We’re big fans of using items around the house to make an image pop or adding accessories to a simple set up. It shouldn’t be surprising that before we take an image for the blog or our social media that we walk around our houses picking up little items to make the shot unique. However, there are some go to items that we keep in a drawer (or scattered all over our desks) in our office that we can always rely on.
Try to think outside the box when shooting your next image and get creative! Some of the most random items around our house can make it into our next shot. Here are 10 Photo Props (that you probably already own) Under $10 that you can use to spruce up your imagery.
- Foam Board
- Contact Paper, Wallpaper, Flooring Samples
- Glitter or Confetti
- Office Supplies (paper clips, pencils, thumbtacks, etc)
- Washi tapes
- Notepads, journals, memo pads
- Succulents or small plants
- Pencil pouches
- Calligraphy prints or greeting cards
- Cup of coffee
We always start with our base. We rotate with white foam board, on-brand painted wooden boards and contact paper. I’ve also been known to snag some discounted scented drawer liners (yes, I meant scented) because the pattern is just too pretty. Having a rotation of backdrops really helps break up your feed or blog posts image and helps bring a fresh look. Try heading over to the hardware store and checking out their Laminate countertop samples - they have some great ones!
Shout Out to the Accessory
Depending on your commentary it might make sense for you to throw in a name brand, store bought or local favorite item. We’re fans of adding Kate Spade pencil pouches, Target Dollar Spot finds or a favorite shop’s print. This not only helps make up most of your image but lets you start a conversation about the item or where you got it. Don’t forget to tag the shop on social media - retailers love that!
The Little Things
Once we lay out what we want to snap we always throw in some little accessories. Think tiny like confetti, glitter or paper clips. These little details help fill in visual white space in your image and keep it interesting. Try layering your paper clips on top of each other or placing them in 3’s. Trust us, to achieve the look of casually strewn takes a lot of patience.
Put a Succulent on It
That’s what I always say. But in all seriousness these little guys bring so much life (literally) to your image. A pop of green foliage goes a long way in making your image stand out and look put together. Try picking up some artificial succulents from your Hobby Lobby or Target or if you feel brave you can try to keep your own alive. Either way, think small. You don’t need a large plant to get in the way of what you’re really trying to showcase.
The Easy Go To
If I ever feel like an image is missing something or I just want to add in a little more of my own personality, I’ll go pick one of my favorite coffee mugs and plop it in. Remember to actually put coffee in the mug, because an overhead shot of an empty cup isn’t the prettiest. We’ve been know to whip up a quick cappuccino at home to get it just right.
The bottom line is we want you to remember that you don’t have to have closets full of photo-ready accessories to add fun to your images. They don’t even have to break the bank. Try browsing in your own home to see what you could use and play with the layout.
If you need help with your image taking skills or editing then make sure you check out The Easiest Photo Editing App for On-The-Go. If you still need convincing that paying attention to quality photography is right for your business then make sure you catch up on How to Use Photography to Sell More, Connect Better and Impress Your Clients (Bonus: DIY Lightbox setup).
SEE HOW WE STYLE OUR IMAGES ON INSTAGRAM
We have been around the block once or twice online and have tried our hand in many platforms, hosting services, and domain providers, but when it came time to rebrand we were stuck. We pondered for months over who or what we should choose, but once we finally made the decision we never looked back! Squarespace is by far the easiest platform to use, with the cleanest interface. Choosing them is hands down the best decision we’ve made for our business and blog.
Launching does not have to be hard. Let me repeat: it does NOT have to be hard! Today I'm sharing my quick-start guide for getting your big idea from your brain to your bank account and busting launch myths along the way. If you have any kind of idea you want to launch, this one's for you.
How many times have you heard you need to blog regularly? All the time, right?
And whether you are a natural or reluctant blogger you need to ensure that you are optimizing your blog to maximize the visibility of each post, your blog, and business.
Does this scenario sound familiar?
You finally write an awesome blog post that you are so so pleased with.
You lovingly publish it on your website.
Then you share on your social media profiles once…and then you stop.
You wonder why no one is reading it, no one is leaving comments, and you’re not getting traffic to your site. Zero…zilch…nada.
So you’ve started a blog — congratulations! You’ve probably heard amazing stories of people making money from their blog and you’ve envisioned this life of writing posts + cashing checks (virtually). It sounds like a dream.
But maybe it’s not going quite as you expected. Maybe you’re not making it rain dollar bills, people aren’t knocking down your door with offers to pay you for posts, and perhaps all of this seems a lot harder than you thought it would be. Sound familiar?
Well, there are probably some pretty solid reasons why you aren’t making any money from your blog. And a lot of it starts with your expectations. Let’s break down the school of thought that’s traditionally surrounded the world of blogging + money making so you can start to see it a bit more clearly.
Bonus: we’ve got actionable ideas for you on how to actually start making money with your blog further down in this post, so keep reading!
We know that you're probably hearing every single day how important it is to have a blog. The numbers don't lie, the interaction with you audience is incredible and the value of what you can give can be a game changer. We also know that sometimes you put off something simply because you don't know the best way to go about getting it done. We want to make sure that you're using each and every post to its full advantage - it takes way to much time to prep those posts for them to not be working for you!
Today we're breaking down a blog post piece by piece. We'll tell you exactly what how your post should be laid out, what to include in it and how to wrap it all up.
I always knew if I blogged it wasn’t just going to be for pleasure. That wouldn’t incentivize me enough to keep going. I had to make my blog profitable. It had to be an integral part of my business. It had to give to me, but it also had to give to my business.
Blogging for me hasn’t necessarily brought in the dollars and cents, but it has served as a foundation for my readers to turn into clients. When I started I really wish someone had sat me down and told me what I am about to tell you.
We’ve all done it. We’ve all fallen into the trap of implementing productivity “hacks” we learn from others, but realize that it actually harmed our results instead of helped them. We like to think that if we lean into the “buzz words” that get tossed around about trying to be more productive, that it will somehow be different for us.
Well, babe. These productivity myths are all BS. Whether we hear them from the latest book, magazine article or “that one guy” at the office, they are all old and outdated and they don’t work. Period.
Whether your new website is about to be revealed, you’re about to open up 1:1 coaching slots or a brand new product is about to hit your (digital) shelves it’s important to generate a buzz around it and create a launch plan. We know it’s hard to know where to begin. So we have come up with 15 organic ways to generate buzz and 9 steps to build your launch plan. Take it one step at a time and you are bound to see results. It's just that easy. | Think Creative Collective
As self-dubbed “masters of productivity” we know a thing or two about what’s helping you stay on track and what’s steering you off course. Some of these things are simple and some might downright surprise you, but chances are you have at least one of these items in your office that’s straight up destroying your productivity. So it’s time to face the music and cut it out.
Emylee here. Words like “systems”, “audits”, “workflows”, “processes” and “checklists” - they can either make the extreme Type A person rejoice and ask for more or they can make the whimsical creative clam up and cringe.
Here at Think Creative Collective, part of “thinking creative” is to put on the business hat every once in awhile so we can check in with our growth and sustainability. And that’s exactly what a systems audit does for you.
Cut through the clutter in every form of your life and make this your most productive year yet. This is not another KonMari manifesto (although you totally should read that book!), it's a no BS, start-now kind of system for making your business work for you, not the other way around. You've got this, lady.
When you begin to treat your business like a business, things start to shift. It’s really simple. If you’re still treating your business like a “hobby” or “side hustle” it will only ever be one of those things. Even if your business isn’t exactly where you want or need it to be today you can still treat it like it’s on its way to getting there. Just because your business hasn’t reached the figure you want it to (yet!) doesn’t mean you can’t treat it like it’s the next best thing since the dollar section at Target! Here are the ways we treat our jobs like the big biz they are.
You’ve tried planners, apps, notebooks, post-it notes and even set up entire walls of “organization” in order to master your productivity. Babe, quit trying so hard. You just need to know your productivity spirit animal and you will be set for life. You’ll know the environment you thrive in, where you get stuck and what you should do next.
But first, it only seemed right that we arm you with a few tips to get more done right away!
You pour hours and hours of hard work into your latest content, course, product or service only to wonder, “what if someone steals this and sells it as their own? Can you contact them and ask them to remove it? What if they don’t take it down? Or what if they’ve been selling it as their own and making money off it?”
Or you’re 3 months into a 6-month service contract with a client when they suddenly change their credit card number and bails. Now what? You were relying on that money coming in and can’t afford to just let it go. But you didn’t have them sign anything, so how can you hold them accountable?
Success itself is arbitrary. It doesn’t mean you make a certain amount of money or have reached a level of fame. It is self defined. Success to me may not mean what success is to you at all. The thing about success, however, is that regardless of what you are seeking, there are always people seeking answers. “How do I get there?” There being the magical location where it all seems to fall into place.
People tend to ask those they view as successful, “How did you do it?” They assume that if they take the same steps, or follow the same path, they too will get there. Well, I am about to tell you that there is no answer, and there is no magic pill or pre-charted course. Success is made up of all the minute decisions that begin to add up. The small choices that make a radical change.
We all wish we could snap our fingers and have that list of to-dos magically turn into a list of things we’ve accomplished. Sometimes we are so knee deep in the muck of it all that it’s super hard to clearly see the next steps that need to be taken. In the same way you might go through your house and separate items into 3 piles – Keep, Donate and Trash – I believe tasks in your business should be divided up as well, helping you to tackle them in the most productive way possible.
Superhuman productivity is possible. Just like anything else it takes practice, dedication, and hard work. But once you unlock new levels you will not only feel like a total badass, but you are bound to see bigger results in your business, less stress in your everyday life, and the accomplishment of your big scary goals more quickly than you ever thought possible.
Hey, you. Yeah, you over there who has this passion that fuels your soul. This passion that you think deep down inside might just be able to turn into a business, but you’re maybe more than a little bit nervous about even thinking that. I mean, who makes money from doing something they actually love? We do. And so can you. We believe in treating your business (what you might be calling a hobby) like a business from day zero. Before we had clients or raving customers. Before it helped pay the bills and allowed us to work from home and make our own schedule. Before we had to pay quarterly taxes and consider an LLC. Before any of that, we decided that this little ole passion was going to be a full blown, soul fulfilling, freaking profitable business.
Sure every one of you has heard you should set goals, but do you know why it is important for both your business and your life? No, this isn't some silly method to keep that New Year's Resolution you already gave up on. It's about defining specific, measurable goals that will motivate you to achieve them. Also, find out how Jim Carrey made $10 million dollars through positive visualization.
Before you go assuming that you know what I am going to say, no, this is not a review of Stephen Covey’s Book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” That being said, it totally sounds like a book I’d be into. Rather, this is my personal rendition of the 7 most important habits that you, as a small business owner, NEED to be highly productive.
These do not require a master's degree from Yale or years of first hand experience. Anyone who’s willing to give it a go can achieve this state of, as Emylee and I like to call it, Beyonce-like productivity.
I have big dreams. And I am just going to guess that because you managed your way onto this specific page, you do as well.
But when you dream big…. Like Oprah big, things can get a little overwhelming.
Let me ease your troubled heart for a bit. Oprah never knew she was going to be Oprah. Beyoncé didn’t know she was going to be Beyoncé. Mark Zuckerberg didn’t know he was going to invent Facebook. And Steve Jobs, had no idea what Apple would become.
The Holidays are amazing, but between presents, parties, and family, the last thing you want to do is scramble for content for your Instagram feed. Here's our 7 step process for preparing it ahead of time so you can feel free to sit back and sip egg nog (bonus if it's the grown-up version).
Pricing is our jam. Figuring out our worth so we can pay our bills, grow our business and have happy clients and customers is kind of our favorite. In fact, pricing is what brought this whole thing here at TCC together (meaning it’s how Emylee and Abagail met!). The very first program that we launched together was called “Pricing for Profit” (now known as The Money Making Creative). All that to say we’ve had the conversation about pricing with other creatives many a time, and you want to know a big fat spoiler? When it comes to mindset and “do you think they will pay $X?”, pricing has absolutely nothing to do with numbers.
Let me paint you a picture of our lives before Trello! Endless piles of paper, three journals working simultaneously (supposedly with different subject matter in each), scratched out to-do lists (and when they got too messy we would spend time rewriting them). I was in a constant state of panic, like I was going to forget a meeting or a deadline. I worried (even more than normal) that our whole business would fall apart over one missed task.
In the past we used Wunderlist as our project management system. It worked for a time but as our business grew and became more complicated, it ended up like the notepads, one hot mess.
We knew there had to be a better way!
Enter Trello - A free business tool that changed our lives and improved our business. But don't Google anything yet! Trello on its own is a little confusing, but don't worry - we've fixed it.
If you're the kind that has lots of 'almost-ready-but-not-quite' products on your launching back burner, this get shit done post is for you. Here's what we know for sure: launched is better than perfect, and there are people out there who need what you have to offer. Here's how to know if it's time to get it off the shelf and into the hands of your dream customers.
Creating a business plan is one of the best fundamental things you can do to promote success in your business. A business plan will help you stick to, well, your plan for your business. It also helps you think about things you haven’t thought about before and things you should know for your business.
I’ve started several businesses and they’ve all failed because I didn’t have a business plan in place. Once I decided to take this latest business seriously, I filled out a free business plan sheet and it’s been one of the best fundamental things I could do for myself and my business.
It’ll help you hone in on your ideal client and get you thinking about the products, verbiage and places to market. Which, in turn, means more revenue in your pocket. It also helps you think about places you’ve never thought to market to before.
Instagrammers. Influencers. Tastemakers. These are a lot of the buzzwords that have been circling the marketing realm in the past few years. It may seem super daunting and corporate but influencer marketing is something that can be scaled back to work for your small business. But how?
Getting your brand out of the shadows and reaching out to Instagram influencers can be terrifying. You’re putting yourself out there and you're getting visible. The idea of this makes a lot of us recoil and want to get back into bed. (Try to resist that temptation and hear me out. I know it’s hard!)
But, it can also bring invaluable results to your business. By creating meaningful collaborations with Instagrammers, you can increase your brand exposure, grow a community and build trust in your brand. Let’s get started!