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Creating Better Conversation

I LOVE keeping up this blog of mine. I, by no means, think I’m the best at blogging or the most consistent, or the most interesting, but I love sharing who I am, and getting to show off my amazing clients. And while, in so many ways, this blog is as much for me as for my business or for others, my desire through it really is to create conversation with all of YOU. And if comments are the indication of how well I’m doing that….I feel I have room to improve.

It’s a difficult balance to strike to be motivated by the number of comments you do (or don’t) get. In a lot of ways, I don’t want to focus on those numbers and let it discourage me from continuing to share what I’m passionate about on this blog. BUT, I also want to listen if it’s an indication that I’m not sharing things that are of value or interest to you. After all, what good is a blog that ends up just being interesting to me? So, I want to create better conversation, and do a better job connecting. I want to know what it is YOU want to hear about, and what will get you communicating with me (and each other). Here are just a few questions I’d love to hear your feedback on, as well as any other feedback you’d care to leave:

1) What inspires you to comment vs. just clicking “like”?
2) What blog series, or types of posts (weddings, portrait shoots, personal posts, Wardrobe Wednesdays, My Method, etc) that I’ve written are most interesting and engaging to you?
3) WHAT makes them interesting/engaging, in your opinion?
4) If a blog post is ended with a question of some sort, does that actually feel more engaging to you, or does it seem cliche?
5) When you’re scrolling through shoots and wedding posts, do you want to hear more about the client(s) and their story, or do you prefer fewer words and letting the images speak for themselves?
6) Is commenting simply about having the time/convenience to do so, or strictly whether you feel you have anything original to say, or not?

I’m sure there are so many other things I could/should be asking about, but right now I really just want to create a conversation with you about learning to create better conversations from here on out! :) In exchange for your time in giving me feedback, a $25 Starbucks card is up for grabs! I’ll choose a winner at random from those who comment. And just because this post needs a pretty image….a beautiful ring shot from my first-ever time experiencing (and shooting at!) a cotton field!

Excited to hear what you have to say, and I hope everyone is having a happy Thursday!

Update: Winner of the gift card was announced on Facebook on October 4th, 2013. Congratulations to Brittany Cronin!

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  • Katie - 1. I try to comment if I feel like I have something interesting to say.
    2. I love personal posts, Wardrobe Wednesdays, everything!
    3. I like personal posts because I like reading about stuff going on in your life, I like Wardrobe Wednesdays because they’re full of great outfit ideas, and the other stuff because your work is beautiful!!
    4. It depends on what the question is. I often end with a question but I try to make it something genuine!
    5. I honestly don’t read much about the couple (I skim that part) unless there is something really unique about the wedding and I’m interested in the back story! I think the images speak for themselves!!
    6. For me it’s both!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Bradshaw - 1) I only comment if I think I have something worth contributing.
    2) I loooove your personal posts and Wardrobe Wednesdays! More about you makes me happy.
    3) Just learning more about you in general.
    4) A blog post ending in a question makes me feel like I could contribute to a conversation, which makes me want to comment.
    5) I don’t always have time to read words, but I do enjoy the story when I have time to read it.
    6) It’s partly about not having time, but mostly about not feeling like I have anything to say.ReplyCancel

  • Stine Petersen - I think your blog is great and it is basically the only blog I read consistently. What I love about your blog is that you write very well and very honestly, and there is always beautiful images! Both your texts and images are inspiring, and a nice “breathing hole” in a busy everyday.
    Personally I LOVE the shoots and wedding posts, and I actually really like to read the stories behind each of the couple’s weddings and their choices. I think it makes it more interesting and personal when there is some text in addition to images. I like to hear the story behind the pictures, the smiles, the style, etc.
    Other blog posts I have enjoyed a lot were some of your DIY posts (we actually used some of your place card ideas for our own wedding), as well as the “Simple Pleasures” post.
    I have commented on a few on your blog posts, but would some times be the only one, and then I wasn’t sure of I had done it right or not. Also, some times I don’t find quite enough time to reply to the blog questions after I read the posts because I typically read them during breaks at work. Will definitely get better at replying to questions in future though! :-)ReplyCancel

  • Jen Olmstead - Well, I’ve had good luck with your giveaways so faaarr… :)

    1. There’s usually something in the post that incites input, that I hadn’t considered or that I personally accord with. Or occasionally, I’m moved to comment by the imagery / the content (which often means the imagery is awesome or the content seems like it has required a lot of work / is really unique). I typically only comment on my friends / clients blogs, though, which is interesting.

    2. Wardrobe wednesday, obvs. Also the personal posts. I see a ton of photo posts in my feed, so if the main image is REALLY awesome, it sounds like the photog is super excited about the shoot, or the title is interesting, I’ll click through, but it’s more rare. Post titles and selected images are key, though.

    3. Hearing your individual voice / reading stuff that showcases your personality. I randomly also love your monthly goals posts.

    4. I think it starts to feel disingenuous and very “comment on my blog” if it’s used every time, but on occasion, it works. Much like in a conversation with a friend.

    5. I like hearing SOME about the couple, but I think all of the “He was this… she was this…” stuff gets a little tiresome. If there’s something interesting about them, great. If not, don’t stretch it; keep the photos primary. And I love it when photogs REALLY curate the images so there’s not 40 photos per post, but just a few AMAZING ones so I can see how fantastic the event / shoot was without scrolling forever. I’d rather want more than NOT want more.

    6. Often it’s related to time, but I’ll typically jot something short if I’m moved to do so / have something to say / want to be encouraging. Like I said, it’s often about my friends or clients, which makes it pretty personal.ReplyCancel

  • Joanna Landrum - 1) What inspires you to comment vs. just clicking “like”?
    Generally when I can tell it’s something close to your heart that’s also close to my heart? Sounds weird when I put it that way… Also if I know the couple/person you’re photographing.

    2) What blog series, or types of posts (weddings, portrait shoots, personal posts, Wardrobe Wednesdays, My Method, etc) that I’ve written are most interesting and engaging to you?
    Personal Posts….

    3) WHAT makes them interesting/engaging, in your opinion?
    I think I’m most mentally engaged by Personal Posts due to my personality. I love hearing about what makes people tick. But I adore your photography too, and that’s engaging… but usually just visually.

    4) If a blog post is ended with a question of some sort, does that actually feel more engaging to you, or does it seem cliche?
    Cliché most of the time. Because usually when I answer said question (not on your blog but others) the blogger doesn’t actually give a rip they’re just trying to get their numbers up. Likely that’s not the case with you ;P

    5) When you’re scrolling through shoots and wedding posts, do you want to hear more about the client(s) and their story, or do you prefer fewer words and letting the images speak for themselves?
    I like hearing stories (as I mentioned before)! I feel it better helps the viewer connect.

    6) Is commenting simply about having the time/convenience to do so, or strictly whether you feel you have anything original to say, or not?
    A combination of both, I believe. Obviously if I don’t have the time, I can’t. But when I do have the time I then filter it through, “well does what I say even matter? who cares anyway?” kind of dealReplyCancel

  • Anna - 1) i like to comment when it is gorgeous photography, or when there are adorable kids/pretty girls ect. in a picture.
    2) My favorites are your wardrobe Wednesdays, and Wedding posts.
    3) I like the wardrobe Wednesday, because I love getting new outfit ideas, and how to wear something together. And, I like the weddings, because I LOVE weddings, and could look at wedding pictures all day. :)
    4) I like when you end with a question, because it makes me think about your blogpost.
    5) it depends on if I’m in a reading mood or not! :) but most of the time I love hearing the story, and how you know them, or met them. And also I think it honors the couple, if you write about them in your post.
    6) generally, it is time and convenience.ReplyCancel

  • Kori K - 1) What inspires you to comment vs. just clicking “like”?
    -Time, ease of commenting (simply ‘liking’ something is SO much easier…you don’t have to ‘sign in’ or ‘register’ just to leave a comment), content of the post, and whether or not I have something to contribute all determine when I make an effort to comment.

    2) What blog series, or types of posts (weddings, portrait shoots, personal posts, Wardrobe Wednesdays, My Method, etc) that I’ve written are most interesting and engaging to you?
    -I get pretty excited for each and every wedding you post.

    3) WHAT makes them interesting/engaging, in your opinion?
    -The little details in your photography are simply beautiful. The expressions that you’re able to capture on people’s wedding days almost makes me feel like I know these complete strangers. Seeing happy people also makes me happy. :D And I love seeing people flourish at something they truly have a talent for….which you certainly do!

    4) If a blog post is ended with a question of some sort, does that actually feel more engaging to you, or does it seem cliche?
    -Neither, truthfully. From my experience, most people merely skim through posts instead of reading them completely. I prepare my company’s marketing letters/emails and the only time we’re successful at getting any type of reaction is when we include our point/question/thing we want feedback on in the very first sentence/paragraph.

    5) When you’re scrolling through shoots and wedding posts, do you want to hear more about the client(s) and their story, or do you prefer fewer words and letting the images speak for themselves?
    -Looking at the photos is definitely my favorite part and I very much appreciate you sharing them! Sometimes I enjoy the bride & groom’s personal stories, but the thing I appreciate most is when a photographer/wedding planner includes the details of their wedding in a list form to go along with the beautiful photos. People browse wedding photography either because they’re looking to hire a photographer or because they’re looking for inspiration. It’s super nice to share who made the bride’s dress, for example, or their wedding venue, or which florist they used, especially when you come across something you like.

    6) Is commenting simply about having the time/convenience to do so, or strictly whether you feel you have anything original to say, or not?
    -Yes to both, really.

    I should ‘like’ and ‘comment’ more often, especially when something deserves a like or comment, but like a lot of people – positive feedback is definitely something I need to work on. So I’m going to take this opportunity to let you know that I think your photos truly are amazing. You have a knack for capturing beauty and that is such a wonderful thing! I use your photos as the standard by which I compare other photographer’s work.

    From, a huge Tori/Marvelous Things fan in Illinois whom almost never chimes in but really needs to start.ReplyCancel

  • Lelia Marie - First of all I really love this post. It’s real and true and phrased just lovely. And since you asked so nicely here are my answers…
    1. If I feel I can contribute in some way I’ll probably answer. Otherwise, if I like it I will. (Like it that is)
    2. I kinda like all of them (except My Method… but only because I can’t think of what that is.) Wardrobe Wednesdays are my favorite by far. I just love watching you create such cool style out of whatever you can find. It’s awesome.
    3. I think I just answered that… :-) Fascinating because it is unique to you. I certainly can’t do that. I don’t know many people who can… and of those people your fashion style is so uniquely you and I love it.
    4. I actually don’t mind questions. If they start a dialogue it is awesome. I like the invitation to join a conversation, or just to talk about my own experiences.
    5. I love reading their stories! If they are good, or engaging it’s fabulous. If I don’t have a ton of time though sometimes I will skip to the photos just because you tell a story there too and I love them.
    6. Normally it is more about feeling I have something to say… (or something that hasn’t been said already) If I don’t have enough time I’m normally not on the blog at all.
    I hope that helps a little! I do love following your posts… and I do love when you post them on facebook, because that is normally what reminds me to check.. in case you were wondering that too. :-)ReplyCancel

  • Bethany - 1) I am more likely to comment on something if I feel like I relate to the post. Especially if it’s semi controversial – but I cant see your posts ever being controversial :D
    2) I love your personal posts…but thats probably because you my dawg yo. haha. otherwise I love your wedding posts.
    3) I love the details of a wedding. So many different types of photos – family, dancing, ring shots, cake, portraits – everything! It keeps your attention!
    4) I think it seems engaging.
    5) I love the story. Don’t cut that out!!
    6) Sometimes its time, but mostly it’s whether I feel I have anything worth contributing.ReplyCancel

  • Anastasia - That picture is GORGEOUS!

    1) I think if I have something to contribute, or if the blog really gets me thinking about something.
    2) Definitely Wardrobe Wednesdays, closely followed by Portraits.
    3) I love the creativity involved in coming up with the Wardrobe Wednesdays posts – I’m always excited to see what kind of combinations you come up with. For portraits, I just love looking at your work and seeing how you pose people and compose your photos.
    4) I LOVE it when people include a question at the end of their posts. Joanna Goddard does that on Cup of Jo and I will occasionally comment on those posts with an answer, or just scroll through to see other people’s answers – especially if it is an interesting topic!
    5) I prefer fewer words and letting the images speak for themselves.
    6) I feel like its strictly when I have something to say to contribute.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - 1) What inspires you to comment vs. just clicking “like”?
    Usually I don’t comment unless I know the blogger, or if there’s a contest, like this. I know it’s not nice, but there it is. I might comment sometimes if I really, really like or appreciate something.

    2) What blog series, or types of posts (weddings, portrait shoots, personal posts, Wardrobe Wednesdays, My Method, etc) that I’ve written are most interesting and engaging to you?
    Wedding shoots. (I don’t think I’ve ever seen My Method.)

    3) WHAT makes them interesting/engaging, in your opinion?
    The beauty, details, ideas for my future wedding or photography. You are an excellent photographer!

    4) If a blog post is ended with a question of some sort, does that actually feel more engaging to you, or does it seem cliche?
    It usually helps to make me feel more connected/likely to answer, I think.

    5) When you’re scrolling through shoots and wedding posts, do you want to hear more about the client(s) and their story, or do you prefer fewer words and letting the images speak for themselves?
    Yes, I like to hear their story.

    6) Is commenting simply about having the time/convenience to do so, or strictly whether you feel you have anything original to say, or not?
    Often it is both of those (especially the former) or just not being a very open person.

    Thanks for the giveaway. :)ReplyCancel

  • Brittany Cronin - 1) If I was really inspired by the post, or if it inspired a thought or a reflection that I feel is worth sharing, I’m more inclined to post a comment. Or if I think one of the pictures is extra-unique or amazing.
    2) I love learning more about people, so personal posts are nearly always very interesting to me. Portrait and wedding posts are next.
    3) I love posts with a story (either told through images, or text). I enjoy posts that help me learn more about you…or your fun/amazing clients. :)
    4) It depends on the question. Sometimes it feels more engaging—sometimes it seems less forced if the question(s) are within the post, not always stuck at the very end. I don’t remember any of your posts that ended with a question feeling cliche.
    5) Definitely appreciate the story behind the images! Although image-only story-telling has its place.
    6) For me, it’s both. If I’m pressed for time, and can’t take a few minutes to think over my comment, and make sure it’s worthwhile, and would (hopefully) be beneficial to someone else, I usually will err on the side of not commenting. But usually, if I really want to comment, but don’t have time, I’ll try to come back later.

    And as someone else shared, I like when you post on FB that you have a new blogpost. ;)ReplyCancel

  • Alouette - 1) What inspires you to comment vs. just clicking “like”?

    When you ask questions, give an opinion, ect. Probably the things that make conversation work in real-time.

    2) What blog series, or types of posts (weddings, portrait shoots, personal posts, Wardrobe Wednesdays, My Method, etc) that I’ve written are most interesting and engaging to you?

    Wardrobe Wednesdays are unique, and a bunch of fun. My Method is helpful even for hobby-photographers, and personal posts cinch the deal. I feel like the personal posts take your blog beyond a business, and if I was a client, would make me connect in a better way.

    3) WHAT makes them interesting/engaging, in your opinion?

    When you post things that earmark your own brand, while inspiring the creativity of those who are reading–this is even evident in personal posts, as how you spend your time dictates who you are, and as a result, how your business is run.

    4) If a blog post is ended with a question of some sort, does that actually feel more engaging to you, or does it seem cliche?

    It feels more engaging, for sure.

    5) When you’re scrolling through shoots and wedding posts, do you want to hear more about the client(s) and their story, or do you prefer fewer words and letting the images speak for themselves?
    I would prefer to have a little information about the clients, as that helps your readers understand how you tailor your photography to meet the diverse needs of your clientele.

    6) Is commenting simply about having the time/convenience to do so, or strictly whether you feel you have anything original to say, or not?

    If I’m reading your blog on a mobile version, I’m less likely to comment,similarly, if I’m busy. However, when your posts invite a comment, I will make the time.ReplyCancel

  • Micah - 1) What inspires you to comment vs. just clicking “like”?

    An issue or controversy. If it’s pictures, I probably won’t log in just to say “OMG SO PRETTY”. I’ll say that over on Facebook.

    2) What blog series, or types of posts (weddings, portrait shoots, personal posts, Wardrobe Wednesdays, My Method, etc) that I’ve written are most interesting and engaging to you?

    My method. Love a glimpse “behind the curtain” so to speak.

    4) If a blog post is ended with a question of some sort, does that actually feel more engaging to you, or does it seem cliche?

    Usually cliche. Especially if it feels shoe-horned.

    5) When you’re scrolling through shoots and wedding posts, do you want to hear more about the client(s) and their story, or do you prefer fewer words and letting the images speak for themselves?

    I don’t look at many photo blogs. Yours is the only one. :)

    6) Is commenting simply about having the time/convenience to do so, or strictly whether you feel you have anything original to say, or not?

    Whether or not it’s easyReplyCancel

  • Naomi - 1) I love reading your blog Tori :-) I discovered your facebook photography page just a few months ago & just recently started following you on Instagram. I was drawn to your work, not only because of your amazing photography but your relationship with Christ (not to mention you’re adorable website! I LOVE IT!). To be honest, with any blog, because I don’t personally “know” the author, I will 9 times out of 10, just “like” the blog post. Not because I don’t like reading it or that I don’t enjoy your pictures, it’s more I feel that it’s so more “personal” of an action to comment. Even answering these questions makes me feel very vulnerable haha. I don’t usually comment on anyone’s blog that I don’t really know unless I know them in someway (face to face) or that I have a very strong opinion/passion about what they posted it.

    Another reason I don’t usually comment is because of time, it’s easier to look over a blog & go on, letting the words & images sink in. And being completely honest, sometimes I feel “who am I” to comment, or “Do they REALLY want to know what I think? Who am I to them? I probably sound like a creeper.” :-)

    2) I love all of your posts. Seriously, all of them :-) They’re usually the perfect length, so I know I have the time to look at them. They’re always full of beautiful, well captured, & colorful images. I personally have begun the journey down the road to be become a Lifestyle photography. I love capturing others & I am hoping to launch my own photography business next year. Your blogs inspire me & also give me the “real deal” :-) I love being inspired by people who are already well down that road that I can look up.

    3) One of the other big reasons I love your blog is because you’re honest. You don’t make it sound like you know everything or that you’ve got it made. You’re honest, open & it shows. I’m interested in “following” people who are open & honest. I can connect with you.

    4) Questions usually make me think about it & challenge me. I like having something to think on after reading a blog.

    5) I feel a “back story” can be fun. Honestly, I think that if the images has a story that needs to be shared, share it, if not, don’t. I don’t care for always seeing bloggers who say all the time “This was my favorite family to capture!” when pretty sure they just said that in the last post they did ;-)

    6) I feel my answer in #1 answers this as well.

    Thank you for the heart & time you put into your blogs Tori. Your style of photography & writing is inspiring! <3ReplyCancel

  • Maddie S. - 1. I comment when I am especially touched by a certain photo or shoot.
    2. I love your Wardrobe Wednesday posts, weddings and personal posts!
    3. I love seeing the stories of people come to life through weddings and your tips on fashion and photography!
    4. I find having a question at the end to be engaging because it makes the reader think and connect with what you’re talking about.
    5. I prefer less words and more pictures because I feel the pictures convey the spirit of the wedding day/ personality of the subject.
    6. It’s a mixture of both. It depends on how the post touches me or if I have a specific thing to say.ReplyCancel

  • Miscellaneous Monday Post » Marvelous Things Photography | Blog - […] than done, somehow. My weekend was filled with some happy things, though, and since so many of you gave feedback saying you’d love to see more personal posts on the blog, I thought I’d just share a few […]ReplyCancel

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