Keep on connecting

Yes, 2016 was a painful one on Instagram. Our world kind of crashed a little, new algorithms started to change our everyday routines and it felt like that time back in about 2008 when my daily life on Flickr changed forever. 

Change is hard and uncomfortable, especially when it’s out of your control but for me Instagram is still an awesome, inspiring and a very friendly place to be. Yes, I have to pay extra attention and seek out my friends a little more but they are still there and very often the extra effort leads to new connections and new ideas. 

For me though, what continues to be the very best part about Instagram and all the social media we are lucky enough to have in our lives is the real life friendships and adventures that happen. Partnerships, fun events, new places to explore that just wouldn’t be a part of my life if it wasn’t for the beautiful connections that take place online. Social media for me is definitely a place for accelerated serendipity. 

I have talked before about my book deal, my book tour, growing my company and the online support I’ve had as a mother, all of which have happened because I have created time each day for networking and sharing on social media. 

I still get asked why I spend time on social media and I still come across a lot of people who are running online businesses who find the whole social media part too much effort or a distraction. Social media isn't going away and despite all the algorithms that we have no control over it really is an amazing thing to have in our world. 

And it's not just about promoting what we do, it's about connecting on other levels too. 2016 was a tough year for the world. I cried more than ever about the news. I felt angry, confused and so very sad about what is happening to our world. But there was some good stuff too. There was a real sense of community, of standing together, of knowing that we can fight all of this even if our small steps sometimes feel worthless. 

For me personally, I was so encouraged and inspired by the people that I got to connect with in real life in 2016. People doing great things, creative things, wise things, happy things and all of them adding to the positivity there still is in the world. 

I would love you to make 2017 a year of positive connections online. Seek out new friendships, collaborations, communities, inspiration. Spend time on social media promoting what you do but also look for ways to support and inspire other people too. Find ways to do something creative with other people in the world. Reach out, join in and stand together. 

Also remember not to let follower numbers and likes fill your time with any worry. Remember that a smaller, more engaged audience can be just as wonderful, inspiring and helpful as a large one. Hold onto the good things that occur in your social media world and build on that in an honest way that comes from your heart. I am pretty sure you will love it all the more then. 

Thank you to these lovely people (and so many more!) for the connections we made in 2016. 

I've replaced the Christmas decorations with hyacinths with a touch of lichen inspired by the lovely Fiona @firenzaflowers

A photo posted by Dorian Bowen UK (@thewelshhouse) on

Days that include lunch with the lovely @ruthumney at @hallysandlittleh are the best kind of days! 💕

A photo posted by Ruth (@ruthlgarner) on

#makelight365 blue

A photo posted by fatima malagueira (@mrsroomtobreathe) on

And so many more! Thank you for making my 2016 an inspired one. I'm so excited to see what will happen next. 

This week we have hit 440 Makelight Members! We are very excited about this growing global community. Stef and I are so happy to be able to help and inspire our members to build their businesses and their creativity in 2017. 

If you would like to be a part of this exciting group then please join our waiting list for the Membership.

Your Year Of Colour : Makelight Insights Reports

As photographers and artists colour is super important to both Stef and me. You could say we're slightly obsessed by it and I definitely have very emotional reactions to colour - both good and bad! 

Colour is a wonderful way for you to connect with people through your images, branding and products. And there is no doubt that attention to the colour palette that you use will help you to create a visual style and identity that people will recognise on social media and beyond, and in turn help to build your audience. 

One of my favourite Makelight things of the past year is our Makelight Insights Tool. We have developed this tool to help you understand your Instagram account, how you are building your gallery of images and the colour palette you are using. 

There are many analytics tools out there but the important thing about ours is the focus on Colour. 

To end 2016 in a positive way Stef created a special Year of Colour Insights Report to show your whole year of Instagram in a beautiful wall of colour. Here is mine! 

Makelight Insights Report

I love the way the colours change in response to the seasons but that my favourite colour, pink is a common thread all the way through. 

As well as this beautiful pattern, you can discover your colour palettes for each month and your most popular images, themes and colours of 2016. 

Makelight Insights Report
Makelight Insights Report
Makelight Insights Report
Makelight Insights Report
Makelight Insights Report

I love stats and what I really enjoy about the Makelight Insights Report, is the combination of colour, images and stats. It is a really positive way of looking at how you are developing your signature style and if you are running a business, your brand identity. 

2016 saw lots of changes on Instagram and left many of us feeling a little lost and unhappy with the platform that we have loved for so long. I tried my best to stay positive about it all but I have had my moments of frustration! I really hope that our Insights Report can help you to feel positive about how you can grow and engage your audience in 2017. 

If you haven't already got your Insights Report for 2016 then you can still sign up for one. 

Our Beautify Your Instagram course begins again on Monday. It is upgraded with new content and a suite of Tools, including this one for you to use for the whole 4 weeks that the course runs. We would love you to join us and an inspiring group of people from all over the world and learn how to build your Instagram audience with beautiful photography and great tools. xo

Our 2017 Wishing Tree

Happy New Year! I really am so excited about the new year. I think I say that every year but this year I really am feeling it even more than ever before. 

As a family we're about to turn a big corner. Over the next 12 months there will be no more buggy, no more pre-school children, no more cot bed, no more bedtime nappies and possibly no more tantrums...not of the kind a pre-school little one can create anyway! I am a little bit sad about all of this but way more excited by it. Ten years of tiny ones has left me a little bit exhausted and I am so looking forward to this new chapter. 

2017 Wishing Tree : Makelight

To mark the beginning of this big year we all came together today and wrote some wishes for the year on the back of some little photo cards and hung them on our sparkly tree. 

2017 Wishing Tree : Makelight
2017 Wishing Tree : Makelight
2017 Wishing Tree : Makelight
2017 Wishing Tree : Makelight
2017 Wishing Tree : Makelight
2017 Wishing Tree : Makelight

On this tree are wishes for adventures big and small, robot making, video making, time for more art and reading of books. It really is the tree of a creative family and it makes me so proud and happy to read the cute wishes on the tree. Can we make them all happen in 2017? We will certainly try! xo

Happy New Year Everyone! Let's make 2017 totally amazing. xxxx

A photo posted by The Quinski Family (@thequinskis) on