how to blog regularly

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I have been blogging regularly for seven years. Wow that sounds so long, I don’t think I’ve ever said that out loud. It’s something I started to share my work and grow my business, but in the process I’ve become incredibly loyal to posting. Each time I hear from a friend that they love keeping up through my blog, or am encouraged my a new comment or share, the loyalty grows. Considering that I’ve started at least 4 different journals in the past 7 years leads me to believe that this is extraordinary… and has taken the place of all four journals.

So you might be wondering “how do I blog regularly?” since you are thinking of starting a blog, or are inconsistent in writing posts for your current blog. Let me help. I’ll share all my secrets so that you find out I don’t really have any, and that you too can be just like me – or better yet – just like you.

The first thing I did when I started blogging… was to start blogging. I was not a great writer, I was not as good of a photographer as I am now, and yet I continued to hit the publish button. That’s probably the hardest part, because it’s easy to feel insecure about what you are creating. It’s easier to keep everything inside and not let anyone judge you. However, when you decide that it’s worth it to pursue your dreams, you dive in, and that’s what I did. The good news is that the more you write, the better you get.

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What’s regular? For me, posting regularly currently means 4-5 times a week in the busy season, 3-5 times in the off season. While that could change, for now I enjoy both sharing my recent work, pieces of my personal life, and information for photographers + friends. What’s regular for you may be based on how much content you can create, how much time you have, how many times you write and re-write and re-re-write you posts. The key is to decide on the consistency that will work for you.

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What will I post? The deciding factor when figuring out how to blog regularly is figuring out what you will post ahead of time. Trust me, I’ve spent all day writing a post and I’ve spent an hour getting a post ready for the next day. I choose the latter. Now, full disclosure this was my first time breaking out post it notes to color categorize my posts and plan for the month… but I might be hooked. This is how I planned the month :

  • categorize your blog posts | I have four areas I consistently blog about : personal, photography, business, recent work. While some posts overlap it’s easier for me to come up with content and balance what I write by starting with a bigger picture. Yours might be more specific but find a way to differentiate one post from another
  • list potential posts | For me this list is fluid, and I add to it throughout the month and save ideas until they are ready to share. There are also a few regular posts that I put up every month and of course creating a consistent topic can not only help you save time trying to think of something new, but can draw people back when they know what to expect. I know each month I’m going to post an image to download and Alaina knows it too! I know that Tierney is currently writing every Tuesday about something healthy and non-toxic and I’m pretty sure her readership has grown since she started doing so.
  • schedule your posts | once I have my list of post ideas I schedule them for the month. This is where I broke out the post-its and made it look pretty. Pink posts are personal, blue photography related, chartreuse business related, and orange are recent shoots. Balancing the color meant that their was variety in the month and was easy to do so. Each area had 4-5 posts which filled up four weeks for me.
  • write you posts in advance | Anytime you can take away the stress of a task it’s a good thing. Writing you posts in advance – by even just a day – will allow you to complete the task faster and stay focused on other more important work during the day. What I typically do is gather the needed elements throughout the week and write the day or night before. I schedule my posts for the morning so that they are ready to go between 6-7 and I can go for a run, eat breakfast, or sleep in if my baby lets me.

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So, to get started think about the different areas you want to write about. What things are you most passionate about, interested in, driven to pursue? Keep a journal nearby to write down ideas, and then leave that journal behind and start writing your blog.

actually, I still prefer to plan with paper + pencil so I take that back, keep the journal close.

Philadelphia Engagement Photos | Lauren + Joe

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It started in Michigan. Lauren + Joe were in college, figuring out where to go next, and Joe went to Philadelphia, Lauren moved to New York. They were following dreams and pursing goals but they weren’t together.  Distance can be handled for only so long, before you start to ask – and answer – those hard questions about yourself and your relationship. Lauren ended up landing a job in Philly and they continued to build their life together. Since they now call the city home we planned a Philadelphia engagement session and I traveled down a few weeks ago to capture it. This fall they will tie the knot and are planning the most amazing Detroit wedding at the Colony Club. I simply can not wait to head home to Michigan and document it!

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who wants to be photographed?

modelcall1 who wants to be photographed?

I’m working with two different talented groups of people for a few styled shoots next month, and we need models! Of course, when I say models I mean you, those regular couples who like to be photographed and would have fun at something like this. Both shoots will take place in New York, one in Rochester and the other in Ithaca, and to be considered I need a picture of both of you emailed to me at hello@marydougherty.com by April 23rd. Please let me know if you are available for Thursday, May 15th or Sunday, May 18th – or both! I don’t hear from enough of you when I post something like this so if you are thinking you would be interested I would love to hear from you!

 

our best homemade pizza dough

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We take our pizza seriously. Matt and I have been making homemade pizza dough for the last seven years, and perfecting our recipe along the way. I’m not exactly sure where this obsession started, but I’ll chalk it up to living in the country. Out here going out is not really an option, or at least there are not a lot of options to choose from. It’s definitely forced us to become more creative with our last minute recipes and pushed us to become experts on those things we enjoy. I say “expert” but that would probably be an overstatement. We do, however, enjoy cooking. Thank goodness. We would be miserable or living off of Doritos if we didn’t (which means either way we’d end up miserable).

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Our first pizzas were baked in our cast iron skillet. They were definitely more along the lines of deep dish, but the crust was bready and thick. However once we got a pizza stone the cast iron was out. Along the way Matt dreamed about building a wood fired oven, but we are not in a house to do that so the plans never went farther than a day dream. However, wood fired pizza was essentially what we were after. What was the best we could make at home? Finally Matt found this recipe on Serious Eats and it’s brought us leaps and bounds closer to what we are after. One of the best/worst parts was that you had to make it in advance – saving us time on the days we planned ahead and leaving us moping around the house when we forgot to get it ready. On the upside, the recipe easily makes two-three crusts, so you can either have enough to feed a few people or save a crust for later in the week (it makes great garlic knots too).

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Most of our tricks come from how we actually cook pizza in a home oven so it most closely resembles wood fired in the crisp and chewy sense. It’s a multi step process that goes like this:

-put the pizza stone in the oven

-preheat the oven to 550

-a few minutes before putting the pizza in, switch to broil (this might vary depending on how your broiler works)

-slide the pizza on the stone with a peel or a tray dusted with cornmeal / flour

-broil for 1-2 minutes then switch back to 550 for the remainder of cooking (usually 5-8 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling

We recently heard great reviews for Baking Steel, and are putting it on our wish list to replace the stone as it holds heat + distributes more evenly

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The recipe for our dough is as follows : adapted from Serious Eats : Basic New York Style Pizza

4 1/2 c bread flour*   |   1 1.2 T sugar   |   1 T salt   |   2t active dry yeast

combine in a food processor and pulse, then add

3 T olive oil   |   15 ounces lukewarm water

Turn processor on as you add liquids and continue until a ball is formed and rolls around 15-30 seconds

Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead 1-2 times until smooth. Should pass the windowpane test, or be able to stretch thin enough that it can be transparent like a window. Divide dough into 2-3 parts and put each in an airtight container or ziploc bag – then place in the fridge and allow to rise at least 1 day. Remove from the fridge, shape into balls and allow to rest at room temp for 2 hours before baking. See instructions above for our baking techniques. ENJOY + I hope it works as well for you as it does for us.

*we are working on the right ratio of 00 flour + bread flour and will update – but we often use just bread flour

  • April 17, 2014 - 12:01 pm

    Melissa - This looks SO SO delicious!!!!!:) I think I will try this soon!:) what are your favorite toppings to add?

pinterest inspired engagement style

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How do you find the right style for your engagement session? Do you go all out or keep it simple? I find the best engagement session looks stay true to each persons aesthetic, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go out of your comfort zone and dress it up. Clothes can really change the mood and give you confidence. Which brings me to my engagement photos. I still regret what I wore, which is probably why I’m on a mission to help those in need. I had one of those moments where you forget everything you know and walk out the door in jeans and a black shirt… which is not all that bad in and of itself but it really didn’t do anything for me. If I could do it again I would probably buy a dress, rent one, or borrow one from a friend if I was fresh out of college, pick some accessories that brought it all together, and encouraged Matt to do the same.

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These days most couples choose to do two different looks so that not everything is fancy or casual. Some select one killer outfit that will work in all the settings. Either way, a successful engagement session can often come down to style. It’s pretty hard to not feel beautiful in a gorgeous dress.

I recently asked a few friends to help me come up with some spring / summer pinterest inspired engagement style boards, and they pulled some great options. Many thanks to Mary, Jamie + Lynda for contributing! click the images to go directly to the full boards and pin your own inspiration.

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