Epic Advice for College Students

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With all of its chaos and emotion, the month of August can also bring refreshing and positive memories to social media feeds with the start of the new school year. For college students and parents alike, those emotions can be mixed, as it’s a time of independence and growth.

This year I entered my 20th year working with college students in some form. In the past, it’s been as an advisor or student orientation leader, and to be honest, I’ve even worn the mascot costume before.

Classes began for us this week, but students across the country have been moving in since the beginning of the month. I have two younger cousins who are embarking on this journey themselves and my hope for their success is no different than that of the students I see every day.

Because I tend to think I’m hipper than I actually am, I decided not to post my own thoughts on college student success, but instead to post a question on Facebook and post the responses here. Believe it or not, I agree with every single one of them! Continue reading

An Intentional Approach to Instagram

Click here to read my series on simple social media

Instagram is awesome. When I first discovered it  about five years ago, I was amazed at the filters.  At that time, I thought that the filters were professional quality and I never needed to to anything else. Believe it or not, I kind of held to that thinking until recently when I took an Instagram class, and learned a few things about being intentional with Instagram.

Here are the tips I want to share:

  1. Your Instagram page should look cohesive. When you lookout your profile page, pay attention to your first nine photos. Ask yourself this question, can anyone looking at these nine photos have an accurate representation of what’s important in my life? Hint: that answer should be yes.
  2. If it is not, delete the photos that don’t fit.
  3. Use hashtags, but do not use more than two. Okay, maximum three. A comment full of hashtags just looks tacky. Sorry, I could think of a better way to put it.
  4. Use natural light as much as possible. All photos — mobile and otherwise look better in natural light.
  5. Find a filter you like and use it all the time. This will give your photos continuity.
  6. The same thing goes from framing. Frame or nah, but be consistent either way.
  7. Look at your profile and make sure you describe yourself and include your personal website (if applicable) in the profile. Remember what you say about yourself should be reflected in your top 9 photos.
  8. Remember this, just because you take a photo, you do not have to post it on Instagram. Sometimes, Facebook is enough. It’s up to you and your online presence as to what goes where. That’s the part about being intentional. Give yourself permission to post when it’s right, not because you think that everything needs to go on Facebook.

I hope these help you in creating a more intentional approach to Instagram. Feel free to read additional posts from my 31 Days of Social Media series.

Click here to read my series on simple social media

An Intentional Approach to Facebook

Click here to read my series on simple social media

If Mark Zuckerberg is Intentional, You Should Be Too

Click here to read my series on simple social media

Beyond the Big Three: Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram

Momtography: Mastering Back to School Photos

mommywithcameraHi friends!!!!! Are you staying cool in this heat?!?!? Here in Texas the heat came down on us and has not let up! According to our the weather forecasts, the temperatures are going to surpass 100-degree heat rather quickly.
More importantly though, is the fact that school is starting soon and in Texas, this weekend is TAX-FREE WEEKEND on school supplies, clothes, shoes, and some electronics. So while we are helping prepare our Littles for the upcoming school year, I want to help you get your first day of school photos “on fleek” as my teenagers would say. I shared these types last night on Periscope (follow me there at @twillisbestshot) and I’m posting them here for you today!

  1.  Take a photo of you child holding a photo of themselves when they were little. This one is guaranteed to get lots of oohs and as and you and others can marvel over how they’ve grown.10532067_10152615996940731_2856085934567300787_o
  2. Take a photo of your child with backpack and stack of books currently reading. This is a good way to see changes throughout the years as your child progresses from Dr. Seuss to Captain Underpants to Harry Potter to Twilight and probably back to Dr. Seuss. This is one I wish I did over the years when my kids were younger.

ATTENTION. I interrupt this list to inform you that you do not have to take the photo on the first day of school. If there is too much anxiety in your house, take the photos the weekend before school starts and post it on the first day of school. Trust me, your Facebook friends and Instagram followers are not there to hep you recover in the aftermath of the first day, so take the photos when it’s best for you and your child! Shall we continue?

3. Take a photo in front of the school doors or near the school sign. This is a good one to get before the first day so you don’t actually have to wait in line for other families to get the perfect spot. 1930487_38544310730_3043_n

4. For older kids who may want to get out of your sight as soon as possible, grab a photo of your kids walking away but interacting with friends, greeting teachers, and going to class. If you have a DSLR camera, a 70-200 mm lens or higher could be particularly useful here.


5.  When your child starts kindergarten, get an Adult X-Large t-shirt and use fabric paint to decorate the shirt with “Class of _____” for their high school graduation year. Each year, take a photo of your child in the shirt and you will be able to see the child’s growth throughout the years!

6. Use simple props. You don’t have to be glamorous for this one. Use an apple. a lunchbox, a backpack. Any of those items say “school” to those watching. This summer, Tyra has proclaimed to the world that she is only wearing Converse tennis shoes for the rest of her life. Only. Converse. Forever. In light of that statement, I will probably use her Converse as a prop, especially since I’m certain whichever pair of shoes she wears on her first day will match her backpack. So, even if I am faced with 13-year-old eye rolling and attitude when I pull out the camera on August 24, I will have a cute photo of the shoes and the backpack from the night before. And speaking of the night before…don’t forget to take photos of the outfit in the closet, the inside of the lunchbox, and the school supplies stacked on the table.

7. Find a school bus, any school bus, and use it as a photo back drop. Right now, school buses tend to be parked in school parking lots and are unattended to. Take a photo of your child with the school bus in the background!

8. Involve family members in the fun! Last year, my daughters and I visited their younger cousin for a quick photo shoot on her first day of school. It was fun because now the first day of school became a family affair and it made the social media interaction more fun for our cousins who live in a different state.10603476_10152608913120250_925844826717520577_n

9. Give your child a sign that says “STOP CRYING MOM.” Have them hold it and snap a photo as they are ready to leave the house. This is especially cute for smaller children who are in prekindergarten or kindergarten,

Have you seen any really cool ideas for back to school photos? Please share in the comments below!