Ronnie Bliss Photography shares how branding and rebranding photography can help you shape your image to your peers and potential clients to drive your business forward!Read More
Ronnie Izon of Ronnie Bliss Photography explains why brand images and photos are crucial to improving your web presence to build trust with potential clients.Read More
On or off, that is the trending question.
There is no shortage of opinion on how to respond to Instagram’s decision to display posts based on their new algorithm. A simple Google search will confirm that. This is further compounded for wedding photographers and every visual artist.
- Turn ‘off’ which is the same as leave it as it currently is, meaning the default position and allow the new algorithm to take effect. Similar to Facebook, it determines the post it serves up based on what it thinks you like or will like. - Or, the new rave, turn ‘on’ so that you will be notified each time the profile you follow uploads a post.
Here is the major opportunity or challenge depending on your position.
- ON and you’ll never miss a post. In fact, you receive a ding (notification) each time that profile uploads a post. - Since you receive a notification per upload, question is, how many notifications do you wish to receive in a day? An hour? During peak post time? Because notification is based on post upload, for each profile are you following and have enabled. So, how many times do you wish to be notified again?
Let’s make this relevant, say just one of the profiles you follow uploads 5 posts, that equals 5 notifications right? Not bad. Now let’s multiply that by say 10 or 20 or maybe 50 of the profiles you have enabled … you see where I’m going with this? Don't worry, I’ll help with the math, that’s 50, 100 or 250 notifications respectively. And that’s only 50 of the how many profiles do you follow again? I don’t know about you but I often find myself constantly turning notification OFF in several Facebook posts simply because it interrupts my day. Why? I get caught up in ‘being social’ if I take a peep when it is not my dedicated ‘social’ time. By the time I look up I find I’ve been on Facebook longer than intended.
I did say in my Monday post to turn notification on for not only me but also for the profiles you know and love. To be clear, I will turn notification on for a handful of profiles I love because I wish to be notified when they upload a post. Those accounts have a message or are on a journey I wish to follow. For profiles I follow and love, and may have missed their post, I purposefully go out of my way to search their profiles for new posts if it is not presented in my current feed for whatever reason on both Facebook and Instagram. They may have posted at a time that’s different from my social interaction time, but because they are important to me I go searching and show some love.
My goal is not to tell you what to do – ON or OFF, rather it is to cause you to PAUSE before you turn notification on, and then MAKE THE BEST DECISION FOR YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS because it ‘fits’ your business style.
On or off? What is your position? Please comment below. And share this post if you find this blog post useful.
This week in the small business app series, I share the three applications I use for my wedding and lifestyle photography business. When it comes to photography, there are literarily several hundreds of apps to enhance your images. From the mega apps such as Adobe to quick on the go apps designed just for held devices, there is no shortage of apps. Deciding which app is right for your business can come from various reviews and recommendation. I believe you will find the app that fits your particular editing style. For me, here are the three apps that have worked well.
- Photo Mechanic by Camera Bits is one of the best apps I adopted early on. It lives up to its reputation as an ‘image browser and workflow accelerator that lets you view your digital photos with convenience and speed.’ Imagine needing to cull through several thousand imagines after an 8 hour wedding day. For culling images, Photo Mechanic does a better job than Adobe Lightroom. I use two of its features - cull and export. I do not edit in this app.
- Cull images. My RAW image handling preference is set to open with Photo Mechanic so it automatically opens the app. The initial selection is supposed to be quickly decisive. The question I ask myself when I look at an image is this: does it have a story or not? That’s it in Photo Mechanic.
- So, with fingers poised on the keyboard, I use these three selection criteria: 1, 2, 3. 1 is a definite keeper while 2 is a definite no. I use 3s as maybe.
- The ‘maybe’ is my undoing, and this is where I waste time agonizing over well… maybe… major time waster. Make your selection. Move on.
- Sort and export. I sort and export images into a ‘selected’ folder. I will share my folder structure in the coming weeks. Any images I have not decisioned are moved into an ‘extra’ folder. The card is ejected and stored away. That’s it!.
Of all the features and functionalities this great app is capable of, I only use cull and export. Free to try, $150 to purchase
- Adobe Lightroom, now part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, is where my images are edited. It is a non-destructive app, meaning you can edit an image to your hearts content but the original file remains untouched.
- To be clear, I only edit small job, major jobs are sent out for post processing and I receive what is called a catalog in return. The catalog holds all the edits or changes made to the original file. The catalog is imported into Adobe Lightroom directly into the ‘selected’ folder I talked about earlier.
- Launch the catalog and you’re notified that the file is missing and needs to be located. Browse to the ‘selected’ folder, click the correct image number and Lightroom will automatically copy the metadata from the edited file onto the original file, and does the same for all files in the folder. From here, I apply my set of preferred ‘Presets’ to achieve my desired look.
Of all the features of Lightroom, I love, love, love the preview feature which incidentally is another time-wasting trap. I waste time wanting to ‘see’ what an image will look like using this or that preset. Multiply 2-3 minutes by oh, say 50 images? You get the point.
3. Adobe Photoshop is another part of the creative cloud suite. To say this app is a beast would not be an exaggeration. It’s easy to learn but a lifetime to master, and I doubt if that’s even possibly because they keep coming up with new and efficient features. This is my go to app for a handful of images I need to take to the next level.
- Images are exported from Lightroom or opened directly from a folder into Photoshop for further manipulation. Like Lightroom presets, Photoshop uses ‘Actions’ for image manipulations. And I’m sure you guessed it here, I thumb through several actions before I pinch myself.
- It is also used for album design, although InDesign, another member of the Adobe creative suite is better suited for album design.
The two features I love the most about Photoshop is its use of layers and workspace. Layers you probably know are efficient when neatly grouped into a folder but nearly impossible to ungroup once flattened. For this reason, I export my finished job in whatever file type I need but try never to flatten a layer. Once flattened, the original file is destroyed.
Now a subscription service, it is still free to try with multiple membership levels. Photography is $9.99 for Lightroom and Photoshop.
My goal was not to review any of these apps, extensive books have been written on each one, lectures and workshops have been and continue to be delivered daily. If you wish to learn more, I recommend Creative Live, a 24/7 online teaching site. My goal is to share the apps I use and the features used in my personal workflow.
What application have you found useful in our workflow? Its your turn to share. If you've enjoyed this series, please consider sharing with your friends, and remember to leave a comment. Next week, I'll share my folder structure.
This week I continue with sharing three more go to tools and gadgets on my solopreneur adventure and achieving the work-life balance. The three tools are grouped into two categories - social media management and all round ‘sanity saving’ must have gadget.
- Writing and publishing a blog has so many moving parts it is easy to want to throw in the towel but it doesn’t have to be. Preparing the images used in each blog post for social media used to send me back into Photoshop until Amy and Jordan Ramos did a review on Blog Stomp and I was hooked. As the app touts, “Blog like a boss, then relax – you’ve earned it.” Seriously, their website says so but of all the bells and whistles of this app, the following three features are my go to: a. Automatic image sizing, multiple layout with preview option before you ‘Stomp It!’. Be forewarned, the preview option can become your new friend. b. Writing my blog and having direct access to just the perfect image that is correctly sized for all hand held devices; all within the same app is an awesome timesaver. c. Add categories, alt or title tags for SEO (yes, there’s that too) and you’re ready to either publish directly or upload as draft to Word Press to add your finishing touches.
- Next is Hootsuite. Finding just the right time to post on Instagram and connecting with your ideal audience in a sea of visually stimulating images reminds me of mastering the art of tightrope walking. Enter Hootsuite! The social network management platform that performs wonders for my business. My two go to features are: a. Ability to manage my 3 social platforms – Facebook, Instagram and Google+ b. IT analyzes my audience interaction and recommends just the right time to post. When its time, Hootsuite sends a notification to my smartphone, follow about 3 or so prompts and it's done. As in posted. Online! That alone is worth the admission for me.
- Ever needed to save the day? Or your sanity and you’re stuck in a major metropolis traffic? Oh, like let’s say Maryland/DC/VA i495 beltway or Houston, TX loop? I have just the remedy. Waze App! This magic GPS uses the power of social media to “outsmart traffic” and I can vouch for their claim to fame. Here are the three of the features I LOVE. LOVE. LOVE the most: a. You can customize your preference and it remembers your favorite way home, or out. b. It alerts you on upcoming gridlock and automatically reroute based on that info. c. It very nicely informs you when one of the ‘state finest’ is up ahead, hidden or visible.
Wave outsmarts traffic so well I once considered making a donation just for saving my sanity after a particularly difficult rainy 45-minute-ride-turned-to-90-minutes on I495 beltway only to find Waze has been purchased by Google at which point I promptly put my card away, nah, Google doesn’t need my 2 cents but the app IS. THAT. GOOD!
As you already know, there are more apps out there that does similar or better than these three, they are simply the ones that I rely on for my business. Next week, I will share the three go to apps for my images. Full disclaimer, I use the free version of most applications and only subscribe until I absolutely have to.
I hope you find these apps useful. If you do please consider sharing it with your friends.
Today is an easy read I promise. It’s random facts about my life, so grab a cup of your favorite drink, snuggle up while I put a smile on your face.
1. “Failure to reduce speed in adverse weather conditions” – the EXACT WORDING of the very first moving violation I received over 20 years ago. I still remember it because getting the ticket did not dampen my high spirit for finishing the last statistics exam for life! Moreover, I was too gullible to challenge the ticket considering I was only going 5 miles over the speed limit and just happen to pass PG County ‘finest’ when other drivers had slowed down.
2. 11 – my SHOE SIZE if I can ever find one. I tend to purchase 2 pairs when I get lucky, in different colors of course. And don’t say check Nordstrom’s, they may have it but not always in my style. What girl doesn’t have her own style?
3. Royal blue, purple and brown – my FAVORITE COLORS. Don’t ask me to pick one. It will be a long process.
4. Hot coffee – my favorite SLEEPING DRUG of choice. Add fluffy socks, pillow, and comforter and I’m down for the count.
5. One of seven siblings, one of six girls and 2ND IN LINE OUT OF 25 and counting children/grandchildren/cousins/nephew/nieces just from my mom’s tree alone. My mom believes she’s the female Abraham.
6. 216,000 plus – TOTAL MILES on my old Toyota Highlander. I drove every inch of those miles chauffeuring kids/carpool/football/wrestling/softball/ice hockey athletes/Robotics meetings/college move in and out, and everything in between. From Bowie to Ocean City, MD to Virginia Beach, VA. Bethesda to Severn, MD, Providence, RI to Morgantown, West Virginia, to Burlington, NC. Phew!
7. 8 – the NUMBER OF READING GLASSES in various shapes and colors that I own. Some gizmo declared me far sighted so I’m saddled with those things perched on my nose only for reading of course. Problem is I always lose them. The solution to saving my sanity from the constant searching is to leave a pair in each room, bathroom and kitchen included. I even have an extra pair in the car. My grandma used to say if it doesn't have a voice, it's not smarter than you! Problem solved!
8. Brad Thor, David Baldacci, Preston & Child – my grip-you-from-the-start, blood-pumping-heart-racing, hard-to-put-down, drive-around-the-neighborhood-a-little-longer, stay-up-if-you-must FAVORITE FICTIONAL, MYSTERY & SUSPENSE, and THRILLER AUTHORS. I love the local library CD collection. Yes, it must be CDs, not downloads. There's something magical about changing those CDs and the return trip to the library. It makes me feel like a kid with a library card. My tax dollars at work!
9. ALL GIRLS SCHOOL – my early formative years in the Anglican school system. Both elementary and secondary school. Clothes at least 2 inches below the knee, hair all natural and cut short, no longer than an inch. Not a smidgen of nail polish, not even the clear one. And you have to sit properly, after all, ladies do not cross their legs. Those rules stick with you forever.
10. DO I GET A REFUND FOR THE DAY? – the question I ask my kids when they claim to be sick and can’t go to school. Funny how they managed to live through the school day and come home all healthy. I bet they’ll use the same parent knows best trick on their kids someday, or maybe not. My job is done.
11. Mamma Mia – my favorite musical of all times. Watched it at least 5 times at the movie theater and over 20 times on DVD until the boys declared they'd had enough of Merryl Streep and hid or broke it, can’t find it since. SLIPPING THROUGH MY FINGERS holds a special place in my heart.
There you have it, another glimpse into my life. Care to share one or two of your random fact?
- Introduce Vibrant Journal, a weekly journal to bring you along on my journey, share relevant and even entertaining vibrant life, love and living.
- Expand Ronnie Bliss Photography. More to come on this topic in future posts.
- Enhance the Ronnie Bliss Wedding Experience. My ultimate goal is to pull off an annual weekend getaway with my brides. Lofty for now but I'll get there.
- Continue to improve my craft by getting out of my comfort zone. Never stop learning.
- Surround me with people that are smarter, wiser and all round interested in my success. Business coach, mentors and cheerleaders.
- Improve blogging to at least 2 times a week. Consistently. This blogging thing is HARD work!
- Read at least 1 business book per month. January read - Jab, jab, jab, RIGHT HOOK by Gary Vaynerchuk.
- Hire an intern or part-time assistant. I can't do it alone.
A great segway into my personal goals:
- Get at least 7 hours of sleep. Every day sleep. Any small business owner will understand this one.
- Travel, travel, travel. Did I say travel? I promise to bring you along through my images. Or better yet, pack a bag, let's go!
- Read 2 books per month for pleasure. My daughter does not agree that audiobooks are same as 'reading', so I will 'listen' to at least 2 books.
- Complete a 52-week photo challenge just for pleasure. This is a CHALLENGE I'm willing to try. I already missed week 1, but I'm not deterred, be patient with me. Clickin Moms is my source of inspiration, in case you wish to tag along.
Do something Good for someone this Monday.
Welcome to another beautiful week. Even more special since it's Thanksgiving week this side of the world. A double header to do something good this Monday for someone else and give thanks all week long.
Todays’ task? Tell them.
Tell anyone and everyone around you that you are truly thankful to have in your life or sphere of influence what each person mean to you. Tell your families, friends, loved ones. How you tell them is up to you, but tell them, verbalize it, communicate, let them know what they mean to you. Tell your frenemies too because without them, you wouldn't be where you are today.
Take this a step further, it's Thanksgiving week afterall, count the many blessings you're thankful for, and tell each source of that blessing. Number your challenges too, they make us strong. Think of them as the speed bump in the road that slows us down when we suddenly find ourselves running the Indy 500 without a plan, it causes us to refocus.
Make a difference today, all week long, tell someone how thankful you are to have them in your life.
Do Something Good, for someone else. Happy Monday!
Love the idea? Share the post. Have an idea? Lets hear it. Until next Monday…. Do something Good for someone.