Fiona Burrage is the graphic designer turned photographer behind breathtaking blog Nor-Folk which unsurprisingly took home IBA17’s Best Photography Blog Award thanks to the blog’s outstanding images. The IBA Blog catches up with Fiona to see what inspired her to start Nor-Folk and what her top advice is for newbies…
What inspired you to start your blog?
My muse and son Stanley. It first started with sharing pictures on Instagram @Nor_Folk of him and our converted factory, which people and brands started to show interest in. I’m actually a graphic designer turned self-taught photographer. I decided to follow my passion, develop the Journal and to move away from growing and scaling up our online store a year ago (almost to the month in fact). So I genuinely have to pinch myself as to where I am a year on. To be doing what I love for a living and winning an award for my profession (delivered by such esteemed judges) leaves me utterly and rather unusually speechless.
Do you have any advice for new bloggers?
Be your authentic self and follow your true passions and interests. It’s easy to get side tracked by attractive offers from brands but if they don’t fit then I suggest you avoid them. For me, integrity is paramount; I’ve turned down several national chains who don’t share my values. I’m pragmatic in that we all need to earn money, but in the long run I feel it’s better to be selective and niche, creating genuine content and not looking promotional.
Where do you think your blog will take you now?
I’ve been slowly evolving our brand for the last year. And I’m in the early stages of a few ventures, one being a compendium (and guide) to our wonderful county Norfolk, and the other a series of holiday cabins to stay in. I’m really interested in sustainable and passive housing so that will have a big influence in the design of the homes. And whilst we develop these ventures I really want to share our vision, values and take on a minimalist approach to life as a family. Family and minimalism isn’t an oxymoron, nor is it about being tidy or throwing everything away. For me it’s really about consuming less and valuing what you do buy.
What’s your top advice for taking outstanding images for your blog?
Lighting is key. I will defer a shoot in my own home until the lighting is right. Different rooms will work better at different times. For example around 6-7pm in the evening my son’s room will have a lovely warm light in the summer. Winter months are more difficult and I either wait for a brighter day or conversely choose to embrace it and make the whole thing darker and in turn more cosy. I have a minimalist eye so with regards to composition I always strive for simplicity to create a more powerful image.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned from blogging?
It’s really important to be your authentic self. Working with brands you admire and products you love will mean your content will flow and the easier it is to write the easier it is to read. Follow your passions and the rest will come…