Ten Things I Learnt at The Blogcademy

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The Blogcademy has been a life changing new direction for me and my career. Making the decision to teach others was not an easy one and was something that the three of us knew would take some time to perfect. Going into something thinking you have nothing to learn yourself is a fast-track route to failure. In fact I haven’t learnt quite as much about myself, or the way to run a business successfully, in such a short space of time… er ever.

1. Build a strong team

When you go into any new venture, it’s vital to have co-workers that you can trust. Even if you’re going it alone, it’s unlikely that you will be able to do everything yourself. Be sure to hire or collaborate with people who have the same overall vision as you. You need to openly discuss your objectives early on to make sure you’re all on the same page and have the same ultimate goals.

Communication is key. Be sure to talk through any issues or concerns right away – as soon as you feel them arising. Being open and honest about these things with not only help to maintain a healthy working relationship, but will allow your team to help you work through any personal concerns along the way.

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2. Not all advice will be good advice

Asking for feedback from past customers or collaborators is a necessary evil. Sometimes it’s all to easy to bury our heads in the sand and aimlessly convince ourselves that we’ve done a perfect job. But perfection takes time (in reality it will never be met!) and although you may already be aware of areas that need improving in your business, asking for feedback from people who you know will give it to you honestly us a great way to grow. But it can be tough to hear – especially if you feel you’ve worked really hard and put your all into something. It can seem like people are picking holes in everything you’ve done, but they may have noticed things you didn’t and may offer you some really valuable advice about how to improve things next time.

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Announcements, Changes, Reminders & Shout Outs

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Just a little note to let you all know, I’ll be switching over the majority of my coverage of The Blogcademy to The Green Room from now on. The reason being that I anticipate that these posts will be of most interest to the people reading the business and personal updates on my blog rather than the weddings. So make sure you’re checking in here regularly if this kind of stuff floats your boat.

Portland & Los Angeles venues

Plenty has been going on behind the turquoise curtain since London. We did a soft launch of our next cities last month so the eager ones amongst you could plan ahead and now we’re able to finally share all the nitty gritty details, starting with the most important thing – the venues!

I’m thrilled to let you all know that the Portland event will be taking place at the uber cool The Cleaners at Ace Hotel (and there’s a photo booth in the lobby!) with the LA leg going down at Beachwood Studios slap bang in the middle of Hollywood. Oh yes, I can’t wait to get me some of that Californian sunshine!

I’m also super duper head over heels excited that the always epic Made U Look Photography will be joining us in Portland to shoot the workshop and generally hang out with us all weekend. Y’all have to meet these ladies, they are seriously inspiring. If you are interested in film and experimental photography they really are the best of the best. We love them.

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Curriculum changes

In other news, after some feedback from past Blogcadets, we’ve decided to switch up some parts of the curriculum for upcoming workshops. First off, we called upon Richard Wakefield of FX Films to shoot Lisa Devlin‘s photography talk in London so that we can offer it with your ticket purchase – you’ll receive the password and can watch the video as many times as you’d like. Lisa is an award-winning photographer and has a lot packed into her talks and this will benefit you since some of the technical info can take a few viewings to get down.

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Business Bites: Strive to Learn

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Compiling this list of inspiration and business snippets is one of my favourite weekly activities. I always learn something new – often many things! Always strive to learn and better your understanding of how to best run your business, whatever level you’re at…

In other news, I’m being interviewed by Exposure Radio at 1.30pm today. If you fancy listening in you can stream it live here (must not swear, must not swear, must not swear…)

Enjoy!

♥ Do successful women get more haters?
What successful people do with the first hour of their work day
An ad-free publishing experiment (Love this post, it raises some really interesting ideas. It’s also what we did with the print magazine. The decision to keep the magazine advert-free was a surprise to many but it’s really worked in our favour)
How to test whether your idea has a market
How to cope with those who tear you down (oh Jasmine, you are so wise)
♥ And because Jasmine is sooo on form this week, read dumpster diving and the things you do for passion
♥ Let go or get dragged
♥ Should I go back to school?
I love Emma’s two epic Q&A posts (& part two)
Demand your worth!
♥ What you need to know about Facebook’s new graph search - ahh Facebook’s done it again and we’re all up in arms! This post also explains why it’s such a drama…
♥ Should you go into business with your best friend?
♥ Can you really make money blogging!? (answer – yes, but it ain’t gonna be easy!)
♥ 21 ways to add magic to your brand and stand out as a creative
♥ Seven things to do if your blog is a deadbeat

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Homesick.

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Photography: Devlin Photos

When you spend a long time away from home you start to miss the little things. Gareth & I are very lucky that as we work together we basically spend 100% of our time together (a blessing and a curse believe me!) Because of this, me going away for two weeks doesn’t really seem like such a huge stretch. But as my latest foreign jaunt came to a close I really started to miss home.

Adventure is magical, inspiring and wonderful, but the small home comforts are what define us and what make us who we are. They are the jumping off point for everything we strive to do and the real reason for our efforts. I work hard because I want a comfortable home life. I want to feed my little furry family and to create something we can all call our own.

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The Happiness Fallacy & New Project Syndrome

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I hope that all the days in your business are happy ones – challenging but happy. Yet, the reality is that they won’t always be. I’m not here to rain on your parade, or hold a pessimist pity party so early on in the life of your sparkly new business. But, the biggest issue that you will face with any new endeavour is how to keep the positivity going once the ‘newness’ has gone.

All things with the prefix ‘new’ are pretty great. New year, new car, new job, new house, new shoes, new friends, new clothes… that word always signals shiny iridescent hopes and glitter spangled dreams; and the chance for things to be different. But the fact remains that eventually the time comes when these things are no longer new entities or new experiences that delight you with their everyday twists and turns. Even with the work we love the most, the banal will soon start to set in and with that comes the onset – that classic curse that affects all businesses – the ‘I want to plan something new’ syndrome.

The thing about me is that I love what I do, until I don’t. Part of the curse (if you will) of having a creative mind that has to draw up ideas and solutions to client problems on a daily basis, is that every now and again I have some new crazy, mad fangled idea for my own business and I want to run with it! It probably happens to be every week – actually scratch that – every day. From complete career changes, to inspiration for projects, to insane new business plans; I have a graveyard of urls, half started tumblr blogs, and notebooks filled with scrawls and scribbles which support this brain baby overload.

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Is Vintage Photography the Dance Music of the Wedding Industry?

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There are obvious fashions in weddings just like with clothing, interiors, food and just about everything we consume. However if you want to maintain any kind of longevity in the industry is it wrong to appear to be too much of a particular trend?

I actually get asked about this quite a lot as I guess it could be perceived that I am part of the fashion for vintage toning on wedding images. Ironically, this toning is something that I started doing when I switched from shooting weddings on film to digital a couple of years ago. I have always tweaked the colour on my images, whether it was toning black & white prints or cross processing print film in the chemicals for slide film and vice versa. I like to find out how things work and then mess with them. In the 90s I worked for the experimental Blah Blah Blah magazine and the art director, Chris Ashworth, used to always prefer the images that would normally get binned. He liked to to push the boundaries of everything. At the time, I was simultaneously working for a number of teenage pop magazines so it was utterly liberating to be able to do something creative and definitely my favourite magazine to work for.

So I guess it was inevitable that when I finally embraced digital technology for shooting weddings, I would start to seek ways of messing with the colours again. I have always been passionate about old photographs and all they represent in our social history, so if Photoshop was going to give me the ability to experiment, then I was going to! I looked for ways to recreate those faded tones that old colour images have. At the same time the kinds of wedding dresses and decor items that were gaining popularity we’re also very vintage, and so suddenly it was a ‘thing’.

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