I was lucky enough to be able to attend Blog Camp 2015, hosted by Sally Whittle, from Tots100. What a wonderful turn out! With around 100 bloggers there, lots of coffee, giggles and pictures, it was a truly amazing day!

Coffee and chat when we arrived!

There was a timetable, full of so many interesting topics, it was hard to choose which one to go to at times!

Here is the timetable! Lots of brilliant things to choose between!

The first one I chose to attend was ‘How to take great Headshots‘ with Phil Tregan. This was an interesting one, as I always feel like the pictures I take for my blog are never as good as all of the other wonderful blogs I read, so I thought it would be useful. Here’s a few things that I learned!

Headshots

A ‘headshot’ is a simple ID, usually you keep both head and shoulders in the frame. A question was raised asking if it could just be the head, but Phil said it’s better to take both, as the shoulders can be edited out later if needed. Another few points he mentioned were:
  • Headshot are visibly simple
  • Factual
  • Easy to look at
  • They have a clean background
  • Natural lighting is best, watch out for hard lighting, as you can end up with a large glare on the face which is hard to get rid of.
  • Posing techniques and how you stand, sometimes a headshot of a person stood very straight and directly looking at the camera doesn’t work. Things like turning the body away and then moving your head to look at the camera look much better. You are also able to find more flattering angles using this tip.
  • If you don’t have proper photography lighting, using a white reflector, or anything that can bounce light onto the face will work perfectly, to save having shadows on the face, and making the photo more flattering too.
Phil Tregan and his slideshow about portraits.

Portraits

A portrait has more going on in the photo, and in general they are more posed, and relaxed. There are often more objects in the picture, along with a background to pose with. This makes the photo more interesting to look at. These are few things to remember when taking a portrait:
  • What’s the intended purpose? – What are you trying to show with this photo?
  • Environment. Often photographers will have to arrive at a shoot and take the photo quickly, and use the surroundings closest. Which is the best place to take it?
  • Rapport. What will my subject give me? Often getting the person to talk about themselves makes them more relaxed, which then leads to a better photo.
  • Pose. Help the person you are taking provide the best pose.
  • When taking pictures of children, it can be hard to get them to pose for a photo, so often, photos of them playing with their toys are best. Getting down to their level to take the photo is also another good tip.
Cake break! 🙂

Next I attended the ‘How to be a fashion blogger‘ with talks from Christina and Kat. I truly loved this one, as I’ve been looking to get myself into fashion blogging. I picked up some really good tips from them and here they are!

  • Concentrate on brands you always wear, companies are more likely to work with you if they can see you normally wear their brand.
  • Be nice to brands! This one came up quite a lot. Brands are busy, and sometimes they will mistakes, it’s never on purpose, and they will always apologise if they have. Also if you’re nice, they’re more likely to want to work with you again.
  • If you are emailed by a brand and you’re not sure if you want to work with them, that’s ok. Don’t sit on the email, let them know and then they can find someone else who wants to do it, it doesn’t mean they won’t come back to you in the future!
  • Showcase your skills – reach out to brands so you can get on their radar.
  • Buy a branded item and write the most epic piece you can about it, then tag them in it on social media, this will help get them interested in working with you.
  • Practise selfies of yourself in clothes, work out your best angles, and buy a large mirror if you do not already own one!
  • Using flat lays instead of wearing the clothes are perfectly ok too! Although wearing the clothes shows the reader how it looks on!
  • If reviewing make up, show it on yourself, on your lips, a dab on your hand to show how good the colours look with your colour skin, because that’s what the readers want the most!
  • Create wish lists from brands you wear, and tag them on social media, this also gets them interested!
Lunchtime! Absolutely beautiful food!
I couldn’t NOT have dessert! 🙂
Next, I went to ‘So you want to be a vlogger?

I was really interested in hearing what Sally and Sam had to share about this topic, and I’d always thought about vlogging, but didn’t really know much about it. After finding out these following tips and tricks, I can’t wait to record my first product review and post it.

  • Video blogging or ‘vlogging’ is much more lucrative than a regular blog post, this can include anything including reviews, stories, days out etc..
  • Enjoy doing it. No one is going to want to watch someone who clearly doesn’t want to be talking on a video, or someone who is stiff and lifeless.
  • Make your blog relate-able to your directed audience.
  • Think about what you want to post, do you want your family life posted on the internet?
  • Use a welcome video for your YouTube channel, keep it short and informative.
  • Thumbnails are important, when editing your video, choose a thumbnail relevant to the video, it’s more likely to attract viewers.
  • Organise your content.
  • Add relevant website links to your uploaded videos.
  • Add featured channels.
  • Schedule your uploads for when you will get the most views.
  • Make sure you know how to use your editing software.
  • Don’t start your videos with a pause, and make sure you cut out hesitations and ‘ums’.
  • Promote your video, especially in the first 48 hours!
Another delicious treat before writing workshop!

Writing workshop with Fiona gave me loads of useful tips, and they came from a different angle than I expected, which made me think more about my blog posts. Fiona said that everything you write is a story, and that everything you write is like a TV series or a film. It needs to be gripping, it needs to involve characters, it needs to include suspense, and most of all, it needs to make your readers want to come back.

She also said that you need to really think about what your top like is. Within the first few seconds of clicking on a blog post, a reader decides whether they are going to continue reading or not. Also your ‘story’ doesn’t have to be in chronological order, if there is an interesting point in the story, start with it and then continue to go back and start from the beginning. This way you will draw your reader in. A few other good ways to improve your blog posts are:

  • Rule of threes – things work better in threes
  • Anaphora – repeating a certain phrase
  • Contrasting pairs – when you say something and then contrast it back in the same sentence.
  • Delayed drop – a little bit like a punchline
Nipped out on one of the breaks and saw this awesome lift door art!

Last of all, everyone was gathered together to listen and ask questions with Vicki, Ruth, Frank PR and Lindy. I loved listening to all of the things they had to say about blogging and working with brands. There were many questions about payment for your work, and many answers and opinions given. I think my favourite point made was “write because you’re interested in it”.

I would like to thank everyone at tots100 who made the day happen, and for letting me be a part of it! I met some wonderful people, including Mojo blogs, who I have known for around 4 years now, and never had the chance to meet. I’m already looking forward to next year!

The beautiful Zara (Mojo Blogs) and myself!
Much love xx

12 thoughts on “Blog Camp 2015”

  1. It really was a brilliant day out! You should come along next year, keep an eye out on the tots100 website for the dates, the tickets are free! 🙂 Good luck with your blogging journey x

  2. Yaaaayyy! So glad that we had a great day. Isn't it amazing when you look over you notes the stuff that you can share with others! I had a really excellent day and we managed to fit coffee, blogging, lunch, cake and a lot of laughing in to one day! Amazing. x

  3. I'm thinking about dedicating a whole blog to my fashion blogging, I know it will take a while to build up, but I also don't really want it to be shadowed by what I write on this one, Trying to think of a good name for it now haha! xx

  4. Ahh yaay! I did find it interesting, I did have to leave a little earlier because of transport home, I was gutted I didn't get to finish the session, but I definitely loved your quote, made me think a lot about why I write at all x

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