Dec 12 2014

Making 2015 Awesome: Get Your Blog Humming!

Probably one of our last acts for 2014 - Our instagram contest!

One of our last acts for 2014 – Our #UpsweptLovesLocal instagram contest!

We all have New Year’s resolutions – and if your resolution in 2012 was that you’d start blogging more often, chances are things have started to stagnate by now! But not to worry – in this second part of “Making 2015 Awesome”, we’ll address what you can do for your blog and blog audience to dust things off and move successfully into the new year.

1.) Get your tech up-to-date.

If you haven’t been logging in to your blog much lately, you may be missing out on some overdue upgrades. Keeping your blog platform ensures that you are able to use the newest technology – which can make things easier, or more secure. No matter the platform you use – if it is running on a server you own, you should update it at regular intervals.

The same goes for any third party plugins you may have installed to extend your blogs functionality. Just be sure to back up your data before you make any significant changes, so you don’t end up with a crisis instead of some light cleaning. And while you’re at it, go ahead and delete the plugins you don’t use, and any spam you might find.

portland-branding-design_blog-quality-content2.) Review what worked – and what didn’t.

Did you have a great idea for a post or post series last year? Did you spend a ton of time researching it, putting it together, and polishing it – only to see that nobody really read it? Did you see something quick-and-dirty you posted on the fly draw your biggest audience yet? Or have you been avoiding your blog stats altogether? Now is the time to face the facts, and learn from what worked and what didn’t.

If you’re trying to boost your brand, it’s vital that you attract an audience who will read what you post. Knowing what worked for you last year helps you build on those successes as you move forward. Knowing what tanked allows you to save time and energy, by not repeating previous mistakes!

3.) Start posting quality content.

Quality content drives traffic – we see this time and time again! But one well-written post will not make a flagging audience take note. Take the time to post regular, engaging posts about topics you know your audience is excited by – this is where point number two comes into play! The most successful blogs are those where quality and frequency remain consistent.

If you’re not sure where to start, start with a year in review, then move to posts announcing something new for the new year.  Do a series of “best of” posts. Touch back on an old subject matter that you blogged about several months prior.

4.) Start something new!

The new year is a great time to start a new project, series or idea. Start a new collaboration, launch a new package deal, coupon, or service. Get people interested in what you are working on and planning for the new year.

Portland branding agency – Portland web design – Upswept Creative

Dec 05 2014

Show Why You Love Local, and Win!

#UpsweptLovesLocal - contest on Instagram and TwitterWe love local makers, and we love that the holidays give us even more opportunities to Shop Local. We want to get YOU in on the action, with our #UpsweptLovesLocal social media contest!

How To Play:

  • while you’re shopping for the holiday, share your snapshots of why you love Local–it could be a product you adore, your favorite neighborhood shop… get creative!
  • use the hashtag #UpsweptLovesLocal when you share your photos on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, so we can see your entry.
  • post your entries between now and December 22nd, 2014, and tell us about it: who made the item, where you’re shopping, and so on!

After the contest closes, we’ll pick our favorite entry for a two-part prize:

  1. The local business or maker featured in your photo will win a 90-minute photography session for their business!
  2. YOU will win your own headshot/portrait session, to kick off your new year!

So, get out there and win for you and for your favorite local business, and support Portland’s independent businesses while you shop this holiday. We can’t wait to see what local loveliness you share with us!

#UpsweptLovesLocal holiday contest
Now thru Dec. 22nd
on your Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!

Portland web design – Portland professional photography – Upswept Creative

Dec 04 2014

Making 2015 Awesome – Reboot your social!

Welcome to December – and happy (almost) New Year from us at Upswept Creative! Whether you’ll be spending your the holidays at home or out on the town, the move from 2014 to 2015 is the perfect opportunity to breathe new life into your brand’s online presence and social media.

From making the most of your social media to stoking the fire under your online sales, now is the time to dust things off! Every week in December, we’ll showcase a new aspect of keeping your brand fresh and alive in 2015. This first week, we’ll show you some tips and tricks to get your social networks revving during the holiday season and new year.

1.) It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – all over the internet.

Google are not the only people to change their “doodles” for special events and seasons. Many websites change up their icons, colours, or headers to make things look seasonally appropriate, or just to provide some visual stimulus and keep things looking fresh.

Consider updating your Facebook cover image or profile picture, Twitter background or YouTube channel art with something fun, whimsical, and holiday-related. This is a great opportunity to do something humorous and a little different than your usual styling. Do you have some fun holiday-themed infographic you’ve been dying to create? Let us do it for you! Now is the time.


Connecting to your audience while supporting others feels good and does good for your business.

2.) Tis’ the Season… to be giving!

Thanksgiving may be over, but that doesn’t mean that it’s too late to show your feel connected. As the weather gets colder and resources wear thin, many people struggle to make ends meet. Do you have cause you feel especially passionate about? (For us, it’s our Bowlful of Heart pet food drive!)

Combine it with your social media, and get two for the price of one. Some examples include donating food to a charity for every Like you receive on Facebook, organizing a toy drive and then tweeting about it, teaming up with others to do a charity event of some kind, or even just collecting gift cards to donate to charities at your Christmas event. Be sure to mention on social what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, and how people can support you reach your goals!

3.) Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s are particularly photogenic times of the year.

Leaves, snow and ice, lights, candles, gifts, meals, ugly sweaters, fireworks…the perfect time to take some photos of your business, or even set up an Instagram contest. Get your followers to tag you in their holiday photos, compile a jury or judge the entries yourself, and reward the best photos with some prizes of your choice. You can even combine a photo contest with some charitable giving – the best photos could be rewarded with a donation to the winner’s favourite cause.

If Instagram is not part of your business repertoire, you can tweak the holiday competition idea to work on Facebook or Twitter. Asking your audience to participate, by sharing stories, tips, recipes and gift ideas helps create the sense of community and buy-in that strengthens your social media presence.

4.) Take advantage of the end of the year’s atmosphere of renewal to launch a new product line, pricing strategy, package deal or service.


Take advantage of this festive time of year.

Create some buzz around these new offerings by talking about them on social media first, before you create a big reveal on your website! Create a special sale, a coupon, or limited-time only deal, and make sure your social networks know about them.

Do you have any ideas about how to make your brand shine on social this time of year? Are you thinking you could use some handy internet elves to help out with whimsical Facebook headers, Christmasifying your blog, or running an Instagram contest featuring dogs in sweaters? Get in touch, we’re here for you!

Nov 26 2014

Give Shelter Pets “A Bowlful of Heart” This Holiday


A Bowlful of Heart collects donations for needy shelter pets throughout the holiday season.

We’re lucky to be connected with wonderful people who love to give, and we’re thrilled to be reviving A Bowlful of Heart pet food drive for the 2014 holiday season! We first teamed up with Alyson Clair of Clair Vintage Inspired in 2011, to work together with Portland businesses and collect pet food donations. Thanks to their help (and yours!), we’ve collected nearly 2000 pounds of pet food donations since 2011, to help the Newberg Animal Shelter!

This year, the Newberg Animal Shelter has a newly-built facility, and they need our help to fill it with necessary supplies for needy animals looking for forever homes! We have drop-off locations for all of your donations in the Portland area and in Newberg, and if you can’t make it to one of our locations, you can even arrange for a pickup.

Upswept is, once again, supporting this year’s drive with a custom designed flyer, signs, and a homepage with interactive map, to help get the word out. And, we can also accept your donations Tuesdays thru Fridays at Upswept HQ–just contact us before you stop by!

You can also keep up with A Bowlful of Heart on Facebook, where we’ll be shining a spotlight on all of the awesome local businesses who are helping to make our pet food drive happen this year. A Bowlful of Heart runs from November 28th through December 22nd, so when you’re out and about this holiday season, be sure to give a little something extra and help the animals!

A Bowlful of Heart
Nov. 28th thru Dec. 22nd, 2014
Portland and Newberg


Amelia – 2230 NE Alberta St.
Chehalem Valley Brewing – 2515-B Portland Rd., Newberg
Creative Kidz – 710 Foothills Dr., Newberg
Critter Cabana – 516 E First St., Newberg
Fang & Feather – 1926 N Kilpatrick St.
Newberg Animal Shelter – 1591 S. Sandoz Rd., Newberg
Newberg Vet (12/7 Only) - 3716 E Portland Rd., Newberg
Salty’s Dog & Cat Shop – 4039 N Mississippi Ave.
Union Rose – 7909 SE Stark St.
Upswept Creative – 217 NW Couch St.

DONATION NEEDS: quality dog and cat food / kitten food / quality treats / pill pocket treats / small bites dog food / grain free dog food / canned cat food (pate) / pine cat litter / paper towels / laundry detergent / dish soap / cash donations for spay, neuter and other medical needs


Portland web design – Portland professional photography – Upswept Creative

Sep 29 2014

Ello and How to Make Your Web Site Experience Easier

“This UI is bonkers. I tried to post an image…it was not successful.”

“I know this is beta, but it seems really clunky.”

“I can’t find anything on this thing!”

If you’ve been on Ello, you’ve probably noticed that, well, it’s not exactly easy to find things. We’re not talking about obscure user settings, either–we’re talking about functions that are vital to the site, like uploading images, posting, and editing. And, hey, let’s be real: if someone visits your web site and can’t find what they’re looking for, your web site is not doing its job

How can you fix that? There are a few simple things that you can do to make your user’s experience easier to bear, so your web site can build that effective connection with each person who visits you.

Ello user interface web site designContrast, Contrast, Contrast.

Part of the problem with the Ello interface is Contrast: the colors of different elements don’t pop enough against the background. Important function buttons are light-grey on a white background, which makes them hard to find, because your eyes are getting pulled towards the darker icons and text. How long will it take for your average user to get frustrated, when they can’t easily find the button they need?

For important things on your web site, like vital information, frequently-used links, or Calls to Action, you’ll want to have good contrast to make sure they don’t get lost. We’re not saying you should bust out the day-glo green, or anything, but wise use of light-on-dark or dark-on-light can get you a long way.

Icons: What’s That Shape Mean, Anyway?

The icon trend has been on the rise in web site interfaces since well before Ello hit the Intertubes, but they weren’t shy about jumping on that wagon. The problem is, while certain icons are fairly universal–or at least easy enough to figure out–others are, well, a tad confusing. Would you have guessed that the (+) icon would mean, “Invite,” before you hovered over it?

This principle goes back decades in web site building: don’t make your web site user think. “Mystery meat” links and icons can be confusing, and nobody likes to go in guessing. It should be easy for your visitors to figure out what different links and buttons lead to. If it isn’t? You risk losing their attention, and their business.

There’s More Than One Way

One of my bigger beefs with the Ello interface is photo uploading: for using images in posts, there’s an upload button, but to change your Profile photo or Header photo, you’re forced to drag-and-drop the image you want. In fact, they have to specifically instruct you (on hover, of course) to drag-and-drop. If you don’t hover over that profile photo, you’ll never know what to do.

Not only is it dreadfully inconsistent, but it’s also not terribly intuitive. And, seriously, who forces Drag-and-Drop as the only option for a photo upload?

Not everyone is going to engage with your web site in the same way. Different people use different devices, and they’ll flow through your content in different ways. We don’t expect you to go out of your way to serve absolutely every stone-age 1990s refugee desktop PC in the world, but an extra option or a bit of adaptability can go a long way towards helping your viewer find what they need, so they can take advantage of what you’re offering them.

Small Changes, Big Impact.

The temptation to get super-slick with your web site can be hard to resist, but the best answer to making your web site more effective is often the simplest one. Small changes can make a huge difference in how people interact with your web site, how they respond to what you have to offer, and whether or not they contact you or get interested in your product.

Your web site’s mission is to make the most important parts of your brand and your business easy to find and to learn about. Don’t get so caught up in style that you lose out on connection.

Portland branding agency – Portland web design – Upswept Creative

Sep 12 2014

We’re Hiring!

Sarah - Upswept Creative branding designer and photographer

10/13/2014: This position has been filled, but we super-appreciate your interest! Keep your eyes peeled for other opportunities in the future!

We’re looking for someone who’s interested in project management for the creative industry, particularly in the area of branding and web design. It’s currently a part-time role, but it’s growing into a larger time commitment–the more you bring to the role, the better it is for both of us!

A taste of the things you’d be doing:

  • Communicating with clients and keeping them informed and happy — strong written and verbal communication skills are a must!
  • Gathering and sharing info and assets between clients and our team
  • Task management — experience with Freedcamp, Basecamp, or similar is a plus!
  • Creating proposals for new clients
  • Building the right team for a client, by choosing and managing the right talent for our photoshoots, and our larger design and development projects
  • Scheduling, photoshoot coordination, and other administrative tasks
  • Contributing to our blog — if you have opinions about design, marketing, and creative, we’d love to share them!

Do you have skills in design or photography? We also have potential for you to create work for our clients, such as design tasks, photo editing, and more. If you have a good eye and a visual skillset, we’d love to give you opportunities to put it to work!

This position is flexible, and much of the work can be done from your home or your favorite coffee shop, but we are only interested in candidates based in the Portland Metro area. You’ll need to periodically come into the studio, especially during the early stages, and for client consultations. We believe strongly in working with local talent, and we want to grow and create opportunities in our own super-gifted Portland-y garden.

We’re a young company, and we have a lot of experience producing solid work, but our process is always evolving and improving. We welcome any wisdom/ideas that you can bring to the table.

So, if you’re a good listener and communicator, and this sounds like something you could grow into, let’s talk about it! Or, if you can think of a trusted human who’d be a good fit, we’d love to hear from them, too. Contact us and tell us why you’re awesome!

Sep 09 2014

October Open House with Design Week PDX!

2014-oct_first-thurs_webOur next Open Studio event celebrates three years of branding and design magic at Upswept, and we’ll be opening our doors as part of Design Week Portland‘s impressive array of events! We had a great time at our Design Week Portland event last year, and we’re super-excited to share what we’ve been doing in 2014!

This night’s features:

  • A first look at the MOVED. project, an ongoing photography venture focusing on people who celebrate their bodies for what they can DO.
  • Fashion and photos from the Fall/Winter 2014 collection by Carolyn Hart Designs
  • New jewelry designs by Noniko

As always, we’ll have lots of lovely things to take in, and refreshments at the ready, including delicious pastries by nom*ables. Come party with us!


Tuesday, October 7th, 2014
Upswept Creative HQ
217 NW Couch St.
Portland, OR 97209

Details on the Design Week Portland web site:

Portland fashion photographer | Portland rebranding agency | Upswept Creative

Aug 21 2014

Your Photographer Thinks You’re Beautiful

I’m a Portland fashion and commercial photographer, and I think you’re beautiful. I consider it part of my job to see what’s beautiful about you, and even if I’m not the photographer you’ve chosen today, chances are your photographer also thinks you’re beautiful.

confident creatives - portland professional photographer Upswept CreativeYour photographer is observing you from the moment they meet you–your mannerisms, the way you dress, carry yourself, express yourself. Your photographer is looking for what makes you special. The things you might think of as weird, undesirable quirks can also be the things that draw people to you, that make them want to know and appreciate you.

Your photographer has been watching people for years, and knows how to guide you towards that moment when your most authentic and beautiful self springs forth. I know what angles to choose when I work with you, and I know how to relate to you in a way that helps us get closer to capturing the most awesome parts of you.

The photographer you’ve chosen wants to inspire you. A good photographer isn’t going to show you a proof, if she doesn’t think you’re beautiful in it. In each image, there’s a spark of something valuable and memorable that made your photographer pause. The “flaws” you may think you see every day aren’t nearly as powerful to your photographer as the beauty he’s seen in that photograph of you.

IMG_0245I want to show you that delightful, singular, beautiful part of yourself that you don’t usually see. It could be the way your eyes light up when you talk about your latest project, or the lift in your voice when you think of your family. It could be the way your nose crinkles when you laugh, or the way you smirk when you’ve just laid down a clever joke. Maybe it’s the relaxed energy you have when you’re with your favorite partner-in-crime, or the confidence that radiates when you’ve created something you’re proud of.

Whatever that defining thing is, it’s something no one else quite does the same way, and that’s special. And yet, it’s hard to let go and be your most beautiful self when you’re being photographed. It’s okay, though–your photographer thinks you’re beautiful, and is there to do the work. All you have to do is trust in the process, and just be you.

I have the privilege to shoot with beautiful people on a regular basis, but it’s not because I’m working with models, or because I have a stellar makeup and hair styling team. I work with everyday people, too, and I’m looking for that beautiful, rare part of each of them. Finding the intersection between how you want to be seen, and who you truly are, is a unique little journey that will never get old.

I’m your photographer, and I think you’re beautiful. Hopefully, when we’re done, you’ll see a little more of that beauty in yourself, too.

Portland fashion photographer – Portland rebranding agency – Upswept Creative

Jul 30 2014

Doing It! PDX Fat Fashion Collective

Summer Strut emcee Carla Rossi - Portland fashion photographer

Summer Strut emcee Carla Rossi

Summer in Portland brings us some of the most awesome fashion runways this town has to offer, and we’re pleased as punch to be trusted photographers for some high-profile shows! One of our proudest fashion photography bookings this summer has been shooting the runway for Summer Strut, a fashion show produced by the PDX Fat Fashion Collective, that boldly put plus-size women at the center of its focus, with an all plus-size lineup of designers.

Summer Strut was a truly splashy show, emceed by the scintillating Carla Rossi, and it showed eye-catching plus-size fashions that broke the 3X barrier, and runway models who brought the fun and the fierce in equal doses. It was a very body-positive show that pushed boundaries, both for clothing design and for what’s wearable in the plus-size realm.

Best of all, this show was only the beginning for the ladies of the PDX Fat Fashion Collective! These lovely ladies took few minutes to chat with us about the beginnings of the Collective, the Summer Strut runway, and what’s next for them!

Shiny, popping swimwear by Size Queen Clothing hit the stage at Summer Strut.

Shiny, popping swimwear by Size Queen Clothing hit the stage at Summer Strut.

UPSWEPT: Tell us a bit about PDX Fat Fashion Collective–what is its mission, and how did it come about?

PDXFFC: The collective is the result of many conversations about our frustrations with plus-size clothing options, and the way they are presented to us as consumers. The three of us are independently involved in fashion in different ways and wanted to build something that we could be excited about.

We’re in a really great upswing for fat fashion right now, where all of a sudden, there are many more options beyond the standard 00-14, BUT most of those options are a combination of being unethically produced, minimal in size range (3X and below), and just plain boring. We wanted to bring together local designers who we not only think are incredibly talented, but who also are interested in and capable of producing clothing in extended sizes.

UPSWEPT: What were some of the challenges of putting together Summer Strut?

PDXFFC: Surprisingly, there weren’t any major challenges for us. We had plenty of designers and models that wanted to work with us. The venue was extremely helpful through the entire process. Probably just trying to stay on budget, and making sure we got the word out were the most problematic issues.

a Summer Strut model works fashions by Copper Union.

a Summer Strut model works fashions by Copper Union.

UPSWEPT: What were some of your favorite parts of producing the show?

PDXFFC: One of our absolute favorite parts of the show was showing people–the folks who attended, as well as the thousands of people who we reached through social media–that you can adorn your body in styles that make you feel amazing, regardless of your size. I loved how diverse the designers were. We had everything from vintage-style tea dresses to holographic monokini rompers, and it was incredible to see gorgeous girls with an array of body types and sizes looking incredible.

UPSWEPT: What do you have up your sleeve next for plus-size fashionistas in Portland?

PDXFFC: We want to include more gender-free and masculine of center styles in our future events, and presumably this will include a Summer Strut 2.0 next year. For now, I’m personally focused on establishing relationships with more local and independent designers, and securing a presence for fatshionistas among Portland’s creative scene. Ultimately, I want to challenge more designers to include us in their brands. We love fashion, we live for a selfie, and we have money. It’s foolish not to.

Portland fashion photographer – Portland branding design – Upswept Creative

Jul 11 2014

Portland fashion photography: Summer Runways!

We love keeping up with Portland fashion, so we’re excited to be flexing our photography muscles at not one, but TWO fashion events this month! Some of our favorite Portland fashion designers will be showing some fresh collections on the summer runway, and it’s going to be a good time for all.

Portland fashion photography - Upswept Creative - Summer StrutFirst up is this Sunday’s runway party, Summer Strut, a Fat Fashion Show put on by the PDX Fat Fashion Collective. You might recognize Coco Madrid from some of our recent shoots with our fashion clients–she herself is a lovely plus-size model and a prominent voice for plus-size fashion.  We’re big supporters of fashion for all shapes and sizes, and we’re super-excited to see what our local designers have to share with the curvy ladies of PDX!

Second, we’re super-jazzed to be shooting at the Alley 33 Fashion Event for our third year in a row! Produced by the wonderful ladies behind Mag-BigSiren Nation, and Elizabeth Mollo Productions, Alley 33 has grown into one of the most anticipated runways dedicated to independent fashion designer-manufacturers, and it’s easily our favorite show of the summer! We’re expecting an awesomely diverse and creative lineup of designers, and we also hear that a good number of designers showing in Alley 33 will be showing plus looks, too. It’s going to be awesome!

Summer Strut: a Fat Fashion Show
Sunday, July 13th
White Owl Social Club, 1305 SE 8th Ave.
Doors at 3PM, Show at 5pm. $5 door.

Alley 33 Fashion Event
Saturday, July 26th
SE 33rd Ave Alley/SE Hawthorne Blvd. 

Doors at 6pm, Show at 7pm. $10 adv. $12 door.

Portland fashion photographer | Portland rebranding agency | Upswept Creative