Hey Hey Hey!
I guess it was only fair to share the FULL How to Create a Flat Lay Video, so here it is!!! xoxo
Hey Hey Hey!
I guess it was only fair to share the FULL How to Create a Flat Lay Video, so here it is!!! xoxo
Some of you may or may not know that once upon a time (almost 3 years ago) I worked for a Fortune 100 company. I secured my first (and last) corporate retail job before I graduated college and worked for this major retailer for 6 years. My reasons for leaving my job are my own and I do not endorse someone simply leaving their job because it does bring you joy. But then again... that was certainly one of the reasons I left. Nevertheless, there were bright spots that stuck with me that has certainly help set me up for success as an entrepreneur. Sometimes individuals with a corporate background get a bad rap; however, it's quite the contrary. Having worked with other creatives, I've certainly noticed that working a job with certain procedures and etiquette helped make the transition into entrepreneurship and the guts & work it takes to succeed less painful. More importantly, these lessons have helped take my business to the next level.
When working a 9 to 5, you become conditioned to know what time you need to head to bed in order to wake up and be refreshed for the next day. When you're an entrepreneur/freelancer sticking to a schedule is crucial to setting you up for success. When I first left my job, the first few months were certainly an adjustment; in the sense that I didn't have to wake up at 6-6:30am anymore. However, fast forward to today and I still set my alarm clock to 6:30. Why? Because there are things I like to do before truly starting my day: meditation, exercise and eating a really healthy breakfast. There are several creatives that don't wake up until 10, 10:30am who still feel tired, rushed or simply unproductive. Training or conditioning yourself to wake up at a time that allows you to do a little self care ritual and be productive in the early hours, vs having to stay up late and get zero sleep.
If you're still in the corporate cog, then you totally get this next point. How many times have you had to juggle 3 meetings before 1pm, grab lunch and then have 2 more meetings before 4. I know I can't be the only one whose experienced this! Nevertheless, there were several meetings I had to tap out from because they were not crucial for accomplishing the day's tasks. More importantly, some meetings could simply be phone calls or email correspondence. When you transition to an entrepreneurial lifestyle, you seem to find you may have more time on your hands. Even more reason to be diligent and value your time. Very early on, I used to have introductory meetings with potential clients that could easily last 2 hours. However, you and I both know, that's lost wages and quite honestly doesn't do anything for your business, if said potential client isn't going to do business with you. Moreover, my schedule is beginning to fill up quicker, because business is great! With that being said, I really had to streamline and automate certain parts of my on boarding process, including adding a new client questionnaire. I highly recommend every creative or business individual take the time to create one. Check my last blog post for my reasons. This one thing has freed up my time to do more of the work that will bring my joy and also income.
In this business when you're looking for clients, your follow up game better be strong. Gone are the days when I'm asking for orders from vendors or testing samples. But the follow-up game is what takes people to the next level. I. WILL. FOLLOW. UP. UNTIL. YOU. TELL. ME. NO. And even then, you may still get a follow up email within several months. Because a person's situation can change, etc. Following up with potential clients has certainly helped keep business flowing. But more importantly, it simply builds confidence. Years ago, I said to myself "the worst anyone can say to me is no." That has always stuck with me. Why? Because if no is the worst thing in the world, what's another email? There are many people who have originally told me no who are now knocking on my door. Because even though the moment wasn't aligned, they knew I existed to help service the need in the future. Reaching out simply puts you on that business' radar for future business opportunities. Don't sell yourself short by not sending out more than one email to follow up.
Or you may have a 9-to-5, while still putting in work during 5-to-9. Within the mix, you may manage a blog and a few social media channels with your small, but mighty team of one.
Which means, you need a way to keep it all organized & manageable. Insert an Editorial Calendar. For the sake of creative entrepreneurs, an editorial calendar is a document that lists all of your social media posts and helps keep everything in one place. This can include, blog posts, social media posts, giveaways dates, vacation, etc.
I gotta be honest, I just recently started using some form of an editorial calendar several months ago. And while it is an informal document, it allows me to flush out all of my post ideas and serves as a guide for when to post when across my social media platforms.
When you don't know Tuesdays from Thursday (trust the days begin to blend together), you can revert back to your Editorial Calendar to figure out where you are. Simply put, it helps you find your head from your you know what. Determine which days will be your blog post days & which days will be your social media posting days.
Using an editorial calendar allows you to create content surrounded around an important event/holiday. Consider September. Back to School Season, the US Open and the beginning of Fall. Knowing where holidays/events fall, can help prepare you to capitalize with relatable content & popular hashtags.
An editorial calendar is a great tool when you're planning a product or service launch. It can totally serve as the guide for your marketing strategy. Plan out your newsletter launches, social media post & content and blog posts, along with frequency. It is certainly something I used to help put together The Find Your Light Creative Workshop and I'll totally use it as for new service/product launches in the future.
It can simply be a format that allows you to see what you'll post by day. Like myself I simply use a calendar template to manage my posts. For a simple template, click here.
If you're just starting out creating content with your phone, first impressions are everything. Now of course you can always delete or simply not post the images that don't make the cut, but you still want a lot of options to choose from, am I right?
What I am about to say, you can certainly take with a grain of salt. When you're beginning you're a mobile photography journey, it's best to follow the Rule of Thirds to maintain balance and structure in your imagery.
At the same time, rules are eventually meant to be broken, but you still want to start somewhere!
The easiest way to make sure your images are following the rule of thirds is the Grid feature on your phone. Some people despise using the feature, but manufacturers saw beyond the selfie and knew you can use your mobile phone to create stunning images.
For starters, the rule of thirds refers to the balance & flow of the human eye as it is viewing an image. If an image had 3 lines going horizontally & vertically, there should be even balance throughout the image. See below for an example.
To enable the Grid feature on an iPhone, simply go to Settings - Camera - Grid. Swipe to enable.
Now go on be fruitful and shoot!
I recently hosted a Free Flat Lay Styling Webinar and announced two new launches happening in October!
The first is 21 Day Flat Lay Challenge. Think 21 dresses, but instead lots of props & color. It starts on Monday, October 3rd. For more information, simply visit the 21 Flat Lays Blog Post.
The second launch is One-on-One Mobile Photography Coaching Sessions! I'm excited about launching this program because a lot of you out there use your phone to capture moments and even product images used for your business. And you deserve to let your products/message truly shine with some amazing photography.
You're probably saying to yourself, that's silly but the statistics are clear: 67% of consumers say a photo quality image influences them to buy over a long description, customer review or product info (linkedin.com). So you owe it to yourself to know the basics of how to create amazing imagery.
Plus, I love doing webinars because I get to connect with you lovely folks worldwide! But actually, it helps big time to see what goes behind creating great images & flat lays in real life.
So now there's probably questions and rightfully so!
This is great for bloggers, product based business owners or content creators. Bloggers because maybe you need stock images for your blog posts? Or you're looking for a great image to then overlay text in Canva? This would be great for you. Product based business owners because you are constantly creating content for your brand: product photography, flat lays, people wearing your product. You know your brand better than anyone, so why not take images that reflect your brand! Taking it a step further, you may be in the beginning stages of your brand and looking for cost effective options before taking the leap to invest in a company like Darden Creative. This would be fantastic for you! Content Creators because you're probably a personality or building a personal brand for your business. Like bloggers & business owners, you know your brand better than anyone else.
The 2 hour coaching session covers: Basic Lighting Setup, Various Flat Lay Layout Ideas, Common Photography Terminology and Mobile Editing Apps. You'll get hands on training in a personal studio and more importantly, insight based on your business.
There are only 4 slots available per month. Once you book your coaching session, you will be directed to a calendar to select the time & date that works best for you! Once they're gone they're gone!
Currently the coaching sessions are only available for those in the New York Metropolitan + Northern Jersey (Jersey City, Hoboken) Area. Updates will be provided when it is extended to other cities.
The investment is $199. But for a limited time it is only $99! The special promo is only through Friday 10/7.
***Throws confetti*** YASSS! To book your coaching session & reserve your date/time, visit this link!
I'm so excited to share this information with you guys! Hope to see some of you in October!
No not an LLC. Not a trademark. Not even a personal assistant/intern. You need a freaking client questionnaire.
Considering I've gone through difficult situations early on in business including lack of payment, dissatisfaction in projects, and miscommunication I can say with confidence that adding a questionnaire will help provide so much clarity for your creative business. It doesn't matter the type of business, I guarantee you can afford to create a questionnaire. I even recommend it to my clients.
Sometimes the first client meeting can be all smoke and mirrors and doesn't give you a true representation of your potential client. Some clients may be really eager to work with you, but may not have the budget. Other clients may have expectations or a vision that your team is not capable of executing. This questionnaire allows you to make a clear decision as to whether or not to go forward with a project. The reality is just as much as the client is vetting you, so are you vetting your clients.
When I developed my creative styling questionnaire, I included questions I knew I'd need the answers to during an in person client meeting. Even down to the most smallest detail: what direction would you prefer to shoot? How many images? What type of images? Which colors would you prefer? Having answers to all these questions allows you to provide a realistic quote & time frame for executing the project. Moreover, it puts the onus on the potential to really think about the purpose of their shoot and direction. I even offer an option for clients to upload inspiration images so I have an initial idea of what he/she is looking for. A great website that provides great flexibility is JotForm.
This is probably the biggest change I've noticed in average meeting time. In the beginning, initial conversations lasted around 1hr 30 minutes to 2 hrs. Now with a questionnaire initial client meetings last 30-45 minutes. Initial calls now focus on next steps including shooting time and location planning and confirming everything that was mentioned in the questionnaire.
It adds an additional level of professionalism. Perception is key in this business. Having a questionnaire sets the precedent that time is precious. Moreover, it shows you have a handle of what you need in order to develop and execute a project for a client.
Think 21 dresses but props and tons of color.
Coming off a successful event you tend to want to do one of two things: bask in all the glory, enjoying the moment and rest on its laurels or enjoy the moment and then get back to work.
Because you're only as good as your last project. Don't worry Find Your Light will be back (Mar/Apr) but in the meantime, I have to keep going and creating. It's what I love to do!
So to get in the swing of things I've decided to spearhead a 21 day Flat Lay Challenge!
The premise is simple:
We'll create a different Flatlay for 21 days to be posted on Instagram
I've created a different idea for each day, which you'll see on the flyer.
You'll post your flat lay, along with the hashtags: #DC21flatlays and #dcflatlaychallenge
To participate you simply need to follow the ideas per day and post with the hashtags on Instagram.
You don't have to be a Flat Lay superstar to participate! This is intended to build community, engagement and flex our creative muscle.
The challenge begins on Monday, October 3rd. I'll be posting my flat lay everyday at 8a. I'll pick my favs for each week and post on my IG.
Also, the ideas are intended to involve minimal budget. Work with what you got!
The challenge starts on Monday October 3rd and I hope you join in on the phone. I'm hella excited!!!
Good Morning Beautiful People!
Today is a great day to be creative. I'm still on a high from last week's Find Your Light Workshop. In fact, you can read the recap here: bit.ly/FYLNYC2016.
So with that being said I'll be hosting a Flat Lay Styling Webinar next Tuesday at 7pm! Even better? It's Free .99. Yup you get all the knowledge in my Afro covered head for the free.
How to register? You're going to sign up at bit.ly/Flatlaywebinar. Once you sign up, you'll receive all the deets on how to join us next Tuesday the 27th at 7pm.
What we'll cover
- what is flat lay styling & why it's an a useful component for your visual content strategy
-proper flat lay prep & lighting
- prop shopping for flat lays
- various flat lay layouts
- mobile editing apps
So go register to reserve your spot! I'll also be sharing what's next for Darden Creative, so you don't want to miss it!!!
Topics include how to create captivating content with Photography 101 and Intro to Flat Lay Styling and then how to capitalize on that content, with the Build Your Brand with Social Media Panel.
She covered important topics including Rule of Thirds, White Balance and Negative Space (there's a difference). She also covered the recommended type of gear & equipment as well as a brief tutorial on how use a DSLR & Mobile Phone Camera when taking photos. A lot of amazing tips were shared & notes were seriously taken!
It was really fun to share all of the fun statistics on why visual content is important and the future of visual content in media. Moreover, it was great to share all the tips & tricks behind creating flat lays.
It was great to see them flexing their creative muscles. It was a great time to walk around and offer encouragement, while stepping back and letting them flow. Certainly a high point for me without a doubt!
The panel focused on how to develop & maintain your brand identity on social media, techniques for building your following across platforms: including hashtags & collaborations and dealing with social media overwhelm.
It was full of laughs and A LOT of Information! There were so many amazing takeaways and everyone walked away with inspiration to put what they learned into practice. Such an amazing experience.
After the panel discussion, people broke away to have one-on-one coaching sessions with a few of the panelists. The sessions were 15 minutes long and gave the attendees the opportunity to socialize & network with the panelists & other dream catchers in the building.
After the coaching sessions, I said final remarks, while holding back tears. Then it was a celebration! We took tons of photos, utilizing the DIY Flower Wall me and Victoria worked so hard on two nights before (lol). Tons of boomerang images. Tons of love. Tons of Black Girl Magic. It was a truly magical experience.
First, thank you to my amazing team who helped bring my vision to life, Tiffanee Thompson & Chacine McCoy, the tag team that is The Culture Bazaar. If you need any help putting your event together, They're your girls!! Thank you to my fake photographer boyfriend, Jelani or @sirnoahbility. You've always been a ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on. Thank you for the love & support since Day 1.
Thank you to my sponsors for your support & belief in this project from the beginning, The Curly Chicks, Shop Nilu, The Style Theory, Olloclip, ArtifactUprising, The Created Co, Lorraine West, Cinta, Soma Water, Quick Brown Fox Letter Press, May Designs, Twiggs Bindery and Manhattanville Coffee. Thank you to Harlem Collective for allowing us to use your space to bring my vision to life. It was the perfect size & I'm so so happy!
Thank you to my amazing co-stars and panelists: Alexia Lewis, Bernadette Pichardo, Kéla Walker and Victoria Sanders. I can't thank you enough for being the amazing tribe of women you are. I'm so happy we are on this earth at the same time. Thank you for taking time out of your time-packed schedules to help me dream out loud.
To the attendees, thank you so so much for your enthusiasm and attentiveness during the event! It was created with you in mind and I'm so happy we met your expectations. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
And to those out there watching who have supported my journey for the past several years, thank you so much for your support. From tweets to fb posts to likes you're support doesn't go unnoticed and I am truly appreciative of your support. Thank you so much!!
In my eyes, I started living life once I left my corporate job a little less than 3 years ago.