Farm Sunset October 2016

Being Here, in 2017

Friends! It’s the start of a new year…and honestly, it’s a time where I can get easily overwhelmed. In the past I’ve written about lofty goals and ideas I want to tackle in the next 350+ days, but this year feels different. I have been struggling to wrap my head around last year and plan what comes next in several facets of my life. But after a chat with a good friend I realized something really important:

I’m already here.

The last three years or so have been a crash course in goals, resolutions and overcoming obstacles. Almost every facet of my life has gone through a fairly extreme overhaul…from my marriage to my career to my parenting status to my family. Illness and health have been a huge factor in the past few years, both for myself and for those I love the most. After really taking a look back on last year and everything I went through, I felt a sense of calm. Did I accomplish every goal I set out for myself last January? No. Not even close. But I learned so much and one of the biggest lessons was that I don’t have to wait until January 1 to decide to change my life for the better. I make that choice on a daily basis.

Farm Sunset October 2016

Last year was a big one for my business. I completely overhauled my pricing and the way I sell my photography. I created and facilitated the 30 Days of Summer Photo Challenge, which had hundreds of participants. I did a dozen television segments. I went to Greece to photograph a refugee camp. And I photographed dozens of families, newborns, children and couples…it was a fantastic year! Personally, I went through many (MANY) challenges, but I’m very proud of how I came through it all, even though there is MUCH to improve upon. One of the biggest personal goals last year was getting fit, slowly and surely, over about nine months of hard work, exercise and nutritional changes. I feel better physically today than I did in my 20s, which is saying something! I am officially in my mid-30s now and I feel stronger than I ever have. I also started working to find ways to make an impact as an activist in my community. This is something I didn’t plan on when 2016 began, but now I’m grateful for the opportunity.

In 2017, I’m looking forward to some more changes in how I do business, with a focus on continuing to be profitable while also serving my family, friends and community. There will hopefully be a few more writing and blogging projects (which took a backseat last year) and maybe even a new creative endeavor or two! I want to create more than I consume, and make the world a little more joyful every day. I am excited to reach out and work with even more creatives and amazing people doing wonderful work in my community.

If you’re interested in working with me in 2017, or you have an awesome project you want to chat about, send me a note at megan@crazybananas.com. Let’s make this the best year yet!

CommunityAmerica Ballpark Dinner and a Show!

A few weeks ago our little family was fortunate enough to work with the crew from the Kansas City Star on an advertisement for CommunityAmerica Ballpark! The home of the T-Bones baseball team, the ballpark is running a fun special this summer where you can enjoy “dinner and a show” on Saturday nights. And I can tell you, we taste tested just about EVERYTHING that the stadium had to offer for this short ad spot, and it was all Peters family approved! The atmosphere at T-Bones games is so fun, and it’s a great, budget-friendly alternative when you want to get out to a pro baseball game, but don’t necessary want to drop a ton of cash. We had such a good time working on this ad and spending time out at CommunityAmerica ballpark! We will definitely be headed back again before summer is over!

Fun Fact: When we shot this ad, we had just flown into Kansas City from a few days away in Tennessee for a memorial service, so we were totally exhausted. I was worried about the kids keeping it together (even though the spot is short, the filming took a few hours) for the entire time, but the crew did such a great job keeping them excited and engaged. The production assistant even taught Tate how to beatbox, and he’s been running around doing it ever since! Thanks to the team from the Kansas City Star for such a wonderful experience!

Grammy Flowers

In the Meantime….

Grammy Flowers

Wow, friends, this has been a massive blog hiatus! But I promise, it was totally unplanned. You see, my 30 Days of Summer Photo Challenge launched at the beginning of June, and while I am so excited about all the participants (more than double what I anticipated when I started planning for this project), it’s taken up more of my time than I’d originally allotted. Paired with the fact that it’s SUMMER now, the kids are home from school, and I’m getting into my busy season for client photography, I haven’t had time to blog.

Now, listen…I know, okay! I’ve taught classes on blogging to photographers and entrepreneurs, and one of the first things I say is that in order to making blogging work, you have to make it a priority. But to be honest…right now it’s just not a priority. And that’s okay too! As a blogger, you’ll go through ebbs and flows in terms of your time, priorities and business. I’m excited to share a few of my latest photo sessions with you in the upcoming weeks, as the 30 Days of Summer Challenge winds down. I also have some fun personal posts to share (We went on a roadtrip! We had dance camp and theater camp! We got a KITTEN!).

Until then, make sure you’re following me on Instagram to get daily updates on both the challenge and life in general! I’ve have a ton of people contacting me because they wanted to join the 30 Day Challenge, but missed the sign ups. The best way to make sure you don’t miss out next time (next time?!) is to sign up for the newsletter and get all of my updates delivered directly to your inbox! Hope you’re all having a fantastic summer!

Instagram, Algorithms and Social Media Stress

Since it’s a Monday morning, I figured we should start out the week with a light topic….like how Instagram is ruining EVERYTHING!!!

Instagram Changes

Okay, seriously, I’m kidding. Everyone take a deep breath, we can get through this together.

Remember when social media was simple? Ah, the good ole’ days, when you could follow someone on social media because you wanted to see what they were up to. And then, like magic, you could see what they were up to! But then came the Facebook algorithm and the whole internet lost their collective minds. No longer could we see the posts of our friends or companies we followed, now Facebook was deciding what we get to see! For small businesses like mine, it was the beginning of the end of my Facebook strategy.

I’ve talked before about how Instagram is my favorite social media platform (while Snapchat is closing in….) and it still is. But Instagram is about to change how the app works in a pretty dramatic way. If you’re totally confused and wondering what I’m talking about, this New York Times article lays it all out for you:

The photo-sharing service plans to begin testing an algorithm-based personalized feed for users, similar to one already used by its parent company, Facebook. That means it would shift away from the strictly reverse chronological order that the service has used since it began in 2010. Instead, Instagram will place the photos and videos it thinks you will most want to see from the people you follow toward the top of your feed, regardless of the time those posts were originally shared.

Sound familiar ? Instagram is now owned by Facebook, and while we all use these social media platforms for free, they are still companies that need to make money somehow. I get that, and I totally understand why they are changing. Technology evolves faster than we humans, though, so I also understand all of the freaking out. We liked how things were, and we don’t want them to change. I’ve worked really hard to grow my Instagram following, and have more than doubled in the past six months, so to know that all that hard work is now being compromised isn’t a good feeling. However….

I’m learning more and more that real social media reach isn’t about having a zillion followers, it’s about engagement. Sure, I don’t have the following of some photographers or writers, but I engage with the community I do have. I think 10 engaged and excited followers that are participating in your conversations are worth 1,000 followers who never like or comment. It’s about COMMUNITY, not POPULARITY.

(This is a great post about the algorithm change by Jasmine Star that is chock full of info!)

And so, I’m doing my best not to freak out about all the changes afoot. Yes, it will hurt small businesses. But as a blogger and an entrepreneur, the rules are always changing, and being adaptable is part of the game! If you’re looking for some ways to stay ahead of this thing (or if you’re just a recreational Instagrammer that wants to see your favorite posts) there are a few things you can do:

1. You can turn on “Post Notifications” – I’m sure you’ve seen this about 300 times in your feed by now, but by clicking on the three little dots in the upper right hand corner of a user’s photo, you can turn on post notifications and never miss a post by that person or brand. This is similar to what I’ve recommended with Facebook. However, at the moment this means that you will be receiving constant alerts and pop ups on your phone with notifications that people have posted a photo, which is no bueno for me! In the Facebook app, you can have the notifications turned on, but only popping up when you’re in the app. For Instagram, there is no way to do that, so it’s constant DING DING DING from my phone when I turn on post notifications. Soooo….that one doesn’t work for me, and I won’t be asking my followers to do that. But if you don’t mind the notifications, go for it! You definitely won’t miss a post! (My friend Cody wrote a fantastic post on this for her blog, if you want to learn more!)

2. Unfollow Accounts You Don’t Love – Are there certain accounts you never really even glance at, just scrolling by when you see their photos? Unfollow them! The less clutter in your feed, the less likely you’ll see images you don’t really want to.

3. Interact with Accounts You Do Love – The new algorithm is based on interaction, so if there are accounts you love seeing in your feed, let them know! Like, comment, and be a part of the community. The algorithm will see that and promote those posts to the top of your feed. If you’re a small business owner, make sure you’re engaging with your followers. Go to their pages and like/comment as well! The more you interact, the more likely your posts will stay at the top of their feeds as well.

4. Post Good Photos! –
This is a no-brainer, but make sure you’re posting quality images and captions if you want people to see them. The algorithm will be looking at images that are most pleasing to the eye, and those posts that have no captions will probably be bumped to the bottom.

Here’s the deal…Instagram isn’t trying to ruin our lives. Currently, according to their research, we only see about 30% of the photos in our feed. That means that 70% of what’s posted, we aren’t seeing anyway (unless we plan on scrolling through for hours on end). All they are trying to do is ensure that 30% is filled with our favorite posts. So let them know your favorites! And if you’re a blogger or small business owner, show your followers why you should be a favorite!

Instagram Changes

Then take a deep breath, chill and remember…it’s social media. It’s not the end of the world. And maybe get some ice cream. Ice cream always helps!

Spring into Confidence : A Giveaway!!!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED: CONGRATS TO Crystal Peppiatt WHO IS OUR BIG WINNER! CHECK YOUR EMAIL, CRYSTAL!

It’s FRIIIIIDDDDAAAAAY! Can you tell I’m excited? Well, this week has been less than ideal, with an insane headcold that took over my sinuses around Tuesday and is just now started to lessen it’s grip on my brain. Ooof. But I’m pumped because:

A. I’m finally getting my ability to breathe back!
B. It’s almost the weekend!
C. I have an awesome giveaway for you!

(Am I using enough exclamation points? I wasn’t sure. !!!!!!)

springintoconfidence-postcard

Spring into Confidence is a progressive style academy designed by Town Center’s stylist and blogger Caitlin Fore on March 31st from 6-8 p.m. This event is geared toward teaching women everything they need to know to feel confident everyday! Who has the time to learn all of these tips and tricks with our busy schedules!?

Come join her and a slew of talented specialists to learn how to:

– Dress your body right with Caitlin Fore

– Take care of your gorgeous skin with Macy’s and Clinique

– Style your hair perfectly everyday with Parlor

– Get your nails done with Salon One19

– Learn how to get a flawless face with Sephora

There will be amazing giveaways from all of the sponsors along with some killer swag bags filled with some favorites goodies – for everyone to enjoy!

Drumroll please….I’m giving away 2 Tickets to Spring into Confidence right here! Just enter using the form below before midnight on Sunday, March 27th. I will announce the winner on Monday!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, for those of you who want to skip all the giveaway hubbub and just get your tickets now, go here to purchase and save $10 by using the code CRAZYBANANAS. Good luck!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...