How to Take Better Blog Photos + Free Stock Images

I think one of the biggest questions I hear from other bloggers and social media gurus is: “How do I come up with pictures for my blog?”

It’s an honest question and it’s one that I even ask… and background is in photography. Having time to take pictures, edit, upload, and of course, try to keep to a theme can be daunting at best.

So, here’s my three tips to take better photos for your blog PLUS when you join our Facebook Community you will gain access to FREE stock photos to use on your blog, Instagram and other social media outlets.

Use Natural Lighting When Taking Photos

The best way to up your photography game is to turn off your flash and use natural lighting. If I am taking pictures inside for Instagram, I will often set up my “photo” next to a window or outside doorway. That way I get the best light possible. I also like to take pictures on my back patio. It’s covered which provides shade, yet still gives me that natural looking light!

If you are using natural lighting for landscape or nature photography try to get outside first thing in the morning. Personally, I love the cool crisp lighting of early mornings (the picture in this article? Was taken early in the early morning hours at the beach).  You can also go for “magic hour” lighting which is typically half an hour before sunset.

Stick To A Specific Style or Theme

Overall, you may want to stick with a pretty specific “style” when it comes to your photography theme. Case in point: I like to take nature photos as it provides a more calming effect to blog visitors, plus I actually enjoy editing them.

However, if you are a fashion blogger, you’ll probably want to stick to unique photos of shoe collections, jewelry, flowers. etc. Or if you are food blogger…well, you get the idea. 😉

Try the Flatlay Look

One of the most flattering and easiest forms of photography is using a flatlay style. How do you get that look? To start, you’ll want to purchase foam boards from your local store. Pure white foam boards work great for this! Then you can style your board. Take the picture shooting straight down to create the flat lay effect. If you follow the first two rules that I shared, you’ll be well on your way to Instagram or blog worthy photos!

Get in the Photos, too!

Are you wanting to get in your photos more? You may want to invest in a sturdy tripod. Learn to use your timer settings on your camera and then you’ll be set to take pictures of yourself!

You could also do a photo swap with another local blogger, that way you can take photos of each other for your blogs. Sometimes, you just gotta think outside the box.

What are some of your go to tips for creating awesome images?

Don’t forget to join our community for FREE stock photos!

How I Made Over $300 With My Blog

I think a lot of people are intimidated by making money on-line-especially through web sites. The thing is, if you don’t have a typical business web site, you can still make money with a personal blog! I did it for years and it was such a wonderful (and dare I say FUN?) opportunity.

The cool thing about blogging for money with a personal blog is that you can use any platform. On the flip side, you can STILL start a web site and utilize these tips as well. Just do what fits YOUR lifestyle best.

So, how did I make over $300 in one month?

The first thing I did was sign up for a blogging community that connected bloggers with companies. Within days, I was getting responses to my inquiries.

  •  I signed up to review and write an article about a national company. In exchange, they paid me $200.
  • I signed up for another blogging community and participated in their weekly online marketing meetings (co-hosted by companies). During these meetings, they gave away $100 gift cards. By simply participating on a regular basis, I won!

Do your research and find communities that fit your niche. For starters, I would recommend checking out The Sway!

When you blog, whether it’s a personal bog or a business web site, your #1 goal should be networking within community platforms.

PS. Have you join by Facebook Group for bloggers to help grow your site?

~ Heather

Notice: This post contains affiliate links. This means I may receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you) if you purchase through one of my link(s). Thank you for your support and consideration!

My Number One Tip to Double Your Pinterest Traffic

Be sure to join our Bloggers Share Facebook Community!

I remember the minute my friends told me about Pinterest.  I signed up.

Pinning became somewhat of an Olympic sport…I even had a pin go viral way back when. But, the dust settled and I honestly thought my days of pinning were over.

Then I stumbled on a few bloggers who shared their Pinterest stories.

Had I missed a crucial opportunity for growing as a blogger? Yes. Yes, I had.

I read a free course, downloaded a book on the topic and put what I learned to use.

By implementing just a few habits with Pinterest my numbers now only grew- they doubled and now have nearly tripled in less than three months!

Here’s some stats:

I started with roughly 6,900 views on Pinterest at the end of May.

By the beginning of August, I have reached 19,000 views.

Pretty cool, right?

But, here’s the thing. While several tricks helped, I noticed that one specific tip is what became my personal game changer.

Pinterest Groups! And not just any groups. Viral groups targeted for bloggers like me. These were groups with 10,000 or more bloggers who participated daily. I highly recommend checking out Top Viral Blogs on Pinterest. She has a plethora of viral boards.

Also, another great way to up your Pinterest Game is to check out Pinterest Ninja! Her book is solid. I’m still working my way through it and have learned TONS of awesome tips. I’ll be writing a review soon.

What has been your experience with Pinterest? Would love to hear in the comments below!

PS. Don’t forget to join my Pinterest group for bloggers!

My Favorite Chocolate Protein Shake

I’ve never been one of those people that can stomach typical off the shelf protein shake mixes. Too…chemical tasting for me!

I’ve tried a LOT of homemade protein shakes, but I needed one that was low carb, low sugar AND I wanted it to taste creamy. I also loved the idea of hiding greens in my shakes for added nutrients.

That’s when I first heard about Okra milk shakes. The first one I tried was awful. But, I kept hearing raving reviews on how amazing these shakes were…so I tried again and again and again.

Long story short, I found out that by adding a little cottage cheese to your protein shakes it changes the texture and the taste. It literally transforms drab into an almost Frosty like texture.

This shake is so weird. And so good. And so healthy. The cool thing is you can modify the ingredients to make your own taste buds happy!

Creamy Chocolate Protein Shake

  • 1 1/2 Cup Almond Milk (I like unsweetened vanilla)
  • 1/2 Cup Crushed Ice
  • 1/2 Cup FROZEN okra or spinach (frozen is key here…otherwise…nasty)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon high quality chocolate baking powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Cottage Cheese
  • 1 Scoop Collagen Powder, unflavored
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Chia Seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 4 Teaspoons of Stevia

Start with the milk, crushed ice and greens. Blend, blend, and blend some more. Then add the remaining ingredients.

Blend until smooth and creamy. The texture should be slightly icy like a frosty! Oddly enough, the cinnamon takes the edge off the stevia without overpowering the chocolate.

PS. Have you join by Facebook Group for bloggers to help grow your site?
~ Heather

Pin it!

Two Ways To Simplify Your Life Right Now

 

Simple living is a hot topic these days, and with good reason. With social media, we are constantly connected! Not to mention, we are often hurried from here to there trying to meet deadlines and obligations.

I’ve been slowly working to simplify my lifestyle so that I can better serve my family as a wife and mother. It’s crucial to my well being an to my families well being.

As the saying goes, “You can’t pour form an empty cup!”

Here are my top three tips to simplifying your life that are making a huge impact on my own:

One-Simply Your STUFF

I feel like this has been the root of my stress. We had so much STUFF and no matter how much I organized it never got any better. So, every year, for the last four years, I have streamlined what we own. I’ve purged, purged and purged. Thanks to year yard sales, charity donations and selling on-line, I’ve been able to create better environment for our home. I stopped hanging on to books I was never read again, dresses I would never wear, movies that were no longer my taste…and the list goes on.

It has been so freeing. I feel like I am a much happier homemaker over all!

Two-Simplify Your Schedule

Another area that has changed drastically is our schedule. I’m careful to keep margin on the calendar. If I know we have something planned over the weekend, I will set aside at least two evenings during the week for family time. Or vice versa. If we are busy during the week, I like to keep the schedule clear on the weekend. We don’t have to buy into the lie that being busy is best! It’s not. Family time is best…and so is rest.

So that’s two areas that we have been working on and implementing significant changes. It’s been great!

What areas have you tackled to create a simplified life?

PS. Be sure to join my Blogging Group on Facebook! Click HERE.

~Heather

Join My Online Pinterest Community

Are you looking for a place to share your favorite blog posts? Maybe you created a new recipe or want to show off your latest remodeling project?

I absolutely love to connect with other bloggers. It’s the only way to build authentic community within the blogging sphere! I have met and made so many wonderful friends through networking. Friends who have laughed, prayed and cried along with me through this adventure we call LIFE…

If this resonates with you, then, please join my Pinterest group HERE. It’s family friendly and open to bloggers from all niches. Who knows? You may find the perfect recipe for next weeks potluck AND learn new tips to simply your life. *wink*

Also, you can check out my personal Pinterest here.

PS. Be sure to join our group board on Facebook, too!

 

 

How To Earn Extra Income With An Online Side Hustle

It doesn’t matter what stage of life you are in, earning extra money is always a bonus! Whether it’s to beef up your savings, help save for your kids college or just save up for that dream vacation, extra money can come in handy! Even better, when it’s extra money that you can make from home.

I’ve spent the last decade exploring every avenue of working online. I find it both fascinating and fun to come up with fun side gigs!

Today, I’m sharing my top three ways to earn extra money with an online side gig!

One-Try Your Hand at Copywriting!

This was, hands down, my favorite online gig. I’ve talked it about it before on previous articles on the web, but it’s worth repeating again: try copywriting!

There are dozens of avenues out there, but I would start with Fiverr or Freelancer.

Two-Try Your Hand at Blogging!

Second to copywriting, blogging has been one of my favorite outlets for well over a decade. I’ve blogged for cash, for books, for free products, etc. It’s a great way to get your feet wet without investing much time.

You can start a blog for free with Blogger!

Three-The Classic Survey Method

Last, but not least, there’s always the classic survey method. Personally, the only success that I’ve had with surveys was through Swagbucks! I’ve earned $$$ in gift cards over the years. It was a great way to fund my coffee addiction and Christmas shopping.

Those are my top three favorite ways to earn online. What are some of your favorite side gigs? I would love to hear more!

PS. Have you join our Facebook Community group to help grow your blog for FREE? Click HERE.

~Heather