Mentionable Finds: WordPress Plugins

I’ve been blogging for a few years now and one thing I’ve come to appreciate is the plugin.  Not all are created equal and there are quite a few that don’t do much more than take up space, but the few that I’ve come to love and, over the years, depended on them regularly or not-so-regularly.  And, surprisingly, they’re all free.  So I thought I’d share them with you today.

WordPress Database Backup

Makes backing up website/blog super easy.  So easy in fact that you don’t have to think about it because you can set up the plugin to schedule your backup and email it to you.  I haven’t had to utilize a backup before, but I know a couple of years ago when changing things over on my old blog it kind of went kaput, knowing there was a backup made me breathe easier.  But there’s no worry of trying to find your last backup on your cPanel – because it’s in your inbox.  Boom.

(And in that mentioned instance, my fab friend Susan had fixed it within 15 minutes.  I melted into a puddle of stress when it went down while she remained calm.  And homey got it back up in running lickety split.)


When WordPress switched over to Jetpack, I wasn’t a fan.  And I’m not completely sold on everything it offers.  But it’s handy to have for the stats alone.

I generally utilize Google Analytics for traffic results, but not everyone is comfortable with it.  The main reason I keep the stats is because of familiarity – I was so used to seeing real-time pageviews on my first blog this way I’ve stuck with it ever since.  Is it the best?  Probably not.  But it’s easy to review, has better real-time reporting than expected and who doesn’t like to watch the stat ticker go up on a fantastic blog day?!?

Editorial Calendar

This is a newer plugin to me but I absolutely love it!  Being able to see my scheduled blog posts in a calendar format instead of a list really does allow me to monitor when things are hitting the blog.  I don’t schedule too many posts as I blog about photography sessions as I wrap them up, but for other posts (like maybe this one), it’s nice to know in one glance which days are scheduled with posts.  I could see this being really helpful for those who have a weekly series.

All In One SEO Pack

I don’t know a lot about SEO, but what I do know, I implement.  I’ve learned so much about organic search marketing in the last year just at my day job, so taking that knowledge and trying to overlay it on my side business is very insightful when speaking to it within our teams.  And this plugin has made it so much easier to implement SEO on my site than if I were to just do it on my own.  I have a co-worker that swears by Yoast for SEO support on WordPress, but I had trouble installing it… so I’ve stayed with the tried and true All In One.


I stumbled upon this gem late last year when I was doing research for starting my newsletter.  It was still in Beta but was a heckuva plugin to find.  It allows you to create emails/newsletters and send batches of emails.  I’ve actually since moved on to MailChimp… mostly because my subscriptions were growing and SendPress took a bit too much room on my server space… but I do love it and watch as they update and expand.  Because it’s an awesome idea!!

katie - I just pinned this so I can keep it handy for multiple readings.

Filling My Bucket | Project Life In Color

My beautiful friend Katie had  a bright idea and within a week or so of pitching the idea to me, we set it in motion.  Several women photographers were brought together and challenged to create a project with Katie and I, Project Life in Color.  An easy premise in reality, where once a month we link up our blogs to promote each other. But it is bigger in that it’s a  project that would encourage creativity and sharing and community among us – which is something that photographers, business owners or not, long for but is sometimes considered taboo.  In only about two weeks, conversations having been fluttering between the ten of us and I don’t mind saying that Katie had a swell idea indeed. :)

For my Life in Color contributions, I really want to focus on my life; the things and people around me, my concerns, my weaknesses, my growths… something that would allow me to think outside of the box not only for my photography submission, but something that will make me stretch out of my writing comfort zone as well.

So here goes…

I’ve been doing a lot of personal reading the last few months.  Most has been learning more about marketing and brand influence since I recently re-branded my photography business, but my latest trip to the library had me floating near the self-help section.  I feel like when you browse these shelves you always divert your eyes from the person standing next to you, but I was hoping to find a book that would help me revitalize my positivity.  I am by nature somewhat pessimistic (I often refer to myself as a realist), but there was something in my gut that was telling me to try harder… that by focusing on myself, maybe everyone around me would be a little bit happier too.

Now this book didn’t give me any “A-HA” moments, but it did make a few things click.  It refers to positive and negative attitudes as adding to or taking away from an invisible bucket.  Your bucket.  And how you’re not the only one that affects your bucket’s contents – the people around you have just as much of an influence.  The author not only provided examples, but talks about influence at home and at work.  And my day job, where I’m a marketing analyst, is where I struggle the most with staying upbeat and living in the land of rainbow-colored marshmallows.

Now I need to clarify my struggle isn’t because I don’t like what I do or the people I work with – analytics is fun [for me] and my co-workers are fabulous – but it did shed light on how I prefer to be recognized for my work (because it’s motivating) and how I interact with my peers.  And this is very important because of the fast-paced and high-stressed environment that comes with working at an advertising agency; we often point out mistakes or the lack of this-or-that because of deadlines we all face.  It’s how the industry works and after being a part of it for seven years, you hear “it is what it is” regularly.

But think about how a compliment or an”attaboy” could prompt a smile and keep positivity running high.  And those could cause more compliments and high-fives to be passed along, thus spreading encouragement further.  It all makes sense (therefore no “A-HAs”), but the unfortunate part is that I can only control what I do right now because, frankly, I’m a minion.  But when good is set in motion, it’s usually paid forward.  Right?  That’s my hope at least.

For the past several years, I’ve made it my daily goal to compliment at least one person and be honest about it.  Whether it’s the shoes they’re wearing, a blog they’ve written or something I saw that happened on Facebook.  And I’ve succeeded.  I’ve even complimented strangers just to meet my daily quota.  But it isn’t enough.  I’ve declared this month “filling buckets” month, where I hope to approach situations with positive outlooks and provide hopeful feedback – because I also fill my bucket as I fill others’.  A small little change that may not be noticed at all… but may make a difference in the end.

So the great thing about this project is that everyone can interpret it how they like.  So while I’ve taken the focus on a personal wins and struggles, others may have focused on their family life, looked around them for inspiration or set their theme in a completely different direction.  Either way, it’s a fantastic little project that’s moving us all forward and bringing us closer together.

To see the next interpretation of Project Life in Color and continue through our group’s links, visit Sarah’s blog here.

project: Life in Color » Katie Oblinger Photography - […] Now please head on over to my sweet friend, Brooke Murphy’s blog to see her first installment of Life In Color. […]

Melissa - eek! I am a few blogs into the circle and I am already so giddy and inspired (AND it’s 630am and I haven’t had my coffee yet!). love it!

Mrs Comyn - I love it! You are filling buckets indeed!

Tom B. Taker - I like complimenting people and find it very easy to do. At least on the net when I’m being “social.” There’s much that is beautiful in some way, makes me smile, or both.

katie - Love, love, love your interpretation. And I love this shot. And yes, it is nice to get a little recognition every once in a while because “it is what it is” just doesn’t always do it. So to you my friend, well done.

Stephanie Olson - Such an inspiring post Brooke! I had to laugh at your “I’m not a pessimist, I’m a realist” comment, because I cannot tell you how many times I have said that myself! I’m definitely putting this book on my must-read list.

Caili - Brooke! This post is beautiful. I love the “divert your eyes” comment about the bookstore. :) But seriously, I love that you are challenging yourself like this…I think that I am going to start having a daily spread the love quota, too!

Andrea - Brooke, yes we do need to get to know each other better. I think we have more in common that I thought. Thank you for being open and sharing this real life thing:) I too am a realist, and have worked hard over the past few years to implement more positive (yet still real) things, attitudes, feelings, or words into my life-whilst not forgetting to keep it genuine. We’ll talk more, I’m sure:)

Christy Tyler - I LOVE this idea of “filling your bucket” and definitely plan to keep this in mind all day every day! Thank you love!

Brooke Murphy Photography - […] I wanted to capture this month for Project Life in Color, I decided I wanted to continue off of last month’s post; not so much focusing on how to be more positive, but finding positive things that exist already […]

Martha+Alan {expecting} | Louisville Maternity Photographer

My husband, Mike, has been friends with Alan for years.  They were roommates through most of college, and that’s where he and I became better friends.  When he introduced me to Martha a few years back, I had a gut feeling – that she was the one.  She had a beautiful smile, was somewhat quiet but witty as all get out, had a fantastic laugh… and I was right.  They’ve been together ever since and that makes me happy because I love her to death. ;)

We consider them two of our closest friends.  Mike and Alan work together, we usually double date on Friday nights, we’ve gone cruising together three times now, Martha is always willing to consume ice cream with me, she’s helped me through some knitting mishaps… yeah, we get along well.  So when they shared the news they were expecting, I might have started referring to their baby as “our baby,” as in everyone’s baby.  What can I say, I get a little possessive when it comes to the people I love.  I even hosted “our” baby a shower a few weeks back.  (I joke!!)  (Kind of.)

The past months have been filled with several Friday night conversations about babies.  Baby names, baby nurseries, baby things, baby clothes, baby booties, baby knits, baby cribs, baby showers…  And I can’t believe in the next few days the world will get to meet this baby.  I’ve anticipated his arrival since I first learned of him and he could be born any minute now.  But first I get to share photos from their maternity session.  Martha wanted to take their pictures at home (she tends beautiful gardens) and it was a blast to think of ways to use a home and yard I’ve spent hours in.  I like to think we did a fine job at it too.

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One of my favorites.  Martha’s look is perfect.  I fall off my chair every time I look at this photo for too long.

Martha+Alan {expecting} | Louisville Maternity PhotographerMartha+Alan {expecting} | Louisville Maternity PhotographerMartha+Alan {expecting} | Louisville Maternity PhotographerMartha+Alan {expecting} | Louisville Maternity PhotographerMartha+Alan {expecting} | Louisville Maternity Photographer


Martha+Alan {expecting} | Louisville Maternity PhotographerMartha+Alan {expecting} | Louisville Maternity Photographer

Martha+Alan {expecting} | Louisville Maternity Photographer

Alan is a carpenter.  He built their shed with the little pagoda roof that I adore.  He also built their baby a crib and it’s gorgeous.  Sure to be a family heirloom.

Martha+Alan {expecting} | Louisville Maternity Photographer

Love love love.  Martha and Alan, I cannot wait to meet your baby and hear his name for the first time.  I cannot wait to see you with him, his little body sleeping on your chests.  I cannot wait to see how you look at each other once you take him home.  Thank you so much for letting me a part of your lives, for photographing you (even if I did lay down in your driveway) and for making enough uncomfortable jokes that you guys laugh uncontrollably – because I love your laughs. Again, CANNOT WAIT!  xoxo

To meet Baby Calvin with his family, click here.

Brooke Murphy Photography - […] editing photos… blogging… you give a little, you lose a little.  But for my friend Martha, it was well worth […]

Diane - You sure did capture her beauty. Now I know what beautiful when pregnant means. I wish I had a picture of me pregnant, even if I wanted to get it over with.

Martha - Brooke you made me cry.

Melanie - What a beautiful post about two amazing people! Love all the photos! Martha, you look absolutely stunning. And don’t worry, it won’t be the last time Brooke makes you cry….In a good way :)

Doo Doo - Very nice, I really like how you present them with the background.

Baby Sadie {newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

Since April, Melanie and Ryan have been back home in Louisville and I don’t think they’ve taken it easy at all.  Between hosting bridal showers, house hunting, moving into a temporary apartment, getting a 2-year-old little kiddo settled in, house finding, and getting ready for a wedding they both were part of, they had their second child.  It sounds hectic as could be and I wholly believe it was (has life even slowed since?), but their newest addition fits perfectly in the middle of it all.

Baby Sadie Paige.  I love this little gal from her itty-bitty toes to her pouty little lips.  And she had grown so much since the three weeks I’d held her at the hospital.  She resembles her big sister when she was a newborn, but other times I see Melanie’s mother in her face.  She was only interested in snacking when I was there and she barely kept her eyes open.  She makes noise constantly, with little grunts coming from her with every little stretch she does.  And she is a wiggle worm – moving so much more than any other three-week-old I’ve photographed.  But what I love most about Baby Sadie is what she does to people around her: watching my friends fall in love every time they look at her and how happy Allie is to have a little sister.

It kills me.  In a good way.

Baby Sadie (newborn} | Louisville Newborn PhotographerBaby Sadie (newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

Oh Allie – you’re animated expressions just make me so happy.  As do your “mooches.”

Baby Sadie (newborn} | Louisville Newborn PhotographerBaby Sadie (newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

*love*Baby Sadie (newborn} | Louisville Newborn PhotographerBaby Sadie (newborn} | Louisville Newborn PhotographerBaby Sadie (newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

Seeing my long-time friend, high school classmate and senior prom date holding his children the way that he does fills me with warmth.  I still think of him as that nerdy kid with lame jokes in math class… but when I look at pictures like these I seem to forget it for a just few minutes.

Baby Sadie (newborn} | Louisville Newborn PhotographerBaby Sadie (newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

There’s that lip, people.  It pouts to the max.  And it’s my favorite feature to date. :)

Baby Sadie (newborn} | Louisville Newborn PhotographerBaby Sadie (newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

*crossed ankles*

Baby Sadie (newborn} | Louisville Newborn Photographer

My friend is absolutely gorgeous – she has that motherhood glow and I love this photo beyond words.

Melanie and Ryan, I am so proud of you guys becoming parents a second time around.  And I’m so proud to still call you friends and be a part of your family’s life.  Even just finishing this post, I can’t wait to visit soon to play more with Allie and hear her munchkin voice and have new conversations with Sadie while I hold her.  Luz you both. xoxo

To see Melanie and Ryan’s maternity/family session, click here.

Ester - I LOVE that last image, Brooke!!

Katie - I’m with Ester…that last image is perfect.

Brooke Murphy Photography - […] meet Baby Sadie with her family, click here. To see more of Brooke’s work, visit her portfolio. Follow Brooke on Facebook or […]

A Look Into Year 31 | Louisville Lifestyle Photographer

A little more than four months have passed since my birthday.  I have big plans for this year… and even declared it a year of change on my old blog.  Several things have changed for the better, the biggest being re-branding my photography business to Brooke Murphy Photography.  But other ambitions have fallen flat.  I thought I might slink away and not bring them up, but omitting tarnished commitments seems a bit naughty to me.  Especially the one that involved peer pressure and monetary commitment.  Thus an update.

I had such optimism in February to kick-start a healthy lifestyle.  A friend had convinced me to begin running with her, said that if she could do it, I could do it too.  And I still don’t doubt those words.  But I am me and the way this has shaken out doesn’t surprise me at all.  I’m more predictable than I’d like to be.

After purchasing good running shoes and joining the YMCA, my butt was in gear and it felt great!  I went to the gym three to four times a week, worked the treadmill, attended classes and even started strength training.  But then my schedule started getting muddled with working longer hours at my day job and my photography business picking up with the warmer weather.  Those two things cramped my style.

I’d leave work later, go to the gym and stay for at least an hour, get home and shower, eat at 8pm, work in photoshop or write blogs until 11pm (or later) and then not be able to fall asleep because I ate so late.   And then I’d get back up early again the next day only to try to squeeze everything I needed wanted to do into a 24-hour period.  I like to stay busy but I don’t like to feel worn down – and my body was telling me to slow things down.  I was constantly tired, couldn’t concentrate and then began to worry about it all.  So of course the gym, being the easiest thing to forgo, got put on the back burner.

The other let down to my healthy lifestyle commitment was that I wanted to watch what I ate.  I found that when I worked out though, I’d shove anything within an arm’s reach into my face.  I was hungry all the time.  And I didn’t make good choices.  So even while I was sweating it out at the gym, I didn’t see any results.  My measurements had shrunk some, but not how I had hoped and no weight fell off.  I was completely disappointed and I know it’s all my fault.

I ended up canceling my membership at the YMCA last month (and I felt so guilty doing it), but since then it’s really felt like a weight has been lifted.  And it’s cleared my mind to let me refocus on a myself, including that healthier lifestyle, and get back into the swing of things.  I’ve made mental notes on my food intake and have seen a difference in the way I feel.  I’ve been lifting small weights and taking vitamins every morning.  I’ve made time to relax with Mike and just veg out every now and then.  And I’ve caught up on sleep which is a gift in and of itself.  (I may have slept 27 hours in a 48 hour period last weekend.)

The take away from all of this is that even though I didn’t complete the goal I had set, I’m still making progress; I’m just going about it differently.  (Case in point is why I don’t make New Year resolutions.)  I am bummed how my follow through to commitments I make for myself are almost always failures, but at the same time if I’m still happy and content, does it really matter?  I’m going with “probably not.” :)

katie - My theory is do what you need to do, just remember to rest somewhere in the middle of it all. Otherwise you’ll drive yourself crazy and wear yourself out. But what I really wanted to talk about was that perfect line in the right photo. The depth of field is fantastic and you nailed a shot I’ve been dying to try.

rachel corbett - I have always been into fitness and I try my best to eat right – us women tend to have weak spots for sweets!!
Last year, I had major back issues and I couldn’t work out. Even walking seemed to hurt. It drove me nuts not being able to work out. And I didn’t help things by eating as much comfort food as possible since I also didn’t feel well…and well we all know why it is called comfort food.
Now I have gotten the all clear from my doctor. My back feels 100x better. but I know I got to ease back into it.
Long story short – my advice to everyone – start out slow and come up with short term goals. the biggest reason a lot of people end up “failing” when it comes to fitness and diet is they make these unattainable goals. Do what works for you. and never ever feel like a failure. Just because you couldn’t get to the gym today or ate a cookie, it is ok. Just keep at it.
Oh and by the way, you should check out It will definitely kick your ass, but the workouts are usually around 15 minutes long. That way you can still manage to fit a workout in even with a busy schedule.
Go Brooke!