Friday, March 23, 2018

two instagram accounts

Instagram accounts: one for business, one for personal?

I googled that sentence a couple times, desperate to read from real-life business owners about their experience with splitting their work-meets-life Instagram into two separate accounts -- but I couldn't find much that really spoke to me. 

Maybe I should be separating my portfolio content from my real life posts... But gahhh, I had spent all this time and effort building a great community on my personal instagram! And really, people do seem to be interested in the wedding photos that I share over there... But maybe I could be sharing more? 

(This is what it sounds like to go back and forth on 
an idea for MONTHS at a time.)


I was sick of answering my own questions day in and day out. And the same way I make any and all business decisions, I decided to jump right in with two feet, knowing it was time to sink or swim. Over a year and a half later, I'm here to write the post that 2016 LK was dying to read, in hopes that it might help just one other go-getter out there!

CURATING YOUR PERSONAL LIFE... (It's not for everyone!)

I try to make my real life look pretty; it's no secret. I'm a big advocate for the clean-off-the-countertop-before-you-insta method of online sharing. Maybe it's not as "raw" or "real, " but it sure does make me feel a lot better, and my countertops get cleaned in the process.


But the curated personal life is not for everyone, especially when you're a mom to two little ones like myself! One of the biggest appeals of splitting my accounts was being able to share memories of our family freely without considering whether they were "on brand," or reflective of my photographic ability. If I was on a vacation I would feel guilty about sharing a full grid's worth of photos without adding in at least one business-related post. But really, my three-margaritas-deep business posts weren't doing anyone any good... 

Amalgamating these two worlds might work for some, but it was always a struggle for me! And that struggle had me avoiding sharing certain photos, both business and personal.   

HOW TO MAKE THE SWITCH:

So you've decided you want to split, but dread that "Followers: 0" reality you're faced with. I got you, though. 

As soon as I decided to make a second account, I kept it quiet while I accumulated some posts. I went through my collection of portfolio images (check out this post if you're not already using this method!) and chose between 20-30 photos that spoke to me. I knew my business account would reflect the following qualities:

Bright, colourful, full of life, and joyous.

I shared these 20+ images with lots of relevant hashtags to gain a few organic followers, and then jumped over to my regular account to share the news:


It was so well received! I loved seeing all of the people who opted to follow both accounts, and much to my delight they weren't just my clients! People love beautiful things, but they generally love supporting their friends even more. 

GIVE IT TIME!

That initial flood of support will fade, and after a couple weeks you'll wonder if your underwhelming business account was a terrible idea. Know that this is normal! Good things take time. Resist the urge to go out and purchase 10,000 followers right off the bat, because this is NOT the secret to good engagement! Slow growth is meaningful growth :)

After a year and a half with my business account, I can't imagine ever going back!


THE FREEDOM TO SHARE:

Right after splitting my accounts I realized that I finally felt freedom to share whatever, whenever. Cute photo of the kids? There's a place for that. Curated invitation photo from my latest wedding? There were hundreds of people who I knew would love to see that. And for those who followed both accounts, it was as if they had a VIP pass to see what used to be my combined account, but with even more content than ever! 

I no longer felt like I was bugging my clients with home decor posts, or annoying my guy friends with photos of wedding dresses. Surprisingly though, and this is something I treasure more than words, my guy friends are some of my most supportive followers on the business account! Who could have guessed!

THE POWER OF A PORTFOLIO:

I love that a prospective client who might be searching for the term #ottawaweddingphotographers can stumble across my account and instantly know what I'm all about. In that split second she will know exactly the style in which I shoot, and she will maybe even see some familiar Ottawa faces as she scrolls.


My love for bohemian living room furniture and flamingo-themed birthday parties might be something that she'll come to find interesting, but for right this second, I'm able to give her actually what she needs: beautiful, happy, curated wedding photography. 

INSTAGRAM STORIES:

Because a huge percentage of my following actually follows BOTH accounts, I make it a habit to never post Instagram stories to both within the same day. I don't need my followers to feel inundated with updates and try to distinguish the difference between my two accounts, so I make this decision day to day: is it a personal stories day? Or a business one?

Example:

My recent kitchen renovation: obviously personal.
Behind the scenes of working on a styled shoot: business!
Obsessions over RHOBH: personal please. 
Wedding day recaps: business (& perfect for using as a story highlight!)

APPLYING THIS CONCEPT TO FACEBOOK:

Even though the business page on Facebook is sort of a dying breed (thanks to a really terrible algorithm that makes us pay money for each post we want our followers to see), it's still an important piece of the puzzle! I see a lot of business owners who share ALL of their business content on their personal page (remember, that's essentially the only way it can be seen without the use of a credit card...), but I'm trying to be very conscious about how I use my personal account. 

As soon as someone sees too many business posts, they're only one click away from unsubscribing from all of your posts! I use my two Facebook accounts much like my two Instagram accounts: separate, but occasionally overlapped with intention.


As we go into the 2018 wedding season, I feel comfort knowing there's a place on the internet where I can pour out my creative side, and use it to grow my business at the same time. 

I hope this post came in handy! Ultimately the decision is yours, but you'll know in your gut if it's the right time to make the switch -- even if you know it's going to be an uphill battle!

MORE POSTS LIKE THIS ONE:

Thursday, March 15, 2018

wren | girl boss headshot session in ottawa

Something a little different on the blog today! I'd love for you to meet Wren, founder of The Hungry Hearts and boss lady consultant at Rodan + Fields. We virtually met when I was looking for my next batch of skin care, and were able to connect again when Wren found herself looking for some gorge and approachable headshots!

Whenever someone asks me if I do headshots, I try to make it immediately clear that I don't use light, backdrops, or own a studio. If you want that white background look, you gotta keep it moving friend. But if you want a headshot that looks like real life, with a little bit of personality and a touch of modernity -- I'm your girl. 

For Wren the biggest takeaways needed to be:

A killer headshot that she could use for R+F
Some social media stock photos that she could layer with text
And a cohesive collection of branding material 
(i.e. Facebook cover, Insta profile, etc.)

Take a peek into a few of my favourites from our recent session! 



I love this one because it's so perfectly Wren. Her true spirit right here :)





When it comes to shooting for social media, photos like this can prove so useful. Having something like this on your camera roll when it comes time to promote an event, a promotion, or reference your online presence -- it makes life so much easier. 





Not your typical headshot session for sure. These little pops of Wren's personality are what will make people connect with her business! We need to keep celebrating how different we all are, each with our own gifts to share. 


Since the day of this shoot it's been so great to see Wren working with her favourite photos! I love that her online presence is cohesive and filled with elements of her personality and spirit. From her R+F site:


To her Facebook cover:


And the awesome Insta content she's created:


The end! Hope you enjoyed this non-wedding-related post, and a peek into the other types of sessions that I work on! 


If you're in need of a new & relatable headshot, send me a note

I would love to work with you and help grow your online presence 
with a cohesive collection of photos that are ready to share.

Friday, March 2, 2018

tales from a cocktail party

The dialogue is quite often the same. 

What's new? 

Not too much! I'm heading off to a destination wedding in 
a few days / a week / next month! 

Oh wow, and they pay for your trip? 

Yes, of course! And a fee for my services as well.

Wow, that's awesome! 

It is. It really is awesome that a vacation spot in paradise could be my office for the week. And it's always my sincere pleasure to provide some insight into how destination photography packages are priced and organized. Especially since the truth is that destination weddings are often quite a bit more affordable than in-town weddings. While the photography cost might be a bit higher, it's usually in lieu of hefty food and beverage bills that are included with the trip.

(And as most of us who have planned a wedding will know, 
food and beverage accounts for the biggest chunk of your budget!) 



I find myself answering that question so often that it has become commonplace and rolls off my tongue without me even thinking about. But a few weeks ago, the dialogue was somehow different. At a lovely little cocktail party, with a glass of champagne in hand, I almost snapped. 

Instead of the conversation playing out as above, this particular woman, of a similar age and pleasant demeanour, said, "isn't it CRAZY the things people will spend thousands of dollars on for their weddings? Could you even imagine being so frivolous?!"

It stopped me dead in my tracks. 

That's my livelihood. That's the entire basis of my business. How could someone be so completely unaware of the words that came out of their mouth...



When I didn't answer right away, she filled the awkward silence with another insightful gem: "I mean, they could just use that money for their honeymoon!"

As a mother of two children under 4, I'm familiar with the feeling of not knowing where to even start with the explanation a foreign concept. But this was an intelligent, well-spoken, professional woman. How could I even begin to address the notion that the clients who procure my services were not frivolous, rich, luxury-obsessed snobs, and in fact they were kind and generous, down to earth people who make many other sacrifices to be able to invest in photography as part of their wedding day?



The truth was that her bewilderment into my entire business model caught me so off guard that I felt my blood start to boil. The way she questioned the mental state of someone who spent upwards of $6,000 on a destination wedding photographer was personally offensive to me, even though I knew that her bold claims were based on absolutely nothing at all. 

Her knowledge on the subject probably stems from the fact that they paid a mediocre photographer a mediocre amount of money and received mediocre photos from their wedding day. How should she know anything different?



I tried to detour away from this topic, but she immediately asked me what else I did during my Winters, since I wasn't shooting weddings. No problem! Another question I answer quite often: 

Oh, you know, with my Summers being so busy, the Winter is really the
 time I'm able to focus on the business side of things! 

I'm tying up loose ends from the previous season, meeting with and 
booking my clientele for 2019, and getting around to writing 
helpful blog content for my brides!



99 times out of a hundred, this answer suffices. People can appreciate that there's more to being a wedding photographer than attending weddings. Of course!

But this particular individual decided to ask me if I should be considering getting into studio family sessions and cake-smashes as a way to make money during my off-season. If I was seeing red before, then this was a deep shade of crimson. 

The sarcastic, Real Housewives loving, 28 year old inside of me wanted to ask her why she wasn't applying to work at Starbucks on the weekends to supplement her income as a lawyer. 



The truth is that this job that some people view as glamorous and frivolous is actually rooted in passion, heart, and a ton of hard work. The people who get that are the ones who I am lucky enough to work with. And the people who don't are the ones that I will not so quietly excuse myself from at a cocktail party. 

I no longer see red when I think of this conversation. 

Instead I'm choosing to make a choice not to judge others or run my mouth on subjects that I know nothing about. I'll be here under a beach umbrella, sipping on champagne and knowing the full story behind what it means to be so "frivolous."  

kitchen makeover!

One of my girlfriends warned me that when my health was finally restored after a really challenging Winter of continued tonsilitis, that I would feel an almost manic sense of purpose with energy to match. I pictured myself strutting out and about town for lunch dates and barre classes, but instead I went a different direction: a kitchen makeover.

Most of you will remember that we recently moved away from the white picket fence house of our dreams in Stittsville to pursue a life of quality over quantity in the Glebe. A smaller house for our family of four, a minimal commute for my hardworking husband, and a quaint lifestyle that includes walking to the grocery store and shopping local. 

My mission: to take our hundred-something year old Glebe home and shine it up a little bit, infusing elements from the beautiful house we left behind. And the biggest sore spot was the kitchen. Even though it was renovated fairly recently, it wasn't my taste and it actually made the middle of our house like a black hole of sunshine, sucking up all of the light and reflecting shades of orangey-brown. No thanks.

But only $150 later, after 6 days getting closely acquainted with my paintbrush and roller, the kitchen looks and feels like new:


No orange or brown in sight!!

I like to keep things pretty simple when I paint. For me that means no fancy supplies or expensive couture "whites," and I hardly wait the recommended time between coats.


We painted 4 test cabinets that are the same finish as the kitchen ones, but serve as storage until a bench in the front entrance. That's where I found the perfect recipe for this type of cupboard, which you can see below. Sanding, priming, painting, and clear-coating made these puppies look brand new. All in all, we were looking at approximately $150 in paint and supplies, plus 6 days of caffeinated effort.


I've been getting lots of questions about the backsplash ever since sharing this before & after on instagram. We slapped two coats of paint over the red mosaic tile on the night we got the keys, and haven't thought about it since. 

The paint was never meant to be permanent, but it would tide us over until we were able to paint the cabinets and get around to replacing the backsplash altogether. And now that's our next project!


Until then, I'll enjoy every morning spent getting coffee in this bright and beautiful space, knowing that every brushstroke was supremely worth it! I'll finish off this post with a few insights if you find yourself considering a major kitchen paint job like this one:

- When I say it took me 6 days, it's important to note that my husband helped me during 
both weekend days. If I were doing it entirely by myself, it would probably have taken 8 days.

- Having a large work area where you can set out and work on 6-8 cupboards at
a time made this go so smoothly. Our 24 cupboards we broken up into 4 groupings. 

- No one prepares you for how weird it is to see your kitchen with all the cupboard doors off... 
but it does inspire a full minimalism overhaul and re-organization -- added benefit!

- Even if the paint can says "apply a thin layer with a foam brush," sometimes the real answer 
is a thick layer with a synthetic brush. Trust your instincts.