I had an identity crisis. Yep, you read that correctly! To be more specific, I had a brand identity crisis. Four years into this little business of mine I started realizing that my brand wasn’t feeling quite like me anymore. It seemed lackluster, it didn’t represent my aesthetic, and it wasn’t portraying my passion or enthusiasm. On top of all that, I felt a deep, almost inexplicable, calling to serve and connect with my clients in a more meaningful way. So, for the past several months, I have been refining my brand and process in hopes to resolve this identity crisis and better address the needs of my clients.
My relaunch is comprised of four phases: 1) new branding 2) an enhanced client experience 3) an expanded product line and 4) a new session offering!
Let’s delve in.
I started working with Amanda, of Leighwood Design Studio, last April. I sought out her expertise wanting to create a comprehensive visual brand identity including logos, submarks, brand colors, business cards, even stationary! I wanted my brand design to compliment my style of photography, communicate a bit about myself, provide an aesthetically pleasing experience, and serve as a way to tie all my posts, web pages, and other materials together.
I knew from the get-go that I wanted to somehow incorporate vintage botanical prints and that the colors used throughout should be muted, neutral tones. But that is about all I knew; this is where Amanda’s guidance came into play. She encouraged me to brainstorm and throw all the ideas for my brand together for her to sort through. This was a huge relief to me because, I’ll be honest, I’m something of a perfectionist and narrowing all of that down would have taken me ages. Truly, if it were left up to me I would have spent half a year just deciding which color grey would work best. Thank heavens I had the sense to hire Amanda; she nailed it!
Check out this style guide. I love it so much that I printed it out and inserted it into my planner so I see it every day.
Suffice it to say, I am a very happy camper! My new brand design is far better than I ever could have imagined! Seeing the vintage botanicals so thoughtfully brought into the design is especially remarkable to me. The vintage botanical prints are inspired by my late grandfather who, along with my grandmother, always had them framed beautifully and displayed in their homes. These works of art are always something I will associate with him and, seeing as my grandfather is such a source of inspiration to me, I wanted his touch to be apparent in my life and business. He doesn’t get to see for himself what I am up to these days but he sure has an influence!
Amanda went on to design stationary and business cards using the branding she created. How beautiful are these!?
To read all about the design process for Amelia Hearne Photography from Amanda’s point of view, head over to her blog!
After all that, it was my turn to put Amanda’s designs to good use on my website. I wanted my new website not only to display my photography and branding beautifully but also to be be something of a hub for my clients and those considering me as their photographer. I set out to create an interactive site that would offer all the necessary information and insight into my work as well as some perks! I am especially excited about the senior location quiz (scroll to the bottom of the senior gallery page) that, based on the answers selected, will offer some suggestions to seniors to help them nail down the perfect location for their session!
I have more fun additions set to roll out in the coming months and am very eager to start getting feedback from the first visitors to my new site! I would love to hear your thoughts, comment at the end of this post or send me an email!
I didn’t stop at just enhancing the visual identity of my brand. I wanted to go far deeper than that so I set out to refine the experience I offer. My client experience prior to this identity crisis was fine, but not spectacular-and you deserve spectacular! I want you to feel at ease, totally attended to, and worry free. This meant I needed to streamline the entire process. I now set each client up with a portal where you can access all of the information pertinent to the session including client packets, session information, questionnaires, invoices, the works! All. In. One. Place. No need to go searching through inboxes or folders of documents, it all has a home in the client portal.
Hair and Makeup Styling
When considering what other issues I could alleviate for clients, I realized that those of you who opt to get your hair and makeup styled for a session have some obstacles to overcome. You would need to find a salon, book an appointment based on the time of the photo session, get dressed prior to the service or bring a change of clothes, drive to the appointment, then drive to the session all along hoping your freshly styled makeup and hair would last. As you can imagine (or, perhaps, as you know from experience) that is a lot to coordinate. I have eliminated the need for you to deal with that hassle. I now partner with Nory Beebe, a hair and makeup stylist, who travels to your home for the styling service and then accompanies us to the session so she can make adjustments as needed throughout. The good? You’ll end up with seriously stunning hair and makeup! The better? I coordinate the entire thing! There isn’t anything to stress about and no schedules to keep track of, just let me do the legwork! The best? It gives everyone the chance to get to know each other and become comfortable before I even pull out my camera!
Nory and I have worked together on several photoshoots thus far with outstanding results. Most recently, Nory styled Danielle (pictured on the right) prior to her senior session. To see more of Nory, check her out on Instagram!
My clients are thoughtful, passionate, and fun people who I genuinely LOVE to be around; so, why would I limit our in-person interaction to just the day of the photo shoot? Limiting the opportunity to connect with my clients started to seem silly to me! I also became more aware of how I could help put the photos you invest time and energy into to good use; after all, treasured portraits aren’t meant to sit on a hard drive collecting virtual dust! Thus, the reveal session was born.
The reveal session takes place a couple weeks after the photoshoot and gives us another opportunity to meet in person. With seasonably appropriate snacks and beverages at hand (hot coco this time of year!) we view a slideshow of the photos. Having now completed several reveal sessions, I can say with certainty that watching my clients view the slideshow of the final photographs is the absolute highlight of the entire process for me. There is usually laughter, lots of “ooh’s” and “ahh’s”, and occasionally even tears (the happiest kind!).
Following the grand reveal, and after everyone has regained their composure, we then plan the best way for the photos to be displayed around the home, as gifts, or featured on custom cards. Which leads me to my next topic-an expanded line of products!
For the last several months I have been working hard to expand and improve the line of products I offer. New finishes have been added to the print selection, a gorgeous, heirloom album with a linen cover and thick pages is available for design using your choice of images, and 4 styles of frames in 9 finishes have been added. I have also expanded the number of custom card designs I offer for occasions including newborn announcements, senior announcements, graduation party invitations, family holiday cards, and save the date cards. Each design will feature your favorite images and can be further customized to suit your aesthetic preferences. These are just some of the additions and I look forward to sharing more of my product expansion with you over the coming months in dedicated blog posts that will feature specific products.
Going through the process of rebranding has sparked my interest in brand photography. Having done some photo work for companies and freelancers in the past, I knew it was something I enjoyed but I didn’t have the passion for it that I do now. It took personally going through a visual overhaul of my own brand to understand just how impactful a beautiful, cohesive visual brand identity can be. And guess what? This not only includes logos, fonts, and website design but also photography! The way individuals and their products or services are shown in photos have a huge influence on the public perception and success of the brand.
They say a photograph is worth a thousand words and I definitely believe this to be the case in regards to brand photography. In one simple photograph a story can be told, a personality conveyed, a mission defined, or an object’s use portrayed. We can all agree imagery is important and plays a huge role in our lives now more than ever in the digital era when people rely on the internet to gather much of their information. You aren’t able to meet everyone face to face for that initial impression; but, you have the opportunity to leave a lasting impact by correctly leveraging your presence online. With my renewed focus on brand photography I hope to help brands do just that.
Lately I have partnered with some brands to help bring their work and passion to life through photography. The images are used to enhance their presence on websites, social media, and in print on marketing materials. Most recently I worked with Amanda, owner and designer for Leighwood Design Studio, to create portraits and product photos that are in line with her brand. You’ll see tons more about this session in the future on the blog when I’ll walk you through the process from inspiration, to planning, to execution, to use of the final images. In the meantime, if all this talk of brand photography has you excited, head over to the website to see more of the work I have done and how photographs in line with your brand can help you excel!
And just like that, my brand identity crisis is resolved. Okay, so maybe not just like that considering this has been in the works since April 2017; but hey, a major overhaul can sometimes take awhile! That said, all the time and energy put into this has been entirely worth it. I am thrilled with my new and improved brand, excited to start working with other brands to elevate their visual identity, and eager to serve and connect with my clients in even more meaningful ways!
Oh, and cheers to 2018! I’m extra happy I got this all ironed out in time to start the new year off right!