The Blog Series: Getting Comfortable Infront of a Camera

The Blog Series: Getting Comfortable Infront of a Camera

It’s that time of month again and today I’m sharing how to get comfortable in front of a camera! If you’re a beginner blogger, Instagrammer or YouTuber then this post is for you. Getting comfortable in front of a camera can take a while, especially if it’s a brand new concept to you, but hopefully these tips and tricks will help you overcome your fears and nerves quicker.

It’s been just over two years now that I’ve been blogging, creating on Instagram and filming YouTube videos and these are the things that have helped me get comfortable in front of the lens. It’s been quite a journey and by looking back on my older videos and images I can tell that I’ve changed quite a bit since I started. Growth is good! It’s not always fun to see previous versions of yourself, but that’s how you know you’ve progressed 😉


#1 Practice makes perfect.

To start off this list I just have to say that the more you get in front of a camera, the more comfortable you will become. In the beginning of my blogging career I would only be in front of the camera every few weeks, and fast forward to today I’m shooting and filming almost every single day! It takes time to become your true self in front of the lens and that’s okay!

#2 Stick to your good side and poses.

It sounds easy but once you’re in front of the camera you sometimes freeze up and forget. The best way to remember your best angles, sides and poses are to practice in the mirror. Do your poses and take selfie-style images on your phone so that you can look back on them right before a photo shoot.

This isn’t as applicable for filming videos because those focus more on talking rather than posing. For sitting in front of a video camera I would suggest talking to the camera as if you were talking to your best friend. After all, the best way to gain an audience is with authenticity and if you’re trying to be someone you’re not then it shows quite easily. In my earlier YouTube videos I could tell so obviously that I was trying to talk in a way that just wasn’t me. Thankfully I’ve gotten over that by now!

#3 Shoot with the same person.

One of the best ways to get comfortable doing photo shoots is by having the same person consistently shoot you. By having the same person take photos of you, you’ll have a better chance of getting comfortable. You could even ask your photographer, whether it’s a professional or your best friend, direct your poses into something that looks good from their end!

#4 Prepare properly for photo shoots.

One of the worst feelings when doing a photo shoot is feeling grumpy, hungry and ugly. Those three things seem to happen when I don’t eat beforehand, haven’t mentally prepared and haven’t visualized or conceptualized before walking into the shoot. Before you get in front of the camera try the following things to prepare:

  • eat a hearty meal (or a smaller one and bring snacks with you)
  • listen to some upbeat music to get yourself in the mood
  • create a vision board for your outfits and poses
  • look through your Pinterest boards for inspiration

If you have any more tips for getting comfortable in front of the camera please share them below! 🙂 I hope the ones I’ve listed help you out. Happy shooting!

xoxo,

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The Blog Series: Fear of Failure

The Blog Series: Fear of Failure

A fear of failure is something that I constantly struggle with. Even if it’s over something very small, there’s always been a voice in my head telling me that I can’t do it, or that I shouldn’t because I might fail. Fear is one of the thieves of joy so today I’d like to share some of the things that help me overcome it.

This industry can get be pretty harmful to your mental health if your head is in the wrong space, because there is so much competition and comparison (unfortunately). One of the reasons we fear failure is because we compare ourselves to others. So if you want to read more on that topic click here.

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White Knit Set from SSUMJ

Whether you’ve been blogging for a few years, a few months or just started, I hope that these tips will help you smother any ounce of fear you might have.

First we need to understand what “failure” really means in this context, so below I’ve listed a few of the things that I’ve personally feared over the past few years of my blogging journey.

1. I’ll never make enough money to support myself and continue doing what I love as a career.

2. I won’t get any brand deals this month/this year.

3. I won’t get the engagement I need to succeed on my platform.

4. I won’t feel inspired or creative tomorrow.

5. People won’t like the content I create and it’ll show in my numbers.

That got really personal and honestly sharing those things was a little outside of my comfort zone but if it’s going to help you then I’m happy to share! But that’s step one, writing down every fear, no matter how small you may have and be thinking.

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For some reason, writing down thoughts on a piece of paper or even typed out on a document brings them out of our heads and into reality. It makes them easier to understand and overcome. However, they’re not there to look back on every single day, that’s probably not a great idea.

Step two is to figure out how fear holds you back or affects your life. This is like a self-reflection and will help you in preventing those negative kickbacks of your fear. Maybe you procrastinate when you’re scared or you hold yourself back from starting something you want to do (ahem, blogging, IG or YouTube). Whatever it is, write it down.

I’ve also commonly seen bloggers create something, a YouTube video for example, edit it and finish it and then not post it because they feel it’s “not good enough” or “not up to their standards”. I’ve seen this way too much recently! If you put in the hard work and effort you should be able to post it without an ounce of fear. The reality is that you are your worst critic and no one else will see the “flaws” of your work like you do, or even at all.

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Step three is to make a game plan on how you will combat those negative fears of failure whenever they pop into your head. Below is a list of ways you can do this!

1. Positive thinking. It’s easier said than done but it is possible. This has been a huge goal of mine for a few months now but let me tell you, it really works. When one negative thought pops into my head I basically have a conversation with myself (in my head LOL) and tell myself to cut it out. I think of positive outcomes rather than negative ones.

2. Create a Plan B. If you’re really so scared of failing, just make sure you’ve got a backup! Then you won’t be stuck if you do actually fail and you’ll also feel more confident making the decision. But hey, failing is not a bad thing so don’t be too hard on yourself if plan B becomes plan A.

3. Analyze the possible outcomes. Often we fear the unknown and what’s on the other side of making a big decision, so analyzing all of the possible outcomes will paint a picture of the worst case scenario! It may even put your mind at ease knowing that the “unknown” is now known and written down.

I hope these things help you overcome your fears of failure and if you ever feel like chatting about this topic more I’m always available through DM on Instagram or through the comments 🙂

xoxo,

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The Blog Series: Time Management

The Blog Series: Time Management

One of the things that I get asked the most about is how I manage my time, so today I thought I’d share some of my suggestions with you! We all know how difficult time management can get, especially when you have a thousand things going on in your life 😉

Time management, in my opinion, is a constant work in progress. It doesn’t happen overnight and it takes effort to do properly. It’s all about efficiency and working smarter, not harder.

Whether you’re in school, working full time or a stay at home Mom, time management is something that applies to everyone. So although I refer to blogging in this post, these suggestions can definitely be applied elsewhere! Let’s get started!


Tip #1 – Work Smarter, Not Harder

In order to properly manage your time, you need to change your mindset. Working smarter, not harder is key! This means that you should focus on the IMPORTANT tasks, and stop wasting your time on tedious activities that just make you busy rather than productive.

Tip #2 – Trim Down Your To-Do List

When you write down your to-do lists, do you ever find that you can’t stop thinking of things to add to it? I’ve been there too, and trust me, it’s inefficient. Instead of writing a page long to-do list for ONE DAY, focus on 3-6 tasks for the day instead. Make sure these are critical tasks that challenge you. Honestly they’re probably the tasks that you don’t want to do!

We tend to add a ton of things to our to-do lists when we’re avoiding the actual activities that NEED to be done that day. I mean, do you really need to re-organize your bathroom drawers in the middle of a work day??? Save those types of tasks for the days that you’re not actually working!

An example of a fluff-less daily to-do list for me would be:

  • Write Sunday Blog Post “The Blog Series: Time Management”
  • Plan 3 outfits for Saturday Photo Shoot
  • Workout for 1hr
  • Film Thursday YouTube Video “Black Friday Shopping Haul”

Tip #3 – Be Specific With Yourself

Being prepared for a work day, especially in the content creation world, means knowing exactly what you need to do. Notice in my task list above that each activity has some sort of important detail attached to it. By being specific on my to-do list, I don’t waste any time brainstorming or trying to think of content ideas.

You will save time and energy if you are well prepared for your work day.

Tip #4 – Stick to a Routine

I’ve finally come to a point in my life where I have a pretty stable daily routine and it helps with productivity and efficiency. By having a set routine Monday to Friday, I’m able to grasp how much time I have to get my work done. It’s almost as if I go into auto-pilot mode because I’m so used to my daily activities! Below is an example of my daily routine:

  • 8am – Wake
  • 8:30am – Workout
  • 9:30am – Shower & Get ready for the day!
  • 10:30am-3:30pm – Work (blog posts, IG content, YouTube content, etc)
  • 4pm – Get ready for work! (I’m a P/T server as well)
  • 10:30/11pm – Sleep

Tip #5 – Stop Multitasking

I’ve mentioned this before and it is still true! Multitasking prevents us from giving our 100% to one task and it actually takes more time for us to get things done. If you’ve set out a chunk of time to write a blog post, don’t go scrolling through IG while you’re doing it. You’re confusing your brain and wasting time.


How do you manage your time?

xoxo,

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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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