Links of the Week 5/18-5/24/15

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from my Instagram: my sorbet peonies in my backyard bloomed! So gorgeous. Follow me on Instagram

Hello again, friends!

I hope everyone had a wonderful week, and a Happy Memorial Day (if you celebrate it).

I have been without Internet for almost a full week…since last Monday there was a lightning storm, lightning struck near my house, made a surge, and apparently fried the circuitboard in my home’s cable junction box. And Frontier couldn’t get someone out to look at it until Friday afternoon. For someone who lives most of their life online, it was extremely hard to figure out how to deal with getting my work done when I had no internet from home…and was maxed out on my data plan on my cell phone for the month. XP

But now I’m back, with some cool links of note from last week. IFB again was kind enough to include my DIY Pearl and Spike Chain Choker in the link roundup…so here are other cool links of note:

Links à la Mode: May 21

SPONSOR: East Dane: Ferragamo Shoes, Superga, Furla, C/Meo Collective, Baggu, Citrine Swim, Black leather booties, Veda, Wrap & Cotton dresses

xo

Carly

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DIY Links of the Week 5/11-5/17/15

links-of-the-week-portland-love-padlockMy tutorial on how to take headshot photos that reflect your blog’s brand was just included in the weekly round-up of Links a la Mode on IFB!

There are a bunch more links – and many EXCELLENT DIY tutorials as well, so clicky clicky to visit all those included and say hi!

Thanks for the inclusion!

xo
Carly

Links à la Mode: May 14

SPONSOR: East Dane: Red Heels, Sensi Studio, Katie Diamond, Gray Malin, Vermilion Dresses, Deux Lux, Brooklyn Tailors, Veda, 70s looks & Chaser Clothing

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How to Take Headshot Portrait Photos that Reflect Your Blog’s Brand

Portrait photography is definitely not my strong suit, and it’s even harder when YOU are taking a photo of YOU. It’s so much easier to work with someone who knows what they’re doing and can make you relaxed enough to take a great fun photo for your blog headshot.

carlyjcais_2012headshotI’ve had the same sidebar headshot for 3 years (above, taken by Dave Lim) simply because I liked how I looked in the photo. I’ve also had another photo on my About Me page (if you recall, that particular photo was pretty horrible) for about 5 years. I’ve been going through a brand audit of Chic Steals and felt that my head shots didn’t really reflect my blog topic and focus. They needed to be lighter, brighter, closer – and more depicting chic, creative, crafty living instead of just my head in front of a forest.desktopcomposite_aboutpage So after playing with a couple different ideas, I settled on a photo of me in my home office in front of a wall that I decorated with gold washi tape in a triangle pattern. (Similar to what I did with my DIY Geometric Bathroom Makeover wall here.) I chose on a white-and-gold palette since I felt that was in line with my blog branding. carly-j-cais-headshot-with-diamondI did make a little sparkly gold prop as the silhouette of the diamond in my logo, and utilize the DIY paper glitter diamond paperweight I made in this post here. carly-j-cais-at-deskFor the overhead and sitting at the desk laptop shots, I styled the desk with my DIY Gold Succulents in Geometric Origami planters, the origami diamond paperweights, and a variety of crafty materials to touch on the “making” theme of my blog. The only piece of jewelry I wore was the DIY Free People Wrapped Quartz Bangle that has been really popular online since I shared it.

My good friend Josh of Joshua Johnston Photography took my photos, and though we shot in the late afternoon and the light was fading inside, his lighting techniques were still able to bring out all the little details and make everything white and bright. In all it took an hour and a half, and the finished photos were awesome – and, I felt, much more fitting with the look and feel of my blog.

So are you experiencing some difficulty with deciding on the perfect headshots for your blog or website? Here are 8 steps to get portrait photos you’ll love:

pinterest-how-to-take-head-shots-that-reflect-blog-brandHow to Take Headshot Portrait Photos for Your Blog That Reflect Your Brand

1) Spend some time looking at your blog. Are there colors or elements that you could incorporate into a shoot? Do you feature the same items over and over again? What “goes together” and what doesn’t? (like using a forest background for a crafty blog…which doesn’t make any sense)

2) How can you accomplish what you want in the least cluttered, most direct way? What would make sense as a background? Can you make it, fake it, or is there a place you know that would be perfect for the locale?

3) How about props? Would they be more specific and tie a photo of you into what you write about better? Reiterate your branding or logo somehow?

4) Sketch some ideas out on paper, having in your head a firm idea of the colors and layout of the elements. Where do you want your head to appear? Should you be looking at your content to draw people’s eyes to it? Looking at the reader to connect with them? Looking away so that you’re an object of admiration and having fun by yourself? What are you trying to sell with your head shot?

5) Allow enough time to be able to properly style out your photos and capture them in the best light. Do you need to shoot during the Golden Hour? How long will it take you for hair and makeup? How about styling your props?

6) Choose a lens that has the least amount of distortion for the face: ideally, 85mm. If not, 50mm will also do quite well and create that soft blurred background. Use a tripod if you can, especially in low light situations!

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7) Unless you’re used to modeling (or modeling by yourself!), shoot with someone you know well and who you’re comfortable with, preferably someone who makes you laugh. That way your smiles will be genuine and your eyes light up in your photos, which is difficult to fake. You’ll also have someone to interact with which can come out in the final images, creating more of a connection with the viewer. Don’t be discouraged if you have to take a ton of photos to get any you like. Some the framing might be right, but you have a hair out of place. Some your expression might be weird. Keep them all and look at them later.

8) Go through the photos on a large screen, ideally after some time has passed. That way you can apply a fresh eye and be more objective with the ones you choose. Choose ones that you like a lot then compare them against one another. If you like them, your readers will too. Post-process, upload, and announce your new pictures!

Thanks, Josh – I couldn’t have done it without you! Check out his website for prints of cool landscape and nature photography – especially Oregon waterfalls!joshua-johnston-photography

Joshua Johnston Photography

Do you have any tips for good blog headshot photos? Please share in the comments!

xo
Carly

I actually helped Josh build the website and optimize it for SEO, learning the Smugmug platform [aff. link] in the process. I’d highly recommend it if you’re a photographer looking for a no-hassle way to sell your prints and photos as digital downloads – since they take care of all the order processing and fulfillment for you!
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Recap: Portland Bloggers Speed Networking Meetup at Passionfruit HQ

portland-bloggers-speed-networking-1 Last Sunday the Portland Bloggers group came together for a fun speed networking event at the Passionfruit headquarters in SE Portland.portland-bloggers-speed-networking-3portland-bloggers-speed-networking-5It was a morning filled with fun, laughter, quick-fire questions, networking, business card exchanging, and a ton of great advice on blogging issues. portland-bloggers-speed-networking-8portland-bloggers-speed-networking-4We noshed on deli cold cuts, cheeses, fruit, fresh vegetables, and bagels provided by Bowery Bagels (DELISH vegan cashew cheese on salted bagels!) and sipped coffee from Black Rock Coffee.

portland-bloggers-speed-networking-7We also got an inside look at the incredibly cool Passionfruit office space and the inner workings of Passionfruit Ads where you can sell ad space, paid posts, or sponsored content through their blog widgets with minimal maintenance and upkeep (seriously if you haven’t tried it out – DO IT NOW! I can’t believe how much time I spent on managing individual sponsors and advertisers with the emails, and back-and-forth, and getting their banner ads, having to re-optimize them, uploading, then taking down once the ad had run. Once you do it through Passionfruit, all the headaches are GONE and you just collect a paycheck. Seriously cool.)portland-bloggers-speed-networking-9portland-bloggers-speed-networking-2We had a fun photo shooting area with photo booth props Bee and Jenni had made. I’ll be updating this space soon with the photos!portland-bloggers-speed-networking-6It was a great morning and I met a number of local bloggers to add to my reading list and my blogging buddy list. We had a prize draw and 3 bloggers won some awesome prizes including a year of Passionfruit ad service, the book Blog, Inc.by Joy Cho, and a package of blogging goodies like stationery supplies and blog planner. (Plus we all received a sample of Lemon Dream Bar King Cream ice cream to take home with us!)

Stay up to date with all Portland Bloggers events here. Hope to see you at the next one!

Have you ever been to a blogging meet up? Was it worthwhile to attend?

xo
Carly

I’m a volunteer member of the organizing team of Portland Bloggers, a local organization dedicated to bringing together bloggers and providing networking and resources. I designed their logo and also maintain their website and do videography for them.
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Share Your Fashion Dilemmas – and Your Whole Life – Easily with Skype

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Connecting with people when we all have vastly differing schedules can be a big hassle… and being able to chat or share via video is a great way to connect. Skype is the affordable way to stay in touch about the things you care about – whether it’s just checking in, holding virtual meetings, or even deciding on a great outfit before a big event.

My parents are Australian, I moved to Japan when I was 11 and lived there 6 years, and I’ve also lived in rural New Jersey, Virginia Beach, Philadelphia, Tokyo, Yokohama, Honolulu, and now Portland, Oregon. All of my extended family lives in either Australia or Japan – and my friends are scattered the world over. Skype has been a necessary facet of my life for years as a way to stay connected with everyone – from my kooky friend Lenna in London, my East Coast bestie Jenn in Tennessee, my cousin Sam in Australia, and my mom in Tokyo. using-skype-at-computer

Since I’ve been writing Chic Steals for 7 years now, Skype has come in super-handy in a number of ways. For a year I was producing a podcast called Creatively Chic in partnership with WebTalkRadio.net, and Skype was instrumental in allowing me to conduct interviews with people in faraway places (including Tom and Cat from the CutOutandKeep.net team in London!) with crystal-clear, recordable voice quality.

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Checking in with fellow blogger Jenni of A Well-Crafted Party about an upcoming Portland Bloggers’ event

More recently as an active member of Portland Bloggers, it’s allowed me to connect with local blogger friends quickly and accurately – with bonus video. Sharing a new affordable find I scored at Goodwill? Asking a “what ideas do you have for DIY’ing this piece” with my blogging buddies? Touching base about outfits before a big blogging event so we don’t accidentally show up wearing the same thing? Skype has proven itself useful – and priceless – time and again.using-skype-in-mirror

What do you guys think of this sparkly cardigan? Too much?

I love that I can use it on my phone and connect with other people for a quick check-out-this-necklace-stack check-in… even if they have a different phone than I do! Skype works regardless – and it’s FREE. It’s fun, it’s quick, it’s affordable, and it’s easy – what could be more chic?

You can download the Skype app and follow along on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

xo

Carly

FTC Disclosure: This post was written as part of a paid campaign with BlogHer and Skype. My full Disclosure Policy is here.

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