Tag Archives: the inspirations

Ask Me Anything…#3

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I hope you enjoyed last week’s Ask Me Anything post. It was a biggie but this one is just as beastly I’m afraid! I truly appreciate you all sending in all these questions and I hope my answers have been useful so far. Onwards…

I’m a blogger and really stumped as to how to get the best pictures for my blog. I’d love to share really beautiful photography alongside my posts but obviously I want to avoid copyright issues. How do I find beautiful photos and how do I know when it’s OK to use something?

This can be a tricky topic and one that instils the fear of God into a lot of bloggers, and quite rightly so, copyright is a scary subject! I’d like to start by saying that obviously I’m not a lawyer but this is just how I’ve done things so far and I don’t seem to have gone far wrong.

When I first started blogging I was super eager to share as much content as I could get my hands on. It literally never even crossed my mind that it wouldn’t be OK to share other people’s images. I was linking to the original source (which was sometimes the photographer, sometimes a third party site) and I figured they’ve already been posted online so surely that’s OK right? Wrong.

I lifted content from everywhere. This is something I bet many now-established bloggers will have done once upon a time but nobody ever talks about it – why? Because they now know it’s wrong and because it’s embarrassing. I would go to Flickr and find photos, I’d see weddings on other blogs that I liked and re-blog them, I’d find weddings on wedding photographer’s sites and post them without a second thought… and if Pinterest had been around then, I daresay I’d have been nicking stuff from there too.

Then one day I got called out. Another wedding blogger emailed me to tell me they knew what I was doing and that they were annoyed. Really annoyed. They knew some of the weddings I’d posted had originated from them as they had the exclusive right to publish those weddings… I was mortified.

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OK so onto your question. If you didn’t take a photograph you are not allowed to post it without express permission of the photographer. End of. But there are a few ways you can get imagery that is OK to publish. Firstly there are a bunch of places you can get photos with creative commons licences which basically means you can use them on (usually not for profit, although there are various options) blogs. Both Flickr and Wikipedia offer these kinds of images. Just make sure the usage of each image you want to post fits in with what you’re doing (some won’t let you use them if your making money from your blog for example). This is a great post listing the breakdown of creative commons licenses and includes some other ideas of places you can get photos that are OK to use.

I also discovered Unsplash recently, a tumblr site that allows photographers to share a set of images what can be re-blogged for free (in exchange for exposure, I assume). If you use these just be sure you are crediting and linking back to the photographer, it’s just good karma.

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Ask Me Anything…#2

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People always say there are no original ideas. It’s true, everything is a rehash of this or an offshoot of that. I actually did this once before but my babe Emma Case posted this Q&A blog post the other day and I really enjoyed reading it so I wanted to shamelessly rip off the idea and do it again! Thanks to everyone on Facebook and Twitter who asked a question. In fact I got so many of them that I’m going to split this into two parts and do another post same time next week. If you have any yourself, be sure to pop them in the comments and I’ll try and include it as well!


I have been messing about with tags on my blog but then someone said that they make no difference to SEO so I got confused and stopped. Are tags useful in blogs and if so, what for?

Ugh SEO, yawn! I’m no expert, but I’ll try my best to explain it… Basically anything and everything you put on your blog will, in some small way, add to your searchability. So, if you tagged every post with ‘vintage wedding photography’ the likelihood is that Google will start to index you for that term (alongside every other frigging wedding photographer in world who’s done the same).

The real function of tags is to index things within your blog and to provide a better user experience for your readers. For example, if you tagged a wedding with ‘vintage wedding’ and a reader enjoyed that post they can then click the tag to view other, similar content.

So in a nutshell yes and no… but mostly no. They’re not designed for SEO benefits but may well contribute to the overall ‘SEOness’ of your site.

The key thing to remember is that you’re blogging for your readers, not for Google, and everything you do on your site should enhance the experience for them. I keep my tags super simple as it can be very easy to go overboard (and, goodness, doesn’t that look spammy at the end of a post?!) and do more harm than good.

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I’m a photographer and would love to be a successful one. How do I get those more alternative clients when I’m starting out? I love everything that’s out of the ordinary and would like to make it my business…

There’s no quick answer to this one I’m afraid but authenticity is key. The holy grail is that the couples that book you do so because they connect with something about you (and hopefully it’s not just because you’re cheap when just starting out!) Really spend some time working on how you present yourself online. Use your personality and your quirks (alongside your amazing photography of course) to sell yourself.

Instead of saying “I really want to shoot alternative weddings” think, “I’d really like to shoot people I connect with”, because, really, that’s what it’s all about. We all present ourselves in very different ways online and some of the most successful photographers are the ones that have very distinct personalties. Look at Jonas Peterson, Jasmine Star, Emma Case… each of these guys have cornered a very specific demographic of client. Why? because they’re attracting couples that are just like them. There’s no point trying to do what they do though, you have to market yourself towards your ideal client.

Look at some of your favourite wedding photographers and see how they do this. What are they blogging about? What are they saying on social media? Where are they getting featured? What is it about them that their clients are connecting with? People with similar interests will naturally be drawn to you. If you try to be something you’re not it will always be completely obvious and will likely just put people off.

Wedding photographer Hannah Millard recently did a really specific and targeted Facebook ad campaign and the results were astounding. She stipulated that the ad was to be shown to engaged people in her desired area who had also ‘liked’ the Belle and Sebastian fan page. The ad graphic also mentioned that she was a fan. Weird right? No, it’s actually genius.

Firstly Facebook ads are priced on a sliding scale depending how many people see them, so by being super specific about her demographic it didn’t reach a huge number of people (maybe a few hundred) making it really affordable. Secondly the people who saw the ad were instantly drawn to it because alongside offering something they were looking for (a wedding photographer) it mentioned something they instantly connected with (a mutual appreciation of Belle and Sebastian). She booked seven weddings through this advert alone (and had a bunch more enquiries which she couldn’t do because she was already booked) and it cost her less than £100.

Obviously I’m not saying you should go and put a Belle and Sebastian targeted ad on Facebook right away. The reason this worked so well for Hannah was because she wasn’t trying to be all things to all people. She really drilled down, got super specific and spoke directly to the kind of client she wanted to work with.

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The Inspirations: There will Always be People who don’t Like Peaches

Oh Dita you are so wise.

There will always be someone, somewhere who doesn’t agree with you or like what you do. But you know what? Screw ’em! The best lesson I’ve learnt through running my business is that I can’t please everybody so I shouldn’t to waste my time trying. And, in all honestly, if people are annoyed enough to tell you that they don’t like what you’re doing then you’re probably doing something right. Hell raisers, game changers and trend setters unite!

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The Inspirations: I’m not Telling you it’s Gonna be Easy

Over the past 7 months I’ve interviewed some of the most amazing and incredible people. It’s been one hell of a trip! I’ve loved delving deeper into what makes these critters tick and sharing their wondrousness with you. I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride too. But from now on, I’m going to morph the Inspirations feature into sharing some of the most inspiring business/life realated tidbits that I find on my travels around the interwebz. I hope you enjoy them. I’d personally like to print every single one of these things out and stick them up around my office. Who’s with me?

As a side note, the Inspirations interview feature isn’t dead forever, and if there’s anyone you find inspiring that you’d like me to try and get on the blower, just let me know!

via: The Spotted Fox on etsy

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The Inspirations: Austin Kleon – Steal Like An Artist

I was introduced to the work of Austin Kleon by a reader who emailed me a link to his latest book, Steal Like an Artist, after attending my School of Rock workshop. She thought I’d like it (thanks Emily!) and she was right. I bought it straight away and devoured the whole thing in one sitting.

Austin uses drawings and simple analogies to share his vision of what makes an artist… theft. Sounds controversial huh? Well it’s not… it’s awesome… and hugely enlightening. I’d enourage you all to go out and read it right now.

I wanted to know more so I decided to interview the man himself… enjoy!

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The Inspirations: Lisa Devlin

Gareth & I joke that we should change the name of The Green Room to The Lisa Devlin Room in honour of her services to guest posts! I’m always so thrilled when Lisa offers her insight into something as she’s just like me with her advice – to the point, honest and practical.

With 20 years as a professional photographer under her photography ninja belt, Lisa has got to be the perfect candidate for an Inspirations interview right? She runs the phenomenally successful Photography Farm, sells PhotoShop actions, shoots weddings all over the country… oh and she’s the 2011 British Journal of Photography Wedding Photographer of the Year. NIIIICE!

You’re no stranger to The Green Room, but just in case anyone has been living under a rock for the last 6 months, can you introduce yourself?

I am Lisa Devlin from Devlin Photos a UK based photographer mostly shooting weddings. I don’t remember ever not owning a camera of some sort… My Dad was a keen photographer and over the years bought me all sorts of cameras including a disc camera with tiny negatives in a wheel to a polaroid that spat out instant stickers. I have just always been completely fascinated by the process of taking photographs. For my 18th my parents bought me my first SLR which was a Minolta because it had the best review in Which Magazine. It was a great camera, the kit lens had a macro switch and I loved getting to grips with it.

I ended up as a music industry photographer for around ten years, working freelance for record companies and magazines. I travelled a lot and got to photograph lots of celebs from Eric Clapton to East 17. The first wedding I shot was for my agent in 2000 and though I was initially reluctant to do it, I totally and utterly fell in love with the whole shebang and set up my wedding photography business.

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The Inspirations: Made You Look Photography

Where on Earth do I begin introducing the made you look girls?

These vivacious, ridiculous talented, infectious and crazily-generous women really do make my heart sing. After chatting to them online for years, I was exceptionally honoured to be able to shoot with them when I was in New York earlier this year. They flew all the way from California to do it and gosh… I owe them so much. They really did make me feel beautiful.

If you’re not inspired after seeing these girls’ images and reading about their incredible journey… well there may be no hope for you. Christina, Alie & Marielle rock my frickin’ world. I love them more than life itself and I really hope we get to hang out again one day…

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The Inspirations: Fur Coat No Knickers

Photography Credit: Joanna Brown Photography

Yesterday Gareth told me that I use too! many! exclamation! marks! He said it’s like laughing at your own jokes (well… hell, I think I’m a hoot!) So he’s probably not going to enjoy reading this intro because a gazillion exclamation marks are definitely required to convey to you just how much I love the girls I’m interviewing today (!!!!!!!)

Laura & Emma run the amazing Fur Coat No Knickers, a vintage wedding dress shop in the heart of London. But this isn’t any old vintage shop, oh no, the girls pride themselves in their attention to detail and attentiveness to all their brides. They’re well known for how they ‘pimp’ each of their gowns to make it perfect for the individual girl. Whether it’s shortening, nipping, tucking, letting in, letting out or it’s adding petticoats, giant bows, straps or applique details… no detail is left out when making sure each and every one of their brides leaves with the wedding dress of their dreams.

I could wax lyrical all day long about how wonderful these two women are. They really care about each and every girl they work with, which is why I feature so many of their brides on my blog – because wearing one of their dresses makes brides automatically awesome, happy and gorgeous!

Their Kingley Court shop is my absolute favoruite place in London. If I’m ever in the area I’ll pop in and say hi… and not just because they always offer me bubbly and I get to swoon over all the latest vintage frocks! These girls are wonderful, wonderful people. They’re always there for me when I have a ‘omg I’ve fallen in love with this vintage dress but it’s too small!’ crisis, and they’re always the first to make me feel beautiful when I need it, “We think this dress is perfect for you. Yes, you have to try it on!” A well fitting glamorous vintage dress will do that to a person!

I only wish I’d known about them before I got married!

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The Inspirations: Elbie Van Eeden

Elbie on the Wonderland set

Elbie has no concept of what is real, and what is make-believe”, wrote photographer Kirsty Mitchell in 2009. “She lives in la-la-land, and likes to spend her money on gardening wire and lipsticks. She spends her days ruining people’s hair because she is constantly emailing me about fairies and monsters, and leaves broken make up all over the place. She will stain your carpets with blue face paint and glue, and says ‘happiness’ a lot, and gets very excited about sparkly stuff.”

So apart from the ruining people’s hair bit, this couldn’t be more spot on about my friend Elbie. After stalking her work online for months, I finally plucked up the courage to email her to ask if she’d be available to work with me on a shoot. Luckily she agreed and we’ve been the best of friends ever since. Elbie is my go to girl for anything hair and make up related. With every shoot I do, Elbie is the first MUA I want to book. And after disastrous (and erm… expensive) hair dying results from Toni & Guy, Elbie has become my hair care saviour – regularly emailing me the next stage in my ‘lets-get-Kat’s-hair-healthy-again’ regime.

She’s a gem. She’s exceptionally talented at what she does. As someone who has built her business from the ground up, she’s the perfect person to interview today. Inspirational? Oh yes she is!

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The Inspirations: Ruth Crilly of A Model Recommends

Ruth Crilly was always a model I was aware of. With her trademark teeth and her ridiculously luscious blonde hair, I’d seen and admired her on billboards and in magazines for a long time. I’d even watched her early foray into modelling on the Channel 4 series This Model life (which, if you’re in the UK you can see watch on 4OD). So you can imagine my surprise when, at a cover shoot for Wedding Magazine last year, I walked in to see Ruth getting made up! I’m not going to lie, I was slightly intimidated to meet her but I need not have been. She’s a truly LOVELY person as well (gaah don’t you just hate that!?) Ruth had started her beauty blog, A Model Recommends, the year before so we spent most of the day gossiping about modeling, blogging and beauty products! I’ve been a fan of her blog ever since and have lost literally hours watching her video blogs (and erm…spent rather a lot of money on her product recommendations).

So this week I thought I’d revisit that chat so share with you all today. Ruth is not only inspiring for wannabe models out there, but for anyone who wants to start a blog. Brains and beauty? Yeah not jealous at all …

Hey Ruth! So, tell us about yourself. Who are you and what do is it that you do?

Hello! I’m Ruth Crilly and I am an international fashion model and a writer. Though I should really put the writer part first as that’s now my main career. Doesn’t sound as exciting though, does it? I got signed to a model agency when I was in my second year at law school (2001) and then modelled full-time for almost ten years until I set up www.amodelrecommends.com in 2010. Now I juggle the two jobs, but they work very well together. In fact, I couldn’t really maintain A Model Recommends without being a model, so both jobs are necessary!

How did you first get into modelling?

I dropped a polaroid of myself into a Topshop “Model Comp” box in Birmingham when I was on my lunch break (extended lunch break, which was usual when I was at uni, and used to last from approximately 11.30am until 4pm). I didn’t get contacted for about six months by which time I had forgotten all about it, but when I was asked by Models1 to come and see them I jumped at the chance. I wasn’t particularly “feeling” my law degree and the promise of a more glamorous lifestyle (see below for a bit of myth-busting on that one!) was too much to turn down.

I can imagine being a model is one of the hardest and most competitive fields to get into. Do you have any advice for anyone who’d like to become a model?

Yes: be realistic at all times. Think forward to when your career will end and have something planned out – most girls will NOT make it to superstardom, unfortunately, and the shelf-life for models is getting shorter and shorter. This sounds really pessimistic, but it’s SO true, and there’s nothing more soul-destroying than being left waiting for the phone to ring! Make sure you have some qualifications behind you – I left uni, but I carried on with my education and did a humanities diploma, then a literature degree, now I’m doing a Masters degree. If academia isn’t your thing, try some practical qualifications that are relevant to your modelling career – nutrition, beauty or fitness perhaps.

What are the biggest preconceptions about the fashion/modelling industry?

That models are stupid. It drives me absolutely BONKERS. Whenever I hear that tagline “beauty AND brains!” it makes me want to poke my eyes out with a fork – it is one of the most condescending and pointless statements. That it’s such a surprise for a woman to be both attractive AND clever? Whoo – don’t get me started, I’ll be here all day!

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The Inspirations: Chris Guillebeau & The Art of Non-Conformity

While in New York last month, I was lucky enough to meet author and entrepreneur Chris Guillebeau through our mutual friend Megan. From our brief encounter I was enthralled by his story of traveling the world, writing books and – without wanting to sound like a big cliché- living the dream! Then, when I got home, I had an email from Chris saying how lovely it was so meet me and how great he thought my business was! Holy cow…

Hi Chris, thank you so much for taking time to speak to us today! Can you introduce yourself to my readers?

Thanks for having me! I’m a writer, traveler, and entrepreneur. I’m on a quest to visit every country in the world (185 down, 8 to go). I’m fortunate to spend most of my time working with fun people who connect through my blog and offline community.

I also drink a lot of coffee.

What an amazing and enviable job! Have you ever worked for someone else and was there a defining moment when you thought “That’s it! I’m done!”? Was being your own boss something you always wanted?

I’m a terrible employee, so much that I’m essentially unemployable. I’m just not very good at doing what I’m told or bringing my own motivation to someone else’s project. I walked out of my last job at age 20 (I’m 34 now) and never went back.

What is The Art of Non-Conformity? Who is it for and what’s the overriding message?

The central message of AONC is “You don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to.” Our community includes all kinds of people from all ages and backgrounds. There are students, entrepreneurs, artists, travelers, and more. What unites us is an interest in doing unconventional, remarkable things.

Your ethos has gained quite the cult following. So much so that your first book, The Art of Non-Conformity sold over 50,000 copies in it’s first year! Can you tell us about writing it. How did it all come about?

I had returned to the U.S. from four years in West Africa. I started the AONC blog and began writing about my adventure to visit every country in the world. The readership grew, and I got serious about writing a book.

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