Fashion Blogging And Fancy-Pants Pictures

The other day, I read a post by Jaclyn Day (one of my favorite ladies in the bloggerverse) titled “I’m giving up (sort of)“, and it got me thinking. And so now I’m all curious what you think.

In the post, Jaclyn talks about how she started taking outfit photos in a mirror, for fun, and then started taking “better” ones (with a tripod, etc)…and then eventually decided to stop.

“I’ve written before that I’ll blog until blogging stops being fun. Well, self-timer tripod shots are definitely not fun for me anymore. There are millions of bloggers out there taking gorgeous, model-worthy outfit photos and sometimes I wish I could do that too, but I just don’t have the time or resources.”

I get this.

You know, the very first time I ever took outfit photos (above) I did it, like Jaclyn, for fun. Because I had a new camera, and basically wanted to play dress-up. I wasn’t really planning on making it a regular thing on RG, but then this person made me angry, and I realized that it was important to me to challenge the notion that I shouldn’t post about fashion because I’m not a “fashion person” and thus “not qualified”. That idea is total crap on many levels, but mostly, here’s the thing: I think that there is enormous beauty in the variety of what people love and choose to put out in the world, and that the confident expression of individuality is important regardless of how it’s expressed. Through politics, through music, through writing, through miniskirts – whatever. It’s all good stuff.

So eventually I started getting more into style blogging, and just kind of did what I thought made sense. But after awhile I started paying attention to the images I saw on other blogs, and I started feeling…not competitive, exactly, but definitely a little…inadequate. Amateurish. Like Jaclyn said, there’s some truly gorgeous stuff out there, and my little prancing-about-on-the-roof pictures started to look kind of lame in comparison.

But I don’t have a photographer husband (although Kendrick does help out from time to time) or passel of artistically-inclined buddies at my disposal, and I’m not the worst photographer in the world, but I’m certainly no professional…and so I just kept…you know…

having fun with it.

And wishing on little stars that the pictures turned out OK. Or at least not horrifying.

Sometimes it worked.

Sometimes it didn’t.

And then I had a baby, and unless I felt like balancing a bouncy seat on my rooftop ledge (mehhh), I was headed back indoors, to the land of bad lighting, Jumperoos in the background, and shoots consisting of five pictures rather than fifty.

So these days my photos are hardly works of art – not that they ever really were – but you know what? They’re what make sense in my life now. They’re a reflection of the way that things are for me these days: mostly good, sometimes bad, and always frazzled. And sure, sometimes I wish I was putting up photos like Rumi over on FashionToast, but the fact is that that’s not even in the realm of possibility for me.

I am not that glamorous or pulled-together.


And on the rare occasion when, by some twist of fate, I am, someone – be they infant or canine – tends to immediately punish me for my pulled-togetherness by vomiting on me or eating my hair.

But, you know, I think it’s OK – even, maybe, valuable – to say “Here’s an outfit that I really like, but oops, I totally forgot to shave my kneecaps and my manicure is chipped and the exposure sucks because my son woke up before I was able to adjust the settings (not that I really know how to adjust them anyhow, but I could at least pretend to try).”

Because what is fashion, anyway, if not a way to help you traverse the disasters of life with a little extra confidence and joy?

The thing about those beautiful fashion blogs out there is that while I love to look at them the same way I love to look at, say, In Style, they bear no resemblance whatsoever to anything I recognize from my own life. Which makes total sense, because I know a lot of these girls personally from blogger events and such, and their lives bear as little resemblance to mine as their photos do. I mean, these girls are really cool. I’m not being facetious: we’ll be at an event and it’ll be winding to a close and I’ll be all, yawn yawn, time for bed, and they’re just heading out to some very spectacular club or restaurant wearing things like hats and harem pants. Oh yeah, and they’re twenty years old.

That doesn’t make these blogs irrelevant to me – not at all, they’re fun and are great for inspiration – but over time I’ve come to realize that there’s room for both styles; one doesn’t invalidate the other. One isn’t “fashion” while the other is “not”; it’s not even that one is “fantasy” while the other is “real”. Both are real, and both have their place.

But while I love to look at fashion bloggers’ beautiful pictures, the fact is that it’s lives and looks like Jaclyn’s that I recognize, and hers are the photos that I want to see most of all…because I can create those outfits without stopping into Barney’s on the way home from my trip to St. Barth’s. And that’s cool.

More than cool…

it’s fun. Exciting. Inspiring.

It’s why I read blogs in the first place.

In photos, as in life, it’s a pretty great deal to just do what makes sense to you, and do it as best as you possibly can…and then let it go.

  • And this is precisely why I read you every single day and consider you an online “friend”! You’re real, and we, your devoted readers, love that! Thank YOU for being an inspiration!

    • jordanreid

      thank you, olivia! likewise.

  • Corneliusdenise

    hahaha…I have always suspected that this is a lot of work…but I have to give you credit for making it look easy…

  • Stephanie

    Right on! The whole point of blogging is it’s supposed to be fun and an expression of the person who’s writing it. Do what works for you and what you love doing, and it’ll show no matter what.

  • Adeline

    Spot on, as usual!  I’ve been plotting plenty of blog posts for ages, so I started taking tons of photos, felt they needed serious photoshopping, never got the results you see on those sites, gave up feeling useless and angry. When all I wanted to do in the first place was have fun posting photos and talking about things that make me happy.

    So thank you for reminding me that blogging is still about to be fun, and that you don’t need to be a professional designer/photographer with $$ of pro equipment to enjoy yourself.

  • Insidemelookingout

    I have loved your blog from the moment I clicked on it. I know you might not think it looks artistic or glamourous, but I do. It is REAL. (you pushing the baby in your leopard wedges!)I love your pictures and your honesty. Blogs with amazing fashion pictures are great and all but lets get real. Who is doing all the photo taking? When I first started out in fashion blogging (which I don’t do anymore because of personal reasons) my husband would look at me like I was insane for asking him to take pictures of me. So mirror shots it was. Mirror shot are my favorite because the person is REALLY wearing that and they feel that it looks awesome enough to snap a photo. Styled photography is nice too sometimes but I feel readers might think it is too showy and unrealistic. Keep doing what you are doing Jordan!!!

  • Betsy Lawrence

    From the mom of a crazy 20 month old, who wishes she had the where-with-all to put together a blog, I love you!  You have a way of exposing yourself to the world (or the world you you…???) anyway, it is amazing.  I love watching your videos seeing your fashion, crafts, and the rest of your amazing life.  Now you have a baby! It is great to be able to see a person who is so put together and successful, is still real.  It is comforting to know that even the most put together people have real lives and kids (and boy do kids make a difference).  Anyway, Thank you for being so cool, and your fashion pics are adorable!  YOU RULE!!!

  • Paige

    I enjoy reading numerous blogs and must say some are the professional looking, I just walked off a runway, styled to every last detail kind.  However, I just the same enjoy the more “realistic” blogs such as yours that is MUCH more relatable and probably gives me more inspiration.  Your outfits feel like something I could recreate without breaking the bank.  So I thank you for your honestly and keep it up!!

  • Hi Im jenny from philippines i loved your clothes how i wish im like you very creative . sometimes im really having hard time to pick clothes that suit me . i feel that im fat i wish im slim like you. hope to hear some tips how i can i be a fashionista like you.:) i love your style 😉 and i love reading your blogs 🙂