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IMAGES. THE MISSING LINK TO MORE SALES

March 22, 2018  •  1 Comment

Your products are the backbone of your business. If you don’t put effort into their appearance, customers’ perceptions of your business as a whole will crumble. 

I know that when we are starting in business we don't always have the budget and we try to do everything ourselves. I encourage all small business owners to embrace photography, so they can create their own images for day to day social media, etc. But not everybody has the time to invest in learning a new skill, or the budget to invest in equipment either (camera, tripod, editing software, training...). I have heard people say they simply don't have 'the eye' for it. 

I can help you. These pages explain WHAT I can do, WHY, HOW, and HOW MUCH. If this is something your business need, please get in touch. Let's do it. 

Ps. Hit full screen for a better view!

Ana x


The day I nearly lost it and what saved me!

November 15, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

I thought it was going to be a simple task. Honestly.

I have designed gorgeous Gift Vouchers for Christmas and I wanted to make them available on the website to make it easy for all of you who wanted to gift an experience this season. How hard could it be? Right? 

Well, it has taken me DAYS to sort it out. I probably went through a hundred cups of tea; tears, sweat, cursing, euphoria, disappointment, video tutorials...but I just could not get it to work. I was ready to pay ANYTHING for somebody to do it for me. 'This is not worth it', I kept saying. But sure, I HAD to fix it.

Suddenly a friend suggested the obvious (thanks, Teri); Ana, did you ask Customer Support?  'Well, no', I said. I had watched all the tutorials but that didn't work. But really it was my last hope. I was already convinced I was moving my site to another company at that stage; I was that annoyed with it all. 

And so I dropped an email to Customer Support, and guess what? They saved the day. They replied straight away with a video made FOR ME, explaining what to do step by step. I had a couple of more queries and two more videos followed. They did not stopped until I was happy. Ok, Ana, and why exactly do you think we would be interested in this dreadful story? You may ask. 

Here is the thing, I learned two very important lessons today because of this. The first one is that NOTHING beats great customer service. I have already forgotten about the last few days, screaming at my laptop in frustration. They were there for me and we got it sorted. Good customer service is something that I value immensely, as a client, and also a business owner. The experience is what we carry with us after we do the work. Nobody forgets how you made them feel!  

The second thing I learned is that sometimes, you really need a bit of help. I thought that the tutorials would do, but they were not tailored for ME and what I needed at that time. I did in 2 minutes what I struggled to achieve in 5 days. I think we encounter the same scenario with photography and any other skills. The information is there; youtube, Vimeo, other websites, but it is hard to beat the one to one. What do you need and how can I help you achieve it? And this is what I designed online training sessions, that I hope will help you or somebody you know to stop screaming at your computer. Because when you know HOW everything is easier and you can grow and get better at what you do. 

So, thanks Zenfolio for your AWESOME customer support. You saved me from insanity today and reminded me of the importance of focusing on your client's needs. 

PS. Since I went to all this trouble, would you check my new shiny page? You may find something you like in there! Hint-hint. 

Gift precious momentsGift precious momentsGift Vouchers available towards photo sessions and online training (1:1 Power Hour, Getting noticed on Instagram, Editing with Lightroom, Photo Critique and 4 weeks Mentoring).
If you are buying any of our products as a gift, please leave a comment or contact us, and we will personalise your gift voucher for you. Thanks!


How to grow old and keep creative

May 25, 2017  •  4 Comments

Most of my work focuses on young families. New parents. Toddlers. Babies. It feels like that is ALL we see out there. In social media too. Happy families, happy parents. All so young and pretty if I may add...It is not often we see the other end of life. Our eldest. You know them. That lost generation; they are nearly invisible, inconvenient even. Where are you going with this Ana? I hear you say. 

I am currently filming and photographing a very special group of people. Me being a choir enthusiast, I couldn't resist when I was asked to meet the Past Times Community Choir in Naas. This is how they describe what they do: 

'The choir aims to provide a warm, stimulating and supportive environment for all and achieves this with the help of our team of dedicated volunteers, and through the greatly valued partnership of our host venue, McAuley Place.

Singing a widely varied repertoire and lead by musical director Sharon Murphy, choir members get the opportunity to reminisce, experience the sense of unity that choral singing evokes and benefit from the proven effects that community choir membership has on an overall sense of wellbeing.

Our greater aim is for the choir to become part of the cultural tapestry of Kildare, showcasing the value of an authentic and truly inclusive musical project.'

But this choir offers something unique. Some of their members suffer from Dementia and Alzheimer. They are collected from their nursing homes, and brought to McAuley Place, where they get to spend every Tuesday morning SINGING, having a cup of tea, cake and a chat. Some are brought by their carers, or are still well enough to come in by themselves.

I got to speak directly with the people involved in this incredible activity. Some of the things they shared with me resonated so deeply. For some people Tuesday mornings mean they get to speak with another human being (think about that again!!). For the rest of the week they may live in a very quiet home, or a nursing home away from their relatives, which in most cases visit them only from time to time. 

Tuesday mornings also mean they get to interact with younger people. Imagine this. When you live in a nursing home there are not many chances you will get to interact with other generations, or be in contact with children. That is a huge loss. We all know how the grandparents feel younger having little kids around! It is hard for younger people to walk into a nursing home and engage in conversation. But if we facilitate projects like this we are providing integration, understanding, stimulation. A little bit of happiness too, I'd dare to say. I have seen this myself. When they come together to sing they are happy, they walk out happy. They are transported to another time through music. Some even remember all the words of songs they love. I witnessed a couple singing to each other and their eyes became alive. That young couple they once were was present, so vivid. That was one of the most beautiful moments I have ever experienced behind the camera. 

We are all heading to old age (hopefully!). I consider myself a creative person. Independent. Always interested in learning new things. Meeting new people. I recharge when I am around like minded friends and they inspire me in different ways. I'd like to think that essence of me will still be there at the end of my life and that there will be programmes encouraging and nurturing creativity wherever it is I may end up. Is carrying the spirit of a child in old age an ambitious goal? 

I would love to know what you think about the idea of bringing creativity to nursing homes, BUT better than that, what programmes can we create that will allow our eldest to get BACK in society, bringing all generations together to interact and learn from each other? This is not a rhetoric question by the way. I am picking your brains for real and I am listening. 

Ana x

 


How To Transform Your Garden With Art

May 12, 2017  •  6 Comments

The moment Fran arrived and started measuring the garden wall, I knew I was about to witness something incredible. And I was right.

I cannot describe the excitement of having Fran Halpin working her magic and skills on our house. I had the pleasure of photographing some of her recent work for the Beacon Hospital and when I saw it in person I just knew. There is a spot we love in our garden. Centre of many get togethers, meals, chats by the fire...and we had this long grey boring wall we had no idea what to do with. We tried a climber. Plants. Paint. Agh. It was still not right. Until Fran came along!

She was extremely helpful researching designs, ideas. Always adapting, creating new concepts, making it personal and getting us involved. The whole process was easy, painless, and within a few days our lovely outdoor space was transformed into something we couldn't have imagined. I was personally so impressed with her professionalism; the joy she brings to everything she creates. There is no question Fran loves what she does. The attention she puts into detail is extraordinary. 

I can go on and on, but I think it is better if I showed you: 


Frantheartist.com from Ana Dorado on Vimeo.

 


Breastfeeding Support Guide

March 28, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

This is a compilation of resources that can help you find the SUPPORT you need in order to succeed at breastfeeding.

I have included books, websites, blogs, links to local groups where you can find yours, etc. 

From my experience, all the people involved in these groups are extremely helpful and they want you to succeed. I encourage you to follow up and find support if you are struggling in any way. In most cases there is a simple solution that can change dramatically your breastfeeding journey.

Remember that you don't have to wait until your baby arrives to engage. It is encouraged that pregnant women attend some of the groups, so they create realistic expectations and can learn from experienced mothers too.

There are a lot of myths and unnecessary struggles when it comes to breastfeeding and I am delighted I may be able to help you by sharing this document. You can do the same by passing it on and spreading the word.

I wish you every success with it.

Big Love,

Ana

Books:
Breastfeeding Made Easy: a gift for life for you and your baby, Carlos Gonzalez

My Child Won't Eat, Carlos Gonzalez

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, La Leche League

Websites:
www.kellymom.com
www.babywearingireland.ie
www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/drugs-factsheets/
www.lalecheleagueireland.com
www.cuidiu-ict.ie
 www.friendsofbreastfeeding.ie
www.breastfeedinginc.ca

Breastfeeding Support (resources, groups, contacts):
Lactation consultants in Ireland
www.alcireland.ie/full-ibclc-listing 
Breastfeeding support groups around the country
www.cuidiu-ict.ie 
www.lalecheleagueireland.com
Search for local breastfeeding support groups
www.breastfeeding.ie 
Back to work 
www.cuidiu-ict.ie/supports_breastfeeding_returningtowork

Blogs: 

 mammaeblog.blogspot.ie 

 www.themilkmeg.com/milk-meg-blog