We’re big fans of using items around the house to make an image pop or adding accessories to a simple set up. It shouldn’t be surprising that before we take an image for the blog or our social media that we walk around our houses picking up little items to make the shot unique. However, there are some go to items that we keep in a drawer (or scattered all over our desks) in our office that we can always rely on.
Try to think outside the box when shooting your next image and get creative! Some of the most random items around our house can make it into our next shot. Here are 10 Photo Props (that you probably already own) Under $10 that you can use to spruce up your imagery.
- Foam Board
- Contact Paper, Wallpaper, Flooring Samples
- Glitter or Confetti
- Office Supplies (paper clips, pencils, thumbtacks, etc)
- Washi tapes
- Notepads, journals, memo pads
- Succulents or small plants
- Pencil pouches
- Calligraphy prints or greeting cards
- Cup of coffee
We always start with our base. We rotate with white foam board, on-brand painted wooden boards and contact paper. I’ve also been known to snag some discounted scented drawer liners (yes, I meant scented) because the pattern is just too pretty. Having a rotation of backdrops really helps break up your feed or blog posts image and helps bring a fresh look. Try heading over to the hardware store and checking out their Laminate countertop samples - they have some great ones!
Shout Out to the Accessory
Depending on your commentary it might make sense for you to throw in a name brand, store bought or local favorite item. We’re fans of adding Kate Spade pencil pouches, Target Dollar Spot finds or a favorite shop’s print. This not only helps make up most of your image but lets you start a conversation about the item or where you got it. Don’t forget to tag the shop on social media - retailers love that!
The Little Things
Once we lay out what we want to snap we always throw in some little accessories. Think tiny like confetti, glitter or paper clips. These little details help fill in visual white space in your image and keep it interesting. Try layering your paper clips on top of each other or placing them in 3’s. Trust us, to achieve the look of casually strewn takes a lot of patience.
Put a Succulent on It
That’s what I always say. But in all seriousness these little guys bring so much life (literally) to your image. A pop of green foliage goes a long way in making your image stand out and look put together. Try picking up some artificial succulents from your Hobby Lobby or Target or if you feel brave you can try to keep your own alive. Either way, think small. You don’t need a large plant to get in the way of what you’re really trying to showcase.
The Easy Go To
If I ever feel like an image is missing something or I just want to add in a little more of my own personality, I’ll go pick one of my favorite coffee mugs and plop it in. Remember to actually put coffee in the mug, because an overhead shot of an empty cup isn’t the prettiest. We’ve been know to whip up a quick cappuccino at home to get it just right.
The bottom line is we want you to remember that you don’t have to have closets full of photo-ready accessories to add fun to your images. They don’t even have to break the bank. Try browsing in your own home to see what you could use and play with the layout.
If you need help with your image taking skills or editing then make sure you check out The Easiest Photo Editing App for On-The-Go. If you still need convincing that paying attention to quality photography is right for your business then make sure you catch up on How to Use Photography to Sell More, Connect Better and Impress Your Clients (Bonus: DIY Lightbox setup).
SEE HOW WE STYLE OUR IMAGES ON INSTAGRAM
You’re working your tail off in your creative service-based business.
Your life is all about clients: finding them (where ARE they??), landing them (and competing on price makes your feel like you’re charging so much less than you need to if you want this biz to be sustainable), making the ones you DO find happy (so much so that you find yourself delivering WAY more than you originally agreed to)...
And maybe you’ve convinced yourself that this is just how life has to be if you’re going to do what you love for a living.
Do you ever find yourself on the word vomit train when attempting to sell anything? You know the one that makes zero stops and is stationed in Awkward Townsville? The one where you’re chatting with a potential client and you find yourself having the out of body experience where you hear yourself doing things like…
Many small businesses are basically “doomed” from the start.
Although done unknowingly, many entrepreneurs design their business in a way that keeps them stuck in the Merry-Go-Round trap.
They’ve designed their business in a circle. Doing the same things over and over again. Answering the same questions. Dealing with the same problems. And they aren’t growing.
I bet you know the feeling: you’re working and working and working, but you just aren’t seeing any progress. And where the heck are all those clients you desperately want to be working with?
It feels like you’re still playing “pretend business” and you’re wondering if you’re even smart enough to figure this all out like it seems like everyone else has.
This convinces you that the only way to get clients is to do what works for everyone else - posting 3x a day on Instagram, blogging “value add” content, showing up in Facebook groups where you *think* your client might be and so on…
You’re listening to countless other business owners tell you that doing all that ^ is what’s going to work for you...so why isn’t it?
Here’s the truth: it’s not you. It is the strategies you’re using. They aren’t right for YOUR business.
Blogging is a long game strategy - meaning it’s effects are best measured months and years after a blog is posted. It can be a fantastic way to add valuable keywords to your website and to up your search rankings through the power of SEO (search engine optimization).
But here’s a secret about blogs that no one is talking about. Blogs are likely not reaching your potential clients. Blogs are reaching people who want solutions to a problem (think how to type content), not people looking to hire.
As photographers we convince ourselves that we all have to go through this same “rite of passage” in order to be legit. It looks something like this:
Get Camera -> Work For Free -> Charge $50 -> What the Hell Happens Next
Most of you are probably in between the “Charge $50” and the “What the Hell Happens Next” stage of business. Maybe you’ve upped that $50 session fee to a *gasp* $150.
So the goal here today is to take you from “I could make more money working at Target” to “Holy sh*t I’m looking at a $2k+ deposit”. Ready?
So you keep hearing the following statement, “As a business you should probably get around to sending out some ‘professional’ email.” And you may be wondering where the heck you should start or if it is even worth your time.
Email Marketing has some powerful benefits, but to be successful it has to be well thought out and carefully managed. Today, we will cover some of the benefits, how and where to get started and then the ideal anatomy for your newsletter.
Sounds pretty dreamy right? Someone finds you online. They are interested in what you have to offer and learn to more about you. They like what you do, say, and sell and eventually buy. Well folks, to make this happen you really have to focus on a couple of key things.
If you’re a product-based business it’s probably no surprise to you that you can make sales from Instagram. You probably do it all the time and it feels natural. However, to those of you that are service based (with a potentially high dollar price range), selling on Instagram seems like a long shot. Who would’ve thought that after less than one year of being very intentional about our Instagram game that we’d see actual, real life, high-dollar clients from it? Well it happened for us, and it can happen for you too. Luckily, it’s not rocket science.
We have taught thousands of creative entrepreneurs from all over the world. We teach what we know, what works for us, and the strategies that are totally doable for you and your small business. We teach not for you to get a flood of thousands of followers, but a flood of followers that are authentic and totally “your people”. We haven’t fallen into the “follower obsession” and we don’t want to make you fall into that negative space either. We only focus on finding truly targeted, amazing, and engaged followers who will become brand advocates, clients, and online friends.
By following the same steps that we use to grow our audience you will curate a tribe of dreamy clients and forever friends. This is why having a social media game plan is worth it. When you put your energy into growing the right tribe, it will pay off in referrals and sales. Period. We see it happen constantly for us so we know the engagement is ready for you right around the corner.
So you own a business, startup or blog, or all of the above. You continue to push out social media post after social media post. And you keep praying that follower number increases. You obsessively check your phone to see who added you on Instagram and Twitter. You await new subscribers. And celebrate every time you gain a new follower on Bloglovin’. STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING! That number doesn’t matter. Whether it is 200 or 20,000 it is moot. Your focus needs to shift.
Instagram Stories debuted and our biggest complaint is that we don’t know what to call them. InstaSnaps? Instants? Snaps? Insta Stories? #TheStruggleisReal.
Besides that, we’re in love.
We’re not here to debate whether Instagram stole SnapChat’s idea or any of that jazz. We love them, we use them and we know they’re going to help with engagement. If you want to figure out how to make actual sales from them then you’re in the right place. P.S. from here on out we’ll be referring to them as Story or Stories. You can call them whatever you want.
As a small business owner, Facebook is definitely not the hot place to be. With less than 5.5% referring traffic for our own site, Facebook was never the platform that made sense for us to invest our time on. Until they changed the live streaming landscape in August 2015.
Now, it wasn’t until February of 2016 that all accounts were able to use the streaming capabilities on their own pages. From August to February the only type of accounts able to use live streaming were celebrities and journalists. But it’s interesting to note that these two (very different types of people) were using Facebook Live in the exact ways that would be helpful for small business owners (see, our obsession with Amy Schumer was for research!).
Do you ever notice how you read one post online about a topic and next thing you know you’re being served up ads or related content out the wazoo? Yeah, the secret that our phones are listening to us 24/7 is out. Although this is fantastic for a personalized ad experience it certainly doesn’t help our already overwhelmed minds. When we sit down to read just one thing, all of a sudden we look up and we’ve zombie-style zonked out, staring at our phone for hours on end.
When this happens it makes us begin to hate our phones. It makes resentful of social media apps that may not be at fault in the first place. So what do we normally do when we feel this way? We shut down completely and never look back. Well, since our businesses rely on the buzz of social media, we can’t leave it for too long.
When it comes to social media schedulers it seems that it’s usually a bit of a piecemeal to get all the functionality you need for your business. The terms of service for each platform varies so much that it’s hard for one scheduler to be an “all-in-one”. So, while we still use and love Later for our Instagram scheduling, we haven’t really been in love with our options for posting to Twitter and our Facebook group.
When we were voicing our frustrations with our options someone in a Facebook group suggested we check out Post Planner. Holy Moly, were we impressed! First off, it’s $2.00 a month cheaper than what we were using (#DollaBills y’all) and it had some unique features that we didn’t even realize we were missing. If you’ve been considering Post Planner or if you already have it, but not quite sure how to use it, then read below for a full tour of our favorite features.
We have been around the block once or twice online and have tried our hand in many platforms, hosting services, and domain providers, but when it came time to rebrand we were stuck. We pondered for months over who or what we should choose, but once we finally made the decision we never looked back! Squarespace is by far the easiest platform to use, with the cleanest interface. Choosing them is hands down the best decision we’ve made for our business and blog.
Launching does not have to be hard. Let me repeat: it does NOT have to be hard! Today I'm sharing my quick-start guide for getting your big idea from your brain to your bank account and busting launch myths along the way. If you have any kind of idea you want to launch, this one's for you.
How many times have you heard you need to blog regularly? All the time, right?
And whether you are a natural or reluctant blogger you need to ensure that you are optimizing your blog to maximize the visibility of each post, your blog, and business.
Does this scenario sound familiar?
You finally write an awesome blog post that you are so so pleased with.
You lovingly publish it on your website.
Then you share on your social media profiles once…and then you stop.
You wonder why no one is reading it, no one is leaving comments, and you’re not getting traffic to your site. Zero…zilch…nada.
So you’ve started a blog — congratulations! You’ve probably heard amazing stories of people making money from their blog and you’ve envisioned this life of writing posts + cashing checks (virtually). It sounds like a dream.
But maybe it’s not going quite as you expected. Maybe you’re not making it rain dollar bills, people aren’t knocking down your door with offers to pay you for posts, and perhaps all of this seems a lot harder than you thought it would be. Sound familiar?
Well, there are probably some pretty solid reasons why you aren’t making any money from your blog. And a lot of it starts with your expectations. Let’s break down the school of thought that’s traditionally surrounded the world of blogging + money making so you can start to see it a bit more clearly.
Bonus: we’ve got actionable ideas for you on how to actually start making money with your blog further down in this post, so keep reading!
We know that you're probably hearing every single day how important it is to have a blog. The numbers don't lie, the interaction with you audience is incredible and the value of what you can give can be a game changer. We also know that sometimes you put off something simply because you don't know the best way to go about getting it done. We want to make sure that you're using each and every post to its full advantage - it takes way to much time to prep those posts for them to not be working for you!
Today we're breaking down a blog post piece by piece. We'll tell you exactly what how your post should be laid out, what to include in it and how to wrap it all up.
I always knew if I blogged it wasn’t just going to be for pleasure. That wouldn’t incentivize me enough to keep going. I had to make my blog profitable. It had to be an integral part of my business. It had to give to me, but it also had to give to my business.
Blogging for me hasn’t necessarily brought in the dollars and cents, but it has served as a foundation for my readers to turn into clients. When I started I really wish someone had sat me down and told me what I am about to tell you.
We’ve all done it. We’ve all fallen into the trap of implementing productivity “hacks” we learn from others, but realize that it actually harmed our results instead of helped them. We like to think that if we lean into the “buzz words” that get tossed around about trying to be more productive, that it will somehow be different for us.
Well, babe. These productivity myths are all BS. Whether we hear them from the latest book, magazine article or “that one guy” at the office, they are all old and outdated and they don’t work. Period.
Whether your new website is about to be revealed, you’re about to open up 1:1 coaching slots or a brand new product is about to hit your (digital) shelves it’s important to generate a buzz around it and create a launch plan. We know it’s hard to know where to begin. So we have come up with 15 organic ways to generate buzz and 9 steps to build your launch plan. Take it one step at a time and you are bound to see results. It's just that easy. | Think Creative Collective
As self-dubbed “masters of productivity” we know a thing or two about what’s helping you stay on track and what’s steering you off course. Some of these things are simple and some might downright surprise you, but chances are you have at least one of these items in your office that’s straight up destroying your productivity. So it’s time to face the music and cut it out.
Emylee here. Words like “systems”, “audits”, “workflows”, “processes” and “checklists” - they can either make the extreme Type A person rejoice and ask for more or they can make the whimsical creative clam up and cringe.
Here at Think Creative Collective, part of “thinking creative” is to put on the business hat every once in awhile so we can check in with our growth and sustainability. And that’s exactly what a systems audit does for you.
Cut through the clutter in every form of your life and make this your most productive year yet. This is not another KonMari manifesto (although you totally should read that book!), it's a no BS, start-now kind of system for making your business work for you, not the other way around. You've got this, lady.
When you begin to treat your business like a business, things start to shift. It’s really simple. If you’re still treating your business like a “hobby” or “side hustle” it will only ever be one of those things. Even if your business isn’t exactly where you want or need it to be today you can still treat it like it’s on its way to getting there. Just because your business hasn’t reached the figure you want it to (yet!) doesn’t mean you can’t treat it like it’s the next best thing since the dollar section at Target! Here are the ways we treat our jobs like the big biz they are.
You’ve tried planners, apps, notebooks, post-it notes and even set up entire walls of “organization” in order to master your productivity. Babe, quit trying so hard. You just need to know your productivity spirit animal and you will be set for life. You’ll know the environment you thrive in, where you get stuck and what you should do next.
But first, it only seemed right that we arm you with a few tips to get more done right away!
You pour hours and hours of hard work into your latest content, course, product or service only to wonder, “what if someone steals this and sells it as their own? Can you contact them and ask them to remove it? What if they don’t take it down? Or what if they’ve been selling it as their own and making money off it?”
Or you’re 3 months into a 6-month service contract with a client when they suddenly change their credit card number and bails. Now what? You were relying on that money coming in and can’t afford to just let it go. But you didn’t have them sign anything, so how can you hold them accountable?
Success itself is arbitrary. It doesn’t mean you make a certain amount of money or have reached a level of fame. It is self defined. Success to me may not mean what success is to you at all. The thing about success, however, is that regardless of what you are seeking, there are always people seeking answers. “How do I get there?” There being the magical location where it all seems to fall into place.
People tend to ask those they view as successful, “How did you do it?” They assume that if they take the same steps, or follow the same path, they too will get there. Well, I am about to tell you that there is no answer, and there is no magic pill or pre-charted course. Success is made up of all the minute decisions that begin to add up. The small choices that make a radical change.