This month we celebrated another anniversary of the Artists Helping Artists radio show. The funny thing about that last sentence? The AHA show isn't really a radio show, it's a podcast. But seven years ago no one knew what a podcast was. So that's why I always call it a radio show.
Let's just say it is both.
On April 15, 2010 the very first AHA show aired on blog talk radio. I cannot believe the show began seven years ago. That's a long time ago! I also cannot believe we are now in our eighth year. I never imagined the show would last so long. And now I cannot imagine my life without the AHA show. I think that's pretty cool.
You just might want to go back through the archives and listen to one of our previous shows. You can find all of the previously recorded shows here. Enjoy.
Artists are always struggling for motivation. We have to be creative ALL of THE TIME and it's not easy. In fact sometimes it is brutal when we just aren't feeling it. But I think I can help.
On this week's Artists Helping Artists show our topic is "How to Energize Your Art World". My co-host Margaret Sheldon and I have put together a great list of some very fun and exciting things you can do to to create excitement and fun in your art world. You don't want to miss this show as I think it's a great list every artist needs!
Listen to the show here.
Nowadays most of us use our cell phones to take photos for our business. Before you panic, I do use my 35mm camera to take the good photos of each painting. But I use my iphone for all the other photos. The photos seen above were taken with my iphone. The second photo was edited using my new favorite app, VSCO.
VSCO (formerly VSCO Cam), according to their website, is the best mobile app to edit, share and discover your photos. Best of all, this powerful photo editor is free to download. Capture an image, then enhance it with your favorite filter to get the look you want. Choose from a host of free editing tools like fade, clarity, skin tone, tint, sharpen, saturation, temperature and more, each with manual adjustments. Transform your photos into something beautiful and express yourself creatively.
The app also offers:
Film-like presets give your pics a high-quality, professional film look.
Download hundreds of free and paid filters in the store.
Includes 19 of the best editing tools including exposure, contrast and crop.
RAW editing, including high-resolution images.
Easily capture moments with the in-app camera, including manual controls.
I love this app. I use it before I upload every photo on my @100yearoldhome Instagram feed and blog. It's very easy to use and takes less than a minute per photo. Well worth the price.
Oh wait. It's free.
There is a to-do list that has been sitting on our kitchen island since Thursday night. And it has haunted me for the last three days. Why?
By the time this blog post goes live I will be on a plane to New Zealand. If you listened to the Artists Helping Artists show last week then you might remember I mentioned that we had a trip planned to New Zealand. My husband is competing for the USA in the World Master's Games (in volleyball in the 55+ age bracket) and my oldest son is also competing (in swimming in the 25+ age bracket. We planned this trip a few months ago but we knew there was one catch. If my youngest son's volleyball team made the NCAA Championships then I would be staying home.
I honestly thought I would not be going to New Zealand. In fact, I was in complete denial and hadn't done anything to prepare. Including some of the trip planning. Sadly, on Thursday night, UC Irvine lost in the MPSF Championship semifinals. I was so sad for my son. And then I freaked out that I had to plan for the trip. Uh oh.
Don't get me wrong. The packing part is nothing. It's the "getting everything done because you are going to be gone for two weeks part" that had me completely freaked out. Make that present tense, "that HAS me completely freaked out".
The good news is we don't leave until really late on Monday night. So I have 26 hours to get everything done.
Of course by the time this blog post goes live I will be on the plane to New Zealand. Which means I will have everything done by the time you read this. Right? Ok. Wishful thinking.
And one more thing. Tuesday pretty much is non-existent this week. We take off at 11:40pm on Monday and arrive 13 hours later on Wednesday morning. Good thing I didn't need Tuesday to get stuff done. I hope you all have a nice and productive Tuesday.
Look at this photo. It was sent to me by a wonderful interior designer who I just love working with! Isn't it amazing?
And it not only shows off this gorgeous master suite but it also shows off my painting. Don't you think this room is just gorgeous?
Half the secret in getting a great photo of your art is to ask. Once a client receives your painting just ask them to send you a photo of the painting in their house. Nine out of ten times I bet they will say yes. And if you are working with a designer there is a very good chance they will have photos taken of their finished design!
//photo credit - Louise Wade
This week I have been offering lots of advice about using hashtags on Instagram. So go back to Monday's post and start there if you are just joining me this week. Trust me you need to know this.
Once you have figured out which hashtags to use, here are the things you need to remember when including hashtags with your Instagram posts. Most importantly, you should only use relevant hashtags. Don't try to tag something that is popular but has nothing to do with your art or your photo. You should make a list of your hashtags that you think will apply to almost every post. Then add a few to each post that pertains to that photo specifically.
You can even save your list to your phone and then type a keyword and all of your hashtags will automatically appear! If you have an iphone, go to Settings, then General, then Keyboard and then Text Replacement. Press the plus sign to create and then select "Phrase". For your "Phrase", type in all of your hashtags (and leave a space between each one). Then under "Shortcut" type in a keyword that when you type it in all of your hashtags will appear. Don't use something common, rather, use something like "#art". When you are in Instagram and you type on your iphone "#art", all of your hashtags will appear and you just need to tap the space bar for the hashtags to be copied in to your post. You should do this as it saves so much time!!!
Finally, you should also do some homework to help you determine how many hashtags you should use. Instagram allows a maximum of 30 in each post. Look around at your fellow IG'ers and see how many hashtags they are using. Then take a good look at your hashtag list. Are all of the hash tags ones that already have a million posts? That's fine but try to also find some smaller hashtag groups so you don't get lost in the crowd. And be sure to come up with a hashtag for your business. Try to find one that isn't already monopolized by another artist. You can be creative but keep it simple and easy to type. You want to make it easy for your customers to find you and your art. Please don't forget that.
One of the questions I get asked all of the time is "How Do I Find the Right Hashtags to Use?".
The first thing you need to do is search for your hashtags. Go to the search icon in Instagram and start typing in a word that you think might be a good hashtag. For example, if I type in #coastal, this is what pops up:
Instagram makes it easy as they instantly start making suggestions for you. Start by thinking of some keywords relevant to your art business. Or better yet, find hashtags that are relevant to your potential customers. You want to find hashtags your target audience would likely search for and use on their own. If you sell landscape art, what hashtags do you think your customers would use if they were looking for art?
Next I typed in #coastalart. Here is what I found.
As you can see, Instagram can help me find more hashtags to use.
There are also some hashtag tools on the internet you can use to find which hashtags pertain to your art business. Go to hashtagify.me and type in a hashtag you think might work for your business. Hashtagify.me will then suggest other hashtags relevant to your search. Each of the suggestions can also be clicked to identify even more suggestions. I love this!
Does this information help? Let me know.
There are two types of hashtags you can use on Instagram. They are Branded hashtags and Community hashtags. Branded hashtags are ones that are associated with a person's name or their business name. If you search the hashtag of #my100yearoldhome on Instagram or even just google #my100yearoldhome you will see my photos pop up for about 99% of the content.
One benefit of branded hashtags is they can be tied back directly to your company. Also, you should encourage people to use your branded hashtag in photos and videos on Instagram when they mention your art.
Community hashtags are tags like #abstractart or #coastalart. They don't associate with a particular company. Rather, they are more like categories. The reason why they are so important is because if a buyer is looking for coastal art, he will likely search the hashtag #coastalart. If you paint a lot of coastal art and all of those paintings are posted with #coastalart it is likely the right audience will see your art. It's pretty simple. But really important!
I think I just about have figured out Instagram. I love it and am meeting so many wonderful people. It's hard to imagine that I didn't know any of my 8342 friends less than two months ago. That is just crazy!
So what have I learned since the last time I posted about @my100yearoldhome? Hashtags are becoming more important. You are limited as to the number of hashtags you can have on a post. You can't include more than 30 hashtags in a single comment. (And keep in mind that you can't include more than 5 @ mentions in a single comment.)
The first step to using hashtags to grow your audience is to understand the way they work within Instagram. When you go into the search feature of Instagram, you’ll notice you can search by top content, hashtag, people (username) and places. Instagram uses hashtags to categorize content. A great analogy is to think of how you would organize paperwork in an office. You have your papers which go inside folders, and the folders go inside a filing cabinet. In this scenario, the papers are Instagram posts, the folders are hashtags and the filing cabinet is the Instagram platform.
When someone searches #apples, it’s like telling Instagram to search its cabinet for the “apples” folder and show the latest posts containing that keyword. When you use hashtags in your posts, you’re letting Instagram know to put your post in the appropriate folder in case anyone searches for it.
What this means for your art business is that you need to get into the habit of using hashtags for any main keywords you mention inside of your posts. Using keywords without a hashtag won’t make your post discoverable. So it makes no sense!
There are some really good resources if you want to learn more about hashtags. Hootsuite has a great site they put together called The Complete Instagram Hashtag Guide for Business.
Tomorrow we will talk about how you can use hashtags for Instagram to grow your audience and build your brand.
Sorry for my absence from my blog for a few days. I was actually sick in bed with the flu! It's not often that I get knocked off my feet. I am just happy that I am feeling better and back amongst the healthy!
Spring is officially here and before we know it we will be heading out for summer vacations. As artists, we often feel a responsibility to paint when we travel. Sometimes painting while on vacation can be a wonderful thing. Other times it can be hard to fit in.
This week's Artists Helping Artists show is titled "Creating Art While You are on Vacation". Summer will be here before you know it and vacation travel plans will be in full swing. Now is the time to decide if you want to build in some painting time during your vacation.
On this week's Artists Helping Artist's show my co-host Margaret Sheldon and I share tips and suggestions as to how you can incorporate art in to your vacation. We discuss packing lists, tips for traveling on airplanes with oil paints, and alternative ways to enjoying your art. To listen to this show, click here.
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