Carlee Branding headshots
Carlee rocked it with this branding session for author portraits. As a writer, she needed new photos done for an upcoming project that is super exciting! Can you believe these pictures? Carlee was going for a brave and confident looking photo in addition to her normal, smiley self and absolutely shined in her portraits.
Carlee has helped me get on my feet and build confidence in myself and skills here at Brincefield Studios. Surrounding yourself with people who are encouraging, bright and thoughtful make all the world in starting out. Very thankful to know Carlee and grow together in this profession.
Which picture of Carlee is your favorite?
how to create a content plan
Social media and speaking to your audience is all about consistency. While that word seems easy, to-dos and normal day to day things often get in the way of that consistency.
One way to help that is to set aside time to plan and schedule your content ahead of time. This can be weekly, bi-weekly, or even once a month. I tend to set time aside at the beginning of the month to plan the next one, so right now I am already looking ahead to September! I know that can be hard to process right now when it’s hard to take it day by day--and that’s okay, day by day we can work on consistency together.
Here are some techniques and tools that I use to help think about content for you, your organization or you business.
From the start, I am hoping that you already have categories of items you want to share with your audience and topics that you are excited to share. If you don’t have some ideas, play 20 questions with yourself about things you hope your audience would like to learn about or know about.
Let’s take those categories, topics and ideas that you want to share and start scheduling. Don’t worry, you don’t have to have everything ready right now. Let’s take a blank monthly calendar and decide how often we are going to be able to be consistent in sharing in our audience.
Just because we have 20 ideas now to share, doesn’t mean we post 2 times every day until we run out, how often do you want to talk to your audience? If consistency is our goal, consider trying to post 2-5 times a week. This will allow for some flexibility for you to create your content and share while also listening to what your audience wants & needs.
If blank calendars aren’t your preference, let’s try a spreadsheet (my personal favorite). You can make it your own and customize to what you want to share. Columns that I like to use are: Date, Content Summary/Topics, Caption, Scheduling Status (in progress, scheduled, not started) Links, Topic Category, Notes.
Start with the date and take your ideas and space them out in the same way that allows you to spread out your content throughout the duration that you can be consistent.
Once you have your spreadsheet or your blank calendar filled out with your ideas, take a second to see if you have other items that will fit cohesively in your schedule or if there is room to be spontaneous in plugging something in? Add items or save ideas for when they best fit in your strategy.
Now’s the time to create your content, take those pictures, and think of those captions. Utilize tools to help you stick to the plan, stick to your strategy and your schedule.
Trello is an online tool that you can utilize to-do lists electronically to help keep your content ideas and big picture strategy in order. This is a great place to keep all those ideas so that you can plug in your ideas when it comes time to plan your content for the next month. Trello is how I like to keep big picture ideas or brainstorm sessions that I don't want to forget.
Canva is a free tool with templates to create social media graphics. Plug in your photos or use elements of Canva’s to create your content ahead of time. I like to use this tool to create a great square graphic for Facebook or Instagram or try their story features.
The Facebook page for Business has lots of great benefits. People of all ages use Facebook almost like Google, to look up businesses, organizations and schools. This search of you and your business allows your audience to see how often you interact with them and gives others the ability to review you at any time.
Facebook Pages for business has a free scheduling tool on the administrative side that allows you to schedule your content on Facebook & Instagram ahead of time. This saves so much time and allows for more time you to be engaged with your audience and doing the work during your day to day.
Hootsuite is a scheduling tool that has a monthly charge billed annually. However, if you are managing multiple platforms and want more cohesive metrics to how your posts are performing, this is the platform for you. Hootsuite is easy to look at in a calendar view with a preview of how your content will look like on the platform. It’s an affordable tool, but if you can get by using your Facebook page scheduler I recommend starting with that.
"Sounds like a lot of work planning ahead." You got this! A plan and strategy that are constantly in progress and growing is what is going to make YOU successful. Without a calendar your strategy won't be as successful because you will never get to a point where you can just listen to the audience and evaluate what to do next. Once you get to that point, you will be able to grow and ask your audience what they like. Consistency is key!
Do you have any questions for me? Can I help you with your plan? Let me know in my contact form. Hope you crush your calendars and get your plan going.
Kayty 's senior portraits
Kayty and I go way back, but it's been a while since we have gotten together. When this lovely lady was looking for a way to celebrate her graduation from Purdue University before her next chapter in her education, I was happy to accompany her back to campus to capture these sweet memories.
At Purdue, there are many "superstitious" spots on campus that are a way of passage once you are graduate. When you arrive on campus as a freshman, you have to cross the tracks to the north signifying your entrance into your path at career. When you graduate from Purdue, you cross the tracks to the south entering into the world and your career, leaving campus.
Similar to the tracks, Kayty told me it's bad luck to stand under the bell tower until after you are a graduate. Obviously we spent a ton of time under that bell tower, celebrating Kayty's graduation!
Kayty recently got a puppy named JAQ so we had to include him in some campus photos to commemorate this new chapter for both of them. Look at how sweet he is.
No senior session is complete without visiting the places that were a part of your time at college, which obviously meant we had to stop at Harry's Chocolate Shop! While we weren't able to go inside, we did get this gem outside this classic spot near Purdue University.
Kayty, you may always be a Boilermaker at heart, but we wish you the best as you attend Palmer! You are going to do great things!
the snyder family
The Snyder family is as cute as can be. Quarantine may have delayed Leo's one-year old photoshoot, but the wait made for all the great photos at home with this sweet family. We can't wait to keep watching you grow, Leo.
Thank you for letting us capturing a glimpse of your sweet family, Hannah & Mike.
brincefield studios: annoucement
It’s been a minute since we have introduced ourselves and checked in with Brincefield Studios. We have been busy keeping up with quarantine and taking advantage of the summer sun.
CJ & I have thought a lot about our business and the part-time work that we have been doing-we love it. So much that we are making the leap in launching Brincefield Studios full-time!
CJ will still be teaching in the public schools, but I (Helen) will be taking on more clients and opportunities to help others grow in their passions. Both of us are feeling excited, terrified, pumped and ready for the adventure.
So, Brincefield Studios- Who are we?
We are a service based business specializing in helping you share your story; no matter the platform. Brincefield Studios offers a variety of services in communications, social media, photography, event planning, performing arts education and more.
Between this husband-wife duo, Helen and CJ are committed to supporting individuals, organizations and small businesses share what they do best. We have adventure and experience to grow from.
We both would like to thank everyone who has supported us and rooted us on to this point! If you are curious about what we can do for you, please don’t hesitate to reach out! We can’t wait to work with you!
All photos were taken by the wonderful Samantha Mitchell Photography.
Hibbard family photos
The Hibbard family joined us in early June for this sweet family session! Home sessions are some of our favorites because kiddos and parents feel more at ease knowing where they are at. These sweet girls make their parents lives busy and always full of adventure.
Andy & Lauren
Andy & Lauren are super special to us. Andy was our minister during our wedding and both Andy & Lauren are dear friends. There are times when I tell CJ that I wish that I went to school more years with him and his friends, because I miss spending time with them. We spent an afternoon catching up in a socially distant way with a picnic in the park and getting these sweet 3rd year anniversary photos.
Andy & Lauren make those around them feel welcomed and a part of something bigger. Keep on being you and sharing your love in your professions and with each other. Happy 3rd Anniversary!
I got to know Kate when she became a student at ONU. She is a literally the definition of sweetheart and cares for everyone she meets. From hanging out in the music building, having a drink at The Cask, playing with all the pups and even cleaning together Kate has been nothing but joyful.
Best of luck to you in your next adventure, Kate. We can't wait to see you again soon.
How to set up Google alerts
1. Go to google.com/alerts in your web browser.
2. Enter what you want to create an alert for.
Make a list of keywords that are common for you, your business or organization. Include team members names, the name of your business/organization, services you offer, etc. A preview of your results will show.
3. Choose “Show Options” to narrow down your search.
This is helpful if you want to be alerted by region in addition to specifying how often/how many notifications you receive and where you receive them.
4. Click, “Create Alert”
5. Once you create your alerts, you can click on the settings icon to adjust the frequency of when you receive your alerts specifically by time or a digest option.
Think about how your work flow would benefit from receiving these alerts: Do you want to scroll through news about you in the morning or evening to plan how to share news or other articles of people talking about you, your business or organization?
Setting up Google Alerts allows you to be informed about what others are saying about you and find good news to share with your audience about the work you are doing in your community and beyond. When thinking about how this relates to your marketing plan print and digitally, you can use these alerts to sprinkle in content on days that you aren’t planning to share something that you created.
Repurposing other content is to your advantage and Google alerts help you do this without spending a whole lot of time scrolling the internet for something to share.
I know who I am making content on social media for & why I want to share for myself, business or organization but I don't know how to do it.
If you are asking yourself these questions, try the following regardless of whether you are starting your social media from scratch or growing your audience and number of posts.
Remember the game 20 questions?
Remember the game 20 Questions? Execute it for your business. Think of 20 questions that your audience would want to know about your business, your products, your people or your services. There are no wrong questions-only a way to get some content ideas.
The questions you come up with should fuel posts that you create to share to your audience to answer their questions. After you create the content, remember to include any relevant links back to your website or your blog that goes more in-depth of these answers. Your website, blog, and social media platforms should answer frequently asked questions and house the answers to current situations (COVID-19, re-opening or what to look forward to).
What content do you already have?
What content do you already have that your audience hasn’t seen?
*always ask the owner of the photo for permission to share, but once you have their consent share away. This will encourage others to promote your business/organization for you.
set up google alerts
Use free tools to generate content
Canva is an amazing tool for easy templates to plug in social media content to show your audience quick information or photo updates. They have hundreds of design templates crafted and ready for you to input your information and design anything.
To make an account, visit canva.com and create a log in. From there you will have access to graphics, templates and images to create your designs to download in multiple formats. This tool is free, but there is a paid version that allows you access to more photos and content to input into the templates. A warning from a frequent user: beware the amount of time you spend picking out templates and colors and images. You could spend hours searching through the catchy designs. Stick to your message, brand and share your story.
Utilize Creative Commons in searching for images that are licensed for re-use. Please always make sure that if you are using an image on a digital platform: the photo is yours, you have permission to use it or you are researching to make sure that the image/video is licensed for modifications or publishing. Sticking to the creative commons is a safe way to start out and using imagery for free, while following the rules. Shutterstock also has some royalty free images to choose from.
Continuously brainstorm & Plan
Social media is ever-changing and never stops. Your need to speak to your audience and share relevant information will never stop, either. Make sure to keep a continuous list of ideas of content to post down the road, ask your audience for feedback and listen to trends for small businesses and organizations. Listening to your audience is a sure way to keep content updated, consistent and relevant to RIGHT NOW. Continue to plan, because consistent posting is the best way to listen.
If you or your business/organization would like assistance with content strategy and development, please fill out my contact form on this website. I would love to work with you on telling your business or organization’s story to build an online presence. Feel free to share with someone you know who may be looking for the right tool to find their audience.
Safe at home
Never would we have ever imagined that we would still be sheltering in place and hunkering down because of COVID-19. CJ & I celebrated our anniversary and CJ celebrated his birthday inside. Thought it would be a fun way to recap how we have been spending our time for everyone with the optimism that things opening have been.
We have tried lots of new recipes.
We went to the grocery about once every two weeks to stock up on food and only once a week if we ran out of something that needed to be fresh. The quest for toilet paper the first month was rough. Our favorite cookbook is a classic: Better Home & Garden’s The New Cook Book. We got it for Christmas before we got married and cooked lots of things here.
We shopped small.
Viva Maria’s was our go-to stop when we needed some cannolis.
Once we were allowed to carry-out drinks, we got margaritas and Mexican food from El Campo.
We made a special trip to Gillig’s in Findlay, Ohio for a couple bottles of our favorite wine to stock up for date nights in place.
We played games with each other and our friends.
Jack Box TV with large groups of our friends via Zoom.
Catan virtually in small
We used our arts background.
We crafted and tried to be like Bob Ross. Way more frustrating than we thought, but we ended up with a good product.
We played our instruments, sometimes with each other.
CJ transitioned to working at home and teaching virtually. He submitted things online for his students to do in addition to making them paper-friendly for students who didn’t have access to wifi.
Helen transitioned to working at home full time and moving forward without events for the foreseeable future. Due to these major changes, Helen was put on furlough with an adjusted schedule for the University. Because of this, I have spent more time developing and prepping Brincefield Studios and spending more time with CJ.
We both gave each other space to process these changes apart and together. For Helen that meant using blue light glasses to protect her eyes from screens, using the face masks for skin care and taking naps. For CJ that meant sleeping in, playing Guitar Hero & Rock Band and watching Pokemon. Of course we watched shows on Netflix, Hulu and Disney+.
We are optimistic for the future but recognize that nothing is normal and the new normal will look a lot different for us in our professions. Because of these changes, we decided to shelter in place in Indiana with my family for two weeks to wrap up some family items that were neglected because of the virus-taxes as a married couple, name change, etc. Looking forward to moving forward and being together with everyone soon.
What has been your favorite at home activity while you have been staying safe at home?
Right now is a perfect time to be building content for you, your small business or your organization to use on social. Let’s go back to basics and ask these questions as you are making content:
1. Whom are you creating content for?
2. Why are you creating content?
3. What resources do you have to use?
4. How can you stand out?
Asking yourself these questions will help guide you in a strategic approach to what you want to tell your audience on social.
How can you apply this to your business?
How to Inventory Your Instruments
This spring has looked a lot different for musicians with gigs being cancelled, in person lessons and classroom settings moved to operating virtually. Trying to find the new normal during these times by learning and growing through it all.
Although we are stuck inside, spring is still the perfect time for spring cleaning. CJ put together a few tips for musicians on the importance of knowing your instrument inventory, keeping track of your instrument serial numbers and insuring your instruments. Let’s get to spring cleaning with your instruments.
If you have even one instrument in your possession, you should answer the following:
If you can answer these questions without hesitation, you are awesome! If you haven’t done any of these yet, take the time to document your instruments so that you know what you are working with.
This year we have learned that the world is unpredictable (you probably already knew that). Taking the time to answer the questions above are just as important as the valuable research you put into researching your horn, or investing in that mouthpiece or getting your instruments maintenanced. Take the time to document your instruments so that you have information to insure and protect the items that you have worked so hard to get.
Find your Serial Numbers & Document
You want to make sure that you have accurate documentation for your instrument(s), and other related items such as specialty cases, mutes, amps, bows and other items you may need for performances.
Find Serial Number on a Brass Instrument
Find Serial Number on a Woodwind Instrument
Find Serial Number on a String Instrument
Find Serial Number on a Percussion Instrument
protecting your equipment
If you travel a lot for gigs like I do, your gear probably has been in a vehicle. The above steps may seem a little extreme to document for a potential accident, but it could happen. If your gear is in your car during a car accident, having documentation will help be able to document what is lost or replaceable.
Click here to read about what type of documentation you need to insure your instrument(s).
Note that less expensive gear probably won’t be covered and you will have to replace it, but knowing what you need to document before there is a problem is key to preventing being without something in the future. We hope something like that never happens, but you have to be prepared. Talk to your insurance agent for more specific information.
Something simple you can do to protect your instruments when you are traveling is this: DO NOT leave your instrument(s) in your car overnight.
Bottom line: Please, take care of your items. You’ve spent years working on your craft and investing in the tools to do your craft so be responsible and know what you have and take care of them.
Let us know if you have any more questions about this and let us know when you have made your spreadsheet documenting your instruments. Do not share this document on social media, but encourage your friends with instruments and gear to get on board with spring cleaning and document their gear!
-Helen & CJ
Self Awareness: Enneagram Quiz
Working from home and social distancing is the perfect time to learn more about YOU.
Self awareness tests are so helpful in helping describe how you learn, how you love, and generally how aware you are of yourself and your actions. During our marriage counseling, CJ & I read The Five Love Languages. After we read a certain portion of the book we each took the test and talked with each other about how we prefer to be loved. These tests and others are ways to be more aware of yourself so you can communicate your needs.
While The Five Love Languages is more interpersonal and intimate there are other tests like Strengthsfinder, Myers Briggs (where are my fellow INFJ’s at?) and many more. The Enneagram test has been popular recently and I have been seeing very intriguing content on what Enneagram number people are on Instagram. I figured, since I am curious, maybe some of you are, too.
Let’s take an Enneagram test together. Click here to take the quiz. This is a free version.
The Enneagram defines nine personality types, each with its own set of strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for personal growth. What type did you get? I am a Type 3-an achiever.
Just like other self awareness and personality tests, categories help describe you to others and help you see yourself and relate to others.
Just a caveat to all personality tests, just because you test one way, one time doesn't mean that a couple years down the road as you become more self aware that you will become a different enneagram, etc. We all grow and change in different ways inwardly and outwardly and that's a beautiful realization.
Instagram lately has been full of beautiful posts describing Enneagram types to traits, personalities, coffee and more. I thought I would post some of my favorites and encourage you to go search your enneagram type in the search bar on Instagram and look at some of these beautiful posts.
(Remember to always give credit to others when using others work).
Let me know what type you are in the comments below! Maybe I will know what your coffee order is or the best way to communicate with you.
I sincerely hope you are all taking care during these crazy times and hope you are staying sane at home.
Happy Anniversary, CJ! After our celebration with our family and friends, we promised ourselves to each other and to celebrate each day and make it an adventure. Our first year has gone incredibly fast, but the adventures already have been more than I ever could imagine.
While we were dating and growing our friendship, we always reminded each other that it was the little things that let love grow and those still prove to be true. I love the little moments in each day that bring us together-folding laundry together, getting groceries and cooking dinner. The big moments prove to be just as momentous: job changes, balancing family time, growing our own passions while growing together. Each moment that we get to spend together is something I hope we treasure.
We are nothing without our friends and are happy when we get to be a part of their lives even from a far. We were so happy to have so many with us on our big day.
The planning and details were beautiful, but on that day all I could be excited for was finally starting each day together.
After a year, you still show off your ring. I love that you are proud of our family.
Speaking of family, how lucky we are to have family and friends who support us each day. Thank you for being committed to us and helping us grow each day.
I hope as the anniversary number grows we continue to dance in the kitchen just because.
To many more years where we feel like this!
Thanks for making each day an adventure and taking it one day at time with me by your side.
I love you, CJ.
Photography credit: Samantha Mitchell Photography
If you would like to view more photos please click here to be directed to the online gallery. Enter your email to view the photos. If you would like to download please enter the code 6619. Samantha did an amazing blog recapping our story and the big day on her blog. Check it out.
Adventure is out there.