Avoiding Fights With Your Significant Other

It can be super overwhelming trying to learn how to take better pictures. Many times, when
taking photos of my wife for her Instagram, she would tell me she didn’t like the way my photos
turned out. I didn’t mind her saying that because I understood that I was a beginner and
needed to practice. What was frustrating was when I’d ask her, “What can I do to make this
picture better?” she wouldn’t know what to tell me. She only knew that it wasn’t what she
wanted. She was annoyed, I was disappointed. If you’re like me, this is the type of thing that
will bother you for a long, long time. I was determined to figure out how to take pictures she’d
like.

The first thing I started working on was the angles. Meaning, was I looking down too far or was I
too low and looking up? I discovered that generally speaking, when taking a photo of a person,
you want the camera lens to be eye level with them. This gives the picture the most natural and
organic look. They don’t look tiny nor do they look huge – they look as close to normal as
possible. Sometimes it looks cool shooting at different angles, but not usually.
Once I figured out how to get the angles right, I realized there were more things I needed to fix.
This went on for months and years until finally, I can safely say, my wife approves of the photos
I take of her, 95% of the time.

The next thing I fixed was making sure the background looked good. This requires the
photographer to know their surroundings and what is behind the subject. The subject doesn’t
know if it looks like a street sign is coming out of their head. They don’t know if there is a
pedestrian walking across the street behind them, photobombing the shot. You have to tell
them that and make the adjustment for the photo. Look for patterns like architecture or in
nature. Look for things that can frame your subject such as trees, buildings or clouds and the
ground. Try not to have lines going through their head or body so it looks like they’re being split
in half. Use negative space to your advantage. Negative space is the blank space or space that
doesn’t have patterns in it. Negative space is a helpful way to get people looking at an image to
focus on something specific.

After I got the background aspect down, I next focused on editing. This, honestly, is the hardest
part of photography. I think 9/10 people can take similar pictures if told what to do. But the
editing is something that is much more intricate because there are so many things you can edit.
Editing takes a lot of practice. Trying out different filters, making sure you shoot the photo dark
enough so you can brighten it up, etc. I recommend using Lightroom or VSCO for the phone. I
prefer using Lightroom on my computer over everything else. It’s around $10 a month and well
worth it. The thing you need to focus on the most when it comes to editing is adjusting the
following things:

  • Exposure
  • Contrast
  • Temperature
  • Saturation

There are many other settings to play with, most of which are important. These are the most
critical when editing a photo, however. Get familiar with these. Change them a lot, then a little.
Walk away from a photo after you’ve edited it then come back to it after you’ve looked at other
things. Be consistent with your editing. Consistency is one of the key things your social media
channels need in order to grow. Editing your photos consistently will help you grow.

Now that you’ve got these basics down, get out there and go practice shooting and editing! You
need to practice in order to improve, as you know, so let’s get to it!

Oh and here are two tripods I own that you should buy too. Essential for live video streaming,
self timed photos, and more.

50” phone tripod under $20
75” durable tripod for DSLR or mirrorless camera under $80

Content Creation Made Easy

Creating content concepts. Likely the most difficult part of the social media game for you. It is for most people, actually. “What the heck am I supposed to post about today?!” A question everyone has at least at some point in their social media career.

I’ve worked with dozens of people (like you!) to help them figure out what they should be posting. There’s a science to it. It’s also an art. How do you come up with concepts to post about that are interesting and that will help you gain more followers?

Here are 3 things you can do to help you come up with amazing concepts for content creation:

  1. Figure out two or three MAIN topics you want to share about on your social media platforms
    • Giving yourself a structure and guidelines for what you will regularly post about will help you stay focused and grounded. It’s very easy to get distracted by what other people are doing. Don’t lose sight and focus of what YOU are doing. Put your blinders on and just keep moving forward with your strategy, as long as it’s a good one.
  2. Find the best spots to take pictures and videos within an hour from where you live or work
    • You need to be willing to get out and work. Get out and shoot content. Make an effort to explore the area around you and discover those hidden gems. Driving an hour or less will usually get you pretty far in terms of how many places you can see! Get outside and just look around!
    • Let’s pretend for a moment that you’re going through a major life change. You just moved. You got a divorce. You just suffered a significant loss. You lost a job. You gained a new family member. You started a new job… Whatever the case, a change in life can be related to a change in the seasons. When you’re outside, you may notice that all the leaves are gone and the air is getting crisper. It reminds you of this change in your life. On your journey to find a cool new outdoor location for a picture, you find an area with lots of pretty trees that have lost their leaves and it reminds you of this new change in your personal life. Breathe that change in, let it show on your face, snap the photo, and create a meaningful caption that relates to you and others about life’s changing events.
  3. Have a brainstorming session with a friend
    • One of the most beneficial things I do with anything I’m creating is getting feedback from people I trust. People I know are knowledgeable about what I’m asking them and can give expert advice. I love sitting down, even for 30 minutes, and bouncing ideas back and forth with each other. This is where the creativity starts happening! Ideas come out and it’s inspiring. Some of these ideas are not very good and that’s OK. But some of the ideas turn into content worthy to make it to the social media feed. Jackpot. The value of a good brainstorm session is irreplaceable. Don’t feel like you have an expert friend? Shoot me an email – I’d love to look at your idea. mike@mikesocial.com

Making the Time

Time is a funny thing, isn’t it?

  • The past feels like it happened so long ago
  • The present feels like it’s going to last forever
  • The future feels like it is never going to come

But the craziest part is, before you know it, the future is now and the present is a distant memory.

Ever since we were little we’ve been taught things like, “Live your life to the fullest!”, “Live every day like it was your last!”, “No regrets!”. All of these have to do with seizing the moment and not letting the present slip into the past without taking full advantage of it. We’re taught that if we do not maximize our time, we will have lived a life full of regret. It’s hard to know if this is true or not. It seems logical to be true! Does that mean every single waking hour of the day has to be jam packed with fun/exciting/dramatic/tough things we accomplish?!

I once heard an amazing analogy about the three types of people in this world:

  1. People who make things happen
  2. People who watch things happen
  3. People who wonder what just happened

Which type of person ARE you? Which type of person do you WANT TO BE? Me personally, I think I’m somewhere in between all three of these! I know I make things happen and get stuff done – without a doubt. I can’t help but watch what others are doing around me from time to time – it’s just so cool what they’re doing! Yeah… sometimes I do just scratch my head and think, “What the heck??!!” because I’m blown away by something I saw. But what is the right type of person we should be? What do you WANT for your own life?

One of the things I teach in my eCourse is about making and finding the time necessary to create the content you want to post about. If you’re like me, you wake up every morning with a list of things you know you need to get done that day. You also wake up with a bunch of things you want to do but don’t necessarily “need” to get done. Finally, there are things you waste your time on throughout the day and things you wish you finally got the guts to just do, but never feel like you have time to do them… Either way, there is A LOT of this STUFF out there, fighting for our time and attention. This very blog post is fighting for your attention!

So how can you go from not having enough time in the day to finish the things you HAVE to do, to being in command of the tasks we do and what we fill our time with?

  1. Write down all of the things you do in a day

That’s right – I want you to write down E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. you do, just for 1 day. When you do this, you’ll realize, “Man! I actually spend a lot more time than I realize on things that I don’t actually NEED to do!” When you step back and look at what you actually spend your time on, you realize it’s filled with cat videos and Instagram posts from people you don’t even remember how you’re following them!

  1. Make a to-do list and stick to it

I always have a to do list on my computer, phone or email. It’s the tool I use that nags me and nags me until I get the tasks done that I HAVE to do but don’t necessarily want to. Once you get them done, there is a bit of a euphoric feeling that comes over you and you feel accomplished. It will give you a shot of energy and you can keep going on the next thing, and the next thing, until you’ve got it all done!

  1. Pause throughout the day and think, “Is this something I’m going to be proud I’m doing, tomorrow morning?”

As the day grows old, we get tired. Our brains get foggy and our judgment begins to change a little bit. If it’s late and I have a hard decision to make, I will go to sleep and wait until morning to make the decision because I want to be fresh and capable of making the right choice. I don’t want to waste my time making the wrong choice which will require me to go back and fix what I did.

The bottom line is this: If we become cognizant of what our real goals are, what we are doing to achieve them, and what is fighting to occupy our time, we will find the time we need to get the things done that matter most. I challenge you to analyze your life and re-prioritize what’s important to you and let the things that are not, fall out of your life.