Fashion bloggers at the top of their game—fans, contracts, influence—can easily rake in six figures a year. Many of these social media darlings are beloved by strangers far and wide, but the photographers responsible for capturing their outfits just so are rarely acknowledged. Who is behind the camera taking the images that make personal style bloggers famous?
Last year, writer David Yi wrote a post on Fashionista profiling a few successful fashion bloggers and connecting a common, unseen thread: their boyfriends took their photos. “Beau-togs,” he called them. In addition to romantic partners, close friends and family members also took a lot of the images on fashion blogs (both with and without pay).
It’s understandable why Insta-famous fashionistas turn to someone in their life to take on the role of photographer. First and foremost, there’s the convenience: When the fashion blogger spontaneously spots a place to shoot, it’s easier to ask pal right there to snap a photo than it is to schedule a session with a professional photographer in that location. Additionally, the perks for a partner or friend who is comfortable behind the camera can be enormously attractive. The most sought-after fashion bloggers can be invited to travel all the world by brands, all expenses paid. If their partner is their photographer, a solo work trip can suddenly become a free couple’s vacation. The same goes for a work trip that suddenly becomes a free girlfriends’ getaway. And for amateur photographers looking to build up a photography portfolio, a personal style blogger as a friend is an endless source of content.
I reached out to several well-known fashion bloggers to find out more about who takes the pictures on their personal style blogs.
Diana Tidswell of 204 Park turns to her boyfriend or friends to take her photos. She doesn’t pay her boyfriend, she explained, because her success is something that benefits them both, so they work actively toward it as a team.
Hillary Dixon of Style in a Small Town gets her blog photos taken by a a friend at work—which helps because she’s always dressed and ready for a shoot when she’s in the office. “We take my pics on our lunch break usually,” Dixon told the Daily Dot via Facebook chat.
“I’m a professional photographer by trade, so I usually set up my camera settings and such beforehand,” she explained. “I give a ton of direction and try to not take too much of their time. If I didn’t know what I were doing with my camera I’d definitely try to do some sort of trade with local photographers.”
As a working photographer, Doll knows the value in having a trained eye behind the lens—someone with experience in finding the perfect composition or settings arrangement. It just so happens that her set-up work is enough to keep her photos looking clean and crisp, even when a child is technically “taking the photo.”
Juley Le of Upperlyne gets her photos taken by her boyfriend, sister, or even strangers she encounters on the street. “If I’m alone and need strangers to snap a quick photo, I usually ask a girl,” Le explained in an email. “Girls are more open to taking pictures. It’s sometimes embarrassing but fun for the most part.”
A close relationship between the fashion blogger and the person taking the photos seems to trump all else when it comes down to who’s asked to do the shooting. “We have a stronger bond because of our shared sense of creativity and the amount of time that we spend together shooting looks on the weekends,” Tuttle explained.
While some fashion bloggers barely acknowledge the fact that their photos are taken by their boyfriends, friends, or family members, Tuttle is happy to let anyone know that her presence as a fashion blogger is a family operation. When asked who takes her photos, Tuttle said, “I proudly answer, ‘my momma.'”
Image via Evan Blaser/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)