Boost your Blog // 5 Stock Photo Tips for Bloggers

As a blogger you may find you don't have time to take that perfectly styled photo for your text blog post.  You have all the text written out but you don't have the perfect image.  If you blog between your day job and your family, you may find more often than not you push a post off if you can't find the time to take the perfect image for it.  A blog post that has an image is more likely to resonate with readers and more likely to be pinned - because there's an image to pin - or shared on social media because there's something besides a wall of text to look at. 

Enter the stock photo!
image via Ivory Mix

A few posts ago I shared with you some stock photos that fit the Boss Babe aesthetic.  Today I want to share with you some tips on using stock photos on your website as they can either add to or take away from the aesthetic of your post.  Here are some tips for working with stock photos on your blog.

Consider the Post
If you're posting about a techy thing like an app or about your computer or about a new website you've found you may want to consider finding an image that matches that.  An styled image of a laptop or of the style phone you use.  A desktop scene, a scene that reflect productivity.  If you're sharing your thoughts on meal planning consider finding an image of veggies or of a farmers market.  Imagine if you, as a reader, came upon a blog and saw a foodie style image for a post about a new productivity app.  If the app has nothing to do with food......you may be confused as a reader.  The visual and probably the reason you're reading the post in the first place isn't in sync with the feel or info in the post.  So consider the traits of an image that would best suit the post you're working with.

Choose a Relevant Image
In the Boss Babe Stock Photo post I shared four resources for that fun, feminine, entrepreneurial aesthetic.  If those images don't suit your blog - maybe you're more simple, less colorful, black and white, minimal - find stock photos that will complement your style.  Keeping the first tip in mind, search for free stock images that are both relevant to your post and keep with the overall look of your blog.  Consider the story you're trying to tell with your post, don't choose an something that causes a disconnect between the image and the content.  I try to find at least 2 to 3 images to work with.  Sometimes one will jive really well with your content and sometimes you may feel iffy on an image.  Keep your options open and bookmark images that speak to you...you may end up using them later.

Be Unique
There are a ton of free stock photo sites out there and your great article can be come just another post if you're not being unique.  Keep tabs on the images you've use already (I'm guilty of not doing this!) so that you don't consistently or accidentally use the same images over and over again...or even a few months or years a part from each other!  Keep building your library of stock photos.  Keep finding new sites.  Even consider sitting down one day and shooting a bunch of photos relevant to your blog's theme so that you can have a library of your own to pull from if needed.  I did this about a year ago and it really helped me work on some upcoming posts knowing I had images ready for me.  Find my free for commercial use images here.

Add Text
In order to make your article better received on social sharing sites like Pinterest, overlay text on your photo that relates to the blog post.  Usually this will be the blog title or a shortened, catchy version of it.  This is what will draw readers in.  Often referred to as a beauty shot, this image will appear at the top of your article (sometimes bloggers will put it at the bottom and encourage a pin...I don't find that flows naturally for me).  It is here that you want to consider your post and blog aesthetic too - I often decide what words I'd like to emphasize, if there is a number in the title I'd like to stand out, and the layout I'd like the text to look.  If you take a peek around the blog you'll see I consistently use one style of text-over-photo for my images. In the What is a Style Guide? post I mentioned a few tips for keeping consistency when it comes to choosing fonts and colors.  The app I consistently use to add text to my photos is Phonto.  It has a ton of fonts, you can upload your own, and it's no fuss.  Perfect for quickly creating that Pinterest friendly image.   If you want some inspiration for creating Pinterest friendly images, click here.

Give Credit
There are sites out there that require credit when an image is used and there are sites that say 'do what ever you want with these images (with in reason).'  Make sure you're understanding the terms of use with each image you add onto your blog.  Playing nice is a big thing for me and it should be for you too.  Image if you worked really hard on an image for your blog and then some one snatched it, cropped it, and used a font like Papyrus over it?  Um, no thank you.  So give credit if credit is needed.  A short blurb and link under the photo should work unless there's a bigger requirement as laid out in the terms of use.  Also, don't just assume that because an image is on the internet you can use it willy nilly.  Find and utilize dedicated free for commercial use/royalty free websites and not just Google image search.  

Stock photos can be a creative and helpful resource for bloggers.  They can also be sterile, disconnected, and stale if not used properly.  Remember you're developing the aesthetic of your blog and you can be choosy.  Don't conform and don't use bad stock photos!  I hope this post helped you realize how you can integrate stock photos into your current editorial calendar.

What sites are your favorite for stock photos?  Do you already incorporate stock photos into your content?

xoxo, Moe


Trend Tuesday// 3 Pieces to Start your LuLaRoe Wardrobe

In case you missed it I've been working with an amazing LuLaRoe reatailer - Cinnamon and Nathan from LuLaRoe Cinnamon Little - to create some helpful blog posts and videos on the LuLaRoe brand.  In this post we introduced you to the brand, in this post we introduced you to the opportunity, in this post (the one you're reading now!) I want to introduce you to the 3 pieces you should buy to start your LuLaRoe wardrobe.
The pieces featured in this post were sent to me for review by LuLaRoe Cinnamon Little, I only promote and support products and businesses I love.  All opinions are my own.  Please read my full disclosure here.

After trying a lot of LuLaRoe styles, I've made a decision on the top three pieces that will work for a lot of people who are just getting started with the brand.  Its hard get started because for the most part retailers sell online, every style is in different prints and fabrics, and it might be over whelming.  These three styles are perfect to dip your toes in the water!

The Carly Dress
The Carly dress is one of my favorite dresses because of the versatility of the style.  On the surface the Carly dress is a t-shirt style dress with a high-low hem and a small pocket on the upper lefthand bust.  The sizing is very loose, making the dress really flowy and it is the perfect dress to embrace the LuLaRoe style.  Tie this dress up, style it as a tunic, as a wrap, as a cover up, wear it with a belt, knot it at the waist.....the whole point of LuLaRoe is to create clothes that flatter many body types.  I love this dress because it can be modified so much to get so many different looks.  My favorite looks are belted and knotted in a bow to make this dress a tunic!  If you need more styling tips for the Carly dress, I made a whole styling video here.  Multiples of this dress - in a few solids and a few patterns - would be perfect for travel.  So much versatility from one dress!

The Perfect T
The Perfect T is my version of the perfect t-shirt.  How clever it was named as such!  The body of the shirt is a bit flowy, featuring a slit on both the right and left side &3/4 length sleeves.  The size I purchase - XL - fits perfectly in the bust but flatters both my middle section and my arms.  Tying the two tails of fabric on each side of the shirt is one of my favorite styles.  I like the way this look sort of gives me an hour glass shape!  The neckline of the shirt is pretty deep for a LuLaRoe style and I love that I'm not feeling super covered up.  In a really light jersey knit, the Perfect T is my favorite shirt for summer!

Leggings (of course!)
Leggings (of course!)
Last but not least, you gotta try the leggings!  I know this can be a can of worms in itself!  There are so many prints, patterns, colors, styles.....it is overwhelming.  If you want to start simple there a ton of solid colors to choose from.  I suggest jumping in with the patterns.  Keep it simple though - find a wearable pattern for you.  Perhaps try a small two color geometric print, or a more consistent floral print (like the floral leggings above), if you're lucky you may even find animal print!  Leggings are a solid way to dip your feet in the water.  I love to wear them for everything but if you want to look a little more put together I'd try rolling up the hem so you get cute little capri pants!  Oh, and leggings are pants.

These three styles, of course, are only the tip of the ice burg.  The sizing on these is also the easiest to figure out.  Even if you buy the wrong size Carly (I wear both a 2XL and XL) you can still work with it.  I do make sure I absolutely can not live with out the pattern in a Carly dress because of the price tag!  The sizing of the Perfect T runs pretty true to the sizing chart - I have an XL (my preferred size) and a 2XL.  The leggings are even easier to decide on sizing - One Size and Tall & Curvy!

If you'd like to get your hands on some LuLaRoe for the first time or the fiftieth time, check out the LuLaRoe Cinnamon Little VIP group here for a sale every Thursday!  Check out their social media links below to stay in the know -

Website YouTube | Instagram | Facebook Business Page | Periscope

What were your first LuLaRoe pieces?  Have you tried anything new?

xoxo, Moe


Make it Monday // Printable Positive Affirmation Cards

I've been working hard this year on being more mindful.  Part of that is meditating and releasing negative energy I always seem to have around myself.  I'm always down on myself, stressed, moving too fast - part of being mindful is being aware of and living in the present.  I've tried to adopt things that can allow me to be more positive and let things go. 
this post contains affiliate links, please read my full disclosure here.

A few weeks ago I shared how I made a few Mantra Vision Boards for my Vision Planner.  This week I thought I needed something more positive to go along with my morning meditations....something that I could pull from to remind me that I am enough.  I'm already using Tarot Cards (my current favorite deck is this one and my new obsession is this one) to tap into some positivity and be aware of what energies I should expect through my day.  A positivity card would allow me to focus on a degree of my muchness as the Mad Hatter would say.  Enter a DIY.

Begin by printing the 6 PDFs on the front of your chosen paper.  I chose regular weight printer paper as I often do when I am going to laminate something like this.  Following your printer's instructions for double sided printing, print the constellation image on the back of each page.  This will give you something that resembles a true deck of cards.
Laminate the pages using 3 mil laminating sheets and trim to size.  Each card measures 3 inches by 3 inches.  I specifically made this project with out using my cutting machines because I wanted it to be something accessible to all.  It is super quick to make these and trim by hand.  Sometimes that's all you really, really need in life!
There are more than 30 of these cards so you can pull one a day for a month.  You can also use the Mantra Vision Board DIY to make your own affirmation cards.  Choose your own quotes and your own affirmations to make this a personal experience.  Make a set of 52 to choose one each week or make a set of 31+ to pull one a day each month.  If you're really ambitious make 365!
I have added this deck to my personal altar.  A place I come for solitude, meditation, and some quality me time.  My altar isn't an altar to any deity or god, it is an altar to the person I want to become.  It is an altar to my best self!

I hope these affirmation cards give you some positive vibes through the days and weeks you use them.  Please let me know if you make them!

How do you stay positive?  How to do you get rid of negativity?

xoxo, Moe