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Styled Stock Photography for Creatives and Bloggers

Before we close out January, I'm so excited to share some great tips today for fellow creatives and bloggers! Whether it's creating documents to send to clients, graphics for blog posts and social media, or images for your business needs, styled stock is one way to upgrade your visual presence. And when it comes to styled stock photography Shay Cochrane is one of the best to ever do it!

styled stock photography

If you haven't heard of the SC Stockshop, you're missing out on some good stuff! I found out about this amazing styled stock shop through Instagram, and have been in love ever since. So since y'all know I love sharing good info, here are my thoughts for using styled stock and how it has been helpful in my business:

1. Essential for blogging

Styled stock is a must have in the blogging world, especially for posts where you plan to share advice. For my business education posts, like this one, styled stock is ideal for creating pinnable and shareable graphics with text that conveys your post title or focus. 

As we all know, our world is filled with all the things, so in order to grab the attention of your blog  audience, using the SC Stockshop can really help to streamline your blog graphics and create consistency in the style of the images you share.

When using styled stock for blogging, I suggest: 1. choosing an image that reflects your brand and/or post, 2. add a catchy title to engage your audience, which can be done in platforms like Canva for free (as done with today's graphic above), and 3. add your business name, website or submark to ensure people seeing the graphic come back to your site.

2. Aesthetically pleasing social media images

From flat lays, to clean and pretty desk shots and more, styled stock is great for beautifying your Instagram feed. Let's face it, unless you're a photographer, taking polished photos that are consistent with your brand is not easy. Styled stock has been so helpful for me in sharing my thoughts on social media with an aesthetically pleasing photo to match. 

The great thing about styled stock is you can use it as is for social media with a great caption in your brand voice. This has been especially helpful for me over on the Mor Community Instagram page. Alternatively, you can add words to styled stock like you would for a blog post to share a quote, product highlight, new blog post announcement and this list goes on. 

The thing to remember with styled stock for social media is balance in usage. For instance, as an event planner it's important for my feed to showcase my events. However, it's also important to showcase my inspirations, thoughts, and announcements for a certain day, and styled stock can help to accomplish that.

3. Enhancing business documents

Last but not least, one of the best ways I've utilized SC Stockshop is in enhancing some of my business documents, and more specifically client documents and educational e-guides. When you don't have the option of using a graphic designer for all of your business documents, styled stock and Canva can be a great resource to enhance your documents on your own. See this example below from one of my mentorship documents:

The addition of SC Stockshop styled stock on the bottom border of the document perfectly aligns with my brand through the colors and floral accents, while also adding some extra beauty. The tip to remember is to select styled stock that makes sense for your specific documents and brand.

Where can I get styled stock you are saying?

I can't say enough about the SC Stockshop! Check them out for yourself, and also visit their Instagram page for more eye candy. If you're currently using styled stock, what other tips would you add to this list? Share below!

Sensationally yours,

Shalyce

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4 Year Anniversary + HUGE Announcement

Last week, I celebrated 4 years of Sensational Soirees!! Whooo hoo! Where has the time gone?!

As I'm still celebrating a week and a half later, I can't help but to reflect on this journey. 4 years ago today, I decided to stop sitting on my dreams and instead chase them. I decided that even in a saturated market of event planners, there was still room for me and what I had to offer. I decided to believe that faith without works is dead, and wake up my faith. I decided to trust that if I just started, it would be worth my while. And it's been just that and so much more. I'm filled with so much happiness reflecting on the past 4 years, and so much gratitude for every single client, colleague, and supporter of Sensational Soirees! Thank you!

I'm so very proud of all I have achieved over the past 4 years, with the help of God and my team and circle of support. But beyond that I'm so thankful for all that I have learned. I don't have an overnight success story, and I'm not ashamed of that. I'm grateful for the beginning days of hardly no clients, barely making any profit, and working so very hard to build this brand from the ground up. Those humble beginnings have kept me grounded, focused on perfecting my craft and committed to hardwork. Today, I'm grateful I never gave up, and the hard work paid off! Now of course, I have soooooo much more I want to do and many more goals and dreams to achieve, but today I'm simply grateful for the past 4 years and the many more to come! 

NOW ON TO THE HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT... :-)

I've been working on something special for other boss ladies in business 3 years or less, and in case you've scrolled on the website today, then you probably saw our new web page spilling all the beans. Well, I'M OFFICIALLY ROLLING OUT BUSINESS EDUCATION! YAY!

I'll be honest, rolling out a new service can be a little scary, which is why it practically took me this whole year to finally take the plunge and do this. But when there's a purpose on you, you have to walk in. So I'm choosing to do this, to share, to support others, all in the spirit of community over competition. The amazing feedback I've already received so far is simply confirmation that now was in fact the time. As boss ladies, the thoughts of maybe next year or maybe when I have this or maybe when I achieve this can halt you from moving ahead into your next level. The key is to remember we all need each other, so not moving forward doesn't just affect you, but in turn whoever needed you and what you have to offer.

Therefore, I'm excited to answers your questions, share advice and serve the following: (1) New or aspiring wedding and event planners who have no idea how to start with their business, (2) Planners who've been in business 3 years or less, work a full-time job and seeking one-on-one advice and feedback, and (3) Fellow mompreneurs who desire to successfully run their business, while raising their families. Does that sound like you? Then let's chat! As of today, I'm NOW accepting bookings for 1 hour and 1.5 hour one-on-one mentoring sessions via phone or Skype. Additionally, for those in the DMV area, I'm also offering in-person 2.5 hour lunch and learns, so that we can connect, you can learn, all while enjoying a delicious bite to eat. Head over to the new education page to sign up for more information, as space is extremely limited.

In case you missed my Facebook Live last Monday, in celebration of the anniversary and education roll out, check it out here, plus one more special announcement :-)

So those complimentary one-on-one sessions I announced on FB Live filled up so quickly. But since I didn't announce it on the blog, I've decided to offer a couple more for a limited time! If you're interested, tell me why in the comments section for an opportunity to get a final slot.

Sensationally yours,

Shalyce

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Maryland Wedding Planner: The Sketchbook Series Workshop in Baltimore

I love love LOVE learning new ways to better my business, help me express creatively, and sharpen my skills. Well I recently attended an amazing workshop that was an event planner and designer's dream. When I learned about the Sketchbook Series workshops last year thanks to Instagram, I was so bummed I didn't hear about it until after their workshop in the Virginia area. Needless to say, I stayed on the hunt for 2016 dates, and registered for this year's Baltimore workshop...it did not disappoint!

Photo Credit:  Living Radiant

Photo Credit: Living Radiant

So what exactly is the Sketchbook Series you say? It's a hands-on workshop for creative professionals developed and taught by Mary Phan to help planners, bakers, florists, designers and more bring their ideas to life through sketching. The workshop exceeded my expectations and has already proven to be so valuable for my business, and here's why:

1. I can now sketch up my event dreams

When planning and designing a wedding or soiree, my mind is filled with so many creative ideas to not only execute my client's vision, but to also take it up a notch. While nature and scenery, inspirational websites, magazines, Pinterest and more are great for gathering visual inspiration, most of the creativity that comes from a designer is locked within our minds. Sometimes those creative designs can be challenging to communicate in words and other times our vision is so unique that there aren't images out there on the web or elsewhere to show what we're thinking. Now that I have the introductory skills to sketch up my event dreams, this will be so useful in illustrating my design ideas clearly and beautifully on paper.

Mary Phan, better known as verymaryinspired, was an amazing instructor. Her warm personality, expertise and willingness to share her knowledge made the workshop and learning so much better. Mary took us step by step in sharing what materials and supplies we need for sketching, how to set up our paper before sketching and how to execute various designs from cakes, to floral centerpieces, draping and tablescapes. Each attendee walked away with a starter sketching kit and so much knowledge and inspiration that left me all fired up about design!

Photo Credit:  Living Radiant

Photo Credit: Living Radiant

2. Tons of eye candy

Naturally as a planner, I love when the design of an event is on point. When I walked in the room at the Sketchbook Series workshop, I immediately whipped out my iPhone to take pics of all the gorgeousness! Stunning cakes, florals, draping and more created such a visual appealing and inspiring space to sketch. In the event industry, one of the major focuses of events is on design, which is why it was so necessary for the workshop to be in a space full of eye candy. In fact, we used the cake and florals as inspiration for our sketches on the first day of the workshop. I felt such a sense of accomplishment being able to sketch the beauty in the room.

Photo Credit:  Living Radiant

Photo Credit: Living Radiant

3. Sketching adds value and fun to the design experience

Mary not only provided hands-on sketching instruction, but she also spoke about the value of sketching and how it adds to the design experience. Being able to provide your clients with something tangible that speaks to their event and design is such a unique and valuable service. Sketches are useful to provide to florists and other vendors who will be involved with the design process, so that everyone can be in sync regarding vision. This skill is totally game-changing for my business, and I'm so excited to continue practicing and eventually becoming a sketch master (speaking it into existence)! In addition to the value, sketching proved to be a lot of fun! I so enjoyed the entire process of playing around with sketch techniques, adding color and bringing ideas to life on paper.

Photo Credit:  Living Radiant

Photo Credit: Living Radiant

4. The Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore

Do I really need to say more? Learning in a luxe venue was a win win for me. Not only did I get to see all of the beauty and ballrooms, where I dream of planning future events, but I also got to experience the Four Seasons cuisine. A venue that has lots of ambiance along with amazing food is definitely one that is included in my venue directory. Both breakfast and lunch were delicious, which left me quite curious about how much more amazing I'm sure their dinner is. I definitely look forward to attending or planning a future event at the Four Seasons Baltimore.

Photo Credit:  Living Radiant

Photo Credit: Living Radiant

The awesome team and sponsors responsible for this amazing workshop included:

Instructor: Mary Phan  @verymaryinspired

Design + Planning: Stephanie Bradshaw  @sbcreative_

VenueFour Seasons Baltimore  @fsbaltimore

Florals Day 1Crimson & Clover  @crimsoncloverfloral

Florals Day 2:  Flowers & Fancies  @flowersandfancies

Photography: Living Radiant  @livingradiant.photo

Event Production: Revolution Events  @reveventpro

Cake: La Cakerie  @lacakerie

Dessert Bar: Truly Scrumptious Candy & Dessert Bar  @truly_scrumptious_candy_bars

Linens: Table Toppers  @tabletoppersmd

Calligrapher: Lovely Ink Callipgraphy  @lovelyinkcalligraphy

National Sponsors: Aisle Planner  @aisleplanner and Imagination International @copicmarker

Photo Credit:  Living Radiant

Photo Credit: Living Radiant

Amazing, right?! Share what you think about this workshop and the value of sketching in the comments section. If you're a fellow event pro, what workshops have you attended and loved this year?

Sensationally yours,

Shalyce

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Feature Friday + Giveaway Winner

Happy Friday folks! I hope you've had a sensational week. After blogging every day last week in celebration of blog week (yay!) + a sensational wedding last Friday, I took the time this week to refuel and also refocus on some exciting projects. But I'm happy to be back today on the blog with some great news!

Image Credit: SC Stockshop

Image Credit: SC Stockshop

I'm happy to announce the winner of our Blog Week Giveaway...Courtney Inghram! Congrats again to Courtney, who won the fabulous prizes of: (1) $50 Target gift card, (1) $50 Sensational Soirees shop e-gift card, (1) $25 Starbucks gift card, and (1) $25 Visa gift card. Awesome, right?! THANK YOU again to everyone for supporting  blog week and Sensational Soirees!

In other exciting news, I'm pleased to share that I had an article featured on the Rising Tide Society (RTS) blog last week! I love being apart of the RTS community, and I'm a huge advocate for the #communityovercompetition movement. To do my part in supporting the mission, I shared some insights on a popular topic among creative entrepreneurs, which RTS shared on their blog. That topic was ways to successfully work your business while you still work a full-time job. This post somewhat served as a follow up to the last post I wrote for them, Running a business while raising a family. So for all you boss ladies who have a 9 to 5 too, check out my 3 tips to help you balance both more successfully.

Another feature that was published last month was an interview I did with Inspire into Action in March. The mission of this company is to inspire others to take action on their dreams. During this interview, I shared how I got started with Sensational Soirees and provided tips for aspiring and current entrepreneurs. Check it out below:

I'm so excited and thankful for these features, and excited for even more features coming down the pipeline. Let me know 1 thing you took from the RTS post or Inspire Into Action interview...jot it down in the comments section.

Sensationally yours,

Shalyce

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Winning Wednesday

Welcome to Day 4 of Blog Week! Today, I wanted to bring something new to the blog that I've never done here before...a video post. As we continue the weeklong anniversary celebration, I can't help but to reflect on the past 3 years, filled with lots of wins and lessons learned, too.  

Background: SC Stockshop

Background: SC Stockshop

When I first started the blog, my goal was to blog every month at least once a month. This post marks #127 on the blog, and I'm happy to share that I stuck to that goal of monthly blogging! In fact, most months I blogged multiple times a month, and today I blog weekly. I'll be honest, that goal was NOT easy to achieve by a long shot. Whether an absolutely amazing day or perhaps a challenging one, I find it important to have a positive outlook and winning mindset. The scripture, "with God all things are possible", has definitely been encouraging in pursuit of my "wins". There is also 1 practical practice that I implemented at the beginning of the year to fuel my optimism to go after more victories in both life and business...check out the video!

So whether you had a rough day or a sensational one, I challenge you THIS WEEK to write down at least 1 win from each day. To help you out, I created a free weekly wins worksheet that you can download below. I'll go first, and share 1 win from my day - I completed everything on my wedding planning task list for Friday's wedding!! Whoop whoop!

I would love to hear from you! Please share 1 of your wins from today or this week in the comments section.

Sensationally yours,

Shalyce

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