Tag Archives: social media

Doug’s Rant – Image Quality ISN’T Everything On Instagram (and more)

Yes it’s that time again… time to RANT.  I have 4 basic topics to cover so let’s get to it.

Rosh Sillars tweeted the link to an article about Instagram this morning written by Andrew Hutchinson for Social Media Today which I thought was good.  You should read it.  Now while I do NOT disagree completely with the idea that image quality is everything for certain strategies on Instagram, I do disagree with this as an overall statement.  So those of you who know me will know that I feel the need to respectfully present the counterpoint in the spirit of healthy debate.

Three reasons image quality isn’t required on instagram:

  1. Think about the name of the app – INSTAgram.  The “Insta” in Instagram implies an instant and spontaneous sharing of photos made right from your iPhone.  Granted you can post images that aren’t taken with your iPhone but the app is clearly designed with that in mind with the basic camera and editing interface in the app.  Many brands post professionally crafted and edited images on Instagram with a ton of attention to detail to the author’s point and it works for them.  But sometimes when you capture something fun and immediate you might not have it set up for perfection, and that’s actually what can make an Instagram perfect.  I would take it a step further and say that even as a photography studio our strategy on Instagram is typically not to show off our finished work here but to rather bring people behind the scenes and have fun, which leads me to number two…

    Image quality

    NOT a professional photo!

  2. Instagram is social.  Perfect art might not always be.  A collage or a funny incident can tell a story or start a conversation – an interesting one.  A perfect photo can too I suppose, but when you go to an exhibition or art museum they don’t hang a white board with a marker under the display for people to engage and leave comments.  Tell a story and have fun with your followers and don’t always worry about the quality of the photo.  To borrow something that Mark Shaw (one of my favorite Periscopers) might say, it’s not Autogram – don’t just broadcast perfection at people to show top quality.  Now don’t post total garbage either, but keep the focus on being fun and social.
  3. There is a ceiling on how awesome your images can be for your following because of the platform.  Many people are looking at these images on an iPhone.  Is that really the best way to see a professional photo?  It’s not a bad way per se, it’s just not the best way.  An EZ Bake oven isn’t the best way to bake a top notch cake, but it could be the most fun cake of your life if you do it with a child.  Our clients come to our studio to get images to hang as their centerpiece on a wall – not just to look at on their iPhone.  So once again – don’t always worry about the quality.  You typically can’t show off the very best of a quality photo on an iPhone.

Okay moving on…

Why I Don’t Like Email Lists

This is another one I go against the grain on.  I do not like email lists.  I’ve never sent out regular email newsletters or tried to build an email list of clients.  I’m not saying they don’t work, I’m just not interested in sending emails to clients.  Email has been around since well before social media existed, but it’s done on a computer or some other electronic device so it’s not as old school as say, junk mail, so let’s call it “post-old school”.  I suspect it works largely as a numbers game – not because getting another email is sooooo awesome.

Will YouTube come back for brands?

I’ve been posting more video to YouTube since I started Periscoping.  I like to repurpose some of my scopes and upload some of my tips to our YouTube channel.  It has led me to hang out on YouTube with a renewed sense of purpose as a brand, and I’ve connected with people on Periscope who are doing the same.  When I went back to the channels and brands I had subscribed to before I saw that many of them hadn’t posted anything in months, but I think this could change…  Just my guess – this is one where I’m just wondering aloud.  This is a whole other topic in itself on ways to effectively build your brand on YouTube which I’m exploring in new ways now.  I’ll keep you posted.  What are your thoughts on this?  Do you subscribe to channels and organize your YouTube channel with playlists?  As an individual?  As a brand?  Are you social there?  Subscribe to our channel and let’s connect!

Image Quality

Yes I’m slightly addicted to Periscope

Of course it comes back to the game-changing monster that is Periscope.  I wrote a post for MCP Actions about 5 very specific ways you can use Periscope for your photography studio… and I also wrote a post here about what you need to know about Periscope (so far) back in April.  At this point I’m totally hooked – I’ve built some great relationships in ways I never did before on any other platform.  I notice however that many people still don’t know what it is yet and haven’t given it a try, so I think I’ll be writing another post soon about what you can accomplish with Periscope.  The people who aren’t early adopters might want to know what the “why” is…  While I’m at it I may write one about who you should follow there.

That’s it for now – I’d love to hear your comments on this whether you agree or not.  Thanks for reading and join me on Periscope where we can discuss these further!

What You Need To Know (So Far) About Periscope

For those of you who don’t follow social media news closely there has been a lot going on in the last couple weeks after what I thought was a relatively quiet period.  Periscope was officially launched for the iPhone and it is going to change the world again in my opinion, much like Facebook, twitter and some of the others have.  As usual things are moving fast and it’s exciting, so here is what you need to know (so far) about Periscope.

Periscope

WHAT IS PERISCOPE?

Periscope is an app that allows you to broadcast live right from your iPhone (Android is coming soon) whenever you like.  Your followers will get a notification that you are “live” on whatever topic you say and they can tune in on the spot.  They can tap on their screen to show their approval with hearts, and make comments which you and the other viewers can see so you can answer questions and respond to the comments.

You may be familiar with Meerkat which launched before Periscope.  Personally I haven’t used Meerkat, but I have read that Periscope’s quality is better and I just don’t think Meerkat will be the winner in this battle, and it IS a battle.  The fact that twitter owns Periscope ensures its success and the integration with twitter makes it easier to set up and use if you are already tweeting.

The possibilities for where this platform will lead us are endless.  I wrote an article recently for MCP Actions where I discussed 5 ways you can use Periscope to help your photography studio – all of the ideas apply to just about any small business in some way.

Meanwhile with the exception of #2 in that article at MCP Actions most of those ideas are for ways to use Periscope as a broadcaster, but even since I wrote that piece I’m seeing new parts of the world and finding inspiration from all over the place as a viewer.

Viewing Adventures On Periscope

I love that throughout my day I can tune in to things that are happening live if I want.  Some of my faves:

  • I participated in a couple more discussions about social media marketing and photography at @RoshSillars who I mentioned in the MCP Actions article.
  • I met a hilarious pug named Rascal who lives in Vancouver and waits obediently for his food before he’s given the green light to dive in with his face deep in the bowl at @MrTommyCampbell.
  • I watched a demo of the Fj Westcott Ice Light (which we affectionately call the “Light Saber” light here at the studio) at a convention at @WestcottCo.
  • I went along on a virtual live tour of a vineyard in Washington State by the Cooper Wine Company at @CooperWine which was pretty neat.

This is all the type of content that was always readily available on the Internet.  That’s not new.  But the fact that it’s spontaneous and happening live on my iPhone where I can chime in and participate?  That IS new, and whether it’s for educational purposes or just fun, I enjoy it.  Now let’s get back to a little more on broadcasting for a minute…

Reusing and repurposing your broadcasts

The ability to reuse and repurpose the broadcasts may ultimately make this my iPhone video cam of choice for our studio and brings another layer to the potential of Periscope.  This will be more effective when landscape mode is available which is coming soon.  Right now the only way to broadcast effectively is portrait mode (vertically) which doesn’t look great in your typical widescreen formats.  But in the meantime it’s nice that you can easily download your broadcast as a video to your device with the touch of a button in the app.  We recently broadcasted parts of a high school senior spokesmodel session and we had viewers from Italy, Great Britain, and Paris.  I downloaded the broadcast to use parts of it for a Vine since it’s easy to grab portrait footage in the square frame of Vine and crop it effectively.  What was interesting was that the footage was raw – with no hearts or comments.  So keep in mind you can make your broadcast available for replay for 24 hours with all the elements of the original broadcast (comments, hearts etc.) intact, but when you download it to your iPhone those elements are stripped away.  This is different than Snapchat which keeps any added text or other animation in the video if you download it to your device.  Here is the Vine I mentioned – the indoor part on the red background was pulled from our broadcast…

As I’ve mentioned, Periscope is coming to Android soon and landscape interface for broadcasts are also coming.  Here is an article that outlines the changes they’ve made already with version 1.0.2 and previews what is to come.

I hope this helps!  Feedback is welcome and remember to download the app (it’s FREE) and follow us at @frameablefaces on Periscope!

Doug’s Rant – Why Is Social Media “So Quiet”?

So quiet

Why is social media so quiet lately?  It just doesn’t seem to me that there has been a lot going on.  Let me explain.  For a few solid years there it seemed like it was the “golden age” of major platforms – such as:

  • Facebook Pages switched over to “likes” from fans in April 2010 a month after we set up the Frameable Faces page.
  • Instagram launched on October 6th, 2010 and we joined it in May of 2012.
  • Pinterest launched in April of 2010
  • Snapchat launched in September of 2011 (more on that in a minute).
  • Google Plus pages for businesses launched in October of 2011 and they added Google My Business last June.
  • The major Twitter redesign launched in April 2011.
  • Vine launched in January of 2013 and at the time we had to wait until June for Android since T-Mobile didn’t have iPhones yet.

Since then……not a whole lot.

All of those platforms seem to still be thriving and growing as a general rule and it has now been two years by my count since a new “major” platform has made a splash.

Is a lull a good thing?

I can’t decide if I like the fact that it’s been a little quiet or not.  The thought of feeling like I have to manage additional platforms can be stressful especially if we are only adding more and not dropping any, but the rush of starting out on a new one is exciting and a lot of fun.  For example I was pretty excited about Pano Perfect which I thought might be the next big social photo sharing platform but that one has gone nowhere…  I hear people talking about Swipe and sure there are others.  We can debate all day about what a “major” platform is – I am not using any scientific criteria here…  I’m just ranting after all.  Feel free to jump in in the comments and add your two cents.  What do you think is the next big thing?  I want to know.

Meanwhile Snapchat is the one I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.  Of the big ones I listed it’s the one that we don’t have an official Frameable Faces profile for, and after weighing it I don’t know if it’s right for us as a brand at least for the moment.

Edit*** – A Curve Ball

I wrote that last paragraph earlier today and one of our spokesmodels just happened to pop in to the studio and we were chatting about Snapchat since it was on my mind, and I think I just changed my mind again.  She showed me a couple things that convinced me that it could be a good platform for us.  For example I didn’t realize how it notifies you how many people have viewed your snapchat stories and which people viewed them.  So look for it – my wheels are turning now!

So as it turns out I have Snapchat to work on.  I started out wondering why it’s been so quiet in social media, but now that I’ve got another platform to play with I’m hoping things stay quiet for a bit!

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Frameable Faces Photography
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Frameable Faces Photography is a small biz retail mom & pop shop of Doug&Ally Cohen located in the Orchard Mall in West Bloomfield, Michigan, United States Of America!
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Ally & Doug can be reached at the studio at tel:248-790-7317 or emailed at mailto:info@frameablefaces.com
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Being “Frameable” is an attitude, a community, a way of life – a life you would want to celebrate and display on your walls for all to see!  Tell us… ARE YOU FRAMEABLE?
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Doug’s Rant – Happy Birthday Instagram!

It’s been a while since I “ranted”.  We have had a very busy summer photographing seniors and planning and celebrating our son’s bar mitzvah so all I have been really able to think about for blogging is keeping up with sharing our wonderful seniors of the class of 2015.  There are plenty of seniors to come as we are just getting started with a whole new round of “fall color” seniors, and we will also be sharing some bar mitzvah photos too.  However I saw yesterday that it was Instagram’s 4th birthday and decided I need to comment (maybe not rant) on it and say Happy Birthday Instagram!

Happy Birthday Instagram

Yes – that was our very first Instagram 119 weeks ago of our exterior sign!  While many of our early Instagrams were not so stellar as we were trying to figure out where it fit for us, I actually still think that was not bad for the first one.

The Frameable Faces Instagram “philosophy”

We have become big fans of Instagram and we use it in a number of ways.  As for the content we typically share, we post pretty much whatever strikes us as fun and valuable to our followers, and we have stayed away from posting videos – we use Vine for short videos.  It’s also important to know the etiquette, such as being careful not to over post.  As for the types of Instagrams we post, the behind-the-scenes collages of photo shoots for example are our favorites.  It allows us to share a snapshot of our time spent with our peeps very quickly.

Happy Birthday Instagram

We started focusing on those because we weren’t sure that Instagram was the best platform to showcase our final images since people mostly look at them on such a small screen.  Our work is best displayed as a 24×30 print or canvas on a wall…right?  Well it turns out that our images look pretty darn good as wall portraits AND as Instagrams…

But here’s the thing.  When we reveal the first sneak peeks here on the blog for a senior session for example, we pick the four we want to showcase and that’s fine – it’s our blog.  But most of our seniors aren’t bloggers – they are Tweeters and Instagrammers.  So for seniors we prefer to make these images available to them first here on the blog with a sampling, and then later in digital watermarked proofs so they can be the ones to share and show off their Frameable Faces pics – it gives them some control and ownership of it, and then we can join in the fun with comments.

Happy Birthday Instagram

Occasionally we’ll post our real work on Throwback Thursday of a senior alum, but we still refrain from posting current final images… at least for now.

Here is how we break down by the numbers:

119 – Weeks on Instagram

2.34 – Average number of Instagrams per week

278 – Total posts

120 – Behind the scenes Instagrams of senior sessions

24 – Selfies

12 – Pics of our peeps on random visits

4 – Instagrams of Reflecto

14 – Instagrams about our home the Orchard Mall

44 – Behind the scenes of family (and a few commercial) sessions

10 – Throwback Thursday seniors

50 – Various other stuff

So there it is!  Happy Birthday to you Instagram!  We hope you enjoyed your day as much as we enjoy you!

Happy Birthday Instagram

Doug’s Rant – Why You Should Care About “Google My Business”

It seems that you should care about Google Plus and now the new “Google My Business” after all, especially if you are a small business owner.

Google’s social media network (they prefer to call it a “layer”) has been around since June of 2011.  Google Plus is not as popular as Facebook but it’s still Google and it’s not going anywhere.  Does this mean you have to participate and get immersed in yet another social media platform?  Not quite.

Google My Business

However, here is where you should pay attention.  A while back I “claimed” Frameable Faces on Google.  I just went on Google and verified that I am an owner so I could fill in the information that is there about our business.  That is an important step because Google is obviously the most popular way to search the Internet.  Regardless of how much or how little you bother with search engine optimization or social media, people are using Google to find you and they will continue to do so.

What I didn’t know is that at some point by claiming my “place” (my business) on Google, that prompted Google to create a verified Google Plus Page for Frameable Faces – I had no idea it existed.  Kind of like a Facebook Business Page that they were calling “Google Places For Business” and now they have announced they have changed the name to “Google My Business”.  If you’re a little confused it’s okay – Google has done a good job of confusing the marketplace with how they’ve rolled out their products.

The good news is that the new “Google My Business” does represent an opportunity.  One thing I noticed when I went to the Frameable Faces page they created is that Google had been collecting data for me all along.  It told me how many people had viewed the page (presumably from Google search results), how many people had asked for driving directions to the studio and where they asked for them from, what key words they used to find my listing – lots of good data!

Are you going to lose business by not using Google My Business?  I can’t say that for a fact, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to ignore it.  From just what I see locally very few brands know about this so don’t feel like you’ve missed the boat so far.  The question is are you going to use this to your advantage going forward?

Here are a few benefits to setting up your page in my mind:

  1. It just generally looks good – when someone does a search for your business on Google it looks better when the results represent a thriving and welcoming business – one that appears to actually be in the game.
  2. Familiarizing yourself with this page and managing it can give you potentially valuable Google data and anaylytics about traffic and clients finding your brand via Google search.
  3. Getting a slight edge on your competition since not many brands are taking advantage of this.
  4. An opportunity to post and share fresh content in a spot where potential new customers might see it (as opposed to only a portion of your Facebook following for example).  Look at the screenshot below.  By doing a Google search for Frameable Faces this is what comes up on the right hand side of the screen.  Notice the “follow” buttons along with a link to an article from our blog that I posted to the Frameable Faces Google page.  It’s a way to capture fans directly from Google search results.

Google My Business

Don’t just take my word for it, check out this article about the benefits of this new tool.  Listen, I am not predicting that Google Plus will become a pervasively popular social media site with the masses like Facebook.  It is definitely growing now but it might not ever reach that tipping point where “everyone” is on it….and then again it might.  Either way we already know the search engine is dominant, so at least set up your brand properly for now with Google My Business.

Doug’s Rant – Don’t Make These 5 Marketing Mistakes Online

People make mistakes online when trying to advance their interests all the time.  Some of the miscues are flat out awful, but some come from someone just trying to make a dollar and not being aware of the etiquette on social media sites.  I figured I would try to come to the rescue with 5 tips that can apply to you personally or your brand.  So please, don’t make these 5 marketing mistakes online.  Here we go…

5 marketing mistakes online

Ugh – CLEARLY an online marketing mistake…!

  1. Do NOT send requests to strangers on LinkedIn without a professional (or any) headshot in your profile.  Why would I accept a request from a stranger with no picture for me to see if I know them?  I’ve posted about this before regarding Facebook too but I feel it is much worse on LinkedIn.  Some people venture on to Facebook without knowing much about it and are just getting their feet wet.  Fine.  But LinkedIn is a different story – people are literally there trying to network this way.  Like going to a networking event with a bag over your head.
  2. Don’t forget to be social on social media.  I wrote an entire article about this on another blog.  If you are posting things but not engaging with people it is like going to a party and talking at people, and then walking away when they open their mouths to reply.  Make sure your content isn’t all about you, and even if your content is fantastic be sure to reply to people who take the time to comment on it.  This applies to every social media site.  Go to their page and see what they are up to as well.  Be genuine about it because people can spot a fake.  Comment back and build those relationships.
  3. Don’t set up your new business on Facebook as a personal profile.  This can be an honest mistake but it is a big one.  So your brand is a female born in Detroit?  Tell me is your brand single or in a relationship?  Not only does this look silly and signal to people that you don’t quite have a grasp on what you’re doing, but you lose out on many tools for monitoring your progress with the data Facebook provides to business pages.  If you have already made this mistake you should correct it – make an announcement on your personal page that you are launching a proper Facebook business page for your brand and invite people to like it.
  4. Dont mispel werds ore yooz inkorect grammer.  It reely duz hert you’re kredibillity.  Enuff sed.  Hear iz ann inphografic too hellp yoo whith grammmr.
  5. Don’t bore us (or offend us) with your politics.  While I think it is never a great idea to espouse your politics online, it is even more important that you not do this with your brand.  Find a way to inject your personality into your brand because that’s important, but you have to be able to do it without being too personal.  This is another one I wrote about a while back on this blog.

There are certainly plenty of others (like not posting more than one Instagram per day for example).  I am willing to admit I have made plenty of mistakes myself but I see these out there a lot and they have been on my mind lately.  So make sure you don’t make these 5 marketing mistakes online!  What other mistakes have you made or see others making on a daily basis?

 

 

How To Make Cool Instagram Collages

If you follow us on Instagram you have noticed that we don’t post a lot of final images there.  For now we prefer to show what is happening at the studio closer to real time so I usually snap photos of Ally doing her thing with my iPhone.  I am not the pro photographer here – Ally is.  So while the photos we post on Instagram aren’t of professional quality, that’s not quite the point of Instagram in the first place.  That is not to say you can’t post professional and artistic photos on Instagram, it’s just that a professional photo might look better as a fine art piece on a wall.  Meanwhile I am going to show you how to make cool Instagram collages so you can have some fun!  We had a recent session with the men from Tapper’s Jewelry which is down the hall from us here in the Orchard Mall for their upcoming in-house magazine, Accent.  Here is the Instagram collage I made from the photo shoot.

How to make cool instagram collages

Get Your App

First download an app from your app store.  I use the free version of Snap Collage which I find to be pretty user friendly and effective.  There is a paid version but so far I haven’t felt like I’ve needed it.  For this little tutorial we will be using Snap Collage.  Some of the other apps are similar and the steps will be similar as well.

Think Ahead

Keep in mind the type of collage you want to make when taking your photos or at least give yourself some options by taking some vertically and horizontally so that when you’re trying to fit your photos into your collage you’ll have more flexibility.  You’ll get better at this as you go.  You may even want to clean up your photos with another app before you start – I just started using VSCO and I think it is a great app.  Here is an iPhone screenshot showing the sharpening tool within VSCO.  The process of taking photos and editing them on a smartphone is a whole other topic that I won’t go into in detail here.

How to make cool instagram collages

1.  Launch the app

You’ve got your photos now let’s go to our Snap Collage home page.  You will see the different galleries available there – just click on one and it will bring up thumbnails of the photos there as you can see below:

How to make cool instagram collages

2.  Select the photos you want to use.  The nice thing is that Snap Collage automatically slots them into a few different templates which you can choose from along the top of the screen.  You can add or remove photos by tapping the thumbnails.

How to make cool instagram collages

3.  Pick the collage template you want to work with.  I have picked 4 photos I want to use and Snap Collage has automatically slotted them into several 4 photo templates for me.  You can scroll along the top to look at the choices and if there is a template you like but don’t like the way the photos are arranged then just deselect one of the photos and re-add it and the photos will rotate within the template.  Tap the one you like to see it in full screen.  Note the options at the bottom – we’ll be using the “borders” option shortly.

How to make cool instagram collages

4.  Edit each photo if necessary.  Tap on a photo in the template and Snap Collage will bring it to the forefront where you can play with it.  Pinch and expand to zoom and/or rotate the photo to reposition it to your liking, and you can see there are a number of tools you can use to make more changes to that photo.

How to make cool instagram collages

5.  Add color, drop shadows, rounded edges, and/or themes to your collage frame.  There are several tools in the app to do this.  First tap again on the zoomed in photo to get back to the whole collage and then tap on the “borders” button at the bottom.  This will bring up the dashboard for editing the frames of the collage.

How to make cool instagram collagesThe ratio choices at the far left determine the aspect ratio of the whole collage – ideally I go for the 1:1 or square ratio which is the Instagram standard.  The icons directly under the highlighted word “Frame” indicate which aspects of the frame you are adjusting as you slide the white circles next to each to the left or right.  In this case I’ve already adjusted a couple of them including giving my frames some drop shadow to give them a little dimension (this is 5th and last icon at the bottom that I’ve slid almost half way across).  The 4th one down allows you to round the edges as such:

How to make cool instagram collages

As you can see I’ve adjusted it more than 50% to the right and the edges are quite rounded.  That’s a little more than I want so let’s slide it back a little:

How to make cool instagram collages

There that’s a little better.  Next let’s click on “Color” and start adding a little color to the frame.

How to make cool instagram collages

You can now simply slide the vertical scale with all the colors of the rainbow to the right and then within each palate range hone in on the exact color you like in the square.  You can see I’ve selected black and grey for the border and inner frame.  There are also pre-loaded patterns you can select instead of colors if you click on the “Pattern” button.

6.  Share your collage!  When you have it just the way you want it you can either save it to your device or open it directly in Instagram right from the app.

How to make cool instagram collages

As you can see in the last screen shot you can use this app and save these collages for use anywhere – not just Instagram.  I’ve used it for posting elsewhere often.  This is not the final word on Instagramming or making collages so please share your own techniques!  I learn something new every day as I use these tools and play with all the different options.  What tips do you have to add?

Doug’s Rant – Show Yourself! Embrace YOU! December 20, 2013

Yep – time to rant.

You cannot be actively social on social media with NO pictures of yourself.  Your photo doesn’t have to be your profile picture, but if you send me a friend request and I’m not totally sure who you are and you have no pictures for me to see of you then why would I accept your request?  It’s like knocking on my door with a bag over your head.  I’m not going to judge how you look – you look fine – I just want to see who you are.  If you are comfortable enough to reach out then I will likely accept you especially if I know you.  But if you are not a friend offline – close enough for me to recognize you instantly by name – then you have to show yourself to be my friend.  I can’t be friends with a sunset or a landscape or you based on all the other people you have pictures of in your profile instead of you.  If you want to be on Facebook to connect with your close circle, remain private to everyone else and not be found by the public then you can choose to have no pictures of yourself and that’s fine – really.  I’m talking specifically here about people who send me a friend request and expect to be social online.

Embrace You

Embrace You!

Okay – got that off my chest.

Now let’s talk a little.  Listen I don’t know exactly why you are reluctant to put yourself out there.  We have clients who think they “photograph terribly” and “have never taken a good picture” and on and on and on…  I see both sides of the coin here.  On one hand the camera doesn’t completely lie in the sense that yes – that picture is you so it’s for the most part what you do indeed look like, but on the other hand there are plenty of factors that can contribute to a good picture.  I could go into all those factors that a professional photographer brings to the table (there is obviously a huge difference and maybe that is what you need for your profile picture), but instead I want to focus on YOU first.  This may sound cheesy (okay significantly cheesy) but the fact is that everyone is unique and beautiful.  It is as true as the Earth is round.  You are the only one of you – perfectly unique and the perfect version of you.  Sure maybe I look at a picture of myself once in a while and think “ugh” for a second but you just gotta let that go – it’s that simple.  If you can do that, if you can accept yourself, then you won’t “photograph terribly” regardless of whether you are in front of a friend’s iPhone or a pro’s Canon 5D and anything in between.  If you are scrambling to figure out what your resolution will be for 2014 then first resolve right now to forgive yourself of any of your self-perceived flaws and shine!  Embrace you!  You absolutely deserve it.

Doug’s Rant – An Epic Post About Twitter – November 15, 2013

I’ll be the first to admit I am not a total expert at twitter, but I know a thing or two.  I tweet under several different profiles and I’ve used twitter for almost 5 years.  I didn’t really get it at first, went away from it for a while, and then came back.  These days I feel like I’m starting to get more out of it than I ever have.

Twitter

Twitter Goes Public, And Why Twitter Is As Important As Ever – Haters Pay Attention:

My initial impetus for writing this was an article that HootSuite (my social media management tool of choice) tweeted entitled the “Top 5 Reasons You Weren’t Supposed to Buy Twitter Stock“.  ICYMI (that’s twitter for “in case you missed it”) Twitter went public and started trading on the NYSE on November 7th, 2013 at $26 per share.  As of this writing a week later it is trading at $43.98 – not a bad start…  Facebook’s IPO by comparison was widely viewed as somewhat of a disaster – not that Facebook is going away anytime soon or in any kind of real trouble, but the point is that for anyone who doesn’t think twitter is a major force they are flat out mistaken.

A Little Bit Of Fun Twitter History

Without going into all the typical boring history-class-type details, this fun and informative article by Ann Handley will give you a peek into the early stages of twitter and how people were somewhat unsure of what to do with this 140 character platform at first.  I think seeing how a platform and the culture of the platform has evolved helps you to use it more effectively.  Ann takes a peek at a bunch of the very first tweets of well known twitter profiles and she reveals how to find the first tweets of any profile you like.  Give it a try!  Here are a few local (Metro Detroit) first tweets for you including ours.  Our first tweet makes us cringe but what the heck….   There’s a learning curve for everyone as you’ll see with some of these.  As for Reflecto‘s first tweet just last year – that’s a true story…

Frameable Faces first tweetDoug Cohen's first tweetReflecto's first tweetOrchard Mall first tweetFirst tweet of the Detroit NewsGM's first tweetFord Motor Company's first tweetHillers Markets first tweetTapper's Jewelry first tweetYoga Shelter's first tweetDan Gilbert's first tweet

Advice From One Of My Gurus

As I said before I’m not sure I’m an expert on twitter, but I think Rosh Sillars is – really I think of him as one of my gurus on all things social media, plus he is a photographer and based in Metro Detroit so I can be sure that his viewpoint is relevant for us.  I just got his new podcast in my email the other day entitled “How Can Twitter Help Your Business?” and it’s worth a listen.  Funny thing is much of what can help your business on twitter isn’t about the specifics of twitter itself but rather your approach to connecting with people and this is true about all of social media.  Don’t forget the social part of social media!!!  Check it out.

A Rant For This Rant, Faves And Tips

Lastly let me share with you a few nuggets of my own before I send you on your way.  You don’t have to agree with all of them and I’m always open to a little healthy debate.

  • I’m not going to get into a whole list of “do’s and don’ts” for twitter here but I just have one big pet peeve “don’t” to rant about which I’ve covered before.  Don’t automate your Facebook posts to automatically post as tweets.  When I see a tweet that has an “fb.me” in it I actually get offended.  It comes off as lazy and often spammy.  It’s one thing to schedule tweets with a tool like Hootsuite to spread them out as long as you’ve actually tweeted them yourself and will be there to reply and engage if someone responds, but it’s another to just automate from somewhere else and not bother actually being on twitter.  My only “exception” to this rule at the moment is Vine – it’s owned by twitter and it’s an easy way to incorporate the 6 second looping videos right into your tweets because of the way they are embedded.  Besides when I send a Vine to post on twitter I’m still making the decision to do it manually so it’s not really automated, whereas a lot of Facebook-to-twitter automation that is out there is done with a setting that is just turned on in Facebook and left on indefinitely…  When I consult with a business or sign on to take over some community management for a brand one of the first things I do is turn that off.
  • Make use of twitter lists to manage your feed based on categories that work for you. This is a great way to set up your own personal topical news wires and manage the volume of tweets that build up as you follow more profiles.  Here are a few of the Frameable Faces lists if you would like to check them out and you will see what I mean – Local Detroit / Michigan, Photography, and Social Media Focused.  A few of my personal lists are Sports, History and Music.
  • There are several ways to connect with us on twitter and we hope you follow all of the Frameable Faces-related twitter profiles.  They are: @frameablefaces, @dougcohen10, @orchardmall, and @Reflect_o
  • Lastly, I think my award to most creative and unique profile on twitter goes to @arjunbasu who writes complete short stories in 140 characters.  I think they’re absolutely brilliant.

I hope you enjoyed this post – it’s not the ONLY twitter “handbook” you’ll ever need but hopefully this will get you started if you’re a newbie and I hope you picked up a little something if you’re a veteran.  Feel free to comment and share and most importantly, go forth and tweet!!!

Doug’s Rant – It’s Selfie Time! – August 30, 2013

Let’s celebrate the selfie and give it its due now that it’s become an official addition to the English language!

Selfie word of the year

Whoa – now THAT’S a serious selfie! Amateur photo taken by Doug with his smartphone. 🙂

Yep, that’s right the selfie has a seat at the table and has been validated as a legitimate word as announced by the Oxford English Dictionary this week.  There has been plenty of dialogue and debate about the selfie.  Here is the official definition if you have been living in a cave are not sure what we are talking about…

Selfie: “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website” – Oxford University Press

Old School Photographer Lament

Some professional photographers lament the popularity of smartphone pics, instagram, selfies and the like.  Some of them worry that these amateur photos are passing for good photos when they’re not, and that this is bringing down the photography profession.

Our Position

We disagree.  We enjoy Instagram, snapchat, and even the occasional selfie.  We use them ourselves and we feel that the more people enjoy everyday photography the more they will appreciate and enjoy professional photos.  Rather than be threatened by it we choose to embrace it and have fun with it.  If a selfie doesn’t make you smile you might be a curmudgeon.  Lighten up!

Just Be Smart About It

As for the negative side of the selfie, you certainly have to use common sense just like anything you do online.  Don’t post pictures of yourself in ways that are inappropriate or that you might regret later and maybe you should consider not completely overdoing it because according to three business schools in Britain too many selfies may actually ruin your relationships!!!

What do you think?  Do you post selfies?  On Selfie Sundays only or all the time?