Thursday, December 30, 2010

Slice of Life – Photography – will Boost your Business

Everyone know that if you have a business of any kind – you really need to have a web site – it’s almost a pre requisite for business these days.

Your web site not only helps potential clients find you, but also do a little research about your company.

If you are reading this you are well aware that people not only search on line but they also compare.

If you are offering a “service” your potential clients are not just comparing price but they are searching your web site to see if your business fits their needs.

So how do you visually persuade your web visitors to not only browse your web site longer but also ultimately pick up the phone.

According to some theorists. It is argued that we live in a constant state of tension and buy things to reduce that tension. Which is good new for Equine businesses that promote fun, fresh air and work at one with nature.

So with that in mind you can create images for your web site that solves that problem. (The tension – not the need to buy)

“The art of riding is relaxed concentration”

So when visitors stop /shop by your web site show them a “Slice of Life”

Take them visually through what a day at the barn is like; give your web visitors a “Peek behind the scenes”

As a professional photographer - this is how I would approach such a project

The facility – I would show someone either riding/ or leading a horse through the open gates into the facility (signage clearly depicted) after all that is what you want new clients to do “Come In” – closed gates are practical but not inviting.

The Owner – Again this would be a welcoming kind of shot with the owner shaking hands with a new client (showing the owner gives personal attention to her customers)

The Staff- I would prefer to photograph the staff doing their work rather than head and shoulder mug shots,

Existing clients­ – with signed model release form of course, but what better way to show and tell. Pictures of both group and private lessons.

The Horses - The horses are the candy that will attract people to your facility – The images you use should inspire the viewer to “Want to ride that horse” pictures of horses grazing in a field evokes a very different emotional response from a horse jumping or galloping freestyle.

The Disciplines - What style of riding do you offer?

Who do you cater to - beginners / advanced / hobby riders or potential show riders. Maybe all four but obviously not within the same group lesson – so you need to visually appeal to each group so that they can identify with your business and see that they would fit in. (everyone has the basic need to be accepted)

The personality of the Business – this is probably the hardest image to create especially if you own the business very often other see us very differently that we see ourselves and this is also true of businesses.

Its in the details – every wedding photographer knows, he has to take pictures of the rings / cake. Flowers, we can learn from their attention to detail. I would take tack room shots, kids grooming, all the barn animals cats or dogs etc. maybe there is a special place the grooms go to eat lunch -

Good Photographer’s see the world differently and capture the extraordinary in the ordinary a gift most people leave behind with childhood.

This article is geared towards Equine businesses but the same principles would apply to most services.

To learn more about slice of life photography and how it can work for your business please e-mail Linda Finstad

Or visit her web site

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Human body language v Equine body language

Have you ever wondered why such a big strong animal like a horse would allow us puny humans to ride and dominate them.

Now don’t give yourself airs it has nothing to do with your superior horsemanship or equine experience.

It all boils down to Prey v Preditor

Horses and humans are very different, in their perception of the world, they relate to it in different ways. For horses and humans to communicate, there has to first be an understanding of translating the horse's perception of what our different body signals mean to them.

Horses are prey animals. They are built as prey animals, with eyes set on the sides of their head, which means they cannot see anything in front of their noses. When watching horses interacting together, you'll notice that horses only move in straight lines when they are being aggressive.

Like when chasing another horse away from food.

Horses show that they are prey and not a predator, by moving in a 'wandering' way. This allows them to see what might be lurking nearby, and signals that they are harmless to the other animals around them.

Humans, on the other hand, have their eyes on the front of their heads. We generally move in straight lines, looking directly towards where we're going.

This behavior marks humans as predators.

To a horse, our natural way of moving tells them that we are dangerous, or aggressive, at best.

Due to this prey-to-predator relationship, body language has to be adjusted when working with young or frightened horses. It can also be a tool in training any horse. Straight lines and eye contact mean that you are asking the horse to move away, while curving lines and looking around, not directly at the animal, tells them that you want to approach and that you will not attack them.

Making eye contact and backing up can communicate to the horse that you want them to approach.

Horses communicate with their body language, they excel at picking up signals that do not seem obvious to us, and will behave towards human body language as they would in their own herd. A great way to learn about horses' body language is to watch them as they interact with each other.

An aggressive horse will pin back their ears and move directly towards another animal they want to frighten, while a young foal will relax their bodies and open and shut their mouths in a chewing motion, showing that they are no threat.

To show a horse that a human is harmless, the handler must relax their body, move in a wandering pattern, rather than in straight lines, and be aware of making eye-contact.

A confident, calm, handler, creates a calm, obedient, horse.

As humans study the natural interaction that horses have with each other, they can learn about a horse's psychology, and create better human and equine relationships.

Linda Finstad -

Friday, December 17, 2010

To Blog or not to Blog that is the question and Who Reads Blogs anyway?????????

I bought into the advice of all the marketing guru’s that you must have a blog. So over the past year I have been tapping the keyboard with my thoughts and life views.

My rantings covered a variety of topics such as “Why I would rather be a dog than a wife” and “How to get your Mojo going”.

But I never really thought anyone read them because after hitting the “publish post” button that was that.

On occasion I have thought this is just a waste of time but it can be kind of therapeutic to put your thoughts into words - much like keeping a secret journal. But allowing the whole world to discover its hiding place under the bed and read it.

So who reads Blogs anyway? And Why read the life updates and views (even ravings!) of an individual when there is so much else to read on the net?

Because we’re human, and we like to know what other people think and feel. We also like to know what they know, especially if it can benefit us in some way.

Blogs often have a ‘real’ factor, which is missing from other kinds of editorial.

When readers are ready, the blogs will still be there. And that's the power of on-line content.

I started searching the internet for some stats on how many blogs there are and average readership - But there were oodles of blogs on the subject and I couldn’t be bothered reading them all

But here are my very condensed findings

There are billions of blogs

Most are created and abandoned within the first 2 months

But there is no concluding evidence for readership

So to blog or not to blog - you decide

But I am sure you will have some great insights that would enlighten the world so you would really be helping humanity by Blogging

I just wish it had a better name

Thursday, December 16, 2010

How to get more out of Life

How to get more out of Life

I have been on a personal quest - searching the greatest minds on the internet to find an answer to my question.

Here are some of the words of wisdom I came across

Try it as a 21 day trial
Some of us might get overwhelmed with cultivating a new habit because it's something we need to do for life. What if you just need to do this habit for the next 21 days? Suddenly it doesn't seem so challenging. Most of you will think: "21 days, hey I can do that". Whether its diet , excersise, blogging or whatever

Road to Somewhere

If you feel you are going nowhere, perhaps it is because you've never tried to go anywhere in particular. If you've just done what everyone else does, you'll end up where everyone else does - dead bored, or maybe just dead! You need to have a dream - an idea of where you want to go to.

One day at a Time

A goal for a single day is enough, to start with - something minor. Also, let's not make work for ourselves. Many of us are overworked. I don't want anyone to add another chore to their burden! Keep it light, keep it small, keep it manageable. We don't have to solve world hunger, or make contact with beings from another planet, not today anyway.

Find your passion. Similar to the above tip, this one asks you to find your calling. Make your living by doing the thing you love to do. First, think about what you really love to do. There may be many things. Find out how you can make a living doing it. It may be difficult, but you only live once.

Turn off the TV. How many hours will we waste away in front of the boob tube? How many hours do we have to live? Do the math, then unplug the TV. Only plug it back in when you have a DVD of a movie you love. Otherwise, keep it off and find other stuff to do. Don't know what to do? Read further.

Take chances. We often live our lives too cautiously, worried about what might go wrong. Be bold, risk it all. Quit your job and go to business for yourself (plan it out first!), or go up to that girl you've liked for a long time and ask her out. What do you have to lose?

Savor food. Don't just eat your food, but really enjoy it. Feel the texture, the bursts of flavors. Savor every bite. If you limit your intake of sweets, it will make the small treats you give yourself (berries or dark chocolate are my favorites) even more enjoyable. And when you do have them, really, really savor them. Slowly.

· Love. Perhaps the most important. Fall in love, if you aren't already. If you have, fall in love with your partner all over again. Abandon caution and let your heart be broken. Or love family members, friends, anyone -- it doesn't have to be romantic love. Love all of humanity, one person at a time.

Be positive. Learn to recognize the negative thoughts you have. These are the self-doubts, the criticisms of others, the complaints, the reasons you can't do something. Then stop yourself when you have these thoughts, and replace them with positive thoughts. Solutions. You can do this!

Face your fears. What are you most afraid of? What is holding you back? Whatever it is, recognize it, and face it. Do what you are most afraid of. Afraid of heights? Go to the tallest building, and look down over the edge. Only by facing our fears can we be free of them.

When you suffer, suffer. Life isn't all about fun and games. Suffering is an inevitable part of life. We lose our jobs. We lose our lovers. We lose our pets. We get physically injured or sick. A loved one becomes sick. A parent dies. Learn to feel the pain intensely, and really grieve. This is a part of life -- really feel the pain. And when you're done, move on, and find joy.

Slow down. Life moves along at such a rapid pace these days. It's not healthy, and it's not conducive to living. Practice doing everything slowly -- everything, from eating to walking to driving to working to reading. Enjoy what you do. Learn to move at a snail's pace.

Touch humanity. Get out of your house and manicured neighborhoods, and find those who live in worse conditions. Meet them, talk to them, understand them. Live among them. Be one of them. Give up your materialistic lifestyle.

Volunteer. Help at homeless soup kitchens. Learn compassion, and learn to help ease the suffering of others. Help the sick, those with disabilities, those who are dying.

Find spirituality. For some, this means finding God or Jesus . For others, this means becoming in tune with the spirits of our ancestors, or with nature. For still others, this just means an inner energy. Whatever spirituality means for you, rediscover it, and its power.

Take mini-retirements. Don't leave the joy of retirement until you are too old to enjoy it. Do it now, while you're young. It makes working that much more worth it. Find ways to take a year off every few years. Save up, sell your home, your possessions, and travel. Live simply, but live, without having to work. Enjoy life, then go back to work and save up enough money to do it again in a couple of years.

Try something new, every week. Ask yourself: "What new thing shall I try this week?" Then be sure to do it. You don't have to learn a new language in one week, but seek new experiences. Give it a try. You might decide you want to keep it in your life.

Be in the moment. Instead of thinking about things you need to do, or things that have happened to you, or worrying or planning or regretting, think about what you are doing, right now. What is around you? What smells and sounds and sights and feelings are you experiencing? Learn to do this as much as possible through meditation, but also through bringing your focus back to the present as much as you can in everything you do.

This is by no means an exhaustive list but it is a great start for an exciting new tomorrow

Monday, December 6, 2010

Should I put "MY PICTURE" on my Biz Card

Who’s picture is on your Biz Card

Odd’s are you do – Even in this technologically advanced age The “Old Fashioned” business card is still the most effective way to pass on your information to people you meet. Even my teenage daughter has business cards to promote her baby sitting services.

But if “Everyone” has them and “Everyone” is handing them out to promote their business or service.

How do you make your biz card memorable?

The answer is easy - put your picture on the front.

Memory Retention:
When we remember a person, it is usually by face and by name. We maybe attach a descriptive word to them to help us remember like “Angie the blonde”, or Mr. wilson the bald guy.

Face/Head and the Name are the key factors. If you put your face and name in your color business card, this creates an environment where a person can remember you more easily. This kind of memory retention is absolutely crucial. If people remember you by name and face, you will have a higher chance of getting that business opportunity.

Facial and Name Recognition:
Facial and name recognition, are very closely connected. If someone sees your name, they will have a picture of your face in their mind. If someone sees your face, your name will not be far off. If your business card has a face, then this will help your contacts recognize you after they have seen your business card. You may be passing them on the street or at a show and your face will be connected to your business card

But best of all people will start to recognize you and feel like they know you - and people much prefer to do business with someone they know and trust.

Marketing your image:
Besides recognition and retention, having a face on your full color business card also promotes the marketing of your own image. Having your face in a business card, with you looking all formal and professional, should basically sell your "public image". A picture that is presentable with you looking competent, determined and approachable can really go well with people’s opinions about you. If they "like your look" then there is a big chance that they will do business with you. First impressions, even from color business cards will usually last.

So when you invest in new business cards, don’t forget to include your picture in the design.

Sure a logo is good but people like to deal with people