Victoria Smith of Sfgirlbybay is one of San Francisco’s OG lifestyle bloggers, having held the title for nearly 10 years. Over that time, she’s lensed her experience in a way that highlights all the reasons we love living here.
Today, she’s releasing those photos in a pictorial ode entitled See San Francisco: Through the Lens of SFGirlbyBay (Chronicle Books), and it will have you shouting your love for our fair city from the rooftops. We caught up with the author to get a sneak peek, as well as the inspiration behind some of her favorite moments.
Schuyler Bailey: What inspired you to write this book?
Victoria Smith: Chronicle Books and I had been talking back and forth about ideas for a book for a while. In late 2013, my editor Laura Lee Mattingly reached out to me with the idea for a photography book based on my photo series on the blog ‘Sunday in the City’ and I loved the idea. I’m out shooting all the time anyway, so to be invited to create a book of my photography was most flattering. And, it was a book that was affordable for me to create, all on my own since I was doing all the writing and photography myself.
SB: What was your favorite part of the process?
VS: Definitely visiting old neighborhoods I hadn't been to in a while and revisiting the shops and cafes I used to frequent, and then discovering new ones that have popped up. I especially loved paying homage to old favorites by including them in the book.
SB: How has the blogging landscape changed since you started?
VS: Blogging has changed quite a bit, but for me personally it hasn't changed that much. With the exception of having the luxury of a great assistant who helps with email and administrative tasks, I still do the vast majority of blog posts myself, and I have a few wonderful contributors who provide me with great photography and unique content. It's definitely morphed from being just a hobby into a full time business, but I think I still have the same passion for sharing beautiful, inspiring images and ideas as I did when I started in 2006. Blogging has gotten more monetized, but I think there's a lot of us who work really diligently to produce a great quality product, so earning an income at it is well-deserved. It can be a lot of long hours and hard work, so you've got to love doing it. And I do!
SB: What’s next?
VS: In the immediate future, I'm teaching my first social media and creative branding course with Ace Camps in Tulum, Mexico with Rena Tom, founder of Makeshift Society. And a site redesign is in the works!
SB: What are your favorite neighborhoods and a few great spots in each?
VS: Hayes Valley: Miette, Smitten Ice Cream, Chantal Guillon Macarons, and Two Sisters Bar and Books.
North Beach: City Lights Bookstore (below), Vesuvio Café, Mashka Jewelry, and Jack Kerouac Alley.
The Outer Sunset: The General Store, Outerlands Café, Mollusk Surf Shop (below), and Ocean Beach.
Get the book here.