Hello, I am Allie of ALLIE NYC. Join me on my adventures in this fair city. I hope you like what you see

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Posts for Blogging Category

Link Love Express #5

Blogging - alimackin@gmail.com - April 27, 2016

Yes it is that time again, time for another Love Link Express, where I share what I find and love out there in cyberspace. So here we go…

Yes it is that time again, time for another Love Link Express, where I share what I find and love out there in cyberspace. So here we go…

Spring is a season of rebirth, change and growth. And I am looking to do a number of things with my blog and I am always looking to learn new things. A few weeks ago I wrote about the lack of blogging conferences and I thought this would be a conference free year, but leave it to IFB to set me straight as they write about the best 25 conferences for bloggers.

And I have spoken on the blog before about my desire to improve my photography. I plan on buying a prime lens and perhaps taking come classes, but most importantly I am going to start getting out there and shooting other people, so I was super excited to discover the blog/website Where Did You Get that. Founded by Karen “Britchick” OK I already love her. It is not only filled with gorgeous photos of her, but it is also filled with beautiful street style photos taken by her as well. How cool is that? A blogger with style and talent.

And speaking of bloggers I met the lovely Selma of SelmaStyle at the NYC Style Collective event and she has wonderful style. Be sure to check out her site for plenty of fashion fused inspiration.

And do you need to brand yourself or your blog? Then head over to Moo.com, they are more then just printer. They also have a ton of features and tools that will help you market your brand in addition to being a great printer that does quality and beautiful work.

And finally, guess what? You can now schedule and post photos to Instagram directly from your desktop computer with Instamate.  This tool will certainly come in handy. But be sure to read about this app first at IFB as the company website is heavy on the cheesy sales pitch so much so it is actually distracting and makes the product look like a joke. I mean they seriously need to fire the marketing person—we are talking over the top dramatic music and cheese ball testimonials, but the app itself could be God send. So look past the cheese and check it out.

 

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Why Shooting With a Prime Lens Will Change Your Life

Blogging, Fashion - alimackin@gmail.com - March 28, 2016

We all know blogging has come along way since Live Journal. And one of the key essential elements that all successful bloggers have in common is strong and engaging photography. The photography industry has enjoyed a big uptick in sales of DSLR cameras with the rise of blogging and online ameture photography.

Note the beautiful creamy out of focus background with the perfectly circular light “orbes” (no they are not anyone’s dead relatives) the wonderful clarity and sharp focus of the scarf, face and hair, and the semi out of focus extreme foreground…

We all know blogging has come along way since Live Journal. And one of the key essential elements that all successful bloggers have in common is strong and engaging photography. The photography industry has enjoyed a big uptick in sales of DSLR cameras with the rise of blogging and online ameture photography. Regardless of why you blog I am sure I am correct in saying we would all love to improve our photography skills. One my favorite bloggers is Garance Dore and what I love about her blog is her stunning photography. I could be wrong about this but I think she may be self taught, and it would be a dream come true for me if she ever held photography workshops I think I would die from the sheer thrill of it!

But in the mean time I am left to the internet, though I am still considering taking a class or two I have to say my photography has improved quite a bit over the last twenty months or so and much of it was trial and error and learning on the fly online. So today I would like to share with you a few things I have learned.

The first thing you will want to do before anything else is to invest in a prime lens. A prime lens is a fixed focal length lens which means it does not zoom, so you must mover further away or closer to your subject to get the crop you want. But what you get in return is much more engaging editorial looking pictures. And that my friends is due to a higher quality blurred background otherwise known as bokeh, which is Japanese for blur. A blurred background is achieved by using a large or wide aperture which throws the background out of focus and lets in more light. How beautiful that blurred background appears is what is known as bokeh, You can read more about bokeh here.

But if you can’t afford it then go for the f1.8. It will be the best thing you will do for your photography this year hands down.

So when you are looking at beautiful street style photography and wondering how they do it, you know they are shooting with a prime lens with a longer focal length at a wider aperature (3.5 or faster or lower number). And one of the best lens to start out with is the 50 mm lens, which is kind of middle of the road for shooting the average subject. For closer in portrait shots you may want to use a 70 or 85 mm lens. The longer the lens or higher the number the more cropped in you are to your subject. And the shorter the lens or lower the number the more set back you are from your subject with more of the background in the frame.

J Brand jeans H&M top (10)

The more affordable option with the 50mm lens is the f1.8, at roughly $120 it defiantly worth the money and this alone if you do nothing else will vastly improve the look your photos. The lens up from that is the f1.4 which is generally around $300. If you can spring for it, do so, the better image clarity, color resolution and bokeh is worth the extra expenditure. But if you can’t afford it then go for the f1.8. It will be the best thing you will do for your photography this year hands down. To learn more about why to shoot with a 50 mm prime lens check out TV Digital Rev.com. The commentator is fast speaking brit with quite the sense of humor and explains everything so that it make sense. I learned a lot from watching these videos.

shooting in AV mode at the widest aperture that your camera will allow is much easier then shooting in manual and even more surprisingly it is the setting that most professional photographers shoot in

Another thing I learned recently is to shoot in AV mode (or “A” for Nikon) instead of manual. I learned that shooting in AV mode at the widest aperture that your camera will allow is much easier then shooting in manual and even more surprisingly it is the setting that most professional photographers shoot in. It lets in the most light without camera shake and in this setting the camera automatically sets the shutter speed (the higher the better to compensate camera shake, understanding this setting can be tricky) for you. You can learn more about this here.

But if your photos are too dark or light to your liking when shooting in this mode you can also manually adjust the expose which is known as exposure compensation. How cool is that? You can read an in depth tutorial on this here. And look for the (A/V + -) button on your camera for Canon and “A” for Nikon. Knowing these three things alone will take your photography leaps and bounds to the next level. Yes I still have much to learn, but this one journey that I don’t mind taking. I hope this was helpful and stay tuned for more of these tutorials. 

Top image via Garancedore.com and second image by irusianaphotography.com via FashionOverReason.com

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Blogging in 2016 — Will It Be a Conference Free Year?

Blogging, Life, Life-Style - alimackin@gmail.com - March 21, 2016

We are now almost three months in to 2016, another three and we will be half way through the year. At start of the new year in this post I looked at where blogging is going in 2016 and why bloggers blog and what blogging means to them. And it seems about this time is when all those resolutions start to fall by the wayside and get overlooked by the stresses and responsibilities of our daily lives

 I was surprised that when I went to inquire further on the workshops and conferences that had been so successful in the past, that many appear to be on hiatus

We are now almost three months in to 2016, another three and we will be half way through the year. At start of the new year in this post I looked at where blogging is going in 2016 and why bloggers blog and what blogging means to them. And it seems this is about the time when all those New Year’s resolutions start to fall by the wayside and get overlooked by the stresses and responsibilities of our daily lives. As I was feeling a bit stuck I decided to take to the internet to see what was out there in terms of classes, workshops and conferences related to blogging. When I first started my blog I signed up for and I attended a number of the Lucky FABB conferences. I felt the conferences were invaluable for inspiration and networking with other bloggers, though I felt the emphasis was not focused enough on actual blogging and in fact the last conference was more about building your own business and being an entrepreneur. Although it was no accident that the focus shifted a bit, this shift was in response to a survey on what attendees wanted to learn more about and it seems that everyone wants to be a self-made “girl boss”. But do you think this sustainable? That everyone can be self-made entrepreneur?

Originally this post was going to be a round up of classes and conferences that could help bloggers take their blog to the next level and grow or even launch a business. But I was surprised that when I went to inquire further on the workshops and conferences that had been so successful in the past, that many appear to be on hiatus. Of course the Lucky FABB conference is no longer held as the magazine itself has been shuttered. The last IFB conference appears to have been in the winter of 2013, and Design Love Fest ended their traveling Blog Shop and now only offer LA based classes on calligraphy with the occasional photo session or meet and greet event. The highly successful Blogcademy has nothing posted in regards to 2016 be it in person or online, the Alt Summit also has nothing posted on their site for 2016, and even the all-online blogging school The Blog Class states registration is currently closed, with no updated information on if or when it will reopen.

What is going on here? What exactly does this mean? Has the novelty worn off? Is this the dot.com implosion revisited? What say you? I am not sure what to think. I was planning on taking or attending at least one conference or workshop this year, but I am afraid I may be out of luck. I will continue to periodically check the status of future classes at The Blogcademy, The Alt Summit and The Blog Class, and hopefully one or all will happen. There is always The Simply Stylist conference, which is not tailored specifically to blogging but could still be a great resource. And if any of you know of any classes or workshops taking place this year please feel free to share.

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No Follow Links—Do You Do it? Should You Do It?

Blogging - alimackin@gmail.com - April 29, 2015

[dropcap custom_class="normal"]H[/dropcap] ello all, today we are going to talk about something not so glamorous but definitely important. We will be discussing the whole “no follow” rule and if it is something that you should incorporate in your blogging routine. When I was a newbie blogger I had no idea of the whole “no follow” controversy and thus I just added live links to my site without giving a second thought.

No-Follow-Link

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”]H[/dropcap] ello all, today we are going to talk about something not so glamorous but definitely important. We will be discussing the whole “no follow” rule and if it is something that you should incorporate in your blogging routine. When I was a newbie blogger I had no idea of the whole “no follow” controversy and thus I just added live links to my site without giving it a second thought. As my blog grew and I gained more experience and I did more research on how to grow my blog, one of the aspects that I learned about was “page rank”,which I admit I am still a bit confused about. But basically page rank has to with where you page “ranks” in “googlesphere” or the world wide web. Many things can effect page rank and one of the things that effects page rank occurs when a larger or more popular site links to another site—generally smaller (but not necessarily) and this in turn gives the site it is linking to “street cred” and ups the page rank. However, this ranking system has been abused in the past through sneaky back door ways of manipulating this feature, which of course forced google to change it’s algorithms and the rules that apply to linking. [blockquote]but in case your blog has a great deal of external links and you are not using nofollow feature then search engine bots will probably prefer these pages certainly not yours and therefore referring targeted visitors to some others sites along with your blog search engine ranking will go down — My Blogger Buz[/blockquote]So it seems that now, a good rule of thumb just to be safe, is to use no follow links. I have to say I can not imagine my little blog causing any company or fellow bloggers page rank to go up just because I link to them, but yeah I guess it could happen. And on that note when researching “page rank” it seems this feature of bigger more established sites linking to smaller less established sites is one of the best ways (or it was) to increase page rank. But the same goes for any other site. If they are going to link to my site then it would be in their interest to also add a no follow link when linking to my site. So in essence if everyone is using no follow links then that aspect of improving page rank will eventually become null and void. But then again I could be wrong, I am not an SEO expert. But if you have too many non no follow links you could get dinged by Google which WILL effect your page rank and NOT in a good way. So it seems to be it is better to use the no follow link and play it safe.

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”][/dropcap]Now the next question is how does one do this? And lets also understand that adding a no follow link will not stop the traffic you are sending to a particular site, and if a site sends a lot of traffic to your site it also not affected. No follow links have to do with the backend bots and crawlers not actual traffic. When I first tried to add the no follow code I tried to do so manually via information I found on the web. But for me it did not work as the example used in the tutorial was different from the links I had in my post, and in one case the “no follow” code I added to the link was actually visible on my site. So hmm, yeah that didn’t go well. I then did some research and found a plugin for Word Press called “External Links” which automatically adds no follow code to all outbound links—it will not add no follow code to inbound links, which is a good thing. You can click here for the no follow Word Press plugin and for a discussion and instructions on how to globally had no follow links in blogger you can click here. So do you use no follow links? How do you feel about this? And please feel to explain it further, as again I am not an SEO expert and can only hope I made things a bit more clear.

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”][/dropcap]Image via Pinterest 

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Got Print the Promotional Experts, an Affordable Way to Take Your Brand to the Next Level

Blogging - alimackin@gmail.com - February 4, 2015

[dropcap custom_class="normal"]G[/dropcap] ranted much of what we do as bloggers is done online but nothing beats a statement making business card. Although Bryan Boy claimed at the last Lucky FABB conference in New York that business cards are obsolete, it is still one of the easiest ways to swap information when meeting people face to face.

GotPrint1

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”]G[/dropcap] ranted much of what we do as bloggers is done online but nothing beats a statement making business card. Although Bryan Boy claimed at the last Lucky FABB conference in New York that business cards are obsolete, it is still one of the easiest ways to swap information when meeting people face to face. And today the process could not be any easier or more affordable. I ordered a thousand custom business cards at Got Print for roughly $30.00 and that included shipping! Yes, I am a graphic designer so I was able to design my own card, but even if you hire a graphic designer via their site, this is still one of the most affordable ways to get business cards for your brand. You can also design your business cards yourself directly on their website if you feel confident enough. I ordered the heavier 16 pt paper with a matte finish and simple square corners. They also offer rounded corners and a high gloss finish. And they now have a new 24 pt paper called Trifecta. It features a triple layer of paper with a green middle layer and smart white paper. Super luxe, and very impressive.

GotPrint3

GorPrint2

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”][/dropcap]If you are not a graphic designer and do not have a lot of money consider hiring a graphic design student in their last year of school. You can check out the local schools in your area and contact their design program if they have one, and see if they can put you in contact with their students. Or you could put an ad up on Craigslist, or research graphic artist services on Etsy like this one, which will probably offer you more sophisticated design options then you will find on the Got Print site. But which ever way you chose to go, it is a new year and the perfect time to take your brand to the next level, and you don’t have to break the bank to achieve your goals. In this DIY online world anything is obtainable, and nothing can stop us from looking our professional best.

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”][/dropcap] All images owned by ALLIE NYC©, please do not use without permission and/or crediting/linking back to allienyc.com

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Blogging Classes for a Happy New Year and a New You! Happy New Year Everyone!

Blogging, Life-Style, Uncategorized - alimackin@gmail.com - December 31, 2014

[dropcap custom_class="normal"]H[/dropcap] appy New Year everyone!! I hope 2015 is going to be a good year for you! It is a new day and a new year! The new year can have the same excitement as the “going back to school” sense of embarking on a new adventure we remember as children. I am sure we all have our resolutions and goals for the new year, right?

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[dropcap custom_class=”normal”]H[/dropcap] appy New Year everyone! I hope 2015 is going to be a good year for you. It is a new day and a new year! The new year can have the same excitement as the “going back to school” sense of embarking on a new adventure we remember as children. I am sure we all have our resolutions and goals for the new year, right? Well, the new year is the perfect time to learn or start something new, and it is the perfect time to make your life even better. So I pulled together some classes and conferences you might enjoy, and find helpful. From starting a blog, to analyzing and using social media, to learning graphics programs and branding, to breaking in to fashion you will find something that will spark your interest.

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[dropcap custom_class=”normal”][/dropcap] Many of the classes are held in person and travel from city to city and many are offered online. So roll up your sleeves, put your thinking cap on and lets make this year better then the one that preceded it.

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”][/dropcap] 1) The Brand Market (In person)—Blogging, Social Media, Branding

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”][/dropcap] 2) Blog Shop (In person and online)—Photoshop/Graphics, Branding

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”][/dropcap] 3) The Blogcademy (In person and online)— Blogging, Social Media, Branding

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”][/dropcap] 4) Fashionsta.com Conference (In Person NY&LA) Breaking into Fashion

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”][/dropcap] 5) Lucky FABB (In person NY&LA) Fashion Blogging

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[dropcap custom_class=”normal”][/dropcap] Hope you find something you like, and always stay inspired. Let’s toast the new year and a new you!

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Photography, Blogging and a Fashion Week Throwback

Blogging, Fashion - alimackin@gmail.com - October 27, 2014

[dropcap custom_class="normal"]A[/dropcap] s any self respecting fashion and life-style blogger knows, great photography is a must. I purchased my first DSLR about a year and a half ago and have been steadily learning how to use it. There is a lot to know and learn if you want move beyond shooting in auto mode.

Jenna-Lyons-Fashion-Week

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”]A[/dropcap] s any self respecting fashion and life-style blogger knows, great photography is a must. I purchased my first DSLR about a year and a half ago and have been steadily learning how to use it. There is a lot to know and learn if you want move beyond shooting in auto mode. And for anyone who learned photography on an old school camera, you will find that focusing with a digital camera is whole different ballgame. But the more or less instant gratification and ease of use that comes with a DSLR can not be beat. Photography is about three things: composition, exposure, and what is, or is not in focus. You also need to know what modes to shoot in based on the situation in which you are shooting. For example, I should have been shooting in continuous mode or AI Servo on Canon cameras and AF-C on Nikon cameras, to stop the action and avoid motion blur when I took this picture of Leila Yavari. She was late arriving to the show, and was in quite the hurry and was not about to stop and pose for the plethora of photographers vying to get a shot of her. Myself, the amateur paparazzi included. Shooting on auto and in continuous mode is certainly the best choice when shooting subjects on the street, or subjects that are moving in which you do not have a lot of control. When you do have more control then taking your camera off auto and shooting in manual to me is the whole reason to own a digital camera.

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”] [/dropcap][blockquote] It’s really hard work being a street style photographer — Garance Dore[/blockquote]

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”][/dropcap]I still have a lot to learn, but I am excited about the control that a DSLR and shooting in manual allows me to have in creating photos that excite and inspire me.  I am self-taught but I do plan on taking a class and would recommend this to any budding amateur photographer. And for my NY based readers there is class you can take at Photo Uno for which I have heard wonderful things from fellow bloggers. I myself plan on taking this class in late winter or early spring. So how do you feel about photography? Do you take your own photos or are you mainly the subject of the photos on the your blog? And what side of the lens do you like to be on?

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”][/dropcap] Image owned by ALLIE NYC, please do not use without permission and or crediting/linking back to allienyc.com 

 

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Blog Shop with Design Love Fest, Learn to Vlog

Blogging - alimackin@gmail.com - August 20, 2014

[dropcap custom_class="normal"]L [/dropcap] ast week I shared the super fun and creative video from the bloggers Girls Without Glasses. This video was so inspiring it renewed my desire to make videos or should I say vlogs.

[videos file=”http://vimeo.com/42322882″ width=”675″ height=”475″][/videos]

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”]L [/dropcap] ast week I shared the super fun and creative video from the bloggers Girls Without Glasses. This video was so inspiring it renewed my desire to make videos or should I say vlogs. And to this end I have been considering taking the video class offered over at Design Love Fest. Brie Emery the founder of Design Love Fest along with her photographer Angela Kohler travel the world teaching photoshop and how to make videos using photo in their Blog Shop series. The classes are expensive but worth it. Besides all the invaluable information, the classes themselves are a true “Design Love Fest” experience. The video above was shot on an iPhone and then edited in photoshop. Cool, right? So if you are interested in taking the visuals of your blog to the next level, check out Blog Shop. This is traveling teaching series, so there is good chance that Blog Shop is coming to a town near you! To learn more about Bri click here, and to learn more about Blog Shop click here. And to see more inspiring videos just search “video” on the Design Love Fest landing page.

 

 

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Girls With Glasses and Need a Laugh Wednesday

Blogging, Fashion - alimackin@gmail.com - August 13, 2014

[dropcap custom_class="normal"]W [/dropcap]Well we are halfway through the week and I thought we could all use a laugh. This is a hilarious take on Iggy Azalea popular tune.  Two working moms with a blog that do not take themselves too seriously show that not being too fancy is a whole lotta fun!

[videos file=”http://youtu.be/t0Fa7a4wn04″ width=”700″ height=”500″][/videos]

 

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”]W [/dropcap]Well we are halfway through the week and I thought we could all use a laugh. This is a hilarious take on Iggy Azalea popular tune.  Two working moms with a blog that do not take themselves too seriously show that not being too fancy is a whole lotta fun!

 

 

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Currently On Instagram

  • Looking quite excited to be in Versille! Paris versailles travelhellip
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  • Gorgeous look from the neubyrne neubyrne show NYFW  hellip
  • Two gorgeous models outside the Journe show in Paris duringhellip
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  • Shooting in Paris for PFW     hellip