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Vendor Tips for Live Events

Vendor Tips for Live Events

 

Two years ago I was working on a business plan, preparing to launch Dandelion Digital. At the time my business plan played to my strength and experience…photography and social media for live events. While I completely love the switch to brands for small business, it was great to have live events on my calendar again this month!

Marketing Live Events on Social Media

One of these live events was a craft show. I was so pumped to work with the organizers. Back in my employee days I did a lot of work on trade shows, so this was almost nostalgic for me.

This live event was the first big craft sale in nearly 2 years, featuring Atlantic Canada artisans. A few weeks before the event I started a social media campaign to introduce the vendors, and their products. It was very simple, and drove a lot of awareness and engagement.

From that experience I have a couple of tips for vendors as they return to live events.

 

Vendor Bio’s

Are you submitting your bio to be shared in a program or post for the live event? Writing it in third person gives the reader a narrative they can relate to.  Use your name rather than ‘I’. For instance if you read “I am a photographer”, rather than “Allison is a photographer”, which works better from your perspective as the reader?

If you are a show organizer with several different vendors, speakers, or presenters, create a quick questionnaire with leading questions to help them provide information in their bio that would appeal to the ideal customer of your event. That helps them know how to talk about themselves, and gives every bio a consistent, yet unique spin.

 

 

Vendor Photos

A photo may be the first impression of your product. I can showcase the detail of your craftsmanship. If you are posting (or submitting) photos of what you are selling, you want it to grab peoples attention. Keep these photo tips in mind.

  • Start taking pictures during your process for a behind the scenes look
  • Try for a close up that emphasizes detail – try different angels
  • Keep your picture as uncluttered as you can so your product really stands out.
  • Back away and show your full display or booth – watch for distracting items like garbage, coffee cups, extension cords
  • While you are at it, shoot a quick video spanning across your entire display
  • Shoot vertically and horizontally to fit different formats
  • Be sure of your focus
  • Straighten your photo
  • Colour correct your photo – be sure your whites are white
  • Keep your photos in a “photo bank” to repurpose for social media posts and other vendor shows.

 

For more details on some of these tips, refer to these 3 Photo Tips to Get Started on Social Media.

If you are not sure of how some of these tips are put into practice, consider getting in touch. You can also DM through Facebook or Instagram at @dandeliondigitalhfx.

3 more Photo Tips to Elevate your Social Media

3 more Photo Tips to Elevate your Social Media

 

We all want to curate a perfect Instagram feed. Earlier this spring I started this series on photo tips for social media. We looked at lighting, building a Photo bank, and watching for distractions in your background.

Go back and check it out. This month I want to share

3 more photo tips to help elevate your social media images.

 Are you ready? Let’s go!

1. SELFIES are a solo-preneurs best friend when you want to add a photo and don’t have an entourage around. Set your phone on a window sill, a tripod, or even propped up with books, and use the self timer so you can be hands free.

Selfies are most flattering when you are standing in even light, facing sunlight, with the camera slightly above eye level, leaning towards the camera. Push your butt back, slide your ears forward, and stick your tongue behind your teeth for a NATURAL LOOK. It may not (let’s be honest – will not) feel very natural, but in a 1D image, butt back, eyes forward will be the most flattering. Remember, unless you are a Kardashian, this is your brand, and how you are representing your business.

 How can you add selfies into your content plan?

  • Showcase your community when you are out and about.
  • Shout out to your favourite business when you are in their shop
  • Tag a client during a consultation or meeting
  • Share a personal behind the scenes

Pro Tip: selfies can be both a photo, or a video, which leads to tip number 2.

2. VIDEO. This is about photo tips, so you may say they are not photos, but really, they are moving pictures taken with your camera, so I say, they kinda are. And in the trends of social media, video is becoming more and more analytically important to incorporate in your social media strategy. In a recent study of nearly five and half million post, “Video content receives 49% higher interactions than images” even though the majority of post were photos.

How can you incorporate video into your social media calendar? Pre-recorded video spliced into Instagram Reel of 15, 30 or 60 second intervals. 

IGTV is Instagrams longer format stand alone channel that allows for 60 second to 60 minute prerecorded videos. 

Lives are now available on several platforms, giving the opportunity for demos, tutorials, and community conversations. 

If you have not started to work with video yet, I found Reels are a great place to start. They can be creatively edited, and take away the fear of going live. My first reel has 88 views. I posted this reel today (note: you can download reels to your camera roll to repurpose like I have done here, but it is without sound and with a watermark), that in just a couple hours has over 2400 views, 37 likes and 5 comments. Here’s the thing. It had absolutely nothing to do with my business. It was about building engagement. Letting my followers get a look behind the curtain of my life. Building the know-like-trust factor.

3. My final photo tip is … EDIT your photos for extra impact, but don’t overdo it! For me the first thing I look at in editing a photo is to make sure it is straight. From there I want to be sure my contrast, colour and exposure pop.  

Free apps like Adobe Photoshop Express or Snapseed and even your in-phone editor are great tools. There are so many to choose from for impact, creativity and even crazy effects.

So, in all that is 6 Photo Tips for your social media. Let’s recap.

  1. Lighting
  2. Background Distractions
  3. Photo Bank
  4. Selfies
  5. Video
  6. Editing

Maybe in the fall I will share 3 more. What are you looking for, how can I help? Drop me a DM on Instagram at @DandelionDigitalHFX

Me & My Camera. A Camera Day Tale.

Me & My Camera. A Camera Day Tale.

Today is Camera Day.

Invented nearly 200 years ago in France, the first still image took nearly half an hour to expose. Fast forward to the modern digital camera, with instant results!

First sold in Japan 32 years ago, a commercial DSLR (digital single lens reflex is a camera with interchangeable lens) sold for $13,000 with 1.3 megapixel (source). Compare that to today’s 12MP iPhone 11.

I first discovered my love of photography at 16. I had a little Kodak 110 instamatic camera that I took to NYC. After the trip, I took my film cartridges to the drug store to be developed, and waited the week for them to come back. There was something magical about that waiting period (if you could stand the impatience).

The joy of reliving the trip.

The thrill of seeing the image.

Later that year I signed up for my grade 11 classes, with an option for Cooperative Education in photography. I got my first real camera, a used Canon AE-1, and  began a new love affair with the darkroom. Developer. Stop Bath,  (if you are nodding then your nose is probably burning too!) and the dreaded reticulation effect.

Out of high school I started my first real job was a photographer with (not in) the Air Force. By this time my dad had been posted overseas and after graduation I was hired at the Base Photo Unit in Lahr, Germany. This was the best learning experience ever. It defined my photo journalistic style.  I bought my first new camera, a Minolta 7000, while I was trained on Nikon and Hasselblad. Any given day I was

  • on the tarmac for a General’s inspection
  • getting called out in the middle of the night by first responders
  • along the boards at a unit hockey game
  • once I was even on the wing of a Herc
  • and every day I was in the darkroom

I returned to Canada for college – Photo Tech.

After returning to Germany, getting married, and being posted to Manitoba, now as an army wife, I worked in photo studios. One doing portraits, the other as a darkroom tech for a wedding studio.

Posted again to Alberta, now with 3 young children, I stayed home for a few years and ran a dayhome. Slowly I started to cultivate a home based photography business focusing on Weddings & Family Moments. At this point the industry was shifting to digital, but I was holding strong to film.

I remember buying my first flip phone, completely based on its 2MP camera.

Then the parenting shift occurred.

Suddenly I was volunteering for the preschool board, the soccer board and the gymnastics board.

Was I crazy?

Best thing I did. Some of those connections are still my best friends today.

This is also where I started the shift to digital, and began the ground work for where I am today!

Volunteering always involved photography. Then I was asked to do newsletters. Then Facebook appeared. I bought a digital camera. Already having a small collection of lens, I stuck with Minolta, buying a Maxxum 7D.

Digital was a whole new beast.

  • SD cards instead of film.
  • Instant replay on the back screen.
  • New light meter.
  • White balance.
  • Histogram (digital meter measuring exposure and colour).
  • No more darkroom.

I went back to school and learned Photoshop and Digital Imaging. The path was laid.

Back in the workforce, jobs were based on shooting community events and posting stories. The local radio station, Chamber of Commerce, and an event services company.

By this time I had a Sony A850 with a beautiful 1.8 135mm Karl Zeiss lens. As any photographer will tell you, good glass is the most expensive part of our kit bag. As cameras evolved, upgrading the body was practical. Sony had taken over Minolta so all my lenses, even the old film ones, had the same bayonet to fit all 3 bodies.

As the kids got older and jobs started to build my network in the community, the photography business shifted away from weddings and into corporate work. A grant allowed me to upgrade my entire DSLR kit. I wanted higher resolution, less noise (grain). Coming full circle, I bought a Nikon D810.

Now posted to Nova Scotia, and my first full time Entrepreneurship.

So today I pause. I reflect on my love affair with my cameras.

The stories they have told.

The family archivist.

The vacation companion.

The carry-on luggage.

The tool of the trade.

Other than my coffee pot, it is the single most used item I own.

The beauty of Camera Day is we can all participate. Get out and shoot. No matter if it is on Manual in the RAW, or with an old iPhone 6s, shoot, shoot shoot!

Pro Tip: Today is Camera Day, but tomorrow is Social Media Day, so be stategic and plan accordingly!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Photo Tips to Get Started on Social Media

3 Photo Tips to Get Started on Social Media

Everyone is looking for photo tips for social media. We all want to look great on Instagram. Filters and apps create pictures easier than ever before, but it is kind of like microwaving a pre-made dinner. The end results may be there but the craftsmanship is missing. 

The last few years we have been striving for the perfect Instagram grid. Beautiful, bright, airy images. But if you start with a photo that is flat, dark and dingy, you shouldn’t be asking how a filter can fix it, you should be asking, how can I make it better from the start. 

I want to share with you a few of my priority tips to help you post with purpose through photography & social media. 

Photo Tips to get Started on Social Media:

LIGHTING is KEY:

Photography translates as painting with light. We want to look for even, natural light. 

Outside, clouds are a photographers best friend. They act as a diffuser, a soft box. Bright sunshine creates hard shadow lines, glare, and squinting. If clouds are not in the forecast look for shade. Go around the corner and shoot behind a building. Find a tree to go under, or a tree line to put between you and the sun. 

ProTip: if shooting in “tree shade” watch the ground for patches and try to be sure your subject is in an even shade patch. This helps avoid the patch work of lines on faces and objects.

If shooting inside, window light is brilliant, and free! The trick is to use a window (or door) away from the sun. Soft, natural indirect light again avoids harsh shadows and highlights. If you can add in a few reflective pieces such as simple white poster board, that not only increases your light value, but reduces the shadows. 

Flat lay photos can showcase your products and creations, and can be used to highlight your services.

Watch for BACKGROUND DISTRACTIONS:

If you are wanting a lifestyle social media presence to showcase you are your products, you want a natural, distraction free background in your photos. 

What is distraction free? Take a test shot. What is the first thing that jumps out at you? Is it your subject or is it:

  • a water bottle in the foreground – remove it 
  • a coffee cup in the background – remove it
  • a dark shadow – block that light or move your subject
  • a hair out place – fix it
  • a necklace or tie that hangs uneven – adjust it
  • a tree branch coming out of a person’s head – change your angle
  • extra people walking behind – wait for them to go

By taking the extra few minutes to take a test photo, and scan the space you are photographing, you can avoid unwanted distractions in your image.

Build a PHOTO BANK

Picture this. A baker makes a beautiful cake, with the best decorating she has ever done. Over the next several months she fills her social media with posts on all the celebrations her cake would be perfect for. Each post has a beautiful story that suggests a different event. 

  • A birthday 
  • An engagement 
  • An anniversary
  • A baby shower
  • Mother’s Day
  • A retirement

Sadly no one reads the beautiful stories because when people reach her feed they see the same photo used over and over again. They don’t bother to click the Read More of the caption. They never get to her story, her deal, her call to action. 

Had she taken multiple photos, at different angles, of her perfectly decorated cake, she could have showcased them on her grid, or homepage in multiple ways.

ProTip: Shoot video as well to create Reels and Stories.

A little pre-planning of how the photos could be used creates an opportunity to bring in props to shoot with the cake, and create a photo bank to use later.

Dandelion Digital brand photography for Temi Bakes Pre-planning the photos not only makes the photo shoot go smoothly, but it helps you pre-plan your content. How-to posts to Educate. Behind-the-scenes to Entertain. Showcase posts to Endorse your CTA. Need more information on this, ask about our brand photography for social media

A photo bank is essentially a safe place to deposit your pictures. An external hard drive or cloud where you can create folders for easy access. Folders can be by date, project, location. Whatever works for you. 

Cloud drives are especially important if you are part of a team, or you outsource any aspect of your business to a VA or social media manager. Google Drive, Dropbox, Prime for example, allow for multiple access points and sharing. Just be sure you have them set with secure passwords and authorizations. 

I hope these photo tips come in handy as you get started, or look to take your social media to the next level.

Looking to upscale your photography with a branding photo shoot to really showcase you and your business. I would love to chat.

A Photographer’s Iceberg

A Photographer’s Iceberg

As a brand photographer I create images to help you post with purpose. Images that showcase you and what you offer, to help reach your ideal client, customer or community.

I don’t just take pictures.

A few years ago I heard a story that stuck. Let me paraphrase

A couple had a dinner party, serving a gourmet meal. They spent all day creating the feast for their friends. One of their guests was a photographer and the host commented, “your photos are beautiful, you must have a very good camera”. The photographer replied by saying, “thank you for the wonderful meal, you must have a very good oven”

 

We have likely all seen the iceberg infographics that shows what the consumer, or client sees a business do above the water, versus the actual involvement under water. The many tasks and expenses that are behind the scenes. 

Every industry has such an iceberg. Some more obvious than others. 

Recently I was on a networking call with creators. A lady showed us a stained glass tea light holder she had designed and made in her art studio. It was $30! I remember silently scoffing and thinking, no-way. Then she explained her process. The detail of her design. The expense of the glass. The precision of her cuts and sauters, and the time involved. Really at $30 she gains to make very little profit. 

I did not understand her iceberg.

A photographer also has an iceberg. As does a social media manager, graphic designer, an event planner, and a chef. Pick an industry and consider their iceberg.

Now I have been a photographer my whole life. My first big girl full time job as a photographer was at 20, and 30 years later (ignore the math), as an entrepreneur my iceberg is real.

Typically what a client realizes involves them is the discovery call, the proposal, the shoot and the actual photos. Everything else is under, or within the iceberg. 

 

Under the iceberg are all the things we do as a business, for the business. The things within the iceberg are for the benefit of the client, but behind the scenes.

The base of my photographer’s iceberg includes years of training and experience. It includes my equipment (not shown) and all the parts of creating a business. All this before I even get to talk to a potential client. 

As a service provider, when deciding on fees it is not just the one-on-one time spent with a client that goes into the pricing. We don’t always understand this in others, and vice versa.

I really appreciated this when I meet my daughter for lunch after a mini session. She asked what I charged, and I told her. She was shocked that a 30 minute shoot is $225.

 

What she didn’t realize is that 30 minute shoot likely had a couple hours invested before I even packed all my equipment in the back of my car. Then after the shoot another few hours in post production. Selecting the final images. Enhancing them in photoshop, sizing and saving them for their required use. Uploading them in a gallery, then more emails for delivery and invoicing. So the 30 minute proverbial iceberg was closer to 5 hours of work. 

 

I recently hired a service provider to create a program for me because I have neither the time, nor the skill set to do it myself. When she gave me her quote I nearly choked, so I had her explain to me the steps she does. I realized the time involved. The learning curve she is releasing me from, and results I will get for my money. Once I understood all that, I did not hesitate in booking her. I understood her iceberg.

 

What is your iceberg? How surprised do you think others would be at what is below the water line?

 

 

Tips For a Safe & Successful Brand Photography Session.

Tips For a Safe & Successful Brand Photography Session.

A photo shoot can succeed even with social distancing

I have been a photographer since I was 16 years old, and still love it all these years later. In January 2020 I took my experience as an event photographer & social media manager and launched my first entrepreneurship, Dandelion Digital. 

And we all know how 2020 turned out. 

Spring has sprung in 2021! As vaccines roll out, and Covid cases remain low (if you didn’t already know, I am in Halifax, Canada), and the Atlantic bubble prepares to reopen, many of us are preparing for a renewed sense of back to business.

But is your business the same as it was last spring? It has been a full year since everything shut down for Covid19. In that time many businesses have made a pivot. Many of us are working from home still. 

Maybe you did more then pivot. Maybe you took the leap and started your own business! Fantastic, congratulations!

Now that we have taken a moment to consider the changes, consider this… does your brand need an update? 

Are the photos on your website and social media still representing your business today? 

Do you have a professional headshot that people will recognize? 

As a photographer, my pivot was towards more brand photography. It has been an excellent, and exciting pivot. 

Not everyone is comfortable having their picture taken (me included!) Here are a few tips to help you prepare:

Pre-plan. 

Represent your brand. Consider colour, style and messaging.

  • Jump on Pinterest and search for ideas that give you the look and style you want. Create a board if it helps. Share it with your photographer, or anyone on your design team. 
  • Select your wardrobe at least a day in advance. I have had people know exactly what they wanted to wear, just to get up in the morning to realize they needed a plan B. 
  • Have a plan B 
  • Are you doing a wardrobe change? This can be as simple as changing your jacket or adding a scarf. Be sure to match new accessories with it.
  • Do a make up test. Chose colours that match your skin tone, your wardrobe, and your message

Practice

Once you get an idea of the pose or look you want for yourself, practice in front of a mirror.

  • see how it feels when you smile just right. Do you notice the difference between a fake smile and a genuine one (Hint, we see it in the eyes). 
  • try putting the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth
  • determine if you have a good side or a better side (there is no bad side)
  • hair up or down
  • glasses on or off
  • standing or sitting
  • the more you practice the more natural it will be in front of the camera and the more in control you will feel at your shoot

Relax! 

Easier said than done, right! 

  • bring your favourite playlist
  • have a water bottle nearby
  • have fun!

What should your shot list include:

A brand photography shoot is about letting your ideal client/customer into your world. Your photo list should include a variety of:

  • fun lifestyle images about you and your business
  • flatlays to showcase your products or services
  • behind the scenes of you (and your team)
  • and a headshot

 

Things have changed this past year so here are a few SAFETY protocols you may want to be aware of:

  1. Before I leave my car for a shoot I sanitize my hands and put on my mask. 
  2. When we first meet, I may try to reach out and shake your hand, then pull it back embarrassingly. This is not because I have cooties … it’s because the whole world does! 
  3. During the actual shoot I will be sure to remain at least 6 feet away because I will need to remove my mask; or hold my breathe. My viewfinder fogs up with the mask and there is no way to see through it to set up the shot and make sure my settings and focus are spot on. 

Are you ready to make the investment?

Dandelion Digital currently offers 3 Brand Photography packages, plus social media content strategy options so you understand how to utilize your photos. (read more here).

Photography for Business is perfect for those that have new creations or inventory each season.

Brand Photography for Social Media helps tell your story to reach your ideal client or customer.

A Brand Photography Mini session is for a quick refresh!