hihoandco group shot
Image by Matt Sweeting Photography

Unless you’ve been in a hole for the last few weeks (and that’s fine, we all need to go to ground occasionally!), you’ll know all about #hihoandco. This event was put on at Blackdown Shepherd Huts in Somerset, by Hiho, on Monday 11th Feb. As you’ll know if you know me at all, I work with Hiho (and have done for a while!), and I was also part of the organising team for the event. Hiho & Co was, quite simple, amazing, and I loved every moment. I lost my voice for three days afterwards but gained huge amounts of amazing memories and good vibes… so I’m fine with that!

I could write a very long blog about the Hiho & Co day, but I thought it would try and find the top five things about the day… it’s taken some thinking about, but here goes…

Five things I loved about #hihoandco

  1. The venue. Oh my. This was something else. I work with Blackdown Shepherd Huts and was absolutely blown away the first time I visited. The huts are like nothing I have ever seen before and are so beautifully designed. Not only was I amazed by the huts, but the workshop. I have this thing about workshops and warehouses – I kind of love them. I see them as the heart of the business and am always amazed by the degree of organisation in them. The Blackdown workshop was next level with specially designed bit for each thing – like the special sinking floor, for example. More than the beauty of the venue alone – the Blackdown team. Will, who owns Blackdown, along with the rest of the team, allowed us to completely take over their premises for two days… seriously- how many people would let you do that?! They also let us use another hut (the selfie hut) and take over their tearoom. I loved them all before but I love them even more now.
  2. Capture By Lucy. I’ve been a fan of Lucy and her amazing backdrops for quite some time. I think she’s incredibly talented and I love what she creates and the story behind her brand. But in person? She’s absolutely lovely! Not only did she handle the level of madness that follows me around, but she delivered the most amazing talk to the Hiho & Co guests. I’m going to treat myself to a backdrop too – I just need to decide which one!
  3. The brands. We were very, very lucky to have the most amazing support from some incredible brands in the equestrian and country industry, as well as those beyond. Mackenzie & George are heavily involved with Hiho & Co as Melanie (co-founder) is also part of the organising group. We had Fairfax & Favor, Albion Saddlemakers, Joules, Cupsmith, Hullabaloo Drinks involved with the goody bags. In addition we had additional props loaned from The Tartan Blanket Co and Albion Lifestyle. It was great having such an incredible range of products to use in our workshops and for dressing areas.
  4. The team. I have to talk about the team, don’t I? Whenever we embark on one of these events, I’m reminded how incredible the people I work with are. At the head of the Hiho & Co idea is Emma Warren – who’s also MD of Hiho Silver. This lady is so hardworking, kind and welcoming – words can’t express it. She’s also a sandwich short of a picnic. But no one who wasn’t would suggest these big things… and pull them off to such a degree, would they? Next up, Melanie Clarihew. Melanie, and her husband Chris, founded Mackenzie & George, and are some of the kindest, hardest working and most talented people I know. I’m regularly found laughing about something random with Melanie, but I am always in awe of what they create. The new luggage tags that they made and personalised for each goody bag were a great example of this. They’re amazing. Ruth Chappell- my little roomie and organisation whizz kid. Ruth is the lady behind Dressage Anywhere and I’m so impressed with how she runs, manages and promotes that. But at Hiho and Co, she keeps us organised. She sorts out so many behind the scenes things, and is a fixer. She makes me laugh a lot and has the kindest soul. I love Ruth a little bit. Then we have Rachel Bragg aka Sweet Images aka the flatlay queen. Rachel is also a very good friend and her gentle encouragement to everyone is incredible. She has no idea how good she when it comes to her teaching or photography, but she is next level. And shares this all so so willingly too. And last but not least is Sophie Callahan. The photography whizz kid. I have so much respect for Sophie – not just her skills but her whole demeanour. I adore Sophie and constantly learn from her attitude to life. She’s very laid back and takes the knocks in a way that she uses them to fuel her rather than lets them get her down. If you’ve read her baby blog you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about. She’s stubborn as a mule too – and if I told her off once for trying to lift something heavy, I told her off 10 times… but I was the same when I was pregnant!
  5. The people. And this is a big one. The people who came to Hiho & Co were incredible. We had a lot of people come and see us for the second time (after coming to the first event held at The Fish in September) and it truly was like meeting up with a load of friends. How good is that? I feel that everyone who comes to one of these days is there for the right reasons. They get a huge amount of value from the workshops we run, but there’s also a lovely vibe, the chance to find new friends and so much more. Some of the people attending shared lifts – some even went out to dinner the night before – and this really did warm my heart…
hiho and co cupcakes

So there you have it – five things I loved about #hihoandco – but be in no doubt I could have written a book on the subject! If you want to see a little more of the magic, pop on over to Instagram and have a look at the #hihoandco hashtag. Equally, have a look at Hiho’s own blog and follow the links listed to the blogs created by some of our amazing guests.

Rhea Freeman Newsletter Link
batch working and batch content with rachel bragg of sweet images photography

What do you think about batch working? Do you know what batch content is, or do you think I’m talking a different language? Don’t worry – batch working will change your world, whatever you do. In this podcast, Rachel Bragg from Sweet Images Photography tells us how she makes it work for her.

Batch working and batch content with Rachel Bragg

In this episode we talk about the value of producing batch content, batch working, tips for both and a whole lot more. In this episode of the Small & Supercharged Podcast with Rachel Bragg from Sweet Images Photography, you will hear…

  • How time consuming it can be to NOT batch your work together (and why looking at it differently can save you a lot of time).
  • The many different ways that small business owners are pulled, meaning that the time we have is quite short, and how that means we have to make it count.
  • How the idea of batching (and the practical application) became apparent to Rachel when working for a commercial client.
  • The way that batch content can actually help you to create your best work as you can create all the content when the conditions are optimal.
  • How the act of just planning the time to create the content can make you more productive as you can start to create a props list on the lead up to the event too. Preparation is so important.
  • When you’re batch working, you also need to make sure you have everything where you need it to be. This helps you use your time as well as possible.
  • How to create more than one image out of each shot you’ve set up. We talk about batch working with flatlays, and how the angles and the position you take the images from can make even more content from each flatlay you’ve set up.
  • Why it’s important to make sure you plan what you want to shoot, what you want to achieve, and know why you’re doing it. When you’ve done this, work out what you could also shoot at the same time. This should give you additional content for the future.
  • How important it is to be ruthless with your time and literally book out the time to create your content.
  • How DSLRs are good BUT, for the vast majority of us, a phone camera is more than adequate. In fact, sometimes the really modern phone cameras are better in some situations that DSLRs, especially if there’s a light issue.
  • The importance of props and how these can help with the story.
  • We talk through a few scenarios and the props that you can find that are easily to hand and can be used (that won’t cost you a penny and can really add to your images).
  • How you don’t need to have lots of posh, expensive props to make a flatlay work. You just need to make sure it’s relevant.
  • The idea of taking lots of shots when you have a session set up. It’s something I do (as a non-photographer… and I always like to try and stack the odds of getting a good shot in my favour!), and Rachel also talks about whether or not it’s the right thing to do!
  • How to edit the images on your phone, and how you can actually batch work really effectively on your phone.
  • The value of images. Why images are such a key part of your content, and the every day consumption of images. Why batch working is so, so important, to ensure you get the number of images you need.

Where you can find Rachel…

A massive thank you to Rachel for chatting about batch content and batch working on this week’s episode. To find Rachel online, you can find her…

Sweet Images Facebook Page

Sweet Images Instagram

Sweet Images Website

…and if you want to see Rachel’s work in action, have a look at Hiho Silver, Mackenzie & George and Smart Grooming’s Instagram feeds.

Instagram stickers you might not use (and why you should)

Have you used Instagram stickers? These can be such a great way to add something extra to your Instagram Story and, actually, encourage engagement too. And that’s what today’s Small & Supercharged Podcast is all about.

In addition to Instagram stickers, I’m also going to talk about GIFs, which can be great things to add to your Instagram Stories, to make them more fun or relatable, or just to add an extra dimension.

Instagram stickers, GIFs and more that you might not use…

In today’s Small & Supercharged Podcast, I talk about Instagram stickers that you might not use, the great things about GIFs, and what you can link to from Stories. Here are the show notes from episode 22, Instagram Stickers you might not know about or use…

  • I talk about GIFS. I love a GIF. I talk about the kind of GIFs you can use, when and why you could use them, and why you need to keep on brand when adding them.
  • The Product Tag. I talk about how the Product Tag works, when it’s useful for brands (especially those with under 10k followers). The Product Tag allows people to move from Instagram to your website without having to go to the link in your bio and embark on a rather clunky process. If you have over 10k followers (and a business account) you can have swipe up (which is also good!), but the product tag can provide more information in a shorter amount of time.
  • The Countdown Sticker. This is a great way to show how much time you have until a launch, event or something else. The Countdown Sticker automatically updates too, so you don’t need to worry that someone looking in 12 hours will be receiving out of date information.
  • The Poll Sticker. This is not a new thing, but it’s still great. It’s a really good way to get feedback on any question you like (that has two possible answers!). You could ask people what colour they prefer in a piece of clothing, for example, which can be useful and great for engagement. You can also change the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to words of your choice. Don’t forget, you can share the results of the poll, which can help you with your content creation and, also, shows that you value the opinion of your fans.
  • The Questions Sticker. This is good for lots of different things. Make sure you guide them with the sticker – sometimes being really broad, like ‘Ask Me A Question’ can be a bit wide, depending on your audience. Try and make it easy for them to ask a question. You can use the Questions Sticker for so many reasons – what’s your favourite event, share a winter must have, etc. Use these instead of Polls when you have more than one possible answer.
  • Links. Not quite a sticker but (maybe) even better. We talk about what you can use this for. If you have over 10k followers, you can link to a URL, and then swipe up to a page on your or any other website. If you don’t have over 10k followers, you can add a link to an IGTV video, which can be a good way to get it under the noses of your following.

Don’t use the same stickers each time as people will just switch off… and you don’t want that. It can turn something that should be engaging and fun into an annoyance.

So here are six ‘functions’ you can add over your Instagram Stories. Go off, have a play, and I would LOVE you to tag me if you give them a spin. I’m @rheafreemanpr on Instagram, as always!

Rhea Freeman Newsletter
5 ways to use Instagram challenges

Did you take part in Sophie Callahan’s #jan19ruralbusiness challenge? I dipped in and out (sorry Sophie!), but I did do most of the days and really enjoyed in. At the end of December, I ran a short five day #5thingsimproudof Insta challenge too, so I have experience from both sides of the coin! With this in mind, I thought I would use the opportunity of two recent Instagram challenges to chat about their value and how you can use Instagram challenges for your own gain.

How to use Instagram challenges – five ways…

  1. They inspire you. If you’re feeling a bit ‘meh’ about Instagram, an Instagram challenge can really help. With specific prompts for as long as the challenge lasts, you can use the ideas listed to create your content. Saving you from having to worry about the idea behind the content.
  2. For blogs. Yep – you read that correctly. I launched my Instagram challenge with a blog about five things I was proud of. I did this as a way to explain the challenge. However, a number of people also wrote their own blogs around the theme, which was great. If you can use the prompts or ideas to create additional content, then get on that case!
  3. They can organise you. If you know you need to get images for your challenge, you can look ahead and see which images you have/source the props you need for when you get time to take the images. This can be really useful if you’re a busy bee.
  4. You can use it on other social media platforms too. You might be taking part in an Instagram challenge, but there’s nothing to say you can’t use the prompts on other platforms too.
  5. To connect. Most Instagram challenges are connected by a hashtag. Search that hashtag and you can find others who are also taking part. You might find new people to follow in your field, or new brands to love, And you might get found by these people too.
Rhea Freeman Newsletter