After deciding to create a section on my website for beauty reviews, I have been doing some research on different beauty bloggers, particularly on how they take their photos.
As I already have some experience of writing beauty reviews from interning at the Hull Daily Mail, I have a good idea of what I need to include. But taking photos is something I’m not used to, and something that I really want to get right. This is because I think including a good quality photography really transforms an article from amateur to professional.
From looking at different beauty blogs, I have noticed they often keep the photos simple, keeping a white/ marble background and putting focus on the products only. This is what many of the photos on the British Beauty Blogger website as well.
An alternate to this, is placing the products on luxurious surfaces or next to other objects, which I find makes the photos more interesting and look more high end. This is something I could try when taking my own photos.
What the majority of other beauty review websites do are play with perspective. They change the focus so only the product is in clear view, or they take close ups to get a good view of the product.
Looking at different websites has given me a good idea of what I would like to create on my own website.
I have now learnt that a good thing to do whilst writing for a newspaper is to connect stories to occasions that are coming up the next week.
This is something I did over Christmas, and more recently for Valentine’s Day. Doing this keeps the content relevant and interesting to their readers. For example, I created a Valentine’s themed tried and tested, including products that readers could use in the lead up to the day.
Other occasions I can do this for include Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, which I will keep in mind whilst writing content.
The more time I spend at the Hull Daily Mail, the more chance I get to organise my own stories that appear. This is something I really enjoy, as it is always nice to be able to write about your interests.
One feature I particularly enjoyed writing was about a group of Hull fashion students going to a fashion show to show their designs to Vogue Editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. It was great interviewing the students, if not a little nerve-wracking interviewing around 20 people all at the same time.
I also got to go along to the fashion show, which was great for me on both a personal and professional level. It meant I got to know the girls a bit better, and also got a better idea of what I was writing about.
The story gained the front page of the Femail supplement, and also got a double page spread inside which I was really happy with.
Having worked with several bloggers living in Hull, I am now in contact with many of them. From this, they have got in touch about my going along to their meeting for me to write a story about.
I was very happy about this, as they are keeping me in mind when they have anything that would be worth writing about rather than me getting in touch with them.
From the bloggers I have also found several other stories that I have put forward, one such being the feature I have written about being Merryhide.
I am now putting forward several ideas on a regular basis that could possibly featured in both Femail and The Journal. I feel like I am contributing a lot, and it shows I am interested in both finding and writing stories myself. It also shows that I am using my initiative, instead of just being told what to do.
Suggesting ideas also means I get the chance to write about things that I am interested in, gaining experience in the areas I would like to write about in the future.
I recently encountered my first problem whilst interning at the Hull Daily Mail. As the features intern, I am in charge of organising the makeover feature, where a nominated woman is treat to a makeover. This includes notifying the different stores that take part, as well as the photographers and hairdressers.
Usually this isn’t too hard, as I notify everyone as soon I as know the information myself. However, a week before a makeover was suppose to take place, the store rang to say they couldn’t take part on the chosen date. As the hairdressers have previously mentioned how they don’t like things being last minute I was slightly worried to let them know that we would have to change the date.
However, I emailed them explaining why, and they replied saying that it wasn’t a problem. I then had to notify the nominee, as well as the photographers, which was straight forward.
I was glad that I managed to sort out the situation within the same day, so if anything else happens in the future I know that I am capable of sorting things out quickly and efficiently.
A few months after first starting to write The Hotlist, I am finding it a lot easier to produce. Previously taking at least half a day to complete, I can now finish it in a couple of hours, meaning I have more time to work on other ideas.
I know the sort of subjects that are included, which means I can search for the right sort of idea, instead of spending hours on the internet looking for something to write about.
Writing The Hotlist means I get good experience with writing smaller pieces, much like nibs. It can be hard to fit all of the information you want into such a small space, but I am now finding it easier to include the vital information and leave out unneeded details.
Over the past few weeks I have been able to work on a feature that will go in the Femail supplement. Although I produce various different pieces, I haven’t written my own feature for it as yet. But I got the chance after a reader rang in to tell us my story.
Instead of Natalie writing the main feature, she asked if I would like to, which of course I agreed to. So I rang the reader and arranged an interview.
After meeting, I was happy with all of the questions I had asked her, and was excited to write the story as the woman I was writing about was friendly and had a great story. It took me a few hours to write up the article, but I was happy with how it read, and should be published in the next issue of Femail.
I am really happy with how my interviewing skills are progressing. I used to be nervous before and worry about what I was going to say, but now I don’t hesitate to organise interview. Although I am still a little nervous beforehand, I think I am a lot better than at the beginning of my internship.
I am also a lot more comfortable speaking on the phone, not worrying when I have to make a call to find out extra information.
This week I have interviewed the creators of a fashion accessory brand called Merryhide. I found them from looking through the Femail Twitter page, and getting in touch with them through their website.
After showing Natalie, she agreed that they were a good brand to do a feature on for The Journal. So I interviewed them both in a coffee shop I met them at in Beverley.
Although still a little nervous when interviewing, I feel like I am getting better. I used a Dictaphone so I didn’t have to write notes and could concentrate fully on our conversation. I also managed to ask some extra questions from what they told me, which gave me extra content to work with.
I still feel like I need to improve my interviewing skills, as I can get nervous and lose track of my thoughts. However, this is only something I can improve through experience, so I need to make sure I keep interviewing different people to improve.
As Femail is a weekly supplement, I worked my usual days over Christmas to create content over the Christmas period.
As less people were in the office at this time, I needed to produce work in advance, so there would be time to edit and print each week.
I carried on completing my usual articles, and made sure that each week everything was written up on time. It was slightly hard writing in advance, especially when producing The Hotlist as that is about things that are current. For this I had to research ideas in advance to make sure they were relevant at the time of publishing.
A lot of work I carried out without Natalie being in the office, as took the Christmas period off, so I was alone in making decisions. One such decision was to supplement the usual celeb look feature for a celeb talks feature instead. This has made me more confident to make my own decisions whilst in the office.
These are screenshots of the Femail Twitter and Tweetdeck account. I use the Tweetdeck account to schedule tweets, and to make it easier to see everything on the same screen.
The second screenshot shows the Femail profile. I have pinned a tweet at the top so this is the first thing users will see. I am using the Twitter page to help find nominees for the makeover, as well as to find stories and network with others, creating a larger readership.