I've been at this Hey Eleanor thing for nearly a year and a half, and there's one thing I know for sure: I still have a lot to learn.
I picked up quickly on some things. For example, don't post huge blocks of content. Break it up.
And this. See, didn't that feel less daunting to read? Post consistently. Rename your images from IMG_27583.jpg to something more descriptive, like bungy-jump-new-zealand.jpg. Search engines like that. Speaking of photos, people love pictures.
Use lots of beautiful, consistently-sized images.
When I launched this site, I told myself, who cares if it's not perfect. Just start posting. It was the best strategy for getting my blog up and running. I had no vision for what I wanted my site to look and feel like. I knew what I wanted to write about, and I had a URL. If you are thinking about starting a blog, knowing what you want to write about is ALL YOU NEED to just start the damn blog already. You can pretty it up over time.
But back to images.
Since I initially focused on getting words online, I didn't care much about images. I relied on my iPhone for photographic evidence of my Hey Eleanor challenges. It was small and already in my purse. But to be honest, my photos were rarely blog-worthy.
A few months in, I committed to using better photography in every post, and I started bringing my fancy Sony DSLR everywhere.
My photos went from this:
The thing is, the camera is heavy and awkwardly sized. It's annoying to lug around, especially when traveling. I always have it in my carryon, and by the time I get to my gate with computer and camera in tow, my arm has fallen off.
As you probably know, Josh and I honeymooned in Australia and New Zealand. We never spent more than three nights in one place, so repacking and moving was a thing throughout the trip.
I left my fancy camera at home.
I just didn't want to deal with it. Besides, I'd just upgraded to the new iPhone 6, which has an awesome camera. And we brought our Go Pro, so I think we're covered on photos, thanks.
During the trip, I had only a few moments where I truly longed for my real camera. We hiked, kayaked and got eaten alive by sandflies all unencumbered by my wonky DSLR. It was fabulous.
I still took photos with my phone, annoyingly instagramming stunning beaches and mountains with glee! The panoramics from my iPhone? Gorgeous.
However, when we returned home and I started pulling the images up on my computer, these vista-type shots look like absolute crap. Pixelated, fuzzy and just a plain ol' buzzkill.
And that's when the regret set in.
I left my camera at home on purpose?! What was I thinking? UGH.
Andrew put it perfectly last week when we were recording our podcast, You mean to tell me you went to the most beautiful place on earth and you didn't bring your nice camera?
Yep, I did.
After I quit beating myself up for being such a big, dumb idiot, I thought about how I felt on the trip. The entire point was to hang out and have fun with my husband, not take pictures for my blog.
If you've ever been serious about your photography, you know that experiencing an event while behind a camera is so much different than just being there. There's a barrier between you and everything else. You are less present (or at least that's been my experience). Josh and I spent two-plus weeks in the most beautiful place on earth without that little voice in the back of my head constantly telling me that I should turn every cool moment into something photographable.
I'm thankful for that.
Between our phone pics, Go Pro footage and images we bought from a few of our excursions, I think we returned home with some excellent photos. Do I wish I had a few more crisp, pretty photos to work with? In a word, duh. But I was happier in the moment, and that counts for something.
And so again I ask...
What's more important: the photos or real life?
I gotta go with real life, every time.
That said, my crapola pics got me thinking about purchasing a small and sassy camera that I can easily toss in my bag. Any recommendations? I'm thinking something like this Sony Alpha NEX-C3.
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PS Here's another time I wished I'd prioritized real life instead of the pictures.