This weekend I had my second ever blog photo shoot with a professional photographer. My first was with my lovely pal Fraser Taylor, and this weekend’s was with Ami Ford, a fantastic photographer (whose fab music work I’d admired before). Someone had kindly connected us on Twitter after I expressed an interest in working with local photographers, and the stars aligned. It’s so hard to find people in the surrey area to shoot, so I was ecstatic to find out she was available to shoot in Guildford this weekend. No miserable weekend commute to London for once. Wahay!! We have to celebrate these small victories!

It’s been a lovely, but somewhat strange adjustment for me. Not having to try and remain calm as my mum struggles to remember which is the shoot button, or with the simple notion that you shouldn’t cut peoples head off in pictures. Not having Si get frustrated as I struggle to look anything other than dorky. Not having to set up my tripod at home or in some remote location to take pictures via the wifi function, throwing my phone out of shot so I can pretend that I’m posing for a hired creative, and not DIY-ing it.

I’m just not used to having proper help, or someone making my life easier. But as I continue to curb my spending and save some of the money I earn through my blog/channel/Etsy, I intend to allocate some money to work with photographers when I can throughout the year, because I’m starting to recognise some very lovely, life-improving benefits from doing so.

Before we get into the nitty gritty of all that. Let’s talk about the clothes. The team at WEARALL got in touch asking if I’d like to pick out a few things from their site. I have to admit that I hadn’t heard from them until they reached out to me, but after looking at the NEW IN section I saw straight away their were items I’d love to style up on here. As someone who is trying to be frugal and save, I always want to share with others in the same position any affordable fashion destinations I like.

‘I’m just going to get on with it’. ‘If you want something done do it yourself.’ ‘Ah don’t worry about’. ‘No , it’s cool I can do it’. ‘It’s easier if I do it myself’. ‘Yeah I’m fine thanks’ – All statements you’ll have heard regularly from me. A control freak..perhaps. Independent, most definitely….to a fault? I suspect so.

I was listening to one of Matt Stock’s Life in the Stock’s podcasts the other night, the one with the often outspoken Frank Turner. He was talking about how vocal he’s been of supporting mental health charities, and in particular encouraging people to talk openly about their personal struggles, when he realised he wasn’t actually following his own advice. A very loud bell rang when I heard him admit to this, as I realised I’m just as guilty of this myself.

I’m fairly open about my mental health, and when I’m having a particularly tough time with it you’ll probably know about it. And I think that fools people into thinking that I’m keeping on top of it, and following all the advice I spout regularly via my blog/YouTube/Instagram etc. Yes I have booked myself into therapy, I do ensure I take time out for much needed self care, and partake in social media detoxes. However, I’m still terrible at asking people for help…and not just when it comes to my mental health. I’m stupidly stoic when it comes to work pressures, relationship strains, and other situational mood downers.

When I’ve had issues in my relationships I’ve very rarely reached out to people to explain the niggling issues I have, in fact I don’t/haven’t even made it known when dealing with a potentially harrowing or dangerous situations. It’s only public meltdowns, or probes from people who have sensed something is up, that have led to me seeking comfort through sharing. If I’m struggling to cope with my workload (which is a consistent thing, my 95,000 unread emails says it all) I don’t ask for help, or connect with those people who have sent me lovely emails saying they’d love to assist and help me (free of charge I might add).

Recently I’ve tried to understand what has made me resistant to asking, or accepting help, and I think I’ve worked out a few contributing factors.

I’m actually fiercely independent, a trait that has evolved through necessity, but also as a form of rebellion. I am very different in terms of my interest and passions to my parents (who had me comparatively quite late in life and are not particularly in tune with current times)- so I’ve not really had knowledgeable support in terms of pursuing my particular dreams and career aspirations. I’ve therefore always had to be incredibly proactive in this area. Uni certainly didn’t offer much support either. Due to the fact I am living at home as an adult, and many of my day to day life lacks the normal amount of independence someone of my age would usually enjoy, I guess I seek to amplify my independence in other areas of my life.

Then I look back on my relationships and realise that the majority of them have involved a lengthy period of time that would be categorised as ‘a long distance’ relationship. Whether there’s a reason I tend to gravitate towards people that are less available is another topic that probably needs to be delved into, but the fact remains that it has resulted in the fact that I’m used to not relying on someone. I’ve not been able to expect someone to be around to help with my stuff, stick to plans that may be in the diary, or just generally be that consistent support.

When it comes to my work I think the reason I tend to do EVERYTHING myself is for two main reasons. When I have decided to seek out help and outsource skills more often than not I’ve been let down or disappointed, and it’s added more stress than doing it myself would have created (and I’ve wasted much needed money in the process). I’ve managed to hire people who don’t understand the concept of a deadlines, don’t read things correctly and deliver work that is way off from the ideal. Or they have just been generally unreliable and flakey, sometimes reflecting bad on me and impacted my working relationships. The conversations that have had to follow have then stressed me out further because I hate confrontation and having to be stern with people – even if I have every right, and they deserve to hear it.

The other reason is that I get a sense of achievement and pride from knowing I’ve managed something all by myself, even if it was a nightmare and detrimental to my health to tackle it solo. I’ve feared that I wouldn’t get that same sense of warmth you get from a complimentary reaction to the work if I’d shared the making process with someone else. If I worked with a photographer I would believe that they were actually impressed with their photo taking skills, so it’s nothing to do with me and not my compliment for me to take. If they liked a video that I’d hired a videographer for, I wouldn’t feel I could take any of the glory if someone commented ‘beautiful video’. After-all I didn’t get into this type of work just to be a product or subject within an image, I wanted to be the one that created it – the arty bit is what interested me, not being a ‘model’ or focal point of the content.

The last and perhaps the pivotal the reason why I haven’t changed my ways, despite acknowledging my habit, is that when I have asked for help I haven’t always got the response I’ve hoped for. People get used to you being a certain way. You flow in rhythms with people, some relationships beat equally for both sides and you create a harmonious duo. In some cases your beating their drum a bit more, and your element is definitely more of a cadence. Your overall piece may feel off-beat, syncopated, dissonant. Even if to them it feels completely melodic.

I think people have thought of me as the supporter and caregiver, and because I haven’t regularly exercised their muscle for giving in our relationship, they’ve gotten used to how the relationships functions – where they accept a listening ear, advice, support. Recently I’ve asked for the same kind support back have almost been made to feel like I’m asking something unreasonable. It’s probably my fault for not establishing a balance relationships earlier on, I’m proof of how habits form and stick, but it’s a shame nonetheless.

Anyway, let’s move away from negative realisations now. I want to talk about the collateral benefits I’ve experienced from working with photographers so far.

You may see us posting pictures at events and believe we have an enviable social life, but the reality CAN be very different. A huge chunk of our time is spent completely alone at home – curating pictures, filming videos, writing blogs post, chasing invoices, doing all the to and fro emails that are necessary before securing or posting sponsored content. The 24/7 nature of this work, or obligations to attend career enhancing events, means we often miss out on seeing our long time friends, nor available for quality time with family or partners. This isn’t a woe is me segment in this post, but more of a reality check that this career path can be incredibly isolating at times. Particularly if you don’t live in an area of the country that is a hub for bloggers/YouTubers. I’d love to have a local buddy to work from home with. Meet at a local coffee shop armed with our laptops and external drives and then pose for quick insta-shots on the coloured wall outside. Ah…the dream.

As I said earlier, I’m trying to save money, so I’ve been cutting down on the events I got to in London, which means this feeling of being isolated has been amped up a notch. Meeting Ami yesterday, even though it was just an hour and a bitterly cold day that brought on instant earache, it was so nice to break up a day I’d allocated to blog work . Having a conversation with someone… in real life, what a treat! It really is the simple things guys. Chatting while we snapped away made it feel less like work too, and I almost forgot how erect my nipples were and how awkward I was feeling standing outside a old mens pub in PVC trousers.

As I write this I am awaiting for the edited photos to arrive too, a thrill you don’t get when you take your own pictures. The wait is definitely adding a new element of excitement to my blog creative process.

Before you say it yes I know I’ve paid Ami for her services, but that doesn’t mean the benefits are any less important, and it confirmed to me that asking for help can sometimes offer up unexpected and added bonus positives you didn’t realise would come as a result.

In the past I haven’t wanted to spend the minimal amounts of money I have spare to pay other people to do stuff I’ve coped doing myself (even if there contribution would be a much high level or better quality) but now I see that it’s just not about the service they’re offering. The social aspect of collaborating will do wonders for mental health and stave off that intense feeling of loneliness that comes when I sit at home working till late at nights. interrupted only by scrolling through feeds showing my friends on night’s out having fun. Then there’s the person to bounce ideas off…someone that has a interest as well. Unlike Dad who struggles to even look awake when I talk about my blog/art ideas.

I initially I wanted to work with photographers to up my game in the hope it would also up my ability to make a living out of this weird ol world of ye internet, but I now realise moving forward it will be about something else entirely.

The moral of the story. Good things come from asking for help. Now to apply this to non working areas of my life, and people I don’t have to pay to spend time with me haha.

https://rstyle.me/n/cxmc3mccv6p – WEARALL Lillian V-Front Cable Knitted Cropped Jumper (£22)

https://rstyle.me/n/cxmdksccv6p (similar) – WEARALL Addison Vinyl Leggings (£24.00)



All photos by @amifordphoto

1 Comment

  1. July 1, 2018 / 10:06 pm

    I feel absolutly the same , I even think of it like a curse lke each time I am about to do it Something prevents me so and Ego takes it all , However, Sometimes asking for help is the best way to do to go further without burning out (another of miy speciality)

Leave a Reply