BY KIMBERLY MURRAY
Over the past several years, blogging has generated a steady stream of income for many DIY, lifestyle and fashion bloggers. Having solid content with beautiful branding and a visual strategy attracts an audience, inspires engagement and helps bloggers to secure sponsorships from top brands. A contributing factor to many blog’s success is the inclusion of professional photography.
So, how do those magical photos come to be?
While many bloggers are skilled at photography, others don’t feel confident that they know their way around the camera. They know the “look” that they are going for (i.e. bright and clean, light and airy, dark and moody), but they aren’t sure how to achieve it. Regardless of photography skill, most established bloggers hire professional photographers for their visual content. They want to spend their time doing what they love (styling and blogging) and not worry about taking the perfect picture with respect to lighting, composition and editing it so that it pops.
This is exactly where a fruitful collaboration can begin.
Ideally, your collaboration will be a hit from the beginning and you will cultivate it over time. However, as a photographer, I’ve experienced and witnessed situations in which collaborations went awry. The collaborations didn’t feel authentic or life-giving—they felt opportunistic, even one-sided.
When I was starting out in my photography journey I was looking to get as much experience as possible so I could establish my niche. I experienced one of these unfortunate collaborations that left me feeling discouraged.
I realized later how those feelings of discouragement could have been avoided (or at least minimized) had I had realistic expectations and had up front discussions with my collaborator about various aspects of the work. As a result, I remained on the fence about the value of collaborations for a couple of years. Meanwhile, people were championing the benefits of collaborations and having coffee dates with other creatives everywhere I looked.
I thought to myself, “hmm...maybe I should give this another try”.
I finally stumbled upon Brittni Mehlhoff of Paper & Stitch (papernstitchblog.com). When I saw that she would be moving to Atlanta and was looking to work with photographers I immediately decided to reach out, crossed my fingers and sent the email. When we met in person I felt excited because Brittni “got it.” She was clear on her brand, understood the value of photography and communicated clearly about her expectations and needs.
What’s more, even though she was a “blogger superstar” in my eyes, she believed in the relationship being mutually beneficial.
Once I started doing shoots with her it was like a dream—it never felt like work.
Because she’s so skilled at styling and creative direction, I was always excited when I showed up to her studio to see what was in store for the day. You can imagine how overjoyed I was when she agreed to collaborate with me to create images to accompany this article.
There are several tips I’ve picked up along the way—my hope in sharing is that you can start your collaborations off with photographers or bloggers on the right foot.
Read Kim's 5 tips for successful blogger + photographer collaborations in ISSUE 07 (along with some of her amazing images in collaboration with www.papernstitchblog.com).
Kimberly Murray is an Atlanta-based photographer and product stylist specializing in interiors, products, and food. She has a love for bright, colorful images; clean lines; and pretty packaging.
But, for all her love for the perfect visual presentation of things, she took a different educational path on her journey to becoming a photographer. That path led her to a doctorate in psychology. Although it might seem unrelated, Kimberly applies her knowledge of psychological principles of perception to create compelling images that capture the mood and personality of her clients’ brands. Her work has been featured nationally online as well as in print publications.
In Kimberly’s free time, she enjoys exploring the city for the best brunch, burger, or donut spots with her husband and toddler daughter.