I hate Instagram. I’m just gonna come out and say it. I hate how all the money that is to be made through blogging is seemingly made through Instagram. I’ve always been more words than images, which is why I’d love my blog to be my money-making machine. But as it stands, there’s not a lot of money to be made via my blog.
That’s not why I’m here today. I’m here to talk about Instagram, and my most recent collaborative woes that have got me thinking about the way I collaborate with brands.
There’s been a few instances now where I, whilst collaborating with a brand, have not had as much creative control as I would like. It’s a fairly new issue, and so I’m still not entirely sure how to approach it or manage it. I’m a bit of a pushover and always have been – in life, not just in blogging. I find it hard to stand up for myself.
I don’t ever like to admit that because we see a lot of:
“Bloggers! Know your worth! You’re bringing the rest of us down! You ruin the industry for all of us if you charge £10 less than we do!”
Or something to that effect.
Point being; you can’t really show weakness in the blogging industry. If you want to succeed, you have to believe you’re the best and also act like it. Sometimes I’m really good at this and wonder why I haven’t been scouted by Gleam Futures yet, other times I think I’m literal garbage and don’t understand why I’m allowed on the internet.
I keep diverting away from my original point. Don’t tell me what content to create if you aren’t paying me!
The first time I got a bit upset about lack of creative control was a paid campaign. And it was totally my fault, and I was more than happy to follow the brief because I was getting dolla. I accept the campaign, signed the contract, and I had to go through with it. But I did make a vow to myself not to accept any collaborations, paid or otherwise, that stated I wouldn’t have creative control or defined what style of image they wanted me to create.
And then I kinda did it again. This time it was a gifted campaign – they sent over links to past images I’d created, detailing what they liked. I figured since it was a gifting campaign, I had full creative control and could do what I liked. So, I did. And when I sent it over, they asked me to re-shoot. I didn’t have as much of a problem with them asking for a different location than I did with them asking me to change my outfit. That’s not on.
My view, ultimately, is that if you ask me to collaborate via a gifting campaign, you have no right to tell me what to do. My time is valuable and I don’t get a lot of it free to shoot outfits or photos for brands, so when you ask me to re-shoot something, I am not gonna be happy. When you pay me for a collaboration, I think you can absolutely share creative control. I’m there to craft your vision, so if you have an idea for what kind of image you want, we can work together so it stays true to me and fits what you want. But only if I’m paid.
I find it so difficult to actually enforce these views when working with brands. I know exactly how I feel in my head and I can chat about it with other bloggers, as I did last week, but when it comes down to defining my collaboration with brands, I get shy. I never want to feel like I’m being cheeky or asking for too much, even though I know I’m well within my rights to say no or ask for payment if I’ve been asked to re-shoot.
So, how do I be brave? How do I stand up for myself and maintain creative control? I’m not entirely sure, but this is a huge learning process for me and others dipping their toes in the waters of blogging. We all just want to be successful, enjoy what we do and represent the brands we love. I hate how it gets so blurred sometimes.
What’s your stance on brands and their level of creative control?