Welcome to the Wicked Good Life
“What is the Wicked Good Life?”
This is a blog about the Wicked Good Life. What it is exactly will play out post by post. I want to start off with two things. First by saying, Welcome to the Wicked Good Life. The second is to apologize for the post that came before this one. Shawn is an author and he tends to do word dumps. While not exactly stream of consciousness writing, he types fast, talks faster and neither his typing or his dictating can keep up with the way his brain processes data.
Our intention for this blog is manyfold. We will be talking about creativity and the creative process that we practise in the creation of our artwork, our photography and our stories. We do other creative things professionally, but while we may touch on a piece of graphic design or a website we created, it’s not our focus here. Check out Mouse Island Design for that. (In time. We’re spinning everything up at once so give us some time… Then again, by the time you read this we may have everything up and running.)
Instead of letting this devolve into a standard Shawn rabbit hole, let us refocus. To start with we have plans for 6 core areas. This may shrink, it will probably grow, but to start what we think we will be talking about are the following.
Our Personal Photography Blog
This is probably the easiest to explain from the getgo. We run Mouse Island Photography. We are primarily a two photographer show, but we do bring in assistant 3rd or 2nd shooters as needed based on demand and we do work with a videographer to cover cinema and we do work with different lighting assistants. The top priority we look for is to make sure that anyone we work with can match our style of photography as that is the photography style our clients are expecting when they hire Mouse Island Creatives. The day to day is just a husband and wife documenting our clients’ life moments and creating photos that sell their business, themselves or their products.
There isn’t much of our day during studio hours or after that isn’t revolving around creativity and photography is an attention hog. One of the reasons is a secret that creatives try to hide. Creatives are self-conscious and even when we create work that is a true work of art, we bring our own bias into the viewing of the final product. We often feel that the creations that we have made are not up to the standards that we want for ourselves. There is always a little more tweaking that could be done. Another brush stroke, a little more color. A little more time in post-production. As such, things we should be proud of we criticize the imperfections.
Here is a big admission. We are not the best photographers in the United States. We’re not the best in New England, we’re not even the best in Maine. Why would we admit that? Simply, it’s the truth. We’re not going to feed you a line of BS to try to inflate our ego. Do we want to be the best? No, we have no desire to be the best photographers in the world. What we do want to do is get better every day. Are we good photographers? Yes, we are. I can say with full confidence that we are good, very good, possibly maybe in some aspects even great. We aren’t the best that we can be yet and until we get to that threshold I can’t speak to how well we perceived.
Our goal is to become the best photographers we can be. When we get to the point where we feel we can’t get any better, where there is nothing left to prove to ourselves, we’re going to keep trying to get better. We have flaws. We know what they are, we’re even going to point them out to you here. While this would freak out a lot of photographers, we have no fear of this affecting our professional photography business for several reasons. This goes back to what I stated earlier and that is we are very good photographers and even great is some aspects. We consistently make strides and improvements to our process and our product.
This post is going to be long enough without letting Shawn go on and on about things he is passionate about so I’ll wrap this us. There is not an image you will see on Mouse Island Photography that we haven’t studied, practised and become consistent enough to reproduce. We won’t post things that we can’t reproduce for our clients. If it was an accidental amazing shot, that we don’t know how we pulled it off, we won’t post it even if it’s amazing. Well, that’s not true. We will take that one of a kind image and learn by studying it. Figure out all of the details of how it was accomplished. Then we will practice reproducing it. When we can both do that, we will post it. We won’t put out a product or image over there that we can’t pull off again for a client.
Over here, well, ever hear the one about seeing how the sausage is made? We’re photographers who love taking pictures. We don’t post a lot on social media as we are both introverts and private. More private than introverts, so we will see how this social experiment of online open book to our life goes. Probably a lot like Shawn is in real life. Always the INFJ who dabbles with being an INTJ. Situations and data determining which way he leans and reacts. A quiet humble person, but given the right topic, the right platform, he’s a talker… and a typer. (If you are already thinking this post is crazy long you should check of the View From the Cheap Seats. (Fair warning it’s not PG on that blog… or will be that site is starting over as well).
Long story short (hehehe) we’re photographers and you will see more of our personal photography here, but we’ll also mix in some of our Mouse Island Photography as well.
Running Life Like A Business
Rowena has been freelancing for half of her life, twenty years in the graphic design field. Her life has been run like a business for a long time. That isn’t to say, like any business, there haven’t been bumps in the road. Good times and hard times. Running your life like a business is about living life with focus and doing it within your means. Operating in the black. Most of us run in the red. There are times when doing so may make sense and we will be addressing this topic a lot.
2017 was a good year for the McPherson household. We made the most money as a household ever. 2018 started off looking like that was going to be even better. Then the business that Shawn worked in lost its main client and then another and then the end hit faster than expected. That was a crossroads moment and it is a moment where Mouse Island Creatives became a larger part of our lives.
To an extent by living your life like a business, this blog will be about money. Shawn used to be a stockbroker / financial planner. That was a lifetime ago, but he has the knowledge. He will cover a lot of best practices simple tips that will help you achieve financial freedom. This is all part of living the Wicked Good Life. He’s going to change the way you think about and enjoy the money you earn. Get off the rollercoaster or treadmill you are on and start moving forward towards the good life.
There isn’t anything groundbreaking or earthshattering in this concept. Pay off your debt and make your money work for you. You are not a slave to the machine, you are not a cog. You are the CEO of your life, act like it. Once you take control and start living the Wicked Good Life you will be able to do things like take the 5,000-mile road trip you always wanted to and not have it break the bank. Raise your children to be financially responsible. A business would not take on unneeded expenses and expect to turn a profit. Why are you?
Business Marketing & SEO
While this may appear to be the same as the last section, it’s not. This is about real business practices. It’s about blogging, it’s about marketing your brand and how to optimize your web content for search engines. It’s about the things you should do for your business. When Shawn got done being a stockbroker he moved on to low-level management at a fortune 15 company. The past fourteen years he has been in some form of management or business ownership. We’ll go over the things that work, the things we are doing for our personal and professional brands.
I’ll probably even go into some of the web design things we do and you can do. Isn’t that giving away the secret sauce? No, we don’t think so. You see, knowledge is power. Information is everywhere if you know where to look. Anyone can learn the things we’ve learned over the years doing the things that we’ve done. Information is why you are here reading these pixels on your screen. Not everyone has the time to research and not everyone has the money to purchase the things that we do. Our business brings our years of experience and the experience of having done hundreds and in some case thousands of any given type of project. You pay for our experience, you pay for the software and equipment that we use.
If you want to do what we do, we’ll give some tips and tricks. When you get right down to it, yes this is a little like the last section as these business principles do apply to any personal blog or business you may run.
We’ll keep this one short. If you know what minimalism is great. If you don’t we’re not the best resource even if you are entertained by us. We’re not talking full-on minimalism here, but minimalism plays a part in the Wicked Good Life. There is something freeing about getting rid of crap you don’t need and only wanted because an advertiser made a cool package. (We are advertisers and we do design cool packages with our design business, but we’re also about truth in marketing). Get rid of the things that clutter your life and just surround yourself with the things you need. A few wants sure of course if they make you happy, but if they don’t get rid of it.
We like to travel. One of our goals here at the Wicked Good Life is to travel pretty darn close to fulltime. We want to buy an RV and travel the country photographing, drawing/painting, and writing stories across the country and the world. The company that Shawn worked for that went under in 2018 had a division that was in the travel/hospitality industry. It gave him an inside look at the industry and how it operates. How to get deals, where to look for the deals. The proverbial how the sausage is made. We’ll share our personal travels as well as touch on how you can travel affordably.
Travelling is also the long-term goal for Mouse Island Photography. We want to be primarily destination photographers. This is for all of our photography. Weddings, events, portraits, and commercial. We will get there, by the time you are reading this (if that’s in a few years) we may be already doing just that.
Personal Creative Projects
We run creative studios, but we are also creative when it isn’t just for pay. We have personal sketches, stories we will never publish, passion projects and just things we are interested in that we do once and will never do again.
Not all of our post will be this long, some will be longer, most will be I expect shorter. Thank you for taking the time to read about where we are at right now and where we plan on going. Thanks for checking in on the WIcked Good Life.