Is it really glam to get free stuff from brands?

Friday, September 15, 2017

DISCLAIMER: Photos posted here are non-sponsored photos to avoid misrepresentation of brands. I am very thankful to all the brands who have worked with me and have sent me media kits because I am constantly amazed and inspired at how innovative and creative they can get. Also, I'm nowhere near "Influencer status" with my following. I am, however, what they call, a content creator. I take pride in the pictures I shoot and the IG feed that I build. 

Back story: I started out my IG feed as a way to express myself -- like a photo diary. I'm not sure if you feel the same way, but it's always nice to scroll down a couple of months to reminisce on special occasions.

Recently, I've been interacting with more brands and my feed has been populated with more lifestyle, beauty and fashion posts. I'm not bothered by it because I take it as a hobby- that when I receive press kits, I shoot them to hone my "flatlay skills".

Once again, I digress.

So back to the question. Is receiving free stuff all that glamorous?

Straight up - There are definitely benefits because you get to try the latest products from different brands and give your opinions on them. Moreover, you get to interact with brand managers too. You get to grow and understand products in the industry in-depth because of the detailed press releases. For example, I was never a beauty/makeup sorta girl. I only started after brands started recently because of this reason.

On the flip side of the coin, what you don't know about collaborations and keeping up a media account takes crazy amounts of considerations and liaising on the content creator's end.

I'm not the oldest person in the game but here's how it usually works:

1. Brand approaches creator (or vice versa) to ask if they'll be interested in receiving products
2. Any brief for shout-outs is usually mentioned at this stage
3. Products are sent out
4. Creator shoots and posts about the product

Some added steps come into play if you're a super meticulous creator like I am. I do background searches on their brand image, cross-check product/media values, figure out whether I can shoot in their style to best justify the brand check my media schedule etc.

It's really all a very tiring process, especially if you have a full-time job like me. And also because creating content is a terribly time-consuming business. Out of the little free time that I already have, I work over weekends to shoot flat lays and OOTDs for collaborationsMy boyfriend, (sometimes insta-boyfriend) can testify that my free me-time of late is equivalent to a.. wait for it.. zero.

Juggling work and this is no easy business and you know what they say - do it good or don't do it at all. To be greatly honest, I've had thoughts of stopping this because... I just really need more sleep. Everyone has been very encouraging, especially the photographers I've worked with in the past year - shout out to vivi, daniel, adelia, and parents/everyone who's helped me taken my OOTDs - but I don't like the fact that it's eating into the time I set aside for things and people I love - family, boyfriend, church, myself.

But verdict to this is that getting free stuff from brands is such an honour and joy, but it's important to bear in mind the types of collaborations you pick up and the brands you want to feature. This is especially so if you have time constraints like me and really take it as a hobby to only showcase products you believe in.

What are your thoughts on getting free stuff from brands? Let me know in the comments or share this blog post so I can find like-minded people.

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