Defining what “taking off” means

Last year around this time I took a few months off from posting on Twitter and Facebook. It was so nice. I found the desire to write more long-form entries here on the blog and generally just felt more relaxed. It was like taking a breather after running for hours. I discovered that I had begun to think in 140-character snippets. Everything that I saw or experienced, my brain dutifully composed in my head as a tweet. My fingers would then, also dutifully, type that message into Twitter. It’s annoying, not only in my head, but probably to the world that reads those sometimes inane tweets.

As a result of that time away, I’ve used Twitter far, far less in 2011. Coincidentally, we’ve done an order of magnitude more business this year than last. Interesting.

As my stress level has steadily risen I decided to take the last few months off again. One week into that sabbatical, I noticed something different this time. I’m training my brain to think long form again, but I also miss Twitter a bit in one way: it’s actually useful. Several times I’ve wanted to ask a question on Twitter and stopped myself. But there are sometimes friendly people out there who like answering questions.

As with everything, it’s all about balance. I guess there’s nothing wrong with using Twitter for genuinely useful communication. I can use it when I need it. So now “taking off” means not posting every thought I ever have. It’s refreshing, and after just one week, I’ve found a renewed desire to write again. For a good chunk of the year I figured my not writing was because of having too much going on creatively. In the past week I’ve actually had to do more creative work than usual and yet still feel the desire to write. I still subscribe to the theory that I only have so many well-written words to give in a day. If I give a large portion of those to Twitter and Facebook, I rob my other endeavors.

It makes me wonder if I’ll use tools like Twitter even less next year. Probably so. I need to treat it as just that, a tool, and not a place for everything that sails between my ears.


Studios Blog Update: Magazines, Cows, iPhone book deadline

Every week or two I’ll be posting an update on the activity on all our other sites, for those that only subscribe here. – Commercial + Editorial

Tarleton Magazine #1 Photos

I posted some shots of a magazine cover I had published recently for Tarleton State Universty in Stephenille.

Leon Clift

Here are my favorites from a shoot I did for my father-in-law Leon Clift for his new website. – Wedding + Family

Cale's Senior Portraits

We had a lot of fun shooting Cale’s senior portraits. Check out my favorites here. – iPhone Photography

2-10-10 iPhone photo

I’ve been keeping up with daily iPhone photos and I’m working hard to finish the first issue of Life Through a Tiny Lens by March 1st.

I’ve also set up a Twitter account for TinyLens and a Facebook fan page for ImageStudios that covers everything we do.

We’re everywhere!

Much of this last two weeks has been consumed with the online strategy for the studio. I’ve known for a while what I wanted to do, but it has taken forever to get it all together. I finally bit the bullet and did it all because 2010 is the year we make all this happen. So below is a list of where to find us and what content is where.

Wedding + Family site ::
As the site is in blog form, I’ll be posting all new photos from shoots under those categories.

Commercial + Editorial site ::
This site is almost exactly like except it will be the home for all my commercial and editorial work.

Studio Facebook Fan Page
This is for all you Facebook fans out there. It will be a hub where we’ll post links and discussion about all our work across all of our sites. This might be the best place to keep up with all that I do, photography-wise.

Personal Blog ::
This is what you’re reading right now. I’ll keep posting personal thoughts and iPhone photos here, along with an occasional update about the studios sites. I’ll also post ImageRecap episodes here for now, which reminds me, I should really crank out another one of those.

Personal Twitter account ::
If you just need to hear what I think up to the minute, (and really, why wouldn’t you?) this is the place for you.

Personal Facebook Account ::
Again, for all you Facebook lovers (sorry, I’m not one of them) this will duplicate much of the content of my Twitter account.

“But Chad,” you ask, “Isn’t that all very complicated?”

Why yes, yes it is. However, it’s all for the best. Each site serves a very specific purpose. The two studio sites/blogs are for marketing purposes. The personal blog, Twitter and Facebook are generally what I’m thinking about. The point is to have representation wherever our clients may be. So that’s our strategy for 2010.

I can’t say enough how much I appreciate each of you guys. The fact that anyone reads what I write and looks at what I shoot makes me happy. This is going to be an amazing year filled with great new projects. I hope you’ll be there with us the entire time.

No Year’s resolutions

January 1, 2010, 7AM

“So what are your New Year’s resolutions?” my brain asked me.

“Leave me alone,” I said, “It’s 7 in the morning.”

“On New Year’s Day. You should have made your resolutions by now.”

“Shut up brain, I’m not doing resolutions this year.”

“Why not? Everyone does them.”

“Yeah, and I usually fail at my resolutions, just like everyone else. I’ve discovered January has no magical powers to help me do things I wouldn’t normally do.”

“Like work out?”

“Again, shut up.”

“You have to do something.”

“Fine, I’m going to write for my blog more this year.”

13 Hours Later

“How’s that ‘blogging more’ thing going?” my brain asked.

“I hate you.”

The problem with readers

When I started this blog I had exactly zero readers. After one year of intense writing and lots of growth, I have somewhere in the neighborhood of five readers. While my readership has grown a bit since then it creates issues. Like the fact that you guys actually read what I write and expect me to do the things I promise.

Case in point from yesterday. I commented on Twitter that I wonder why people read my blog. Possibly for variety? Lex was nice enough to say she kept coming back to see if I’d post more pictures and reminded me I’d promised to post my favorite shots of ’08.


Yes I mostly forgot about promising to do that. Partly because I’ve been really, really busy lately. And also partly because I forget people read these things and actually expect me to do them.

I promise I’ll post my favorites later this week. No really, I will.

Also a note to myself: Don’t promise things on the blog unless they are done already.

Blogging habits

Over the weekend my mom commented I hadn’t been writing on my blog as much lately. I got to thinking about why and became interested in the blogging habits of others.

Often times when I go through challenging periods, I fall on one of two sides. On one side, blogging becomes an outlet for me to vent about happenings and get it off my chest. A form of internet therapy if you will. On the other side, it just becomes one more thing to do and when I’m busy and/or stressed, the last thing I need is one more thing to do.

And so I haven’t written as much lately. 2009 started as a year of hope. Three weeks in, it’s turned into a year of big challenges and I already feel tired and beat down by it. And so I haven’t written as much.

So what is your blog to you? How does everyday life effect your writing habits? I really am curious.

Because I really mean it

I probably won’t have a chance to post again before midnight so I thought I’d take a second to say happy new year. I truly do appreciate everyone who stops by here to read my ramblings.

Normally I have a series of posts leading up to the new year about the previous year’s doings and what I hope for in the future. Sadly I’ve been too busy to even get those done. So they will happen, just fashionably late.

I hope all you guys have a great and safe new year.

Social media circles

I’m curious about what social media circles you walk in.

I can group all my online friends into boxes. I do a lot of discussion among pastors and ministry types. I’m relatively active in the creative design and photography community. Recently I’ve been talking to a lot more people about social media itself.

The fun part is finding people on Twitter, for example, who are interested in the same things you are and really connecting with them. I’ve connected with hundreds of new people this year. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve taught a lot. I’ve made some genuine friends. And I’ve won some new business, which is a nice bonus.

So what circles do you walk (type?) in? Are there interesting pockets of people out there we should be talking to?

Blogs, ads and 37signals

I’ve never been a fan of ads on blogs. Not sure why, I’ve just never liked it.

With that said, you’ll notice these two new ads in the sidebar to the right.


So why give in and become a corporate shill?

1) If it ever amounts to enough money to even buy me lunch, I’ll be impressed.
2) I use Basecamp and Highrise and love them both. I’m not exaggerating to say I couldn’t run my business without these two services. I genuinely think they can be of benefit to many people out there, so I joined the affiliate program and added the links.

That’s it. If you need a great and affordable online systems for project or contact management, these are two to try. Just click the links to the right or above.

My new Twitter policy

While Twitter has helped me connect with a bunch of great people, it’s also added a little clutter to my life. Once I started following north of 50 people it became too much to keep up with. So I’m only following 50 from here on out (well, 52, I can’t stop following Darth Vader or Cobra Commander for fear of what might happen).

I’m not sure how I’m going to whittle the list down, but if you get the boot just know it’s really not you, it’s me. This is part of simplifying every piece of my life.

And in the future if I want to add someone I’ve got to cut someone else.

What’s your Twitter policy?

Help promote had a great first day. We had a lot more people than I expected show up and had some serious prayer requests come in.

But now the hard part…

We need all the help we can get from the blogosphere to help create a community around We need you to blog it, podcast it, Twitter it and generally talk about it any way you can. When you do, please let me know or link back to this post so I can keep track of everything happening.

If you have any questions or need any information, please let me know by commenting or e-mailing me at chad[at]

If you’d like to put a link with an image in the sidebar of your site or a post, you can grab the code below. It’ll generate a nice little widget like you see directly to the right of this post.

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