A few people have been asking me about the next issue of SeniorInspire the Magazine...
Our next issue is going to feature the winners of our annual 100 Photographers I'd Like to Follow Contest - or PILFs as some naughty people like to say.
We'll start taking PILF submissions in late December, so start putting together your best work from 2021. We can't wait to see it.
On to the newsletter where I'm excited to be bringing back the photographer interview feature. This week I'll be talking to everyone's favorite... Monica Dooley.
Instagram and Social Media
Instagram Live Scheduling is Here – Here's What You Need to Know
Do you use Instagram Live?
I don't for two reasons... I hate being on camera and maybe more importantly, I'd feel stupid going Live with zero people watching.
To help with your zero people phobia, Instagram just announced you will soon be able to SCHEDULE your Instagram Live events.
According to Instagram, Live Scheduling is meant to help with the discovery and distribution of Instagram Lives. With this new feature you can schedule a Live event for up to 90 days in the future and then share reminders and countdowns directly to your Instagram Stories and feed.
In addition, they've annouced a new Instagram Live PRACTICE MODE which will allow you to test run your Live events to make sure everything is working the way you'd like.
These new features are currently rolling out and if you don't already have them available, you should soon.
Will this get me to use Instagram Live? Yeah, maybe on a good hair day... 👱♂️
Quick self-exam for your website
I ran across a nice little article this week with some basic website design do's and don'ts.
The article is geared towards web developers, but pulling up your own website and going through their 5 do's and don'ts is a great way to give your site a quick health check up.
To summarize what you should be looking for:
1. Do make your site SEO friendly - If you maintain your own website and words like keywords, title tags, meta descriptions and internal links are foreign to you, it's time to invest in a short SEO course or spend some time studying on YouTube. SEO is not rocket science! Knowing the basics will take you a long way!
2. Don't make it confusing - Take a look at your site, or better yet have a friend look at it for you. Is it easy for them to find what they're looking for? And maybe more importantly, are they looking for things you want them to be looking for. For me, I want visitors to request information and provide me with their contact details so I can follow up with them. As a result, I have a big info-request button right up front and at the bottom of every page so there's no question about what they need to do to get in touch.
3. Do provide optimal user-friendliness - Similar to number 2, but here you want to make sure the experience for your visitor is pleasant. Does the site load fast? Is it easy to navigate? Is it easy to go from page to page? Is your menu structure simple. Look at all of these things with a critical eye and simplify where possible.
4. Don’t use too many colors or typefaces - From a design standpoint you want to keep things simple. Resist the urge to splash color all over the site and don't try to use multiple fonts to draw attention. Use only a few colors that represent your brand and stick to just one or two fonts. Use things like bold, italics, or ALL CAPS to draw attention to the things you want highlighted.
5. Do use enough white space - Resist the urge to cram every detail about your business onto one page. Similarly, don't load up your home page with all kinds of images. Simplicity is your friend! Whitespace is much easier to digest than dense lines of text or all kinds of photos packed together.
With all the negative attention towards social media as of late, having an up to date, easy to use website is maybe more critical than ever.
Get to work! 💪
Sony a7IV is being announce today... or not
That's right, don't hold me to this... but apparently Sony is FINALLY getting ready to announce their succesor to the wildly popular A7III.
In fact, it looks like today may be the day!
I've been shooting the A7iii since it came out in 2018 and it is an incredible camera for the money. But after shooting with it for 3+ years I finally got tired of waiting for the IV and upgraded to the A9ii this Spring.
I love shooting the A9ii, but if the features they're anticipating for the new IV pan out, it looks to be a VERY nice step up for camera's in the $2,500 range.
If you're in the market, watch for Sony's announcement sometime today!
Meet the Photographer
Coming clean with Monica Dooley!
It's been a hot minute since we've done a photographer interview in the newsletter, so we're bringing it back with a giant bang!
Today, we're heading south to sweet home Alabama where we're going to sit down with none other than, Monica Dooley!
Turn it up!
SeniorInspire So nice to get a chance to talk to your today! Have you always been a photographer?
Monica Dooley I have been a photographer for twenty-three years. Before that, I taught High School Literature / Creative Writing. I think that is why I love Senior Photography so much, it keeps me with the age group I connect best with. Plus, it keeps me young!
SI I can always pick out one of your images from their dreamy feel and incredible colors. Is there a secret to getting your look?
MD I would like to say I did not choose my look, it snuck up and chose me. With my literature background and teaching classics, I found I could create a mood, a feeling, an emotion with my camera just as easily as with words, and more beautiful! As much as I love reading, I haven’t picked up a book in so long. I now find my inspiration behind the lens and my heroines are seniors in long, flowing gowns. Color is my main focus when shooting. I try to have no more than two colors in my images, that’s why clothing is so important. I tend to shoot tone on tone for that reason.
SI Describe your perfect senior client.
MD My perfect client is the one who selects the Exclusive session and shows up in PJ’s, clean face, no makeup, hair not styled and a “blank canvas” attitude. It’s so fun and rewarding to transform them into the person they didn’t know they could be. Hopefully they take that confidence home with them to inspire someone else.
SI Besides Lynyrd Skynyrd and barbecue, what else is big in Alabama?
MD I would say other than Lynyrd Skynyrd and barbecue, Alabama Football is what’s big in Alabama. If you live in Alabama, you have to pick either Auburn or Alabama and support your team with passion and a big Roll Tide!
SI OK, let's say someone steals ALL of your camera equipment, except your cameras, your lenses and one other thing. What's that one other thing you'd want them to leave you?
MD The one other thing besides my camera and my lens that I would want to be left with is my Kelly Moore Mimi 2.0 green leather camera bag.
SI If you were shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all your human needs—such as food and water—were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?
MD My two items on a deserted island would be Vicks Vapor Rub and Birkenstocks.
SI Birkenstocks? LOL. Those things must be comfortable. My seniors show up in those all the time!
It there an artist you follow on Instagram whop sparks your creativity?
MD There are so many crazy talented photographers that inspire me. But the one who I find to be truly my creative soulmate is Jessica Drossin. She is my “Yoda Master”, my “Grasshopper”, my “Spirit Artist”.
SI Oh my! I just checked out Jessica and my jaw hit the floor. She is crazy good!
Thanks so much for sitting down with us today. It was great to get a chance to chat!
That's all for this week folks!
Remember to include the hashtag #SeniorInspire on any Instagram images you'd like considered for feature on our IG page.
And if you're not already a member of our Facebook group, please consider joining! We'd love to have you there!