Creating Social Media Content: HOW I CAN HELP

 “The missing link between your social media goals and the actual content

The need for social media content has never been more necessary than it is today. Over 40% of the worlds advertising is done online.  In 2018, global online advertising and social media has eclipsed TV ads by over 100 billion dollars!

To be consistent with social media posts and advertising you must constantly be creating content.  This can be a daunting task unless you have a full time staff to create that content for you.  If you’re a small to a medium sized business and you’ve been vowing to be better at building and targeting your social media audience but you just don’t have the budget to hire a full time person(s) to organize and generate that content for you, what are your options?

The Challenge: You’re too busy running your business to be consistent about posting or advertising on social media.

The Solution:  Hire the right people to create that content for you. When you’re ready to get organized with your social media posts – there are a few ways to go depending on your budget and on how much you’d prefer to do yourself.

Social Media Manager:

If you have the budget and have frequent events, sales or products to promote then you should look into hiring a Social Media Manager. This is a freelance contractor who takes on several clients and is responsible for consulting and outlining monthly schedules for all of their social media posts and then posting them on multiple platforms such as; Facebook and Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.   Think of them as a marketing manager.  The average cost: $250-1,200 per month for medium to large business.

For small businesses, the down side of going this route:  There is a “missing link” between planning and creating the content.  You would still be responsible for either hiring a graphic artist or creating it yourself.  The average cost of a good graphic artist: $50-$75 per hour.

For smaller businesses there is another option:

For those small to medium sized businesses that only post on social media a few times per week and cant justify the expense of a Social Media Manager plus a graphic artist there’s a simpler way to go.  It will require some discipline and getting in the habit of pre-planning your posts. 

  • First, there are “free social media calendars” online. Download one that works for your business. 
  • Sit down and look at the messaging you want to post each week for the next few months.  Look at your event or product schedule and get ahead of it.  Holidays are also a good reason to create your posts or ads.   
  • Hire a good graphic artist and photographer “as needed” to create that content for you so you’ll have it ready to coincide with your schedule.  

How I can help.

Photography: As a professional photographer, I’ve worked with many local businesses to create dynamic images they can use to promote their brands. While most of those shoots are large in scope, I’ve also designed scaled-down shoots to help them expand photo assets for all of their social media posts. If you hire me to shoot assets for you, we start with a free consultation to see what kind of events, images or products you’re promoting.  We determine which images you already have in your library or which ones you can create yourself. From there we determine where you would benefit from more professional photos.  Once we’re organized and ready to shoot, I keep it as low key and low impact as possible so we don’t disrupt your workplace. The shoots include all of the post processing needed to take this simple shoot to a truly professional level.

Graphic design and content creation:  This is the “missing link” between your ideas and seeing them come to life on social media. Having extensive graphic design experience allows me to craft your social media messages in any format you need. I’ll go over your calendar and make sure we have all of the information and assets we need to create all of your posts and I stay in close contact with you through out the process.   Whether you’re providing me with images you’ve taken or we use images that I have shot for you, I’ll make sure any photo we use will pop on the screen.  

I can design multiple photo/slides for instagram and Facebook stories, animated posts, animated gifs, video editing and video posts.  One of my strengths is to offer you options and tailor the posts to your brand.

Contact me today for a free consultation!

Inspiration: Berenice Abbott

Today’s post is about inspiration.  We all need it from time to time, especially if we’re in the business of creating art for a living.   One of my favorite places to turn for that inspiration is in the past.  History is a passion of mine.  It’s not about dates or events; it’s about the people who lived at that time and how it must have felt to live through those pivotal events.  They are people like you and I with the same depth of feeling and thought, struggling with different challenges but they struggled just as we do.  They loved and laughed and saw their world changing as we see ours changing.   I love the early 20th century photographers.  This was a renaissance time for photography – there were no camera phones or Instagram.  Cameras were big, bulky and every image had to be developed and printed by hand.  If you wanted your images to be seen you had to hustle, submit your work by hand or mail and develop relationships with publishers.  Honestly, I find inspiration in that kind of work ethic.

So, when I turn to history for inspiration, I tend to gravitate to the women photographers who blazed the trail in the early 1900’s.   Women like Dorothea Lange whose iconic images of the great depression were printed in newspapers and magazines around the country and put a face to the hardship.  Margaret Bourke-White traveled around the world and documented wars and the faces of not only the men who fought them, but also the leaders who shaped and influenced our culture and society.  These were incredibly strong and courageous women who made their mark on a medium that was previously documented by men.  They brought a unique perspective to their work; their sensitivity evoked such wonderful vulnerability and ease in their subjects.  They were a powerful combination of compassion and strength and many of them created their art before they had the right to vote.

Today I want to honor Berenice Abbott.  Berenice’s images documenting the rapid changes in New York in the 1920’s are fascinating!  She was born in 1918 and as a young woman she moved to New York to study sculpture and later Paris and Berlin to continue her studies.  It was in Paris that she discovered and mastered photography, first becoming an assistant at Man Ray Studio.  She moved back to New York in 1929 and was struck by the rapid changes to the city.  On the eve of the great depression she began her series of documentary photographs.  These photos are a living history of that time and until the day she died she advocated for this style of documentary photography.    She was truly one of the more influential photographers of the early 20th century and a huge inspiration to me. 

Who is your inspiration?

Summer iPhone Photo Tips 5

Tip#6 Selfies.  Let’s be honest, we ALL take them.  Selfie-sticks became a huge seller because of them.  We all take them for different reasons so I thought a few quick tips to taking better selfies would be helpful and I’m going to break them down into categories. 

Online dating apps.  –  Your goal with your first profile photo is to get people to linger on your photo long enough to “swipe right” – not left!  If you’ve ever been on one of those apps you know how quickly people review those photos and swipe.  You can’t control whether or not you are someone’s ‘type’ but you can take a great photo to give yourself shot.  Here are a few quick tips:

  • Check the background.  You want people looking at your face, not the background.  If you’re taking that shot indoors then check the background to make sure it’s uncluttered.  For god sakes, pick up your dirty clothes off of the floor!  Make sure there’s nothing in the background that’s sticking out of the top of your head.  In fact, if you have a plane or uncluttered wall behind you.  I fact, try the “portrait mode” feature that will blur that background.
  • Find some good natural light – try taking the shot by a window.
  • If you’re shooting outdoors, stay out of direct sun, find a shady place with light bouncing off of bright surface to light your face.  Again, find an uncluttered background.  For a dating app shot, it isn’t about ‘where you are’ it’s about YOU.
  • Don’t be a super model, be yourself.  Have something interesting going in your eyes.  So many selfies look posed and forced.  Take a second, think of someone that makes you smile or a memory that gives you a good feeling; then look at the camera and take a few shots.  Having something interesting in your eyes draws the view in. 
  • Wardrobe and Hair – take some time to make sure your hair is on-point and if you can keep the wardrobe simple and make sure it doesn’t clash with the background.  Again, you want the viewers eye to be drawn to your face, not your outfit.
  • SMILE.  You can certainly take a bunch of shots but make sure you take a bunch where you’re energy is happy – smile!

Vacation Selfies –  These are shots that show you off  in the location where you’re having a great time.  Here’s a few things to remember:

  • If the most interesting location is below for instance; The Grand Canyon, you’re on top of a tall building, your best friend is passed out on the dance floor after a night of drinking lol – lift the camera up high and shoot down to make sure you highlight those locations.
  • Shooting a landmark like the Eiffel tower or Washington Monument? Take that shot from a distance so the whole landmark is in the shot.  Put yourself to one side and have fun with it.
  • The time of day that you take that shot can make it magical.  Take most of your vacation selfies early morning or sunset when the light is beautiful and golden.
Motorcycle trip

 Group selfies – These are fun and can be a challenge if you have a big group. 

  • Get everyone to bring their faces together
  • Try shooting in “Burst Mode”.   Take a few shots and if you hold that button down your camera will shoot rapid fire shots for as long as your hold it down.  You can get some of the most fun and spontaneous shots that way.
  • Use the 3-second timer if your arm is stretched out so far you can’t reach the shutter button.
My favorite “group selfie” – My amazing Mom.

Just for fun.  I don’t really have many tips about this one. This is the where you get to just experiment as a photographer.  Break all of the above rules or tips and just shoot! 

Happy Shooting!

Summer iPhone Photo Tips

Tip#5 – Moments Pro Camera App.   I’ve been using this app for a few days now and I’m very impressed by it.  Unlike the photo editing Apps on the market the “Moments Pro Camera” app interfaces with your camera and turns it into a fully functioning DSLR.  It allows you to control white balance, shutter speed, aperture, ISO settings, dual focus and exposure points, and like a DSLR, if you press the shutter lightly it will focus and then press harder and it will take the photo.  One of the coolest features is the “long exposure settings”.  If you have a simple iPhone tripod you can increase the shutter speed and play with long exposure shots!  This is the hottest app on the market right now and it’s available for both ISO and Android.

The design of the app is simple, elegant and intuitive. Even if you’re not experienced shooting in manual mode on a DLSR, this app will show you in real time the changes in your photos as you play with the different settings.   It gives you options to shoot in JPG (the default for all camera phones) or for you DSLR buffs out there; it will even shoot in RAW format. 

Separate focus and exposure points.

The app isn’t free; it’s $5.00, which is the price of a large Latte and it’s well worth it. There is educational support if you want to learn more about the functionality in the form of YouTube tutorials or weekly newsletter tips.  This app is a game changer for unlocking the true potential of your camera phone.

Happy shooting!

Summer iPhone tips 3

Tip#4 VIDEO! – Todays tip deals with shooting video on your iPhone, specifically if you want to capture fast moving action shots.  There is a setting on your iPhone that will allow you to change the default video setting and give you the best quality video for those shots when you really need it. 

Your camera’s default setting for video is 1080p at 30 frames per second.  It’s the default because it saves storage space and for most videos it’s sufficient. Most of us never change this setting because it is perfect for viewing on your phone and posting videos on line.    But if you enjoy shooting sporting events or just a day of fast moving action you can change the default setting to 60fps (Frames per second) in 1080p and that will handle most of your sporting event needs and will still be a manageable files for posting online.  I recommend only using this feature for the shots or events you are shooting and then change it back to the default to save storage space on your camera.

To change the video settings: 

Go to SETTINGS – CAMERA – RECORD VIDEO.  You can make your changes there. 

(Don’t forget to change back when you no longer need fast capture)

Shooting 4k Movies to be viewed on a big screen.  Did you know that some filmmakers have used the iPhone to shoot feature films?  When the newer iPhones with better cameras came out, there were film making competitions to showcase the features of the camera.  The 4K setting was designed to give you the best resolution for showing your videos on a big screen.  These files take up a lot of storage so you can’t store them on your phone for long.  If this is a bigger video project, you’ll most likely be using a computer to edit your videos so I recommend transferring them to a hard dive and backing them up and then deleting them from your phone when you’re ready to free up space.   If you’ve ever been bitten by the filmmaking bug, this is an ideal and inexpensive way to take on a fun project.  

Happy shooting!