Monday, 16 January 2017

5 More Questions I Always Get Asked as a Blogger!

Have a burning question about what bloggers really do? Is it all just lavish events and free products?

I've been blogging for around five years now, and while blogging is more prominent now than it was back then, I definitely get asked the same questions over and over about what I do. So I thought, what better way to address them than in an FAQ blog post!

The first 5 Questions I Always Get Asked as a Blogger post I did back in November was so popular, that I had to write a part two! So many bloggers sent in their FAQs that I just couldn't fit them all into one post, so here's the second instalment! 

You can read Part One here, or continue scrolling to read Part Two!

1. How do you make money blogging?

There are a few different ways, though some methods are more sustainable and reliable than others. Most of the time, bloggers make money from sponsored content, where brands pay you to post about a particular product, collection or marketing campaign. This is the best money maker, but it's not the most reliable source of income unless it's regular.

Bloggers can also make money from brand partnerships, i.e. creating images, blog posts and even videos, that the brand will post on their own channels. There are other methods that tend to make less revenue, like website advertising where bloggers get paid per click or per conversion (when someone clicks on your ad and then buys something off the ad's website), or affiliate advertising, where bloggers will use special URLs to promote a brand or product, and if a reader clicks on that link and makes a purchase, the blogger will receive a small (and usually quite small) percentage of the sales.

One thing to note however, is that most blogs need to take time to build up a readership or social media following, and have good engagement levels before money even comes into the picture. I didn't start charging for my content until I'd been blogging for around two years, and it wasn't until 2016 where this really began to pick up.

2. Can you please promote my product on your blog and social media? For free?

Bloggers get asked super often to promote products - every week I get multiple emails from brands asking for a collaboration. I'm super lucky to have brands interested in working with me or sending me products, but I definitely decline more requests that I say yes to. This is simply because some brands just aren't quite right for my blog (for example, you wouldn't see a menswear post on my blog because that's not what you guys, my rad readers, come to Taken By Surprise for!).

To any brands reading this (hello!), I'm always more than happy to hear from you. A lot of consideration and work goes into creating stellar content to promote your product or service; coming up with blog post ideas, photography and retouching, writing and editing, then creating specific social media-friendly content to support the blog post. So if I really love the product or service, it's pretty likely that it will appear on my blog and social channels, however I can only guarantee content if it's sponsored - send me an email and I can provide more information!

3. How do you take and edit your photos?

I used to take my photos with an actual camera, but since buying it around 4 years ago, my iPhone 6 Plus actually does a better job! As long as you have a good light source, the most recent smartphones do take great website-quality images. But my place doesn't have a tonne of natural light unfortunately, so I use a ring light (basically a donut-shaped light on a tripod), a white sheet and white walls to create a DIY soft box to take my photos. Let me know in the comments if you'd be interested in a post on my photography process and tips!

As for editing, I have a whole blog post on how I edit my photos! I like having a really crisp white background to my photos so the products or subject of the image can stand out, so I tend to strip out all of the unnecessary colours and bump up the saturation and exposure. BeFunky is my main editing program, as it's free and online, and has this amazing tool where you can 'paint' your edits only in specific areas of the photo. I also use Adobe PhotoShop to edit any images for my blog's layout, like the header and banner images, where I need them to be specific sizes and shapes.

4. How did you start blogging?

I've always loved writing, ever since I was young. Combine that with studying literature in high school and then completing a Media & Communications Journalism degree at university, which led to creating Taken By Surprise as a place for me to write my little heart out. It originally came about in my second year of uni, where my Online Journalism class required students to either create a Twitter account or start a website, and so I took the plunge and signed up for a Blogspot account. I was a real MySpace kid when it was a thing, so I also had self-taught skills in HTML and CSS code, which made it a pretty easy transition to put together a website and start creating content. If you're interested in a blog post about how to start a blog, let me know in the comments below!

5. Do you ever get shy taking photos?

Most of my blog photography now is done in my little home studio space, but when I do outfit of the day photos, I do get a few stares from people who walk by! But in terms of being shy, not so much anymore. I used to do street style photography when I interned for Collegefashionista, which involved chasing down people on the street to snap a shot of their outfit, as well as getting photographed a lot myself, so you get comfortable pretty quickly!

Eventually you don't worry about what everyone around you is thinking, and just focus on getting your pictures right. It's always a little awkward when people stop and watch you (I've had random people actually take photos of me getting my photo taken, which can be pretty funny!), but after a while you just stop caring!


There we go! I really enjoyed putting this series together, and if you have any blogger life questions that weren't covered, please do leave a comment below or come find me on Instagram on @hijessicaanne. Or if you're a blogger and could relate, I would love for you to share this post!

Until next time,



  1. Great post! I would love to read more about your photography process and tips. Thanks xx


Thank you for all of your lovely comments, I love reading them <3 Make sure to leave a link to your blog so I can come say hi! Otherwise look out for a reply on the post :) Love xx

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