Looking at you kid

Hello again, apparently i disappear for ages and come back in spurts, just yesterday i did a small blog post talking about a few issues i´ve encountered recently, you can read Skin Deep here. And today i´m at it again, writing stuff and things, tho it´s not my strong.

We are after all here to help each others and share info, and for the past two days i found a new trend that i find worrying to say the least, whilst going thru requests for review copies for the ongoing Skin Fair i noticed a pattern with some bloggers (see point 1), see besides blogging i do other things, like everyone else in SL i like trying new stuff and helping friends. And so i also do CSR and support for a friends shop, that happens to be in this event.

With that job comes the responsibility of accepting and reviewing all blogger applications, either for the shop regular bloggers list or event specific requests. And funny thing i´m  not the only blogger who does it either, most shop blogger apps are not even reviewed by the creators themselves, at least not initially, there will be someone in charge of it either a csr/manager or a partner. So people don´t seem to realize that and apply as if talking to the owner, sometimes in even inappropriate ways.

But I´m not gonna talk about how you should fill in an app, I´m gonna talk about what i look at when i see your application.

1. I check your profile – I look at it for an idea of who you are and how you present yourself. Do you look professional and polished about what you do? Is your profile truthful? Would we be ok associating with it?

This seems pretty basic right? But sometimes i find the complete opposite of these simple things, today i saw the profile of a blogger, who in her picks thanked all her “sponsors” and in such list claimed several events also sponsored her, now this is a untruthful profile, because you blogged one edition of an event does not mean they sponsor or support your blog, btw most of the events i found on that list don´t even carry official bloggers, at all.

I get it you want to show your past experience when it comes to events, but put it down properly, say i officially blogged for: X event in 2103 and link to their list of official bloggers if available, trust me it’s not worth lying about, google will give an answer that is correct in seconds.

2. Your blog, i get that blogs are very different, we all have our own style and way of showing it, and believe me that goes into consideration, different audiences look for different things, and yet so do shops, why apply to blog poses if you don´t credit poses? Why apply for casual clothes if you only do RP related blog posts?

Some people do mix up styles and love going out of their comfort zones, SL is about dressing up and god knows i´ve been casual, sci-fi, goth and fairy, but not all bloggers do that, some are very specific in their style and maybe they should consider their style when they fill out applications.

3. Your extras, how diligent are you, with other platforms, are you on flickr, plurk, tumbrl, facebook, twitter or any of the others 10005 social media sites, for me that´s an extra means you´re organized and looking for new audiences.

A the end of the day these are things i personally look up when you present yourself to me, and i´m not even talking about quality of work or all the other small details that are usually in the app itself. How old your blog is, How often you blog.How is the overall quality of your photos and/or writing. How/If do you tag your posts If you add your pics to the store´s flickr groups, these are more subjective points or asked in the app itself, and trust me i will check to see if you answered truthfully.

Remember all bloggers are different and so are all store owners/csrs/managers and they all ask for different things from you as a blogger, but, being truthful, organized and polished are basic things when we fail at those, we give all other bloggers a bad rep, and it´s so easy to be all of those wether you´re blogging a street corner in a dark alley, or a runway on the finest built sim.

Creating Your Own Windlight

Hi all! This is my first post to SL Blogger’s Support and I’m so thrilled to be a member of this team. When I was applying to contribute here, I thought long and hard on what kinds of things I could possibly help the SL blogging community with. Then I saw that my fellow blogger, Lyrical Ember, had previously done a post touching on editing a windlight and I thought I’d take that a step further and show you how to create your own windlight and explain in my words what each slider does.

I’ve been running around in this gorgeous wrap dress from Valentina E. that is available at this round of The Liasion Collaborative for the last few days and since the theme at TLC this time is Safari, I’m going to walk you through how to create a safarish windlight. I’m on Catznip viewer so my tabs may be in different places than yours dependent on your viewer but all the tabs are labeled the same thing. Also, I run on medium/high graphics with local lights off so things may be slightly different and brighter if you run on high or ultra.

Safari

First, you’ll want to go to your windlights by selecting World-Environment Editor-Sky Presets-Edit Preset. I love tweaking other’s windlights but for this post, I’m going to use the default windlight so it’s completely new. Feel free to use your favorite and play with whichever one you want to though!

When I open up the default windlight to edit, you’ll see I have three tabs: Atmosphere, Lighting, and Clouds. Each control a different aspect of your windlight but I’ll start with Atmosphere first. When I think of safaris and Africa, my mind usually goes to browns and yellows so I want this sky to be brown and sort of dusty so I automatically changed the blue horizon and blue density tabs to brown tones. After I did that, I just played with the sliders. The haze sliders have a lot to do with blurring the sky out with a layer of haze. The further you increase them, the more haze you’ll have and I don’t like a lot so I just used a touch for this windlight. Then I slid the density multiplier slider just a tad because I want my sky to blend into the horizon but not to the point it’s not recognizable. The distance multiplier slider further blurs the sky into the horizon and sort of sinks it into the water so I like to keep that low too. Finally, the max altitude slider raises the haze higher into the sky. Since I want to keep my windlight even, I keep around the middle.

1Sky 1After I’m done in the Atmosphere tab, I move onto the Lighting one. Here I basically keep my settings the same for all windlights I make. I run on an older laptop and my graphics aren’t the best so I have found that keeping the Sun/Moon position at either 6AM or 6PM makes my avatar’s skin and my clothing look the best. This means there is no ugly shadows across my avatar. I am unsure if better graphics all you to move around the Sun/Moon position so feel free to monkey around with it. East Angle moves the position of the sun. If you want it in the picture, you can slide it to be directly behind you or slightly off to the side. The Sun Glow Focus and Size sliders control how bright you want your sun to be. Since I want a nighttime picture, I have decreased these. Star brightness does exactly what it’s labeled. I love stars so of course I cranked that one up. I always imagine Africa as having a vast sky filled with stars. Scene Gamma increases or decreases the brightness of your picture. I feel like this slider can be too much if it’s increased a lot so I tend to keep it around 1.0-1.20. Ambient coloring changes the atmosphere around you. I tend to think of it as the avatar’s air but I’m a little strange. Since you want to actually see yourself, I tend to keep this lighter and usually a neutral color.

2Sky 2Moving on to my favorite tab, Clouds! I love clouds and rarely do I create a windlight without them. I feel like they add a little bit of realism to my picture. Keeping with my brown theme, I change the Cloud Color to a color a little lighter than my Atmosphere ones and I increase my Cloud Density sliders to the cloud thickness I’d like. If you don’t want any clouds in your windlight, just slide the Cloud Density D slider all the way to the left and it’ll clear them out for you. Cloud Coverage controls the amount of clouds you’d like in your picture. I feel like this slider and the Cloud Density ones work hand in hand. Again, if you don’t want clouds, you can slide this one all the way to the left and you’ll have a clear sky. Cloud Scale raises the clouds higher or lower into the sky and the Cloud Detail sliders control how whispy you’d like your clouds to look. It’s a lot of fun to just mess around with these sliders to find the clouds that suit you. I like puffy, whispy clouds myself. Finally, the Cloud Scroll sliders control the direction your clouds float in. I like to keep these locked though when I’m taking a pic so I have the right amount of clouds I prefer in all of my pictures. You can do whatever you like though!

3Sky 3When I’m done messing with all of the tabs and sliders, I have one last step I take. I check to make sure that my avatar looks good under the windlight I created. Sometimes the pretty sky doesn’t make my avatar look attractive so the last thing I do is double check. When making this windlight, I noticed that it made my outfit and avatar’s skin and hair look a little more shadowy and dark than I’d like so I went back and increased the scene gamma a little to brighten it. I’ve found that either doing this or lightening the ambient a little are the easiest solutions to this problem. It does lighten the sky a little but it still keeps it basically the same.

4Sky 4Voila! You are now finished and have been given a complete breakdown of how to make your own windlight. I hope this post helps you out a little. Don’t forget to name your windlight and save it after you’re done so that you can use it again and again. Also, if you have anything to add to this post, be sure to comment below because I’d love to hear anything other blogger’s do that create their own windlights. I’m also including a handy Youtube link that the Firestorm team released showing how to create a windlight if you’re more of a auditory learner.

Phototools Windlight Tutorial

P.S. I did brighten up my picture a little bit in GIMP with curves and I think that’ll be my next blog post so stay tuned!

[The Quest to Become OFFICIAL]

Greetings! My name is Vixie Rayna, and this is my first post as contributor for [SL] Blogger Support. I’m very excited to join this fantastic group to share tips and enjoy more of our fabulous community.

Vixie Rayna SL BloggerMy first post will address one of the most common questions I’m asked, “How do you become an Official Blogger for X Brand or Event Y?”  In my experience, I’ve been very blessed to be recruited or asked personally to become a blogger for different brands or events. I assume that this is most likely the way the majority of official bloggers are found.  Although, it’s not the only way to be considered. So the quest to become OFFICIAL begins…

As a PR/Marketing Manager for several brands, I receive blogger applications daily. Honestly, more than 99% of them are trashed. You may think this wrong but in fact it’s because they send an unsolicited, poorly written and impersonal blanket notecard. And while it’s a very complicated topic and there are no guarantees for success, I want to share TIPS on standing out in a SEA of people sending blanket notecards requesting to be an official blogger.

What is a blanket notecard? *Digs through the trash pile of her inventory*

“Hello! :) I’m interested in your store, you do really nice stuff and i’d like to blog for you. I make three/five posts a week. My blog is about a 1 year old. It’s syndicated to feeds http://www.bloggingsl.net, http://bloggingsecondlife.wordpress.com/, http://bloggingsl.net/, http://fashionfeedofsl.com/, http://www.gridsyndicate.com/, http://iheartsl.com/ http://www.sluniverse.com/feedme/
Here is my blog – xxx
Flickr: xxx
Hope you’ll like my work.
To contact with me: xxx”

This is an actual notecard a blogger sent unsolicited to me requesting to be added to a blogger pool. I’m NOT actually sure which designer she was requesting as I represent THREE different brands. If someone cannot take the time to PERSONALIZE a request, why should anyone believe you’d make a good representative for their brand?

You need to THINK like an Event Organizer or Designer when you send a request. Why you ask?  Well, let’s be frank. They probably receive 10+ requests daily to become a blogger for their brand/event. You may think you DESERVE to be added to their blogger pool but really, just like in real life you need to stand out. A blanket notecard is not a way to have anyone jumping to accept you.

Be sure to STAND out.  How you may ask?  Well, this part is EASY!  You should HIGHLIGHT the work you’ve done specific to THEIR brand or event.  If you are such a fan and have been a supportive customer, you want to showcase how you would be a good representative. Before you begin you need to do your homework! Be kind and respect their rules!  If they are not currently accepting blogger applications, then DO NOT send a notecard. Not sure of their policy? Then check the designer/event organizer’s profile, in most cases they address this issue.                          event profile pick      Profile Pick             As you can see from Sophia Harlow’s profile as PR Manager and Social Media for Collabor88 she is responsible for reviewing blogger requests. From her pick it clearly states they are not looking at this time. Do your homework first! Check profiles. Be respectful and do not submit a request.

If you have checked the profiles and believe you have the all clear to proceed, now it’s time to create a notecard with your request. 1. Provide exact links to your Flickr, Blog,  Facebook, Pinterest, Plurk with specific posts featuring their brand. 2. Use proper grammar. 3. Most blogs are in English but it’s AWESOME if you are multilingual . Be sure to highlight the languages you speak – this is a great selling point! 4. Highlight your history briefly. Be succint and to the point. 5. Submit the notecard to the correct person. Again, following directions is important!

Example:

“Hi, Vixie Rayna – PR/Marketing Manager of LeeZu! I love [LeeZu!] and have been a huge fan for YEARS. I’m very interested in becoming a blogger and wish to know if there is any way to be considered.

Here are links to my most recent posts featuring [LeeZu!]:

love&fashion Blog: http://www.vixierayna.blogspot.com/2013/07/hey-baby.html, http://www.vixierayna.blogspot.com/2013/03/bound.html

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vixierayna/9296991104/

Posts to the [LeeZu!] Flickr Group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/leezubaxterdesigns/pool/24254368@N08/

I’ve been a blogger over 5 years with my blog syndicated on over 6 different fashion feeds. My work has been highlighted on the Second Life Homepage and in top SL Magazines. Thank you for any consideration!

Best, Vixie Rayna

love&fashion Blog: http://www.vixierayna.blogspot.com/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/loveandfashionblog

Now this is just an example and by no means a guarantee that you will be accepted as an official blogger. At the end of the day it’s best to be kind and informative while hoping for the best. Not every person is a good fit, and it’s important to respect their decision. If they say, “thank you for your interest but our blogger list is closed.” Then respect that and ask to be considered when they do open. Pestering them is a sure-fire way to never be included.

Other important points: 1. While everyone may die to be an official blogger for the Chanel of SL, the fact is they probably receive 100 times the requests of others. Maybe think about requesting to blog for a lesser-known brand that’s equally fabulous. 2. Check out links from [SL] Blogger Support listing designers/events who are actually recruiting people! Katya and team are ALWAYS keeping this list up-to-date and active. Check the Designers Looking for Bloggers page.

I’ll close with what’s always worked best for me. Simply put, I share my LOVE of fashion in SL.  By taking the time to focus on what I LOVE, I’m able to convey my appreciation for the work of the designer. If you truly love something, you’ll buy it and support the creator.  Being asked to be an official blogger is just the cherry on top of the already awesome sundae!

Be safe out there my little bloggers!
Love, Vi

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