The first blogs were about words. They rarely had pictures, and if they did, they were badly lit and often out of focus. Blogging was an extension of keeping a journal, only one where you let others behind the scenes.
Blogging in 2017 is very, very different. Now, it’s hard to see past the amount of images available – and what stunning images they are. From the beautifully curated Instagram grids to the product review photos bathed in light; blog photography has changed. It’s gone from a quick snap in the back garden to an industry in and of itself, involving shoot locations for that perfect background, complicated DSLR cameras, and studio lighting props nestled into bloggers’ bedrooms.
It all leads to the thought… what’s more important in modern blogging – is it the words or the photography?
When you look at the major bloggers, the big players whose site is their entire career, then you’d be forgiven for assuming that it’s photography that has stolen the crown. Posts often contain multiple images from a million different angles. Now we don’t read reviews of beauty products, we look at the pictures, the swatches, the comparisons to previous releases. The words are there and we’ll scan them, but we won’t do the reverse and read the words without studying the pictures.
Nevertheless, text is still there. Even on Instagram – the home of photography – people use text to talk, engage, and explore the platform. People still write long blog posts and they still get shared; there’s an appetite for both.
If you blog, the key seems to be to know what matters. If you’re writing a highly personal post, then the photography doesn’t matter as much. A couple of stock photos or basics you have snapped will suffice, just to break up the text if nothing else.
However, if you’re reviewing something or talking about a holiday you have taken, then the photos become all the more important. People don’t want to just hear about what an item looks like, they want to see it in action, see if it comes off as well in your photos as it does the highly-altered brand photos.
This is all the more important for fashion bloggers. Photos of clothes we see at online stores and as physical mannequins… they’re pretty much useless. They’re being displayed on models for a start, and then they will go through a PhotoShop process that makes them look even better.
One of the reasons fashion bloggers have risen to prominence (to the point of attending runway shows that were once the reserve of the fashion magazine elite) is that they are relatable. Real clothes in real situations, worn by real people. If you want to fashion blog but don’t much care for photography, it’s going to be an uphill battle.
As always, the answer to the question at hand is: “both”. While photographs are becoming more and more influential – especially for particular blogging niches – there is still a need for high-quality content, written by people with a talent for writing. There’s room for everyone!