Cameras, Clothes, Northern Ireland, and Blue Hair: An Interview with The Clothes Horse

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Today I’m sharing something I’ve been excited about for weeks now: An interview with one of my favorite bloggers, Rebecca of The Clothes Horse! I’ve been following Rebecca’s blog for years now, and it was partially what inspired me to start Second Breakfast. (You should have seen me when she agreed to an interview! I was bouncing off the walls for days.) Now, I know you want to see what she has to say, so I won’t keep going on about how I want to be just like Rebecca when I grow up, or how I really want to go to Northern Ireland now, or dye my hair blue, all because of her photos; I’ll just let you read on, with one interruption here to say that my extra little notes (that will keep going on about how I want to be just like Rebecca, and move to Ireland and dye my hair blue) will be in blue (ish–maybe more turquoise). Now, without further ado. . .

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  • How did you get started blogging?
  • I started blogging in 2007 as a hobby while I was in college. So I was a full-time student, part-time cashier and then hobby blogger as a creative outlet. It was per chance that the blog sort of “took off.”
  • What is your favorite part of blogging?
  • There really isn’t much I don’t like about it–I like the community of other bloggers who inspire me and I also become friends with. I love having a special reason to get dressed up on a regular basis; I like learning more and getting better at photography by practicing it daily in the form of pictures of my blog. It’s all just a perfect combination of elements for me; it’s hard to imagine doing something else at this point!

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  • You’ve had blue, pink, and blonde hair, along with your red hair-which was your favorite? Why?
  • Blue is honestly my favorite, it’s just also the hardest to maintain and you have to bleach your hair to get those bright colors and I’m afraid to overly damage my hair. When you have a chance, just take a look through her posts with her blue hair; I’ll give you a few examples here, too! I love her blue hair, and I’ve decided someday–when I get enough courage!–I’m going to dye my hair blue, too.

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  • What is your natural hair color? (Please say blue! 😉 )
  • Sandy brown/dirty blonde; if you look back at the first couple of years of blogging you actually see my natural color, especially because I started dyeing it red then but with a semi-permanent dye that washed out pretty quickly. 🙂
  • What are some of the hardest lessons you’ve had to learn with blogging?
  • I haven’t really had any hard lessons from my blogging experience; I mean maintaining it is hard work and maintaining a level of quality takes effort, but I think that’s with anything you’re passionate about and want to be good at–you have to work at it, but when it’s something you love you don’t mind it. I was already blogging nearly every day when it was just a hobby, so working this regularly with it as a job isn’t a big change for me. But I haven’t had any big disappointments or reality checks–probably because I never had any expectations from this whole thing. Everything that has come from blogging has been a pleasant surprise.

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  • What do you miss most (if anything) from living in the US?
  • It’s obviously hard to be away from all my family and friends and sort of start that whole extended network over again. It’s always lonely moving, but I do have a lot of experience with moving so it’s also familiar in a way and I know it just takes time to lay down new roots. On a more shallow note I do miss my car and the easy access to fast food and 24 hour stores–I used to do a lot of shopping late in the evening or grab Burger King on my way back from pictures way out in the country and here you have to be more conscious about when shops are open and it’s a longer drive to get to a shop.
  • What’s been the hardest part about moving to Northern Ireland for you?
  • A lot of it is hard, so I don’t know what’s the most difficult! Applying for my visa was stressful and expensive. Moving all of my belongings across the ocean was stressful and expensive–I had to purge a lot of my closet and bookcase! Just the logistics of moving is difficult; paying new bills from a US account, trying to set up a local bank account, etc, etc.

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  • What advice would you give to new bloggers?
  • Blog about what you love and learn by doing. A lot of girls who want to be bloggers write me and ask for advice on how to choose a name or how to be successful and they haven’t tried blogging at all. You’re not going to become a successful photographer by buying a camera and setting up a website and booking clients–you have to start by practicing with your camera, learning the ins and outs, and your perspective as a photographer. Blogging is the same–don’t start with a strategy, start by blogging and figuring out the ins and outs through practice and develop your style, your voice, and strategy through experience. It’s okay if your first few months aren’t professional looking, it’s ok if you have to change your blog name because it no longer works–this is all of the learning process and you learn so much this way! You might change your blog focus, you might realize what you thought you were passionate about wasn’t what you really are passionate about; for example I didn’t post outfits in the beginning and now that’s pretty much all of what I post. Just remember “don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”

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  • What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten on blogging?
  • I haven’t received much advice; there weren’t many bloggers when I started and no “professional” bloggers, so everyone who started when I did just sort of winged it. We didn’t start to make money or be successful in any definition, we just started because we felt we had something to say or share and the blog was a great medium for that. So I haven’t really asked or received much advice. Even the the blogs I looked up to when I began I didn’t look up to because they were professional or made any money–I admired their style and their outfits. So my focus on improvement has always been that way–figuring out my style, getting better at pictures, developing the creative aspects of myself. The blog is just a recording of that and yes hopefully the blog gets better as time goes on, but it’s so much more about the other elements and the self that are the focus.

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  • Are you a full-time blogger, or do you work away from home as well?
  • I’m a full-time blogger, though I usually like to shy away from that title. Like when I meet people I don’t like to say I’m a blogger, but yeah I’m not employed at anything else.
  • Do you have anyone helping you/employed for you, finding style crushes, etc., or do you do it all yourself?
  • No it’s all me; the most help I get is occasionally a friend or my husband helps me take photographs for the blog, but I’m still the one who sorts through all of the images and edits them. Even when I’m shooting hair tutorials I’m styling my hair myself and trying to photograph it as a I go by myself–it’s really hard to hold for the various steps while you run back and forth for your camera too!

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  • How long does it take for you to do a style shoot on a typical day?
  • I don’t take a lot of time “styling” things; I usually like to choose what outfit I’m going to wear the day before and that doesn’t take too long–you start with one focus piece and build everything else around it. Taking pictures or wandering around outside by foot or on my bicycle to find a place to take pictures takes the longest.

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  • Do you take pictures every day, or do you take pictures of several different outfits all in one day? What’s your method?
  • I really want to keep my blog as grounded as possible, I try to photograph the outfits I wear on the days I wear them. On occasion if the weather’s been bad for quite awhile and I missed outfits, then I try to catch up and shoot a few looks in a single day when the weather is nice. Outfits aren’t posted necessarily in chronological order either; I try to shuffle things so there’s more variety in a week and I usually have pictures 1-2 weeks in advance; I like that sort of buffer space in case there is bad weather, or I get sick and need a break from going out every day for a little while. My process for taking pictures is just to get dressed, grab my equipment and sometimes my bike, and then head out to look for a place to take pictures. I like quiet, green spots so rural roads and public parks are usually my destination and I just walk until I see an angle that looks nice and then see how it looks in pictures. People think that I’m in these crazy, beautiful areas sometimes but they don’t realize if the camera moved 180 or 90 degrees you’d see a parking lot or road! It’s all about finding one angle that looks nice, rather than a totally secluded pastoral scene.

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  • What is your favorite blogging/camera/etc. equipment?
  • I’m not really an equipment expert; it’s more sticking with what is familiar and I can’t really afford to play around with new products and brands all of the time either! So I’m on a Macbook, I edit with Lightroom, shoot with a Canon Mark and 50mm lens. These aren’t necessarily the products I’d recommend, but again the ones I ended up with by familiarity–I’d love to try Photoshop one day but right now I’m still learning the ins and outs of Lightroom and it’d be costly and time-consuming to develop a new style of editing. Quick disclaimer: All photos in this post are taken from Rebecca’s blog, The Clothes Horse. Much as I would have loved to have flown to Northern Ireland to take some photos for this post, that just didn’t fit in well in my schedule. *sigh* Maybe next time.
 RebeccaCamera
Rebecca is an American living in Northern Ireland and blogging about style. After a very awkward adolescence she started to find her fashion sense while attending a rural university and began blogging and documenting her style progress. Today she lives in an equally remote home continuing to blog, photograph, and figure things out one day at a time–proving style isn’t exclusive to magazines, models, and the metropolis.
You can find Rebecca at The Clothes Horse, on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram.

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