A Catch Up With Natasha Colyer
Natasha Colyer is a writer, photographer and marketing guru from Brighton.
She has her own online fashion and lifestyle magazine, Seen in the City and she’s written for publications including Vogue and Time Out. Natasha is also a writer for ASOS, MATCHESFASHION, The Huffington Post and Flush the Fashion.
In her spare time, she does a variety of freelance writing and photography projects and hopes to inspire others who want to ‘make it’ in the fashion, media and publishing industries. Seen in the City is an online magazine focusing on fashion, beauty, travel, fitness, interiors and entertainment.
Since it’s launch, they have sponsored fashion shows in Dubai and LA and worked with some of the most prestigious brands in the UK. Natasha will also be the opening speaker at our upcoming ‘Breakthrough in Blogging’ event on ‘Perfecting Your Photography,’ a subject she knows a lot about!
You can check out our last interview with Natasha on all things writing, here. But this time, we’re going to focus on some different subjects. Blogging and photography!
Q1: Hi Natasha. It’s been a while since we last interviewed you. Obviously, I’ve always known you’re a blogger, but I didn’t realise you were a photographer until you mentioned it in our last article. So tell us a bit about your experience with photography to date. Where did you learn this skill, what type of projects have you worked on to date, and do you think your photography has been the key to your success with SITC?
A1: “Photography has always been something I have been interested in, although it wasn’t until I started Seen in the City that I discovered how much I really love it. Doing what I do, there are always lots of chances to challenge and practice my photography, although doing street style at London Fashion Week is always one of my favourites! Other highlights include attending and photographing LFW shows and presentations such as Phoebe English, Barbour mens and Daks.”
Q2: Let’s talk about blogging. Although SITC isn’t a blog per se,’ it does contain a lot of the elements of a successful blog, which is arguably why you’ve been able to build such a large monthly readership. So from your point of view, what elements are needed in a successful blog, and what elements have you included in SITC which you think has helped to build it to the size it is?
A2: “I think when creating a successful blog you need to be able to convey your passion and make your readers as excited about what you are writing about as you are. If you don’t have the passion there, then why will others want to read about it?
You also need to keep consistancy – you can’t put one post out one week and five out the next, readers need to know when to expect something new and be able to look forward to it. I have also always stuck to a certain style of writing and don’t try to be anything I’m not. This helps your readers to get to know you and keep coming back.”
Q3: You have a lot of guest writers on your website (which we do too). Do you think that has helped to expand your reach, and do you think more bloggers should use this technique, or would it kill their authenticity? I know that ReallyRee’s blog has a media website spin on it, and she has guest writers, too, but maybe she views her site differently to others. What is your viewpoint on this?
A3: “I think two brains are always better than one, so why not get together as many creative minds as you can? I don’t have guest writers as such, more regular freelancers who I consider a real part of the Seen in the City team. They attend events and have a real say in the site.”
Q4: And what do you think is the best way to monetize your blog or media site?
A4: “Monetization is always one of the hardest parts. I’ve found if you focus on all the other areas of your business and site then the paid opportunities will come. If you are just in it for making money, then it will show and lack in personality and individuality. It is hard work, but if you put enough in and come up with a strong business model, then soon you can pitch creative ideas to businesses and make money that way.”
Q5: Let’s get back to photography. Could you please tell us how you take good photos for SITC? Do bloggers need a decent camera? And do they need to be a good photographer, or can they learn over time? What makes a good photo, and how should people go about it?
A5: “I always try and keep a clear and uncluttered background and use natural light wherever possible. Of course a decent camera will help, but even the best camera can take bad pictures if you don’t plan properly. I think it is worth investing in a camera but it doesn’t need to be super expensive.
You can get good ones from £100 nowdays. I think you can teach yourself over time – thats what I did. I dont see the point in going to university to learn a skill such as photography which is so easy to teach yourself. Make sure you find out about things such as aperture and how to use the manual settings on a camera and it will help you in the long run.
A good photo makes the intended subject clear and appealing. You want to keep the background uncluttered but interesting and think of a set colour scheme (I like really white photos as they fit in with Seen in the City’s monochrome style.)”
Q6: And what about writing skills? Do you think it’s important for bloggers to have good writing skills? And if so, is that why so many journalists, editors and PR professionals have their own blogm do you think?
A6: “I think it is important for bloggers to have good writing skills, as after all, without words, there is only so much images can tell you. I have always been a writer and love how much power words can convey and how they can influence thoughts and emotions in a way nothing else can. I do think that’s why and blogging is also such an easy and simple way to give your opinion and give your brand a voice – in this day and age it’s such a critical part of brand image.”
Q7: Can you give us an insight into what your talk will consist of at BTIB, and what we can expect?
A7: “I will explain the different types of camera you can invest in and how they can benefit you, my top tips for improving your photography and also the different manual settings on your camera and how you need to make these work for you.”
Q8: And how is SITC going, generally? Obviously you launched your new website a few months back. What are your plans with the site moving forward, and how is it all going?
A8: “Seen in the City is going from strength to strength and is busier every single day! We are looking to add video into the site so are learning more about that at the moment.”
Q9: And you’re writing for MATCHESFASHION now, I see. Are you still writing for ASOS, too? What projects are you doing at the moment?
A9: “Yes I am writing for both as well as other freelance projects such as with adventureconnections.co.uk a super cool events planning company which is good fun! I’m putting my all into Seen in the City at the moment so don’t have much time for lots of other projects!”
Q10: And last but not least, what advice have you got for bloggers who want to build their following?
A10: “Don’t ever stop working on improving yourself. When you think you’re the best at something, there is always something else to learn. Don’t quit at the first hurdle and keep pushing yourself. I’ve wanted to give up so many times when it’s got tough, but you just need to work through it and soon the rewards will come. Take your time with your photography, if you don’t like a photo, don’t just put up with it, retake it. Aim for perfection and don’t settle for anything less.”