Let’s talk about telling stories with photos for your blog posts and how to approach it. I shared the Le Dans La blog with you in 2011 (here), but today I thought we could again visit French stylist, Aurélie Lecuyer, who is the lady behind Le Dans La. It is so fascinating to look into her life mostly because her photography is so captivating — her images draw me in. I like how she leaves her home “as is” and shoots scenes that feel very natural and soothing. I’m sure she styles these photos to look imperfectly perfect, she is a stylist with over 8 years of freelance experience after all, but the overall impression is that she is not looking to portray her life as perfect. She is truly comfortable in her own skin and doesn’t need to be anything more than herself and she does this through the art of visual storytelling which really is that – an ART.
I think we will start to see more and more blogs perfecting this art of what I call portraying imperfection in an elegant, artistic way. This could be a new blogging trend – maybe even for books? Wouldn’t that be nice? I think too many blogs are trying to mimic magazine photography and create flawless magazine-perfect blog posts (and stress themselves out if they are not as good) but I think we should chill out a little. It’s best to find your own style and then work to make it the best that you can. Really become skilled in your craft. You don’t need to be Martha Stewart, Sweet Paul or that blogger who takes photographs for a living and who makes her life seem perfect – you can be YOU and do YOUR personal best. You just may find a really lovely response to your body of work by being natural because honestly, our individuality is the only thing we’ve got when it comes to separating us from the pack. Only you can be the best YOU. No one else. Who can copy you then? Look at the world’s top trend setters and even the trend setters in the blogging world. Aren’t they really just being themselves in the end and that is drawing in their crowds of fans? Being yourself after you have worked diligently to make yourself a really good person with talents others admire, is a very HARD thing to rip off or repackage. Trust me.
Okay so let’s talk more about photo stories. I love Aurélie’s blog because she doesn’t worry about perfectly placing objects but concentrates more on showing naturalness in her home life. She focuses on her angles and capturing light to lend a more storytelling quality to her photos. Light is a really good story teller because shadows and streams of sunlight and even the fading of light to dark can evoke emotions that stimulate the imagination. Think about this for a moment. Angles, in addition to light, are important too. Try taking photos on your stomach, at eye level, overhead, slightly above eye level, slightly below, laying on your back looking up… There are so many angles that can make a photo come alive. Try this: You are in a grassy field on a sunny day with huge puffy clouds floating above in a deep blue sky. Pull out your imaginary camera. Tell me how you would compose this shot? The first reaction for most people is to stand straight, bring their camera up to their eye, look through the viewfinder and compose the shot in landscape with the line of horizon separating sky from field. But how about kneeling down or lay down and shoot diagonally towards the sky? It is easy to forget how to tell stories when our focus is just on being magazine-perfect. I’ve been on professional photo shoots – a magazine can spend an entire afternoon and walk away with 5 good photos for publication. How many of us who are blogging have time for that? Why not work more on telling stories with photos?
Think of what you want to say in a blog post and then challenge yourself to say it visually instead. Maybe you want to talk about typography and old-fashioned signage. Challenge yourself to go out for a day either on foot or in your car and stop to photograph ONLY store signs that have a retro vibe that you love. Such photos require little text to support their “story”, they are doing all of the talking for you and require no styling or super amazing photography skills. Just shoot them in ways that are interesting, consider your angles, and then when you are pulling together your blog post, you will see your story coming together very simply and casually thanks to your photos. Little text to support your story is really needed.
I’m learning more and more about storytelling through imagery in my film making classes and through all of the reading I’ve been doing about moving pictures. I’ve been applying this knowledge to other things in my life, such as my photography and I find it a great challenge. I really encourage you to find your photo style and give yourself a good push to try new things and to be a storyteller, too. MAKE A LITTLE MAGIC.
(photography: Aurélie Lecuyer)
I thought I’d do a FLASH giveaway because I mentioned somewhere earlier this month that when I announced my upcoming e-course, Blog Boss, that I’d include a giveaway and I want to honor that! Irene already gave away one seat on her blog (the winner was Sonia Barrigas) and I found a winner for the mini contest I ran using Pinterest for my #bloghug hashtag party (Winner is: Jeanetta Gonzales), BUT I still want to giveaway THREE more seats! SO! Here goes!
Enter to win one of three seats in the March 1-29, 2013 BLOG BOSS e-course. Enter to win by tweeting (or posting on Facebook) the following to help me spread the word, “Have You Heard About the new Blog Boss e-course!? http://decor8eclasses #blogboss”.
AND COMMENT below with a reason why you think BLOG BOSS would help you and your blog.
That’s it! If you do both of those things then you are officially entered and I’ll randomly choose a winner on February 25 (at noon GMT+1 time) and the THREE winners will be announced on decor8 on the same day. The winners will be notified by email. If you cannot take the class, you are not allowed to sell your spot or give it to another else outside of your family, so please do not register to win if you can’t take the class. These winning seats are ONLY for Blog Boss and cannot be transferred to future e-courses.
NOTE: If you’ve already registered and paid for Blog Boss, you will be reimbursed your tuition if you win this contest.
(photo: holly becker for decor8)
Bloggers fasten your seat belts! I’m SO EXCITED to offer you a chance to get involved in an all-new e-course called BLOG BOSS that I’ll teach in March along with my blogging friends Irene from Bloesem and Stefanie from OhhhMhhhh. We can’t wait to work with students on becoming their very own blog boss because we each have made a business out of our passions and want to share everything – tips and insider’s ideas – openly and freely for four weeks of podcasts, videos, webcasts and written materials along with a private student-only forum where you can connect with us and other bloggers around the world. This class will be your big turning point, I’m sure!
I know that you are very familiar with my work if you are regulars here, but I must highlight the qualifications of my two co-teachers because they are super amazing and inspirational to me personally and I’m so happy they’ll be a BIG part of this class. But first, here are the topics we’re covering in the March class below which runs from March 1-29.
BLOG BOSS Topics:
* BLOGGING FOR BUSINESS: From taxes to business etiquette and business planning for your blog
* HOW TO be the EDITOR IN CHIEF of your blog – Taking a magazine approach to content
* TEAMING UP with others and how this can work for YOU
* WORKING FROM HOME – pros and cons and how we do it
* HOW TO Analyze and Critique YOUR BLOG like a magazine staff does
* HOW NOT to be a copycat – WAYS to DEVELOP FRESH ideas that NO ONE ELSE has
* HOW TO deal with copycats, content theft, and other naughty people
* HOW TO FIND AN ANGLE (even if you are on the road with 100 bloggers): 5 story ideas that WORK
* PINTEREST tips and tricks
* BLOGGING TRENDS that we predict
* HOSTING 101: Meet ups, events, workshops and more!
* Overcoming BLOG ENVY
* Work Life Balance as a mom, wife, etc.
* The importance of PLANNING
* SMALL INVESTMENTS that can make a BIG difference
* STAYING TRUE to your style
* Learn how to FOCUS on what you CAN achieve
* BLOG Etiquette online and how to deal with people who have none!
* Going from Blogger to Book Author
* The Importance of your BIO
* WHAT EVERY Blog needs on their main page
* Blog Case Studies: Blogs That Rock and WHY
More details can be found here, but wow, doesn’t this look great? Even for me because I know I’ll learn new things from all of you and our co-teachers.
We nearly sold out after I announced this class on Facebook recently but I had to make sure I told you asap because I know so many of you who are blogging and in need of ideas and encouragement and whoa, the classes I teach online are always jam-packed with everything you need to fuel your blog and even your life in general. I’ve been teaching online since March 2009 long before e-learning became the trend, and to date I’ve taught over 5,000 students and have invited several lovely bloggers to teach alongside of me. This is the FIRST time though that I thought to create a course all about managing your blog and your life in general. Bloggers ALWAYS ask me how I do it all and if I ever sleep but I actually have a life outside of work and I sleep plenty! I realized that what you really want to know is how I organize my time so I can accomplish so many things at once. I will answer that and much, MUCH more in this class.
Thank you so much for listening to this infomercial (!) but seriously you guys, I’m very happy to be teaching this class and can’t wait to meet you in class so if you want to be part of the fun and learn a ton you can register HERE – but please do so soon because I’ll be closing registration next week!
(images: holly becker)
As a blogger who is out a lot playing around with my camera and meeting up with people, I’m asked frequently about my loot – what’s in MY bag? In this post I’ll share a list of what I think is some pretty great gear for bloggers that I use – and everything is quite affordable (my camera is well under $1,000 which, in DSLR terms, isn’t high end but still does a beautiful job). What works for me may not work for you but I really LOVE my Canon 600D and the 4 lens that I have (one is a kit lens, the other 3 I purchased). I also like my other goodies, like my camera strap and my cute camera bag that just arrived today.
Here is a list of my loot:
Camera: Canon 600D with the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens by Canon that came with it. This camera is great because it not only takes amazing photos but it has full HD movie mode – my latest obsession! Camera details/price can be found here: Amazon.de/Amazon.co.uk/Amazon.com
Lens: Canon EF-S 18-200mm 1:3,5-5,6 IS (Amazon.de/Amazon.co.uk/Amazon.com), Canon EF 50mm 1:1.8 (Amazon.de/Amazon.co.uk/Amazon.com) Note: I want to upgrade this lens soon though to the Canon EF 50mm/1,4. And the latest lens I’ve picked up is the Canon EF 35mm 1:2,0 (Amazon.de/Amazon.co.uk/Amazon.com)
Tripod: I use a Manfroto #222 joystick head on top of a standard tripod that my husband bought on eBay awhile ago. If you’re in the market for a tripod, Manfrotto is a really good one to try and they are super sturdy though not so lightweight – I only use this one for shooting at home. I haven’t gotten to the point yet to where I’m bringing tripods on the road with me… Ha! Baby steps, here.
Phone/Apps: I also want to add that I frequently use my iPhone 4 to take photos (Instagram addict) and I really like the KitCam app though I find myself using the Camera+ app most of the time. I’m also taking videos frequently with the Vine app and having a lot of fun with it!
iPad: I use my iPad constantly. More than my MacBook Pro even. It’s the best thing ever and the funny thing is, it took me 6 months after I purchased it to even get into using it. One great thing you can do with an iPad that is pretty cool for photographers is that you can pop an Eye-Fi card into your camera and transfer pictures wirelessly to your iPad while you’re shooting (as in instantly!) using the ShutterSnitch app. My husband and I shot about 30 photos for my last book like this and it worked like a charm when it came to styling and really helps you to pick up the pace on shoots, too.
Camera bag: Ketti Chevron cloth camera bag. Note: Mine arrived with a dark purple lining that I really don’t like (it’s hard to see inside because it’s very dark) – the website says green lining (with photos showing it so I know I’m not crazy)- so I insist when you purchase a bag from them you make sure they get your order right. Other than the purple interior, the bag will work great for me – I love that it’s padded and has adjustable slots for the lens, the camera, etc. inside – yet it looks like a very “normal” handbag. I got so tired of running around in my ugly black (very standard, very boring) camera bag!
Camera strap: Stardust camera strap from Bloom Theory in silver.
So! That’s what I use when I’m out shooting and having fun. Hope some of these tips help you out! A few of the Amazon.com links above are affiliate links by the way, which means I earn about 6% if you buy something on the US Amazon site. All of the other links are not affiliate-related at all. No one has paid me or given me products, discounts or any freebies for mentioning any of the above items. I paid for absolutely everything at the same retail price as everyone else. :)
If you have any questions or want to share what you use, please do in the comments section below! What’s in YOUR bag?
Happy Friday everyone – loads of love to you!
(images: holly becker, thorsten becker and bloom theory)