Category Archives: Green Room

How to Take a Great ‘About Me’ Photo

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I don’t know if it’s just because I’m incredibly nosey, but whenever I go to a new blog or website and enjoy the content, the next thing I want to do is find out what the author looks like. It always nice to put a face to the name after all. A lot of us are afraid of having our photos taken or showing the world what we look like (why!? you are beautiful!) but having one is super important. Using a photo of yourself not only builds trust and makes people feel like they’re talking to/ reading the words of a real person but it’s a great way to filter out your non-ideal clients.

I obviously have quite a strong ‘look’. Some people will love the pink hair and tattoos and that’s awesome, we’ll probably get on great and I want them to keep reading my site. Others will look at me and think “What a hot mess, pink hair is tacky and tattoos are gross!” and that’s fine too, why would I want someone to keep reading my site if they think that? They clearly aren’t going to enjoy my content. It’s actually a great filtration method.

Even if your personal style isn’t a polarising as mine, having photos of yourself on your About page and as your social media profile photo is imperative. So stop being scared of the camera and start embracing the chance to show the world who you are and what you look like!

When it comes to taking a great About Me photo, here are some of the most important things to think about:

The light

Photography is essentially painting with light so it is crucial for taking a great shot. There is no point trying to take the photo when it’s dark. If you schedule in a shoot, make sure you give yourself plenty of time before the sun goes down.

At the other end of the scale, never stand in direct sunlight. The harsh shadows on your face will not only be incredibly unflattering, but you’ll be squinting. Never a good look. If it’s a bright day, find a patch of shade to stand in. The diffused light will be a lot more forgiving.

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Overcoming Nerves

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Whether it’s shooting a wedding, speaking in public or having to send a client their final products, being nervous is a perfectly natural feeling. Although we hate them, and some of us find them massively crippling, nerves are actually very useful. They sharpen the mind, get the adrenaline pumping and really help you to focus. However if you let them they can take over and really get the better of you.

These days I do a lot of public speaking, but in school it was the thing I dreaded more than anything else. If I ever had to stand up and give any kind of presentation in class I wouldn’t be able to sleep the night before and I’d do anything I possibly could to get out of it.

When I was first asked to speak in public as Rock n Roll Bride I was similarly terrified. In fact I’m still utterly crapping it before I have to do it now, but I’ve learnt a few things that have helped me get better at it. I now think back to that first ever talk I had to do (for the British Journal of Photography no less!) and I cringe so much about how bad I was. But you know what, you can only get better each time to do something right?!

Practice makes… better

So I totally stole this line from Paul Jarvis’ new book, Everything I Know,
which I’ve been reading recently (it really is ace by the way). “Perfection is a myth, so practice can never make perfect”, he writes, “In fact, all that striving for perfection can actually lead you away from launching anything. The path to perfection makes it almost impossible to get your work out the door, because nothing will ever be perfect. Focus instead on great enough to launch and perfect enough for your audience to enjoy.”

Contrary to the cliché, practice does not make perfect. There is no such thing as perfect. But what it does do is makes you better. With each and every try you are getting closer and closer to being better, good even. The more you practice something, the less intimidating it becomes, and the better you get at it. Simple.

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Ask for feedback

Before you go to do the thing you’re nervous about, show it to someone who’s opinion you trust and ask for some feedback. Maybe you have a friend in the industry who wouldn’t mind looking over some of your work or you need to do a practice run of your speech in front of your partner.

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You Are Good Enough

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I know what you’re thinking every time you press publish on your latest blog post, share the last photo you took or upload your latest design… please someone like it, please someone favourite that tweet, please won’t someone share the post or say I did a good job… please someone care.  You want to be popular. You hate that word and the fact that it matters, but for some reason you still really crave it.

I know you do it because I do too. Every single time. We are desperate for validation, even if we don’t want to admit it. It’s why we share things online after all. We want someone else to say we did a good job or that we have a talent because inside we’re all deeply insecure.  We’re worried that some day soon people will find out the truth. That we’re really just winging it, that we actually don’t really know what we’re doing and that we’re making it all up as we go along.

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Ten Ways To Get Over Blogger’s Block

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I probably get the dreaded blogger’s block at least once a month. I sit there, staring at my screen, hoping a brilliant idea will just magically hit me. It rarely does of course, but I do have a number of things I do which help me to wriggle through it.

1. Start a new series or project

Giving yourself a new challenge is a great way to over come blogger’s block. You could do something big like starting a whole new business (!) or publishing a magazine (!!), or you could do something more manageable like kicking off a new regular series on your site.

I did this recently with my Marriage Mantras posts. Setting it as a ten part series give me a feasible goal to work towards (I wasn’t sure if I’d have much else to say past ten articles) and tackling a new topic really stretched me as a writer. It also surprised my readers, and showed a new breadth of content. In fact they loved it so much that many of the articles ended up being my most popular of all time!

It can be very easy to get into a routine with blogging, the old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. But changing things up and embracing new ideas not only helps you to re-find your passion, it gets your readers more excited about what you’re writing about too.

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2. Write about something that scares you

It is always the blog posts that you’re afraid of hitting ‘publish’ on that surprise you with their popularity. Why? Because people love to read things that are relatable.

We all have struggles and personal demons, and while I never think you should write about difficult things just because you want some kind of validation, being open and honest about them always garners a big response.

Two of my most popular article of all time where when I wrote about difficult or scary topics.

3. Have a clear out

If you’re stuck in a rut or a blogging slump then have a clear out. Go through your RSS reader and unsubscribe to any blogs that you no longer really read or find inspiring – and then follow some new ones! Same goes with social media. If someone you follow on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook is boring you senseless or being a Negative Nancy, then screw the politics and unfollow them!

Life is too short and new faces will give you a much-needed jolt of inspiration.

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4. Change up your location

It could be a different room in your house, a coffee shop, or even a friend’s sofa! If you’re struggling to focus or to come up with new ideas then a simple change of location can really help you.

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Business Bites: Do You Take a Break Over the Holidays?

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Photography: With Lovely

It’s that time of year where we all start wishing the time away and eagerly awaiting that glorious week between Christmas and New Year where we can all have a proper week off. Unless you work for yourself that is.

However long I’ve been blogging I always agonise over whether I should join the rest of humanity and step away from work completely, or if I should keep up my regular posting schedule. On the one hand it’s nice to lay down, watch crap tv and have nothing to do apart from pour another sherry. But on the flip side, if most of the western world are off work, the likelihood is that they’ll also be spending a lot of time online. After all there’s only so much family time you can take. Plus, Christmas is a time rife with proposals, surely wedding professionals in particular should be putting their very best content online during this time to capture the attention of the newly betrothed.

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How Do You Know If Your Business Idea is a Good One?

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Before we begin, let me give it to you straight. Starting your own business is bloody hard. So hard in fact that most of you reading this will quit before you’ve really began. A slightly harsh way to start an article about success you might think, but that’s really the whole point. Remember, if it was easily attainable, everyone would be accomplishing it. If I told you it was going to be an easy ride, I’d be doing you much more of a disservice.

Running a successful business is not easy. Working for someone else is easy. Letting someone else make all the difficult decisions is easy. Working an eight hour day and taking home a regular pay check is easy. Running your own business is as far from easy as it can possibly get.

When you decide to strike out on your own you will be inundated with people ‘helpfully’ offering you their advice and opinions. They’ll tell you that you’re mad to want to quit your job, and that leaving behind the security of a regular income is crazy… and in many ways they are completely right.

If I’ve kept you this far then hopefully you’re now thinking “Screw that! I’d rather work twice as hard so I can live a life and create something I really want – whatever the cost” and if that’s the case, then congratulations my friend, you may just have a shot.

Yet passion and determination are only one piece of the pie. You first have to have a damn good idea and then the drive, ambition and forward planning to actually make it happen.

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The Idea

For some people, coming up with their business idea is easy. They have a lightbulb moment or a brainwave when they least expect it. But for the rest of us it can take years to uncover exactly what it is we really want to do. So just how do you know if your latest business idea is a ‘good’ one or not?

Of course no-one can give you a definitive answer to this biggest of questions but there are a few things you can do when trying to figure this out for yourself. Firstly you need to obsessively research your chosen field and profession. You need to devour books, blogs, workshops and training courses. You need to take in as much information as possible and then you need to work your butt off practising over and over and over again.

If this sounds like a lot of work then you may not have uncovered your brilliant business idea just yet. However if this is something you’ve already done or you can’t wait to get stuck into then you might just be on the right path.

If you’re not obsessed with your chosen idea then drop it and move on. You have to really love what you do, and be willing to do it for free (or at least very little money) for a significant amount of time before you really make any traction or even a sniff of profit. If you’re not willing to work for free then you’ll likely give up before you’ve even really got started. If you don’t completely love what you plan to do then working for a regular pay check is always going to be an easier route to take.

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