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Don’t: Fall for influencer “collab” scams

Starting out your journey as a blogger/content creator/influencer can be a little tricky at times, especially because there’s not really ‘a one size fits all’ instruction manual of what to do. I wanted to touch base a little on brand collaborations, especially because for a lot of us, it’s kind of our end goal to being able to work with different brands. Below I have listed a few ways sketchy brands might reach out to you, and ways to spot a potential scam.

If a brand comments on your picture and asks you to reach out to them, through a DM, for a collab….

Just know that if a brand wants to work with you, they will reach out to you, and not the other way around.

Brands that typically use this method will enlist you in their “Influencer Program”, which comes with a discount on their items (which they make you buy) and an Influencer code for xyz% off for your followers. The reason this is a scam is that you should never pay for any items that you are supposed to promote. Definitely steer clear of this!

Luxe and Labeless Tip: Always be sure to have your email clearly listed in your bio section to make it easier for brands to be able to reach out to you. Also, make sure that the email in your bio is specific to your brand, not your personal email address, that way it appears more professional to the brands that do want to work with you.

If a brand emails you with collaboration terms that require you to first buy the product, then wait for reimbursement….

Again, never pay for any items you are supposed to promote…EVER!

Basically these types of brands are asking for you to not only pay for their product, to be able to work with them, but they are also requesting that you put your faith in them that you will get reimbursed. In my best Simon Cowell Impression….It’s a no for me.

As a rule of thumb, I rarely take on any collaboration or opportunity, that doesn’t include a budget to be able to pay me for my work. So I especially will never take on an opportunity in which I would have to spend any of my money on their product and nor should you.

If a brand wants to send you free product for a collab, but requires you to jump through hoops….

Let me clarify, these type of collabs aren’t technically a scam, but if a brand is not willing to pay you for them requiring that you create x amount of ig feed posts, x amount of ig story posts, hold a giveaway, write a blog post and throw in the kitchen sink all for the possible chance to be featured on their page….I would say walk away.

In the email shown here, they require that I would not only have to create several pieces content, but that I also do so within a very tight time frame. My “payment” that they mentioned is 1 of the courses that I would have to create the content around.

As a content creator, protecting your time is worth more than possibly appearing on their feed. In my opinion, it’s no different than if your were to be at your job, you complete x amount of work, then don’t get paid for any of the work that you do….that wouldn’t be right. So it’s not right for them to request that from you either. In this specific case, it would be like me completing x amount of work and instead of my boss paying me…they gave me a gift card to Bath and Body Works.

Luxe and Labeless Tip: Don’t feel obligated to take on any brand opportunity that comes your way. There are a lot of brands that will try to make it seem as though their offer is a true “collaborake sure you are making the right choice for you.

If a brand asks you to join their Affiliate Program…

FYI and Affiliate Program is a scam! Typically the brand will try to wrap it in a pretty bow and call it their ‘Influencer Marketing Program’.

Basically, a brand will either have you buy their product with a special discount code, or they’ll send it to you for free, but you are basically working for them to promote their products.

Typically you’ll put a link in your bio, in which followers will click on, and if they purchase from your link…you get a percentage of the sale.

Basic sales and marketing tactics state that you have to make at least 8 touches with any one person in order to turn it into a sale. That means you have to market constantly to the same person to make one sale. Even if the company is offering 50% commission on each product sold, if the product is $6, you have made $3….and you have worked extremely hard for those $3.

Even with the one shown, if I only sell 2 of their products in a month, I would at best make $40. It would not be in my best interest to work as hard as you need to for $40. Steer clear of any brand that reaches out to for these type of “collabs”.

If a brand truly does not have a budget to pay you, but can send you free product….

You have to weigh every option for what makes sense for you. I have and still will take on collabs, in which I only receive product for my post, but it has to make sense.

If I can see that it’s a smaller brand, if it aligns with my page and my niche, if the terms of the collab and the deliverables they are requesting are reasonable, I will definitely take on the opportunity. Even if it’s a bigger brand, but I know I can add it to my blogger resume, see my blog posts on media kits, then I may still take it on if the terms are right.

At the end of the day you have to do what’s right for you, not every collab has to be a paid one, but it definitely should coincide with your niche and what your page is about. Also, just wanted to put this out there, you do not have to have a certain amount of followers in order to ask if there is a budget. Even you have under 500, if a brand is asking to work with you, you have every right to ask for more than just possible exposure!

Luxe and Labeless Tip: If you receive the initial email from the brand, asking for a collab, don’t be afraid to email back asking for a clarification of the terms before accepting their offer. Especially in these situations, sometimes if you don’t ask, you won’t receive. Brands will flat out tell you if they have the budget to pay you or not. Other times, if you don’t ask, they may not mention that they are able to pay out.

At the end of the day, though I really love the thought of partnering with brands, I also really love creating for myself with no limitations. Hope this all was helpful, as always, I’m always open to answering any questions y’all may have. I love being able to help others navigate through the nuances of everything that makes up content creation.

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Instagramable San Antonio Locations

This blog post has been a long time coming, I initially tried to undertake this post approx 2 years ago… I think it took me so long, because it truly took me a while to understand my aesthetic, and what inspired me most. I used to think other cities had more “instagramable” areas to take pictures, but I realized it’s because my perspective of the word “instagramable” was off, and that I needed to be more open minded and more creative.

Below I have listed my favorite areas to take pictures in San Antonio, I hope you find inspiration in these areas as well! I will continue to update this list, but to get the most updated list of where to take pictures in San Antonio, follow me on Instagram and check out my SATX Locations highlight. Each photo is linked to both my ig post and the google map directions.

INDUSTRIAL/ALLEYWAYS:

ARCHITECTURAL:

GREENERY:

MY FAVORITE INSTAGRAM TOOLS

Below I’ve listed some of my most used and favorite apps that help me to not only create cohesive content, but also help me gain analytics from what I post and get a better sense of who my audience is. Some I use for editing my photos, for storing my researched hashtags, or for planning out my feed. Hopefully you find these tools useful in your content creation journey as well. As always, follow me on my Instagram to keep up with my daily posts.

Filter Apps: Lightroom App, Tezza App, A Color Story

LIGHTROOM MOBILE: The Lightroom Mobile App is what I use the most out of all of these apps. I use presets that I got from CityTurtles on Etsy that I apply to all of my pictures. My personal fave is her Rustic and Fawn sets.

TEZZA APP: I recently got the Tezza App for editing (I am a Samsung user) but it’s quickly becoming one of my favorites. I have been utilizing the HSL feature the most, because it helps me balance out my skin tone, depending on the lighting of the picture. I also have been using the grain and scratch effects to give my photos give my photos an extra touch.

A COLOR STORY: A Color Story is also a really great app to use for the various number of filter packs they offer. It’s perfect for those who don’t want to commit to buying really expensive filter packs, just to find out they don’t work for you. I typically use their HSL and grain features, but their chromatic feature is my favorite.

Fun Editing Tools: Picsart, Canva

PICSART: Picsart is a fun editing tool I use to add fun overlays onto my photos, they have so many different editing inspo that you can do with you photos and it’s free. There is a paid version, that gives you more access to different editing capabilities, but it’s defintely not needed to be able to utilize this app.

CANVA: Canva is the best app to use for creating different layouts, either for Facebook, instagram, youtube or anything in between. They have numerous template ideas, fonts, and elements that it’s easy to create visually stunning posts! I also heavily use canva when it comes to other blogger features like creating a media kit, facebook banners, and instagram story templates. And just to show you a little bit of what you can create using Canva, I used the app for all of the layouts in this post.

Instagram Layout Planning Tools: Unum, Later

UNUM: I currently use the free version of Unum to plan out my feed, it helps me get a good sense of what my feed looks like as I add new content, and it’s easy to move the pictures around to plan out the perfect feed. This app does have a paid version where it will also highlight your Instagram analytics and give you insight on the best times/days to post as well as the best hashtags to use.

LATER: I used to use this app a lot more, but it’s essentially along the same lines as the Unum app. It gives you a little more insight and let’s you post photos directly from the app to your social channels. I highly endorse this for anyone who is a little more of a planner, and likes to have their content scheduled in advance.

Analytic Tools: Influencer Marketing Hub, Fohr

INFLUENCER MARKETING HUB: I use Influencer Marketing Hub mostly to check out how much to charge per post, and my engagement ratings, but you can also use it to verify your followers and spot any inauthentic followers on your account. I.M.H. also has tools and resources for you to see analytics, best days/times to post, sign up for influencer platforms and more!

FOHR: Fohr is not an app, but it’s definitely worth having as an helpful tool, it gives you an extremely in depth view of your social media analytics. Fohr can analyze your follower demographics and show you the typically age range, region, engagement rate, follower growth rate and even more. The best thing about Fohr is that it’s also an Influencer platform where brands can reach out to with you as well.

IG Story Editing Tools: Unfold, Canva, Nichi

All of these apps help you up your IG Story game and beautify the stories you share. They come with amazing fonts, layouts and cute edits you can do.

Hashtag Storing Tools: Notes App

NOTES APP: Any note taking application in your Apple store/Google Play store should do. The one I specifically use is called Color Note. This is a helpful tool to use to store the hashtags that you find best fit with your content. I research hashtags quite often and I always like to keep updating my list as time progresses and this app perfectly helps me do that.

The No. 1 Instagram Tool: Instagram

INSTAGRAM APP: Instagram lets you do most all of these features including editing with filters, cropping pictures, seeing your analytics, and planning out posts. It also allows you to research the best hashtags for you to use, to save photo inspo into little folders, and to most importantly interact with content creators in your niche and create a network of potential followers and friends.

DO: Create a media kit

As a Content Creator, a media kit is the easiest and fastest way for a brand to know who you are, what your content is about, and what you can offer them, it’s virtually your resume! Here are a few tips to create a Media Kit that will not only impress to make it easier to pitch yourself to brands.

Canva is one of the best tools to use for creating your Media Kit, it gives you tons of options and layouts, and lets you customize your media kit in the way that makes sense for you. This video let’s you see how easy it it to select a layout you like, all you need to do is type Media Kit in the search bar, and you’ll have access to so many different layouts. Once you find the one that best suits you, you are able to easily customize it to make it more personalized to you.

Here’s an example of what mine looks like

The most important features your Media Kit should have are:

  1. At least one picture of you so the brand knows who they’re working with.
  2. At least one picture of the content you create. Ex. If you are a food blogger, pictures of your work, if you are a fashion blogger, pictures of you showcasing clothing.
  3. A list of all the Social Media sites that you actively post content on, along with your statistics on those sites.
  4. A brief About Me area so that the brand can get a snapshot view of who you are
  5. A place where you can list companies you’ve worked with before. If you haven’t worked with brands before, that is definitely ok, this is not a make or break section.
  6. Lastly and most importantly, your Media Kit should have a place where you list what content you offer and what your rates are. If you’re not truly sure what to charge, a good tool to use is the Influencer Marketing Hub Money Calculator Tool, this will help you get a general idea of what your rates should be for IG posts.

Hopefully you find these tips for creating a Media Kit helpful. As always, if you guys ever have any questions just reach out! I am always so glad to be able to help my fellow creatives!

STRIKE A POSE Vol. 2

Idk about you, but I often struggle knowing what to do with my hands during photos…I virtually turn into Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights.

Below I listed a few tips and tricks I use, so that I don’t have awkward hands in my photos.

Props: Props are one of the best tools you can use.

Whether it be a hat, a cup of coffee, flowers, or a purse. Using a prop helps to give your photo more depth and makes it feel more natural and not forced.

Surroundings: Utilize your surroundings, make the background apart of the picture.

If you’re in a space with chairs, lean on the chair. If you’re in a flower field, pretend to pick flowers.

Depending on where you are, you can make your surrounding be the prop in the photo.

ARM SWING: Another method I use is slowly swinging my arms while shooting. It feels weird while you’re doing it, but the end result always looks really good.

Just make sure that you are posing the entire time you’re shooting, it’s all about those in between shots that you’re looking for with this tip.

HANDS ON HIPS: My tried and true tip for what do with your hands while posing is either putting one hand or both on my hips. It’s a never fail pose for me.

I hope you guys find these tips helpful, these are the more common ones that you will see me use. If you ever have any questions on posing, definitely leave a comment and I’d be happy to help!

STRIKE A POSE Vol. 1

I get the most inspiration for poses on Pinterest. They make it super easy to search for different ideas, you can do a broad search like “instagram pose ideas” or make it more specific if you have a particular idea in mind like “gas station photo shoot”

I recommend when you see poses that you would like to replicate, save them into a designated folder so that you can reference them later.

On my Pinterest, I created a board called Creative Photo shoot Inspo, where I store photo shoot, editing, and pose ideas. I find it super helpful when I’m out shooting, because it gives something that I can easily reference.

Pinterest also makes it even easier to search for ideas, because once you start saving to your board, you can click the More Ideas button and it will automatically generate more content based off your previous saves.

EXAMPLE: WALKING POSE

This is a pose that I’ve practiced for a while, because despite the name, you’re not actually walking at all.

To get this seamless action shot, the one where it looks like I have a cameraman who just follows me around and takes the perfect shot of me going about my day, it takes a little practice and a lot of patience.

I first like to line up the background that I want in the shot, then I set myself up in just about the center of the frame, and lastly I do sort of a rocking horse motion in one spot and just have the photographer keep shooting.

Some of the ones you take wont be perfect, but this methos is a surefire way to have a few really amazing ones that are ‘Instagram worthy’.

More Examples:

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