How To Take Better PicturesPhoto Credit: Mo Olivas

1. Take Advantage of Natural Lighting

Taking advantage of natural lighting is one of the most valuable pieces of advice I can give to you when it comes to photography. Although in today’s day in age flash, reflectors and other items make it quite easy to create incredible photos, natural light is easy, looks incredible with almost any subject and (the best part for most of us) is free. 

The best times of day to shoot are typically between 6am-9am and right before sunset.

My tip: Avoid shooting between 10:30am-1pm. The sun is straight up in the sky and the light will make your subject appear  harsh.

2. Use The Rule of Thirds

My photography teacher my Freshman year of high school taught me this + it’s stuck with me ever since. It’s an easy composition tool that helps make your photos appear more natural and easier on the eye.

All you have to do is make an imaginary tic-tac-toe board over your image + make sure your main focus isn’t in the center square.

Here’s an example:

How To Use Rule of Thirds

 

3. Experiment With Different Poses

When doing portrait photography, experiment with different poses.

4. Gray Days Are Your New BFF

Overcast days can increase color saturation in your photos and really make them pop– take advantage of these days + get outside!

5. Shoot In Burst Mode

When you’re going to be shooting one subject for a long period of time, I suggest turning on good ole’ burst mode. Burst mode will ensure that you capture a wide range of expressions and hopefully get “the shot” you’re looking for.

6. Stay Steady

Often, especially when shooting outdoors while performing an activity (even something as simple as walking), we’re snapping away hoping to get the next great Insta photo.

Guilty.

What you really need to do though for the great shot is slow down, stay steady, focus on your subject + then snap.

If you’re shooting a high motion activity (such as someone running) or night shooting, I suggest a tripod as well.

7. Get Up Close

Getting up close + personal with a subject can help you (and the viewers) in noticing details you may not have noticed before!

Remember to turn on macro mode (almost all basic point + shoots and smart phones have this mode) to ensure that the subject stays in focus.

8. Edit

We’re fortunate to live in a world that has amazing applications such as PicMonkey, Canva and Photoshop.

Take advantage of these + optimize your photos for top-notich viewing pleasure.

9. Practice

I know, I know, I know.

Booooooring.

But I promise, you can make this fun! Just grab your BFF or significant other, head outside during one of the best natural lighting times + get to snapping away.

Learning is half the fun. :)

And I want to see your pictures! After you’re done practicing, tag me in your photos on Instagram using #KWPhotoPractice. 

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Live Your Daydream

September 15, 2014

As many of you that have been following my journey both on the blog and social media know, I quit my “day job” back in April to pursue self-employment. It has been crazy, exciting, overwhelming, incredible and downright scary, but everyday I wake-up knowing I get to do what I truly love.

When I started college (and blogging) self-employment started peeking more + more into my line of vision for a few different reasons.

The top three being:

  • I wanted to be able to travel often.
  • I wanted to be able to set my own hours to live a life I truly love (now I can catch that 9am yoga class or work at 10pm when my creative juices suddenly start flowing!)
  • I wanted to be genuinely excited over the work I put out into the world.

Now that I’ve been on my own for about 5 months, all of those benefits + more have become my reality and I’m so grateful for every opportunity I’ve been awarded and I continue to be blown away by the amazing people I encounter in my day-to-day.

I’m not saying it’s easy, it’s by far one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but it’s also the most rewarding and now that I’m here, I can’t imagine doing anything else.

I wanted to drop-in today and share this with you all in order to encourage you to live your dream life, whatever that may be.

It’s possible. You’re capable. You wouldn’t have been given a dream if you didn’t have the power to make it your reality.

Don’t forget to live your daydream.

Need a little extra inspiration? Print out one of these graphics + put them somewhere you know you’ll see them every morning.

daydreamkwGet this print.

Untitled-2Get this print. 

 

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First Apartment Must-Haves

August 27, 2014

This post brought to you by Brita. All opinions are 100% mine.

As G + I prepare to move to our next home in our new city, I got to thinking how much we’ve learned living on our own in the “real world” this past year. It’s been extremely crazy and I wouldn’t have traded it for anything, but there were a few items I felt lucky to have during this time + I wanted to share those items with you all today!

 

Brita First Apt photo FirstAptMustHaves_zps9d0d1050.jpg

1 •

My Brita is an item I recommend to all of my friends + family! In most apartments, you have a pretty basic fridge, therefore, no water dispenser. My Brita kept my water purified + ready for drinking. It’s available at Target for a really decent price too. A score when you’re trying to save money for rent!

2 •

I loved hanging-up prints on the wall in our bedroom to help make it feel like it was “ours”– The Nectar Collective on Etsy has tons of cute prints, including this gem!

3 •

Light!! I was shocked that our fan didn’t have a place for light bulbs, so this floor lamp in our living room was essential.

4 •

Spices, spices, spices. Buy them + use them often! We seasoned everything + on week’s that you live off of chicken breast salads (or is that just us?) you can make it feel like a new meal every night with just a few pinches of one of these.

5 •

Rugs are another great way to make your new place feel like home. This one is affordable + super chic.

6 •

Hangers are just something I never thought to buy and that Mom always had tons of extras of just hanging around (no pun intended) in the laundry room. When I lived on my own, I was in shock of how many extras I had to buy!

7 •

A Smart TV was one of our best decisions. We skip on cable so we practically live off of our Netflix subscribtion + YouTube– a Smart TV let’s you stream both of those + more at the ease of just your remote control. A major score!

What would you add to the list? 

Visit Sponsor's Site

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Sunday Specials

August 24, 2014

This week has been a bit crazy. G and I are packing-up for a move to a new city, I started school again, I’m working full-time + I also am putting together the Kayli Wanders Holiday Gift Guide, so I’m constantly answering emails and coordinating different packages. It’s great, but hectic!

Today, we’re headed out to one of our favorite locations in Arizona, Sedona, to hike Devil’s Bridge + kayak on the Verde River! I’m super pumped + can’t wait to get back into nature, relax a bit + spend some quality time with G before school really takes over.

PS: If you are a small business or know of an amazing one, either a) let me know in the comments or b) jet me an email at kayliwanders@gmail.com! We’re on the hunt until October 1st :)

How was your week?

Are you on Blogger? Mo is having a Design Flash Sale + it is amaze.

 

G + I are planning a trip to Europe next summer, so I loved reading this article on a weekend in Bruges. How idyllic!

 

A blueberry muffin breakfast bake?! Count me in!

 

These 29 Historic (and adorable) terms for sex made me chuckle.

 

Want to write a “Wow!” headline that creates results in your next newsletter? Look no further.

 

Have you heard of Tonga? Neither have I but now I’m itching to go!

 

If I’m going to work out can I at least have this shirt?

 

Itching to start a business but wonder if you’re too young? Here are 5 reasons you should launch a biz in your 20′s!

 

This iPad mini keyboard would make working for clients on the road a zillion times easier. Anyone want to send a late birthday gift?

 

This Fall Favorites Blogger Swap sounds like tons of fun!

 

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If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you know that G and I are gearing-up for a move. It’s definitely extremely stressful, but here are a few products that have made it a bit easier on us + that we wish we would have known to get before hand! (And no, not the boxes…we did think of those prior to the hustle + bustle ;) )

 

MustHaveProductsForMoving1 • Boxes

Get boxes of all different sizes to assure that you have a way to pack everything.

Tip: Instead of spending tons of money at a local moving supply store, go to Walmart during their stocking hours– either really late at night (12am) or early morning (4am) + pick-up boxes free of charge.

2 • Newspaper

Newspaper is great to wrap fragile items in to assure they don’t break during the move.

Some items to wrap include: Plates + bowls, vases, fragile cups, mirrors and glass candles.

Tip: If you don’t subscribe to your local newspaper, ask friends or family to start collecting theirs a couple of weeks before you start to pack to assure you’re stocked + ready-to-go when the time comes!

3 • A Permanent Marker

Label, label, label!

Not labeling is the kiss of death with moving– it’ll get tiring if you’re constantly moving from room to room to unpack items.

4 • Ziplock Bags

Ziplock bags are super handy to have around when you’re packing for a move!

Put little trinkets + important pieces of furniture pieces in here. Think, wires for the TV, screws to furniture you may have had to take apart, etc.

5 • Chili’s At Home 

Cooking during the moving process is pretty much non-existent because your dishes + silverware are packed and your way too exhausted to even if they weren’t.

G and I loved the Chili’s At Home Bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese microwavable bowls!

6 • Garbage Bags

Garbage bags are another genius moving item because they provide another way to store things that don’t traditionally fit in boxes! Just make sure the non-breakables go in here.

Tip: Keep your clothes on the hanger + place them (hanger sticking out) in the garbage bag. Easy to transport + all you have to do when you get to your new closet is place the hangers on the rack, and pull the garbage bag off! Easy. As. Pie.

7 • Packing Tape

Buy it. Use it.

8 • Rubber Bands

Rubber bands are great for bundling things together that you don’t want separated during the move.

What do you make sure to have on hand while moving?

This post was sponsored by Chili’s At Home

 

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Hi, everyone! Ever since I made it known that I’m a social media manager + consultant, I’ve been getting a lot of questions revolving around the social media world + how to best utilize the various platforms (ya know, Facebook, Twitter, Insta, Google+, etc.)  Since I want to make all of your social media presences shine like they deserve, here’s a list of 10 All-Star Social Media Tips and Tricks that anyone can implement starting today!

Still want to take your social media or web presence (monetization, marketing, collaborating, etc.) to the next level? I’m giving out $60 Power Hours to the first 5 people that email: hello@thepassionpunch.com :)

Social Media Tips

1. Give Your Audience Value

Wanting to give your audience value should be a no brainer.

I’ve heard so many people in my industry say, “Never give out your best or most secret tips!” or “Don’t shell out the best advice you have for less than (insert insanely high dollar amount, here)!” but the truth is, if you show your audience your best work or most valued information, they’ll come running to you for more, and this time with dollars in their hands.

Want to apply this in your industry? Shout-out cooking tips on Facebook, ask every new follower on Twitter if you can assist them in a blog related question, whatever your niche is, think about what people want from you and how you can give it to them.

2. Keep Your Social Media Profile Photos the Same

Have you ever been to a networking event or have seen a mutual friend at a dinner party and thought, “I totally know them from Facebook already! If only I could remember their name…?” This is because you recognize them by their appearance.

In other words, if your Facebook profile photo is of you with blonde hair + your Corgi and your Twitter photo is of you pre-dyejob with big sunglasses on (and really, you shouldn’t have sunglasses on in a profile photo anyway– let your audience see you, girlfriend!) nobody will know who the heck you are.

3. Pin A Tweet

This is something I almost always bring up to my web critiquees during our sessions and is so important! Recently, Twitter started allowing users to “pin” tweets– this means, that whatever tweet is “pinned” is the first one that people see when they visit your profile + appears right at the very tippity-top! What a great tool, right?!

Unfortunately, not a lot of people know about this one yet or just go pinning a tweet willy-nilly.

My tip for you? Pin something profitable. 

That doesn’t mean it has to be a direct link to your sales page or a photo displaying your latest discount code (although a well-branded one may work wonders!) But it does mean that it either, a) develops others view as you as an expert in your field or b) Does in fact, lead to a direct offering for your audience.

4. Post at Optimum Reach Times

I’m not going to sit here and preach that 6am is the best time to send out a Facebook post or 8pm is the best time to upload your latest video to YouTube, but I will say is that there is a way of finding out. 

It’s different for everybody + I encourage you to do some digging + discover what posting times work best for your social platforms. If you go in to your Facebook they have this clear as day. (Insights > Posts) and in Hootsuite you can even click a box when scheduling that says, “Send at Optimal Time.”

For those of you that run social media pages for clients or really want to dive further into your own social media insights, I highly recommend Sprout Social.

5. Listen To Your Audience

If you’re posting a video update of your week on Facebook at a time when your reach is the same as when you’re posting a quote, and getting wayyy more interaction on the quote, take that as a hint. Your followers like the quotes.

Keep ‘em + maybe ditch the vid or start posting them less often.

6. Ask Questions

Your audience loves to know that you genuinely care + want to hear from them! Ask questions regularly + make sure you reply! It’s all about an authentic connection.

7. Alter Content For Each Social Media Platform

This is one of the main takeaways I got from social media expert, Gary Vaynerchuk’s, latest book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook:How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World and I preach his point to the choir with every client I work with: The status you post on Facebook, should be altered for Twitter and the same tweet you send on Twitter should be altered for Tumblr, so on + so forth. 

Think about the strengths of each platform before posting.

8. Tweet Images

Tweeting out images increases RT’s (and therefore, more exposure for you!) by 150%. Enough said.

9. Start a Facebook Group

Although people may be starting to shy away from Facebook as a social platform, they shouldn’t be yet! Facebook groups are a great way to stay connected with others in your industry, gain support + ask questions that your friends and family may not know the answer to!

I’m apart of Grow Your Blog, Love. Post. Blog. + Operation Entrepreneur and they have all been super helpful!

10. Be You

I cannot stress this one enough! People read your blog to read your unique voice just like they follow you on social media to hear that same unique voice.

Outgoing + talkative on your blog?

Don’t be overly corporate + closed-off on social media.

What would you add to this list?

#spon: I’m required to disclose a relationship between our site and Intel This could include Intel providing us w/content, product, access or other forms of payment.

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brandimageThis post was originally published on my business site, The Passion Punch
Photo Credit: A Prettier Web

When someone looks at any of your content– your blog posts, website homepage, marketing materials, newsletters, etc.– they should know it came from you.

How?

Because you should have a cohesive brand image. 

10 Ways To Have A More Cohesive Brand Image:

1. Color Use

The colors you use on your website should be the colors you use in your content.

Have blue, silver and yellow on your website?

Don’t use purple, pink and bright green in your marketing materials.

Simple.

2. Font Use

Same rule as above but for fonts.

3. Create a Brand Message + Stick To It

Craft a message that describes exactly what you want to say to your target market + stick to it. Rewording or creating a whole new message in different materials is a huge no-no!

4. Have a Consistent Voice

Make sure you’re using the same tone in your writing.

Use, “Hello, gorgeous!” in your opening statement? Great!

Don’t start your next newsletter with: “To Whom It May Concern:”

5. Use Your Logo

I encourage you to use your logo in all marketing materials. This makes you easily identifiable + burns an image into the onlookers brain.

6. Think of Your Core Values

What are your brand’s core values? Make sure these shine through.

7. Social Media Profiles

Your social media profiles should be direct examples of your brand. Your bio, profile pictures and cover photos should be consistent on each platform.

Want to spread the goodness?

Tweet!

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5 Ways to Build Community On Your BlogThis post was originally written for my business blog, The Passion Punch

Believe it or not, your blog can be the best thing to have ever happened to your business.

Not only is your blog a way to show your expertise in what you’re offering (graphic design! Flamenco dancing YouTube videos! pastry making!), it’s a way to humanize yourself, create a more cohesive brand image and create genuine connections with people like you. And yes, folks. That includes connecting with potential clients.

What most people don’t get though, is that no matter how much you blog, no matter how incredible your content is and no matter how much money you spent on that perfect stock-image, people will not come back if you don’t create a community.

Here are 5 Tried + True Ways To Create a Community on Your Blog:

1. RESPOND TO COMMENTS:

 

It’s a great sign if people are beginning to comment on your posts.

They see value! You’ve been humanized! They want to chat-it-up!

Want to know one itty-bitty thing that can ruin it all? If you’re not chatting back. People want a platform for conversation, they want to know that you’re listening and most importantly, they want to start a dialogue. Make a point of responding to comments– even a simple “Thanks so much for stopping by! It means so much,” can go a lonnnng way.

2. GIVE YOUR READERS SOMETHING OF VALUE:

 

Do not, I repeat, do not use your blog as a platform to promote your services or products non-stop. Sure, feel free to mention a special offer or something of the sort if it genuinely fits with the content you’re providing, but if you:

A) Have a whole post dedicated to what’s on your services/shop page (Uh, isn’t that the point of a services/shop page?)

B) Go from talking about how to create a hover “Pin It” button to an e-course you have on dog training within’ the same paragraph

or

C) Give your readers a sob story about how you can barely make rent this month, therefore they have to buy your latest ebook in the Kindle shop

You’re doing it wrong.

Give your readers something they can take back with them and use in the future, or even better, apply to their business or life, right away! They’ll be back to soak-up some of your chocolate-covered content (and maybe even a service or two!) in the future.

3. KNOW YOUR TARGET MARKET:

 

If you want to give your readers something they can use, you have to know your reader.

Their likes, their dislikes, the questions that keep them up at night, their age, where they are in their business, if they prefer cupcakes or spinach. (PS: I hope it’s cupcakes, or at least a tie)

These are the factors that will determine what you write.

4. HAVE A QUESTION AT THE BOTTOM OF YOUR POST:

 

Having a question at the bottom of your post encourages your reader to comment and further the dialogue between not only the two of you, but other readers as well. Comment systems such as Disqus do a fabulous job of making it easy to engage.

5. MAKING SHARING EFFORTLESS:

 

People sharing your content will help your community grow + allow your readers to share something of value (your blog post!) with their followers.

One last tip? Sharing your blog posts to social media platforms should be easy as pie for your reader. If you use WordPress, plug-ins such as ShareThis + Easy Social Share Buttons are both excellent options.

What’s one thing you could start doing right now to make your posts more community-centric? Respond in the comments!

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My Favorite Ways to Relax

August 6, 2014

If I’ve learned anything from working for myself the past few months, its been that in order to work to my full potential I need to take the time to relax because the best ideas usually come to me when I’m out doing what I love to do– not trying to brainstorm ideas for 8 hours straight listening to my brain fry.

Here are some of my favorite ways to relax– What are yours? 

IMG_0626 IMG_1021 IMG_1357 IMG_1530 Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset IMG_8072 IMG_9931Go relax + enter to win a free trip to Hawaii, here. 

Although this post was sponsored by Tommy Bahamas, all opinions expressed are my own. 

 

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If you guys are new to the Kayli Wanders rodeo, you may not know that I fell in-love with yoga this year. I’m not one of those ya-ya raindancey types, so I mean this in the most sane way possible: yoga has done more than physically alleviate my pains (I’m 20 going on 80 with my back pains, you guys). It helps relieve my stress, center my inner voice + remember all of the good that my life holds.

I’m not going to lie though, sometimes it can be hard to get in the groove– your neck is sore from sleeping wonky the night before, your mind is all over the place with your over-extended todo list and the last thing you want to hear is your instructor correct your downward facing dog one more time.

Alas, on the days I force myself to go, I leave feeling like I can take on the world, ready for a good nights rest and thankful for all that I have– and all that my body is able to do.

Here are 10 Tips to help better your yoga practice and get into your groove a little bit quicker.

Namaste.

 

Tips for a Better Yoga Practice

1. Disconnect a hour before class

Ditching the phone/iPad/computer will help your body recognize it’s time to calm down + help you forget some of the troubles that the day may have caused and unnecessary stress that may come from being connected online. You won’t be able to dwell on that awful Facebook picture your friend tagged you in if you never saw it!

2. Stretch

Stretching will help your body limber-up and physically prepare you for the class ahead. Even 10 minutes does the body good and you may be hurting a whole lot more during Warrior 3 if you don’t.

3. Set an intention

Setting an intention for the class will help you stay focused and let go of the negative thoughts you may have stuck on the brain. Take 5 minutes before you practice to write down your intention– what it is, why you chose it + the good it will bring into your life. If setting an intention isn’t your thing, make a gratitude list! Then, focus on the elements you wrote down during class.

4. Stay hydrated– but don’t gulp the water down

Drink a tall glass of water one-hour before your practice. You want to stay hydrated for any form of exercise and yoga is no different! Don’t drink too much, however, or you may find yourself cramping-up.

5.  Listen to calming music

I like to play some calming music on the drive to my yoga studio. It helps me calm down and start to get relaxed for my upcoming practice. Rap and KissFM can wait until after!

6. Remember that you’re a student of the Universe

Remember that you are always learning and no one– not even your instructor who can get into Scorpion pose in, like, one-second — is done being taught. The sooner you accept this, the sooner you’ll find yourself open to the instructor’s corrections and the sooner you’ll find yourself having better practices. You might even get into a headstand one day! (A girl can dream, right?)

7. Use mat cleaner

Yep. It will literally stink when you finally get to sink into Savasana and realize that the nasty smell that’s been bothering you throughout class is your mat. You can buy a cleanser here for cheap or make your own! Side note: This especially applies to those of you that practice Bikram! Don’t be that guy.

8. Eat a protein bar

There’s seriously nothing worse than getting side-glances in class because your stomach is being Mr. Grumbly. Don’t fill-up on a whole meal before class, but having a protein bar will help sustain any hunger and also give you an extra blast of energy.

9. Bring a friend

Bringing a friend with you can help motivate you to do your best + having an accountability partner to-go every week (or day or weekend or…) is even better. The best part? You have a built-in partner to grab wine a juice with you after!

10. Do deep breathing

Pausing to take some deep breaths throughout the day will help you find your center and prepare you for the class to come.

Do you have any tips for bettering your yoga practice? 

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