New Creator Dashboard Feature: Creator Timeline

We are happy to announce our latest creator' dashboard feature that will make your workflow easier! With the new Creator Timeline, you can now easily see the status of a campaign you applied for and/or you are participating in. Additionally, you can now view any remaining or incomplete campaign tasks. You can also find content approval here, and a new section to review/upload your campaign agreement all in one centralized place, to help you stay organized.

Behind The Scenes: @jerrymaestas

We interviewed Jerry Maestas to hear his tips and tricks about photography 

Tell us about how you became a professional photographer, and what lead you to make it a full-time gig:
Becoming a professional photographer has been something I've been working toward for years. I remember discovering how much I loved photography about 7 years ago and it's led me to where I am today. The reason why I'm emphasizing the amount of time that I've been doing this is because the simple answer on how to become a professional photographer is to give yourself the correct amount of time to learn everything you need to know. It's definitely not something that happens overnight & it takes a lot of hard work to go pro. My biggest tip is to practice practice practice even if that means taking pictures of your cat. You'll learn so much just from picking up your camera and taking pictures as much as possible. I'm mostly self-taught so whenever I had any free time, I was taking pictures of almost anything, anywhere. Don't be afraid to challenge yourself and constantly try new things. I feel like there's such a big pressure on artists to find their style right away but learning the basics and trying new things is what lead me to the style I have now.

What item(s) do you always have in your camera bag, that you can't live without?
I don't think I could live without my 40mm f2.8 lens. I feel like it helped me shape my photography style and when I started shooting with it, I instantly fell in love. Lately, I've been pushing myself to use other lenses but I somehow always find myself popping on my 40mm at least once during a shoot.

What are your best tips for photographing?
Heres a few quick tips that I always run through in my head while shooting:
1. Find your light.
Before you even take a photo, find your light and then take a few test shots and see how the light is hitting your subject. I usually ask myself, is the lighting flattering on my subject? Is it adding to the mood of the photo? If adjustments need to be made, how do I need to move my subject or how do I change the lighting to better fit what I need.

2. Take your time.
I feel like sometimes I put too much pressure on myself during shoots which can end up in the shoot not turning out exactly how I was intending. Take a deep breath, think about what you're trying to capture, & take your time so that you can photography exactly what you need.

3. Don't be scared to ask for help.
Get yourself a team! There's nothing wrong with a little help. For me personally, I like having help with lighting because when you're in the middle of a shoot there's a lot to think about. Having someone there that knows exactly what lighting I'm looking for helps so much.

Do you prefer digital or film? And, why?
I personally prefer the look of film but I'm still learning how to use it properly so I don't use it as much as I wish I could. Film has such an incredible look & feel that is so difficult to recreate in digital photos.

Why do you mainly use the 70's and 80's effects in your photos? Is there a reason behind it?
I've always been inspired by the past. As a kid, I was obsessed with mid-century style. Over the last couple of years though, I've been finding myself more and more drawn to the style of the 70s and 80s. I love the colors and clothing style of the 70s but love the vibe of the 80s.

How do you get the best lighting when shooting photos? Any tips?
If you're shooting outdoors, figure out what time of day you prefer shooting at. I personally like to start shooting around 2 hours before sunset so that the shadows hitting my subject are flattering. If you're shooting indoors, figure out what kind of lights you like using and how you prefer to arrange them.

What challenges could you encounter during a photo shooting?
There's a ton of challenges that a photographer can encounter during a shoot. Your battery could die, your model might be late, your camera could malfunction, your SD card might stop working, the lighting could be bad, I could go on and on! You just always have to prepare for the worst.

Why do you enjoy working with companies and how do you choose certain collaborations, any criteria?
I like working with companies because I like the challenge of capturing their products or pieces of clothing through my eyes. I feel like the criteria for deciding to work with a brand is different with every brand. A few questions that I usually ask myself before working with a company are: Do I like the vibe of the brand? Do I think we are a good fit for working with each other? Are they asking for a fair amount of work for the rate they're providing?

Tell us about your biggest personal achievement as a professional photographer.
From a young age, I've always been interested in fashion so one of my biggest goals as a photographer was to shoot for a big brand campaign. This year I was able to shoot for Bershka during festival season & they loved my photos from the shoot so much that they made two of them the front page of the website.

Do you have any lessons from past failures others could learn from?
Always! Be! Prepared! For! The! Worst! I can't emphasize this enough! There have definitely been a few times that I've been on set of a shoot and I've said "oh no... I didn't bring *a very important piece of equipment*. I didn't think I was going to need it!". Then I'm desperately calling my friends to ask them if they can bring me whatever I decided not to bring because I didn't think I would need it.

Any advice for up-and-coming photographers?
Take your camera everywhere with you and shoot as much as possible! Photographers are constantly learning something new because there's so much to learn about it. To this day I'm still learning things even after doing it for 7 years.

What social trends are you seeing unfold for 2019?
I definitely see more brands working with more social media influencers since they're seeing such a huge return from social media marketing. I also see brands taking social media more seriously! It's honestly so great to hear people say that Instagram is being viewed like an online business card.

Campaigns with The Cirqle

How was your experience participating in campaigns with The Cirqle?
It was great! The Cirqle team has been very easy to work with and very quick at replying to any concerns that we've come across.

Do you like working through creator platforms?
I do like working this way with a brand. It helps keep everything organized and it makes sure you're completing everything on time and correctly.

What do you think about brands involving professional photographers in their marketing plan?
This is the first time that I've been involved as a professional photographer in a social media campaign and I think it's brilliant! I've been saying for years that brands should start doing this. They get professional images plus social media marketing! It's a win-win situation for them. I'm honestly surprised I haven't seen more brands doing this.

Socials

@jerrymaestas
jerryamaestas.com

ABOUT

Name:
Jerry Maestas

Location:
Los Angeles, California
United States of America

Equipment:
• Canon EOS 5D mark III
• 40mm f2.8 lens
• 20mm f2.8 lens
• 50mm f1.8 lens

Extra Tools:
• Lightroom for editing
• Use of presets he has developed himself

 

  Jerry Maestas  for  McDonald’s

Jerry Maestas
for McDonald’s

Behind The Scenes: @Sheisnotlost

We interviewed Carina Otero to find out her tips and tricks for working with a community of female travellers. 

Tell us about how you got started blogging, and what lead you to making it a full-time gig:
I started She is Not Lost simply for fun, as I personally collected and bookmarked travel photography that I liked when researching a place I planned to visit. When I thought of the name I decided then to create a community in which people can become more engaged and ask other female travelers for recommendations and advice. As the page grew, I began receiving more and more opportunities as an influencer, and have been able to share useful tips and services with my audience through my Instagram and Blog. You could say I got my "start" rather unconventionally, because rather than creating a blog and building a following, I had a following and then created a blog.

When and why did you create She is Not Lost?
I created the community in September of 2015, simply in hopes of inspiring females around the world to see more beyond their own communities.

What is the goal of the community?
The goal of the community is simply to inspire. I have always told myself that even if I make one person smile and dream then what I have created is a success.

How do you monetize She is Not Lost?
I monetize the community with sponsored posts by partnering with companies relevant to traveling females. Additionally, I earn ad revenue for display ads on my blog and website.

What's the most exciting thing you've done since starting with She is Not Lost?
One very exciting opportunity that I was lucky to participate in was a trip to Sri Lanka, a country that originally was not high on my bucket list, but once I arrived I was so grateful to experience it. Being invited to a new place opened my eyes to experiences and lifestyles that are truly unique and special.

What is your favorite destination? and why?
My favorite location I have visited was Egypt, partly because I was so impressed by the history of the landmarks in and near Cairo, but also because I was surprised by the beauty of the Red Sea. My trip to Egypt happened quite unexpectedly and spontaneously, and I probably would not have gone if it weren't for my Egyptian friend who invited me. I had been hearing that Egypt was not a safe place for foreigners to visit, but when I arrived I was only greeted by friendliness and graciousness (especially from Egyptians whose livelihood relies on the tourism industry- shop owners, tour guides, and others). I was very grateful for the opportunity to visit Egypt and am looking forward to someday going back to spend more time and dive in the Red Sea!

How often do you travel?
I travel about 1 or 2 weeks a month.

Do you have any travel tips for our community? 
My most important piece of advice is to speak with locals! Do not get so caught up in visiting landmarks and destinations just to take a photo, but rather enjoy the journey and learn something about the people who live in the places you visit. I also encourage my followers to be respectful when taking photos by asking permission, not trespassing and contributing to the businesses that are featured in your photos. For example, if you are at the souk in Marrakech and see a beautiful shop that would make the perfect backdrop for your photo, purchase a souvenir or two and show some friendliness to the shop owner. Not only will you be more welcome to take a photo there, but you will also leave with a nice memento from your travels.

What is for you essential when traveling?
Lately, I love traveling with my drone to capture photos and see a location from a different perspective.

Why do you enjoy working with companies and how do you choose certain collaborations, any criteria?
I only choose to work with companies that I personally find useful, and think my followers would find useful. I think my followers appreciate that I choose my partnerships carefully and do not dilute the quality or integrity of my feed with companies that are not reputable or not relevant to travel.

Tell us about your biggest personal achievement as a blogger/Instagrammer?
When I started She is Not Lost I was working in a 9-6 desk job in a position that was not inspiring or challenging. Rather, I had so much time during the day to daydream that I was able to put most of my energy toward growing the Instagram page in its earliest days. After about a year and a half I was able to monetize the page, and two and a half years since I started the page, a representative from the headquarters of the company that I used to work with reached out (not knowing that I was a previous employee) and asked if I would partner in a sponsored post! Once the campaign was completed I felt as thought I had come full circle and that I was where I am meant to be. :)

Do you have any lessons from past failures others could learn from?
Don't get frustrated if you don't see growth or sponsorships right away. Choosing to be a blogger as a career path doesn't always progress in a straight line, and there will be moments when you question if you are really doing the right thing. But if it is something you really want and enjoy doing, your followers will notice and your success will come!

Any advice for up and coming bloggers?
My advice would be to be real and honest and create a voice that works and stick to it. Consistency is key when it comes to entertaining or inspiring an audience.

What social trends are you seeing unfold for 2018?
I see a lot of influencers focusing less on staged, glorified, perfected posts and rather sharing with their followers the reality of the situation photographed. This makes the content and connection between influencer and viewer much more relatable, and likely more effective when it comes to partnerships.

What upcoming projects are you most excited about? 
I am most excited about my recent partnership with a company called Hiptipico, which hosted me during my trip to Guatemala. I got to see how special the locals are and how lovely the country is, so I was already very happy to support a business with an important mission to empower and employ local women. However, just one week after my visit Guatemala was gravely affected by a volcanic eruption. Hiptipico has pledged to support the relief causes long after traditional media stops covering the events, which is why I am happy to continue sharing my experiences traveling through their beautiful country.

Campaigns with The Cirqle

What did you think about the campaign for Swiss Education?
The campaign for the Swiss Education Group was great, everything went smoothly and planning was thorough. I felt as though all of my needs were met and all the support was in place for me to provide the client with the set deliverables. I was very impressed with the level of support provided! I had been on other press trips (not organized by The Cirqle) as a social media influencer, and many details were not tended to- for example I was not given ample time to take photos, and in some instances photos and cameras were not allowed- making it very difficult to share my experience through photography! Traveling with The Cirqle was a breath of fresh air as the experience was clearly well organized.

Socials

@sheisnotlost
sheisnotlost.com

ABOUT

Name:
Carina Otero

Location:
San Diego, California
United States of America

Primary Blogging Topic(s):
Travel for females

Equipment:
• Iphone 8 plus
• Canon G9X
• Tripod

Extra Tools:
• Lightroom for desktop editing
• Retouch for mobile editing

 

Better safe than sorry: Tips from The Cirqle on how to protect your account from hackers and save your business

 
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In the last few weeks, a number of The Cirqle’s Influencer’s Instagram accounts have been hacked. To help you be more prepared against hacks, we wanted to provide some tips on keeping your account safe.

How does the Instagram hacking work?

Once your profile has been hacked, the hacker will sometimes immediately change all your credentials (username, password, email, and phone number) denying you the standard recovery process for your account.

In order to help prevent this situation from happening to you, we summed up 8 tips from Instagram to increase your security and protect your account.

1. Use a good and strong Password

The Password must be 8-16 characters long and include a combination of letters, numbers and punctuation marks. Don’t use your name or birthdate and avoid using any of the 25 most commonly used passwords.

2. Try to change your Instagram password on a regular basis

3. Use a different password for all your online accounts

Never use the same password for all your accounts and devices! If someone hacks your password he/she will be able to access all your personal data. Too many passwords to remember? Check these two password managers 1Password or LastPass, they could help you out!

4. Don’t share your password with anyone

5. Use the Two-factor authentication

This is a more recent security procedure implemented by Instagram. How does it work? Every time an unknown device tries to access to your profile, you’ll receive a security code via SMS or Email. You can activate this service from your profile settings.

6. Your Email account must be secure

Try to change your email account password regularly or/and use a separate email account for your Instagram profile.

7. Always log out when using other devices

Every time you access your Instagram profile from a third parties phone or a computer remember always to LOG OUT and don’t click on the remember me button.

8. Think carefully before you allow third-party apps to use your Instagram information

Wondering where to find connected third-party apps? Go to your profile settings and click on authorized apps.

If you think or you have been hacked, check out Instagram’s official help section (below) in order to recover your account: https://help.instagram.com/368191326593075

If you have any further questions, you can reach us via the orange bubble in the bottom right or send an email to: [email protected]

Behind The Scenes: @CoffeeandChampagne

We interviewed Michelle Williams (NYC-based food & style blogger) to hear her tips and tricks for working with food.

Tell us about how you got started blogging, and what lead you to making it a full-time gig:
I started blogging because I needed a creative outlet outside of work that was just for me. So after work, I started writing about what I did, including tips and tricks to planning my own wedding. Ultimately, I ran out of content and not being a super girly girl, didn't want to hear about and write about other people's weddings so I expanded to all of the elements outside of my 9 to 5 that filled my life. Clothes, Music, Restaurants, Recipes, Cool Things Happening In The City.

At some point not too far after that, I switched from a corporate job to a less stable startup. Thinking that I may be a bit too exhausted with the new role to do all of my blogging at night, I decided that narrowing the focus of my blog would make it less daunting. I also hoped that this narrower scope would allow me to learn more about a specific topic. So, I made the decision on the spot. I get dressed every day and I eat every day, so I can be a fashion blogger or a food blogger. At the time, I knew more about fashion so I went the harder route and landed on food. In the snap of a finger I became a food blogger. As time progressed, my blog gained more and more traction. I began thinking I should do it full time but knew I wasn't quite ready to. Then, well, then the startup I was working for got bought out and got rid of all it's current employees. Knowing I'd dive into my next job and give it 100% of my attention, I chatted with my husband and we decided that I should try my little hobby full time and see where it could take me because the worst thing in the world is wondering "what if?". That was three-and-a-half years ago. It's been an incredible adventure of highs and lows since then. I wake up every day and get to take on exciting and creative projects in my own vision. It's a ton of work to make it a successful business but I absolutely love it!

What is your favorite food?
Sushi. There's something about a clean cut piece of nigiri with no frills that shows off the fresh high-quality of it's fish. As someone who loves farm experiences and farm fresh food, this experience, when done right, is always exciting to me.

What is your personal favorite restaurant, and why?
Root & Bone. I haven't really found better Southern Comfort food in the city. Every dish made me happy. From the biscuit crumble on top of the mac & cheese to the perfect crispiness of the fried chicken, or maybe it was the bucket of canned rosé sitting on the table—the mood was unbeatable and the company made it incredibly memorable.

What is the easiest food/dish to photograph and why?
As time goes by, I've found what angles and styles work for each dish. But if I truly have to think on it, I'd go with spaghetti. There are so many options for how to shoot it. Twirl it on a fork, do the classic pasta pull photo, add some parmesan for some visual texture—there are options which make it a great dish to practice your photography skills on.

What is the most difficult food/dish to photograph and why?
Any dish that is mostly one color. It makes the image flat. Especially if the restaurant has styled it on a plate that matches the food. It's not your fault if you come out with a bad photo, in this case, you have full right to blame the dish.

What are your tips for photographing food?
1. Shoot in natural light or by a window.
2. Make sure your light source is behind you but not so far behind you that you are casting a shadow (unless you are going for a specific shadow style).
3. Don't be afraid to move things around on the plate to make the dish look more photo-friendly.
4. Carry wet wipes for cleaning off your hands after all of those hand held food photos (trust me. And, you're welcome)

Why do you enjoy working with companies and how do you choose certain collaborations, any criteria?
I love working with companies. I come from an advertising background so working with great brands has always been a part of what I do. It's in my DNA at this point. Working with brands allows me to think outside of the box and create content around incredible products that highlight them in fun and innovative ways.

Tell us about your biggest personal achievement as a blogger.
I have had a lot of amazing opportunities not only come my way but ones that have been catered specifically for me. To work with brands that make me an ambassador of theirs and then getting flown places like Ireland to write about an event or have a booth at The New York Coffee Festival with my company's name embroidered into aprons of hired baristas and written on the walls of a booth—honestly, there are a lot of moments that I take great pride in, it's one of the reasons I love this career choice. The experiences and levels of achievement are unparalleled.

Do you have any lessons from past failures others could learn from? 
Always have a signed contract before committing to a project or event. It doesn't matter how big the company is, there is a chance you can be taken advantage of. I surely was even with email written proof. Cover your bases. It's not awkward. Know, everyone does it.

Any advice for up and coming bloggers?
Figure out what your brand is. How you want it seen. What you want to say and stick to it. Don't sway. Even if a great brand reaches out, if they don't make sense for your brand, it's not worth it. Your audience will see through it and you will lose their trust. I've hated saying no to some big brands but sometimes visions don't align and it's not in the best interest of my company in the long run.

What social trends are you seeing unfold for 2018?
I don't know about other companies at this point, but my goal for 2018 is to show more of my life in a stylized way that still has a heavy focus on food. I've always done it a bit in the past. Now, I want to pay attention to doing it right with more attention and planning.

What did you think about City Marketing for Garment District?
I loved this project! As a person who explores New York City on a regular basis, focussing on one aspect of one neighborhood is exciting. I chose to focus on rooftop bars in The Garment District. It made for a super fun cocktail filled adventure while also creating a really useful guide for my readers.

What upcoming projects are you most excited about?
The approach I take to knowing food is two fold. One side of it is exploring great restaurants both new and old. The other is recipe development. Yes, I cook! And, well (not to toot my own horn too much). So, a few of the upcoming projects I'm most excited about will be created in the comforts of my own kitchen. To give you a little taste, I'm currently developing a recipe for Jarlsberg cheese where I am creating a savory play on cinnamon buns and am baking up homemade French Onion Buns! They for sure do have that classic spiral but inside are the delicious flavors of a French Onion Soup and they are topped with melted down creamy Jarlsberg cheese.

Socials

@coffeeandchampagne
coffeeandchampagne.com

ABOUT

Name:
Michelle Williams

Location:
New York City, New York
United States of America

Primary Blogging Topic(s):
The Lifestyle Around Food

Equipment:
• Canon Rebel tt5i
• Tungsten Lamp (for videos shot at home)
• All Saints Backpack (her mobile office)

Extra Tools:
• Photoshop
• SnapSeed (for on the go)
• After Effects
• Premiere
* Illustrator
• Asana
• Google Drive
• Coffee (it just makes all the work better)