You think you know LSD? You have no idea.
LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide)
Never in my 33 years of life did I think I would try LSD let alone write an article about it’s many possible benefits. Yet here I sit, a well educated, active, successful business owner, sipping my coffee, editing photos, listening to Beethoven Sonata No.14 and reflecting on my many experiences with LSD and the massive amounts of research I have done on the topic over the years that led me here. Let me preface this article by saying I in no way condone the use of legal or illegal drugs.
I am not suggesting anyone go out and try LSD but rather reporting on the information I find intriguing. To be honest I have never been into drugs nor am I interested in taking LSD just for fun. No, what interests me is the possible health, wellness, and spiritual benefits of microdosing and creative problem solving at higher dosages. Viewing the world from a different perspective without the ego. The fact is 200,000+ people will use LSD for the first time this year and many more are thinking about it. Not all but hopefully most of these people will do their research before diving into the world of psychedelics as everyone should and when they do I hope they come across this article and it sheds some light on the topic.
If you think LSD is just for hippies, trippers, and burnouts, think again. Fact is billionaires, celebrities and countless other game changers have openly discussed their LSD use and it’s positive effects on their lives. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Tim Ferriss, The Beatles, Joe Rogan, George Carlin, and Jack Nicholson just to name a few. And more recently a growing number of young professionals in Silicon Valley claim that taking small doses of LSD known as “microdosing”, which involves taking minute quantities of the drug (8-15 micrograms every 4 days) simply makes them perform better at work – becoming more creative and focused, (as a designer and photographer this in particular intrigues me) with enhanced overall well-being, reduced stress and anxiety while improving sleep and leading to healthier habits. Just to name a few.
Ayelet Waldman (mom of 4) and Author of “A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life” resorted to microdosing after years of physical and mental suffering. Severe depression with years of drugs given to her by her doctor came with countless side effects but no relief. It wasn't till she tried microdosing for 30 days that her mood, marriage and life changed for the better.
Business professionals, software engineers, biologists and mathematicians - say that microdosing aids lateral thinking and encourages more empathetic interpersonal relations and women have reported less cramps when it’s that time of the month.
So what's my experience been like? Well, on average when I have about 200-300 mcg "1-3 tabs" I have no hallucinations, loss of ego, or dark feelings. I do however feel a sense of overwhelming peace, loss of anxiety, boost of creativity, and experience a dream like state yet my mind is clear. All noise from everyday problems vanish for 8-12 hours and meditation is never better. I feel a new appreciation for nature and others. A Oregon Coast sunset never looked so good. All that being said, there's a caveat. and that is, everyone has a different experience. Just because mine was great doesn't mean yours will be. If trying LSD for the first time don't do more than 1 tab as it may be too much to handle. Look at it like a hair cut. You can always try more in the future but once ingested there is no going back. Also make sure you don't have a family history of mental illness before taking LSD. If you do LSD should be avoided.
Bad Trips. If you experiment with psychedelics long enough you will at some point have a bad trip. This could be your first time or your 6th time. In my many experiences with psychedelics I've had 2 bad trips. Both times were because I broke the rules I mention in this article. My very first experience with psychedelics was mushrooms and I had what I thought at the time was a very bad trip (fear, unease, helplessness, loss of time, loneliness, paranoia) Here's why: 1st. I had way too much, 2nd. I was camping at a location we backpacked 2 miles into. No way out. 3rd took them way too late, it got dark an hour after the shrooms set in and we didnt have wood to make a fire. Also it was very cold and uncomfortable where we were. As you can see I broke many rules and when you do you can have a bad trip. That being said looking back I only remember the good conversations and laughs we had. It was'nt all bad.
My 2nd bad trip was much worse. I made the big mistake of breaking rule number one: Dont mix drugs. About an hour into my trip on LSD my roomate at the time thought it would be a good idea to give me THC butter. ( I don't smoke weed, he smokes a ton of weed) Well mixing had no effect on him but oh boy it did for me. When the THC kicked in I had an awful panic attack that lasted for hours and extreme paranoia. I just sat alone in my room and rode it out but there was nothing good about that experience. I learned not to have anything else in my system while on LSD and have never had a bad trip since. :)
Dr James Fadiman, Author of The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide says "What you get with microdosing is the best parts of Adderall with none of the side effects. You function better physically and mentally. You find the office prick bearable and you're more compassionate about the flaws of others"
"It helps me think more creatively and stay focused. I manage my stress with ease and am able to keep my perspective healthy in a way that I was unable to before"
Lily, startup publicist
On his website Fadiman offers guidance to participants on how often to dose and, in return, asks them to keep a journal of observations. Fadiman has reports from 125 participants, with 80 more on the way. In addition to this, he receives many requests for advice each month from people looking to try it safely.
"It is no longer a fad. It is being accepted as a very different way to more safely benefit from psychedelics without any 'psychedelic effects'," he says. In such low doses, psychedelics should be viewed more like anti-depressants and cognitive enhancers. Alex, a biologist at Edinburgh University says "With a microdose you don't get the overwhelming rush of emotions and feelings. You don't get hallucinations nor do you feel sleepy." However, Alex will also take up to a third of a full dose when he is seeking to solve complex problems.
As Portland rapidly grows I foresee the experimentation with microdosing blowing up among the huge number of young entrepreneurs here trying to get an edge on the competition. And I am among them.
Recently, universities around the world have begun testing LSD for addressing PTSD, mental health problems, treatment-resistant depression, removing end-of-life anxiety in terminal cancer patients, ending nicotine addiction, and more. Roland Griffiths, phD, a professor at Johns Hopkins medical school, shares a typical upshot from one early study: “Most of the 36 volunteers looked back on their experience with higher doses of LSD up to 14 months later and rated it as the most, or one of the 5 most, personally meaningful and spiritually significant of their lives. “For volunteers with children, the experience was often put above, or on par with the birth of their first child.
It should be noted that a normal trip today would range anywhere from 100 mcg to 200 mcg of LSD and 400 mcg and up for a mystical experience or “the feeling or the awareness that you are connected not only to other people but to other things and to living systems.” At this dose or higher it is critical to have qualified supervision in the form of a guide.
Remember “If you are going to take a mood-altering drug there will always be an element of risk, particularly if you have an underlying mental health condition. But compared to the risks attached to other drugs, this is at the lower end of the scale," says Harry Shapiro, director of UK charity DrugWise.
Warnings: If taking LSD it is crucial that you get it from a trusted source, test it before use and make sure to be in a safe clean setting with people you love and trust. Make sure your mindset is positive and open. Make sure you are in a good place in life and generally positive. If you have a history of mental illness DO NOT TAKE LSD. A dose can last 12 hours, make sure you stay in one place whether that’s at home or in nature (Camping is great). Make a list of questions you want to answer before you trip. Have a plan and purpose. Always have a trip sitter. ( more on this in The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide ) And finally, although there has never been a recorded incident of a fatal overdose of LSD, nor is it addictive, nor is there a link between psychedelics and psychosis, bad trips are very real and can happen. It can be terrifying but it will pass and you will be fine. Flashbacks from bad trips have been reported with excessive use but they are very rare.
Look, Life is short, why not expand your mind? Lose the ego. See life from another perspective you can’t even imagine. To achieve this with a safer legal alternative to LSD you can try meditation or a float tank. I suggest THE FLOAT SHOPPE http://www.floatshoppe.com/ in Portland. Or Float Om Healing Center http://float-om-isolation-tanks.com/ in Eugene. Thanks for reading now join the discussion. Have you tried LSD? How was your experience? Was it good or bad? Would you do it again? Should it be legal? Did this article in anyway shift your view on the drug itself? Let us know in the comments below.
Microdosing: People who take LSD with breakfast - BBC News
How Do Psychedelics Effect The Brain?
Can LSD make you a billionaire?
Have A Good Trip | Official Trailer | Netflix
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports LSD statistics and facts saying more than 200,000 people use LSD for the first time each year.
Books: A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life
by Ayelet Waldman
The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys
by James Fadiman
Tools of Titans by Timothy Ferriss
You clicked on this article because you want more traffic to your website and I am here to tell you there is no better way to do that then Pinterest.
Besides TikTok I think Pinterest Has to be the most undervalued and misunderstood platform in 2020. Pinterest is one of those apps that we all use for inspiration but forget we can also use the platform to leverage our own business. Whether you’re an artist, photographer, hairstylist, MUA, designer, or brand you can without a doubt triple the traffic to your website using Pinterest for free. Think about that, how much do you think you would have to pay in ads on google, Facebook, or Instagram to triple the traffic to your website?
As you can see from the screenshot below Last month alone I had 1.1 million impressions on my Pinterest account with over 25,000 engagements and over the last three months I’ve had an average of 656,000 monthly viewers. Although these numbers are far greater than anything you will get organically with Instagram or Facebook they are not hard to achieve. According to my Google analytics 65% of my organic website traffic comes from Pinterest. That’s huge.
It’s very simple, If you are an artist, designer, brand, or business your end goal is sales and in order to make more sales you need more traffic to your website and to get more traffic to your website people need to find you and right now there is no better way to find you then on Pinterest. You need to understand, Pinterest is a search engine NOT a social media platform.
No one uses Pinterest to catch up or follow their friends, they use it for inspiration. Maybe it’s inspiration for a photo shoot, a recipe, a wedding, make up, hairstyle, or outfit. Whatever it is use your product, service, or skill to be that inspiration. Inspiration leads to curiosity and curiosity leads to sales. Just ask Sharee Davenport a wedding photographer who booked over $200,000 worth of weddings using Pinterest.
So now that I’ve shown you the value of using Pinterest for your business here are some tips on how to actually use Pinterest correctly.
Tip 1. Every pin on your page should link to your website.
Tip number one and probably the most important tip I will give you is this: If and only if you are using Pinterest for your business “in other words to drive traffic to your website”, delete every board and pin that is not linked to your website. This one change made the biggest impact on my account almost immediately. I repeat, delete every pin or board that is not linked to your website. No one visiting your Pinterest page gives a shit about what vegan recipes you’ve saved or at home workout plans you’ve pinned. Those things have nothing to do with your business. When using Pinterest for business every board and pin should be specifically related to what you have to offer. If it’s easier to start a separate account I would suggest doing that. This way you wont lose all the pins you've saved.
Tip 2. Use Board Titles and Descriptions
Board Titles and descriptions are important. Use them wisely. Whatever it is that you have to offer do some research and find out the most popular keywords people are using to search for your product or service. Take some time and think about what your perfect client would be searching for to find you. If you’re a wedding photographer in Portland Oregon you might want to title your board “Oregon wedding photographer” or “Portland wedding photographer.” or get more specific and have a different board for each Wedding Venue you've shot at like “Portland hotel wedding” or “The Nines hotel wedding” or “Gray Gables Estate Wedding”
Remember newly engaged couples are looking for wedding venues, wedding destinations, wedding photographers, or floral inspiration. No one gives a shit about Jack and Jill‘s wedding so lose the titles like “Jacob & Sarah’s Beach front wedding” and go with something like “Pacific City Beach front wedding” It’s okay to use names on your blog but no one’s searching Pinterest for Tom and Karen’s lake view wedding I promise you.
Use keywords in your description like Oregon wedding photographer, Oregon wedding venue, dream wedding, Oregon wedding ideas, Oregon wedding photography etc. If you’re a wedding photographer for example using keywords like the venue you shot a beautiful wedding at is crucial because the first thing soon to be brides look for when planning a wedding even before photographers are venues. So when a bride to be is searching Pinterest for local wedding venues you want your work to show up.
Tip 3. Use Pin Titles and Descriptions
Just like board titles and descriptions each pin will have a title and description as well. For example if I am adding a pin to my cosplay photography board I will keep the title and a lot of the keywords in the description the same as what are used for the board itself because they are related, the only difference I will make are some of the keywords in the description of that pin more specific to the photo itself. As you can see in the photo below I used keywords related to the photo like marvel cosplay and marvel universe and avengers endgame and female cosplay and female superhero. The keywords in your board description won’t be so specific they should be more broad.
Remember Pinterests algorithm crawls the app for keywords not photos. Pinterest can’t tell a photo is of a bride and groom reading vows, you have to tell Pinterest what the photo is via keywords and that’s how Pinterest matches your photo with someone’s search. This is where so many people go wrong.
Tip 4. Use Key Words on your Profile Page
Not only is your profile the first thing people see when they come to your page but the web crawls Pinterest for keywords you want to use not only in your board titles and descriptions and pin titles and descriptions but also your profile page. For example If you’re an Atlanta hairstylist or make up artist you should use the phrase Atlanta hairstylist on your profile page in your pins and on your boards. That makes it very clear to Pinterest that you are a hairstylist in Atlanta.
Tip 5. Keep it simple
Keep it simple, this isn’t as hard or as time consuming as it sounds. If you’re a photographer you have an extreme advantage because you already have a ton of content you can post. Try to stick with as few boards as you can so you don’t overwhelm anyone coming to your page. 20, 40, 80 boards is too much. Remember Pinterest is a search engine not social media so unlike Instagram you don’t need to come up with a witty description for every photo, I literally copy and paste most of my descriptions from previous posts. If you are a fashion designer and you make a board for a new fall line, most if not all of the keywords you use in each photo from that line will be the same.
Tip 6. Use Pinterest search to find popular Keywords
For instance the photo below is a photo I took for a local athletic apparel brand. So to find corresponding popular keywords I use Pinterest search for suggestions by typing in a word related to the photo like "athletic" and as you can see a list will pop down of other popular search terms related to athletic. Such as athletic women, athletic outfits, athletic wear, athletic hairstyles. And because all of those are related to the image I’m posting I use those keywords in my description as well as the more specific keywords for local search like Oregon portrait photographer or Portland fashion photographer.
Tip 7. Hire a Photographer to make you content
Now you may be sitting there thinking to yourself OK Lance this is all great but I am not a photographer, I’m not an artist, I’m not a designer, I’m not a model, how am I supposed to create all this content to post on Pinterest?
That’s where hiring a professional photographer comes in. As professional photographers we are content creators, our job is to create engaging and interesting content based around your product or service that you can use to promote yourself via Pinterest and other social media platforms.
Let’s say you’re a business owner and your business is dental work. First thing you want to do is create a website/blog, and then write interesting and engaging articles like how marijuana affects oral health or how the keto diet affects oral health or how often you should replace your toothbrush or what’s the connection between stroke and oral health.
Once you’ve done that take some photos yourself or hire a professional or hell you can even use free stock photography and use those photos to promote your articles on Pinterest. But the better those photos are the better your post will perform on the App.
Tip 8. Switch to a Business Account
Now that I’ve given you the knowledge how to utilize Pinterest for your advantage the only thing you can do now is take what you’ve learned and practice but the only way to practice and get better results is to track what’s working and what’s not so you can make the necessary changes moving forward and to do that you will need to track your analytics. In order to track your analytics you will need to go to your account settings and scroll down to account changes and switch to a business account instead of personal. Don’t worry this doesn’t cost anything.
Tip 9. Track your Analytics
Let’s take audience insights for example. Here you can see in the last 30 days how many people have engaged with your pins and what they are interested in as well as their age, gender, and location. You can choose between looking at your total audience or engaged audience but we want to specifically look at our engaged audience because these are the people who are actually clicking our pins and sharing our pins and viewing our website. We want to learn everything we can about the people who are the most interested in our pins because these are the type of people we want to target because they are more likely to click or share our image and view our website. As you can see which is as no surprise to me my engaged audience is most interested in art, women’s fashion, education, entertainment, and beauty.
Tip 10. Get Specific
Now that we have that information we can dig even deeper and get more specific. For example as shown in the image above 69% of my engaged audience is interested in women’s fashion and when I click that it then tells me of those interested in women’s fashion 61% is specifically interested in women’s fashion dress. So that tells me I should see higher engagement and thus better results when I share photos of a model in a dress and use the corresponding keywords like women’s fashion dress. I hope that makes sense. Now I can go even further by clicking dress and it will bring up a page of the most popular pins for women’s fashion dress and this tells me what kind of photos are doing well in that category. Great for inspiration :)
Furthermore you can view your impressions and engagements per pin through analytics. This will tell you what photos are doing well and what photos aren’t. As you can see in the photo below my most popular pins are all Cosplay. This tells me I should post more photos in that category. When I compare my pins in that category the analytics will tell me the difference between what performed well and what didn’t so I can improve moving forward. Might be the keywords used might be the photos itself.
I have tried the route of pinning straight from my Instagram to send people there hoping to gain more followers that way but I have found that the algorithm doesn’t like that very much so you’re going to get far better results linking to your website and not another social media.
In conclusion, to make this as simple and straightforward as possible this is my method: I’ll create a board such as Portland portrait photographer because I’m a photographer in Portland and I shoot a lot of portraits. Because of this I obviously already have a ton of content I can use on my phone. Once my board is created and I’ve chosen the right keywords for my title and description I will then add one or two sets per day. A set being all the photos I shared previously on social media from a shoot which usually ends up being around 10 photos.
Obviously if this board is for portraits all the photos from the set I’m sharing are going to be portraits. Each photo you add back to back will need a title and description and I literally just copy and paste because all the same keywords will be relevant for the most part. The only time this wouldn’t be the case is if let’s say you were adding a set of photos to a Lakeview wedding board and one photo was of a couple and another photo was of just the cake. Obviously you wouldn’t use the same keywords for the couple as you would the cake however you would still use some of the same keywords but some would need to change.
This is why when I’m adding sets of photos back to back I’ll choose one board so I can easily copy and paste and that saves me time. So how do you copy and paste? I always have my Pinterest app open as well as a web browser open with my Pinterest account that way I can copy the title and description from the web browser and paste into the Pinterest app.
Bonus Tip. Use Regrammer
Pro tip for photographers, for a fast and easy way to find sets you’ve done, on your phone go to your Instagram profile and scroll until you find a set you’ve shared that you would like to share on Pinterest. Click the three dots on the upper right corner and then click copy link. Then with the Regrammer app “if you don’t have it get it, it’s free” paste the link in the app and you can quickly save the photos from that post, and there you have it you can immediately share those photos to Pinterest one by one via the Pinterest app.
If you have any questions please ask them in the comments below and I will try my best to answer them. Also make sure to connect with me on Instagram HERE. Just remember, it’s very unlikely that someone sends you a message on Pinterest wanting to hire you or buy your product. Most likely they will click through to your website, check you out and probably follow you on social media. There they will see your work and personality. If they like what they see they might reach out to you and that is when your job begins, your job is to build a relationship with that person so they ultimately end up hire you.
With all of us stuck at home practicing social distancing there is no better time than now to improve our skills as photographers and get inspired. In this article I will share some of my favorite free resources I use to improve my skills not only as a photographer but as a business owner. In this article I recommend videos, podcasts, books, websites and more. All free resources to help you improve your photography and business and maybe even get inspired.
Let's start with the best. My favorite photographer/videographer has to be Peter McKinnon and considering he has 4.5 million subscribers on youtube it's safe to say I'm not the only one. His videos are not only informative but funny and entertaining, plus his videos are full of movie quality cinematography. He's just that good. I follow him for inspiration and general knowledge on portraits, landscape, product photography, and video.
Evan Ranft is another great photographer with great video tutorials. I follow him for inspiration and general knowledge on Portraits and Street Photography. He's one of my favorite street photographers out of Atlanta, GA. His color grading is top notch and has a cinematic Neo-noir feeling to his work
Sorelle Amore is the Queen of self portraits. Her outgoing bubbly personality, amazing accent, beautiful locations, and skills in front and behind the camera always make for a great video. Sorelle is a must follow for photographers and models alike. Because she only takes photos of her self she has great insight on posing as well as photography. She's also constantly traveling to beautiful places so add her channel to your list of location scouting tools.
These next 2 guys I follow for 3 reasons. Portraits, Travel, and Cars. Chris Hau and Alen Palander have some of the best portrait photography, car photography, and travel photography you will find. These 2 guys are extremely talented and offer free advice on their channels as well as stunning video. Get inspired by these 2.
Sean Tucker is a legendary street photographer. Sean offers great information on his youtube channel on street photography, editing, and portraits. You wont want to miss his content.
Now this one is more of a marketing expert not so much photography. That being said everything I've learned about social media marketing I've learned from Gary Vaynerchuk. If you haven't heard of him you must be living under a rock because everyone I know follows him for marketing advice and day to day inspiration. I love his "I don't give a fuck what you think" attitude.
The Beginner Photography Podcast is a free weekly podcast hosted by wedding photographer Raymond Hatfield who interviews professional photographers of all genres who share what they wish they knew when they got started so you can grow your photography skills faster! I don't shoot weddings often but still take something away from every episode. Don't let the name fool you, this is no podcast just for beginners. Even seasoned photographers can gain insight from this podcast.
Level-up your photography with the Master Photography Podcast. No matter your needs or experience level, one of their shows on their network is going to feed your passion for photography and help you to master your craft. So much great information on their multiple shows.
Six Figure Photography is hosted by the award winning international wedding photographer Ben Hartley. Abundance comes from understanding your own self-worth and providing value to everyone you encounter. Six Figure Photography exists to inspire, empower & challenge photographers towards creating a life of abundance not just in profits, but in creativity and relationships. Ben does this through his weekly podcast, online training, and hands-on workshops. I've listened to almost everyone of his podcasts and learned something new with every episode.
Jenna Martin, from Billings, Montana hosts the podcast Creative Chaos. This podcast is perfect for the oddballs and misfits of the world trying to turn their creative passions into legitimate careers. They discuss everything about creative professions; both the artistic side AND the business side. You'll learn how to produce your very best work on a consistent basis, how to grow your social media following, how to create passive income streams, and how to streamline you're dream business. Also checkout their DD ("Deep Dive") episodes where their guests go far more in-depth into various artistic careers.
I listen to this one for marketing and daily inspiration not photography although the tips and tactics I learned from this podcast has improved my photography business. On his global top 100 iTunes podcast The GaryVee Audio Experience, you’ll hear episodes of Garys favorite series called the #AskGaryVee Show, a mix of his best highlights from his DAILYVEE documentary video series, keynote speeches on marketing and business, interviews, fireside chats, and any of his new and current thoughts that he records specifically for this audio experience!
Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss $14.88 - Tactics, Routines, & Habits from Billionaires
This book contains the tools, tactics, routines, and habits of billionaires, icons, and world-class performers you won’t find anywhere else.
What makes the book different from most is a relentless focus on actionable details. This is reflected in the questions. For example: What do these people do in the first sixty minutes of each morning? What do their workout routines look like, and why? What books have they gifted most to other people? What are the biggest wastes of time for novices in their field? What supplements do they take on a daily basis? You get the idea. What most photographers don't understand is that you can learn life and business altering tactics from world-class performers in a range of industries outside our own.
#AskGaryVee by Gary Vaynerchuk $14.95 - Social Media Tactics
Look, if you're a photographer trying to make money with photography you need this book. End of story. I own all of Gary Vees books and they are all great but this one has the most applicable information for you to consume and use right away. 95% of my clients come from Facebook and Instagram (without adds) and that's because I use the information I learned in this book to slay the social media game.
#AskGaryVee features the most useful and interesting questions Gary has addressed on his popular Youtube channel. Gary presents practical, timely, and timeless advice on marketing, social media, entrepreneurship, and everything else you've been afraid to ask but are dying to know. Gary gives you the insights and information you need on everything from effectively using Twitter to launching a small business, hiring superstars to creating a personal brand, launching products effectively to staying healthy-and even buying wine. Buy this book, then buy his others.
For more book recommendations checkout my article 9 Books Every photographer needs to be more successful. Of course books aren't free but you can find these at the library to rent for free :)
15 Free Lightroom Presets
Are you struggling to find a way to edit your photographs with a professional touch? Are you having a difficult time choosing between Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom to edit your photographs?
In order to make it easier, PhotoWhoa is giving you various options to enhance your photographs. There is no need to choose between the two as they offer creative and professional presets for Lightroom and various actions for Photoshop.
These presets are compatible with both Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop and are used by many photographers across the globe as they help to make the workflow easy while ensuring that the editing process is enjoyable as well.
They are an excellent tool used by not only professional photographers but also amateur ones.
In these, Lightroom presets offered by BeArt-Presets, various photo editing tools have been combined to create high-quality pictures. When it comes to adjusting the tone of photographs along with setting the appropriate exposure of a picture. These offer various combinations of editing features to create high-quality photographs that have a professional touch.
Free (Royalty free) Images on Unsplash
Unsplash is a platform powered by an amazing community that has gifted hundreds of thousands of their own photos to fuel creativity around the world. So sign up for free, or don’t. Either way, you’ve got access to over a million photos under the Unsplash license—which makes them free to do-whatever-you-want with. This site is great because the photos are so much better quality than boring standard stock photos. And they are all free to use however you like! :)
Build a Free Website with Weebly
When I built my first website I had no money so I did it for free with Weebly. With Weebly you get access to customizable webpage designs and useful tools to build your website and grow your photography business. Easily build a free website to help you get discovered and grow your customer base in style. It's never been easier to start your own website with no knowledge of webdesign. This is a great way to start that blog you've been talking about.
Free Photoshop Alternative
Gimp is a free, open-source alternative to Photoshop that's been around for many years, GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. Today it's available in versions for Linux, Windows and Mac.
GIMP offers a wide toolset, similar to Photoshop in many ways, and is a great option if you're looking for a no-cost image editor. The interface differs somewhat from Photoshop, but a version of GIMP is available that mimics Adobe's look and feel, making it easier to migrate over if you're ditching Photoshop.
The full suite of tools is everything you're accustomed to, including painting tools, colour correction, cloning, selection, and enhancement. The team that oversees development has worked hard to ensure compatibility too, so you'll be able to work with all the popular file formats without any trouble at all. You'll also find a very capable file manager built in, along similar lines to Adobe's Bridge.
Overall, this is a great option whether you've either got a limited budget, or want to move away from Photoshop for other reasons.
Free Overlays & PNGS with DeviantArt
DeviantArt is the world's largest online social community for artists and art enthusiasts, allowing people to connect through the creation and sharing of art. This site is great for any digital artists who use Photoshop alot. Need an object with a transparent background or an overlay of smoke, fire, magic, rain, snow, etc? You can find it all on DeviantArt for free.
The point is, we’ve never lived in a time where we have so many free resources at our fingertips to help us elevate our skills and business. I hope these resources helped and if you have anything to add please do so in the comments below.
In this article I will be breaking down ways you can survive this downtime that we have all suddenly been hit with as entrepreneurs. Although I will be focusing on photography many of these tips on leveraging downtime can be applied to any industry.
I don’t know about my fellow photographers and business owners but I for one have had all my clients over the next two months cancel thanks to this virus going around. So now what? No money coming in, what do we do? How in the world do we turn this nightmare into a positive? How can we come out of this off time more valuable than we were before.
Times are tough and they are likely to get tougher. Let’s be honest with ourselves, the reason we have found ourselves without work currently is out of our control so let’s focus on what is in our control. Make sure to connect with me on Instagram HERE
Learn something new
What better time than now to learn something new. Maybe something you’ve wanted to learn but never had the time to, like landscape photography, street photography, or wildlife photography. Maybe learn a new language, or how to meditate, or how to cook, or how to play an instrument.
Learning a new skill can make a dramatic impact on your business. By learning how to be a better writer I’ve been able to write these articles that has not only helped my audience but made a dramatic increase in traffic to my website.
I’ve always wanted to learn street photography so now that I have all this free time I can go learn and still keep a good distance from people.
These days you can learn almost anything at the tip of a finger via YouTube for free without ever leaving your house. We all have things that we would love to learn but never make a priority due to lack of time so why not now?
Work on Improvement
Much like learning a new skill, improving on the skills we already have tends to get pushed aside because we are so busy. Work on improving your posing skills, or your lighting skills, or hell just the basics of photography. Maybe brush up on your cosplay photography skills or editing.
For example, I am a portrait photographer but I also love wildlife photography, I just never get to do it. Unfortunately because taking photos of birds doesn’t bring in the bacon I never take the time to improve my wildlife photography. Now with all this talk of social distancing, now is the perfect time to shoot the birds.
Fine Tune Your Website
It’s not sexy, it’s not fun, but making sure your website is up-to-date, user-friendly, and eye-catching makes a world of difference. If you don’t already have a website it’s never been easier to make one with sites like square space or Weebly.
If you already have a website, when is the last time you updated your portfolio or your homepage or your Seo? I recently took a hard look at my website that I hadn’t touched in many months and found it was in need of a huge facelift.
As photographers it is so easy for us to just upload all of our work on social media and forget about a website but having a website is crucial if you want to look professional and reach those higher paying clients.
Update Your Logo
I can’t tell you how many photographers I know who don’t even have a logo. Without a logo you have no brand identity. Think of your favorite brand right now and I guarantee you their logo is the first thing you think of. Brand identity starts with a logo and you might already have one but when is the last time it was updated? could it use a facelift? Is it in line with your current brand? If not now is the perfect time. If you want to save money you can always use Adobe illustrator to create one yourself for free or ask your cousin who's in college for graphic design otherwise I suggest using a professional service like Kickass Designs but hey I could be biased ;)
Work on Marketing
What’s the point of having a website if no one can find it? How are you driving traffic to your website? That’s where marketing comes in, this can be done via social media or SEO or paid ads.
My favorite method of marketing my brand is with social media. Of course I like it because it’s free but also because it gives me the opportunity to really get to know my audience.
If you aren’t leveraging platforms like Instagram or Facebook or YouTube you are missing out on massive amounts of opportunity. Unless you’re selling tombstones this is where all your potential clients are so why not take advantage of these free platforms and get in front of those people.
In an age where we day trade attention you should be posting fresh content every day to drive traffic to your site or social media platforms. If you have been slacking on the content creation now is the perfect time to make enough content to last you the rest of the year.
Go Location Scouting
As I’ve mentioned in past articles, location scouting is imperative if you want to stand out among the sea of photographers in your town. Offer your clients epic locations that other photographers don’t know about. Location scouting is the best way to do this but it is time consuming and often last on the list of things to do. So now is the perfect time to walk around your neighborhood and find some great spots or drive around town or out in the country with no destination in mind. Just pin the spots you want to come back to you on Google maps and you're all set.
In this day and age if you’re not offering video you will start losing clients to those that do. Plain and simple. Everyone wants video these days. This might just be one of the most beneficial skills you can learn while on this time off to make yourself more valuable when all of this blows over.
I learned this the hard way. I had a photo shoot go viral and articles about it were shared on numerous news outlets. However I was contacted by numerous brands that had the potential to take that shoot to a whole other level but were uninterested when they found out I had no video of the photo shoot. The accounts that wanted to share my work until they found out I didn’t have video had massive audiences. I missed a huge opportunity on that one.
I know a lot of photographers outsource their retouching because many photographers hate the editing process. However, taking this time to really master the skill of retouching Will make you a far more valuable photographer when all of this blows over and it will save you money in the long term if you’re not paying to outsource the work.
As photographers we all have a list of personal projects that we’ve been meaning to shoot. Maybe it’s collaborating with a local designer or makeup artist or model. Our personal projects are so important for us to really show our creativity and passion. So contact that friend you’ve been meaning to collaborate with and set a date. It will be a great opportunity for both of you to take your mind off this nightmare. With no paid clients coming in now is the time for all those free projects with friends.
Accounting and Bookkeeping
Oh hey my least favorite thing to do. Blech.. Taxes and bookkeeping are always the last thing on my list but making sure you stay on top of your taxes is absolutely crucial. Have you been putting it off this year? If so, now is the perfect time to sit down and get organized with either Quick books or with an accountant. I am awful at taxes so I leave that up to my accountant at Serenity Tax & Accounting.
Define your perfect Client
If you haven’t done this by now you really should take the time to define your perfect client, what is their age range, are they male or female, are they married or single, what does their income look like, where are they located, what are they interested in, do they have children, what social media platforms are they using etc.
Once you have defined your perfect client see if that’s in line with your current clientele, if not make the necessary adjustments. You can use your Google analytics from your website or Instagram analytics to find your current client demographic.
Look, if you’re an entrepreneur then I know you work your ass off. So take this time to rest and get inspired. Re-ignite that flame. Take it easy and watch some movies, search Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration. As business owners we never take the time to rest so take this opportunity to relax and reflect on why you chose to do what you do in the first place. If you have anything to add to this list I'd love to hear it in the comments below. We can all use more ideas right now.
Someone asked me the other day how I avoid burning out when I photograph people almost daily. I should start by saying I'm an introvert and I'm pretty vocal about that on social media. For all you extroverts out there FYI, Introverts, by definition, expend energy when they’re around other people. We recharge our energy by being alone, doing solitary activities like reading, watching Netflix, meditating, spending time in nature, and in my case editing photos at home.
You could say I run a higher risk of burnout from too much social interaction as I am an introverted photographer and I work with a lot of people. In this article I'll explain how I shoot almost every day and don’t burnout. Make sure to connect with me on Instagram HERE
I Guard my schedule fiercely
Anything that involves interaction with people, like client meetings, photo sessions, and networking events all drain my energy. Don't get me wrong, I love photography and everything that comes with it but I can feel very low on energy at the end of these social activities.
I’m very careful that I don’t force myself into a schedule with too many social activities and not enough recharge time. I like to alternate photo sessions or meetings with plenty of down time. This is where time blocking really comes in handy and I learned this strategy in the Book The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results.
I find it necessary to give myself permission to rest and recharge even though it can be hard sometimes.
I Prepare Mentally & Physically
By preparing in advance for photo sessions and meetings etc, I allow myself time to become mentally engaged in what I’m doing. I have to be ready and prepared to shoot so I don’t feel put on the spot or unprepared.
I also find it helpful to prepare physically. For example, by cleaning my gear, charging my batteries, and packing my bags the day before a shoot, to keep myself from scrambling at the last minute, and having to worry that I forgot something.
Another way I like to prepare is finding photos on Pinterest or Instagram the day before that I can show my client on the day of shooting for posing ideas based on what we are photographing, Fashion, lifestyle, portraits, etc.
Practice, Practice, Practice
In order for me to instruct my models confidently, I need to practice my favorite poses until I’ve mastered them.
My clients take their cues from me. Not all my clients are professional models working for an agency, so by practicing ahead of time I’m able to feel confident and secure in my directions which allows for less anxiety during a shoot. You don't have to be a high energy outgoing extrovert to be a successful photographer. If you’re a soft spoken introvert like myself I would suggest using pictures like I mentioned above as examples to have your clients mimic the pose.
I Rest and Recharge
As I mentioned above, as an introvert I have to set aside time for rest and relaxation. This could be meditation, reading, Netflix, Location Scouting, walking outside, hiking, playing with my dog, a good workout, or going to a movie.
I know how hard it is to stop working when there’s a mountain more that could be done. It’s so easy to say, “I can read when I’m done. I’ll just edit one more picture.” Which turns into 2 then 4 then 10 and before you know it hours have passed. So I HAVE to time block to get it in.
The truth is there will ALWAYS be something else you could do. If you don’t take time out for yourself, you’ll burn out, resent your business, and quit. And if you don’t quit you sure as hell won’t thrive in your business so give yourself permission to rest and recharge, so that you can continue to serve your clients and serve your business like a Rockstar.
If you’re an introvert like me, chances are you’re even more prone to burnout than others. It’s just a fact of life. Especially at the end of a long, intensely busy day or week or month of shooting. But take it from me, you CAN avoid the burn!
Hope these tips help. And if you have any to add please do in the comments below 🙏😀
GEAR 👏🏻DOESN'T 👏🏻 MATTER (When you start out)
Honestly, you do not need an expensive camera, fancy lighting, or an outrageous lens to get started. The key is just starting. Everyone has a cellphone with a camera on it. You have the tools you need right in your pocket.
Some of the best creators on Instagram right now only use their iPhones. And as they say “The best camera you have is the one you have on you” I once had to use my cell phone for a real estate gig because my camera lens wasn’t wide enough for some shots and the client didn’t even notice.
Don’t believe me? Checkout these 5 random Mobile Photographers who are killing it right now.
The gear you use doesn’t matter when you start out. It's about the story, the creativity, the composition, and the emotions behind the photo. What’s most important is just start. I shot with a cellphone for years before I got my first camera.
Plus, if you don't teach yourself the principles and techniques of photography, it won't matter if you have a nice camera, because your photos will look like garbage. One of my most popular photos (The Pittock Mansion) was taken on my cell phone because that’s the only camera I had on me at the time.
Professional photographer Sephi Bergerson shot an entire wedding on his iPhone 6s Plus and were the results as good as they would have been with a camera? No. But were the bride and groom happy? Yes. Did he get paid? Yes. and that's all that matters. Making your clients happy
Same can be said for video. In fact did you know the Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh made his latest film Unsane using an iPhone 7 Plus, and the accolades the film has received suggest it was worth the risk. Did you know Lady Gaga‘s music video Stupid Love was shot on an iPhone 11 pro as well as Selena Gomez's Lose you to Love me video? And check out this epic snowball fight filmed by the great John Wick Director David Leitch on an iPhone 11 pro.
Now before you show this to a gear head and they lose their mind over the thought of someone using a cellphone for business keep in mind I'm only suggesting starting with a cell phone and upgrading when you're ready. There is no dispute, a camera lens will always take Higher Quality images than a cellphone. i.e. more pixels. and a cellphone will never give you that great depth of field you can get with a camera.
Say it with me:
Do you agree?
With over 1 billion monthly users you would be a fool not to leverage Instagram to promote your brand in 2020. Unfortunately it’s a lot harder to grow a following than it used to be and it’s far more competitive but with the strategies and tips I give you in this article you will see growth in no time.
In this article I lay out the blueprint to gaining new followers organically without spending money in 10 steps. These are easy actionable steps anyone can take to grow their Instagram following.
Grow your Instagram Following Tip #1: Create Memes That Resonate with Your Audience
If there's one thing you can't go a day without seeing on social media it's a meme. Meme's are popular right now, like, really popular. Probably why Instagram accounts like fuckjerry & mytherapistsays built their brand around memes. They have both massed over 4 million followers thanks to memes. Brands are starting to realize the power of witty Instagram memes, especially when it comes to building brand identity, driving product interest, and gaining more Instagram followers.
Memes will typically have some kind of cultural relevance, they’re often clever or funny, and they typically feature a combination of text and imagery (this can be a photo, a GIF, or even a video).
Take for example my meme on models choosing what to wear. It got 49 shares, 25 saves with a reach of 6,146 and 57 profile visits. These are the insights that matter. and they are better than most of the photos I post. Don't worry about likes as Instagram is taking those away soon anyways. Likes and comments don't convert to new followers. Shares, Reach, and Profile visits do.
Like my meme above your goal should be to generate a meme that is relatable to you audience, funny, and on brand. For example, my audience is mainly models, photographers, cosplayers, and anyone who loves photography. So any meme related to those 4 things will be relatable and preform alot better than if I posted a random meme about car owners or video games. All you need is a meme generator to get started. The App I use is Meme generator shown below.
Grow your Instagram following tip #2: Collaborate With Kickass Brands
The power of collaborating with like-minded and complementary brands is undeniable and will introduce your brand to a completely new and hopefully engaged audience you may have never reached on your own.
When another Instagram user discovers you through a collaboration you’ve done they are more likely to crush that follow button because odds are if they found you from a collaboration they are the demographic you’re looking for.
Collaborations with complementary brands will double your organic reach and are 25 times less expensive than digital advertising! Just make sure that your collaboration is mutually beneficial and both your audiences will benefit from your collaboration.
On brand collaborations for example: Because I shoot alot of fashion it makes sense that I would collab with influencers, models, designers, and makeup artists because their audience will be similar to mine and thus mutually beneficial. 7 things I look for in a collaboration (meaning not paid). What's their following like? Whats their engagement like? Will their audience connect with my work? Will mine connect with theirs? Do we have similar values? What kind of connections do they have? How skilled are they? I try to find people and brands that have a similar or bigger following than me but will collab with someone with little to no following if they are incredibly talented. The 7 things I look for are important. If you're just collabing with anyone and everyone with no intention you will fail in your industry, miserably.
So how do you find people and brands to collab with? Do your research, join local facebook groups related to your industry like Portland Models. Search local hashtags like #portlandmodel or #portlanddesigner or portlandMUA
Grow your Instagram Following Tip #3: Promote Your Instagram Content on Other Platforms
This might be one of my favorite tips on the list. If you want to grow your Instagram following you should really promote your page outside of the Instagram app. I have gained a majority of my following this way. Promote your Instagram page on your website, email, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, and Tiktok.
My favorite platform to cross promote my Instagram content is Facebook groups. For example, I joined the Halloween 24/7 Facebook group because there is a big audience there who will most likely like my horror cosplay content. So when I post in that group I always link to my Instagram account to see more. I do this in multiple groups and every time I do I notice new followers who came from that post on Facebook.
Grow your Instagram Following Tip #4: Get in front of the Camera More
Don’t forget social media is still social and your followers want to see the person or people behind the brand. It’s extremely important to make your account as relatable and personable as possible not to mention photos with faces get 38% more likes on Instagram.
People want to know who is behind the brand just as much as your business and products. If you have a team why not have them post and share content about the business from their personal pages. You never know, your employees followers may have an interest in your brand and people love behind the scenes content.
Grow your Instagram Following Tip #5: Post more Videos
In 2014 the future of social media content was video well the future is now. Every brand is now creating video content for Tiktok, Youtube, IGTV and their feed to drive business because that’s what people want to see. Video has by far become the most popular form of content in 2020. IGTV is a great place to post your video content and behind the scenes. And if your video appears on the explorer page they appear four times larger than photos. Video content isn’t going anywhere so if you really want to start growing your audience you must start incorporating more video content into your social media strategy.
Grow your Instagram Following Tip #6: Use Instagram Stories
Instagram stories are a great place to interact with your audience. Post things that don't need to be in your feed like a new post, behind the scenes, polls, quiz's, shout outs, tips, funny memes, everyday life, and questions.
Give people a reason to follow you besides your work by posting more personal and fun daily content on your story. As far as photos go keep your feed business and your story personal. I'm also told that Instagram shows your feed to more people if people are interacting with your stories.
Grow your Instagram Following Tip #7: Post long captions or multiple photos at once.
The Instagram algorithm knows how long people are looking at your post. A post will be more successful the more time people spend on your post. If everyone is scrolling right past it you wont get much engagement or reach. Long meaningful or entertaining captions do better than short and sweet ones. And posts with multiple photos seem to preform better than one photo.
Grow your Instagram Following Tip #8: Check your Insights!
How do you expect to find out what's working and what's not without data? The only way to get that data is through insights and the only way to get insights is by making sure your Instagram profile is set to Business or Creator. To check and or switch your profile open Instagram and go to your profile, then click the top right 3 bars, then click settings, then click account, and at the bottom you'll see your options to switch your account to Business, Personal, or Creator. Once you see your insights you can see your followers age, gender, location, and most popular time of day your audience is online. Most importantly you can see what posts were shared, saved, and commented on the most as well as the reach of each post. This information will tell you what your audience is connecting with.
Grow your Instagram Following Tip #9: Use Hashtags!
Potential clients are using hashtags to search for what you have to offer. This is how they find you. For example someone might be looking for a local MUA for their wedding so they might search #OrlandoMUA. The key with hashtags is to use quality over quantity. Instagram allows 30 hashtags but I have been told posts preform better with 9. but however many you use make sure they aren't all too popular. When choosing a hashtag Instagram tells you how many people are using that tag. Try choosing 4 relevant hashtags below 100K and 4 between 100K-500K and 2 Super relevant hashtags like #PortlandWeddingPhotographer or #PDXphotographer. I've had multiple people find me and follow me from searching #Portlandphotographer.
2 Apps I use for every post is Focalmark to find relevant hashtags and IG LineBreak for clean spacing between paragraphs.
Grow your Instagram Following Tip #10: Always Comment Back
I’ll never understand why brands with under 20,000 followers don’t comment back. If you’re getting under 100 comments on a post you can make the time to comment back to your community. I understand if you have 1 million followers being overwhelmed and not being able to comment back but for most of you this won’t be the case. Your fans notice if you never comment back and before you know it they will stop commenting altogether.
Show your fans you appreciate them by at least saying thank you to each comment. Don’t forget you wouldn’t be anywhere without them. And go a step further by interacting with them on their posts. It is called social media for a reason, you can’t succeed without being social. If you have to time block 30 minutes each day just to make sure you are interacting with your community I promise in the end it will be worth it.
Grow your Instagram Following Tip #11: Bonus tip, Stop buying followers.
Buying followers and joining engagement groups and Instagram pods is the quickest way to be shadow band or even having your account disabled. All of these things are against Instagram rules and guidelines but more importantly they just don’t work.
It’s blatantly obvious when someone has purchased followers, I see it all the time. 100,000 followers with little to no engagement on each post makes your account worthless. You’re not fooling anyone and it’s not helping you gain clients. So stop it. Not to mention purchasing followers is a waste of money.
I know this all may seem like alot of work and it is but if you're trying to succeed in your industry you must grow your reach and these tips will help you do that. Let me know in the comments below what tip helped you the most or if you have any to add :) Connect with me on Instagram HERE
Author Lance A Reis
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