Styling Food for Pinterest - Do's and Don'ts

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Just because a picture is super successful on Instagram doesn't mean it will be engaging on Pinterest, and just because a picture is really pretty doesn't mean that it will be clicked on. When creating content for the web you always have to keep in mind a couple of things: 1) Where is this content going to live? 2) Will people click on the image? We ultimately want to capture viewers so that our voices can be heard above the noise, but too often I see people creating pretty things thinking that's enough to engage views. The reality is there's a lot of pretty out there to compete with, and not all of it gets the views it may deserve.

I think many people have the taste level and eye to style a pretty photo, but knowing what's pretty and what drives traffic are two different things. I see many photos on Pinterest that are drop dead gorgeous, but will I repin all of them? No. And will I click to view the photo on a blog? An even slimmer chance, unfortunately. So, what makes an image on Pinterest engaging and/or clickable? That's the big question! In order to answer this big question we need to break things down by subject. Let's start with food. (I'll tackle fashion next!)

Pinterest Food Styling Comparison
Pinterest Food Styling Comparison

I did a little experiment for you guys and styled the same latte recipe three different ways. I kept certain elements the same, however.

Controls: Latte recipe Light Location Pinned to the same board

Variables: Cups Placement Text placement Font Pin description

Can you guess which photo performed the best? The answer surprised me at first, but it makes sense as to why. Latte A received the least amount of traffic with only 39,000+ impressions and only 127 clicks. Latte B received 58,000+ impressions with 197 clicks, and lastly, Latte C (the winner) received 63,000+ impressions with 213 clicks.

Why is this the case? When styling food people want to be up close and personal with the subject. Being able to see the drink through the glass matters. Photo C also has the best view of the donut even though that is not the star of the show. The donut adds an additional enticing factor for sure, so think about what complementary foods or ingredients can be added to your shots. Also, the text on this pin is the most readable, and I have the color black to thank for that.

Are all of these photos pretty? Yes, you an even view more photos from this post here to see what I mean. Readable text and being SUPER close to the subject your shooting so you can almost taste the latte matters as much as good light and photography.

For more Pinterest advice, check out these posts:

Under the Radar Pinners

How to Use Group Boards Effectively

How to Brand Your Business on Pinterest

Fall Entertaining

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Happy September!!! Today is a special day because it's Elle's 3rd birthday, and the day I always find myself getting into the fall spirit. So what if we're supposed to wait until September 21st to official say it's fall? So what if it's still above 100 degrees in Phoenix? That can't stop me from making my home look like fall, my taste buds enjoying fall treats and making plans for fall gatherings around chili and cornbread.

Today, I'm sharing with you a collaboration with Junk in the Trunk Vintage Market - a biannual event in Arizona that brings vendors that sell unique, vintage pieces. Many of their vendors carry unique serving-wear and dinner-wear, and with fall approaching, Coley and Lindsey decided to choose "gather" as their theme for this September's market.

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To get everyone in the gather spirit for the upcoming event (September 19-20), we came together to create some inspirational place-settings for your future fall and holiday gatherings. All of the pieces that we used are items that the vendors are currently selling at this fall's market, so if you see something you like be sure to get your ticket to the event and snatch it! Also, be sure to follow Junk in the Trunk on Instagram because they will be sharing more details on how you can win tickets and buy the items featured in the shoot.

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Desert inspired Fall Setting - We don't really have leaves that change color and fall off of the trees here in Phoenix. If that does happen to the occasional tree it's during the months of December and January. Instead, we have cool nights perfect for bonfires and backyard gatherings. We loved this idea of using cacti and decor trends of brass and deep blues to create an inviting table-scape that made you feel at home.

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Kid-friendly Entertaining - You might be at the stage in your life when your friends have little ones that they bring to your dinners. A way to make them feel special all while using plastic dinnerwear is to place a piece of candy along with a name tag, so they know that they were thought of. Also, line your table with craft paper as your table cloth so that they can draw while they wait for their food. We took the liberty and drew in utensils for fun. You can also place a vintage toy for them to play with like a pin wheel or a truck for more character.

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A stylish & budget conscious table-setting - Maybe you're throwing a "friendsgiving" this year, and you really don't have much to spend for decorations. Try using a bundles of wheat, rosemary and apples to make your table design feel like fall. We also used old flour sacks for placemats. Scraps of burlap from a fabric store would work just as well rather than spending $8.00 a pop on a placemat. It doesn't need to be elaborate to look pin-worthy.

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Red & green can look cool - I'm a fan of white minimalist holiday decor because the combination of red and green really bothers me. I know that's a bit silly, but seriously, those colors not only don't mesh well with one another, but they clash with the color pallet of my home. However, if you throw in black, white and gold we found that red and green can actually look cool.

For more ideas on entertaining, make sure to follow my "Entertaining in Style" board on Pinterest.

Photos by Gina Meola Styling by Coley & Lindsey of Junk in the Trunk and Alex Evjen of AVE Styles

Recap of Alt Summit Winter 2015

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Oh, Alt Summit. You are a genius. Three days of creative entrepreneurs and brands together in one space = magic. This was my third Alt Summit experience and my second one speaking, and it was just as incredible as the events in the past. Each year I have gone to the conference for something different. 2011 was about learning as much as I could about blogging. 2014 was about delivering a successful Pinterest talk. 2015 was about connecting with brands AND delivering a successful Pinterest panel discussion. AirBNB, Honest Co., Overstock, Wayfair, Microsoft, Munchkin, and many more were at this conference, and I definitely was able to have great, long-lasting conversations with each brand. If you want to get practice pitching brand partnerships, go to Alt Summit. It's the only conference I know where brands are genuinely approachable and WANT to be pitched content ideas.

Alt Winter 2015 Brooke Dennis

The most important nugget of gold I took home was to be purposeful with each social outlet of your business. Write out your objectives for each one and focus on that. Below, you'll find mine:

Pinterest | a curatorial experience of what A.V.E. Styles enjoys

Instagram | a portfolio, behind the scenes experiences and work philosophies of A.V.E. Styles

Facebook | a place to share latest blog posts

Twitter | an extension of Instagram and Facebook

Now that I have these filters in place I think it will be a lot easier to hone in on growing a genuine and engaged audience.

Alt Winter 2015 Brooke Dennis

The Pinterest panel with Rachel Faucett, Kelly Beal and Sara Martineau was a success. It was great hearing the different perspectives of Pinterest, and learning all of the new things Pinterest has in store for their users. Pinterest is truly a company that listens and cares about it's users, and for Pinterest to sit on this panel it was crystal clear that they value the blogging community. If you weren't able to attend the presentation here are 5 things you should know about Pinterest:

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1| You NEED to Rich Pin - Okay, well, you don't need to, but if you're a blog or business that is not doing this you are missing out on MAJOR traffic. You see, Pinterest gives priority to Rich Pins and recommends Rich Pins to their users because it's content that is ensured to be good and valuable. How does Pinterest know that? Well, you have to apply to use Rich Pins, and a staff member at Pinterest goes through the applications to make sure you a a legitimate business that is not spamming people. Since using Rich Pins my site traffic and engagement has grown significantly. Go get them now! Run! Don't walk!

2| Get a business account - You might be saying to yourself, "Well, I'm just a blogger. Only big brands need a business account." Wrong! If you care about getting your blog content out there and growing your Pinterest community your business account will be able to give you statistics that will help you measure your Pinterest success. You'll be able to know how much traffic is coming to your blog from Pinterest, which pins are performing best, which users are repinning your pins the most, where in the world your community lives and more. This is all important in building a Pinterest strategy. Plus, it's free! Get one here.

3| Time does not exist within Pinterest - I'm not trying to be philosophical here. Time literally doesn't matter anymore when it comes to your feed. Your Pinterest feed is a smart feed based on the interests you follow, what you are pinning and who you follow. You will still see content from those you follow and your followers will still see yours as well, but it just won't be shared in a chronological format. What does this mean for you? Well, you can go on pinning sprees as not worry about stuffing your followers' feeds. Also, you need to be purposeful about SEO and optimizing those pin descriptions to get your content in front of your audience.

4| SEO matters - Did you know that search engines like Bing and Google pull in your pins now? Awesome, right?! That means it's important to write great pin descriptions that reflect what a user would search. Simply describe what you see in the pin. For example, "ivory sweetheart lace wedding dress by Claire Pettibone."

5| Image matters - Well-styled, illuminated, colorful content that's oriented vertically will out perform a landscape, black and white iphone photo any day of the week. Make sure you are paying close attention to the creation of your pins. If you don't know how to take great pictures, hire a photographer. If you don't know how to style images, hire a stylist!

Want more tips? Follow me on Instagram (@avestyles) where I will share a new tip each Friday, AND I'm starting to plan a webinar. Keep your eyes peeled for an announcement. If you are interested in being the first to know, please send me a note alexandra@avestyles.com and I will put you on the notification list.

All images provided by Alt Summit and taken by Brooke Dennis.

Stylist to The Rescue

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Last week I had the chance to be on The List - a national TV show that talk about all things pop culture. I was asked to surprise a woman in Arizona, and show her that she had plenty in her closet for this fall. I had no idea what she looked like, where she lived or what she had in her closet. It truly was a spontaneous styling session, but any client I meet for the first time is like a blind date. I, of course, was nervous I wouldn't be able to rise to the challenge, but I made it work. Tim Gunn would be proud. Watch the segment and see for yourself. Let me know what you think!



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