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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!

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 photo tips!

Every Tuesday I’ll be posting two quick iPhone tips to help you make the best of your summer photo opportunities.

#tuesdayphototips

Tip#1 Clean your lens you filthy animal! This is so basic but you handle your phone all day long with your oily hands and when you’re not using it, it sits in your dusty pocket.  That lens usually has a dusty, oily film on it and it shows up in your photos.  If you have a soft dust free cloth with you give it a wipe before you start shooting.  If not, I’ve used my shirt or my friend’s shirts if they look cleaner.

This is my phone – I’m a filthy animal lol

Tip#2 Shoot during golden hour.   Lighting is everything!  I know, sometimes you don’t always have the luxury of waiting for the perfect light but at some point at the end of the day, when the sun is low on the horizon the perfect light shows up – Take advantage of it and take some photos.  If you’re taking selfies or group shots, make sure the golden light is hitting the subjects face.  And if you love landscape photography, shoot that sunset!   A little sunset tip:  put some people in your shot and embrace the silhouette. Having people in a sunset shot makes it more than ‘just another sunset’ – it makes it a story.  

Having people in your sunset shot elevates it to a story.

Choosing the right travel Camera

Travel season is upon us, which means tons of vacation photos. In past blogs I’ve written about how to get the best results from your iPhone camera. The iPhone is still the most used and versatile pocket camera. With each successive Apple upgrade to the iconic camera/phone comes more and more megapixels and better features. But there are many amateur and professional photographers out there who are used to a certain amount of control and creativity when it comes to their photos. For these photographers, it’s good to know how to navigate the world of Prosumer travel cameras. In this post, I’m going to break them down a bit to help you find the right camera for you.

To choose the right travel camera, the best advice is to get a sense of which features are the most important for the type of travel you want to capture and photos you take. For instance – do you spend a lot of time in the water and need a waterproof camera? Do you shoot more video than photographs or do you shoot mostly landscape and architecture. Is your eye more tuned to shooting people and events?   Do you want a camera with interchangeable lenses or do you just want something small and compact that will fit in your pocket?

Small travel size cameras range in price from around $200 to $10,000, so it’s a good idea to come up with a price range that fits your budget.  Here are the basic types of travel cameras:

 

Point-and-shoot:

These are the most common and versatile type of cameras on the market and I’ll be spending the bulk of this post on this category. These cameras are all mirrorless cameras; when you look through the viewfinder of a traditional DSLR camera, you are actually looking into a mirror, which is angled so that you can look through the lens. When you press the shutter button, the mirror flips up to expose the sensor (or film if you’re shooting film). Smaller travel cameras don’t have mirrors. (The iPhone is a good example.) The image through the lens is electronically transmitted to the screen behind the camera.   Eliminating the mirror drastically reduces the size and price of the camera.

Point-and-shoot cameras have a staggering amount of options available, which is reflected in the huge difference in price. Here are a few features that you want to have if you’re just looking for a simple, easy to use point-and-shoot camera.

  • Built in Flash (most have them)
  • Fully automatic mode as well as manual modes – not all low-end cameras have manual modes
  • Shooting in Camera RAW files – you’ll have to spend more for this feature, most low-end travel cameras don’t offer it, but if you’re used to working on your photos in Lightroom and want the control over your images, it’s worth the extra money. Do your research if this is something you want.
  • Video Capability– Most have this function but some of the low-end cameras shoot in 24fps (frames per second) rather than the standard 30fps . If good quality video is something that interests you, you might want to splurge on a camera with better video capability.
  • Mega Pixels – 12 up to 30. A quick note about mega pixels as it relates to price point and file/print size: The sensor inside the camera will dictate how many mega pixels your camera is. The more mega pixels the larger the file size.  If you’re not planning on printing HUGE quality prints, then mega pixels aren’t that crucial for you and you can spend your money on more important features like video or waterproof cases. Many low-end point-and-shoot cameras have between 12 and 20 mega pixels and these work just fine for most vacation photos. Provided you don’t have to crop the image in post-processing, you’ll get a nice 8×10 or 12×14 print out of a 12 mega pixel camera.
  • Wifi-enabled – A feature that’s beginning to appear more and more often in both point and shoot and high-end digital cameras is the ability to connect to a WiFi network. When you can send photos wirelessly through your home WiFi network, it can greatly simplify the process of creating backup copies of your images, as well as sharing photos with others.  Some cameras allow you to make direct connections to Facebook or other social networking sites, too, which can be a great feature. Many WiFi-enabled digital cameras also now give you the option of uploading your photos to the cloud, which usually is a storage site that’s owned by your camera’s manufacturer. Using the cloud to store your photos is a great idea, as you’ll always have backup copies away from your home computer, where they’ll be safe from a fire or other natural disasters. The downside to WiFi-enabled cameras is that they can be a little difficult to set up and use on occasion. You will almost certainly need to understand a little bit about entering network passwords and knowing the name of your WiFi network before you can make the connection with your camera. If you’ve ever made a WiFi connection with your smartphone or with a laptop computer, you probably have the experience needed to make the WiFi connection with your camera. The wireless connection also can drain the battery more quickly than using a USB cable connection.
  • Zoom lens – A quick lesson in zoom lenses in point-and-shoot cameras: they are broken down into how far they’ll zoom in from the widest setting- 3x, 7x up to around 12x. For example, if your camera, fully zoomed out, is 24mm (a pretty standard wide zoom), then a 3x zoom lens will zoom in to 72mm, the maximum zoom for a 7x lens is 168mm and obviously a 10x fully zoomed in is 240mm. There is some loss of clarity with the higher zoom lenses but if you’re looking for the most all around versatile lens, you can’t beat a built in 10x lens.

 

Recommendations for Point-and-shoot cameras:

Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HS – $225

PowerShot_ELPH_360_HS_Silver_1_l

  • 20 mega pixels
  • Built in flash
  • 12x optical zoom
  • 1080p video at 30fps
  • Wi-Fi enabled
  • NO RAW shooting

Review and specs for the Powershot 

 

 

Panasonic Lumix ZS50 / TZ70 – $250

The Panasonic LUMIX ZS50: The ultimate all-round travel camera, boasting enhanced low light performance and powerful optical zoom (PRNewsFoto/Panasonic)

  • 13 mega pixels
  • Built in Flash
  • 4x digital zoom
  • Fully automatic plus manual modes
  • HD video at 30fps
  • RAW shooting

Review and specs for the Lumix

 

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 V 20.1 – $900

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  • 21 mega pixel
  • Built in Flash
  • 3x optical zoom
  • 4k video at 30fps
  • Automatic and manual modes
  • RAW shooting

Review and specs for the Cyber-Shot

 

 

Action Cameras:

This would include the GoPro line and any shock or waterproof cameras. They’re used mostly by people who’s vacations are a bit more adventurous and want to capture more physical activities. I personally own a GoPro camera. They’re really fun little cameras. I’ve mostly used them for motorcycle trips or camping where there is an opportunity for some fun with water. If I’m being honest, it’s more of a novelty than a necessity when traveling. They’re purely for fun. But if you love to swim, rock climb, kayak, water ski, sky dive, ride a bicycle or motorcycle or any dynamic activities like that, then get yourself an action camera and have a blast!

 

Recommendations for Action Cameras:

GoPro Hero 5 Black –  $400

Hero5-Black-Carousel-1

  • 12 mega pixels
  • No flash
  • Waterproof case included
  • HD video 30 fps
  • Raw Shooting
  • Focus free
  • No Zoom

Review and specs for the GoPro Hero

 

Nikon Coolpix AW130 – $350

nikon_26494_coolpix_aw130_waterproof_digital_1120474

  • Nikon Coolpix AW130 $350
  • 16 mega pixels
  • 4x Digital Zoom
  • Built in flash
  • Underwater depth 98 feet
  • Auto modes only
  • HD video at 30 fps
  • NO RAW shooting

Review and specs for the CoolPix

 

Canon PowerShot D30 – $300

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  • 12 mega pixels
  • 4x Digital Zoom
  • Built in Flash
  • Auto modes only
  • NO RAW shooting
  • Waterproof up to 80 feet
  • NO Raw Shooting

Review and specs for the PowerShot

 

DSLR and high-end mirrorless cameras:

This is the larger and heavier option of the three and used mostly by more serious photographers. Bringing a big heavy DSLR on vacation does defeat the purpose of having a light, easy to use travel camera. But, if photography is your passion and your art, then finding the right DSLR, one that you’ll use often, is important.

I shoot Canon and right now I have 3 canon cameras in my bag. Very rarely do I bring one of my big 5D’s with all of my lenses when I’m on vacation. I’ve tried, but lugging a big heavy backpack all day while you’re on vacation is a drag and I end up not using it very often.  PLUS, my work cameras don’t have built in flash so I’d have to bring a Speedlight flash unit if I just wanted to take night shots with my friends.  I end up looking and feeling like an ‘event photographer’ , so my vacation starts feeling like I’m at work.  I have a smaller Rebel that fits the bill and takes great shots. It has a built in flash, has all of the functionality of the high-end DSLR’s, and if I take one versatile zoom lens with me, I never have to change lenses.  There are a number of really great smaller DSLR’s on the market today; they’ll give you lots of options and won’t slow you down on your travels.

Recommendations for DSLR and high-end cameras:

 

Canon EOS Rebel T6i – $900 lens included

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  1. 24 Mega Pixels
  2. APS – C Sensor (not full frame)
  3. Optical LCD screen
  4. ISO – 100- 12,800
  5. Kit lens 18-55mm  – I recommend upgrading to a 24-105mm
  6. Full auto/manual modes
  7. Video capable at 30fps
  8. Built in Flash plus hot shoe for external
  9. Wi-Fi capable

Review and specs for the Rebel T6i

 

 

Sony Alpha A77 II – $2,000 kit with lens included

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  • 24 Mega Pixels
  • APS-C CMOS sensor (not full frame)
  • Full auto and manual shooting modes
  • Tilting LCD screen
  • 1080p HD video at up to 60 fps
  • ISO 100-26,000
  • Built in Flash plus hot shoe mount

Review and specs for the Alpha A77ii

 

 

Leica TL – $1,600 -body only. Lenses run between $1,500 and $3,000

Leica-TL,-titanium-colored-Order-no.-18112_teaser-1200x800

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LEICA-TL-LENSES_Window-teaser_2400x940_teaser-1200x470

 

 

 

 

  • 16 mega pixels
  • APC-C Sensor
  • Fully auto and manual modes
  • Lens not included
  • Built in Flash – no hot shoe mount
  • ISO 100-12,500
  • HD 1080p 30fps video
  • Wi-Fi and smart phone Apps

Review and specs for the Leica TL

If you can, SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL CAMERA STORE.  You can find these cameras on-line for a great price, but many local camera stores will match the online price. I’m a big believer in shopping locally if you can.  Plus, there is a certain tactile satisfaction in going to the store and holding the camera.  If you’re in San Francisco, Los Angeles or Santa Barbara, I recommend Samy’s Camera – they also have a great online selection and will ship tax free in many cases.   But, if you don’t have a  store near you – B&H  photo (based in New York) has great prices.

Happy Shooting!

 

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