ideas for branding your photography

Discover who you're meant to be

YES I realize I need to post this shoot, but you know what?  I like swimming in single images for a moment... you get to indulge in them like you wouldn't if they were all posted at once. 

SO.  Let's talk about discovering who you're meant to be.  I LOVE talking about branding and identity. And even when we start to get a grip on our business, don't we always want to dig even deeper to better understand what makes you - you?  The beautiful part of getting to know yourself is that it is constantly evolving.  Constantly.  That means that we hit points where we once again start to question ourselves.  Seriously?! How confusing! 

Let's dig deep.  In order to build your brand successfully, you must build it on the truth and on your true experiences.  So how do you break down your true stories, experiences, and life changing events? By answering these questions from Chris Hilicki's book.  Seriously, answer these!

- What were the life changing events in my life? 

- What are some things in my life that occur over and over?

- What are the most important values in my life and where'd they come from?

- Where were you born and raised? Did your mother work inside or outside the home?

- Did you ever play make believe? Wore costumes? Did you pick it or did someone else?

- Did you ever win a prize? What for? How did it make you feel to get attention?

I'll stop there for a moment, because that last question immediately sent me back to 6th grade.  I was in a typing competition -- that's right, y'all think y'all know me, oh there is some nerdinesss up in here -- and I was competing against a lot of schools in the district.  Well, they started to announce the first place winner and... they said my name! My mom jumped out of her chair and started rooting and clapping.  I was so embarrassed that I even yelled "shhh!!" as I made my way to the stage, blushing profusely.  She got upset that I was embarrassed and said she was allowed to be loud over this because she was proud.

As I'm reading this section in the book and get to this question, I begin replaying my typing-championship-loud-mom moment and I realized something.  Growing up, I h-a-t-e-d attention.  There's a lot of reasons why I hated it, but I distinctly remember how much I did not want to be noticed.  And here's the irony of it all:  God made me to be noticed.  And I'm not strictly referring to being born with blonde hair and Spanish being my first language.  What I mean by this is that I have ALWAYS loved being different.  I love to tell stories and grab people's attention by making them feel something.  I usually over-dress, so I remember before walking out of my door I would take off some earrings in fear of standing out for being over dressed.  This way I could blend in.

Well, I got sick of blending in.  And let's admit it, I'm not even this crazy, over the top person -- but in my head, whenever I would completely let go and be me -- sometimes I WOULD feel like an "over the top" person.  Why?  Because I was self-conscious of it so it was magnified in my head.  Then I started realizing how good it felt to allow myself to be me.  Sounds silly, but don't we all struggle with this sometimes?  

How does this translate to my business?  By realizing that I, as a person and business owner, highly value helping people identify and EMBRACE who they are.  This affirmed that the future of my business wouldn't just be about photography, but about branding and identity.  It is my strong desire to help artists identify their strengths, to inspire women to have self love through this journey of branding and styling.  Do you know how this has transformed the purpose of my business?!  Just the fact that I have a purpose is fulfilling.  I am working with intention now.

Chris Hilicki, a branding expert, after answering those questions, she realized this: "For most of my life, I created success because I had developed a special ability to make others feel important."  Your past "must not control you but simply give you value, uniqueness, and clues to define your authentic self."

Your homework from Chris: Determine what's important to you based on your stories -- this will reveal your values and beliefs.  Translate these values into a corresponding look, sound, and feel that no one else can copy because it's your story.

p.s. I would honestly love to hear how YOU reacted to attention growing up.  Did you hate it? Crave it? Why? Just curious :)

Been thinking a lot about...

(images aside from my photo found here)

Like. A lot.

Have you created a Pinterest board specifically for your business brand? As I'm making changes, I'm literally flipping back and forth between my design and my board. Try it if you haven't. Here's mine. Pin ONLY what you do not hesitate to say "that is absolutely me."

So yeah, when you see coral -- think of me. Cause this color is taking over my miiiiind!

p.s. Getting a hair cut today! Want to clean up my bangs to more of a side-swoop. And if I dare, possibly chop the length. I might start slow first and just get a few inches. Who knows ;)

Ideas for Branding Your Photography



How cool is that cork ball chandelier?! Guess where it's from.

Anthropologie
.

Not surprised, huh? I took that photo in Vegas, admiring the brilliance of the Anthropologie branding. I mean, people make photoshoots inspired off of this store, they design cards and stationary with Anthropologie as the driving force.

I bet if you asked 10 regular Anthropologie shoppers to choose 3 words to describe the store -- over half would have very similar descriptions. Why? Because their branding is consistent.

I decided to venture into a small project in furthering my photography brand. My packages. I needed more than a burned CD and delivered prints. I wanted my clients to see me in my delivery and not just my photos.

So I went shopping...



Without a plan, really. Armed with just a sticky note with 4 stores I scribbled down, I decided to just wing it. I ended up buying the following at Michaels and one of the BEST paper boutiques I've ever gone to: Mystic Paper.



Ugh, talk about overwhelming. I think graphic designers - or designers in general - have the HARDEST time designing for themselves. My mind thinks about a million directions and styles and "just winging it" is the dumbest plan.

Fortunately, I stuck to a color scheme (coral -- who is surprised?!) and forced myself to only buy "embellishments." I loooved Mystic Paper, but it would be so easy to turn my branding from Imaginale to Old Lady Scrapbooking if I wasn't careful with my purchases. Talk about paisley overload.



I got the greeting cards at Michaels and I loved how they had an opening on the front cover. I used the stickers I bought for my client's initials. They were typewriter stickers which is consistent with the way I label their names on the photos.



See?



Then I cut one of the flowers from the ribbon and played around with a leaf embellishment..



I also purchased a label maker for my CD's and carried out the same style. Typewriter font + my logo (in coral). I love combining modern lines with curves -- resembles my love of mixing fashion with feminine details.




And look! NOT planned at all, but their names on the CD fit perfectly behind the slot of the card!



I decided to move the flower and leaf on the envelope cover instead of the card cover so it wouldn't be squished inside. Then I wrapped the striped twine around and I was in love!!



I taped the ribbon with my special tape..



...and finished it off with a vintage stamp sticker.



Yes. That's what I was looking for.

Mind you, this is only a start. Obviously my goal is to continue developing and expanding my branding, but more than anything -- to be consistent. For people to know when it's my work and take home my love of detail.

Now, the challenge is going to be what I do when I have a male model or male high school senior. Clearly he will probably not enjoy a pretty little flower on his package ;) Or you know, maybe he will? :D

What steps have you taken to ignite your branding?