All posts by astri

It’s Official. I said goodbye to MailChimp (and GoDaddy, and Constant Contact) and hello to Flodesk. Want to know why?


*If you don’t have time to read this whole thing and love what you see in Flodesk, just scroll down for an awesome 50% off offer!!*


Welcome!

If you’re reading this, we probably something in common– you want to make the best possible newsletter out there, and you love a good deal. Just guessing! Let me let you in on a secret:  As a business owner, I hated newsletters.  The whole idea of them.  I started with Constant Contact.  Then someone told me I could save money on GoDaddy.  It was fine, but I had several people tell me MailChimp was better, so I switched to MailChimp.  It was about the same for me … I wasn’t inspired.  I was NEVER excited about it.  And I got down on myself about that.

Cut to —— FLODESK.  When I discovered this truly awesome platform, it was kind of a dream come true.  I switched right away, and this is what happened:

  • I got seriously excited to write and send out my next newsletter.  I am not kidding you, promise!

The juices get flowing now, fer real.  I think it’s a combination of so many things; the beautiful template choices, the ease of navigation (see more deets on those below), they just make it easy for you.  That really sums it up in a nutshell.

  • I thought all the templates were GORGE.

I don’t have time to individually design each and every email.  I wanted a platform that could effortlessly communicate my story and brand to my audience and potential clients.  Now all of my emails look trendy, on-brand, and they take a fraction of the time to make.  Really, take a look at them here: (https://app.flodesk.com/emails/templates).  It only takes a single glance to go all bone-less drinking in that beauty.  And at the time of this writing, they have over 30 templates to choose from.  You can use every. Single. One.  No limit to the number of templates you can use.  Mix ‘em up!  Use ‘em all!

  • It is WAY easier to navigate.

To be honest, I can be slow when it comes to learning a new interface.  I don’t have the bandwidth (or choose not to) to learn new ways of doing things.  Old dog kind of mentality.  Flodesk was NOT confusing to learn.  It was the most user-friendly newsletter platform I’ve used, by far.  Which is saying a lot.

  • It is SO much easier to personalize.

These gorgeous templates make it so easy to plop in a photo, add an active link to important pages, and they’ve got cool arrows and squiggly lines that move in some of them.  Super cool things I’d never considered an option before Flodesk (unless I wanted to pay someone who codes a crazy amount of money to design each and every newsletter).  Flodesk also has an option where I can easily choose personal branding colors and my signature – soooo cool!

  • It was cheaper than MailChimp (and most other plans out there).

All total, I’ll be saving around $17/month after switching from MailChimp. And as we all know, every penny counts.  And, the great news is, I’ll be saving MORE as my email grows longer and longer.  Many of the past platforms I’ve used charge based on your email list.  $X up to 5,000, $X up to 10,000, and so on.  NOT Flodesk.  They charge a flat fee (and 50% off for life with my code).

  • The customer support team is straight up boss.

Flodesk customer support is super helpful and quick with their email chat function.  Plus, you get access to their Facebook group, a place chock-full of great ideas and where you can connect with other creative professionals.

  • I can effortlessly plan future emails, and set them up to go out at certain dates and times.

The Flodesk workflow page is a simple and intuitive interface.  I can easily plan and time my workflow sequence to build a nurturing connection with my audience.

  • The ease of editing is incredible.

I mean, we’ve all been there: staring at our computer screens, hands gripping hair, frustrated over the *tiniest* detail that will simply not go as we want. The days of technological frustration are over!  Add a text block, change the font, the size, the color, the alignment, the spacing…all in the same window.  Change the size of your photograph.  Have your photo be a link to something else.  Change grid & aspect ratios.  Add a photo, or two, or three, or four to that same block.  Seriously, easy peasy!!

  • It matches my Boss Lady vibe.

I feel like a go-getter navigating this platform. Every time a loading page appears, there is some sort of empowering or sweet message that appears. It really is cohesive to my “I got this, I’m awesome” vibe.

  • It’s actually fun to use.

This is related to some of the points above, but seriously guys, it’s so easy. Work is called work for a reason, or at least that is what we are told. Using a platform that aids something I do every day, now that really lessens the blow of “work”!

Like what you see?  Use the code ASTRIWEE when you sign up for Flodesk and to get 50% off FOR LIFE if you switch, too. Yep.  For.  Life.

The Link Between Family Portraits and Children’s Self-Esteem

Lately, I’ve been reading articles on how family portraits displayed around your home can boost your child’s self-esteem. Really!

If you think about it, it makes sense. If you hang a photo of your family that you are proud of, not only does it chart your child’s growth (they grow too fast, don’t they?!), it also provides memories and lets them know they are a cherished member of your family.

In fact, Dr. David Krauss, a licensed psychologist says, “I think it’s really important to show a family as a family unit. It is so helpful for children to see themselves as a valued and important part of that family unit. A photographer’s job is to create and make the image look like a safe holding space for kids, where they are protected and loved. Kids get it on a really simple level.”

According to Judy Weiser, a psychologist, art therapist and author, “It lets children learn who they are and where they fit. When a child sees a family portrait with them included in the photograph, they say to themselves: ‘These people have me as part of what they are, that’s why I belong here. This is where I come from.’”

The stats and studies conducted on this important subject are out there, believe me. This doesn’t mean you have to hire a professional photographer to take the family photos. Just having photographs hanging on the walls throughout your home is a constant visual reminder to your children of the important role they play in the family unit.

Of course, I would like for you to consider using a professional photographer (me!), because it becomes an heirloom, a reminder, a memory that can be passed down. There is something about making an investment in yourself, and in your family, that feels good. And there is no such thing as too many reminders that we love our little ones and how much they mean to us!

Now you may be wondering, when it comes to having the greatest impact on a child’s esteem level, which is better, digital images or paper prints?

That’s an easy one: prints. Preferably, beautifully-matted and professionally-framed prints. It becomes art in your home that your child can see daily that doesn’t require turning on a device or using a remote control to view. If all your family photos are on your phone, laptop, or usb drive, there is no overt reminder to your children that they are being celebrated each and every day.

When Dr. Krauss was asked “if an image on a tablet, computer screen or social media site has the same impact on helping families boost a child’s self-esteem,” he replied, “my bias is very simple. I think they (family photographs) should definitely be on the wall,” says Krauss.

Thank you! And until next month . . .

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What is Luxury, Fine Art Portraiture?

Hi there!  And welcome to my new Blog!

I hope that you visit my website and my Blog often and find inspiration when you do.  I will be blogging periodically about my experience shooting portraits of newborns, families and special events, as well as discussing how best to prepare for a photo shoot, the different types of photography, and other interesting subjects to take you on a journey through the world of photography.

For my first blog post, I’ve decided to write about the type of photography that fits into the category of luxury and fine art, a tagline I use on my website.

So, what exactly is luxury, fine art portraiture?

I will give you my answer here, but before I present you with my views on the attributes that put a photograph in the domain of luxury/fine art, I want to mention that these views reflect my own, personal opinions.  Opinions that are based on my years of professional photography experience and my formal fine arts and digital photography education.

The term fine art portraiture— also known as “photographic art” or “artistic photography” — refers to photography that is created in accordance with the creative vision or creative message of the one taking the photo (that would be me!). Fine art portraiture is not about digitally recording a subject and simply capturing what the camera sees.  It is about capturing what the photographer sees and what the artist’s vision is for your specific shoot.

Fine art portraiture relies on the manipulation of metadata and, sometimes, the manipulation of pixels in the post-shoot phase.  Although, when it comes to portraits, the manipulation I rely on during editing is often minimal, my overall goal is to achieve as natural a look as possible.  To accomplish this goal requires spending a significant amount of my time and creative effort in the editing stage of the photography process before my clients see their images for the first time.

Everything from light, to contrast, to clarity, composition, saturation, noise, the list goes on – is a deliberate artistic choice I make to achieve a uniquely individual image of you and your loved ones.  An image that will tell your personal story and elicit an emotional reaction from the viewer each time they see it.

Another important distinction in luxury/fine art portraiture is the paper on which the images are printed.  If a photograph is going on your wall, always have it printed on fine art paper rather than standard photo paper. Yes, fine art paper is more expensive — usually 100% cotton rag (but the percentage can vary) and is acid free (neutral pH) — but the final product will stand the test of time and that makes it worth it.  In addition, fine art photography should be printed by professional art printers, as the ink used is different and they often provide a greater range of colors and blacks. Fingerprints are not as visible on fine art paper, but the paper can scratch easily, so it is best if fine art portraits are framed as soon as possible to protect them for years to come.

Regular photo paper is fine when you want to print photos in bulk.  But, it is generally resin coated, so, those images fade more quickly due to the chemicals used in the production process.

So, in summary:  is the cool, black and white picture of the Brooklyn Bridge that is hanging in my office fine art?  Yes – because of the time I spent editing it in post, and the paper on which it is printed, along with the intention I had when creating it.  Can the picture that I take of your beautiful baby, your awesome family, or your special event that you had framed and is hanging on your wall at home fit into the category of luxury, fine art photography?  Absolutely!

One last thing I do want to mention is that you don’t have to like a fine art photograph.  Liking it does not make it fine art — its content and artistic aesthetic value do.

If you know me already (or have scanned my About Me page), you know that I love provocative conversations, so please feel free to share your comments and thoughts on my Luxury, Fine Art Photography blog.

Thank you! And until next month . . .