5 of the best iPhone photography apps

First up I will apologise to all those android users who may not have access to these apps. But I can only recommend those I’ve actually tried and tested and my phone of choice happens to be an iPhone.

And it’s something that goes everywhere with me. I am constantly snapping away and whilst I love great photography and those fabulous blurry shots we bloggers aspire to, dragging a DSLR around town with me is just too much of a bind the majority of the time. I want the ability to capture blog-worthy shots of those instantaneous moments in my life.

So I’ve had to make friends with my iPhone’s photography capabilities and I was so surprised to learn how many little tricks there are to take great shots. They are by no means the quality you get from the DSLR but great for on-the-move.

Iphone photography is just one of the topics we cover on our Dream. Find. Do workshops, so look out, there’s an announcement landing on these pages in the next day or so about our next round of dates you don’t want to miss it.

For now here’s a flavour of the iPhone photography apps I’ve been giving a whirl lately:

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A Bloggers Guide to Vine App

We like to keep you up to date on all the latest developments in the world of blogging and try to demystify and jargon-bust new releases. Today I’m sharing a little bit about the latest social media craze to hit the web, VineApp.

What is it?

Recently purchased by Twitter, in a nutshell it enables you to take video clips that are 6 seconds or less and post them on the web where they run in a continuous loop.

Why would I do that?

It’s a little too early to tell if this is a flash in the pan that everyone will get bored with or if it’s the next big thing, but with Video blogging (or Vlogging,) touted as the future then Vine has a great shot at taking over the social media world. At the moment the majority of video’s are a little un-imaginative and dare I say it boring, but as people exploit their creativity my prediction is that it will become a great add-on to Twitter.

How do I get involved?

It’s easy. Sign up for a Vine account by downloading the VineApp. (Here’s the glitch, it’s iPhone users only at present, but android apps are sure to follow soon.) You sign up similarly to Instagram (remember to make your username and avatar consistent across your brand to help your followers find you easily,) and it allows you to also connect with Twitter and Facebook so you can share your Vine’s across all your social media channels. A quick demo and you’re away.

What shall I do with it?

Think of Vine as an animated extension of Instagram. It’s a great way of taking your personal updates to the next level with sneak peeks into your life or inside your brand. You can take 6 minute complete mini-video’s of something (like this one of my cat having a spring clean,) but the App works best when you take short consecutive captures of film as they then turn out like a .gif (an animated image.) The cake Vine that I made last weekend is a good example of this. Most of all, have fun with it!

how do I share it?

Your Vine account is just like your Twitter or Instagram account, people can follow you and you follow people you like too, so make sure you spread the word that you have signed up and when you post a Vine, share it to your Twitter account or Facebook. Want to embed your own Vine App 6 second video loops into your blog? It took a bit of research but this is the bit of code I used to insert the above video. (Note this worked for our WordPress self hosted blog but I can’t guarantee it will work on other publishing platforms.)

<iframe src=”https://vine.co/v/bvaPgPHimu0/card” height=”600″ width=”600″ frameborder=”0″></iframe>

Note: You will need to replace the link above with the link to YOUR Vine that you want to share. If your blog is a different width, you can also change the numbers (this one is 600px wide) to make it fit better – we always recommend keeping your content the same width for a more visually pleasing effect across your blog.

So, have you discovered Vine yet? Sceptical or hooked, we would love to hear your thoughts and if you have any queries feel free to throw them out there and we’ll do our best to answer.

Love,
Rebecca
xo

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DfD needs you!

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In 2012 we launched the Dream. Find. Do blog and held two fantastic weekend-long blogging workshops, one in Manchester and one in London.

We had an absolute blast meeting our students, from those yet to dip a toe into the world of blogging to those more seasoned bloggers wanting to take theirs to the next level. We learn’t probably just as much as our students did and still keep in touch with many of them now, sharing tips and answering questions.

This is exactly what we had hoped for when we set up DfD, we wanted to build a supportive community of like-minded bloggers, create an engaging and interactive learning experience and share our years of blogging, writing, marketing and branding knowledge with others.

But we know not everyone has the time or resources to dedicate entire weekends to learning, and we know some just need help with certain aspects or prefer to learn in other ways. If you follow us at Dream. Find. Do and like the tips and tutorials we share, if you’ve looked at our workshops and thought you’d like to come along to a future one then we want to hear from you.

So we’ve devised a little survey, it takes just 5 minutes to complete and the answers will help us deliver exactly the type of learning experiences you really want, when and where you want them.

So what are you waiting for, click here to have your say. We’re running the survey until the end of this week (Friday 1st February).

Michelle and Rebecca
The Dream. Find. Do Team

xx

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#ProjectOrganise: The Inbox!

The new year has meant a renewed sense of focus for both Rebecca and myself, we’re getting our heads together today to talk next steps for Dream. Find. Do too.

If you pop by Rebecca’s blog Florence Finds you will no doubt have been swept up and motivated to join in with her #JanuaryJoy series, bringing a little bit of love to what can be a rather blue month.

I’ve been totally stripping things back over at Pocketful of Dreams. As my events business demands more and more of my time, I’ve had to make some tough decisions about exactly what I can fit into those precious 24-hours. My decision to refocus the blog was difficult but such a sense of relief. I no longer feel responsible to sponsors and with a more relaxed schedule can blog what I want, when I want. It’s this sense of creative freedom I’ve yearned for and I know deep down my content will be much better for it.

I’ve also been writing about getting organised, pop over and read why here. I have a few tried and tested methods of staying on top of things and wanted to share one of the big ones here with you today: The Inbox.

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It’s fair to say 2012 was the year I let things slip in terms of my usual military organisation, things got a little sloppy and oftentimes felt chaotic. 2013 is the year I’m taking control again and the first thing I HAD to tackle was my inbox. I soooo wish I had taken a screenshot of it before I started the epic clearout, I have 6 email accounts for my various businesses / interests, and there were around 18,000 UNREAD emails with another 12,000 read emails sat in my inbox, some actioned, some not. There was no system, no control and this is no good for anyone.

I mainly get three types of email:

    • They’re just for reading and don’t need a response
    • I need to reply or forward
    • I need to consider more carefully and take action outside of just sending an email

It’s important for me to have a system to ensure I take action on those that need it, and thing’s I’ve already read don’t end up being re-read over and over.

So over the Christmas period my inbox was purged and re-ordered and I now follow these simple steps to keep on top of it:

1. Create Folders

I use Mac Mail and in this system they are called Mailboxes. I create main folders for each of my projects or interests, with sub-folders within them for the mini-projects or tasks they refer to. Categorising my emails this way helps me manage and organise all my emails and quickly find them again when I need to refer back.

2. Have a system

Mine is this: I check emails periodically and as I do I take one of the following actions

  • Delete: those time-drain, not relevant emails
  • Forward: I do it right away
  • Keep: I’ve read it and just need it for reference
  • Quick reply: I do it there and then

Anything that didn’t get deleted from this list then gets moved to it’s appropriate folder for future reference.

Those that require more action than a simple email response remain in my inbox until I have the proper time to deal with them. This reminds me I have to do something with them and acts as a to-do list without me having to make a new one every day. Then once sorted they get moved to a folder.

Sometimes it doesn’t happen as smoothly as this so I schedule time in every few days to sit and manage the inbox until I can get it to the point of actioned.

3. Unsubscribe, Unsubscribe, Unsubscribe

I cannot stress this enough, we get thousands of junk emails through and simply reading the subject lines alone to work out that they are junk is a time-drain, then deleting etc. It had to stop. And I’m sure you’ve all done it, subscribed to get access to some key information or offer relevant to you at the time but not so much in the long-run. I went through all of these newsletters and emails I receive and I unsubscribed from them all. It took me hours but as I had already set time aside to tackle this task it was worth it.

Anything that comes through now that’s not relevant to me I simply press the JUNK button and it’s shunned forever more. In future if you do need to subscribe to gain access, use a different email address.Just set-up one of the free services and use that instead, you never even need to check it.

4. Use Filters

Some emails that come in I know I don’t want to waste time reading there and then, these are the ones that could be an interesting news service I’ve subscribed to that I want to catch up with say once a month. I set filters (or rules) that automatically moves them to the right folder the second they come in. That way I don’t get distracted by them landing in my inbox (procrastination is a killer!) but I still have them somewhere safe to read when I have got the time.

5. Use Templates and Auto-Responders

If you know you are going to be busy as hell for a few weeks then plan ahead and set-up an auto responder that let’s people know you have their email and that you’re working on a project / away from the office etc and will reply by X date. This gives you a little breathing space and prevents people thinking you’re an ignorant so and so.

I also use templates for those multiple requests I get (but obviously personalise them). For example I get asked a lot for work experience at my events company. I have a standard response that gives the emailer key information and points them in the right direction.

Similarly I have standard packs of information ready to send people when they enquire about services and when I used to take blog sponsorship. It makes life much easier once you have a system for responding.

6. Make your subject lines matter

This is an important one for keeping things categorised, there’s nothing worse than working on a project that’s had around 500 emails exchanged and you’re desperately trying to find the one that jas that key piece of info in it. I TRY to make sure my subject lines help with this, for example if I am working on a client project, their name will go in the subject line, followed by what that email refers to. So it could be Client X – Concept Design, Client X – Project timeline v1, Client X – Project Timeline v2. You get my drift, it doesn’t always work but can save you trawling through 400 Client X emails looking for one little nugget of info.

Hope the tips help. Do let us know what you’ve been doing to ease yourself into 2013 and if you have any time-saving tips of your own just hit up that comments box below. You can also join in with #ProjectOrganise as I will be blogging, tweeting and instagramming about my progress over the course of 2013. Just use the hashtag #ProjectOrganise and share your own tips.

Michelle xx

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Dream Design: Dig The Earth greetings cards

Happy New Year readers!

Here at Dream. Find. Do. we’re excited about the New Year and all the potential it holds. No doubt many of you will have made blogging resolutions so we thought we would do a quick re-cap of posts that you might like to look up from our archives over the past 6 months that will help get you off on the right foot.

First though, some pretty. We like to clear the decks (and desk) before we get a major project underway and have got lots and lots of thank you cards to write after a bumper Christmas haul. We couldn’t resist these geometric (wonder why that is?) greetings cards by Yorkshire based design house Dig The Earth, available on Etsy.

The cards are blank inside so if you’re super organised and wrote your thank you’s already you can use them for any occasion you wish!

Now it’s time to address those blogging resolutions…

  • You’ve been promising yourself you’ll start a blog for ages… now’s the time and here are the 5 things you need to do to get started.
  • Is 2013 the year you’re going to streamline your blogs design? Top Tips: Blog Design
  • Is your social media strategy working for you? Twitter is a powerful tool for connecting with other bloggers, widening your audience and collaborating. How to get the best out of Twitter and tools to make your tweet life easier.
  • If you have decided your goal is to increase your traffic, you’ll need a cast iron way of monitoring your visitors. Get Google Analytics the easy way.
  • Understanding SEO is a minefield but if you want to get to grips with SEO and improve your search engine ranking, recap on Ian‘s easy guide to Everything you need to know about SEO, Parts 1 & Part 2.

We’d love to hear your blog-specific goals and resolutions – do drop us a comment in the box and share!

Love,
Rebecca & Michelle.

PS If we spot any resolutions we think we can cover here then we’ll try and address them in a seperate dedicated post, so don’t forget to leave your comments!

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Merry Christmas Dreamers!


*Font: Lavanderia

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Blogger interview: Nesha from Flower Child and Betty Red

Today on Dream. Find. Do. we’re bringing you a blogger interview with Nesha. I first found Nesha via her blog Flower Child and learned that she did was a web and graphic designer. Since then she has launched a dedicated design blog, Betty Red and portfolio site showcasing her work. I love her style, the way she presents her blog posts and also thought our DFD readers would love to meet a designer that might be able to help you realise your dreams…

Thank you Nesha!

Tell us your name, your blog and where you blog from. Do you have another job too?

I’m Nesha, my blog is called Betty Red, and I’m based in England. I’m a freelance web & graphic designer for women-owned creative businesses and individuals.

When did you start blogging and what was your dream?

I started blogging five years ago. I started a personal style and craft blog first called Flower Child and then recently created the Betty Red blog where I post inspiration, tutorials and advice for bloggers and small business owners. I didn’t really have a dream for my blog, I just wanted a space somewhere where I could share all the things that inspire and delight me, and connect with like-minded creatives. So it was a lovely surprise when I started noticing more and more readers visiting my blog- suddenly I had to get serious about blogging!

Who inspires you in the blog world?

Elsie of A Beautiful Mess and Breanna of Breanna Rose both inspire me because of their strength and determination when it comes to blogging. If you want to be a successful blogger like them, you need to have focus.

Was it hard getting started?

I found it really difficult getting started because hardly anyone knows you and you have to battle to get readers attention and keep it. But I never let it get me down, because running a successful blog isn’t the be all and end all of life. I’d still blog even if no one read it! Luckily, people do.

How did you find the skills you needed to start and build your blog or business?

I think anyone who starts a blog or business needs to be very self motivated, self disciplined and strong. They need to be able to stick to their schedules and goals. However, that being said, they also need to remember that blogging and running a small business are not the most important things in life. Remembering that should help fight stress when it starts to arise.

How did you get your blog looking and feeling the way it does?

I’m a web & graphic designer who majors in blog design, so I designed my blog to look pretty, sweet and reflect my personality. I get a lot of readers telling me how much they like the design. I think that the design of your blog is more important than people realize. It changes the reading experience of your visitors completely!

How did you grow your blog?

By guest blogging for other bloggers in my niche, using social media to boost my blogs traffic, and connecting with similar bloggers in my local area. There are limitless ways to grow your blog, but those are the few that worked best for me. It’s important that you know that even though there seem like a million and one ways to grow your blog, you don’t have to do all of them. Try different ways of expanding your blog, but if something isn’t enjoyable or doesn’t feel like its working, forget it and try something else.

What is the best opportunity your blog has brought you.

My blogs has bought me so many wonderful opportunities! I’ve been featured in magazines like Teen Vogue and Grazia, and I’ve been able to work with labels I’ve always admired. But the best opportunity my blogs have bought me is lots of freelance design work. 90% of my clients find me through my blog. If it wasn’t for my blog, I don’t think I’d be able to do the job that I love and work for myself. Its a dream come true, all thanks to me loyal and beautiful blog followers.

Have you got any tips for bloggers reading this interview?

Enjoy blogging. Don’t get sad because you haven’t got many Bloglovin’ followers or people don’t comment often, because here’s a little secret: I’ve never followed any blog I love on Bloglovin’ and I rarely ever comment. Not many bloggers do. It doesn’t mean no one is reading your blog. So don’t focus on those things, just keep an eye on your blog traffic and enjoy writing those posts! Connect with similar bloggers in your niche and enjoy making new friends.

Amazing insights thank you Nesha!

Find Nesha on her Flower Child blog or at Betty Red or on Twitter @BettyRedDesign

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Five of the Best: Font Websites

I have been known to lose many hours to font websites, I guess that’s the geek in me, but I just love a bit of cool typography.

Finding great fonts however takes some time so we’ve rounded up our selection of the best font websites out there.

It’s important to note though that investing in paid-for fonts is worthwhile to make your blog standout and look professional, free fonts are available across the web in abundance but they may not always be the best option.

Free fonts can have issues with them, such as missing characters, only being available in capitals, kerning issues as well as limited weight variations. Whereas the paid-for fonts have had a lot more time spent on them to create something that’s highly adaptable to your needs.

Not all free fonts are bad though, just make sure you are downloading them from a reputable source and save yourself the hassle of bugs.

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DFD London: First Look

Phew! We’re just back from the bright lights and big city of London where we held the second Dream. Find. Do. blogging workshop and it was AWESOME.

Saturday saw us teaching a full class and covering everything from the basics and essentials you need for every blog, right through to making money for your blog. Then Sunday saw us teaching a practical workshop on Photography (and seeing a few lightbulb moments from our students!) followed by Photoshop for bloggers. This time we had a real mix of skill levels, from those who were looking to start a blog right through to those with established blogs that form part of their employment.

We’ll be sharing a full review and round up soon, but for now, here’s what our students thought – a round up of Instagrams and tweets from the weekend…

There’s changes afoot. It’s AMAZING what some good teaching can do! Thank you ladies @dreamfinddo – Erin, Love from Cornfield

Endebted to @dreamfinddo ladies @FlorenceFinds & @pocketfuldreams. Amazing weekend. So much info! Can’t wait to practice it… – Erin, Love from Cornfield

Back from #dfdlondon great session, plenty of tips, and beautifully presented. – Fabienne

@FlorenceFinds @pocketfuldreams @dreamfinddo ladies – huge thanks for a fabulous, informative & inspirational weekend! – Sian, Little Star and Me

Loving all the photoshop tips & tricks at #dfdlondon @dreamfinddo thanks to @pocketfuldreams & @florencefinds – Elizabeth, Bridal Musings

Had a brilliant day at #DFDLondon learnt so much thanks ladies – Julia, Freya’s Fancies

So the question just remains… where do you want us to go next?

Love,
Rebecca & Michelle.
xo

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Resource Room: Dropbox

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I wanted to tell you about Dropbox today as it’s an amazing service for backing up your files, sharing them with friends and keeping everything synced between your different devices.

All you do is head to the Dropbox website and sign-up for an account. Once signed up you get a special folder on your computer that will appear exactly the same on any computer you log into. You can also log into dropbox online and from your mobile devices, great for accessing documents on the move.

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