I‘m still getting around to putting all my thoughts together from my time at Justin & Mary’s Walk Through a Wedding workshop in Connecticut earlier this month. In the meantime, it’s easier to show you the pretty pictures from the brief moments that weren’t spent in the workshop.

On the first day of the workshop, my roommate, Morgan, and I did a quick walk around Yale before the workshop started. Because both workshop days were really long and went late into the nights, the only other time I had for more exploring was the morning of the second day of the workshop. A few of us decided to go check out Lighthouse Point Park and it was absolutely beautiful! I could get really used to living on the coast…except for those winters.

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Over the past few months, there have been some changes in the works for the business. Not a whole rebrand, but rather an update. I use Showit for my website and they recently came out with Showit5, which brought some killer updates to the system. Knowing I loved my branding that Jen Olmstead created for me a few years ago, but wanted it to be on the new, fresh platform, I hired David Mendoza III to do the upgrade for me.

And today, it’s live! It feels so fresh and beautiful, don’t you think? Go, play around!Website_EmilyCrall_Photo_0135Website_EmilyCrall_Photo_0136Website_EmilyCrall_Photo_0137

 

 

I‘ve been using CoSchedule for just shy of a year now. I could tell you 5 reasons why you should be using it too (which I will down below), but first I’ll tell you what it is.

So CoSchedule is a WordPress plugin for your blog posts so you can easily plan and schedule your entire blogging calendar. So that’s a little bit of a mouthful, but the best part for me is that once you have your blog post scheduled to publish, you can also schedule your social media accounts to market that blog post! Honestly, that was the reason I started using CoSchedule; the social media aspect. The bonus, of course, is that I can also keep my blogging calendar organized. But the social media planning tool? That makes CoSchedule worth it by itself.

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Some new features that I’m incredibly excited about include the inclusion of Pinterest (so now you can schedule out your pins!) and the “best times” scheduler, which looks at the best times on each social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.) for interaction and viewing. Since social media algorithms change often, this is a huge perk!

I like to think of CoSchedule as a sort of outsourcing. (You know how I love outsourcing! It’s so freeing.) While I’m technically still doing the work, CoSchedule acts as my assistant to allow me to work faster and smarter.

It’s also incredibly organized. I love my color coding and detailing so you can imagine my delight over this:

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There are multiple ways to use the calendar. You can add blog posts, social media messages, or content. You can also add events, notes, or tasks. This is especially helpful if you have more than one person on your team.  Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 2.08.54 PM

Okay, so let’s break this down. Here are 5 reasons you should be using CoSchedule.

  1. Organize yourself. Organization helps me de-stress. If I’m cluttered, I’m stressed. It’s easy to stop blogging or social media-ing or whatever else it is, but the reality is that blogging and social media are our (currently) free marketing resources. Use that to your advantage and get organized. You know you have a wedding every weekend from here until October? Go in and start jotting down what days of the week you’ll be blogging those images and sharing them on social media. You won’t have the content yet, of course, but by listing it out, you’ll have a clear guide when you’re neck-deep in work and don’t have the time to figure out what to post, when to post, or even how to post.
  2. Live your life. You can get your social media queued up for publishing and live your life. It doesn’t have to be connected to a blog post! Have a pretty photo you want to share tomorrow afternoon on Facebook? Do it. Have a clever tweet you want to go live next week? Do it. Release yourself from having to think too hard. And for goodness sakes, schedule it for a time it will actually be seen. Hallelujah and amen.
  3. If you’re a visual person, you need to take advantage of seeing your day, week, month laid out in front of you. I used to cramp up my iCal with my blogging ideas. Now I can use it to schedule play dates.
  4. Easy to use. It’s drag-and-drop. So, yeah, it’s pretty user-friendly. It’s also visually clean so, back to number 1, you will feel less stressed.
  5. Save time and increase your traffic. So by some sort of obvious reasoning, if you are organized and not stressed, you are probably also saving yourself some time somewhere. Let’s take a blog post, for example. If it’s a great blog post that has been doing really well, go ahead and schedule a tweet a month from now. Don’t let great content go under the rug. If you have something to say that is helpful for others, they’ll want to read it, especially if they missed it the first time.

If you’re still not convinced, watch this video. Then go over here, rejoicing all the way.

Admittedly, I saw very little of Yale when I was in New Haven last week, but I’m so glad for the small pieces I did see. My trip to Connecticut was a quick one, but jam-packed. I flew in on Tuesday, grabbed my rental car, and drove from Hartford to New Haven, where I had just enough time to get into my hotel room, rest for a bit while meeting my roommate, Morgan, and then drive to Justin & Mary’s house for dinner. It turned into a late night, as I expected it would, of getting to know everyone before the Walk Through A Wedding workshop began the next morning.

The schedule for both days (Wednesday & Thursday) were full 12+ hour days so on Wednesday morning, we had about 30 minutes before the workshop started to park the car and walk around the campus a bit. One of the things I love so much about the east coast is its rich history. Not as much as Europe, of course, but rich nevertheless for America. The architecture was impressive and I also had a constant stream of Gilmore Girl quotes running through my head as I milled about, which made me smile to myself.

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My darling,

You are officially a toddler in every way, even though I still call you my baby. You are walking and running everywhere and rarely take a break unless we are reading books or you’re watching your favorite Super Simple Songs on YouTube or Daniel Tiger (you love!).

Winter has taken it’s toll on us, but we’re trying to get out every day it’s remotely nice (and even some days when it’s not). We have found several places for great indoor play, including a gymnastics studio, where you love the trampolines and slides. It seems like every day you’re just a little bit bigger with just a few more abilities. It’s mid-March now and the weather continues to improve and your love for the outdoors is greater than I had originally thought, as you like to throw a tantrum every time I make you come inside. (Another tantrum? Diaper changes. They are the new bane of your existence.)

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Nighttime Engagement by Emily Crall_0098.jpgMy typical photographic style is airy and bright and I schedule engagement sessions and portrait times on wedding days to be when the light is golden and glorious. So when I had to submit an assignment for The International Academy of Wedding Photographers that showed the use of “natural light” (no flash) after the sun had set, I had nothing in my portfolio. Thankfully, I put out an all-call online and one of my sweet June couples, Cortney & Christian, volunteered to help me out. I was mostly so excited to see them again (they’re a dream to photograph), but was also thankful that they were so gracious with me as I tested out some different ideas for an evening engagement session.

In the end, I still much prefer natural sunlit photos, but it was good for me to stretch a bit out of my comfort zone and find other light sources besides the sun. Also, we really lucked out with that tree that was bursting with hanging lights.
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