Her Lovely Heart

March 2, 2015

The Heart List / 1 / Your most valuable strenghts

The Heart List: Chapter One. Click through to get your own printable template, and to share your lists with us!

Happy Monday! It’s a good day to start something new, don’t you think?

If you are a regular reader, you probably know that I adore lists! I even wrote a post about why list-making is good for your life and business. I’m currently going through an unstable patch in life, you know the kind where you feel like you’re in ‘waiting’ mode and can’t quite move in any direction until something out of your control happens. In my case it’s waiting to sell our house, so that we can move on to the next stage of our crazy life plan of living by the sea. In these kind of times I get restless, I don’t take good enough care of myself, the feeling of not being in control of when something is going to happen feels like a constant pressure at the back of your head, a certain tightness in your chest you can’t get rid of.

So, I wanted to use list-making for some affirmations, to get me out of my funk. And then I thought, how much more fun would this be if I could include you, my reader, and make this a collaboration? I think there would be so many things we could all learn from each others lists. The only thing I’ll ask that you be completely honest with yourself, and most of all, kind to yourself. These lists will hopefully be a road map of your heart and values, and they will help you re-affirm everything that is special about you, information which we often ignore, but which is so very important to be aware of in order to live a full life, or run an authentic business. That’s why I called it The Heart List.

So here’s how I it works. Below, you can download a printable pdf of each Chapter, as and when I post a new subject. You can then fill yours out, blog it, and link to your blog post in the comments below, so we can all visit each others lists and get inspired!

Click here to download The Heart List: Chapter One: Download

Chapter One: List your most valuable strengths

By valuable I mean strengths that give you most joy in life. Sometimes we have strengths in areas that don’t really bring us any joy, so it’s important to identify those strengths that steer us towards the kind of life we want to live. I tried not to think about this too consciously, I just started writing. In about 10 minutes these were the strengths I had written down. Had I written these out more consciously, with judgement or a little editor in my head, some of them probably wouldn’t have made it due to feeling self-conscious or a little bit cringe-worthy. But I’m actually really glad to see these in writing, and know that despite being my own harshest critic, I do try to actively be aware of my own power for good.

  • I am patient.
  • I am good at seeing the big picture.
  • I try to be true to my heart.
  • I can see good in most anyone.
  • I am persistent.
  • I have an eye for pretty things.
  • I am able to turn an idea into action.
  • I can inspire other people to achieve greater things than I could achieve.
  • I am ok with solitude.
  • I have a lot to give.
  • I try to be kind.
  • I can show people their true beauty.
  • I am not afraid of failure.
 
Please do post a link to your own list in the comments below! You can find all the lists here.
 

Her Lovely Heart


February 27, 2015

Latest from Instagram / 15

Latest from the Her Lovely Heart Instagram feed. #hlhinstaquotes

Lately, on Instagram, we’ve tried to steer you towards a mindset of planning, instead of worrying…

Latest from the Her Lovely Heart Instagram feed. #hlhinstaquotes

…because running your own business will always come with worries, so you might as well be prepared so you can fully enjoy the ride!

Latest from the Her Lovely Heart Instagram feed. #hlhinstaquotes

And always remember that happiness is a choice. Be brave enough to choose it.

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Her Lovely Heart


February 26, 2015

How to use random words to spark new connections and ideas

Using random words to spark news ideas. Click through to read!

Huge raindrops are hammering the window, the cats are snoring on the sofa, and I’m trying to find motivation for getting through my to-do-list, while feeling the pressure of coming up with new ideas for the new season, which is just around the corner. It’s this time of year when I feel that pressure most, and sometimes that feeling can be super counter-intuitive, which is why I’m so interested in discovering new (and old) techniques to help with the process of idea-generation.

Today I’m looking at an old favourite from the ‘brute force’ camp of thinking, using random words to help spark new thoughts and ideas. In order to get any new ideas, you need to always be creating new sets of patterns in your mind. A brute force method is all about finding ways to force connections between things that wouldn’t normally be associated together. Our brain is very good at making many connections seem obvious, telling us that ‘fish & chips’, or ‘ham & cheese’ go together, or how about ‘mother & daughter’, or ‘music & dancing’, all things that help us categorise the world around us and make sense of it.

The one place where we are generally used to seeing less obvious juxtaposition of things and ideas is art, especially modern art, where subjects with seemingly no relation might be put together to provoke the mind. This is the place we want to try to get to, with a simple tool which we can adopt to the matter at hand. Brute force works because our mind can’t resist connecting things, no matter how remote they seem, all we need to do is to pay attention to what we are giving our mind to process, and make a concentrated effort to see connections between unlikely things.

Make it random

Here’s where random words come in. Nothing happens until you start thinking, and a random word will jolt that process into action. The word you bring into your challenge must be truly random. If we let ourselves choose a word the mind will every time select one with some relevance to what we’re thinking about. A truly random word will spark new ideas, a ‘vetted’ one will just have you thinking in circles. Here are some ways to select random words:

  1. You can get a random word from a dictionary. Open it randomly and point on the page with your eyes closed and see where your finger lands. Remember that you’ll have to use the first word you land on, giving yourself the freedom to skip words will defy the purpose and you will just keep going until you find one that ‘relates’.
  2. You can use a table of random numbers to help you select a page in the dictionary, and a word on the page.
  3. You can find many random word charts via google. The better ones will be designed with words that are known to help with problem-solving. The best words are usually, simple, familiar and somehow visual, which will make it easier to make new connections.

One you have your word the first thing you can do is think of all the things that are associated with that word. Let’s say that we landed on ‘vase’. Other words related to a vase could be flowers, water, design, materials such as glass, porcelain, metal and enamel, actions such as filling, refreshing and emptying. Vases are functional, but can also be purely aesthetic, etc., etc.

Force connection

Then move onto forcing connections. Let’s say your challenge is ‘how to offer better customer service?’

  • Vases can be filled up. How could you fill your customer experience with things that bring joy?
  • Vases can be emptied. How could you remove things from your process or materials, which doesn’t serve your client? Or how could you make sure all their concerns are pre-emptied?
  • Vases are functional but also beautiful. How could you make your customer facing information more appealing?
  • Vases break. How could you avoid situations that might fracture a client relationship, have you thought of all the possible breaking points?
  • Flowers die when vases are empty. Are you making sure you set boundaries that won’t leave you drained and not able to serve your clients the best you can?

Keep going for five minutes or so. You might find that afterwards your mind will still be processing the challenge in the background, and new ideas will pop up later on. Do remember to write down all the ideas that surface, get into the habit of carrying a notebook (or a note-taking app) and documenting all your ideas as they come. You might think you’ll remember them later, but trust me, you won’t!

What kind of ideas did you land on with this method? Do share in the comments below!


Her Lovely Heart


February 25, 2015

Quote of the Week / 25

‘The future is always beginning now.’
~ Mark Strand

Free future is now wallpaper designed for Her Lovely Heart by Marianne Taylor. Click through to download.

This Quote of the Week feels poignant to me right now. We tend to only feel this way when we are on the precipice of big life changes, like I am at the moment, but really, we should seize this thought every day. Each new moment is a possibility to change our future. Right now.

If you wish, you can download this quote as an original desktop wallpaper, featuring one of my new paintings (yes, slowly getting back into it!), below.

Free future is now wallpaper designed for Her Lovely Heart by Marianne Taylor. Click through to download.
Free future is now wallpaper designed for Her Lovely Heart by Marianne Taylor. Click through to download.

Designed for Her Lovely Heart by Marianne Taylor. 

Click here to download Wallpapers by Marianne Taylor: Download

 
Do you have a design you’d like to submit for our Goodie Bag? Create one design, or example of a digital product, and email it to submissions@herlovelyheart.com with the subject line ‘Goodie Bag’. We’ll review your submission and get back to you if it’s a good fit for the site!
 

Her Lovely Heart


February 24, 2015

Inspiration Board / 8 / Mellow Yellow

I saw a glimpse of sunshine this week (honestly, I did!) and it inspired me to seek out yellow tones to brighten up even the dullest days. Besides, yellow is the perfect companion for grey don’t you think!

Her Lovely Heart Yellow Inspiration Board. Click through for details.

Large Modalu Heirloom leather tote bag in yellow from John Lewis.
Felt Macbook case with yellow band by Pro Felter.
Yellow Olympus Trip 35 refurbished film camera.
Yellow headphones with mic and multifunction button from Amazon.
Neon yellow desk notebook from Paperchase.
Yellow HDMI 3D-Ready Pocket DLP Projector from Amazon.
Yellow perch table lamp by West Elm.
Yellow striped iPhone cover by Hello Nutcase.
White and yellow chevron mouse pad.
Aqua blue, pink and yellow patchwork smartphone case by Lazydoll.

Follow us on Pinterest for more inspiration!
 

Her Lovely Heart


February 23, 2015

Ask Marianne / 21 / Talk to people outside your circle

Talk to people outside your industry for fresh ideas. Click through to read.

In this series, Her Lovely Heart founder Marianne Taylor answers some of the burning questions submitted by blog readers, spanning everything from photography and business questions to personal mantras. Read on to find out what people are longing to know about…

Q: I’m trying to redesign my website and every time I ask for someone’s opinion (or even when I don’t ask for it!) I get told how I should be more like that one or have this kind of more trendy style. I feel torn between being pushed to emulating someone who has been successful in my industry or doing my own thing, which doesn’t seem to be popular among my peers.

A: I know how easy it is to get into that state of confusion, where you want to follow your heart, but everyone else in your industry seems to be doing something different. It definitely doesn’t help when everyone has an opinion, especially when those opinions seem to be the polar opposite to yours! I’m not saying that it’s not valuable to be aware of what others in your industry are doing, or to hear how someone else made things work, but in terms of moving forward with unique ideas that feel authentic to you, it sometimes serves us better to listen to people who have absolutely nothing to do with our own industry. In her latest guest blog, Emily talked about taking inspiration from outside of your industry. I would encourage you to dig even deeper into that direction in order to discover a path that is truly unique to you and makes you stand out in a positive way. Here are some ways how.

1 Talk to people outside of your industry, preferably with a completely different background to yours

Pitch your ideas, or show your plans to someone who has nothing to do with your industry. The more casual the relationship the better, as you will get a genuinely neutral, fresh opinion. Not only that, but hearing someone with no prior knowledge of your industry talk about your service or product might help you generate completely unique ideas that you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.

2 Seek out passionate people

Surround yourself with people who love thinking of news ways of doing things. People who will set your imagination on fire. These people might be naive about your business, but interested and excited about solving problems. They could be someone with different values to yours, which makes them look at your issues from a completely different angle. They could be big travellers or readers, people who devour new information or places. The more people who are passionate about life you have around you, the more chances you have at staying passionate and fired up yourself.

3 Be interested in strangers

Everyone has a well of stories, ideas and creativity inside of them, you’ll just have to be open to seeing and hearing it. Have a conversation with someone you’re stuck waiting for the bus with, or someone who works at your local cafe. Treat any casual encounter as an opportunity to learn something new.

4 Learn to listen

The biggest obstacle for most of us to learning new things is our inability to really listen. We are always so quick to counter with our own opinions, that we rarely properly take in what is communicated to us. One of the most valuable skills you could learn is the skill of listening without judgment, with patience and desire to learn rather than to counter.

Click here to read all the questions & answers in this series.
Do you have a question about photography or running a business for Marianne? You can email your questions to submissions@herlovelyheart.com with the subject line ‘Ask Marianne’. The best questions will be answered on the blog throughout this series.
 

Her Lovely Heart


February 20, 2015

Latest from Instagram / 14

Latest from the Her Lovely Heart Instagram feed.

Lately, on Instagram, we’ve tried to give you a little nudge towards action. Dreaming it is the first step, but making it happen is where it’s at…

Latest from the Her Lovely Heart Instagram feed.

This advice is so accurate in its simplicity, and yet, how often do we find an excuse to not take the shot?

Latest from the Her Lovely Heart Instagram feed.

We’ve also tried to remember to celebrate the good moments. Often happiness is closer than you think.

Latest from the Her Lovely Heart Instagram feed.

Learning and being uncomfortable are so closely linked that too often people avoid the unknown for how it makes them feel, but that’s where you have to go in order to learn new things. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable!

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Her Lovely Heart


February 19, 2015

How to use the SCAMPER technique to generate new ideas

Using the SCAMPER technique to help generate new ideas. Click through to read!

I’m always on the lookout for new techniques that help with solving problems and generating ideas. Any tool you can use to either dissolve an artistic block, or brainstorm new solutions for your business, is a win-win in my book. I’ve come across the SCAMPER technique before in relation to product design, but haven’t really delved deeper into where else it could be applied before.

This technique has been credited to the father of brainstorming, Alex Osborn, but Bob F. Eberle, who wrote about creativity for children and teachers, came up with the actual mnemonic with the aim of increasing interest in creative thinking in children. Since then, the technique has been adopted to be used in corporate settings to facilitate creative decision-making, and by product designers to spark ideas for new products, but you can apply the method to pretty much any situation which requires problem-solving or idea-generation.

So, what does this mystical SCAMPER acronym stand for? Here’s the breakdown:

S – Substitute

C – Combine

A – Adapt

M – Modify/Magnify

P – Put to other use

E – Eliminate

R – Reverse/Rearrange

Suppose you want to create a better-selling package for your portrait sessions. You can begin with applying the SCAMPER mnemonic by asking questions like this:

  • What can I substitute in my current package?
  • What could I combine to offer something more exciting?
  • What can I adapt in order to make it more unique?
  • What could I modify in the way I present my package?
  • What could I magnify to make it stand out?
  • What other uses could I think of for my portrait package?
  • What could be eliminated from my current package?
  • What is the reverse of a ‘regular’ portrait session?
  • What rearrangement of the way I conduct my sessions could make me more unique?

You could then for example go to substitute offering a regular portrait session with offering a chance to spend time having fun with you, with the added bonus of getting images. Or you could combine a portrait session with pampering and offer hair & make-up and cocktails with your session experience. You could adapt further and create an experience with a stylist who can help your clients feel like movie stars for the duration of their session. You could modify the design of your brochure to be more interactive with a questionnaire for your clients to fill in so you can personalise their session. You could think what others uses a portrait service could have, perhaps offering professional lifestyle portraits for groups of tourists if you live in a tourist hot spot. There may be things you can eliminate from your package to make it simpler for prospective clients to grasp, and to increase your profit. What could be the reverse of a portrait session as most people think of it? Perhaps creating a portrait day in an unusual venue, such as a riverboat, where families could enjoy time together, and with other families, and have relaxed portraits taken. Could you rearrange your session in a way that makes you stand out? For example specialising in portraits at the client’s home, instead of having them come to you.

To stay focused, you can concentrate on just one or two of the SCAMPER categories at a time, and delve deeper with questions in order to get closer to a solution. Here are some suggestions for questions to ask:

Substitute

  • What or who could be substituted?
  • Could the ingredients or material be substituted?
  • Could the process be substituted?
  • Could the location be substituted?
  • What else instead?

Combine

  • What ideas could be combined?
  • Could materials be combined?
  • What could be merged?
  • What could be combined for multiple uses?
  • Could different purposes be combined?

Adapt

  • What other idea does this remind me of?
  • What could I copy?
  • What else is similar to this?
  • What else could be adapted?
  • What different context could the concept work in?
  • What ideas outside of my industry could I adapt?

Modify

  • How can this be made better?
  • What could be modified?
  • Is there anything that would make this idea more fresh?
  • Could I change the name?
  • Could I change other aspects?
  • What changes could I make with the marketing?
  • In what other form could I offer this?

Magnify

  • What aspect could be highlighted?
  • What could be added? More time? More attention?
  • Could I add a higher frequency to my offering?
  • What could add extra value?
  • What could be duplicated?
  • What could be exaggerated?

Put to other use

  • What else could it be used for?
  • Is there different way to use it as it is?
  • What else could be made of it?
  • Could it be offered in other markets?

Eliminate

  • What could be taken out?
  • Could it be split up?
  • Could it be made smaller?
  • Could the rules be eliminated?
  • What’s not needed?
  • What would make it clearer?

Rearrange

  • How could I arrange this better?
  • Could I interchange things?
  • Could I rejig the layout?
  • Could things happen in a different order?
  • Could the pace be changed?
  • Could I rearrange the schedule?

Reverse

  • What are the opposites?
  • What are the negatives?
  • Could I turn it around?
  • What would be unexpected?
  • Could I reverse the roles?

I hope you’ll go and have some fun with this technique! Just remember, ideas and innovation are about constant movement. If you can get into the habit of using different techniques to prod your brain, the more chances you have of coming up with new solutions. Try not to think of trying to get to that ONE BIG IDEA of a lifetime, but rather developing a habit of constant problem solving and innovation.


Her Lovely Heart


February 18, 2015

Quote of the Week / 24

‘Whether you are a success or a failure in life has little to do with your circumstances;
it has much more to do with your choices.’
~ Nido Qubein’

Nido Qubein quote wallpaper hand lettered for Her Lovely Heart by Gioia de Antoniis. Click through to download!

We have so much more power than we think. The shape and direction of our life is almost entirely in our hands, and the big, bold choices I’ve made in the past few weeks (more about those later!) have certainly underlined this for me. You can let life happen to you, or you can grab it and do what you want with it.

Gioia De Antoniis hand lettered this beautiful Quote of the Week, and you can keep remembering by downloading these original desktop wallpapers.

Nido Qubein quote wallpaper hand lettered for Her Lovely Heart by Gioia de Antoniis. Click through to download!
Nido Qubein quote wallpaper hand lettered for Her Lovely Heart by Gioia de Antoniis. Click through to download!
Nido Qubein quote wallpaper hand lettered for Her Lovely Heart by Gioia de Antoniis. Click through to download!

Handlettered for Her Lovely Heart by Gioia De Antoniis. You can also find her on Instagram.

Click here to download Quote Wallpapers by Gioia De Antoniis: Download

 
Do you have a design you’d like to submit for our Goodie Bag? Create one design, or example of a digital product, and email it to submissions@herlovelyheart.com with the subject line ‘Goodie Bag’. We’ll review your submission and get back to you if it’s a good fit for the site!
 

Her Lovely Heart


February 17, 2015

Live What You Love workshop / 23 March 2015

Live What You Love photography business workshop 23 March 2015.

We heard you! By popular demand, we decided to schedule one more Live What You Love Workshop by Marianne Taylor before the summer. This intimate workshop takes place on the 23rd of March, and is designed for photographers wanting to pursue their life dream by building a successful business around their passion. It’s for artists who want to feel as inspired and excited about creating a satisfying business, as they do about creating images. It’s for dreamers who want to feel like they’re living a meaningful life and running a business that lights them up, while also staying profitable.

Due to the intimate nature, places are very limited.

Reserve your spot now!


Her Lovely Heart


February 13, 2015

PROfile / 13 / Kimberly Genevieve

Kimberly Genevieve PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read.
PROfile is a series of interviews with artists and creative souls who have built businesses around their craft and passion. We’ll dig deeper to try and find out everything you could want to know from seasoned pros who have experienced the full gamut of highs and lows that come from running a creative business.

This week we are interviewing LA-based photographer Kimberly Genevieve, whose colourful style has attracted many many fans, as well as an extensive client base.

What was your first ‘proper’ job and how did you land it? Was it what you intended to do as a career?

I’ve had so many jobs, but none of which were intended to do as a career. I was a record store clerk for a couple years, I worked at a travel agency, I worked at a department store, I was a sales rep at woman’s fitness center, and finally a mail carrier in Canada. I used to deliver mail door-to-door for almost 5 years before saying ‘screw this, I’m moving to California!’

Kimberly Genevieve PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read.

Has photography always been in your blood?

Yes! I’ve always carried a camera with me – especially at school. I used to take photos of my friends all the time and I’d include photographs in my school projects. It was the only way I knew how to express myself.

Kimberly Genevieve PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read.

Where does your love of bright colours come from?

It probably comes from having endured long winter months in Canada where the sun wouldn’t shine for weeks at a time. Bright colours, sunshine, and palm trees really inspire me and make me so happy. I get pretty sad on gloomy days – LA really is the perfect place for me!

Kimberly Genevieve PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read.

How did you know you were ready to have your own business?

Truthfully, I had no clue. I just did it because it became necessary.

How did you go about starting your own business?

I wish I had a great story about the business plan I put together when I first moved to LA, but I don’t. It sort of just happened as soon as I started getting job offers, and I knew I had to figure it quickly.

Kimberly Genevieve PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read.

How did you secure your first clients?

Daily Candy saw my work and asked if I’d like to start photographing for them around Los Angeles. I jumped at the opportunity knowing what a huge following their site had. They really opened the door for me and got my name and portfolio noticed by so many. To this day, I still get work from people that started following me when I was working with Daily Candy.

Kimberly Genevieve PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read.

How does working with big brands differ from any other jobs you do?

There’s a much bigger production, more creative planning, many voices and opinions coming from different directions, there’s a bigger budget, and lots of people to please, but I’m not complaining. I love working with big brands!

Kimberly Genevieve PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read.

What is your typical daily routine like?

I try to reply to new emails first thing in the morning. Sometimes I just go hiking and then go out for breakfast with my laptop. It really depends on the day and what I’m feeling. I guess I don’t really have much of a routine – I kind of like it that way.

What traits do artists have that help with running a business?

Creativity! You have to be pretty creative to run your own business.

Kimberly Genevieve PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read.

How do you decide which kit to use? Do you have an allegiance to a particular type of gear?

I’m always upgrading my equipment and testing new gear. Thankfully I have a great relationship with Samy’s Camera and I get to try new equipment all the time! For the past three years, I’ve mostly been shooting with Canon gear, and that’s the equipment I spend the most money on. When it comes to strobes and light modifiers, it’s always changing and evolving depending on the type of shoot and the location.

Kimberly Genevieve PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read.

What’s been the most beneficial business decision you’ve made?

Hiring someone to handle my taxes, hands down! I try my best to keep organised throughout the year. I keep detailed items, invoices, and receipts so at the end of the year I give everything to her and she handles the rest. It’s a huge burden off my shoulders. I also think that working closely with an assistant has been extremely beneficial. I have someone to help with emails and editing, so the entire workflow moves much quicker this way – I don’t get as stressed out anymore.

Artists and writers often describe the compulsion to work – do you experience an overwhelming desire to create something new?

Yes, all the time! I am always thinking and brainstorming new and exciting ways to create photographs. Sometimes it feels as though my brain never sleeps.

Kimberly Genevieve PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read.

Do you ever feel alone in your work?

No, not really. I can spend hours just looking at photos on Pinterest and creating mood boards for upcoming shoots. I also spend hours editing photos and watching movies – I’m definitely okay with alone time.

Kimberly Genevieve PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read.

How do you relax?

Mexican food and happy hour with friends!

Where do you find inspiration?

EVERYWHERE!

Kimberly Genevieve PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read.

What advice would you give to your 21-year-old self?

I would tell myself to ignore what other people think of me and my work! I used to care so much what people thought but it really doesn’t matter. I’m not trying to please other people. It’s about what makes me happy and what I love to photograph. I don’t care if certain people don’t like my photographs or my style. I do it for myself and because I love it so much and because it feels right.

What would you like to be remembered for?

That’s a really good question …

Kimberly Genevieve PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read.

What’s been the best moment of your career so far?

The moment I realised I could make a living as a photographer, and that being a full time photographer was actually possible – that was a pretty spectacular moment! I had always worked a 9-5 job and all my friends back home were doing the same thing, but once I arrived in LA and met so many creative people, they all inspired me to start my own business and just go for it!

Kimberly Genevieve PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The feedback. Hearing clients express how happy they are with my photos always feels the most rewarding to me!

What have been the biggest challenges or obstacles you’ve faced in your business and how did you overcome them?

Submitting a budget for a big job. I’d rather just focus on the creative stuff and not deal with all the numbers. I was never good at math.

Kimberly Genevieve PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

One of my mentors once told me to ‘figure out what you like to shoot the most and keep doing it over and over until you become the best at it!’, and that’s exactly what I’m doing.

If you could have dinner with any inspiring person (past or present), who would you choose?

Édith Piaf, Elvis, Michael Landon, Dolly Parton, Charlie Chaplin, and the list goes on and on …

You can see more of Kimberly’s work on the her website, and follow her colourful life via via Instagram and Twitter.

Her Lovely Heart


February 12, 2015

Guest Blog: look for inspiration outside your own industry

Guest blog by Emily Johnston: Seeing inspiration from outside your own industry.

Guest Blogger Emily Johnston is a photographer who loves the sense of freedom travelling gives her. In this episode she talks about the importance of taking inspiration from various sources, not just the ones directly connected to your business.

Even though I am wedding photographer I rarely look at other wedding photographers work to gain inspiration. My reasoning behind this choice is 1) it is important to create your own individual and unique style and 2) looking at other people’s work within the same industry can easily lead to self-comparison, envy, jealousy and all those other unproductive emotions. Which everyone, especially those starting up a business or already self-employed, should do their upmost to steer clear of.

Think outside the box

Take a look at the indirect influences of your business and explore their motivations. Consider what inspires and excites your ideal client and then see where these sources originate from. I believe it is important to take inspirations for your work from all areas of life and make an conscious effort to look around you – in all directions…

Above: architecture, astronomy, spirituality and your mentors.

Below: nature, geography, evolution and biology.

Behind: your memories, historic periods, iconic people of yesteryears and previous fashion trends.

In Front: technology, predictions, up-and-coming talent, your dreams and ambitions.

Guest blog by Emily Johnston: Seeing inspiration from outside your own industry.

For example, when it comes to the style and form of my photography I predominately take my inspiration from fashion photographers, magazines and brands. The context of my work is often inspired by lifestyle theories, the books and quotes I read as well as personal experiences and emotions. Then the aesthetics I lean towards, such as lighting and colour schemes, are mostly influences by Mother Nature and all the delights she has to offer.

Guest blog by Emily Johnston: Seeing inspiration from outside your own industry.

A great resource for collecting all these ideas is Pinterest. Take a look at mine and Her Lovely Hearts boards for even more inspiration. Also remember that your influences don’t necessarily have to be solely visual. I encourage you to get out from behind your computer and tune into all your senses. Consider sound, texture, taste and even smell. Then translate these sensations into aims and goals that will define your work and ultimately shape your business.

We would love for you to share how you get inspired ?

All images: Emily Johnston (top image shot in collaboration with The Stylists Rail)

Her Lovely Heart


February 11, 2015

Quote of the Week / 23

‘Action is eloquence’
~ William Shakespeare

Shakespeare Quote hand lettered by Marianne Taylor for Her Lovely Heart.

This Quote of the Week is hand lettered by yours truly. I know have a long way to go and I’m not 100% happy with this effort, but I really liked the quote, and sometimes you just have to go with ‘progress not perfection’ or else you can’t move on. And that pretty much sums up the quote as well!

If you wish, you can download this quote as original desktop wallpapers below (plus also versions without the quote if you prefer!).

Shakespeare Quote wallpaper hand lettered by Marianne Taylor for Her Lovely Heart.
Free wallpaper by Marianne Taylor for Her Lovely Heart.

Hand lettered for Her Lovely Heart by Marianne Taylor. 

Click here to download Wallpapers by Marianne Taylor: Download

 
Do you have a design you’d like to submit for our Goodie Bag? Create one design, or example of a digital product, and email it to submissions@herlovelyheart.com with the subject line ‘Goodie Bag’. We’ll review your submission and get back to you if it’s a good fit for the site!
 

Her Lovely Heart


February 10, 2015

Style Files / 3 / Colour-blocking and bright pink tights

Colour blocking and bright pink tights.
Dress: ASOS | Bag & jewellery: H&M | Tights: UK tights | Shoes: Fashionworld

Last week I attended an industry event at a swanky London hotel, and the dress code was ‘glamour’. To be perfectly honest, I find it really hard to dress for this kind of occasions, as I’m naturally pretty clumsy, live in trainers, and find it impossible to pass for elegant. In the past I’ve pretty much relied on black as an easy option, but what with my efforts to be more colourful, that wasn’t an option now, which actually made the whole exercise much more fun than before! My new super blonde look has encouraged me to be even more daring with colour, so I decided to go all out with colour-blocking, bright pink tights and a nod to a Dynasty-style take on glamour. I’m definitely loving this new colourful phase in my life, long may it last!


Her Lovely Heart


February 6, 2015

PROfile / 12 / Lisa Congdon

Lisa Congdon PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read,
PROfile is a series of interviews with artists and creative souls who have built businesses around their craft and passion. We’ll dig deeper to try and find out everything you could want to know from seasoned pros who have experienced the full gamut of highs and lows that come from running a creative business.

We are super excited about getting to pick the brain of artist, illustrator and author Lisa Congdon this week. Not only do we love her work, but she is also brilliant at dishing out practical advice on how artists can thrive in business. Enjoy!

What was your first ‘proper’ job and how did you land it? Was it what you intended to do as a career?

My very first proper job was as an elementary school teacher. A few months out of college I decided I better find a career, and teaching was the thing that seemed to most appealing to me at the time. I had always envisioned myself a lawyer or politician, so in a way it was a big diversion because up until I decided to go back to school to get my teaching certification, it wasn’t something I thought I’d do. I’m really glad I did, because I did have fun and I learned a lot. I had zero idea I’d ever become an artist!

Lisa Congdon PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read,

Has art and design always been in your blood?

I think my aesthetic was formed fairly early on when I was in my 20s and early 30s – even before I started making art. I moved to San Francisco when I was 22 and going through life as a young person there and being exposed to all kinds of things – art, fashion, design, food, culture. I have always had a strong sense of style – in terms of what I wear, the art I choose to buy, how I decorate my home, etc. All of that filtered into the kind of art I made when I started to paint and draw when I was 31 years old. So sometimes I wonder if I had gone to art school early on in college or in my early 20s if I would have encountered other influences and have a completely different style.

Lisa Congdon PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read,

How did you go about starting your own business?

Very slowly and intentionally! I started painting when I was 31 as a hobby. And I had a job till I was 39 years old. I went to the studio at night after work and sold my work for a couple of years on the side starting when I was about 37 years old while I still had a job. And then I went part time at my job so that I would have more time in the studio but still have some regular income to subsidise my artwork. And then when I was 39, I left my job and ran a store with my friend while I made art. In fact, it took me about 5 years until I was finally making art as a full time living! All along the way, I worked hard at promoting myself, in getting my files and workspace organised, in building my portfolio and setting goals for myself. Eventually, I wrote in more detail about all the things I did in a book, Art Inc: The Essential Guide to Building Your Career as an Artist, which came out last year.

How did you secure your first clients?

I fell into illustration rather on accident. I had an art show in San Francisco and some folks from Chronicle Books were there and asked me for a meeting. They ended up being my first client; we created a line of stationery together. Once I realised that I wanted to try to be an artist and illustrator for a living, I began to spread the word about what I was making through all the ways that were available to me — in hopes that I could sell more of it, or perhaps get an illustration job, or maybe land a gallery show.

It’s important to remember that I was self taught, and I’d never gone to art school and I was also much older than a lot of people starting out. And so I was intimidated by the art world and had no clue about the worlds of illustration or licensing. Selling my work on Etsy (also new back when I started out in 2007) also felt a bit intimidating. But over the course of time, I asked a lot of questions and read a lot. I was an early adopter of things like Flickr and blogging, and later on I was an early adopter of newer forms of social media like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. And so a lot of my clients came through my online visibility and efforts at self promotion.

Lisa Congdon PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read,

What is your typical daily routine like?

No day is ever the same, but most of my days start with checking email and knocking some low hanging fruit off my to-do list. Then I go to spin class or swim laps. Exercise is an important part of my routine because it helps me relieve stress and get better sleep. Then I come back home, get cleaned up, go to my studio and work on whatever is on my list for the day. Sometimes that’s a client illustration job, sometimes it’s working on a book (I illustrate a lot of my own books now), and sometimes it’s doing administrative stuff or interviews like this one! Then around 6 pm I go back home and eat dinner with my partner and then usually draw in my sketchbook while we watch a movie or television. Right before bed I read a book for a bit until I fall asleep. Occasionally I work after dinner when I have a deadline I have to meet, but I try not to work at night.

Lisa Congdon PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read,

What traits do artists have that help with running a business?

I think successful artists make their best effort to be organised, even if that doesn’t come naturally to them. That means organising and managing their time well, planning out their day to make sure they accomplish everything they need to get done. When you are a commercial artist you often have strict deadlines with clients that you have to meet, and sometimes you have multiple projects and deadlines at once. So being really thoughtful about how you spend your time to ensure you are on track with everything is critical. I also think successful artists know that they must find ways to promote their work – finding social media channels that they enjoy and where they can build a following. You cannot sit back and wish people were buying your work or hiring you for jobs. You have to work for it, so having a strong work ethic and embracing all aspects of the business (not just the art making part) is really important.

You create diverse work from massive abstract paintings, to intricate line drawings. Do you have a favourite medium or technique?

I love working in all kinds of ways, but I do think painting in gouache on acrylic on wood is my favourite. I love the way that paint seeps into wood grain and takes on a texture of its own. Currently my passion is abstract painting, but I don’t have time to do it as much as I’d like with all my other book and illustration projects.

Lisa Congdon PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read,

Artists and writers often describe the compulsion to work – do you experience an overwhelming desire to create something new?

Oh, yes, definitely! Some days I can’t stop, even during my down time, like when I am relaxing in front of the television or a movie, I have to draw in my sketchbook. Sometimes I cannot wait to get into my studio to work. Most of the time I am logging ideas for new projects into my notebook. My brain never turns off.

Do you ever feel alone in your work?

All the time! But I am about to bring on a business partner and I AM SO EXCITED. I am fine with making art by myself, and rather enjoy painting and drawing in a solitary environment. But running a growing business by myself can often feel lonely and overwhelming. I am so excited to have someone to share decision making with, someone to bounce ideas off of, someone to help me with sales, marketing and promotions. I think it’s going to be great.

Lisa Congdon PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read,

How do you relax?

This may sound funny but I draw to relax, but mostly in my sketchbook. I also like to read or listen to audiobooks (I do a lot of that while I work too). I like to go out into nature and hiking. I love watching movies. Cooking relaxes me. Having things that you are passionate about or that are calming outside of work is so important.

What advice would you give to your 21-year-old self?

Stop worrying that other people are judging you. Be your weird awesome self.

Lisa Congdon PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read,

What would you like to be remembered for?

Being kind and giving good hugs.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The amazing emails I get from people who read my blog and follow my work online. I get them just about every day and they keep me going.

Lisa Congdon PROfile interview with Her Lovely Heart. Click through to read,

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

I’ve received so many good pieces of advice over the years, so it’s hard to say which one is best. But I think what I have learned most from those who’ve come before me is this idea of carving your own path. Often we try to emulate other artists or creative people. We say, ‘I want to be just like them’. But that’s just going to be an exercise in frustration and defeat, because you can only be yourself in your work and life. Finding your own voice as an artist is critical not just to success, but to happiness as a human being.

You can see more of Lisa’s work on the her website, and follow her via Instagram and Twitter.

Her Lovely Heart


February 5, 2015

How mind-mapping can help you organise your thoughts

How mind-mapping can help you organise your thoughts. Click through to read.

When I started blogging on Her Lovely Heart I wanted to find the right direction for the blog in order to create the best content I could. I had lots of ideas and interests, but I wanted to get clear on how to deliver what I wanted to say in a focused way. So I decided to use one of my favourite techniques for organising my thoughts – mind-mapping. Mind-mapping is kind of like having a conversation with yourself, but only one that doesn’t go around in endless circles, but rather lets you group thoughts and ideas together. And the great thing about it is that, since it’s your conversation, the order that emerges doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else but you.

I also like the process itself and the creative choices you can make when mind-mapping. You can make it as simple or as complex as you want. You can draw think bubbles on a large paper, use chalk on a blackboard, use post it notes or anything that takes your fancy. You can group things in a way that makes sense to you visually, you can use arrows of colour coding or hierarchies. The visual nature of mind-maps makes them incredibly powerful tool to deal with complex problems.

You can also keep your maps going for a while, adding to them when you think of something new. The first version doesn’t necessarily solve all your questions, but over time you can create a profoundly useful conversation. Here are a couple of guidelines to get you started:

  1. Try to pair down what you write into as few words as possible, trying to get to the core phrase or idea.
  2. Aim to make connections between things that might be seemingly isolated. You don’t need to worry about anyone but you understanding what you have connected, and the further you reach with trying to make connections, the more doors you might open for your thinking.
  3. Once you start developing clusters, try to step back and look at your map objectively. Are the any gaps or missing information? Anything you might need to research further?

Mind-mapping can also be a good exercise in mindfulness. It forces you to actively process your thoughts, and move things into your long-term memory. Moving elements around will also spark new ideas and help you divert the circular thinking that so often keeps us paralysed.

For my mind-map, I started with my challenge phrase ‘useful inspiring blog content’ and placed that in the centre. I then let any thoughts knocking around in my head come out and put those down, trying to draw connections between them. Here are some of the ideas my map generated for me.

  • Interview creatives who work for themselves.
  • Document my own process.
  • Introduce simple but powerful techniques.
  • Demonstrate how to simplify difficult concepts.
  • Provide inspiration in both visual and practical forms.

The deeper I went with the original map, the more defined my areas got, until I arrived at the categories and series you find here today. I think there’s still some sharpening to do in the future, but for now I feel pretty inspired and focused to deliver a balanced variety of useful and inspiring content. I hope you think so, too!

Do you use mind-mapping for anything, or are you going to try it in the future?


Her Lovely Heart


February 4, 2015

Quote of the Week / 22

‘A bend in the road is not the end of the road…
unless you fail to make the turn.’ ~ Unknown

Free quote wallpaper hand lettered for Her Lovely Heart by Jorica Glen. Click through to download.
There are always going to be bends in the road. What matters is how we deal with them.

Jorica Glen hand-lettered our quote of the week this week, and to help you stay on the right path, you can download a set of free desktop wallpapers below.

Free quote wallpaper hand lettered for Her Lovely Heart by Jorica Glen. Click through to download.
Bend-in-the-road-by-Jorica-Glen-for-Her-Lovely-Heart-2

Hand lettered for Her Lovely Heart by Jorica Glen.

Click here to download Quote Wallpapers by Jorica Glen: Download

 
Do you have a design you’d like to submit for our Goodie Bag? Create one design, or example of a digital product, and email it to submissions@herlovelyheart.com with the subject line ‘Goodie Bag’. We’ll review your submission and get back to you if it’s a good fit for the site!
 

Her Lovely Heart


February 3, 2015

Latest from Instagram / 13

Latest from the Her Lovely Heart Instagram feed.

Lately, on Instagram, we’ve tried to remember we’re never too old to make good things happen.

Latest from the Her Lovely Heart Instagram feed.

This quote has been very meaningful to me in the past week or so. So so important to remember that movement is the thing that matters.

Latest from the Her Lovely Heart Instagram feed.

Sometimes it really is that easy. If we wait for circumstances to provide our happiness, we might be waiting for a very long time.

Have you seen our printable Monthly Quotes Calendar for 2015? If you like our Instagram quotes, it’s just the thing you need to help keep you feeling motivated!

If you don’t want to miss any inspiration or latest news, make sure you’re subscribed to our weekly newsletter!

Her Lovely Heart


February 2, 2015

Ask Marianne / 20 / How do I start a blog?

Beginners guide to starting a blog. Click through to read.

In this series, Her Lovely Heart founder Marianne Taylor answers some of the burning questions submitted by blog readers, spanning everything from photography and business questions to personal mantras. Read on to find out what people are longing to know about…

Q:I’m a make-up artist and I’ve been in business for a few years. I feel a little bit embarrassed to ask, as I must be the last person on the planet who doesn’t have a blog, but I could really do with some tips on how to get going. Everyone keeps telling me I should have one, but I really don’t know where to start.

First of all, there’s definitely no law that says you need to have a blog! If you are getting enough business through word of mouth and via other marketing avenues, it might not be the best use of your time to start blogging. However, if you feel like you need another marketing method, want to strengthen your brand, or want to feel more connected with your clients, there are a few more effective ways to do that than having a blog. However, a blog that fails to engage, provide value, or doesn’t get updated, might do more damage to your brand than good, so do weigh in carefully whether you think you will have the time and persistence required.

Ok, let’s dig in. Since you say you are a complete blog virgin, I will run through the basic decisions and processes involved in setting up your blog.

Choose your platform

The first decision you need to make is whether your blog will live on a hosted service, such as Typepad or the hosted version of WordPress, or whether you host your blog on your own server, in which case you would need to install the software, such as the self-hosted version of WordPress yourself. Here are some pros and cons on both options.

Hosted blog pros:

  • you don’t need any technical know-how to set up a hosted blog
  • it’s very quick to set up
  • you can choose from ready made templates

Hosted blog cons:

  • you can’t use your own domain, the address of your blog will have the name typepad, blogspot or wordpress etc. attached to it
  • you don’t have as many options to customise your blog
  • it can look a bit amateurish to have a hosted professional blog

Self-hosted blog pros:

  • you can use your own domain, which looks more professional
  • you have the freedom to customise your design as much as you wish
  • you can add a wide variety of plugins to enhance your blog

Self-hosted blog cons:

  • you need a little bit more technical know-how (but installing WordPress on your own domain is fairly straightforward)
  • you’ll need to back up your blog regularly (but there are plugins that do this automatically)
  • you’ll need to pay for your domain and hosting (which you would do anyways if you have a website)

Decide on a name

If you already have a website, it would make sense to install your blog into a yoururl/blog directory, so you don’t really need to think about a name as such. But if you want your blog to be a standalone blog you’ll need to go through the process of brain-storming names, and checking if the domains for your ideas are taken, which can be quite a long-winded process. It’s important to write the name down in an url format so you can spot whether it might read in an unfortunate way once all the words run together.

Come up with a design

As said, on a hosted platform you are slightly more limited with your design choices, but if you have a self-hosted blog the sky’s the limit. The easiest way is to use a template, you can find loads through sites such as Themeforest and Elegant Themes, or you can opt for an all-in-one solution such as ProPhoto. Likewise, if you already work with a web designer you can have them integrate your blog design with your main website, and thus have an entirely individual blog design. Conversely you can also build your whole website in platform such as WordPress, which will ease the maintenance of all your site elements.

Choose a focus

The tighter the focus of your blog is, the more interesting it will be to your readers. Even if you are blogging as a marketing exercise for your business, you should think about what your focus will be, is it showcasing the work you’ve done, giving advice to your readers or covering news about your industry for example. There are many ways to approach your blog content. What ever you decide to focus on, make sure you are not trying to be everything for everyone, as that will lead to not exciting anyone.

Create useful content

Good blog content is always somehow useful to your readers. Whether it’s inspiring others with the work you produce, or giving advice that relates to your field, make sure you are always writing with your reader mind. In a busy world people are mostly interested in how they can benefit from the content they consume, and if you think of how you yourself read blogs you’ll probably agree.

Decide on a structure for your content

It makes it more engaging to the reader if you divide your content into different categories, and you will thank yourself later if you plan this structure in advance. Having specific categories for, say, ‘styled shoots’, ‘tutorials’ and ‘press’, makes your blog a lot more user friendly. You can also do regular series that run for either a specified time, such as a 10 part series on summer make-up trends for 2015, or you can have series that run indefinitely, for example ‘Lipstick Tuesday’ or some such, where every Tuesday you review a new lipstick shade. Having series is a great way to get your readers to come back to your blog, and build anticipation for future post.

Have an editorial plan & be consistent

In order to ensure you won’t end up with a ‘dead blog’, make an editorial plan, even if it’s a loose plan of how often you’ll post, and perhaps a theme for each post. Having a plan will help to keep you on track. If you leave blogging to ‘when you feel like it’ you will quickly end up feeling like it’s a chore you keep pushing off. There is no rule about how often you should post, especially if your blog is about your business, some blog daily, some weekly, some perhaps monthly. Which ever schedule you’ll decide on, just try to keep to it consistently.

Have fun!

Remember to create content that is genuinely exciting to you. Blogging is an endurance sport and the only way to stay in the game is to talk about things you are truly passionate about. So, always remember to have fun with your blog!

Click here to read all the questions & answers in this series.
Do you have a question about photography or running a business for Marianne? You can email your questions to submissions@herlovelyheart.com with the subject line ‘Ask Marianne’. The best questions will be answered on the blog throughout this series.
 

Her Lovely Heart


January 30, 2015

Inspiration Board / 7 / Turquoise tones

My love affair with all things turquoise, teal or mint hued continues! There’s just something about these tones that make me think of bright summer skies and the ocean and all things delicious and pretty.

Her Lovely Heart Turquoise Inspiration Board. Click through for details.

Large print of an abstract painting by Lola Donoghue.
Personalised turquoise leather camera strap by Viveo.
Turquoise rubberised hard case for Macbook Air.
Mint green washi tape from Quill London.
Turquoise macaroon pillow by Caroline Mint.
Silver and turquoise ring by Serene Impression Gems.
Turquoise iPhone 6 mesh case.
Turquoise leather Ofxord shoes by Bangi Shop.
Peel and stick turquoise polka dot decal.
Turquoise and gold flip side clutch by Ban.do.

Follow us on Pinterest for more inspiration!
 

Her Lovely Heart