Young man with something to say

Something to Say!


I believe you have something to say!

Now to blog or not blog…

Considering whether to blog or not to blog? Do you know your audience?

Know your Audience.

Are you talking to me…? Who are you talking to?

If I don’t know the audience I want to reach, I’m a little bit like the kid in the lunch room who sits alone, in a crowded room, who occasionally blurts out something to nobody in particular.

That’s not a pretty picture.

If you don’t know—your aren’t sure who your audience is, who will listen, or who wants to hear form you—then you must PICK the audience you want to reach.

Go up to that group of people, or a person in the group, and start talking to them!

And when you start the conversation you immediately learn something. For example:

  1. You might find out that you have something in common to talk about. As long as they are interested, and you have something important to give to the conversation, keep the chatter going.
  2. Perhaps there is something valuable you have to offer the group. Offer it. Tell them about it. Or tell them about the part they are interested in now… based on your short conversation so far.
  3. Silence. You might find out that you have no place talking to this group. They are not interested. You don’t like them. You are in the wrong room. Whatever. STOP. Either change your message, change how you approach the group, or simply go talk with someone else.

Life is a big party. Or maybe it’s a series of little parties. Or maybe it’s a work party. Regardless, talk to someone interested in what you are doing. Yes, someone wants to hear your message. And that’s how you find your audience.

So, how does this look in the virtual world?

If you don’t personally know your audience, or your voice yet, here is my BEST advice.

  • Find a PHOTO of one single person who you don’t know, then NAME them and print out the photo or save it to your computer desktop as your background.
  • Next, write a description of that one person, what they do, and why they need you.
  • Whenever you write marketing or BLOG copy, talk directly to them. Look at the picture and know WHY you want to reach them. Know what you want them to do once you reach them.

These creative ideas all seem artsy, weird, or ethereal at first, but they are simply a way to commit to your decision. When you do this, you make choices and stick to them. To use an analogy, picking an audience is like picking seeds for your garden. You don’t know what crop you want, and you don’t know what will grow in the soil yet… but you have to pick something specific, otherwise you won’t know what to do with it. Does it need full sun or part shade? Do I plant it in rich, moist soil or does it need good drainage? You might not even recognize it from a weed when it comes up and you’ll kill it.

Don’t kill your audience by the way. That’s good advice forever.

You have something to say to your audience. You can decide to blog or not to Blog.

But people are waiting to hear form you!

It’s simply a choice you make when choosing your audience. But once you pick an audience, walk up to them, be yourself and start connecting with people.

Oh, and if you’re a wallflower type, your audience doesn’t have to be big. You don’t have to be loud. But you do have to show up to the party and talk with at least one person. Your conversation will go deeper and last longer.

Hair Light -senior portrait example

Illuminate Yourself!


Light from behind is one of the tricks of a pro that you can use in you home or small office to really stand out!

(I considered the title “You Need a Headlight!” — which do you think is better?)

Since 2007, when I picked up my first DSLR camera, I’ve been learning how to work with light. Creating good lighting for a video production or a photo shoot is a blend of art and science. In a small office or home studio the existing light—room light, window light, direct sun—is usually a factor. I love to help people fix their lighting so they love their office environment and look great on camera too!

Here are my links to couple of lights I love and how to use them in your office!
(affiliate links to products I love, that will help you create the office you love!)

Over-the-shoulder lamps

Also called a “Hair Light” by pros, a lamp like this is positioned above and slightly behind you, so it doesn’t shine on your face (watch the nose and forehead when you lean back in your chair!). What you get is a defined light halo on your head and/or shoulders that creates visual depth, separating you from your background and making you look sharp, and intelligent! Position the light just out of view of the camera for the best effect.

This is a time where you like the light to be smaller and a little more harsh in appearance because it’s creating a line, or a stroke of light around your silhouette from behind.

daylight bulb in a small office floor lamp. Great for separation from background!Silver metal floor lamp from Dot & Bo. A perfect hair light!
Small floor lamp with daylight bulb.
This is a great hair light for a small office.
Best Recommendation for a Hair Light!
There are plenty of great looking floor lamps that can can help create separation from behind or above when you are sitting or standing. Perfect with a daylight bulb or toned bulb for a brand effect!

Try it out!

As a test on camera, you can simply hold a flashlight (phone flash) over your head and behind, and see how the light hits you directly to separate you from the background!

Hair Light -senior portrait example
This senior portrait illustrates separation from the background with a strong hair light. I used the natural bounce of light off of a gray cement wall in this shot. Printers Alley, Nashvile, TN – copyright © Daniel Crandall 2019

How to Look Good on Video!

Brand Video, Leadership Development

You are doing more and more webinar conferences and meetings online now—

Are you happy about your presence on camera?

This is the way of the world today—online—if you have a job in business or tech anyway!

But clearly there is a steep learning curve to this “video conference” thing! Not everyone. knows how to use the camera, and set themselves up for success in a video call.

Great! I can help you look brilliant with little or no investment in new gear!

I’ve been delivering this training to teams of leaders and entrepreneurs for the last year every other month, but now it’s available to you too!

Basically, with a group of attendees we go through what it takes to present yourself well online in a webinar, video call or any kind of home office video system really.

What does it take to look good in a webinar?

  • LIGHT – People need to see you, but you don’t need to get studio lights. And you don’t have to deal with fluctuating window light or looking green or pale. Those are common problems, but I’ll show you why and how to get around them.
  • CAMERA – Your webcam might not be the best, but you don’t have to invest in top tech to get a great look on Zoom! The camera behaves a certain way, and there are a few things you can do to convince it to make you look good! Really!!
  • ACTION – It matters how you sit and position yourself on camera, what you do, and more importantly, it matters WHY you position yourself or behave in certain ways on camera! You can build trust quickly, set peoples mind at ease, or loose trust altogether on a call and I’ll show you how!

(Hmm.. that’s a good slogan for this training: Light, Camera, Action! I wonder if I can trademark that… – jk!)

Let me help you look good, sound good, feel good and impress your audience, without ugly studio lights and ring lights. without big bulky microphone booms—And if you like the studio and mic boom, feel free, it’s a brand look that’s not for everyone. They work, but…

You know there is something better! You can simply be brilliant on your home video and still have a great looking office space without all the gear.

No need for a studio in your home, or a movie production quality camera.

You’ve got the technology to do this right in your home.
So join the class and learn how!

Join the class and stop sitting in the dark!

Jester illustration by Daniel RG Crandall

The Fools Prayer

Leadership Development

This poem is meaningful as a creative leadership tool. It illustrates the heart of a true creator, sincere in his craft, mocked by the court, and yet trusted to entertain a king. He has integrity, a sincere heart, and a message. The creative work of The Fool has brought him to the palace where he is entertaining at the king’s court.

Your creative craft is valuable.

Consider these things while you read this creative verse:

  • Have you put yourself out there?
  • Are you true to your personality and to your convictions?
  • Are you prepared, when called up, to address a King, or to talk to God, as a humble fool?


The Fool’s Prayer

By: Edward Rowland Sill

The royal feast was done; the King
Sought some new sport to banish care,
And to his jester cried: “Sir Fool,
Kneel now, and make for us a prayer!”

The jester doffed his cap and bells,
And stood the mocking court before;
They could not see the bitter smile
Behind the painted grin he wore.

Jester illustration by Daniel RG Crandall
illustration: Daniel RG Crandall

He bowed his head, and bent his knee
Upon the monarch’s silken stool;
His pleading voice arose: “O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!

“No pity, Lord, could change the heart
From red with wrong to white as wool:
The rod must heal the sin; but, Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!

“ ’Tis not by guilt the onward sweep
Of truth and right, O Lord, we stay;
’Tis by our follies that so long
We hold the earth from heaven away.

“These clumsy feet, still in the mire,
Go crushing blossoms without end;
These hard, well-meaning hands we thrust
Among the heart-strings of a friend.

“The ill-timed truth we might have kept—
Who knows how sharp it pierced and stung!
The word we had not sense to say—
Who knows how grandly it had rung!

“Our faults no tenderness should ask,
The chastening stripes must cleanse them all;
But for our blunders—oh, in shame
Before the eyes of heaven we fall.

“Earth bears no balsam for mistakes;
Men crown the knave, and scourge the tool
That did his will; but Thou, O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool.”

The room was hushed; in silence rose
The King, and sought his gardens cool,
And walked apart, and murmured low,
“Be merciful to me, a fool!”

Edward Rowland Sill

In your sincerity, integrity and humility, God can use you to change the heart of a king.

Your creative craft is valuable. Create!

#Artists #Talents #Creator

(credit for the text of the poem:

Shift your mindset to the right space!


Leadership Development


You can apply these top eight great mindset health tips starting today!

Being a leader means people trust and follow your decisions. Keeping your mind alert is of great importance, not just for your own well being, but also for your followers, your family, your team, and any group that you lead. These 8 mindset health tips are great reminders of how you can keep your mind sharp and be the leader people respect and need.

You can get unique blog articles with custom branded art and banners for your website.
Contact Daniel at NolensvilleBrands for more information!


Start by picking one to work on and set a goal to improve in that area. Taking care of your mind will help you to be ready to make decisions, take action, and lead with confidence. 


With every failure or struggle there is a valuable lesson. Recognize what they are and then LEARN YOUR LESSONS. What is past doesn’t matter but to prepare you for what is next. YOUR ATTITUDE about the past MATTERS. So when things don’t go well, it is your time to grow. Your Mindset health tip number one is to focus your thoughts on the opportunity given by struggle and learn something new. You will do your mind a favor to NOT give the loss power over how you feel, but rather focus on what can be gained and how you are getting stronger and smarter. It’s a growth mindset.


The rest your body needs significantly affects your mind. So SLEEP. Average sleep needs vary based on age and other factors, but general medical consensus is that most of us don’t get enough. Do you get enough sleep? What you eat, or don’t, plus activity and exercise can help you sleep better. And improving your sleep lets your mind regenerate and last longer through the day. Mindset health tip number 2 is to SLEEP.


Mental fatigue can happen when you have to decipher too many messages or make many small decisions. The third mindset health tip is to TAKE FREQUENT UNINTERRUPTED BREAKS from watching news and social media, people that cause you extra stress, meetings, and answering emails.


Like a muscle or any other organ, your brain needs to get out and exercise. Get it out of your regular pattern or box by doing something creative and EXERCISE YOUR BRAIN. Try to engage in remembering things before you look them up, tell stories and and allow moments of creative activity regularly. If you are alone all day you can doodle, build a puzzle, learn a new trick or play an instrument. Great creative and engage your mind in exercise for a healthy happy life.


Finishing is like dropping a weight. It doesn’t matter how big or how small, you notice that you’ve dropped it, and you make room for something else in your hand – or our mind. When you COMPLETE a SMALL TASK such as making your bed in the morning, you are finishing something and your brain gets a healthy dose of release and satisfaction. Even when you complete a routine task every day, your brain gets positive reinforcement that you are stable, in control and finishing one thing to begin the next. The one simple act of finishing can help train your mind to find satisfaction in completion. Instead of being bored and distracted, you will have more focus to finish a project, and then more focus for something new.


BEING HONEST with others and with yourself gives your mind rest. It is taxing on your brain, and can be negative to your whole nervous system to tell a lie. It puts your brain automatically into a heightened state of fear. I don’t encourage being mean or always saying what you feel, just because it’s true! But when you choose to be kind in a truthful manner you will gain trust with others. The practice helps you think more positive encouraging thoughts instead of negative. Telling the truth with kindness is truly a great healthy mindset habit.


Everyone gets hurt or offended sometimes. But for your own mind’s sake, LET IT GO. You will immediately feel relief when you forgive, or let something go that was bothering you. And the act of forgiving makes you stronger so things don’t bother you the next time. It also improves your relationships and most importantly, frees up your mind for more important things. Yes, some hurts are real, and require some sort of action or remedy, but that doesn’t mean that you need to hold onto the hurt on the inside. You can LET IT GO


You don’t have to ignore emotions or shame yourself for what you feel. Emotions are valuable. They alert you to what is around you and to your own mind and body experience. Mindset health tip 8 is to LET YOURSELF FEEL – at least acknowledge the feelings. However you don’t have ot let your feelings rule or make a hasty decisions just based on feeling. Simply admit to yourself how you feel, even admit it out loud. And consider why you feel that way—right or wrong. Emotions are a vital and often overlooked part of clear thinking. So listen, let yourself feel, and then you will be able to make a clear decision—feelings being just one part of the equation.

These are my top 8 Mindset Health Tips! These have been adapted for other blogs, but are important to share with my audience. And there are many more ways to keep your brain at peak performance! Like getting fresh air outside on a regular basis, and hopefully some sunlight at the same time, both of which can help your mind stay alert.

What’s your favorite daily mindset health tip to keep your creative mind sharp?

Leave a Comment!


… and here’s another TIP for you!

If you sign up for regular updates from NolensvilleBrands we will make sure you get all of our free resources.

Big mistakes and failures don't have to define you!

You Made ONE Mistake!

Leadership Development


All of us make mistakes daily.

Often personal mistakes are overlooked or ignored, a spelling error, a conversational gaffe. But eventually we have that one big mistake that can hold us back. It cuts us deeply as a person, maybe invokes fear and keeps us from moving forward.

Have you failed to meet a major goal? Gotten fired? Or lost a business? Your mistake may be big enough that people are talking about it in your family. For years my family was defined by a mistake—a mistake big enough to be in the news!

I’m not going to tell you to feel guilty. 

I’m not going to say you can simply get over it. 

I want you to understand you can redeem it, get value from it, and you can—


One big mistake can define you – but it doesn’t have to.

I said, we all have that one big mistake. It defines some part of our life and frames our thoughts and feelings, mostly in a negative way. And the advice people sometimes give to “get over it” is not only useless, but it’s a waste of your time to try!

In the training I provide to young leaders, I will often mentioned the thousands(?) of steps Edison took to claim ownership to the first working light bulb. Of those steps, none produced a lightbulb that was functional. It’s debated if the last one—the basis for his patent—was even functional. But he did not stop! All of those “failures” were discoveries, they were hard earned steps. But altogether his efforts to produce a lightbulb were a mistake… until he produced a lightbulb! Looking back we see clearly that each mistaken step, each investment of more time and money into a failed attempt, was an investment. Each step Edison took may not feel as big as the one failure that owns some part of your personal psyche, but you can—


Consider your failure. Think about your big mistake. Look at the steps it took you to get there. It was not just one event in your life, it was a series of choices and decisions leading you to where you are today. If you reframe the failure in your mind, attach real value to each step and look at the lessons you learned during and afterward, you will see it was no different than every try at the lightbulb.


Now with all of the experimental learning you’ve done, you can move forward. When a new aspect or feeling comes up from that same failure, look for the learning in it. Unpack it with renewed perspective. After a short amount of time, you’ve made what used to be your biggest mistake, holding you back from success, into a solid foundation that you can build on for your next new creation.

Don’t quit until you reach that one success that is the result of your learning. Then you will understand what it was all for. Your success is the natural next step resulting from what looks like failures.


Redeem your mistakes, what you used to think was a failure. Value the lessons you learned. Learn new lessons as you look back at it. See failure as the necessary steps to discover what works and you will change your future.


  • by Daniel RG Crandall, NolensvilleBrands
    (Original content like this article by Daniel of NolensvilleBrands may be purchased for publication on your Website. Ask for details!
Daniel Crandall, marketing director with NolensvilleBrands

Webinar Pro Setup!

Brand Video

Look Like a Pro On Your Webcam Video!

As a photographer and Video Producer, I get asked a lot about giving webinars. People want to create a better, more professional brand experience for their customers. And especially business executives, managers and sales leaders all want to look like a top presenter or contributor in online conferences, meetings or sales calls.

When you look great, people pay attention!

Culturally a lot of us haven’t caught up yet, but how you look on webcam today is the online version of how you dress for work in the morning. People can’t really see that little stain on your shirt. they might not even know if you are wearing anything below the frame. And just today I met with a client who was wearing a strapless shirt top… she thought she looked great on the train heading in to work, but on camera it gave the impression of nothing!

What we forget is that people DO still judge you on first impressions. And today that is based first on your appearance on camera. But what people miss is HOW to make the right impression on camera? What actually makes your skin tone look good, or turn green. Why are your eyes in shadow and look so dark, and how can you brighten them?

Let’s start with basics—

Your Webcam Matters!

Built-in webcams are almost always sub standard. Yes, notably even the iMac has a low resoulution camera. Your built-in webcam is simply not professional grade. If you have a good phone, that can be great to use—until you need a larger screen, or your arm gets tired of holding it at the perfect angle without a desktop stand.

The right solution is a good webcam.

Without changing much at all in your setup, a good camera simply gives your viewers a sharper image of you. It allows greater control, and even adapts better to difficult lighting.

I Highly recommend Logitech Webcams!

Yes, I do get a small affiliate fee from Adorama if you buy one of these. BUT that’s not why I recommend them. There are plenty of other webcams available, that I could recommend too. But Logitech works, and it’s simple to use!

Here is why I promote the beauty of Logitech cameras:

  1. First, they make you look better than any similarly priced cameras.
    In my experience with lots of cameras, from DSLR to iPhones and built-in display cameras, lens quality matters! When you pay for a Logitech, the lens you get is just superior—and the world can see it. And as a photographer I know how the difference in lens quality makes a huge difference in your final image, from capturing a higher quality of light, to true sharpness of the image.
  2. Second, they give you control!
    Mostly I recommend Logitech because of the software drivers and support they provide. I still use Logi-capture, a FREE download that only works with Logitech cams. It is superior to whatever else I’ve found out there – and everything else costs a monthly subscription these days! [Link: future rant about everything going subscription will go here!]. Logitech has a long history of maintaining great support for their products with updated drivers and control software that give you the power over your high quality Logitech device. From light and dark controls to cropping and zooming, you will be happy you got a Logitech cam!

Above are the Logitech Webcams I recommend at Adorama Cameras
(affiliate links)

You can take my word for it, or compare with other cameras that cost $10 to $20 less. The other cameras with the same specs end up requiring software to improve the camera, or they are unreliable, or down give good color in the video image.

There is another great Mac webcam hack I’ve found—

If you don’t want to buy a new Logitech camera, or if you are a Macintosh purist, this is the best independent software I’ve found. It’s called Camo Studio. The free version will allow you to hook up an old iPhone as your webcam (through an app called Reincubate Camo that you install on the iPhone), It has powerful features to control the iPhone and possibly other webcams you may own, but to get the great features… you guessed it… you have to subscribe. Circling back to Logitech…

So the FREE software that controls a Logitech camera is simply better because you paid for it with your device!

Get a Logitech camera. You’ll be happy you did!



—because you want to look human on your web conference!

A great camera picks up the light in your office, the shadows on your face, hair, clothes, eyes…

When it comes to lights, you of course have lighting in your office already. And maybe you are thinking it’s already plenty bright, right? But room lighting is usually over your head. Below are some links to the style of lighting I recommend.

Simply updating your office lighting can help!

The the large, square white lampshade gives the most flattering effect on your face, softening shadows, especially with the right kind of light bulbs of course…

Good bulbs, while they are a little more expensive than your average LED bulbs, they are powerful like a 100 watt bulb, but also full-spectrum and daylight color, and dimmable (not all LED lights can be dimmed).

And the colored light? That’s just my recommendation for a creative addition you can use as a hair-light, or you can add a little brand color to your background… Get creative!

So, the bottom line is…

  • You need a webcam with good control (Logitech).
  • You need a large light source or multiple light sources, bright, wide, and close to you to avoid harsh shadows.
  • And you need lightbulbs that will make you look alive, that are also bright, and dimmable!

I’m available to help you set up your webcam in your home or office, or help you build a studio for frequent shooting.

Now you can Webcam like a pro!

Daniel RG Crandall

Daniel Crandall, marketing director with NolensvilleBrands
Daniel RG Crandall, Small Business Coach and Contract Marketing Director

Desktop office lamps with a wide flat shade will create flattering light with softer shadows. Two or more bulbs allow you to be in control.

Floor or table lamps can easily be moved and redirected to create perfect accents as your second light, over the shoulder or hair light.

Matching LED bulbs installed will help make you look great! And you can add an accent color bulb to reinforce your brand color.

NolensvilleBrands Helps Build Your Business

Leadership Development

Marketing & Branding Creative Support for Local Business

Join NolensvilleBrands and 1-Train-1 and be part of a local network of business owners who help each other.

When you live and work in a small town it can be difficult to find local partners and resources you can trust to save you time and help build your local brand. When you connect with Nolensville Brands, support for your local marketing needs is right here.

NolensvilleBrands, the Nolensville Brands Logo, word mark, trademark, icon represents a simple community of local business leaders who help each other with marketing and creating Nolensville Brands.

NolensvilleBrands helps local website marketing efforts, local services, and local shopping by connecting resources and wisdom for small business owners. You can develop marketing, build training, grow your audience, hire great people, and find other creative resources from partners right in Nolensville.

Nolensville Brands ARE Local partners you can trust for information, services, and support.

As a local Nolensville resident since 2008, I found it difficult to connect with some of the essential business services that I could trust when I first arrived to town. I had to test the market and eventually made some great contacts and formed excellent friendships here.

A brand marketing designer and creator, I help solve the problems faced by small business and encourage a community that supports local business.

Social media can be hard to trust. there are so many opinions—and now so many advertisers as well!

Nolensville Brands is a local group of business that are connected and support each other and the community through shared marketing and commitment to help and support local families. We believe that we all together help to raise the standard of service in this beautiful, small town.

Here is the local business partnership you need to grow!

Daniel Crandall