for photographers

People's stories are buried deep.

As a storyteller - we are the ones responsible for creating the circumstance where the story will rise to the surface. People's stories are buried deep. You can't expect them to magically show up.

And to be honest with you, this is one of the most crucial steps for me in making these brand films. Once a client and I are on the same page about being a good fit, THAT is the next conversation we have. A conversation about purpose, about our promise to our audience, about what makes you different.  I don't expect my client to tell me all of this - I have to guide them by creating an environment that will bring this out.

So, there we were, sitting in Jocelyn's dining room talking about this very thing. And it was like my filmmaking approach was looking into a MIRROR.  The intimacy and depth behind Jocelyn's design process is beautiful and goes beyond designing a room. I mean, you start to think about the way you want to live your life. THAT kind of depth.

I realized this film needed audio. And "needed" in the sense that I couldn't justly make this film without you hearing what Jocelyn had to say. Which is really funny because if you know me, you know that I try very hard to AVOID incorporating (speaking) audio. I used to see it as a way that people would literally "tell" a story rather than experience it. But during our conversation, my gut immediately told me that this particular message had to be spoken - something that I rarely feel. I love it. I know there is such power in the words that someone has to say and I'm excited to keep finding pockets of these moments where sometimes words are the only way to get to the heart of the story.

I would've never imagined that this initial inquiry from an "interior designer" would evolve into a story like this. A story that strongly rings true to my own theory in brand films. Huge thank you to my girls Alex of AVE Styles and Mary Claire for assisting me and the amazing Promise for sending Jocelyn my way.

"That is the blueprint of my work. It's that someone leaves our conversation knowing more about who they want to be, and how they want to live." Absolutely Jocelyn... absolutely.

Who Are You Talking To

Coming up for air from editing to share some of my notes from a workshop I attended last weekend.

I'm staring at my notebook, jam-packed with my writing and I realize that I have to take it one bite at a time. My favorite talk at the workshop was Guillaume Wolf's on the psychology behind branding. Y'all - my little fingers could barely keep up during his talk!! Ridiculous. I freaking inhale everything that comes to branding. What can I say, it fascinates me. Let's dive in...

W.A.I.T.T. // Who Am I Talking To?

We, as artists, filmmakers, photographers, and designers are communicators. Guillaume described communication design as "communication that creates a precise response in your audience." This is often seen as an emotional response or one of action.

So then, if our content (photo, film, website, whatever) is a MESSAGE - are we treating it that way? Are you seriously asking yourself - "what am I saying with this image?" But most importantly, who am I talking to?!

Because here's the thing, when you have clearly defined WHO it is you're talking to, this can guide everything you share online. If I know the client I want to attract, (almost) every time I am sharing something through my business - I have to ask myself if it aligns with the values and beliefs of that client, because if it doesn't, then I can be confusing them. I will shout this from the rooftops - pay attention to the content you share. Heck, pay attention to the content you create.

We are sending messages. That's the moral of this post. But because we are the creators of this message, we are responsible for knowing who it is we want to listen. So let's start there - with defining our "who." What might help you is asking yourself these questions: what does their lifestyle look like? Your dream client. What do they value?

-- photos of Jocelyn from The Inner Interior // An artist who embodies this very idea. She is a designer who's work is completely guided by meaning and purpose - the heart of the client.

Loving Who You Work With

This film gives me chills. Chills. There are moments when I'm filming and I feel in my gut, this is going to be sick!!! - but I don't say anything out loud because I like to manage expectations and WHAT IF it's NOT like I thought it was going to be?!

Well, this particular weekend in Texas with Amanda Holloway was insane. It was all a whirl wind from her contacting me in December to us filming within 3 weeks later. These clients - y'all - they just are on a different level.

I know. I've said this over and over, but it's because I NEED YOU to see that it's true. It's not about a client fitting your style - it's about a client believing IN your style. Your promise. Sometimes it is an obvious pairing - a dream client - no questions asked. And sometimes it's not. But sometimes - there's a client in the middle - someone that is willing to meet you there if you just verbalize what your promise, your experience, their final product could look like. It is at that point that the client decides that either they love the vision or they hate it and that should decide if you are their artist. That's it.

But please know that this is coming from a journey that included having to say yes to certain free projects and no to certain paid ones. I didn't start my business with dream clients. I started my business with a promise to be true to who I am. And that film right there is why I value who I work with so much. How does it go ... "You will be the best at being you." And there's only one you, right?

Deconstructing a Photo

Let's dig deep into the process of these images of Katie of La Rousse Photo. Like I said before, Katie loves movement as much as I do. I wanted these images to feel like you were swimming in between the movement.

Pre-visualize. Before you start your shoot, ask yourself what type of mood you'd like to establish with your images. If I don't have a message to tell or an emotion to establish, then I'm shooting without intention. When I DO have a message, I am finding ways to TELL YOU this message. I think about how my composition, subject movement, and light are the ways in which I communicate. It can't just be about what's in front of me. 

And behind the layers of creating the photo - before I even pick up the camera - it all starts with your subject. Honestly, what takes time in a business is to draw in the clients that resonate with your style. And I'm not talking about clients with style, I'm talking about clients that simply connect with your work emotionally. They will bring it if they believe in it. If you're not there yet, then start with friends. Take steps towards that direction. If you are consistent, I promise you will get there sooner. If you have a hard time articulating the style, hire a stylist. Alex of AVE Styles was Katie's styling consultant to prep her for her trip from LA.

You're as strong as your team.

And if it's just you (which is completely fine) then at least sit down, before the camera is in your hand, and imagine what those photos of that specific person in that specific environment could look like. Once you're there, don't force anything - but at least you will be mentally prepared to create visuals with a meaning.

Your brand is not defined by a color

Your brand. It is not defined by a color or even your website. But yes, colors and a website should move your brand forward.

Rinse and repeat. Your brand is NOT defined by a color or a site. As you search for the colors you are attracted to, explore the idea of WHY you're attracted to them.

Pink, coral, nudes. Those embody feminine to me. And sometimes you start with colors and it helps you connect the dots, or sometimes you start with the word (i.e. feminine) and ask how that can be translated into color. The point is that your brand should consist of what feelings people associate with you/your business! It is your promise. I want my clients to feel like they are dreaming, that they are empowered, and that I will articulate their style along with the confidence to display it.

And when you finally get to a place where there is clarity to your brand, something amazing happens. You connect with other artists who's work resonate with your brand. They connect to the core of who you are and your collaboration is taken to a level you couldn't have done on your own.  That was this day. Christine Penny and I, Mignonne Handmade, and Angelberry Organics. But not just today, you guys, this past weekend, and this upcoming weekend, and the upcoming months. 

I took FOREVER writing this, but it was because I didn't want to JUST show you a set of photos. I want to help you get closer to this place because it will be so liberating. How? That's what I'm working on. Maybe with questions from others or continuing to share my journey. Either way, let's make it happen.