Blogging is such a massive part of my daily life, I do it every day, whether it is writing posts, taking photos or promoting (sometimes all 3 in one day). I now have a bunch of tools that I use to help me along and to support my blog so that It can be the very best. So here is a little behind the scenes of what I do here at PennyxxLane
I am a stationary fiend, so I have notebooks galore. One with notes and ideas, things I don’t want to forget etc… I’m currently using a notebook which I’ve DIYed into a planner, which I fill in every night with my plans and goals for the next day. I use to write myself huge to do lists! And it got so overwhelming. I’ve stopped this and now concentrate on a few thing in one day. Planning nightly I find I’m more productive, if I don’t get something done one day I can just add it to the next day… when I pre-plan a whole week I set unrealistic goals for myself and most of the time things get in the way or take longer or may not take as long as I thought. This prevents me from feeling overwhelmed and unproductive. I have a page at the beginning of every month where I write down all the blog posts that I would like to publish in that month. When it comes to a new month I can delete and add new ideas as necessary.
In a perfect world I would have lots of blog posts scheduled in advance but at best I can have around 3 posts scheduled ahead of time. There are days when I’m finishing the post the day of publication. It all depends on how productive and how busy I am. Life happens sometimes and that’s all good.
If you’re not one for notebooks, One Note is a brilliant online app where you can write notes, make to-do lists. You can create different sections, change font and colour of the writing as well as the “paper” colour. So you can still make it pretty to look at.
One of my most favourite parts of running this blog is taking photos, whether that is outside in a glorious and beautiful location or in my living-room. Good photography is so important in capturing the attention of your readers, so regardless what type of camera you’re using make sure you take your time to make them the best quality you can get. If you’re using a camera phone I suggest a steady hand and quality lighting! (Lighting really is the key!)
I mainly use the Olympus Pen EPL-7 as it is compact but delivers excellent quality photos. I also often use a Canon 700D which creates beautiful crisp photos.
In the beginnings of PennyxxLane I used my IPhone and when paired with a special daylight lamp I was able to take top quality photos.
When taking photographs inside for say flat-lays I like to go next to a window and make sure there is nothing blocking the light (e.g. curtains or blinds) I have the window completely bare so that it doesn’t cause any annoying shadows.
For a white background, I buy a piece of Cardboard from Hobby Craft, it’s thin and compact and cheap enough to replace if it gets damaged. To accompany the product(s) I will take either makeup with pretty packaging or some flowers to add into the shot. Anything that looks pretty and fits the picture I’ll add it. It’s good to buy things but I’m sure you’ll easily find things around the home. I might add a scarf or decorative paper to brighten up the background or give some pattern. White is pristine but sometimes can get boring.
Marble is a popular background but other than a very small turning board I don’t own anything that is marble. So I bought sticky back plastic from amazon. During a furniture clearout I kept back this small wooden board carefully applied the marble adhesive! And I have a Marble Background at the ready!
I’ve also started using wrapping paper too… easy to replace if it gets worn or if you become bored you can easily get something else.
At the moment I’m using this sparkly pink paper that cost £1. Take a look around the home, a nice carpet, wooden flooring. There are so many possibilities! I really enjoy switching up my backgrounds.
Taking outfit photos can be difficult, I use to have space in the house where I was able to have a simple background, however, it can get boring fast and then my space was taken up. Getting out and finding a suitable location can be quite easy. Edinburgh has a number of beautiful locations perfect for background shots, but finding the time when the weather is on your side and also having someone to take the photos can be difficult. I try to grab every opportunity I can so that I can produce more fashion posts, but when you’re in public, you usually want to get it over with fairly quickly to avoid any embarrassing looks or your other half getting fed up. But I strongly recommend being brave and taking your outfit shots outside. They feel so much more organic.
I try not to edit photos too much as I like to have an accurate representation of what I’m photographing however sometimes I may fiddle about with the exposure or contrast… I do all of this on the Photos app of my Macbook air. It’s important to export any edits to a proper folder on your computer as you may find that when you upload them to WordPress the changes you have made have reverted. This has happened to be a few times and I was at loss with why.
I often use PicMonkey.com to make edits for my feature photos by adding in some text or adding overlays. You get a lot with the free version however, I pay £5 a month for the premium version which gives you a lot more options. If you’re a regular blogger I would definitely recommend this.
Once the post is published I spend a big portion of my day promoting. I often use buffer, to schedule tweets so that I’m not constantly doing it and I use the app when I’m out which is handy. I also spend time sharing my posts on Goggle+ and on stumble upon, where I get a lot of traffic from.. Having a social presence is very important and it is an important part of blogging. I really enjoy using Instagram, as I love taking photo’s, it can be used as a preview or behind the scenes of your blog… and so often than not these days, people are so interested in the person behind the blog.
I am doing something blog related a lot of the day, it can be really hard for me to switch off and stop myself from opening up the laptop or scribbling down notes. I’d be lying though if I said I have a strict schedule which I never fail by. Because it’s simply not true, I can have days where I’m just too tired or I’m too busy. So sometimes the photo’s don’t get taken or the words don’t get written. But I am fairly consistent with my content, if I don’t get at least one post up a week then I get real hard on myself!
I prioritize photos for during the day, even during the long Summer month’s bright sunshine isn’t guaranteed in Scotland. Now that I have more free time during the week, I don’t need to rely on the weekends for photographs. Monday mornings is usually my photo day. But when there is good lighting, grab your camera quick!
I allow the evenings for writing as 1. it doesn’t matter what the weather is like outside and 2. I find my mind is more at ease in the evening and I don’t have to work so hard get the words flowing! And as I said in the Planning section I use the evenings to plan what I need to do the next day. I’m usually working on 2 or 3 posts at a time and I naturally go from one to the other. Everyone has their own routines, I just really enjoy doing it all, so I never really need to push myself. Plus I can do a lot of the stuff from my bed so it’s not at all bad.
I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse of the behind the scenes, I tried to include everything and hopefully not forgotten anything.