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Spoil Your Mom

Posted on April 27, 2016 by FOTO

Spoil your mom blog

Mother's Day is just around the corner so we've taken the liberty of finding the perfect gifts for you to spoil your mom with this year. Check 'em out!

1. The Magnolia Story

Surprise your HGTV-loving Mom by pre-ordering this long-awaited book by Chip and Joanna Gaines. She will be thrilled to be one of the first to read the details of her favorite Fixer Upper stars’ lives when it releases in October!

2. Kendra Scott Dollie Pendant Necklace in Rose Gold

Spoil your mother with this pendant from Kendra Scott this mother’s day. This delicate accessory comes in three color options and is a gorgeous addition to any gal’s outfit. Wear it alone or layered with other necklaces; this gem is sure to stand out.

3. Seaside Fotostrap

Don your mom with this fashionable vintage-inspired camera strap, personalized with her name, initials or monogram! Support her constant documentation of your first days of school pictures and award ceremony snapshots by gifting her with this unexpected personal treasure that's not only chic, but also gives back 10% of proceeds to the non-profit Fotolanthropy. [Today is the last day to use code: FOTOmom for a free monogram on the shoulder pad]

4. Anthropologie Paimpont Silk Dress

Go in with dad on this beautiful new arrival from Anthro. This timeless piece will become an instant date-night fav and will be sure to make your Mom look and feel as beautiful and vibrant on the outside as she is on the inside.

5. Fitbit Alta

The Fitbit Alta is the perfect gift for moms who are always on the go. This fitness tracker and motivator is now slimmer and comes in 4 colors so you can find the perfect shade to compliment her style. [Of course, we chose the Teal since it goes so nicely with the Seaside Fotostrap you should get her as well].

6. West Elm Faceted Metal Vase

Upgrade your typical Mother’s Day-bouquet gift with this gorgeous antique brass finished vase. This 20’s-inspired architectural piece gorgeously contrasts with the organic beauty of the flowers it holds. Believe us, mama will love it!

Posted in 2016, Anthropologie, Camera Strap, Classic Camera Strap, Classic Strap, fashion, fashion accessory, fashion camera strap, Fitbit, FOTO, FOTOstrap, Gift, gift guide, Gift Guide: For Her, gift ideas, Gift ideas for photographers, giftguide, gifts for her, Gifts for photographers, high-quality camera strap, Kendra Scott, Magnolia, moms, monogram, monogram camera strap, monogram gift, Monogrammable Camera Strap, Mother's Day, Mother's Day gift ideas, Seaside, West Elm

Step up your your Insta-Game: A Flat Lay How-To

Posted on April 21, 2016 by FOTO

Need some help stepping up your game on Instagram? Learn how to style very insta-likeable flat lays for your own feed by following the tips and #fotospotting examples we’ve procured in this guide. The following 6 tips should help you achieve that envied airy and seamless display of must-haves your favorite insta-famous friends have on their feeds.

Flat-Lay #fotospotting

1. Make Plans

First thing’s first. Decide what story you want to tell with your post and hand select items that work well together in telling that story. Who are you trying to reach? What brands are you hoping to connect with? How can you make your collection seem casually calculated and not a forced collage of very particular products?

2. Visual Research

Research what other people are posting, what kinds of lays seem popular and what major events or holidays are coming up that could help you think of a relevant theme that performs well on social media.

Fotostrap Flat Lay #Fotospotting

@jennakutcher designed this super fun weekend getaway themed flat-lay. We love how she has incorporated her message into the picture and selected items that coordinate and contribute to the story she's telling through this flat lay 



3. The Selection

Once you decide on the vision and backstory of your post (perhaps even thinking of the text or a quote you want to include in your description of your scene) it’s time to procure the perfect compilation of products and props to include in your square format photo. Try to be thrifty and search around your own home for pieces that tell your story. Sometimes it helps to have one or maybe two products you are hoping to really market, so work around the size and color theme of those pieces you really want to showcase.

4. Simple Backdrop and Natural Lighting 

Set up your photography backdrop and lighting. If your ballin’ on a budget, find a very simple background (perhaps a sheet (sans-wrinkled), a blank canvas, a wooden surface, a marble slab) and set up where there is a lot of natural light. The best time to shoot is midmorning or late afternoon, when the sun isn’t beating in and has a nice warmth to it. You want to be able to shoot from above the layout so make sure you are setting everything up on the floor or on a table that you can get high enough above to achieve a spot-on bird’s eye view.

Fotostrap Flat Lay #Fotospotting

We love the simple elegance of @looneybinkids' marble backdrop and the way she has played with shape/balance in her composition. We're also digging that the one pop of color (our Sweet Potato Fotostrap) is the focal point of this pic.


5. The Arrangement

Arrange your items and take 2-3 shots. Look at those shots from your phone or camera and make adjustments to your setup as needed. Take another 2-3 shots of this adjusted layout and continue until you achieve the perfect amount of blank space and cropping you desire. Then take everything off and set it up in a new way, and repeat these steps. Do this at least three times to give you three final layout options to choose from. Sometimes the direction of your flat lay will take on a whole new life of its own as you are photographing and seeing the objects say something as a group you hadn’t thought of when you were picking them out as individuals. Getting into the actual artistry of this process may give you an even more successful outcome than you had hoped or intended for and that’s great, but it’s always good to plan beforehand, too.

6. Minimally Edit

And finally, don’t over-edit your photos. Simply white-balance your final choice, keep it consistent with the rest of your feed, and post. 

Fotostrap Flat Lay #Fotospotting

@johnrunion's minimalistic arrangement is lovely in its unassumption. While this grouping is simple, and it's story easy to read, this composition was masterfully executed and fits well within his Instagram feed.





That’s it, that’s the nitty-gritty of the Instagram flat lay. It’s definitely not as easy as the final picture makes it seem, but once you get the hang of it, you will find that these groupings and collections come to you more naturally and your photos will become more and more effortlessly professional.

Side note: if you include a Fotostrap in your flat lay, be sure to share it and use our hashtags: #fotostrap or #fotospotting. You might just end up on our feed! We can’t wait to see your creativity and talent shine through your upcoming flat lays! Happy shooting!

Posted in 2016, american made, Apple, Camera, camera gear, Camera Strap, Canon, Classic Camera Strap, Classic Strap, Coffee, custom camera strap, Custom Monogram, customizable camera strap, editing, fashion accessory, Flat lay, Fotospotting, genuine leather camera strap, Kinfolk, monogram, monogram camera strap, Monogrammable Camera Strap, Nikon, photo tips, photographer, photographer camera strap, photography, photography tips, tips and tricks, vintage camera strap, Warby Parker

Community over Competition

Posted on April 14, 2016 by FOTO

What's better than making a living doing something you love? Making a living doing what you love with people you love! Today, we wanted to make a case for community and encourage you to seek professional camaraderie for the sake of your business (and your personal sanity). While there are many reasons to seek out peers and professional friendships, the five we’ve listed below are more than convincing and we dare you to read this and NOT be inspired to find your career-centric community.

Community over Competition

Benefits of Community:

1. Experience

There is no faster way to exponentially gain the wisdom of experience than joining a community of people and learning from one another. To learn from each other’s mistakes and successes is priceless. It can be the changing factor in the longevity of your business and the pivotal moment of your entrepreneurial career. 

2. Advice

Working for yourself can be fantastic and terrifying at the same time. It’s a lot of pressure to make all the right decisions, and without the experience you probably won’t be perfect— and if you make too many mistakes, you may not have a business long enough to gain any wisdom from experience… so having a group of people at different stages of the same journey you are on is MAJOR. Having a community of people to ask very specific and important questions will give you better peace of mind, will put you in a better position to run your own business, and will keep you from having to learn some really tough lessons the hard way.

3. Education

This is an offshoot of experience and advice. Actively being a part of a work-community gives you amazing access to the tricks and tips of your trade. We can’t express enough how smart of a business move it is to be the kind of entrepreneur who shares and is open to communal knowledge-- community is a place of exponential growth opportunity, and is a place where you should feel safe to learn, collaborate, challenge and encourage one another.

4. Networks

Without a connection to clients, you won’t make any money; without industry connections, you won’t stay relevant; without a connection to your peers, you won’t stand much of a chance to profit from these listed benefits of community with them. Networking and developing connections are pillars of good business and are extremely easy to participate in by simply inserting yourself into a community of people dreaming your same dreams.

5. Friendship

This is arguably the best and most immediate benefits of working in community. Camaraderie brings a little calm to the crazy, a little joy to the stressful and most importantly it provides a person in your life that understands, encourages and challenges you to be the best you can be. These fellow creative dreamers and risk-takers will most likely end up being your closest friends because you have common goals, talents and priorities.


In some ways community with your competition seems a tad gauche. Why would you share your secrets with someone trying to get the same clients you are hoping to acquire? Or why would you advise a newbie against a poor business decision- especially if you had to learn the hard way? Because that is how we grow, that is how we set each other up for success, and that is how we create the kind of business climate we want to thrive in. Successful entrepreneur Ted Malloch says it best: “Three cardinal virtues of business: creativity, building community, practical realism.” For community to be number two on his list of business virtues speaks volumes to its importance on a grand scale, and even more so for small businesses.

If you are interested in finding this community we speak of (and are a photographer or filmmaker), we really encourage you to check out Fotolanthropy’s Fotocrew. This is a group of creative story tellers who are interested in making a difference in this world through their media, working as a community to share inspiring stories of extraordinary people going through life’s adversities. For more information on becoming a Fotocrew member, click here

Together, not apart, will we find and celebrate each others’ successes, grow and evolve as businesses, and support and encourage our dreams to ultimate fruition 

Posted in 2016, business tips, community, entrepreneur, FOTO, Fotocrew, FOTOgivesback, Fotolanthropy, Fotospotting, photo tips, photographer, photographer camera strap, photography, photography tips, small business

FOTO Fashion: Music Festival

Posted on April 07, 2016 by FOTO

Searching for a fun (yet practical) look for an outdoor concert? We've got you covered head to toe. We are jazzed to bring you this years' music festival season outfit round-up that is both boho-vogue and crowd-surfing approved. 

1.  AEO Straw Hat | American Eagle

Top off your look with an oversized brimmed straw hat. This two-tone addition will have your head staying cool and your outfit, hot, as you listen to your favorite bands.

2.  Glamorous Caroline Crop Top | Nasty Gal

Dare to bare your shoulders in this head-turning off the shoulder crop top. Made of lightweight barely sheer material, this boho beauty is the perfect outdoor concert-wear.

3.  Monogrammed Fotostrap | Fotostrap

Complete your ensemble with this functional yet fashionable photographers' essential. Keep your hands free and your camera close so you can capture all the amazing moments you won't want to forget! [10% of Fotostrap proceeds go toward Fotolanthropy and help tell the stories of amazing people in adverse situations]

4.  Pastel Wave Wrap Bracelet | Free People

We are obsessed with these stackable bracelets. The tonal clay beads in pretty pastel shades adorned with a fringe fabric detail makes this wrist wrap a true show-stopper.

5.  Twig & Arrow – Women’s Twin Print Canvas Flap Crossbody Handbag Floral | Target

Liven up your outfit with this gorgeous floral lightweight crossbody- perfect for holding your days' essentials: wallet, phone, keys, backstage passes and sunscreen. 

6.  BDG Low Slung Boyfriend Jean Short | Urban Outfitters

We love the loose fit on these boyfriend shorts for any outdoor event. The distressed denim and worn fit give any outfit an immediately vintage feel and carefree spirit. Also, any dirt and dust accumulation from a day outside totally works with this vibe, so you won't have to worry about "grunging" up an already grunge-inspired short.

7.  Belize Flat Sandal | Nordstrom

Finally, execute the ideal concert-goer getup with these flat leather sandals. A hot day on your feet requires this free spirited open toe, and the adjustable wraparound ankle straps are a practicality's godsend.

Posted in 2016, American Eagle, american made, camera gear, Camera Strap, Concert, custom camera strap, Custom Monogram, fashion, fashion accessory, FOTO, Foto gives back, FOTOgivesback, Fotolanthropy, Free People, givesback, monogram, monogram camera strap, Monogrammable Camera Strap, Music Festivals, Nasty Gal, Nordstrom, Outdoor Concert, photographer, photography, Spring, spring fashion, spring style, Stone, stylish camera strap, Target, Urban Outfitters, USA Made, usamade, vintage camera strap, what to wear

April Fuel Day: 5 ways to get re-energized when you feel like you're running on empty

Posted on April 01, 2016 by FOTO

We decided instead of tricking you this April Fool’s Day, we’d treat you with a little encouragement, or as we’re calling it: April Fuel Day, 5 ways to get re-energized when you feel like you're running on empty.

 April Fuel Day

Now that it’s April, the newness of 2016 with all it’s goals and fresh energy has started to wear off. It’s easy to coast through the spring from event to event drained and overworked, but it’s not mandatory. Below, are five ways we want to encourage you to spring out of that first quarter slump and get re-energized and back on track towards those 2016 goals and resolutions that seem like distant memories.

Be intentional with your time

1. Be intentional with your time.

Time is a precious resource of which we must be good stewards. In order inhibit time from controlling you (and make you feel like you’re running against the clock), you have to be intentional with it. Sit down with your planner each week and adjust your schedule so that you are in control, making time for things/people that are important to you alongside those things you have to do.

Limit Complaints

2. Limit complaints.

Attitude can be a game-changer. Complaining in and of itself is a huge time-waster and general energy-downer. While it might feel good for a moment to blow off some steam to a friend or co-worker, it can turn into a destructive habit that keeps you from being productive, solving problems and using your time for positive outcomes. Approach life with a “glass half-full” kind of attitude and see how much energy and time that opens up to you.

Be reflective and thankful

3. Be reflective and thankful.

In other words, stop to smell the roses. One of the easiest ways to let time get away from you is by not living in the moment, so take a breather every now and then to take stock in all the good that’s in your life. If you’re so busy at work you want to scream, take the 20 minute car ride home to really reflect on how great business is and how fortunate you are to have the job you have, etc. Unfortunately, it’s often easier to see negatives in the moment, and the positives usually don’t hit us until we are looking at it from hindsight. We must actively choose to reflect and be thankful or we’ll miss out on all the joy that surrounds us here and now.

Practice generosity

4. Practice generosity.

One of the quickest fixes to re-energizing is to be generous. It’s funny to think that we get so drained by feeling like we are constantly being taken from and needed, but giving on purpose is such a powerful energy-booster. So flip the script on life and live generously! Volunteer constantly, give abundantly, and serve wholeheartedly—you will be amazed at the joy you will receive by choosing to give.

Note: If you are a photographer or filmmaker looking for a way to serve, check out Fotolanthropy's Fotocrew! They are always looking for talented artists to join their group in telling powerful and inspiring true stories of people facing adversity.

Have grace

5. Have grace.

This is the most important re-energizer. Have grace toward others and have grace toward yourself. We all get caught up and lose track of time, we all complain too much, and we all forget to be thankful and generous. We are humans. When we fall short of our goals, or lose track on our dreams we must be willing to forgive ourselves and allow ourselves a second stab at it. This giving and receiving of forgiveness is the best kind of life-giver, and must be a constant heartbeat in the way we do business, the way we raise our families and the way we treat ourselves.


Let's sprinkle our Spring hustle with intentionality, positivity, thankfulness, generosity and grace; using all this new-found time and energy to make a difference in this world!

Happy April Fuel Day!

-the FOTO team

Posted in 2016, american made, April Fool's Day, Artist Fotostrap, Blog, FOTO, Foto gives back, FOTOgivesback, FOTOstrap, Fotostrap Facebook, Fotostrap Instagram, Fotostrap on Facebook, Fotostrap on Pinterest, Fotostrap on Twitter, Give Back, giveback, gives back, givesback, personal blog, photographer, photography, Spring, stylish camera strap, The Artist, USA Made, usamade, vintage camera strap

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