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A few years ago, I picked up a camera and completely transformed my business. I love all things tropical, a damn good podcast, and keeping my plants alive. My mission? To help others live visually.

I'm Tracy Dungo.

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One Stop Shop for Visual Marketing Resources

Our list of must-read visual marketing resources for every entrepreneur.

So, you’re an entrepreneur looking for visual marketing, branding and photography tips? The good news is you don’t have to look to far to find a plethora of amazing free resources on the Internet for small business owners and entrepreneurs. There are countless sites dedicated to these categories that are putting out new info everyday. But why spend hours upon hours scrolling and skimming to find the gems when I’ve compiled this shortlist of our favorite visual marketing, branding and photography resources?! You’ll definitely need to bookmark this and refer back along the way of your brand’s journey!

Visual marketing resources for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Visual Marketing Resources

From social media marketing, to email campaigns to blog post graphics, visual marketing strategies stretch far and wide. Here are some of the best resources if you’re looking for inspiration, actionable tips or editing softwares.

Photography resources for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Photography Resources

Your photos have the power to tell your brand’s story and even drive sales. A well designed and well thought out blog photo or social media post can have a major effect on your audience. Check out a couple of the best photography resources for shooting, editing, and designing the best pictures imaginable!

Branding resources for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Branding Resources

And at the root of all your visual marketing tactics is your brand! It’s so important to figure out exactly what your brand values are, and how you want to portray that to your followers and customers. These resources will help you nail down those basics and then put those ideas into action.

Roundup

The Internet is filled with amazing resources for you to try out. Our resources roundup is meant to answer all your questions when it comes to visual marketing and hopefully even inspire some new ones. As an entrepreneur, it’s so important to keep learning and growing as your brand and business grows.

Online resources may give you all the answers you need. But in the case that you have anymore questions or you need help figuring out anything visual marketing related, get in touch or leave a comment below. For updates and other resources, sign up for our email list, here.

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Branding

5 Ways Images Can Make Your Personal Brand Unforgettable

For entrepreneurs, your imagery can do amazing things for your personal brand.

When it comes to the digital marketing space, connecting with other likeminded people has been huge. The space is constantly evolving and there are so many strategies that people have already tested and are willing to share their learnings. Brad Shorr is Director of Content Strategy at Straight North, an Internet marketing agency in Chicago that specializes in SEO, PPC and web design services. He has more than 25 years of sales and marketing experience and has been featured in leading online publications including Forbes, American Marketing Association and Entrepreneur. I know many of you that land on our site are building personal brands so we had Brad weigh in on how you can use visual marketing to boost your online presence.

 

5 Ways To Use Images To Strengthen Your Personal Brand

Great brands are visual brands. Think about it. You can identify Apple’s website from across the room simply by its design, use of white space, and the sparseness of text. Or you may recognize those golden arches on a billboard miles before you can read the McDonald’s sign.

For entrepreneurs, smart use of imagery goes a long way toward strengthening their personal brands. Not everyone will take the time to read your blog posts or study the “About” section of your website. But even casual contacts that scan your social media posts or spot you on a Google image search will see your images. Handle those images well, and many of these people will associate those images with an important aspect of your brand and remember you when the time comes for them to buy products or services you sell. Here are five tips for making the most of your online imagery.

1. Your Headshot Should Say Something Important

Your online headshot should convey a key aspect of your personal brand — an aspect of your personality that makes you stand out from the crowd. Too many headshots play it safe — standard background, standard business clothes, standard facial expression, etc. At the other end of the spectrum, others appear amateurish, looking more like a spur-of-the-moment selfie. The former comes from trying to please everyone with your headshot; the latter, from trying to please nobody.

The key to a great headshot is to understand what makes you stand out. For example, if you are a techie selling to technicians, maybe you want to play up a sense of nerdiness in your headshot (whatever that means to you). Search for an inspiration image of what you are trying to convey and see what elements you can adapt in your own photo.

Whatever you are — the cleverest, the hardest working, the most reliable — needs to come across front and center. If you put off people who are not in your target market with those features, so be it.

2. Use The Same Headshot Everywhere

There’s a lot of debate on this issue. Some people like to use different headshots on different media — a formal headshot on LinkedIn, a fun one on Facebook, etc. Generally speaking, this approach is OK for someone with a well-established personal brand. But it’s not so great for someone still trying to establish one. The benefit of using a single headshot is repetition. If people see one image of you here and a different one there, they may not put two and two together and realize you are the same person.

A compromise is to use a single headshot image, but edit it differently depending on the medium. For instance, you can use different backgrounds, like color vs black and white. This would allow you to have a little fun with your headshot on Facebook and be more professional on LinkedIn while retaining consistency and generating repetition.

3. Make Sure Your Headshot Is Authentic

Your headshot should always look like you. If you’re building a personal brand, then you may be attending networking events, speaking at industry shows, and so on. If people see inconsistency between you and your headshot, it will undermine the authenticity of your brand. This is why it’s important to periodically update your photo as you age, or if you change appearance in some very noticeable way. This could be a radically different hairstyle, major weight loss or the addition of eyeglasses. In addition to repetition, the most important element in personal branding is authenticity.

4. Optimize Your Images For Google

Image search is especially important if you sell a visual product or service. The first step in optimizing images in a way that supports your personal brand is to conduct keyword research. You want to identify popular and highly converting keywords associated with that personal brand. For instance, if you are in the home remodeling business, you’ve probably already optimized for terms like “home remodeling in (town)” and “kitchen remodeling.” To take it a step further, look for terms such as:

  • “stylish kitchen remodeling”
  • “refined kitchen remodeling”
  • “sophisticated kitchen remodeling”

All three of these adjectives convey a personal brand of sophistication. But only keyword research will tell you which words are most popular among Google searches and other major search engines. If one or two adjectives appear especially popular, add those keywords to your image optimization. This means anywhere you display photos and graphics relating to your brand and offering. This not only includes images on your website, but also graphics in your guest blog posts, press releases, social media, and review websites.

5. Implement A Logo

If you’re on the fence over whether to add a logo to your company brand, I’d strongly suggest doing so. Here’s why:

  • A logo that reinforces a key element of your personal brand (sophistication, nerdiness, etc.) will always be seen in connection with your company name. This drives home the point you’re trying hardest to make.
  • As with headshots, people look at and remember logos far more often than they read text about your brand.
  • An effective logo need not cost tens of thousands of dollars to produce. There are many, many talented designers who can help you develop a spot-on image at a fraction of that cost (check out DesignCrowd, People Per Hour, or Upwork to start).
  • Logos work wonderfully as design elements in offline marketing materials such as coffee mugs, refrigerator magnets and T-shirts. Offline marketing still matters a lot, especially if your business serves a local market.
  • You can add your logo to your online images and other design elements on your website and social media pages. This adds personal branding power to all of that collateral.

What image-related techniques have you used to successfully strengthen your personal brand? Let us know in the comments below.

Thanks Brad! If you have branding or entrepreneurial tips that you would like to share, apply as a contributing writer to our site by contacting hello@unodostrae.com.

Branding

8 Visual Marketing Tactics That’ll Give Your Content a Boost

Amp up your content with these visual marketing ideas and inspiration.

Sometimes the Internet can seem like a constant stream of text. Lengthy Facebook posts, 140 character tweets, and long blog articles can make you feel inundated with words. So when posting your own content, it’s easy for it to get lost. And while social media lets us post images, we all know about those tricky algorithms that are constantly being revised and implemented. So, how do you catch peoples’ eye on platforms that are saturated with lots of copy? And how do you stand out on visual platforms like Instagram and Pinterest? This is where the importance of visual marketing tactics come into play.

These tactics can be something as grand as rebranding your entire website and social media presence, to something as small as designing custom social media buttons. But with visual marketing, even the littlest of tweaks can have a major impact on your followers, traffic and even sales. So let’s get into some of the best visual marketing tactics to level up your content.

Download our ACTIONABLE CHECKLIST to implement these visual marketing tactics and boost your content today

1. Create A Template for Your Graphics

Visual content creation can feel very time consuming when you’re a solopreneur with tons of other things to tend to. No one wants to spend an hour creating a pinnable image or blog graphic. The best way to manage this is to set up a template for your favorite design program (Photoshop, Canva, PicMonkey). That way your graphics are pretty much automated (and I think one thing we all need more of is automation).

Set up your text boxes, font style and call to action. After that, all you’ll need to do is drop in a new image and throw your new copy each time. The other benefit of having a template is that you’ll use the same layout each time, which means your pinnable images, Facebook photos and Instagram infographics will have a cohesive look. For a platform like Pinterest, you can even create 2-3 different templates for the same content (I’ll get to the benefit of that tactic right below).

2. Multiple Images For Your Pins

So now you have your template set up for your favorite design program. A couple of different templates with different styles (that are still on brand and part of your style guide) can bring life to old content and provide a boost for newer content. Every member of your audience is not the same. Some love to see bright images with minimal text while others like to see underexposed images with text that pops out.

Check out these three pin images we created that all tie back to the same blog post. We have a separate template for each with the basic elements (text, shapes, colors) and to update for content each time, we find a new image, change the copy and export it! This can all take you less than 15 minutes. So if you’re not already doing this, it’s something to consider. Different designs and layouts gives your content more life and a wider reach. It also allows you to monitor which design performs the best and gives you more original content to promote!

Use multiple pinable images to give your content new life. Visual Marketing

3. Non “Stocky” Images

Stock photos have definitely come a long way since the days of the cheesy businessmen sitting around a table smiling at a random graph on a board (if you want a good laugh check out Vince Vaughn and Dave Franco’s stock photo spoofs.)

Nowadays there are a bunch of great websites to source free lifestyle stock photos. These resources have some really great lifestyle visuals and are thankfully more relevant and topical than the average stock inventory.  The catch with this, though, is that everyone on the Internet has access to these photos as well. Scrolling through Pinterest, I see duplicates of the same image all the time. It also becomes exhausting to constantly scan through dozens of stock photo sites in search of the perfect image that can perfectly sum up your vision and reflect your brand identity.

An easy way to avoid all of this is to take your own custom brand photography. Although it may seem overwhelming, it is more than possible and you are more than capable of pulling it off. It is also a great skill to have as a brand owner. You’ll get to put your own personal touches on all of your imagery and cater your images to your content perfectly.

Not a professional photographer? Don’t worry, most people aren’t. All you need is your iPhone to start.

4. Video Content

For many of us, video content seems like a serious undertaking. It’s an unknown world for many writers. And it can seem a little scary for those of us who prefer to keep our faces away from the camera (or for those of us who hate to hear our voices on recordings like me). I hate to break it to you, but video content is the new frontier. There are oodles of statistics about how well video content plays for visual marketing purposes. Like the fact that the highest engagement on Facebook comes from videos. And that 4 times as many consumers would prefer to watch a video about a product rather than read about it.

But don’t fear, video content can be as simple as a testimonial from one of your customers or a screencast tutorial video.  And if you want to take that leap and get in front of the camera, even better! People love to see the face behind a brand. You can build a crazy dedicated following when you show off who you really are. At the end of the day, people connect best with elements of human interaction so show off your personality and start engaging your audience.

5. Add a Visual Call to Action

Even the smallest of tweaks can have a huge difference in your direct traffic. For example adding a visual call to action on your social media banners on Facebook or your Medium profile. Check out this example from Hubspot’s Facebook page. Their graphic is clear cut and their caption tells viewers exactly what to do.

Visual marketing Call to action

6. Infographics

Infographics have proven to be seriously eye-catching. They’ve proven to be liked and shared on social media 3 times more than any other type of content. Especially on Pinterest, a good infographic can help your pin stand out and attract more clicks and saves. It lets readers get a sneak peek to the blog post waiting on the other side of that “Read Me” button. And they’re pretty easy to create. Check out some of the infographics that caught my eye while scrolling through Pinterest.

Infographics are a perfect way to engage your followers with eye-catching visuals + important information.

7. Targeted Email Campaign For Blog Posts

Blog post roundups are definitely a great way to get your subscribers to see all of your recent content. But, including a bunch of different posts in one email, can decrease the engagement of the actual posts (we’ve experienced this first hand).

Instead of compiling all of your blog posts and shooting them out to people once a week, create an email blast for just one of your posts and see what that does to your click through rate. Give your subscribers a clear call to action in your well-designed email campaign. If you need some inspiration for beautifully laid out email designs, see some of our favorite examples here.

8. Designing your own social media buttons

The bright red, deep blue and sky blue colors of Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter logos are probably pretty jarring against most of your lovely branded websites and blogs. So why not infuse your brand aesthetic into these buttons instead? Customizing your social media buttons can make a huge difference in your social media engagement. When I land on a page, often times I don’t even notice the social media buttons on the side of a page because my eyes have just learned to ignore them. But when those social buttons have a unique design or colors? They stand out! Also, aligning your social media buttons contributes to the overall cohesiveness of your website’s color scheme. There are a bunch of great tutorials on exactly how to design these buttons. Check out PicMonkey and Canva as additional resources.

Take Away

Visual marketing has the power to attract new users and keep them on your site. Although a lot of these tips may seem like tiny changes, they are great ways you can keep your branding fresh and make a difference in your traffic and overall look of your content and website. To start, focus on one or two things you can do today. Then work your way down the list. Each one of these tactics is actionable and will move your brand forward so don’t put them off. Not sure where to start or need accountability? Download our actionable checklist to keep you on track to implement all 8 tactics in less than 2 weeks, even if you think you have zero time!

Download our ACTIONABLE CHECKLIST to implement these visual marketing tactics and boost your content today

Customers love details and details will make your brand and content memorable. Do you have other tactics that have worked for you. Let us know in the comments below.

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Branding

How To Edit Your Photos For An Instagram Theme Perfect For Summer

Watch Now: How To Edit Your Photos For Summery Instagram Themes VSCO - unodostrae.com

Let’s talk about goals. One of my big goals for June was to explore other ways to share our tips and ideas with you. The one that excited (and scared) me the most is video. Personally, I love soaking up content in bite sized video-form. But the thought of actually producing video content myself seemed daunting and silly. Yet it makes so much sense, right? For how to’s and demos, video makes everything incredibly easy to follow along with. Especially for what I want to talk about today.

 

Bright edits for your Instagram feed Using VSCO Cam

How To Refresh Your Instagram Themes

You may have heard that your Instagram feed should have a focal point in terms of the type of content you post. But if you’re stuck on wanting to post lifestyle content and can’t narrow it down, sticking to a common aesthetic across all of your photos is a great way to give you more freedom with what you post. As long as your photo fits the vibe of your Instagram, you can get away with posting about more general content.

If you’ve never given your feed aesthetic (oftentimes referred to as your Instagram theme or color theme) a thought before, you can use sites like Color Kuler to find out what colors your Instagram feed is featuring the most of. Color Kuler extracts a color palette from your Instagram profile based on your pictures to give you a general idea of what colors are popping up most in your photos. People are sometimes surprised or disappointed when they see the color scheme that returns isn’t at all like the palette they thought they had been sticking to the entire time. So that being said, use this insight as a general guideline and don’t drive yourself nuts if the colors you see aren’t your brand colors. So long as they make sense with your brand colors (shades of the same color, colors in the same family, or complimentary colors to your color palette), then you’ll still be in good shape.

Upgrade Your Feed To Summer Vibes

Summer hit me hard this week. Maybe it was the long holiday weekend (Happy 4th of July!). Or that the weather has finally hit levels of 80 and 90-something degrees in NYC. But I’m loving the good vibes. Here’s exactly how to upgrade your Instagram feed for a light, airy, and natural-looking feed to make your summer photos really standout.

In this video, you’ll learn the exact steps to transition your feed into a light and natural aesthetic and what apps to use. Also, sorry if it’s hard to tell the difference between the before and after examples in the video. When I upload the video onto YouTube, the quality gets a little pixelated and desaturated compared to the original file. Not ideal. But hopefully you’re able to see the before and after effect here in this post.

 

 

What theme are you currently sporting on your Instagram feed? Does your feed have a theme or will this be your first foray into tying your social content together visually? Let me know in the comments below.

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Branding

How To Style Photos That Speak To Your Customers

How to style your brand photos like a master prop stylist (+ free download props tracker) - unodostrae.com

Have you ever looked at a photo and thought to yourself, this picture is EVERYTHING. It happens to me all the time. There are undoubtedly a handful of things that go into making a stunning photo. But the way it’s styled and other intentional details are always among things that get you to do a double take. So what exactly is the secret behind how to style photos that are memorable? What makes those perfectly crafted images — the kind that make you stop mid-scroll on Instagram or want to pin on Pinterest — so inspiring?

 

How To Style Photos Like A Master Prop Stylist

When it comes to other photography niches – food, maternity, bridal – props are considered another character in the bigger photo story. However, when it comes to shooting brand photography, props are oftentimes considered but generally overlooked. In order to create relevant lifestyle content, there is some strategy involved in choosing what props to use. Start by thinking about two things: 1) your ideal customer or client, and 2) unexpected function.

What are the other interests of your ideal customer? What are some things they like? What kind of things would they respond to? Determine some objects you can use that are in line with these questions as well as your brand and you will speak to your customer on a few different levels through your content.

Before you start buying things up left and right for how to style photos, don’t forget that sourcing props can come from anywhere. So take inventory of what you already own, what you can borrow, or check first if it’s something you can rent. This brings me to the second thing I normally think about when it comes to props: the concept of “unexpected function.”

Just because a mug is normally used for drinking doesn’t mean it can’t be used to hold pencils for your shoot. Old jars can be succulent pots, wine bottles as flowers vases, scarves as blankets, crystals as bookends – the list goes on. By thinking outside the box and using your props for things that they aren’t normally used for, the lifestyle you are selling will really begin to take shape. Your content will standout from others, your photos will create new inspiration for your customers, and your creativity will be stretching the possibilities for future clients.

Prop Roundup

Creating visual content both for my brands and my clients means I’ve built up a pretty robust collection of props over the years. When it comes to how to style photos, here are some of my favorites as of late:

<next stop…🇮🇹>

A post shared by The Pink Diary (@thepinkdiary) on

Prop: The Lightbox

Good for: Flatlays, Lifestyle, Night Light Messaging, Short & To-the-Point Sayings

I saw a couple of bloggers and Instagram accounts feature a lightbox in their photos and thought it was such a great way to add in some typography into the mix. I especially love it because it reminds me of an updated take on marquee lights (and reminiscent of the kind of signage you see at movie theaters). If you’re looking for an easy way to infuse some more personality into your visual content or set the tone (i.e. how @thepinkdiary gives some context to her packing here with the words “Next Stop Italy”), this will definitely do the trick. This is the one I have and I really like it because I’m able to prop it up on a tabletop or hang it up on the wall.

 

 

 

 

 

The Prop: The Letter Board

Good for: Lifestyle, Interiors, Announcements (Sales, Promos, Collaborations), Motivational Quotes, Recipes, (Longer) Sassy Sayings

Who knew the letter board would be cool again? I used to associate this thing with conferences and boring elementary school announcements. But now I can’t get enough of them. It has a similar effect as the lightbox but it’s better if you want to display longer sayings and messaging. Also, if you’re shooting interiors, the letter board is flatter (as in depth) and can double as wall art (i.e. how @brookandpeony has it displayed here). I personally have one hanging as part of an art gallery layout surrounded by other framed photos and prints. There are also a ton of options to choose from when it comes to board size and colors. Check out letter board brands Three Potato Four and Letter Folk for other gorgeous ideas of what you can do. On a budget? Get the (slightly more affordable) look here.

 

 

 

 

 

… wake up, smile and go back to sleep 😴

A post shared by Adrianna (@alabasterfox) on

The Prop: Plants

Good for: Flatlays, Lifestyle, Interiors, Workspace, Brunch/Coffee Shots

Plants are like an instant mood lifter for me. Maybe it’s because they’re so natural or they convey more life. Or that they are the epitome of minimalism. Whatever it is, they have a knack for making images more compelling and engaging. So they are definitely things worth having on-hand when creating custom imagery. And if you’ve ever wondered how plants (along with bowls of fruit) always look so perfect in photos – nothing wilted or bruised – it’s because they’re not real. In fact, they’re as prop-py as you can get: 100% plastic and 1000% perfect when photographed. Of course, not all artificial plants can pass for the real thing so be careful of overdoing it. The kinds I’ve come to use frequently as props are monstera leaves and tiny succulents. They won’t overwhelm your photos and, as you can see here, are the perfect accent for all types of shots.

 

The Prop: Zipper Pouches

Good for: Flatlays, Lifestyle, Travel, Beauty/Fashion, Workspace, Brunch/Coffee Shots

Great visual content gets the consumer to imagine him or herself in your photos either living the lifestyle you’re selling or using your product. Pouches like these are something that both product-based and service-based businesses can both use. They’re beyond easy to incorporate into your photos. If you’re a coach or consultant that helps entrepreneurs, you can use a utility pouch in your workspace pictures. Create a flatlay with your “work kit” (passport, laptop, phone, moleskin notebook, pens, etc.); you can even get your business card casually in the shot. If your product is small or an accessory, use the pouch as part of a styled look and give your product some context. I have a few different zipper pouches in my arsenal of props depending on what color, size, or look I’m going for. These are great, particularly because they are unisex, have a bit more character to them, and are super affordable since they come as a set of four in different colors.

 

 

 

 

 

Where To Find Props And Ideas

In addition to around your house or through rental companies, you can also source props on your travels, thrift and vintage shops, flea markets, craft stores (like Michael’s), boutique shops, as well as bigger e-tailers and retailers (like Amazon, Target, etc.). If you’re working with a photographer, ask them if they might have specific props that you’re looking for. If so, you won’t have to lug around more than you have to for the shoot. When it comes to inspiration, Instagram and Pinterest have no shortage of ideas for you to peruse through.

Major Takeaways

Props are a great way to infuse more of your (and your brand’s) personality in your visual content. They can help to make your product shine or turn an otherwise basic photo around by adding layers of interesting details. And when it comes to creating lifestyle imagery for your brand, you can use props to associate your offering with other products that resonate with your customer or client. This will reinforce how well-suited you are for their interests.

If you’re planning an upcoming content shoot or are looking to start a prop collection of your own, start by downloading our Props Stylist Worksheet. It’s like a shopping list, expense tracker, and planner all in one. I created it to help keep my team and I organized. I promise, it will make things much easier to keep track of.

 

Get the Props Stylist Tracker For Free: Click To Download

 

Are there certain props that you use when creating custom imagery for your brand? Drop us a line in the comments and share some of your other ideas. I’m always on the lookout to add to my growing collection!

This post contains some affiliate links to support this blog and keep it running. This is, of course, at no cost to you, and I only share products that I use myself and absolutely love.

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Photography

No DSLR? No Problem. What iPhone Photography Can Do For Your Branding

Don't feel like if you don't have a professional camera that you can't take stunning photos for your brand. Use these iPhone photography tips to amp up your branded photos!

When it comes to branding or visual marketing, iPhone photography seems to be a very polarizing subject for many entrepreneurs. Many people are quick to write it off, automatically associating it with amateur status. Meanwhile, others see it as their only real option to create any visual content at all.

iPhone photography can be one of the best skills in an entrepreneur's toolkit. Click through to find out our iPhone photography tips & tricks

Admittedly, I was in the first camp. When I started my first business, I knew brand visuals were important. Every brand I was aspiring to be like had such beautiful imagery; everything they did was elevated in my eyes and I trusted their product almost immediately as a result. It somehow got me visualizing how I could live my best life if I only had their product. Their ability to sell through their visual marketing worked on me and they didn’t even need to be salesy.

But I always thought gorgeous brand visuals like this were only possible with a DSLR camera. Do I still think this? No, and I’ll you why.

The best camera is the one you have on you. Click To Tweet

When done properly, mobile photography can look incredible. And I mean, reeeeally hard to tell from photos taken on other cameras. But unfortunately, it is something that is rarely done right; and those images, while created with good intentions, are what give iPhone photography a bad name. So, as a DSLR owner and user, I want to clear a few things up because when it comes to your brand, mobile photography is still a skill worth knowing.

 

iPhone Photography: How You Can Use It For Your Business

Product Shots

Believe it or not, your iPhone is capable of creating the type of product shots you need for your website. How do I know this? Because I’m speaking from experience. In fact, I have a story to share of when iPhone photography saved my rump.

We just produced my new collection but some unexpected production delays meant that the entire schedule had to be pushed back, which was a HUGE problem. Why? Because my team and I had already been marketing a launch date to our customers based on the original timeline. We had to launch on that date or we’d have to backtrack on our messaging and create all new copy and marketing collateral. I also had editors and buyers following up with me for when they could expect an updated line sheet to preview the collection for their own deadlines.

Needless to say, I was panicking. When we finally received prototypes to photograph, I was so pressed for time that I couldn’t find a photographer with any last minute availability to get this done. So with one goal in mind (to produce ready-to-use images of the new pieces in less than 3 hours), I switched gears. I did own a DSLR camera and a light box in our midtown studio but it wasn’t an efficient use of time to relocate seeing as I wanted to have everything done in 3 hours.

So first, I made a list of everything I needed: a white backdrop, good lighting, and a camera. I took computer paper and propped it up to create the white backdrop. Office lighting wasn’t optimal but it was bright enough and I knew I could fix the harsh yellowy-ness in editing afterwards. And as for a camera, my iPhone would have to do (I had a 6 Plus at the time). So I gave it a go and shot everything right then and there. I also edited everything on my phone as well (no time to upload and catalogue in Lightroom).

Thankfully, it worked out. I was quite happy with how the images turned out and for what I needed them for, I haven’t felt the need to reshoot them – the product shots you see for the Marcas collection on our site are still those same iPhone photos that I originally took. And want to know what’s even better? I actually saved money by shooting these myself and was able to use some of those extra dollars on marketing spend instead. So to say it all worked out is actually an understatement.

Kalaki Riot Product Shots done with iPhone Photography

Lifestyle Imagery

Sometimes the perfect moment happens and all you have on you is your phone. This is a great thing though because you can create some really stunning visual content with just that alone. Even if you don’t share the image on your brand’s Instagram account, it’s still worth elevating what you associate with your personal branding as an extension of your business. Here are before-and-after looks of some lifestyle photos I took with my iPhone:

I took this photo in Sydney, Australia on the Bondi to Coogee Walk. It was a really humid day (like unbearably hot) and taking really crisp photos was hard since the lens on my phone kept fogging up. But with a little bit of editing magic (I increased brightness and vibrance, brought up contrast a bit, and sharpened), I was able to get the photo looking exactly how I remembered the view to look like in real life.

I was in Spain last month working out of the courtyard of my Airbnb in Madrid. For once, my workspace was too gorgeous not to share. You can see all of the adjustments I made to the photo in the before and after comparison (including adjusting vertical and horizontal perspectives, increasing exposure and vibrance, and cropping the overall image size). I also dropped in a screenshot of my website on my laptop instead of the client work that I was actually working on (because branding).

Still not convinced? Check out other iPhoneographers like Matteo and Kim Haggstrom; they’ve been able to build a strong following with their iPhone-only photo accounts.

 

Favorite Apps and Resources

Usually if I shoot on my phone, I’m editing that same pic on my phone. There are a million photography and editing apps available now and while it’s completely up to personal preference, I stick to the same ones for consistency (and to speed up my workflow process). My go-to apps for mobile editing are Snapseed and VSCO  and I edited both the product shots and lifestyle imagery that I shared here using both. Just remember to keep your stylistic editing on-brand and true to your aesthetic.

 

Major Takeaways

Beautiful visuals are important when building a trustworthy brand. As far as your entrepreneurial toolkit goes, iPhone photography is a skill worth having in your back pocket, no matter where you are in your business journey. But if you are just starting out, it can prove to be very valuable in the beginning. Literally. Unless your business is a photography-focused one, you may be better off holding onto those thousands of dollars before going out and purchasing a DSLR. Eventually, it will make sense to invest in better technology or gear further down the road but you can worry about that when your business grows and gets to that point.

But iPhone photography is so much more than snapping a pic and posting it on social or your website. It’s not something you should cut corners on or it can be the one thing that associates your brand with “amateur status” in your customers eyes. So take the time to learn proper photography concepts (lighting is still everything!) and establish your brand identity and strategy so everything will come together.

I’d love to know how much you rely on mobile photography for your brand. Leave a comment below and let me know if you have any other tips or photos to share. And if you’re interested in learning how to make mobile or iPhone photography work for your brand, get in touch. And make sure to subscribe to our email list for more tips here.

Also, this post contains some affiliate links to support this blog and keep it running. This is, of course, at no cost to you, and I only share products that I use myself and absolutely love and believe in.

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Photography

6 Amazing Email Marketing Designs to Inspire Your Brand’s Strategy

We all know the struggle of building our email list. And then the harder struggle of getting our subscribers to actually open those emails and click on your content. But email marketing (as much of a buzzword as its become) still reigns supreme over the many different marketing strategies out there. And while quality content is key, strong visuals are king. You may have an amazing product to sell or a mind-blowing blog post to share, but if your email design isn’t up to par or feels removed from your brand’s aesthetic, no one will be compelled to click on it. Even infopreneurs that opt for a minimalist, letter-like approach are doing so with strategic intention. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of some of the best email marketing designs we’ve seen and laid out what you can learn from each of them.

Get inspired by these 6 beautifully done email marketing campaigns.

6 Amazing Email Marketing Examples

Kate Spade: A Friendly Hello

Take a page out of Kate Spade’s book. This stylish and simple welcome email is sent after you sign up to join their mailing list. This design is friendly and inviting and as with any great welcome email, there’s a call to action to really hook you: Shop Kate Spade’s online selection with a 15% discount. If you run a blog, include a button in your email that takes them straight to your posts.

Stylish Email Marketing Welcome Email from Kate Spade

 

Apartment Digest: The Clean Cut Roundup

For businesses that revolve around blog posts or events, a weekly round-up or branded newsletter is a great way to engage your subscribers. Make sure your layout is clean, clickable, and readable. Apartment Therapy lays out their recent posts in an easy-to-read grid format. Also, we always talk about how difficult it is to get your content in front of peoples’ eyes. Well, what better way to encourage more click-throughs than to send your weekly content straight to the inbox of your loyal subscribers?

Apartement Therapy makes skimming their content easy with this clean cut design.

 

Kate Spade (Part Deux): Asking for Honest Feedback

Can you blame us for being obsessed with Kate Spade’s simply stylish and eye-catching designs? With this email, Kate Spade asks their subscribers to fill out a feedback survey. This is an awesome way to engage your audience and make them feel like your relationship is a two-way street. Make sure to give your subscribers an incentive by offering them something special for replying with their feedback. Some ideas could be a free checklist, an online course, or a promotional discount off your product (like Kate Spade does here).  Kate Spade encourages feedback with their simple email design and killer incentive.

 

Anthropologie: The Social (Media) Butterfly

Your subscribers may not even know you’re on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Build up your following with links to your social media accounts in your email marketing. Try making it the main attraction in your campaign, like Anthropologie did with this email. Remember to provide your social media links or buttons and include a call-to-action phrase like “follow us” or “like us”.

Anthroplogie flawlessly merges their social media accounts with their email marketing.

 

Monica Vinader: Product Photography Takes Center Stage

Do you have an amazing visual brand? Your emails are the perfect place to display it. For a more unique and personalized feel, create your own imagery. It may seem like a huge undertaking, but you can take some killer photos with your camera or even an iPhone and these photo tips. Monica Vinader, a New York City based jewelry company, uses their product photography as the main attraction in their email marketing. If you sell a product, this is a perfect time to make sure your goods take center stage in peoples’ inboxes. Don’t have the means or time to create original visual content yet? Don’t fret- stock photos can oftentimes fulfill your branding needs (check out these beautiful free stock photo sites).

Monica Vinader's product photography takes center stage in this eye-catching email marketing campaign-email marketing tips

 

Flume: Exclusive Announcements

You can also use email marketing to make your subscribers feel like they’re part of an exclusive group. Loyal followers and subscribers are one of the most important aspects of your business and if you treat them like they are the most important part of your brand, then they will always come back for more of your content or products. Create an unforgettable experience by giving your followers a secret glimpse into your life, or let them be the first ones to try out one of your products or courses and they’ll feel like VIPs.

Award-winning electronic dance music artist Flume pulls this off beautifully. His emails always feature a big stunning image, with some copy about what he’s been up to, when he’s going on tour, or when his next project is being released. Flume gives his fans an exclusive, tailored update about what he’s doing in this email. On top of that, he gives his subscribers a call-to-action to download his newest singles for free. As a result of Flume’s stellar email marketing, his list of subscribers grew by 2,420%. That’s some serious engagement right there!

Flume makes an exclusive announcement to his fans with his email marketing

 

Major Takeaways

As you can see from these brands’ examples, your email list is sacred. It’s immensely important to treat it like its gold. Start off on the right foot with a welcome email, set up meaningful interactions with your subscribers, offer them product discounts and special content, and pull them in with stunning photos. For more visual email marketing inspiration, check this out. Have any amazing emails in your inbox lately? Share any tips you’ve learned in the comments below.

Make sure to subscribe to our email list for more tips here.

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Branding

How To Make Instagram Stories Marketing Masterpieces In 9 Easy Steps

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Keeping up to date on social media trends can be a serious headache sometimes. Especially when you have a personal account and a separate brand account to worry about. And just when you think you have the hang of things, you get that upgrade notification from the App Store and suddenly there’s a brand new feature you have to figure out.

One of our favorite social marketing tools lately has been Instagram Stories. When Instagram first rolled out with this, it was easy to write off because…Snapchat. Plus, the thought of double dipping into our content to post on both platforms just seemed silly. But we gave Instagram stories a try and we’ve been hooked ever since. The biggest reason why we love it is because Instagram stories can totally be what you make of it. It doesn’t have to be another app with selfie filters and sticker-decorated screenshots. There are ways you can get really creative and we’ve compiled some of our favorite ideas here. If you’re ready to make your next Instagram story really stick with your followers, read on.

 

How to make Instagram Stories.

Let’s kick it off with the basics: how do you start an Instagram story? In the top left corner of your Instagram home page (aka your feed), tap the “Your Story” button with your profile picture in the little circle (below the camera icon). You can also swipe right on your home screen to get to this page. Create your story by taking/uploading a picture or video. Then click “Next” and select “Your Story.” Then hit Send. And there you have it! You’ve uploaded a story.

Some things to note:

  • To zoom on a video slide your finger up while holding the record button.
  • Swipe left at the bottom of your screen to change in between Live, Normal, Boomerang, Rewind and Hands-Free modes.
  • To use Instagram’s fun stickers click the smiley face in the top right corner.
  • To mute a video click on the microphone button in the top right corner.

Okay, now to the fun part. Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks on how to make your Instagram stories more creative, fun and engaging for your followers.

Create a color background, solid or transparent.

Adding a solid or transparent color as a background for your story can make tapping through more fun and your narrative more eye-catching. Click on the paintbrush button in the top right corner then select either the fine tip marker for a solid background or the slanted marker for a transparent background. Once you’ve selected either one, just hold down your finger on the screen and voilá! You’ve just added a colorful background.

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Make your text look 3D.

Add a dimension to your stories with text that pops out at you. Select the text button in the top right corner of your screen. Now type out your text twice using different colors. Now drag the text layers so that they’re layered, creating a shadow effect.

Upload a picture or video from your camera roll.

It’s nearly impossible to take the right picture or video on the first try. So instead of trying to capture the perfect shot using Instagram’s native app, select one from your camera roll and upload it to your story instead. To do this, swipe up from the bottom of your screen and choose the photo you want to use. Instagram will only let you choose between photos you’ve taken in the last 24 hours so if you want to add an older photo, make sure that you either re-save it or take a screenshot of it so that it appears as a more recent image in your photo gallery.

Taste the rainbow.

Or, at least sample all of the colors for your text, drawings, and backgrounds simply by holding your finger down on the colors. Then drag your finger around to find the perfect shade. There’s three different color palettes you can swipe through.

How to Make Instagram Stories-unodostrae.com-Uno Dos Trae-branding tips-social media tips-instagram tips

Mention Other Instagram Pages

Promoting a product in your Instagram story? You can mention its Instagram page directly in your story! Add text and type the @ symbol and a drop down list of Instagram accounts will appear. Now when someone clicks their @ name it’ll take them directly to their Insta page. It makes promoting something in an Instagram post look much more natural and clean because you can change up the colors of the text and really integrate it into the photo or video you’re posting.

Use Boomerang and Rewind features

Video is an amazing way to engage your followers. People have done some really impressive things using Instagram stories as a filmmaking platform. But if video isn’t yet on your radar, you can still spice up your stories with a Boomerang or the Rewind feature. A Boomerang is a moving picture that loops and the Rewind feature lets you play your videos backwards. To access these features, swipe left from the camera button.

Use the eraser.

But not to erase your mess-ups! Upload a picture and cover all of it or part of it with a color of your choice. Now use the eraser to expose the image behind it. You can scrawl words or draw designs across your image so the picture behind it peeks out.

How to Make Instagram stories-unodostrae.com-Uno dos trae- branding tips

Highlight using the glow marker.

Tap to add text and select the glow marker. This is great to use for writing in your prettiest cursive, circling things to make them stand out or just creating cute designs!

How to make Instagram stories more creative-unodostrae-fun Instagram stories- Instagram stories

Embellish with drawings and designs.

Get creative with your photography by adding some flair. Even something simple like polka dots can take your graphics to the next level. Use different brush sizes to vary the kinds of polka dots in your pictures and immediately give it a different feel.

how to make Instagram stories creative-unodostrae.com-uno dos trae-instagram stories-social media tips-branding tips

Instagram Stories for your brand.

Instagram stories are a powerful tool for brands to engage followers but also a great way to express yourself on one of the most visual and social platforms out there. These are just some ideas that show how different your Instagram stories can be from your regular posts or even Snapchat. As with any social media platform, remember to always stay on brand with colors and images. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about designing your own Instagram stories, see if you can leverage other tools and resources. Canva, for instance, has an entire section just for Instagram story designs.

Whether you’re using Instastories for your professional or personal Instagram I hope you try out these tips & tricks! Leave a comment with which tip you liked the best or your own Instagram story hacks.

Craving more? We have even more bonus tips for turning your Instagram stories into marketing masterpieces. Download the free resource sheet here and let us know your favorite bonus tip in the comments!

 

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