Creating Photography That Pops, Part II


In our last Dirt we shared some tips on Creating Photography That Pops, with suggestions for tricks to use when taking pictures. This week we wanted to share some of our favorite online tools for editing those pictures to help take them to the next level of interest and intrigue. Check out these tools to easily add filters & text to any photo, and to size them appropriately for social media posts.

One of our favorite new tools to use this year has been Canva. It provides several options for different types of layout templates for you to choose to start from.  Whether you’re creating social posts, blog article graphics or presentations, Canva allows you to choose from a variety of free or very low cost layout templates, that are already sized appropriately for the type of project you’re working on.  From there, you upload your photo, and then have fun changing text, backgrounds, borders, shapes and colors. It’s a great way to take an ordinary image and turn it into a call to action in your social posts. Check it out here:

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Pixlr: For a more advanced option you can check out Pixlr, for tools very similar to Photoshop. This is a great resource for resizing images, eliminating red eye, correcting blemishes in the photo, adding text and many other items. If you have some experience with Photoshop but no longer have access to Photoshop, you’ll feel very comfortable navigating around this tool. But beware, it’s not quite as sophisticated as Photoshop so adding many layers to the image can start to make the image look a bit distorted. Check it out here:



For mobile photo editing, we’ve bit the bullet and spent that coveted $0.99 on a few great apps, but there are some Free options as well.

Afterlight ($0.99): We used this great tool in a recent campaign as we counted down the days to Opening Day of the Fair. With their easy-to-use overlay options we were able to spark a fun series of posts for social media. Check it out in the iTunes App Store.



Pic Stitch (Free): This app helps you build fun collages of pictures helping to add a little interest to normal snapshots. We like to use this app as we’re visiting our clients to capture the feel of the whole day. Check it out in the iTunes App Store.


A Beautiful Mess ($0.99):  For a hand drawn touch, this app allows you to add doodles, borders and fun phrases to your images that are hand-drawn by Elsie and Emma, creators of the award-winning lifestyle blog, “A Beautiful Mess.” We like to use this tool for adding a personal touch to some of our “behind-the-scenes of Saffire” photos. Check it out in the iTunes App Store.


Beyond The Lanyard: Episode 2

Hello friends! I’m back for the second installment of Beyond The Lanyard! This past week I traveled to Georgia, South Carolina & Tennessee. I visited several of our friends in each state and then at the conclusion of my trip I attended the Midwest Fair Managers Association Annual Meeting. I drove over 1200 miles! Now I know for some of you out there that travel all the time between fairs, that may not sound like very much, but for me, it was a long trip!PhotoGrid_1395262659205

I saw several notable things along the way, including the Augusta National Golf Course! 20140312_140115 I definitely released my inner sports nerd when I drove by! The photo here is I promise, as close of a view as I could get you. I went on their website, because I was hoping to take a tour or maybe see it from the inside. On their FAQ page, it states that they don’t to tours, they don’t allow guests and you can’t apply for membership. It’s by invitation only. Very prestigious!

IMG_2196I also took the time to swing by Chattanooga, TN to pay a visit to my friend Chip & his lovely staff. They gave me a great tour of downtown Chattanooga, including a swing by the world famous Chattanooga Choo-Choo! I definitely wish I could have stayed in Tennessee longer. I was only there for a few hours before I was back to Georgia. (Hint: Stay tuned for more Tennessee travels planned in Episode 3!)

IMG_20140312_210609 I also visited Savannah, GA during my travels. It was so awesome there!I went to the beach for just a minute-It’s right outside of town. What I enjoyed most about Savannah though was the city’s rich history. Just while walking to dinner I saw cannons given to the city by George Washington and an incredible old Cotton Exchange.

20140313_192750 My final destination was Columbia, SC, where the South Carolina State Fair hosted us for a wonderful conference. We had an amazing dinner with a beautiful view to kickoff a great weekend of meetings.

Until next time, be safe out there travelers! Maybe I’ll see you on the road or in the air!

Key Elements of a Daily Highlights Email

Do you email your customers? If you don’t, but want a simple “how to” to get you started, just follow the example of our very first Saffire client, Rodeo Austin.

Rodeo Austin sends out emails before their event (which of course, we highly recommend!), but this example is a “daily highlights” email. It has 5 key elements, which we outline below.

The good news? You can schedule these emails months in advance to go out during your event! So put it on your calendar, and we promise you’ll see your revenue and attendance increase!

Creating Photography That Pops!


The popularity of sharing photos on the web makes photography one of your most important online marketing tools. But, if you’ve ever been to an event or venue, you might have noticed that shooting photos can be tricky because there is so much going on that you want to capture it all! Fortunately, there are simple things you can do that will allow you to capture all of the excitement without sacrificing the quality of your photos. Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks to help you take photos that pop:


Rule of Thirds. Picture a tic-tac-toe board on the lens of your camera and then put the subject of your shot along those lines. This is especially true when you’re shooting with one singular subject such as a person, a monument, or a skyline. This is a basic composition tip that will make your photos look more visually appealing than when your subject is dead center.


Keep it simple. A common photography mistake is trying to capture too many things in the lens at once. Unless you’re going for a shot of the landscape, you should focus on one major element because too many elements can be distracting from the main point of your photo. If you can find a cute kid or a cute animal and capture just that, you’ll be off to a great start!


Light it up. Pay attention to the lighting around you before you take a shot, because bad lighting can make your photos look grainy or blurry. Unless you’re going for a silhouette effect, it’s usually best to shoot your subject with the sun behind you (the photographer). The sun emphasizes shadows, and this can help to create some really awesome dramatic effects to your photos!


Get close to the action. Elbow your way in if you have to, but try and get up close and personal with the subject of your shot. You don’t want to miss out on awesome photo opportunities by accidentally capturing distracting elements in your shot because you were too far away. Putting in a little extra effort to get closer can open up the possibility of getting an unbelievable photo!


Consider using angles. angled rideThink outside of the box when it comes to the angle that you’re shooting from. Choosing a different point of view can help add an interesting perspective or extra drama to the subject of your shot. But of course, use discretion with this tip because the beauty of it is that it’s not used too often—consider it your smoking gun!

Maximizing the quality of your photos is a major way that you can improve your online presence, and these five tips can help to get you on the right track. People are always going to be sharing photos on the web and on social media, so you definitely want those photos to represent your event in the best way possible!



Welcome Cody Stampede


We are excited to say that the Cody Stampede of Cody, Wyoming is officially  a new member of the Saffire Family! We first met them about two years ago and could not be happier that the time is finally right for us to work together. The Cody Stampede is a really awesome event because they have 90 days of night rodeo and then a full week of PRCA rodeo, so we are proud to have such a unique, new client onboard!


Welcome Klickitat County Fair & Rodeo



We are excited to announce the Kilckitat County Fair & Rodeo of Goldendale, Washington as a new client! We had the chance to meet with the nice people of their board at the Washington State Fair Association Convention in 2013, and are so excited that they have decided to join the Saffire Family! We look forward to helping them take their online marketing to the next level.

Welcome Coastal Carolina Fair


We are thrilled to announce that we will be working with Coastal Carolina Fair of Ladson, SC. We first met their team at the IAFE (International Association of Fairs & Expos) Convention years ago. Seeing them this past year in Las Vegas piqued their interest and we were pleased to meet with them again at the Georgia/South Carolina Fair State Association(s) meeting! We are most looking forward to creating a brand for them to use in all of their online marketing to help them generate buzz for their upcoming fair. Fortunately, their advertising committee will be all hands on deck to create the content of their very own Saffire website!

Welcome Will Rogers Stampede


The nice folks at the Will Rogers Stampede of Claremore, OK have chosen to start their online marketing AND ecommerce with Saffire this spring. Every Memorial Day weekend you can experience an awesome small-town rodeo that is sure to make you feel close to the action. Generating revenue with online ticket sales will be the number one goal for this website and we can’t wait to help make it a success!