only on travel when my friends pics may not cut it, or when the wardrobe/location calls for one. And even then I plan on being super vigilant about color, lighting, editing, etc to make sure the my visuals stay consistent no matter who is taking the final shot.

If you are a blogger let me know how you handle getting pictures, and if you plan on taking more content creation into your own hands. And for those who want to take the DIY approach, check out my post on mastering the self-portrait!

content creation tips for bloggers
Working with Blogger Photographers

How to Beat the Instagram Algorithm in 2019!

Pink Tulle Dress

Ever since Instagram implemented the algorithm, there have been countless posts about how to beat it. From quick and easy hacks to complicated, time consuming strategies, everyone is trying to find a way to beat Instagram at its own game. As an influencer, part of your success depends on your reach and the engagement you get on your posts so performance is critical. I’m far from an Instagram expert, but I have learned a few things on my journey as a microinfluencer, so I’m sharing some of my tips for how I’ve managed to maintain my account, get decent engagement, and keep the algorithm from making me crazy!

Pink Tulle Dress
NYC Photo Shoot Locations
Fashion Photo Shoot Styling

Focus on Instagram Engagement

Engagement is everything! You can’t control who sees your posts anymore, and you definitely can’t control who likes or comments on them. Since this post focuses only on things you can control, when I speak of engagement I mean how you are active and engaging on the platform. You can’t just post once a day, disappear, then expect your account to get traction. I spend about an hour a day on Instagram, engaging with new accounts and people that follow me. Yes, I go through my followers list and like, comment, watch and Insta-story or something to let my followers know I pay attention to them! If you are engaging with their accounts they are also more likely to see your posts in their feed and engage on yours!

Create Compelling, High Quality Content

There are so many influencers and brands posting on Instagram these days it’s impossible to stand out if your content isn’t up to par. Focus on creating content that is in line with your aesthetic, is eye-catching enough to make someone pause on your pic not just scroll past, and has an interesting caption. I admit I am not the best at captioning! I typically schedule my images so the visual flow makes sense, but I don’t caption in advance so I usually end up posting on the fly. I’m challenging myself to work on better captions because I firmly believe they help with boosting engagement and beating the Instagram algorithm.

Collaborate with Other Bloggers in Your Niche

Collaborating with other influencers isn’t just for fun! It can help organically expose you to a new audience and help you create new types of content that engage and excite your followers! I had a blast shooting with some of the Exclusively Social babes around NYFW and I hope to do more partnerships with other bloggers to have fun and help each other grow!

Have Fun and Remember Why You Started

I started my influencer journey to have a creative outlet when my corporate job felt stifling. It became my personal passion project, a place for me to challenge my creativity, make new connections, and post about things that excited and inspired me. So whether I’m posting from far-flung destination or frolicking in a tulle dress in a Brooklyn studio that rivals a Victorian mansion, this is my place to create what I want. Think about what you want, and how you can find other people that want to see what you create!

Instagram can always change their algorithm, and probably has by the time you read this post! By remembering the things that motivate you, inspire you, and challenge you as an influencer will make the journey all worthwhile.

Tips to Beat the Algorithm

Let me know how you are surviving Instagram and your life as an influencer!

Is Rent the Runway Unlimited Worth It?

rent the runway gown rental

Ever wonder how bloggers seem to have an endless assortment of designer clothes and accessories for the perfect #ootd or glam night out? Well the secret isn’t necessarily an unlimited budget! Rent the Runway has been one of my go to sources for formal events or weddings for years, but I recently decided to give an unlimited membership a try. I was gifted a code for a free month after attending one of their events at WeWork, so decided to give it a test run in December. My schedule was pretty full between holiday parties, photo shoots, and traveling to Art Basel. I definitely needed a collection of Instagram worthy looks at my disposal but was absolutely not going run up my credit card bill for the gram. Here are some of the looks I rented and my thoughts on whether or not Rent the Runway Unlimited is worth it, and getting the most out of your membership!

rent the runway unlimited review

Rent the Runway Unlimited isn’t technically unlimited! You can have 4 items out at a time, and you are encouraged to return multiple items in one shipment to reduce the environmental impact. However you can swap out items as often as you want! The processing time is super fast - usually my items were received the next day and I could order my next round. And if you order before 2pm and ship to store they usually arrive the same day. For the looks below, I ordered them a few days before I had my holiday shoot scheduled and shipped them back when I was done.

Holiday Looks from Rent the Runway
Holiday Gowns from Rent the Runway

The membership also came in super handy before my trips to Savannah and Miami. All my summer clothes were packed away for the season, so renting was a perfect option. Here are some of the fun looks I rented for travel to warm weather destinations.

Miami Art Basel Outfit Ideas
Yellow Dress on the Beach
Outfit Ideas for Savannah Travel
Orange Ruffle Dress

Plus they have more than just formalwear and fancy dresses! I rented this statement coat because I was bored with my winter rotation, and this casual sweatshirt for weekend brunch.

Star Print Faux Fur Coat Rent the Runway
CaliYork Sweatshirt Rent the Runway

So is Rent the Runway Unlimited worth it? I say yes if you are someone who goes to a lot of events on a regular basis, or if you are a blogger and always need fun items to shoot! It’s also great to activate your membership during busy times, like for wedding season or during the holidays when you have a lot of parties. Then you can freeze or cancel for the months when your schedule is lighter and you don’t need to rent as much.

Let me know if you try it, and here are links to the items I had in rotation!

How to Get an Unlimited Wardrobe




Squad Goals! 3 Perks of Forming Your Blogger Squad

Blogger Girls in NYC

I’ve been blogging for a few years now and one of the best things about it, is well, other bloggers! Nothing beats building a sense of collaboration and community with beautiful, talented, creative women that share your goals and mission. I’ve been so fortunate to connect with an amazing blogger girl squad here in the city. Here are some of the things I love the most about them!

NYC Brooklyn Bridge Street Style

You have instant common ground

There are things that every blogger can relate to. We all have spent nights spent working on our sites and content calendars and weekends filled with styling sessions and photo shoots. Your friends may only see the glamourous parts, like you posting cute pictures and going to fun branded events. But the rest of us really get it! Even if you are in a different niche, you understand having a crazy schedule, feeling the pressure to always look amazing online, and trying to find ways to make your content stand out! 

You get to build a unique network

Whether you are looking for anything from photo shoot locations to tax advice, if you have a strong network of other bloggers you can definitely find the answers! I love being able to rely on my network to brainstorm ideas, troubleshoot issues only they would understand, and get inspired for projects I’m trying to tackle! 

You get to have fun and be productive

Imagine having all the fun with your friends, while simultaneously networking, strategizing, and sharing resources to support each other’s goals. That’s what having a blogger squad is like! For the perennial multitasker like me, being able to have fun with people who’s company I genuinely enjoy while keeping on top of growing my business is major! 

Pin me for later!

Pin me for later!

If you are looking for connect with other bloggers in the city, try Meetup to find groups, or sliding into someone’s dm’s if you want to connect!