5 tips for new bloggers
Blogging is still fairly new to me. But I already have some advice to give. I think that is one of the best kept secrets to being successful in anything. Share your knowledge and help others be successful too! I believe that by encouraging others and sharing what has helped me, I will succeed.
Get a planner and use it.
I know it may sound so 20TH CENTURY, but a pen and paper planner can be a great thing! Posts on blogs need to be consistent, plan your posts and keep a running/working list of ideas for blogging. Make sure you have lot of note pages for jotting down ideas and lists of what you want to write. You never know when the ideas will hit you! You can find nice planners on Etsy at DivineElementsDesign.
*****Full disclosure: I don't make a dime if you buy this one! Just happens to be free plug for a fellow blogger! She even extols the benefits of a planner on her blog, Decoratorsvoice.com *****
Where to share your posts.
This will be a ever evolving section of this post. Right now I use Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The big four I call them. Now there are others that I am still discovering. In facebook there are several blogging groups that I belong to, #Blogsharelearn and Blog + Biz BFFs. These groups are great ways to meed new blogging friends, learn new information and share your blog. Stumbleupon is a cooler not all recipe version of Pinterest, and a great place to share!
Blog for the following you want, Not the following you have
Thank you Nakeya! I didn't come up with the phrase myself. I fellow blogger that I mention above was where I heard the phrase first. I am currently following this very thing. I joke that even my mom doesn't read my blog. But really, I am three months into this, Have a list of topics, and plans for my blogging. I am blogging as often as I can. I am promoting my blog everywhere I can find. I have only like three followers, lol. Ok, more than that are reading, but there still isn't a lot of commenting and interaction on my posts. That doesn't stop me! There are people out there who want to know what I have to say! Hopefully! LOL. My point is, I am going to keep blogging, writing, posting. The followers will come! IF you build it, they will come! Well, and share it, and promote it.......
Make contacts, make friends, promote others and let them promote you!
Join groups, make friends, follow other blogs, and comment on their posts. Share their posts, ask for shares, comments, and likes. Promote others blogs in yours, and they will help you! There are so many bloggers out there sharing the written word on everything from grass seed to the most popular colors for Spring. Find some you like or that are similar to your own! The more interactive you are, the more interaction you will receive! But, be genuine in your interactions and in the connections you make. Don't post and run, like, share and interact!
How much time should I give to my Blog?
As much as you can! It takes a lot of time to plan your posts, write them, add interesting graphics, provide links, and get your post ready to publish. Then you have to pin it, stumble it, tweet it, facebook it. Then you have to share it in groups. It takes effort everyday.
In addition, you have to network with other bloggers to learn, share, and make connections that will benefit you both. Set aside a time everyday. The more consistent you are, the better off you and your blog will be!
What are your suggestions for new bloggers? What are you doing to promote your blog? What are you doing to grow your followers? LEt me know! SHare your blog in the comments!
How to treat other photographers
The beginner guide on how to treat other Photographers
I see so many posts in Facebook groups that shock me! Photographers discussing how they have been mistreated by other photographers. For instance: one photographer took a nice couch out to a public park for a day she had multiple clients set up. While shooting she walked with her clients 15 ft away to shoot a different pose. Other Professional photographers started using her couch and were using it when she was ready with her next clients. Now there are so many things I see wrong with this, but I will get to them in my RULES OF PHOTOGRAPHER ETIQUETTE.
Now I'm not going to go all Emily Post on you. I don't care what side of the plate your place your fork or if you address your thank you note correctly for the wooden fertility statue your aunt Susie and her boyfriend sent you for your birthday. What I am going to cover are what should be some basic common sense things, but this day and age, people just have no clue!
Remember, what goes around comes around. If you help others, yes, you will get your butt bit every once in a while, but for the most part, good will come back to you!
GIve me your feedback!
What are you examples of how to treat or not treat fellow photogs? Give me a shout!
WHERE TO HAVE PICTURES TAKEN IN THE PIEDMONT TRIAD AREA OF NORTH CAROLINA
Deciding what photographer to use for your portraits can be confusing! Deciding where to have your pictures taken shouldn't be as hard. Your photographer should be able to make suggestions, but you may have somewheRe in mind as well.
I have a few places that I particularly like to shoot. They have a nice mixture of light and shade, nice trees, buildings, bridges, and settings for pictures. Finding locations you are comfortable shooting is important for photographers. You learn the lighting and best places for showing of your subjects beautifully. Thinking outside the box and finding new locations is good too!
My favorie spots in Kernersville and surrounding areas are:
This a beautiful park with shade and natural sunlight. A beautiful Gazebo and landscaped surroundings make a gorgeous fairytale backdrop for bridal portraits. The stone fountain adds a formal flair. Traffic can be an issue since it close to the road, so timing can be important.
PAUL Ciener BOTANICAL gardens
This is a beautiful garden with nice size trees and flowers that bloomin Spring and Summer. They ae doing a lot of "growing" at the gardens and the are plans for a lot of different exhibits in the future.
Nice feature, if you're "just a friend with a camera" there isn't at photography fee. But, call to make sure there isn't something planned whe you want to go, and make sure to follow their rules about staying out of the beds. They are strict about those rules to protect the growing plants.
FOURTH OF JULY PARK, KERNERSVILLE
Fourth of July Park in Kernersville offers a wide variety of options for shooting families, individuals, kids, and couples. With the old wooden school, beautiful tree lined walking trails, bridges over creeks, grassy open areas, swings and play areas, there are plenty of options for choosing pretty backgrounds. The following aren't bridal portraits or engagement portraits, but they show some of the beautiful settings in the park.
Tanglewood, in Clemmons, is a photographer's paradise. With a stately manor, barns and horse fields, lakes and fountains, old trains, gardens, natural walking paths, and kids play areas. You can find any setting from just about any picture.
There'should a charge to get in the park, but no photography permit is required for standard shoots. Be aware, they start putting up the Christmas lights like in September, so you may need to adjust areas or plan on photoshopping if they are in the way. Also check the website to see when events are planned. I would probably avoid weekends in the summer, the place will be pretty crowded, unless you go really early or really late in the day.
OTHER PLACES FOR PICTURES IN THE triad
There are lots of options for outdoor settings. Parks, lakes, public gardens just to name a few. If you want something different, find old dilapidated barns, hay fields, and abandoned old work trucks. Your grandmother has a beautiful rose garden? Fabulous!
This time of year, Christmas tree lots, and decorated towns make it easy to add special flare to your photos. Lit streets in small towns can add a fun look to individualize your portraits.
Think outside the box, find something that represents you! Find a place that will be special for you and help provide wonderful memories for a lifetime!
Where is your favorite place to have pictures taken? Leave me feedback in the comments!
Why should I volunteer?
So this is a little of the usual topic of my blog. But, I am compelled to write this because of a meeting a was in this week. We were trying to find ways to encourage the nomination of nurses that we work with for the Great 100 in Nursing Excellence Award. Once of the items that the award focuses on, in addition to leadership and participation in the workplace, is Volunteerism and activism outside of the workplace. They encourage nurses to be active in the community and give of their time and talents to help their community. Along with that discussion, came the question, "Well, where do we find volunteer opportunities?' I thought it would be a great post to just help identify ways to volunteer and give back to the community.
This post isn't just for nurses! Even though a lot of my references may come from nursing! (Helloooo,,,,,that is what I am and what I do, lol). It is for anyone wondering where to start volunteering. Many of us feel a need to help others, or share our talents and and blessings with others to better our community. It doesn't have to cost you anything but time and effort! It is a great feeling to know that you in someway made a difference in someone's life. A smile, a hug, a helping hand, or a word of encouragement can go along way! Knowing that you showed up to help can be a bright spot in someone's day!
Where Should I volunteer?
You may be wondering, "Where can I volunteer?" Think of your interests. Love sports? Volunteer with the local little league as a coach. Love photography? Volunteer at the local senior center teaching a basic digital photography class. Love landscaping? Volunteer with your church to reach out to disabled and elderly to help do their lawns. It doesn't matter what you like doing. cultivate a way to share it!
First places to start may seem a little obvious. Hospitals, Churches, Senior Centers, Homeless shelters, and soup kitchens. Hospitals use volunteers ALL THE TIME! They sit at information desks, take magazines around to patients, escort visitors to the right floors, run errands on units and all kinds of things. If you like a medical environment, this may be the place for you! Most hospitals have a volunteer services department that can welcome you in! Same goes for senior centers, homeless shelters and soup kitchens. Just call them! They will more than likely jump at the chance to put you to work!
I personally found a great opportunity at the Enrichment Center, in Downtown Winston Salem, it is a school for mentally challenged adults. They teach them life skills, health classes, art, history, photography, music, etc. It is a United Way affiliated organization. It was a fabulous opportunity. In the interest of full disclosure, I had to do it for a school project while completing my BS degree. But it was a fabulous experience and I plan to continue!
You can volunteer in the school systems. Ask about opportunities with your local Parks and Recreation, Adult Day care centers, Assisted Living Facilities would love to have help playing games, reading to residents, etc. Is environmental kinds of things more your cup o' tea? Adopt a road (that may just be a NC program, I don't know), Volunteer with group planting trees. Find a group cleaning streams. Do you have an "I heart Dogs" bumper sticker? The local animal shelter would probably love you to help. If they can't use you, You could most definitely plan a fundraiser to help them purchase papertowels, dog-food, treats, and vaccinations!
I found a Non-profit organization in NC, (there are probably similar ones in your area) called Pretty in Pink Foundation. They help uninsured and under-insured breast cancer patients in NC with financial assistance. I planned a vendor fair and shopping event at the park, with vendor fees and donations, as well as raffle money going to the organization. We raised almost 700.00! Now that was a several month process and took A LOT of hours to plan, so I am not advising you to jump feet first into that, but there are other ways to help! Most non profits have websites and will have an area where the list help that they need. Find something that you can do and go for it!
How to volunteer. Steps to figuring out how to volunteer
Step one. Call them! Check their website! Tell them you want to help them. Chances are, they are waiting on your call or waiting for you to sign up online!
Step two. Set aside time. One hour, two hours, Whatever you have!
Step there. Have fun! You will meet so many new people and experience different things! Enjoy it!
Step four. Step outside of the box. I had never really worked with mentally challenged adults before. It really opened up a whole new world to me. I was even able to use the experience on the job. Because I had experience, I was able to communicate with and help a mentally challenged patient who was scared and unsure of the environment he was in. My coworkers even noticed how I was able to relate to him and complemented me and the care I was able to give him. I wouldn't have been able to do that well, had I not stepped outside my little box and volunteered!
My point is, there IS opportunity to volunteer if you want to. It isn't hard to find, and you can create your own opportunities! Give of yourself and you will be amazed how much you get in return!
Links to sign up to volunteer in Winston Salem area
Where do you volunteer? What ideas do you have for finding volunteer opportunities? Let me know in the comments!
Rent vs buy. Series post 2
CONSUMER REVIEW OF ATSRENTALS.COM
My previous post in this series, Rent vs Buy: Options for trying new lenses, explained that I am exploring the option of renting lenses to try them out before I invest mucho money in new lenses. I am comparing three different companies, by renting the same to lenses from them. One company per month. Now I warn you, the upcoming post will sound like I was paid to write it. I promise you, I was not compensated in any way. I am going to give you an honest appraisal of my experiences. For testing purposes I am renting a 50mm f/1.4 AF-S and a 12-24mm f/4. Both for Nikon cameras. I may have to get different brands depending on the availability from each company.
Woohoo! I got home today, and exactly what was at my front door? Two lenses for me to play with from ATSRENTALS. And let me tell you, so far, I am loving ATS! The process was super easy to order, they had the lenses I wanted to try, and it was very reasonably priced. After I placed my order, it was only a few minutes before I got an email to verify my order. Open email, click link. Order verified. Next email came the next day that items had shipped.
Then, bless their hearts, they emailed me to tell me I would be getting a partial refund of my shipping costs! Whoa, what? Really? Yep, a refund. They were able to ship it to me cheaper than they had quoted because they had a lens returned early or something like that. So I'm getting money back!
So here are the things that I like about ATS so far. #1 Their prices were the same or cheaper as other companies. #2 Damage insurance was already included in the price. #3 They had the lenses I wanted. #4 They obviously have some kick-butt customer services peeps! #5 They sent me jelly beans! Now, I LOVE jelly beans, and these are even Jelly Belly jelly beans. MY favorite! #6 AND, to top it off? They sent packing tape for me to use to ship the lenses back! Oh my! Now I am one of those silly people that loves the post office, but they have saved me a trip out to get more packing tape, cause I ran out just this morning!
So far, ATS is batting 1000, baby! They may just be the J.J. Watt of the lens rental business! Yep, I had to throw J.J. in here somewhere. But, seriously, so far they've done everything right and then thrown in some unexpected special treats, too!
I did notice that there was a company that had a rewards program that applied points from rentals towards another rental, so this might be one thing ATS could do in the future, but with the service I have received at this point, it certainly isn't going to prevent me from using ATS in the future.
Now seems like a super time to let you know I have NO affiliation with ATS. They have not paid me for my review, and this review was completely unsolicited.
ANOTHER fab thing about ATS? They DON'T CHARGE FOR WEEKENDS!!!! Whoa! What? You mean I can get a lens delivered on Friday, use it Saturday and Sunday, ship it back on Monday and ONLY PAY FOR ONE DAY??? Yep, that is exactly what I mean!
So for these two lenses that were delivered on 11/5 and I will ship back on 11/10, I only paid $51.00 plus tax. I paid 49.00 shipping, but hey, they are refunding 28.82 of my shipping charges!
Pricing was the same as one of the other companies that I looked at, less than another, for theses two lenses. In addition, damage insurance did not cost extra. It was already included in the price. The other companies I have looked at so far charge additional for insurance that is required.
Wife, daughter, aunt, nurse, biker chic, aspiring photographer, pretend gourmet chef. That's me! I'm living the Just Peachy Life. This Blog will now be more dedicated to photography and the art form that speaks to me the most. I am moving the lifestyle and home-life posts to the Living the Just Peachy Life Blog to separate the two! Read more about me and _Living the Just Peachy Life!
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