5 Ways to Pose for the ‘Gram

5 Ways to Pose for the ‘Gram

Are you stuck for poses? Seeking inspiration for your weekly Instagram photos? Look no further, here are five different poses that you can use for your #OOTDs 😉

#1 Look Back At It

This is a great pose for showing off the backside of your outfit or any heels that you might be wearing!

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#2 The Walk By

Show a little attitude by doing a walk by photo! You can capture this on an iPhone or a professional camera by completing a burst photo of you walking.

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#3 The Knee Pop

This pose looks great close up or far away. I personally love using this pose for a details shot.

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#4 Look Afar

So you don’t want to look straight into the camera huh…why don’t you try looking away! Your photo will turn out with a laid-back and effortless look.

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#5 Hand to Hip

This pose is a little more flirty and goes great with a smile. I love this pose while wearing a dress or skirt because it helps to flare out the bottom a little bit!

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What’s your favourite pose? 🙂

xoxo,

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The Blog Series: Creating a Media Kit

The Blog Series: Creating a Media Kit

Since I just did a big update on my media kit, I thought I’d talk about why you should have one and how you can create one. Essentially a media kit, sometimes referred to as a press kit, is a document that shares information about you and your business, brand or company. A media kit usually includes text and images, but it depends on who it’s for and what you want the person on the other side to see. Today we’re going to focus on the blogger and influencer side of the media kit!

Why You Should Have One

If you’re a freelancer or entrepreneur, specifically a blogger or Influencer, then you should certainly start creating your own media kit. A media kit will allow you to showcase your aesthetic, talent, services, rates and statistics. It comes in very handy when reaching out to brands for collaborations or partnerships. After all, you definitely don’t want to be writing a lengthy email with tons of numbers every time you reach out to a brand. Having a PDF formatted media kit makes it easier for you and easier for the brand.  A media kit is like a first impression, so it’s very important to continuously fine tune it and update the information on it.

How to Create One

Since the beginning I’ve been using Canva to create and update my media kit. There are tons of free templates that you can use and customize to your liking and the site allows you to save your document as a PDF or JPG. Choose a template that best reflects your style. For example, my media kit reflects my minimal style meaning it is very straightforward, clean and has neutral colours. Whatever your style is, there are options that allow you to change the colours and fonts of each template.

What to Include

I still don’t think I’m a professional media kit creator, however I do have an idea of what should be included in one. See below!

  • Bio/About: Introduce yourself in one or two short paragraphs.
  • Audience Reach: Numbers are very important to brands so include your most up to date monthly unique visitors, monthly page views, social media followers etc.
  • Demographics: Include the top cities, countries and genders of your global audience.
  • Mentions/As Seen On: If you’ve been featured in a magazine, website or post, include these to show that you have great exposure.
  • Previous Partnerships/Work: Include the names or logos of brands you have worked with in the past.
  • Services/Pricing: Be specific on what you can offer a brand. Do you offer Instagram posts, stories, YouTube videos or blog posts? For each one, you should have a rate and a short description telling a brand what is included in that price.

If you have any questions at all, feel free to comment below or use my contact form to get in touch!

xoxo,

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How I Edit My Instagram Photos

How I Edit My Instagram Photos

I thought it was about time that I write an updated post on how I edit my Instagram photos because it’s been a while and my process has definitely changed a bit. So for those of you wondering how I keep a consistent aesthetic and make my pics look the way they do, keep reading! 🙂

My personal style has always been simple, neutral and classic (in my opinion) in terms of clothing and accessorizing, so all that has changed since my last post is my style of photography and editing. I’ve transitioned to more professional photography rather than iPhone and switched the filter that I use. I really love the filter that I currently use on VSCO, M5, because it gives me the ability to create either a warm or cool image and it’s very natural looking.

Let’s dive into this editing process!


Step 1: Capture the shot with my Olympus E-PL8 and 17mm f1.8 lens. I love using this camera and lens for flatlays and close up shots because it really captures full details and textures. For farther away shots, landscape or interior shots I like to use my 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 lens! Occasionally I will shoot with my iPhone 7 Plus, but only if there’s proper indirect daylight (never in shadows or direct sunlight). Using my camera for majority of my photography really helps with keeping consistent quality imaging on my page.

Step 2: Use the Snapseed app to edit brightness, ambience, highlights, shadows, structure and sharpness of the photo. I don’t have a specific number for these tuning edits because I believe each image is different and because I have a natural(ish) looking page I like to edit depending on what the raw image looks like.

Step 3: Use VSCO to add filter M5 and sharpen. I use this app to simply filter and pull out further details in the image. I don’t use the tuning options in VSCO because I feel that the image ends up being grainy most of the time. By using the same filter on every photo, my feed stays consistent and cohesive. I usually keep the strength of the filter between 5-8 on my images.

Special Apps 

Photoshop Mix: Occasionally I will need to photoshop out a garbage can or person in the background, so for that I use the “Fill” feature on the Photoshop Mix app. It’s super easy for tiny removals!

Facetune 2 (free version): If I ever need to de-colour something bright in an image I use the Black & Whitening feature on Facetune. I love this feature because I can choose the strength of it which comes in handy if you just want to make a colour dull rather than grey.

AirBrush: If I need to remove small things like cigarette butts or dirt on the ground of an image I use the “Acne” feature on AirBrush to remove it! I find it more convenient than using Photoshop Mix because it’s such a tiny task.


This is my full editing process so if you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments!

xoxo,

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The Blog Series: Comparing & Confidence

The Blog Series: Comparing & Confidence

Have you ever compared yourself to someone on social media? Compared your life to theirs? Even compared the type of day you had to the day that they showed they had on IG? I have too, but I’m learning to stop comparing and instead be confident in what I’m doing because everyone is on their own journey and on a different chapter of their life. For this month’s Blog Series post I want to focus on the importance of being confident about one’s own work and content because I feel that it’s a big part of being successful in this industry. Not only that though, it also keeps us sane and true to ourselves. We all know how influential social media can be, so let’s start this conversation now.

Comparing ourselves to others, straight up, is not healthy. In fact it’s almost poisonous because we can get so caught up in what we’re not that we start to lose sight of who we are and what we already have. It pushes away any ounce of appreciation that we have for what we’ve been dealt! Let’s face it though, social media makes it so easy to be sucked down the black hole of comparison, so how do we prevent it?

I believe that when we lack self confidence we begin to compare ourselves to others. If one is truly confident then there’s no need to compare. At least that’s what I find personally when I’m going down that dark path. Instagram is the biggest culprit because although an image is worth a thousand words, 9/10 times it’s not the full picture. It’s posed, cropped, filtered and usually staged, so why do we feel the need to tell ourselves it’s real?

When I begin to compare myself or my work to someone else I try my very hardest to take a step back, put my phone away for a while and think about what I’m proud of myself for. It sounds conceited but when you’re in that state of mind, it’s really up to you to pull yourself out of it and realize that 1) you’re ENOUGH, 2) you have your own achievements to be proud of and 3) you should always choose collaboration over competition.

Confidence matters in more ways than you can imagine. It allows you to create to your full potential, work with others better and gets you noticed easier. The creative industry is about being yourself and showing your own unique creativity. It wouldn’t be any fun, or interesting for that matter, if everyone was doing the exact same thing. Be confident in the way that you pose, style, create, write, film and edit! You’ll save yourself a whole lot of time by not comparing yourself to others and being confident in your own skin.

I want to know what your thoughts are on this. Whether it’s a DM on Instagram, an email or a comment below I want to chat with you!

Chat soon.

xoxo,

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Blogging FAQ

Blogging FAQ

Thanks to that new feature on Instagram that allows you to easily ask questions and get quick responses back, I have a ton of blogging Q’s from you guys that I’m ready to answer!!

Below are some of the big ones that I felt would be best to answer in this FAQ but I’m responding to your other ones through DM on Insta!

“How do you stay inspired?”

I am constantly finding inspiration through other people’s work on Instagram, Pinterest, travel, the people around me and my everyday life. I’m never not observing and I think that helps me stay on track with my own content creation. There’s inspiration oozing out of Instagram, you just need to look hard enough! I also love searching for inspirational and motivational quotes on Pinterest and then saving them into a folder to look back on. I often share these with you guys through Instagram stories.

“How do you get invited to events?”

It was only this past year that I started attending brand events and for each of them I was reached out to by their event coordinators! I honestly think that being invited to events takes time simply because it depends (unfortunately) on how big your following is. This as well as your level of engagement with your audience and the experience that you have with similar brands. For example, in the month of June I was reached out to for two events and they were both in the realm of beauty and skincare. This is the topic that I mainly focus on within my platforms and in combination with my growing following they probably thought I was a good fit.

Event reach outs definitely also take into consideration whether or not you show up as a “well-known” influencer or blogger for your local area. I believe that events relating to store openings or restaurant openings/new menus look for the bloggers and influencers that are most active within the city!

“I would love to start a blog or YouTube Channel, but I don’t even know where to begin. Any tips?”

The very first piece of advice that I’d give for starting a blog or YouTube Channel is to ask yourself why you want to start one and what you’re going to be focusing on. If you truly know why you want to start one then you automatically have the motivation behind you to go through with it. If you know what you want to focus on then all you need now is the platform!

I recommend starting a blog with WordPress (maybe biased because that’s what I used ;), but I find that it’s very user friendly and has a ton of really neat features that help when starting out. You can even customize your theme and layout!

For YouTube you have to be prepared to wait and work hard. Filming and editing videos takes quite a long time and growing your view count takes patience too. It has taken me just over a year and a half to get to 700 subs, but I’ve definitely seen people’s channels grow quicker than that with a few viral videos. I post once every two weeks but have stopped earning money from my videos because of the change in YouTube’s Partner Program. You need 4000 annual viewing hours and at least 1k subscribers in order to monetize your videos, yikes! This is why you need to be dedicated to publishing weekly or bi-weekly videos in order to grow.

“How can I grow my Instagram following quickly?”

There is no natural/organic way to “quickly” grow your Instagram following, in my opinion. Here’s what I think needs to happen in order to grow your following:

1.        Post consistently and often. Aim for everyday or every other day.

2.        Post quality content. Quality over quantity is very important because people may see your account as spam if your posts have no direction or meaning.

3.        Engage your followers. Show your audience that you’re a real person! You can do this by sharing your daily life/struggles/funny moments/etc on Instagram stories or even through question captions and comment convos.

4.        Interact with others on the gram. Instagram is give and take. Like and comment on other people’s images and reply to people’s stories if you see something that inspires, motivates or interests you!

“How did you create your media kit and do you have any tips for reaching out to companies?”

After I surpassed 5k followers on Instagram I decided that I should make a media kit to send out to brands. All I did was Google what the kit should contain and then I created my own format and layout on Microsoft Word! Here’s what I include in my media kit:

Platform Types: YouTube, Blog, Instagram

Statistics: # of followers, subscribers, readers, engagement %, main countries and cities of my audience, ratio of male to female

Rates: Personal to what you can offer brands and should depend on the amount of work/time/resources you put into it as well as how large your audience is.

Images: I include logos of the brands that I have collaborated and partnered with as well as an image of myself! J

Testimonials: Any big reposts or articles that feature me are included on my media kit!

I reach out to companies that align with my personal aesthetic and values. My reach outs are mainly through email but sometimes through Instagram direct message. Sometimes I’ll even do both for one brand! Here is what I include in my email to brands:

1.        How I found the brand.

2.        Why I think we should work together.

3.        Direct links to my platforms (Instagram, Blog, YouTube)

4.        Rates in the body of the email.

5.        Media kit attached.

If you have any other blogging related questions please feel free to comment them below!

xoxo,

The Blog Series: How to Naturally Grow Your Following

The Blog Series: How to Naturally Grow Your Following

This past week someone asked me if I had any advice on how they could grow their Instagram following, so I thought it would be a great topic for my blog series this month!

All of these points below relate to both Instagram and a personal blog because in a way they are very similar platforms. They’re things that I’ve done to grow my own following and increase engagement on both platforms too!

#1 Post consistently!

If you want people to know that you’re there then you have to show them! On Instagram you should aim to post at least once everyday or every other day because people forget about you quickly when you’re just starting out. For blogging I would suggest that you post at least once a week. This isn’t difficult if you plan and write ahead of time.

#2 Engage your existing followers!

You can keep your audience engaged by asking questions in captions or at the end of blog posts, replying to their comments, commenting back on their own profiles and sharing about your daily life through Instagram stories!

#3 Always reach out to people who inspire you!

Instagram is a place of discovery in my opinion, therefore you should always be on the lookout for other accounts that inspire you. If you see an account that you absolutely love then like and comment on a few of the pictures or give them a follow! Not only does this introduce yourself to that person but it introduces you to the rest of the people scrolling over that page.

#4 Quality over quantity!

Once you start posting just to post, you will definitely lose a few people. Your account could eventually be seen as a spam account if your posts are not up to par with people’s expectations of quality. I consider quality to be the image itself as well as what your caption offers. A single emoji caption just isn’t engaging enough! Unless you’re a famous celebrity 😉

#5 Give back!

Show love to your existing followers as well as the people who may not even be following you yet! A great way to do this is through a giveaway. I don’t do them very often but if I have the opportunity to then I do. My goal is to eventually be doing monthly giveaways because I know how important it is to show an audience that their support is truly appreciated.

#6 Build relationships with people!

A lot of messages come through Instagram (sometimes emails linked to blogs too) and it can be overwhelming but answering even just a few of them really helps to create a relationship between you and that person. Developing relationships with your followers is important because it shows them that you are a real person, not just someone on Instagram. It also helps with spreading the word about your account if that person decides to tell friends or family about you!

Do you have any tips for growing a following? I would love to know what you think so please feel free to share below in the comments! <3

xoxo,

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The Blog Series: My Favourite Photo Editing Apps

The Blog Series: My Favourite Photo Editing Apps

Editing photos is a very personalized activity and depends solely on the aesthetic that you’re trying to capture and create. With that being said, there are tons of apps out there that can help you achieve the look that you want, but it can be difficult finding the best ones for you so today I’ll be sharing which ones I love!

My editing process has changed quite a bit since my last post on this topic and also throughout the growth of my Instagram page, which I think is due to changes in my own personal style and aesthetic. What’s great about these apps though is that you can really do whatever you want with your photos. If you want to change up your Instagram page or blog, it’s as simple as a tap or swipe of a button!

At this stage I would describe my Instagram page as neutral, warm and simplistic. I always use the same filters but the editing process in regards to brightness, ambience and all other aspects differs from photo to photo. Let’s get started!

Before & After

Step 1: Snapseed

I use this app to adjust the little details of a photo such as brightness, ambience, highlights, shadows, structure and sharpening. Out of all of the apps I’ve tried, this one seems to be the best in terms of quality of the image after all of the edits have been completed.

Step 2: VSCO

This is the app that I use to adjust the filter and temperature of my images. Right now the only filter I’m using on VSCO is M5 which gives a nice warm and natural look. I usually create a preset of this filter along with the desired temperature so that my photos look the same.

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Step 3: Afterlight

This is the app that I use to apply the dusty look to photos. I don’t use it often but when I do I test out all of the dust filters to find the one that best suits the photo!

Voila! My image is complete! If you have any questions about the process or these apps feel free to comment below!

xoxo,

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The Blog Series: Posting What Makes YOU Happy

The Blog Series: Posting What Makes YOU Happy

This month I’d like to focus on the topic of posting what truly makes YOU happy. A blog is not only a place where people go to read, learn and be inspired, it’s also a creative outlet for you! Most blogs are started simply because the writer wants to share something about what he or she loves, however it can easily turn into a chore if you’re not writing about what you’re actually interested in.

I personally write about topics that are appealing to me, things that I could talk about for hours! They’re also topics that are always changing and evolving which makes it a little easier to be so invested in them. Since I’m a consumer of both the fashion and beauty industries I’m already looking for the latest and greatest products and/or trends. I love trying out new skincare and makeup products and then sharing my thoughts on my blog! Fashion on the other hand is something that I love but I’ve realized that it doesn’t come easily to me when I try to write about it. Clothing and accessories inspire me in many ways but I feel like I’m not as engaged by it as I am with beauty. But that’s OK. It took me a while to realize this but when I finally did and I started writing more about other topics I felt happier!

The same goes for Instagram and other social media platforms because they’re all meant to be creative outlets for YOU. You shouldn’t feel forced to post anything or keep things the same just for an aesthetic. I’ve struggled with this quite a bit on Instagram, trying to have a cohesive feed, have everything match and really keep everything as perfect as possible but it was exhausting. So exhausting that I started to feel unmotivated and quite disappointed to be honest. I wasn’t doing it for myself anymore but rather for all of the eyes looking at my account, which isn’t completely bad, but when that’s all you’re focussing on it can really consume you. It’s especially hard to stay happy with your feed on Instagram but once you relax a little and go with the flow, good things will happen! There are days where I’m completely in love with how my feed has turned out and days where I wish it would all disappear but I take the good with the bad and don’t fixate on it so much. I’m learning to post what makes ME happy.

This is a short little post but I just wanted to remind any of you that may be starting a blog or already have one how important this is <3 If you have other thoughts on this topic please feel free to comment below 🙂

xoxo,

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Expectations & Consistency

Expectations & Consistency

Ahh the first of what I hope will end up being many posts within The Blog Series… here we go!! In all honesty this post feels a bit ironic at the moment because I’m laying in bed practically half asleep, writing this piece so that it’s ready to go for tomorrow morning (aka this morning). The clock is nearing 12am and even though my eyes are ready to close, I’m pounding out this post because I know that my subscribers and followers are always expecting something new on Sunday! This is exactly what I’ll be chatting about today, expectations and consistency. The two of these things go hand in hand and although it took me some time to realize the importance of them, once I did my blog really started to take off.

When I first started my blog I was posting pretty inconsistently and whenever I felt like it and of course as a newbie I wasn’t getting a ton of traffic. It wasn’t until I created a set schedule that I was able to offer something that was guaranteed weekly to my audience and the traffic starting rolling in. Having a blog is awesome and being able to call yourself a blogger is awesome too, but if you barely post and people can’t expect anything from you then you might need to ask yourself why you started it in the first place. People visit blogs to learn things and sometimes even reflect on things so it makes sense that consistent posting is going to attract more people, especially if what you’re posting is what they’re looking for.

Consistency will help you meet the expectations of your audience and have them coming back for more! For example, about a month or two into blogging I decided that I would start posting twice a week on specific days. By doing this I was creating a schedule for myself and letting my followers/subscribers know that they could expect to see new stuff weekly! I believe it helped both me and my followers because we all sort of knew what was actually going on.

Think of the people that call themselves bloggers but post maybe once within 3-5 months! You can’t expect anything from them, especially consistency, so you don’t go to their blogs to see what’s going on. At least I don’t! If you really want to drive traffic to your blog you need to set the expectations for them and be consistent.

There are a few ways that you can do this…

  1. Create a posting schedule. If you’re a new blogger try posting once every one to two weeks on a specific day. If that’s not enough for you or people want more then bump it up!
  2. Plan out your post preparation. This includes brainstorming post ideas, shooting content and writing. Shooting content doesn’t need to be included in the beginning stages of a blog if you’re borrowing and crediting other people’s photos, but once you start taking your own photos you’ll realize that it takes a lot of time to shoot and edit. Time management is key!
  3. Execute your plans. Laziness and busy schedules get us all but if you’re serious about your blog you’ll do everything you can to push out new content! Especially if it’s something that you’re planning to do full-time. Right now I’m writing this just hours before I post because it’s exam season and honestly I haven’t had a ton of time to sit and write. But since I know you guys are expecting a new post I’m giving the last bits of energy I have to write this out.

Consistency is MAJOR if you’re a blogger and it really does help on the professional side of things too! One great example of the payoff of consistency is brand collaborations. If you propose a collaboration to a brand and give yourself the title of “blogger” they’re definitely going to look into your blog and assess your credibility. Who do you think they’ll choose, someone that posts weekly for an engaged audience or someone that posts randomly every few months? Of course there are other factors involved in a collaboration but consistency is definitely a big one!

Phewf that was a long one, how did I do?! I’d love to know your thoughts on this new post so please feel free to use my contact form here or comment below!

xoxo,

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