10 July 2015


Despite its startling rise in popularity, over recent years, there are still many misconceptions around blogging; people can assume it is all fedoras, freebies and flawless feeds. The reality? No blog - or blogger - is perfect. How do you solve a problem like laptop freezing, empty iPhone storage, the 104th tab that well and truly breaks your internet?  A lot of the time, God knows...

… and that's okay! I am the biggest culprit for perfectionism and self-deprication, but I also know I am not alone in this.  From the dangerous impact of public opinion, as shown by Emma in her video (if you haven't yet watched this, visit the link now), to the stress we can all feel to have the gorgeous header and birds eye shots. Zoe and Jenny have recently done brilliant posts on blogging pressure.

Yet rather than take to our beds over an off-angle photo, or widget html that didn't quite work out, far better to respond with good grace… and humour! Enter Blogging Behind the FilterFor every floppy hat there will be a potential flop - but the word failure isn't allowed. 

Ultimately, one of the reasons I adore blogging is the overall positivity of the community - a refreshing change from a world that is all too critical - so we need to change our fear of making mistakes! Starting with photography - inspired in part by Olivia's fab what I instagrammed vs what was really happening - here are my top five unfiltered moments. 

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1. You have 20 photos that are almost identical. The almost is very important though. Can you see a millimetre of cupboard in this all-white backdrop? Is that shadow too close for comfort? Snap again… and again… and a dozen times more for good measure! Last week I took precisely 32 photos of one eyeshadow palette, using half a dozen various background items and 3 different surfaces. Looking back on it now, did I smash it out of the box? No. Will it change my life? No. 

    Step 1: Shot                                    Step 179: Post                                    Step 67: Filter    

2. Your laptop/phone has about ten times as many unused photos as good ones. You are left with 200+ photos that you should have consigned to the rubbish bin. , before they had time to sync from your phone to laptop. Cue 5 minutes of steady scrolling, selecting, recycling and recoiling at photos no filter could ever fix. Less iCloud, more iFog. 

3. You can end up resenting the objects you photograph, simply for staring at them too long. I'm sorry Postcard-print bedding, I'm looking at you. Your yin-and-yang bookshelf becomes a cluttered mess. You want to shabby chic all your furniture white (including the dog bed/dog...) and replace external walls with floor-length windows - natural light necessities. Even those fresh summer  flowers you declared "beautiful" in your morning IG caption, suddenly have the aesthetic appeal of a Mimbulus Mimbletonia.

right photo credit: exepose.com
4. You receive disparaging and sceptical looks when you whip out your camera phone - from strangers and friends/family alike! Restaurants are the worst (reason I try to avoid), followed by any public place really. The latest bird eye hype doesn't help - your can end up looking like you have broken out into the YMCA.
*I was quite taken aback the other weekend, when my sister both endorsed and assisted with my Snog frozen yoghurt group shot! She did draw a line at an (attempted) selfie though. 

To be fair, she was right about the selfie...
5. Your phone runs out of charge just as the barista is adding the final foam flourish to your coffee.  You don't quite know what to do. Your soul longs to espresso itself, but Apple memory is roasted. 
On these fateful days, filters are strictly offline.  If you want to get a birds eye (the Cara Delvingne of the angle world), your best shot is the freezer aisle of the local supermarket. 

Latte art to steal your heart 
ps: they're technically all cappuccinos
pps: on IG they're lattes; rhyme needs must.

*Animal owners exclusive*

1. Unexpected pet photobombs. Yes, these can make for some delightful off-the-cuff snaps, but other times their face was the only thing coming between your tea cup and natural light. It's comparable an internet crash in the final minute of an eBay auction. 
Also remember that, in dog terms, all props might as well be chewable flip flops. No scenery is safe. 

2. Animal autonomy can be a blessing and a curse.  
Blessing = impossibly cute photos that scream #instantly #instaready. Millie has this down to a tee, from standing on two legs trying to steal cake, to resembling an extra from Harry Potter. 
The curse: it's a Dog's world. Just as Daenarys discovered the hard way that  "Mother of Dragons" is only a title, so too will your pet continually remind you who the real Khaleesi is.  Dogs are like toddlers; they will smile if you offer food, but will also make you rue the day you disrupted nap-time.

There's a reason Millie's nicknames include Princess, Maleficent and Lady Milliesandra. 

* * *

 Key Lessons from Behind the White Background

  • Don't be self-deprecating over those flappable moments. We are only human, and I am all for the perfectly imperfect outlook these days. 
  • Don't blame the dog. I have in the past, but her spaniel eyes have quickly alerted me to the error of my ways. They are only animals! 
  • Don't heap pressure on yourself. I remember taking a lot of comfort from Sarah's post back in January, especially numbers 4 & 8, for this reason. This leads me nicely onto… 
  • Enjoy it! I have really developed a love for photography through my blog. When someone commented on Instagram yesterday that they "loved my feed", it really did make my day. Also,  growing up I was the girl who had the camera banned from her hands, so there is a small satisfaction with mum or dad saying (with surprise) "that's actually a really good photo!" 
  • Remember to live. Not every floppy hat needs to be photographed. (Am I alone in now singing Floppy Hat to the tune of  Smelly Cat in my head?)

"Drink your coffee, wear new shoes
and don't let photos rule you"

This list could gone on and on, and is not meant to be negative at all; quite the opposite! I hope it can reduce those feelings of self-criticism. I would love to hear your own behind-the-filter moments - with photos especially - so comment below or use #BloggingUnfiltered on Twitter and Instagram!


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