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#PAIDTOCREATE Social Media

How To Create A Rate Card As A Micro Influencer

HOW-TO-CREATE-A-RATE-CARD

When it comes to brand collaborations, one of the most important things you’ll need to know, is how to create a rate card. There isn’t a ton of information floating around on rate cards and a lot of influencers are pretty HUSH HUSH on the topic. So I thought I’d create this video to give you some guidance on how to create a rate card as a micro-influencer.

Want More?

If you enjoyed this video, you might also enjoy the one I create on how to become a paid influencer which can be found here

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#PAIDTOCREATE Social Media

How To Make Your Instagram Feed Look Good

When it comes to growing your Instagram following, one of the very first things you should do is make your Instagram feed look good. It makes sense, right?

Think of your Instagram feed as your home. If you were to invite a complete stranger into a house that looked a hot, disheveled mess, do you think they’d want to come back again? Probably not (unless they’re into that kind of thing!). Now on the other hand, if you were to invite someone into a clean, aesthetically-pleasing home, they’d be more likely to want to return.

The same thing applies to Instagram. When strangers visit your Instagram feed, you want them to feel welcome. You want them to want to come back for more. How can you make them feel welcome on your Instagram page? You can accomplish this by making your Instagram feed look good. 

The following tips will help you tidy up your Instagram feed and instantly grow your Instagram following.

Make-Your-Instagram-Feed-Look-Good

Lighting

I’m sure you’ve already heard that natural lighting is your best friend, so I won’t beat an already dead horse. What I will say about lighting is that it’s important to use the same lighting for all of your photos. Whether you’re using natural or artificial light, be consistent with it. If you’re using natural light, shoot at the same time of the day so that your photos are receiving the same type of lighting. If you’re using artificial lighting, make sure you’re using the same type of artificial light (e.g. ring light, strobe light, softbox). Doing this will help you create a cohesive Instagram theme and will also make your Instagram feed look good.

Niche

Believe it or not, having a niche plays a huge role in the way your overall feed looks. For example, if your niche is makeup, then the majority of your Instagram feed will consist of makeup photos. This, by default, helps to make your Instagram feed look cohesive and consistent. On the other hand, if you have no niche and you post about any and everything, your Instagram feed may come across a little chaotic.

I recently uploaded a YouTube video discussing this topic in detail. Check it out here!

Plan

Have you ever posted something on your Instagram feed and immediately regretted it because it messed up your flow? That is why planning posts for your Instagram feed is so important! Two of my favorite platforms to use are Planoly and UNUM. Both of them allow you to plan/schedule your posts, move them around, write captions and even provide you with some analytics. I tend to use Planoly a lot more since it has the ability to post to your Instagram feed for you!

As a BONUS, I’ve put together 42 content ideas for Instagram!

42-Content-Ideas-For-Instagram

Quality

Look, the cold truth is that it will be hard for you to grow your following and make your Instagram feed look good if you’re not posting quality images. Now, I’m not saying that they have to be award-winning images. However, you want to share images that look good. Here are a few quick tips to help you with capturing high-quality images on your phone:

1. Clean your camera. This one seems so “duh”, but you’d be surprised by how many people skip this step when taking their photos. Clean that lens! It will make a huge difference.
2. Use natural light. Having natural light really helps to illuminate your photos in a beautiful way.
3. Shoot in HDR for the best quality images. “HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. When you use HDR, your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch Camera automatically blends the best parts of three photos taken quickly at different exposures—one at normal exposure, then one each of the brightest and darkest parts of the scene. The result is a single photo with better color and detail.” – Apple
4. Use a tripod. Oftentimes, blurry photos happen due to camera shake. Even the smallest amount of shake can lead to a not-so-sharp image. Using a tripod will help eliminate that from the equation.
5. Use an app like Snapseed, VSCO to edit things like saturation, contrast, brightness, etc. More on this below!
6. Invest in professional photos. I created the “Flawless Flatlay Collection” to provide bloggers and influencers with access to affordable flatlays to use on Instagram. You get access to the entire collection for a one-time payment of $20! I’m constantly adding new images every month, so you’ll have fresh, new images to use. Subscribe here!

Theme

Pick a theme and stick to said theme. If you want to post pink pictures on your Instagram feed, that’s great (pink is a color that performs very well on the gram!). Post your pink photos and try not to stray from that color. If you start posting red and purple images, it will make your Instagram feed look less cohesive.

When selecting a theme, make sure it’s something that you feel comfortable doing long term. If you despise the color pink, then you probably don’t want to have a pink theme (unless, of course, you’re into self-torture).

Editing Software

Earlier in this article, I mentioned Snapseed and VSCO as two tools that you can use to edit your photos on your phone. There’s also Lightroom, Photoshop and Afterlight. All of these apps are great for taking your images from blah to bomb! I wrote an article about VSCO and Lightroom that can be found here

Consistency

Last but not least, if you want to make your Instagram feed look good, you have to stay consistent; consistent in your lighting, consistent in your camera, consistent in your theme, consistent in everything! Trust me, it will pay off in the long run!

Following these tips will help make your Instagram feed look good and will also help get your follower count growing! If you enjoyed this read, be sure to let me know in the comments below and spread the word on Pinterest! 

Free-Monthly-Flatlays

#PAIDTOCREATE Social Media

How To Create A Rate Card for Pitching to Beauty Brands

How-To-Create-A-Rate-CardIn 2015, I received my first email from a brand looking to collaborate with me. After recovering from the initial shock of it all, I stopped to actually read through the email. They loved my work. They were interested in working with me. And of course, they wanted to know what my rates were. Now, at that stage of my content creation life, I knew not the first thing about how to create a rate card. 

After doing a little bit of research, I learned that there really isn’t a cut and dry answer for questions like, “how much should I charge” and “what are other influencers in my industry charging.” Unfortunately, this information is just not readily available. 

I like to think of myself as an open book and I genuinely want to see more and more influencers receiving compensation for their work. I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post that I used to work for a pretty big cosmetics brand and a big part of my job was working with influencers, negotiating rates/contracts and all that good stuff. I’m also a beauty influencer. As such, I have a bit of insight to share from both perspectives. 

This article is the first of my #PaidToCreate series that is all about helping bloggers and influencers secure brand collaborations and ultimately secure the bag. If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more in-depth information on these topics. 

Okay! Now that that’s out of the way, let’s hop right into this good-good information and figure out how to create a rate card and appropriately price yourself. 

What the Heck is A Rate Card?

If you read through the intro and scratched your head upon hearing the term rate card, fret not. You know, I’ve got you! A rate card is essentially a document (JPEG, PowerPoint, PDF, etc.) that spells out your services and the cost for those services. Simple right. Yes, it all seems so simple. However, things get a bit tricky when it comes to setting a fair price point and knowing how to negotiate with brands that may not want to come off of those coins. It happens. Quite a bit, actually!

How Do You Establish Your Rates For The First Time?

As I mentioned earlier, when I first started out as a content creator, I didn’t know what was an acceptable amount to ask for when entering into brand collaborations. I was as clueless as a thumbtack, okay! So the first thing that I did was conduct some research. I checked in with my best friend, Google. I asked some of my fellow influencer friends. I literally looked for information wherever I could find it. After doing this research, I looked at the rates that I received and looked for any commonalities. For example, maybe a good number of influencers were asking for $50 for one Instagram post. From there, you can decide whether or not you want to price yourself the same as those influencers or higher/lower. 

What Are Some Things To Consider When Coming Up With Rates?

Experience/Skills: I won’t sit here and say that experience isn’t important. It is in a lot of cases. However, I think that a lot of times skill, talent and individuality can completely trump experience. When I was managing social media for wet n wild Beauty, if I came across someone that was extremely talented and created good content, I didn’t give a hoot-nanny about how much experience they had. Their talent spoke for itself. 

Now, where experience does come in handy is when you get into brand collaborations like Snapchat Takeovers, Live Sessions and the like. I’ve witnessed some really tiny-big disasters in my time from brands that have worked with influencers that weren’t experienced when it came to speaking in front of an audience that was not their own. Like…disaster. But that’s neither here nor there!

The point that I’m making here is that you want to assess your skills and experience level to help you determine what your price point should be. If you have a ton of experience or if you’re mad talented, then make sure your rates reflect such.

Quality. If you wish to collaborate with brands, your content should be up to par. You’re going to have to ask yourself, ‘Self, are you working this content or is this content working you?” This step is important. If a brand feels they cannot repurpose your content or get something out of the collaboration with you, then they’ll be less prone to pay you even a penny. 

So take time to perfect your craft. You got this!

Brand Love. Kiki, do you love me?! So Drake is not the only one wondering if you love them. Brands want love too! If you’re interested in working with a brand that you love, be sure to let them know that. If you’ve used their products, let them know that! If you have a following that you know loves their products, let them know that. Don’t keep that love a secret because sometimes it can be the difference between zero dollars and a big payout.

Social Footprint. If you’re a social media rock star with hundreds of thousands of followers across your social media platforms, chances are that you’re already on a brand’s radar. The larger your following, the higher you can price yourself.

Engagement. While your overall social footprint is important, engagement is probably even more important. Brands have become hip to the fact that a lot of folks purchase followers/likes/comments and so they’re starting to pay closer attention to engagement rates. If you don’t have a huge following, then maybe you have a really high engagement rate. Don’t underestimate the power of a strong engagement rate! It holds a lot of power. 

*The standard engagement rate is about 3%. You can visit the following website to calculate your engagement rate: https://phlanx.com/engagement-calculator 

Time, Energy and Money. Look. Any piece of content that you create is going to require some time, energy and in a lot of cases, money. This should ABSOLUTELY be considered when creating your rate card. For example, if you’re buying flowers for a flatlay or purchasing a new camera lens to achieve a certain look. These things should be factored into your rates. 

Finalize Your Rate

Once you’ve completed all of these steps, you should arrive at a rate that you’re comfortable with. Fohr is a great resource for helping you check your rates against other bloggers/influencers. I personally find their numbers to be a bit on the lower side, so keep that in mind when making adjustments. They don’t really account for the quality of your content. If you’re producing some bad a** content, then don’t be afraid to ask for more money.

At this point, you should be able to send out your rates to brands. If you find that you’re not getting responses or if brands are refusing to pay what you’re asking for, you can either stand your ground or reduce your rate. It’s completely up to you. There may even be times where you decide to collaborate for free simply because you love the brand.

These rates do not have to be set in stone. Adjust them accordingly until you find your sweet spot. In the end, it all comes down to doing your research, assessing what you bring to the table and then putting yourself out there!

Best of luck!

Flatlays Photography

17 Cheap Backgrounds for Flatlay Photography

17-Cheap-Backgrounds-For-Flatlay-Photography

When I first started shooting flatlays, one of my biggest questions was, what am I going to use for my backgrounds. And most importantly, which of my body parts would I need to sell in order to afford said backgrounds??!

After doing a bit of research and a lot of experimenting, I learned that there are plenty of cheap and affordable options when it comes to backgrounds for flatlay photography. Thank the Good Lord!

Truth be told, I find many of the backgrounds that I use for my flatlays inside of my bedroom. Things like bedsheets, fur rugs, desktops are common household items that make perfect backgrounds. And for those items that I don’t have readily available, like vinyl flooring or poster boards, I can find them for cheap at a nearby store. 

I put this article together to share 17 cheap backgrounds that I use for most of my flatlay photography. Grab your pen and paper and jump right in!

White Bedsheet

Faux Marble Contact Sheet

White Poster Board

Construction Paper

Linen Towel

Vinyl Flooring

Tile Flooring

White Desktop

Fabric

 

A post shared by euni + co. (@euniandco) on

Decorative Pillows

Magazines

 

A post shared by Carissa (@designbyaikonik) on

Clothing

Comforter/Blanket

 

A post shared by Carissa (@designbyaikonik) on

Wood

Furniture

Baking Sheet / Tray

Fur Rug

There you have it, 17 cheap backgrounds for your flatlays. See anything you’d like to try? I recommend pinning this to a Pinterest Board so you don’t lose track of it!

BONUS FREEBIE

I know better than anyone how frustrating and time-consuming creating flatlays can be. That is why I’ve started sending out beautiful flatlays to my email list, EVERY MONTH. Get this month’s free images at the link below!

Free-Monthly-Flatlays

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30 Clever Captions for Instagram

Clever-Captions-For-Instagram

I think we can all agree that crafting the perfect Instagram caption is not easy. One can easily spend up to an hour trying to think of something clever to write.

If this is something that you struggle with as well, you’re in luck! Here are 30 of my favorite clever captions for Instagram. Feel free to save and share!

Free-Monthly-Flatlays

Photography Social Media

9 Essential Instagram Apps and Tools for Bloggers and Influencers

9-Essential-Instagram-Apps

If you don’t have the right tools/apps at your disposal, your Instagram photos and videos will leave you disappointed. Trust me. I know.  When I first got serious about growing my brand on Instagram, I knew that I would need to step my photo and video game all the way up. Like, all the way!

One day, I decided to look around to see what others were doing and I quickly noticed one thing. They were all using a multitude of apps and tools to create their stunning content for Instagram. After doing a bit of research, I was able to identify a few commonly used apps amongst bloggers and influencers. Being the generous blogger buddy that I am, I decided to share them with you all!

Listed below are 9 essential Instagram apps and tools that every blogger should have:

1. Canva – Before I discovered Canva, I thought EVERY one of my favorite influencers was a masterful graphic designer. The images and videos they were sharing were just heaven sent! Heaven sent!  What’s their secret? Canva!

Canva is an app that offers hundreds of templates, photos and graphic elements for you to choose from. The best thing about it is that an untrained monkey could use it! It has an easy-to-use, drag and drop feature that allows you to swap in/out any of the elements in a template. The free version even allows you to store up to 3 of your brand colors in the app so that you can easily add them to your design.

2. Snapseed – Ever wonder how folks create a super white background or how they desaturate only certain portions of an image? Snapseed is the culprit. Now, I’ve known about Snapseed for quite some time, but I kind of wrote it off as one of those apps that would just be a space-taker-upper on my phone. But, boy-oh-boy, was I wrong. 

If you don’t want to cough up the money for Photoshop ( I don’t blame you), Snapseed is a great mobile phone alternative. It has a TON of photo editing options including:

Snapseed-Editing-Options“Spot Healing” – This feature allows you to remove any small mistakes in your photos

“Tune Image” – This is where you can find commonly used editing options like brightness, contrast and saturation

“White Balance” – Photo looking a little blue? You can use this feature to add a little warmth to your image

“Details” – You can use this feature to sharpen up your images and add some clarity

“Crop” Got a flatlay you want to convert to a square format? This crop feature has got you covered! 

“Selective” – This one little feature is the main reason why I keep Snapseed on my phone. It allows you to select certain areas of your image and make edits to ONLY those regions of your photo. Say whaaaat? Yes! This is how a lot of your favorite bloggers and influencers create those beautiful white and desaturated backgrounds. This is it, people!

*Comment below if you’d like me to create a step-by-step tutorial on this!

3. Planoly – I’ve spoken about Planoly in a previous post, but because I love it so much I’m hitting you guys with it once again! Before I discovered Planoly, I would use a private Instagram account to plan out my images before posting them to my real account. Yes. It got the job done, but it just wasn’t a very effective way to go about things.

I soon discovered the amazingness that is Planoly. Planoly is a management and scheduling app that not only allows you to plan and schedule out your Instagram posts, it also provides helpful insights on the content that you have posted. 

Here’s a look at what the desktop dashboard looks like:

Essential-Apps-for-Instagram

And here’s a look at the Analytics interface:

Essential-Tools-for-InstagramEssential-Instagram-Apps

4. VSCO – If you’ve spent any time on social media, then chances are that you’ve heard of the app VSCO. If you haven’t, VSCO is a mobile app that offers tons and tons of photo (and video!) filters. The free version offers a few basic filter options, but if they’re not enough, you can purchase preset packages. 

I signed up for VSCO X ($20/year) which is a subscription service that gives you new perks every month. Some of those perks include new film x presets and 100+ classic VSCO mobile presets. I’d recommend it if you like to play around with different filters. However, if you’re looking to stay consistent with only 1 or 2 filters, I’d recommend just purchasing one of their regular filter packages.

5. Perfect365 – Because I love you guys, I’m going to be honest about the story behind how I discovered this app. I literally went to Google and searched: “What app do the Kardashian/Jenner girls use to look so perfect in their pictures?” Ok, moment of shame over. 

After conducting this research, I learned that a lot of bloggers/influencers use an app called Perfect365 to give their face a flawless finish. How does it work? It’s quite simple actually! 

When you open the app, you’ll be prompted to upload a photo. After uploading, you can either choose makeup looks that have already been created or you can edit all of the details on your own. You can smooth your skin, brighten your eyes, reduce dark circles, pretty much anything you can think of, you can do it with this app! Slight scary and extremely troubling. I know. But c’est la vie! 

Here’s a look at the Perfect365 interface and also a freshly edited picture. I would show you the before picture but good-golly-Ms-Molly. I’ll spare you! :

Essential-Instagram-Apps

6. CutStory – CutStory is a pretty straightforward app that allows you to cut down longer videos into smaller videos for sharing on IG Stories (and other social platforms). I typically use it to cut down my iPhone tutorials and funny meme videos before sharing on my Instagram Stories!

It’s super easy to use. You simply upload your video and then select a platform. If you select IG, the app will cut your video into 15-second increments (the limit for IG Stories). If you select Snapchat, the app will cut your video into 10-second increments. And so on and so on. 

7. UnFold – I just discovered the UnFold app a few months ago and it’s quickly become one of my staples! UnFold is somewhat similar to Canva (but not really) in that it provides you with beautiful templates and fonts for Instagram Stories. What I love most about it is that it helps make your Instagram Stories look very polished and professional.

The only downside of this app is that there aren’t a ton of different templates to choose from and it doesn’t allow for a lot of customization. As such, you may start noticing that everyone’s Instagram Stories are looking the same. And that’s no bueno!

Here’s a look at an Instagram story that I created using the UnFold app (it’s actually a video):

Essential-Instagram-Apps

8. VidLab – Move over iMovie, there’s a new video editor in town! Okay, so I wouldn’t go as far as to say that VidLab is a suitable replacement to iMovie or any desktop movie editor, for that matter. However, VidLab is a great tool to use to make quick little video adjustments. It allows you to cut down videos, to combine multiple videos and add text, music and sounds. It’s a pretty good one stop shop for your basic video editing needs!

9. Record It – I’m rounding up this list of essential Instagram apps with one of my faves, Record It. Record It is such a great app because it allows you to record your screen. So for example, if you wanted to record a tutorial for VSCO or any other app, you can easily do it on your phone and record the entire process using this app. 

Cool, right?!

And that’s it, folks! These are the apps that I (and a lot of your favorite bloggers and influencers) turn to on the daily! If your favorite app was not mentioned here, please share yours in the comments section!

Want more? If you’re looking to develop your skills as a blogger, influencer or content creator, be sure to check out my private Facebook Group: PIX Tips!

PIX TIPS FB Group For Photographers