Plan Your Own Marketing Photoshoot

Photo by Stellar Exposures

Photo by Stellar Exposures

  1. Find a photographer who FITS YOUR BRAND

Not all photographers are created equal. Just because someone is an amazing wedding photographer, doesn’t mean they’re going to be just as amazing at a marketing shoot for content. After all, you wouldn’t assume a baker is a great bbq pit master right?

How do you know if they are a good fit? Editing style. If your brand is light and airy, take a look at their portfolio (or Instagram profile) and see how they edit. If you see a lot of darker, moodier photos- probably not for you.

Look at their detail shots. What are those? Images of literal details of objects like a close up of hands working on a laptop, flatlays of “tools” you use everyday, maybe it’s a mug full of coffee. Why is this important? Because shooting people and shooting objects are two different ball games that takes practice and you want someone who can do BOTH.

Social Media Expert Manager Elixir Media Co.

2. Create a Mood Board

Chances are, you’ve already made one before and didn’t even know it! Throw your hands up if Pinterest is YOUR JAM. A mood board is simply an inspiration board for your photoshoot. Finding images and putting them together in one place, helps bridge the gap of what you have in mind versus what you’re photographer THINKS you have in mind.

3. Have a Shot List

Make a list of images you HAVE TO HAVE. You can write this out or you can find images as well.

Why is this so important? Too many times I’ve seen people walk away from photoshoots feeling like they didn’t get everything they wanted. They had an idea in mind for their website landing page, head shot, or even product to be featured, that they didn’t get. A shot list keeps you on track to make sure that doesn’t happen to you!

Photo by Stellar Exposures

Photo by Stellar Exposures

4. Bring Props… because what else are you going to do with your hands?

If you’ve ever had a photoshoot before, you know what I mean. Otherwise you’re probably thinking… what do my hands have to do with anything?

Truth is, when standing in front of a camera all by your lonesome, suddenly you find yourself feeling really subconscious about your go-to hands on the hip pose. My suggestion? Bring (or go out and buy) a few branded products to hold, so you don’t feel as awkward. The added bonus is now you’ve subtly tied in your branding as well!

5. Wear a basic top with multiple layers

Don’t bring just one sweater, jacket, blazer… bring at least three! This way, it’ll look like you’ve taken photos over a period of time, not like you’re using the same images from the same shoot six months ago.

5 Facebook Live mistakes to AVOID looking like a NEWB.

Photo via

Photo via

  1. Turn your camera horizontal.

  2. DO NOT physically turn your phone once the Live has started. Everyone will be craning their neck to try and watch your video, then give up. While YOUR screen looks normal to you, it’s not showing the right side up on Facebook.

  3. Give a call to action- tell people to come out, to visit your website, to comment below. If you want people to do something, you have to tell them to!

  4. Introduction- make sure you state the purpose of the video and what you will be covering or doing.

  5. Use a mic- don’t have one? Make sure the camera is always pointed in your direction to pick up the best sound!! Also, they’re less expensive than you might think. Here’s the link to mic I use for Facebook Lives:

Geotag All Day Err Day!

Instagram Strategy for Social Media Marketing

Geotagging will help your business appear in the search feed when a person looks for a location.

HOW TO APPLY: If you’re a wedding photographer, geotag wedding venues. If you’re a realtor, geotag popular neighborhoods where you want to close on houses. Start by thinking of the places your ideal client hangs out- not in real life AND on the internet- and start there!

By using geolocation EVERY single time, you’ll increase your overall brand reach and show up on customers’ feeds you weren’t able to reach before.

I know what you’re wondering… can I use a geolocation for somewhere I am not physically at? The answer is yes AND no.

Don’t post a picture of yourself, your cup of coffee, your laptop and say you are in a different cafe, city, or state.

DO take advantage of posting graphics like quotes with target locations that you are not currently at!

5 Tips for Better Phone Photos

1. Don’t underestimate the power of windows.

Use natural light whenever possible. If your inside, open up those blinds baby! Shooting outside? Use the sun to your advantage by planning to shoot during the Blue Hour- dawn or dusk, when the light rays are completely indirect.

How to take better phone photos

2. Create dimension.

Ever wonder why people looooove portrait mode so much? It’s because it creates dimension in images and gives your eye something to focus on! The great news is you can create this without portrait mode by placing items or people at different lengths away from your camera.

If you have multiple items, try pulling your main focus item forward and pushing the rest back to create a background effect.

3. Frame your photo.

Look at your screen and use objects (trees, buildings, shelves) to create a frame around the subject whether it’s a mug or a person.

How to take better phone photos

4. Rule of thirds.

Raise your hand if you put people right smack in the middle of your photo. OK… now slowly put your hand down and don’t ever raise it again. haha I KID! There’s always exceptions to rules, but since we’re all beginners with iphone-ography, we want to UP our game.

Imagine drawing lines vertically and horizontally to create a grid on your screen that breaks down your image into thirds. You can create a more interesting photo by placing your subject on one of the intersecting lines.

How to take better phone photos

I know what you’re thinking… What the hell, Kristina. These tips are supposed to be easy to follow- AND THEY ARE. Your phone already has these grids, just go to settings > camera > grid and switch the button to on! TA DA!!

5. Edit yo shit.

Because nobody’s born perfect, we have to edit ourselves to make us into the best person possible! #youarenotbeyonce Download Adobe Lightroom CC app… like right now. It’s a free app that can take your photos to “I can’t believe that’s just a phone photo”!

5 Reasons You're Missing Out BIG TIME if You're Not Consistent on IG Stories!

Image via Crowdfireapp

Image via Crowdfireapp

So you might of heard… using IG Stories makes your followers feel like they’re getting a real sense of who you are, promotes exclusivity, and adds a personalized touch to getting more engagement. All of which strengthens your “relationship” and therefore makes them more invested in your brand aka ready to hit that BUY NOW button!

Some of us know these to be absolute facts and dive right in saying, “Now show me the way, so I can start implementing them consistently with strategy!”

Others might need some cold hard facts before committing to an entirely new item on their weekly to-do list. So here’s 5 really big numbers that’ll bring all of our non-believers aboard the Instagram Story train :)

#1 It is the fastest growing platform in social media.

Knowing that Instagram Stories gets more hits than Twitter and Pinterest isn’t that impressive. But what if I told you it gets almost as many hits as Facebook?

Facebook hits an average of 1.4 billion people a month and as of June 2018, Instagram hit nearly 1 BILLION as well! IG Stories comes in right behind with an impressive 500 million.

Check out the graph to see how Instagram has been growing by the millions in recent years.

Stats via

Stats via

#2 60% of users discover new products on Instagram and over 200 million visit at least one business profile per day. 

If you need solid proof that your profile can convert followers into direct sales, HERE IT IS.

#3 One in five organic stories from businesses gets a direct message.

Compare that to your normal posts! Are they getting that same level of engagement?

#4 33% of the most popular Instagram Stories are published by BUSINESSES.

Family and friends usually take the cake over businesses every single time when it comes to popularity and visibility of content on social media, but IG Stories is the way around that!

#5 50% of businesses on Instagram produced an Instagram Story within the last month.

That means if you haven’t implemented IG Stories into your weekly marketing strategy, you’re already behind.

Image via

Image via

So go on, do it now! Grab your phone and start having fun on IG Story. Is the strategy different than normal IG posts? Absolutely! But before we make it efficient, let’s make it routine. Play around with the features and show your followers what’s going on behind the scenes. The best part? It all deletes in 24 hours so no need to make it perfecto!!


Different Business. Different Day. Different Uniform?

Photo by Stellar Exposures

Photo by Stellar Exposures

Working with so many different types of companies makes walking in for a work day like walking into Alice’s wonderland. You open a door and you never know what's going to jump out at you! 

Is it a piece of corn that finally gets so hot from the open fire, it leaves the cob and burns the hell out of your arm?

Is it a bug hiding by the windshield while you hit the road with a photographer to adventure on a shoot?

Is it a splash of yeast being poured out of a tank of freshly brewed beer?

Working with companies that are so unique means everything changes day to day, especially our "uniforms"! Here's a little sample of the day-in-the-life of a social media manager for Elixir Media Co.

Travel Network: Comfy Professional. (You never know where you'll end up for a Facebook Live! A local restaurant? An art museum? Maybe a festival on cobblestone streets?)

Brewery: Shoes that can get wet. (from the brew tanks being emptied)

BBQ Food Truck: Clothes that breathe. (with the smoker + ovens in full force, those food trucks get pretty steamy)

Men's Formal Wear: Heels. Blazers. (you never know when a customer is going to walk through the store doors. If they're spending thousands of dollars on suits- we need to look the part too)

Luxury Boudoir Studio: Black on Black on Black.

Custom Wedding Bakery: Anything you don't mind being covered in flour and sugar!


Moral of the story? Practicality is everything… and always keep a pair of black boots, heels, and flats in the car ;)

The biggest mistake people make on Social Media.

Social Media Manager/ Elixir Media Co.

When I opened up the "question" feature on Instagram Stories and invited hundreds of people to ask away, I didn't expect this specific question to make in: 

"What are most people getting wrong when it comes to social media?" -Leah, owner and badass business genius behind BlushTones.

The answer is actually quite simple: They aren't getting to the real story. They aren't telling it. They aren't taking photos of it. They definitely aren't capturing it on video.

Most people are too busy making sure they get the perfect photo of a centerpiece- and don't get me wrong, these photos are AMAZING. Magazine worthy even! BUT they aren't meant for a magazine... they are meant for social media. And social media (despite what you may hav been led to believe) is not all about a pretty picture.

While they were too busy setting up the perfect lighting and angle of this centerpiece, they missed old friends coming together and sharing beers and hugs. They missed dogs bouncing off the walls from the energy on the patio. They missed the look on people's faces as they tried the food and eagerly asked who catered this event.

They missed what was REALLY happening. What people REALLY want to see. The moments people REALLY want to be a part of.

Now don't get things twisted- you need the clean, sharp, professional looking photos. But those are only going to get you so far! You need to capture the true story to pair along with it. 

The lesson here is to dig deep and stop posting the same damn content of your pretty finished product. Tell a story that people will be intrigued by and want to follow along with. Show the WHY behind your business. Give people a reason to become INVESTED in what you do.

GDPR. What do you mean?

Elixir Media Co./ Social Media Manager/ Virginia

Tell me I'm not the only one who read that line in Justin Bieber's voice. Anyone? Just me....ok.

Let's cut to the chase. WTH is GDPR. We've been hearing it everywhere lately and let's be honest, it's got some of us feeling like there's an inside joke, we are clearly not in on. 

But not to fear, it's actually quite simple. It stands for General Data Protection Regulation, which is a European privacy law that goes into full effect May 25th. 

It means you now have to ask for consent before collecting emails, there are new cookie disclosures and analytics function a little differently. 

So, if your website is your main source of conversion (visitors/ followers turning into actual clients) then this is definitely something you want to take seriously. Depending on what platform you use (Squarespace, Wordpress, Wix, etc), will determine how much action you need to take. 

If you don't collect emails, don't blog too often, or don't use your website as your main source of conversion, then no worries my friend! There's no need to start a panic... yet ;)


Same Content. Different Platform.

Virginia Social Media Manager/ Elixir Media Co.

I get the questions all the time: Can’t I just post the same thing across twitter, facebook, and instagram?

Surprisingly my answer is YES… BUT NO. 

YES, you can share the same content, but you have to present it in a different way.

The key to knowing how to share the same content is understanding HOW the different social media platforms are used, which I could write an entire book about, but instead I’ll share this cheat sheet.

Social Media Platforms Explained

Twitter- I’m eating a #pizza

Facebook- I love pizzas 

Foursquare- This is where I eat pizza 

Instagram- Here’s a photo of my pizza

Youtube- Here’s how to make a pizza

LinkedIn- My skills include eating a pizza

Pinterest- Here’s my inspiration and recipe for creating a pizza

Ya Get What Ya Give.

Elixir Media Co. Social Media Manager Virginia Beach

When I was little I was shy- like wouldn't talk in front of anyone but my family shy. Hard to believe considering my trap that never stops flapping now right? Don't worry... I quickly got over it and by second grade was consistently getting a note on my monthly reports that I just would not shut up while the teacher was talking. Sorry Mrs. Jones. 

You're probably wondering what the hell my timidness has to do with social media and the answer is EVERYTHING. When I sit down for my one on one consultations and analyze business's Facebook and Instagram accounts- not once have I ever said the words "You're interaction is perfect!" 

The term "interacting" is simply you commenting, tagging, and liking other profiles. And no... interacting doesn't mean just hitting that heart next to people's comments on your own photos and tagging your bestie in your last selfie. It means going beyond your posts and profile, and commenting on other people's content as well.

Interacting is CRUCIAL to a successful account. There is a direct correlation between how many people comment, like, and share your post vs. the number of people that will see your content. AKA more interaction = more exposure.

Then comes the questions:

Isn't it weird to just comment on people's posts? I don't even know them. 


What the heck do I even say?

When I proceed to explain the importance of interacting in an effective way, it sounds exactly like the speech my mom gave me when I was 5.

  • If you don't talk to them first, they're not going to talk to you. Plain and simple- if you think it's weird, they definitely do too but trust me, people are always happy you leave a comment.
  • Compliment them- people will always remember if you made them feel good or bad about themselves. Pretty sure my mom stole this one from Maya Angelou, but hey... still works!
  • Be genuine. Don't say shit you wouldn't actually say just to get your interacting in for the day.
  • Listen when they talk. Actually read their entire caption and respond accordingly. It always impresses people to know you took the time to really listen to their entire story!
  • Don't say Hi, then Bye. Leave no less than 5 words (This is an algorithm trick. Trust.)
  • Smile- you look mean when you don't smile. 

My mom's right... I've got an RBF that can kill, but even if you don't, smiles are way friendlier than the absence of one and on social media- there are no smiles unless you put them there! Luckily, we are blessed to live in a time of emojis. So my last bit of advice on interacting is EMOJI THE SHIT OUT OF YOUR COMMENTS. (ok, maybe limit them to like 3... we don't want to look desperate.)

Alright young Padawan, get out there and start interacting and I PROMISE you the amount of interaction you get on your own posts will jump up. Leave a comment on my IG or FB posts today and I will make sure to do the same for you!