photography

2019 REAL TALK - and a big exciting announcement!!

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Think back to that first week in January when we were all SO excited to make resolutions and bold changes in our lives… right? :P

While others were recapping their most awesomest (and slightly less awesome) 2018 achievements, and making vague yet inspirational goals for 2019 - GUESS what I was doing?

Slowly. Shutting. Down.

In good ways, and some not so good ways - I’ll explain!

GOOD SHUT DOWN: After Christmas it was GO time for us to organize and pack up our home. We had set a move out date of January 24th which we knew would sneak up on us very quickly. We were so excited to shut down the first home build chapter of our lives to get on to the next chapter with home build #2!!!

NOT SO GOOD SHUT DOWN: As packing and storing grew more consistent, so did the overwhelm I felt towards my business, my social media accounts and my inbox. I knew I was going to need to hit the pause button on my photography work and Instagram posting, but the truth is - I had no idea how to do that (I also ignored the really great advice friends gave me about setting up an autoresponder on my email account… (LOL. #truth)

I stopped posting to Instagram, Facebook and even emails were getting ignored (sorry if this was you!)
For a while I justified it - as one might do in the middle of a move - but to be fair, I didn’t handle it as well as I should have. I really love transparent, clear communication and I haven’t been modelling that lately.

Now that March is happening this week - it’s about time that I get my plans out in the open so I can jump into 2019 and GO!!

Now for the exciting announcement! As seen on my website :)
*All 2019 bookings are currently full*
Stay connected with me on my Instagram to find out when new time slots + new packages are available!
@lindynwilliams

I am REALLY stoked to say that my 2019 photography season is fully booked as of right now - but there is a waiting list in case a space becomes available. If you are interested in being on that list, send me a DM on Instagram and let me know. I’ll be updating those who have already inquired ASAP as well.

WHAT’S COMING UP ON THE BLOG:
There is a whole lotta planning, executing and maneuvering that goes in to building a house & moving communities that I am really wanting to share via this blog to help not only record it for us, but to share with others what works and what doesn’t in terms of the whole process.
Stay tuned if you’re interested in seeing our process from dirt to finished home. More to come about that later :)

Also - if there is a topic you’d love to pick my brain about that isn’t to do with home building - please tell me about it! Something I love to do is share, and through my writing and my blog is the perfect way for me to do that. Thank you to those who share their ideas with me!

Thank you for your support!! It means a lot to me to have so many great people checking in on me and supporting what I do. I can NOT wait for what the future holds for all of us.

xo
Lindyn

3 (totally free!) ways to find great images that speak volumes to your Instagram community.

HOW TO LEVEL UP YOUR IG FEED WITH 3 (TOTALLY FREE!) WAYS TO FIND GREAT IMAGES THAT SPEAK VOLUMES TO YOUR INSTA-COMMUNITY.jpg

What images are the best to post on Instagram??

Constantly creating images that are eye catching to your community on Instagram is freaking exhausting at the best of times.  So how can we consistently post images that make our super fans stop the thumb scroll and pay attention for a split second??

Think about this:
Images that speak to what you believe in, what you stand for, and what you DO are always going to be the best ones to choose or create.  

If an image doesn’t connect your audience to you in some form or another - it may see some “likes” action, but ultimately, it will be forgotten about. 

For example: If your IG community consists of hundreds of women age 30-50ish who love homesteading and gardening and then you suddenly post an image of a busy city street...chances are they may not connect to that image.

But what if you chose that shot because you were travelling in the city and wanted to give a little update? Based on your audience, you might want to post something a little more community-focused like a farmer’s market or a park in the city (or maybe a backyard chicken coop in the middle of down town! Vancouver has those!🐔😂)
I’m not saying this is a rule that always needs to be followed (there are always ways to connect threads thru storytelling!), but my main point is about consistency and focus for your images! 


When you create or curate images, keep in mind what your Instagram followers love seeing from you the most. (And what they DONT want to see!). You want your images to be able to stand alone in a crowd - yet fit in with the rest of your feed. They need to make sense while helping to tell your story of what you do in order to be well received and engaging. Seems simple, right?? :| #notevenclose 

When I get stuck, I like to take a second to reflect on what works and what doesn’t.  
Any guesses as to what kind of images rise to the top of the highest engagement list??

Here is a screen shot of my top posts  - notice a trend?  Apparently, people like to see ME!

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Take a second right now and open your Instagram Insights - scroll to where it says posts and view the last year of Impressions…. What images end up on top for you?  I’ll take a wild guess and say it’s photos of you, too. Was I wrong??


The fact is, humans want to connect with humans - not palm trees or coffee mugs.  I don’t think you need to post a photo of you every single day, but a good rule of thumb is that your gorgeous face ends up in one of the 9 most recent posts at any given time. 

So, now you might be saying - “You have the ability to take professional photos for yourself ANY time YOU WANT! - but what about me, the one who isn’t a professional photographer?  I’m not going to post a selfie every day!”

YES! what about you? Does that mean your Instagram is going to look half-rate because YOU don’t believe you have good photos?? No way. 

 

Here are 3 (totally free!) ways to find great images that speak volumes to your Instagram community.
 

1)  ok, not so outside the box ... take your own photos!  Use your smart phone.. but instead of using the Instagram app camera and posting your image as soon as you’ve taken it - use the iPhone/android camera app and get creative with your composition.  AKA - move your body to create a pleasing image in your frame (see my Instagram highlights “Tutorials” for a super easy step by step tutorial on shooting your own images via your smartphone!).

Once you have your shot(s) - open up a free editing apps like @vsco , or  @acolorstory  and import your images.  Play around with the editing to something you think looks good to you.  This is a practice. Choose an edit or filter you like and stick with it for a while!  Editing your basic shots will elevate your ho-hum iPhone images at least 10x!  

I could go on for days about editing, and maybe I will soon if there are lots of you with questions - but for now, play around!   Import old photos and see how they look with a fresh edit.  Sometimes all you need is a little brightening of whites, or a slight fade of the shadows for a more muted look. 

*Bonus Tip* I've been following @preview.app for a while and they have such a cool tool for planning your feed AND adding edits to your photos so they all are cohesive.  Because I do my own edits via a professional program, I don't use the app often but I've seen amazing things by others who do use it!


2)  Use other accounts’ images with credit & permission.  This is a little tricky sometimes because of the business of Influencer marketing on Instagram.  It also depends on your intention of your post.  If you make ZERO mention of the original poster and claim the image as your own - you’ll be in trouble.  
As long as you are:

  • Asking if you can use their image! Always DM the owner before taking a screen shot and saving their image.
  • Giving the correct person credit for their image!  There are always exceptions to every rule, but for most people - a clear tag and recognition is usually welcome.  Especially when someone else connects to their image and shares it with their community. For them, It means further reach and possibly gaining new like minded followers too.  
  • Again - I can’t stress this enough - always ask first!! 

    (Another good way to build up a bank of images you love on Instagram is to save them as you scroll through by clicking the little flag in the bottom right corner of the image.  I have 100’s of images saved, mostly hair colour inspo! lol.)

3)  Use a website like Unsplash to find unique images that speak to you and your community.  I love Unsplash because they literally give you the credit info as soon as you download an image (FOR FREE I MIGHT ADD!)  It’s so simple to copy and paste that info right into your phone, or scheduling program if you use one.  My best tip for using Unsplash is to look for images that you could’ve taken possibly yourself first, so that the images you post that you DO take yourself don’t look totally out of place next to the pro image.  

leahgoard.com sitting at computer with iphone and headphones working on instagram

Visual Styling + Organizing Your Images: 

I’d like to get into this a bit more on a different blog post, but just quickly: 

Once you have a nice bank of images going, download a scheduling app to your phone so that you can play around with the visual styling aspect.  I use Planoly, but apps like Later or Buffer are great too. Or maybe give the two in one apps a go like @acolorstory or @previewapp like I mentioned above!

If your Instagram grid/bio looks intentional and well planned (but not perfect!!), it will attract more people to pay attention to who you are and what you are all about. They will view you as someone with more knowledge in your niche and look forward to seeing more posts from you.  

We are all visual people who appreciate thought and care.  When an IG feed is laid out in a pleasing way, it will ultimately help turn those chronic scrollers into raving fans. Humanize your account as much as you can and you will see what I mean.

Last tip! 
Experiment, experiment, experiment - but stay consistent.  Try out a certain editing or image style for a while before you ditch it completely.  And take tons of photos throughout your day!! 

Any questions about this? Feel free to comment below or send me a DM on instagram.  I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas around what images work best for your Instagram!

xo
Lindyn

 

PS!  If you’re having fun with these blogs but are interested in getting more training - feel free to join the growing list of lovely solopreneurs looking for Instagram guidance! It'll be a small yet super impactful online course that I go into detail about here.  Sign in and i'll keep you posted on the launch!

Images from the lovely Leah Goard's Business Brand Photography Session.  Check out more images and how she used them on her website here: leahgoard.com

[Instagram Strategy: Categorizing Your Business Instagram Account]

Are you tired of constantly putting time and effort into your Instagram content for your business, only to hear crickets in return?? No one commenting, no one resonating…?  This sounds like the beginning to a bad informercial but bare with me - I have a HUGE insider secret to tell you that will help you generate more engagement - almost instantly… You in??

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I don’t believe in creating content for the sake of creating content.  It’s not worth my time, nor is it worth my readers time.

What I DO believe is creating intentional (relevant!) content for your communities and it starts by realizing why the hell people follow you to begin with! 

(FYI- creating content = taking photos, writing blogs &/or writing captions to tell your story and promote your business online.)
 

Step #1 to finding your category:

Pretend you don’t know the ins and outs to your IG account for a second and ask yourself these questions:

1. If I had JUST stumbled upon my account, would I know what I’m all about?

2. If someone reads my most recent 5 posts, will they understand what I care about or what value I can provide if they follow me?

3. Is my account consistent with my message, brand and business goals?

 

If you answered “not sure” to any of these, I want you to take the first step to honing in on your social media strategy and find out what category you can best fit with.  It may be one or two - I would say avoid making it any more than that if you can for specificity sake!
 

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Why does finding your category matter?

Recognizing the categories you fall into for your IG account is crucial to finding more engaged followers. (More engaged followers = increased web site visits, product sales, service bookings etc…)  

We all follow certain accounts for a reason, and sometimes those reasons change and we unfollow - or we get even more glued to whatever that account is sharing and look forward to what they post.  Either way, our brain throws that account into a compartment for a purpose and it gets a little ticked off if that purpose is unclear or wishy washy.  

We, as humans, crave knowing what’s coming.  If you follow an account that shows and talks all about puppies - you’d be a little ticked off to find that the next day they shared a disgusting photo of a spider ?!! NO thanks!!

Your brain may get confused as to why you chose to follow the first place and prompt you to unfollow, or at least disengage completely  from that account in the future. 
In short- if it shows too many variables, your brain tells you it’s not worth your time.


which category (or categories) do you identify with?

Choose 1 or 2 of the following.

Categories:

Inspiration: your main focus is to inspire your community - sharing quotes, inspirational images, positive thoughts + opinions etc.  Example: @rawbeautytalks

Education: your main focus is to educate and teach your community a skill or method to your madness.  You could be a DIY, educational, or guided how to’s account.  Example: @latermedia

Entertainment: your main focus is to entertain! Make your community laugh, cry, resonate + share your posts with friends.  Example: @scarymommy

Adventure/Lifestyle: your main focus is to share the outdoors + a way of life that is to be desired.  Think backcountry hiking to adorable cabins, or jet setting get aways to tropical islands, or even gorgeous photos of your garden - anything that gives someone else a little break from their own reality.  I like to call this one “escapism” too for that reason.  Example: @vancitywild

Shopping/Sales: Your main focus is to show a catalog of your products and your products in action.  Lots of big name stores would fall into this category such as @nordstrom or online clothing shops like @cupshe

Curated/Community:  your main focus is to share other’s work and collect posts that resonate with your message or community.  There are lots of mommy bloggers, or photographers who choose this route and do it successfully.  They serve a purpose, but are often a side project and not someone’s main account to promote themselves.  Often you may not even know who is posting to the account as the community itself has its own voice.  Or, they offer “IG takeovers” to their most popular users of the hashtags to increase popularity + followers.  Example: @letthemexplore

Service/Local Business: your main focus is to promote your business, tell your story, and support your brand.  Your content is mainly built around your own photos + words with a few reposts from other accounts that support your business.  A great way for small business or local business to use this category is by giving an insider view to what happens behind the scenes, or to promote sales + drum up more local business.  Example: @moorestockoutfitters


With all of this said, I do believe your categories can morph over time, and with that - your audience will too.  You definitely don’t need to know exactly what you’re all about right off the bat, but being as clear as you can in that moment (for who you want to reach) will lead you in the direction you want to go.  Your community has the ability to grow with you. 

For example, if they’ve been with you from the beginning when you were sharing your DIY tips and tricks for home decorating to now as a full blown interior decorator - that is a natural progression and how amazing is it that they got to see that transformation process unfold!  In this case - your account may have started as 80% Education and 20% Inspiration - and has now morphed into 80% Inspiration/service & 20% education (or none at all).

I like calling my content category for @lindynwilliams the “Edu-spiration” because I find myself sharing Inspirational quotes that make me think and grow but I also love sharing Educational tips and actionable stuff to try out with visual branding, messaging, & photography.

What category(ies) do you think you best fit into and why?? Leave a comment below or follow me on Instagram!

xo,
Lindyn

 

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