Stock Photography: How to look like you know what you’re doing with it

By now we’re all well aware that some stock photography is overused and other stock photography is flat out awful. Before we talk about using stock we have to have a frank discussion on how you’re all using photography.

Slides are the wingman for your presentation. Do not let your wingman be the focus of your presentation, you want to be the focus. So many presenters forget that rule when they sit down to create their decks. They make their slides over-the-top or distractingly cluttered because they have to hand something into their boss and want to look like they did work. Don’t do that. That’s a major fail on all counts. Down with that? Good.

Know that you can use stock photography for good and not evil, you just need to be aware of what you’re looking for. What are you looking for? Good question. Let’s start there.

  1. You want to look for images that get your point across but also aren’t screamingly obvious. Need a supporting image for a “Guiding Principles” slide? Don’t pick a image with an arrow at a fork in the road with the words “RIGHT DIRECTION!” 

Instead, choose something related but less obvious. Don’t know what that is? Consult your thesaurus. Solicit Google’s help. Ask the guy in the cubicle next to yours. What else can symbolize “guiding?” How about a tasteful compass. Great! “How do I figure out what’s tasteful?” I’m glad you asked.
  2. Choose images that people aren’t going to become too focused on or distracted by. You’re looking for subtly, background noise, the visual equivalent to guy in the office that you’ve seen every day for 5 years but still can’t remember his name. You want your presentation to be memorable, not necessarily for your tacky images.
  3. Need images of people? Look for ones that more of a documentary style (people captured in the moment, not posed, or staring into the camera’s lens). They’re a little bit hard to find but like the diamond ring lost in a giant pile of garbage, if you keep digging you’ll find what you want.
  4. Let’s also touch on what’s tacky: shiny or plastic-looking 3D objects. Specifically those little white amorphous people holding or pointing at things. These guys are easy to find, they’re everywhere and inexplicably come up in almost every photo search. But just because they’re everywhere does not mean you should use them. Ever.
  5. Avoid images that have been overused within an inch of our lives. That’s pretty much any variation of: the handshake, the telemarketer, the running businessman, the super businessman, the arrows in bullseye, the generic group of business people showing unity or diversity or just that they’re random people in suits standing in a non-distinct hallway doing god knows what.
  6. “What if I have to use tacky, overused stock photography?” Well, I can’t pretend I don’t do that. I do it, a lot. Sometimes that’s just what the client wants. Buy the largest size available (so you don’t lose fidelity) and crop it so it looks different. Put that piece of junk on the slide in a way that doesn’t seem intuitive and mess around with it. Sometimes it comes out pretty cool. Or just don’t use it at all. It’s very likely no one is holding a gun to your head.

Prepare to be frustrated. Prepare to feel overwhelmed. Prepare to feel like there is nothing out there but a world of photographers with strange chocolate fetishes. All is not lost. Like everyone says, good things take time and are well worth the effort. And when you do find that perfect image, or even that acceptable image, you will be overcome with design euphoria and feel like the genius that you are.

Read more of Cindy’s posts on her blog at

Is Your Facebook Contest Legal? [Infographic]

Do you run contests on Facebook? Or maybe are interested in creating one? Read this over and make sure you are staying as close to the law as possible because there are repercussions if you deviate.

Remember, you can always ask your fans to like or share your page for access to an entry form, but it cannot be the only means of entry.

It’s unfortunate that there are so many steps to take, but hey, if you follow them, you will be fine and your Facebook contest should go off without a hitch. And always keep in mind; Facebook changes their rules like weather changes in New England. Always. These rules are current as of 7/14/14.

Keep the following in mind:




Infographic courtesy of ShortStack

How to Become a Partner Sponsor for Geek Girl Tech Cons

PartnerSponsorCoMergeGeek Girl Tech Cons for 2014 have been announced and we are busy getting prepped to deliver the best in tech for 2014 for you!

One of our annual traditions is working with our valued Partner Sponsors to be able to collaborate with them, introduce us to their loyal audience and providing them discounts on Tech Cons and then we in turn promote the bejesus out of them online.

A question we always get: How can we become a Partner Sponsor for Geek Girl Tech Cons?

Good question. Here we go:

To be considered, we ask that you are one of the following:

  • Tech User Group: javascript, Ruby on Rails, WordPress, etc.
  • Startup and Entrepreneurial groups
  • Women’s Tech Group focused on empowering women and girls in tech
  • STEM Education Group
  • Professional Women’s Group with a membership/subscriber base (tech or non-tech)
  • Local Chamber of Commerce in the city we have a presence
  • Non-profits that promote: tech for everyone, empowering women, mentors for girls and boys, education, job training, advocates for the unemployed
  • Groups for the underserved and underrepresented youth

And we are open to any suggestions for other verticals…

National Partners and Sponsorships:

Are you a National organization or Resource that is throughout the US and committed to empowering women in tech or business on a national basis?

Some of our current National Partners include:
Chic CEO

PartnerSponsorJSSDSome of our local Partner Sponsors include:

Boston and Southeast Mass area:
Plymouth Chamber of Commerce
Metro South Chamber of Commerce
Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce
Hyannis Area Chamber of Commerce
Falmouth Chamber of Commerce
ABWA Cape Cod

San Diego:
Co-Merge Workplace
Femfessionals San Diego
Good Ol’ Gals
Business Women’s Mega Mixer
Javascript User Group of San Diego
Jenna Druck Center

Las Vegas:



What do YOU get for being a Partner Sponsor? As a Partner Sponsor You Will Receive:

  • Vendor space for conducting business ONE FREE 6 foot tabletop exhibit to promote your organization
  • Two (2) free exhibitor passes to the event for organization representative (other attendees may purchase tickets online at a reduced rate)
  • 20% exclusive discount for your organization’s members off of the $169 price
  • Logo and link-back to organization on website: or or
  • 1/2 page full color ad in Resource Handbook handed out to over 500 attendees
  • Logo Tile and Link on weekly email newsletters
  • Signage at event with your organization’s logo
  • Introduction of your organization at the Opening Keynote
  • Introduction of your organization at the After Event Reception
  • Mention in Blog Post
  • Participation in event Scavenger Hunt to meet Attendees, collect business cards and emails
  • Opportunity to add items to swag bag (500 total)
  • Opportunity to provide a giveaway to attendees at post-event reception

A whopping Value of over $2,500+!

And what do we ask in return? Besides your first born child? THIS!

Choose any 5 or suggest your own ways on how you can help us get the word out:

  • Dedicated email to your database about your Partnership with Geek Girl and the Geek Girl Boston South Tech Con with a link to register for the event with personalized discount code for your membership.
  • Mention your participation with the Geek Girl and the Geek Girl Boston South Tech Con including a link to register in weekly email communications with your database. Minimum once a month: Dec, Jan, Feb, March
  • Membership for one year for Geek Girl in your organization
  • Post Geek Girl Tech Con logo and link to registration on your website
  • Like Geek Girl Camp and Geek Girl Tech Con on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and promote Geek Girl via your social media channels with a link to register. Using #GeekGirlTechCon (#BostonSouth #Vegas #SanDiego)
  • Provide complimentary opportunity for Geek Girl to attend one of your meetings or events at a pre-arranged time to make a brief announcement (2-3 mins) about the event and invite attendees to enter drawing with a passed box to giveaway one free admission to the event
  • Provide complimentary table top exhibit (and admission) at one of your meetings or events for one Geek Girl where attendees are permitted to enter a drawing (at their discretion) for a chance to win a complimentary event ticket
  • Barter/InKind Sponsorship for one of your Business expo events in 2014
  • Write a Blog Post about the event mentioning that you are a Partner Sponsor and why you are involved

OR give us some other awesome ideas on how you can help! We’re listening…

Let us know that you want to be involved by emailing us and telling us more about your organization. We’d love to work with you!



Nonprofits: Increase Your #GivingTuesday Fundraising with a Custom Branded Image

Nonprofits: Want to be seen and heard today? Need a fast and easy way to capture everyone’s attention on #GivingTuesday‬ for your own fundraising efforts?

Download this Word file from Nonprofit Toolkit and simply add your logo, message and URL to maximize your giving season!



It’s fast, it’s easy, and it really stands out from the others with a customized image with your logo.

How do you do it?

How to customize your own #GivingTuesday social graphic from Nonprofit Toolkit:

  1. Download their file. It’s a Microsoft Word document, compatible with Word 2007-2013 by going here:
  2. Add your logo. A PNG or a JPG file will work best. To add your logo right-click on the placeholder (where it says ‘insert logo here’) and click “Change Picture”. Or you can just delete it and add your logo. You might need to change the formatting to get it to show up in the right space.
  3. Edit the text in the middle, or just add the name of your organization, group or school.
  4. Add your donation link. Be direct and send people straight to the donation page rather than the home page. The link will not actually be clickable, so when you post the image add a text update/status as well and repeat the link, so readers can click through.
  5. Convert to an image. To convert the Word document to an image is a simple two-step process: Save as a PDF file, then open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat or your image editor. Resave as a jpeg and you are ready to post to your website or your favorite social network.

To show you how easy it is, we just made a quick one for our friends at the National Marine Life Center:



NOTE: we did not add the actual giving URL due to it’s length, but what we did do was make this image clickable to the giving page:

What are your plans for #GivingTuesday?

If you’d like to learn more about #GivingTuesday, simply go here:

Many thanks to Beth Brodovsky at Nonprofit Toolkit for making this so easy for everyone!

And if any nonprofits get stuck and need help, just ask us and we will help you out.

Google+ Offering Custom URLs for Selected Accounts

Screen Shot 2013-10-29 at 2.07.57 PM

Of the many things Google released today, Google+ custom – or vanity – URLs are available to those who meet the criteria. So instead of using (okay, I exaggerated), you can now use URLs like the one we received today. And what’s really nice is that all you have to do for other links is have /posts, /photos, etc. on the end. SO much easier!

If your profile meets the following criteria, Google+ will let you claim a custom URL:

  • Has a profile photo, and.
  • Has at least 10 followers, and.
  • Has an account that’s at least 30 days old.

If you meet the above criteria, you’ll see a notification at the top of your Google+ page or Profile.

So how do you get your custom URL through Google+?

  1. Click Get a custom URL button to get started. Alternatively, from the “About” tab on your Profile, click the “Get” link located under your Google+ URL.
  2. You’ll see the URL(s) you’ve been approved for. If you see more than one option, select the one you like best. You may also be asked to add a few numbers or letters to make the custom URL unique to you.
  3. Check the box to agree to the Terms of Service.
  4. Click Change URL.
  5. They may ask you to verify your account by your mobile phone number. If you need to do this, you’ll see a box pop up asking you to do so.
    a. Enter your mobile phone number.
    b. Check the box to make it easier for people who have your phone number to find you on Google services.
    c. Check your phone for the code that was sent to you.
    d. Enter that code in the box.
    e. Click Verify.
  6. Once approved, this URL will be linked to your Google+ page or Profile, so be sure everything is exactly the way you want it. Once your URL has been approved, you can’t request to change it. When you’re certain, click Confirm.

Voila! Your custom URL should be good to go in no time.

Happy Googling!

How to Find and Adjust your Social Media Privacy Settings Quickly

Granted, this isn’t anything ground-breaking or earth-shattering, but it is nice to know there is a site you can go to that finds the Privacy Settings on all your Social Media accounts so you can make any changes quickly. Sometimes the pages that contain the information on how to adjust your settings can be deeply embedded on a Social Media site and it take a good portion of time to find it.

With, you can click on to any of the Social Media icons you use, and it will bring you right to that area.

Quick links to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube et al, will certainly help you just get their faster; especially if the situation arises when you have to do it fast because you’ve been compromised.

This is just another great shortcut tip that will help you as the Privacy issues surrounding Social Media just keep getting more pervasive in our lives whenever we are using social networking sites.

Anyone finding this useful to you?


How many of your Twitter followers are fake?

And so it is upon us. Another 4 years later and the nation is in yet another frenzy over who will be our next President.

And who would have thought 8 years ago some of the biggest headlines would be about which President has more fake Twitter followers? Mashable states Obama has 13 million fake followers out of his 19 million followers, much more than Romney’s 900,000 followers of which 135,000 are fake.

Welcome to the New Media Age. Where you’re not only graded on your ability, but by your clout and Twitter follower count. Or fake ones, as it is in this case.

So how does one find their Twitter fakes?

There is a site call Fake Followers by StatusPeople which will integrate with your Twitter account to find your fake followers. Don’t think you have any? Well, let’s mosey on over to the site and see if you do.

First, go to the Fake Followers site,

Put in your Twitter handle so they can use your data with their system.

We put in our @GeekGirlCamp account and found out the following, which was pretty good – only 2% were fake. Which is pretty good. But then, we’re not running for office.


So, this brings us to the real question; does these even matter at all?

I guess you could say that if you think Twitter is influential in determining the engagement, clout, authenticity and likability of a brand or person such as the President, then yes, I guess this does matter.

If you are from the other camp who believes this means nothing but some mumbo jumbo numbers based upon one social networking site known for multiple accounts and fake identities, then you are right, also.

Whatever the case, analytics and ways of measuring our social media scores and influence is vitally important for brands and this is only the beginning of measuring you or your brands influence.


What are your thoughts on this? How many fake followers do you have?