I’ve been struggling with this post for a while now. I’ve drafted it in my mind more times than I can count. As some of you may have noticed, I’ve been a bit absent from the blog for a while. I have a real inner struggle I deal with when it comes to personal vs. business blog posts.
My blogging life began as just that, a blogger. I didn’t have a photography business back then, just an extreme passion for photography and a pipe dream of possibly making it my career one day. I blogged about all sorts of random things like making Justin a Valentine’s Day dinner, getting a new car, and eventually our move to Alaska! When I started exploring my photography more, my posts started morphing into more photography focused topics like CreativeLive classes I was inspired by, second shooting jobs I started taking on, new photographers I’d discovered online who were inspiring me, and a slew of other topics.
When we got engaged, of course I blogged about that, then came the wedding, and logically when we got pregnant I started blogging about my pregnancy. Suddenly I found myself blogging weekly about my pregnancy…and only my pregnancy. Personal writing has always been easy for me, like I said; I started as a blogger, not to mention I’m an oversharer (something that drives my husband, who’s naturally a very private person, absolutely INSANE). I fell into this comfortable habit where I had a formula every week – I’d post a photo of my growing belly, write about what I was wearing, how I was sleeping, what I was craving, how the baby was moving, how big that baby was at that point in time (in comparison to a fruit of course, because logically all pregnancy apps say “Your baby is the size of a pineapple this week,” there’s a freaking pineapple in there?!? Sh*t starts to get really real when your app pops up and tells you your carrying around a watermelon. Yep…”I carried a watermelon.” If you get that movie reference, we’re now officially bff’s.)
Anyway…my point is I fell into this place where I was only putting up personal posts and nothing business or photography related. I fell behind in posting my sessions, I got too busy with my full time job, weddings, sessions, the new baby coming, and just life in general and didn’t blog any of my sessions or weddings. I let life get in my way, as we all tend to do sometimes. Then, guess what? It snowballed. Miss Scarlett decided to show up 5 weeks early. I was off work for 3 months and had all of these grand plans to catch up on my photography stuff (I can hear all of you veteran moms out there laughing at me right now) and of course all of that went out the window. My 3 months home with her went by in a flash and I was back to work before I knew it. I went back to work, went back to shooting weddings, seniors, engagements, and then guess what? We got pregnant again!
Now here’s an even funnier thing that happened to add on top of that. Anyone who knows me knows what a HUGE fan I am of Jasmine Star. I don’t think fan even begins to describe it, I’ve been following her work ever since my wedding photographer introduced me to her blog when I first started second shooting for her and getting into photography. I was watching her CreativeLive ReSTARt course and I had asked the question, “What’s a good ratio of personal blog posts to business/photography posts?” Jasmine actually addressed the question live in front of the audience. Her response was something to the effect of a good ratio is ONE personal post to every FOUR business posts. She then went on to say that sharing your personal life is great and it helps clients to connect with you, but you definitely want to keep a good balance on your blog of both personal and photography-related posts.
Melissa Kilner (an amazing photographer and one of the ReSTARt participants) asked about posting about being a mom and her kids because she struggled with personal posts and sharing things about her home life. Jasmine’s response definitely struck home with me, she said that of course it’s fine to post about your kids, being a mom, and your home life, that’s part of who you are, but to keep it to a minimum, stick to a good ratio like the one to four train of thought because otherwise you’re just becoming a mommy-blogger and if you want to be a mommy-blogger that’s fine, then be a mommy-blogger, but do it separately, not on your business blog. (As a disclaimer, Jasmine did say she loves mommy bloggers and reads them herself, she wasn’t talking badly about them.)
Jasmine’s words really hit home with me, probably too much. I did what I always do, I took them to heart…I let them stick with me in a way I shouldn’t have. I had that moment sitting there watching her course going, “Crap…I’m a mommy blogger…all I’ve been doing is blogging about my pregnancy and I haven’t blogged any of my weddings or sessions or anything business related in AGES.” I had already felt guilt ridden before hearing her words and then it just compounded in my head and I did what I always do, I internalized it and let it eat at me. I let it become a block for me. I let it stop me from moving forward. It’s been a HUGE mental block for me since then. I sat there and thought to myself, “Okay, no more blogging about the kids or personal stuff, keep that to a minimum, keep it strictly business.” In typical Kristin fashion, I overanalyzed it.
Then you know what happened? I came to my own realization that it’s all about balance. I was just overthinking and internalizing what she’d said. Why do I love Jasmine and her blog so much? Yes, she shares business tips and tricks, but the things that truly make me connect with her are the things that make her REAL. Like her love for Polo (her adorable sweater-wearing Maltese), the fact that she can’t cook worth a lick and owns it, her love of books, the stories and struggles she’s shared about her mom’s cancer, all of those things are what make me keep coming back to her blog and connecting with her as a person.
I want my clients to connect with me because of the person I am. I’ve had brides book me because I’m a mom. We’ve bonded over newborn and toddler stories, dirty diapers and silly shenanigans of 2 year olds. That post I wrote that I was so nervous about posting because I cussed on my blog for the first time? I actually had a bride contact me and tell me she LOVED that post because she procrastinates too and she knew right then and there that she liked me and wanted to contact me about possibly shooting her wedding! I have seniors who I meet for the first time at their session and because we’re already friends on Facebook they instantly start asking me how the kids are doing and say things like, “Your kids are so adorable!! I love that picture you posted the other day!!” It’s things like that, that make me realize that putting myself out there is not only okay, but it’s what makes my clients connect with me and most importantly trust me. They can get a feel for me and the type of person I am, from my blog, my Facebook, and maybe even my Instagram before we’ve even met in person for the first time.
Coming to the realization that it’s just all about balance was huge for me and there are definitely going to be a whole lot of changes around here. I have so many sessions and weddings to post and even some fun stories to tell, like the fact that I actually got to freakin’ MEET JASMINE STAR!! Oh yea, just wait for that post. My fan girl heart pretty much exploded those few days I got to spend with her, you have no idea. I’m also working on a new website, a new blog layout, and a few other fun, exciting things. So stay tuned for lots of changes around here and don’t hesitate to keep me accountable, I’m always up for a good accountability partner. What big changes and updates have you made lately? Let me know in the comments below.