It's launch day. Today the new website is live and ready to go. It's a whole new look, from the ground up. After 10 days of full recluse mode, 16 hour days, countless hours of retouching, printing and ordering, emails with my designer Hannah Coward (still a work in progress), advice from mentors, I'm finally emerging with something that feels right.
The first question that comes to mind for myself is "Why the hell would I do that to myself?". With my move to NYC came a shift in my work that made me feel like it's time for an update. There was an incongruence with my work and my branding. Not that it was bad or wrong, just evolving as we all do (if we are doing it right). My favorite trick learned from my mentor is to order a 4x6 of every print you would even consider using in your portfolio and spread it all out on the floor. Start looking for patterns emerging in color, composition, pairings that go well together. Every time you arrive at something that seems to strike with you, take a photo and keep playing.
Once I had everything in place, I ran it by some trusted creatives whom I know excel at this stuff. I cannot EMPHASIZE enough how important it is to have people in your life that know your work very well and can watch you evolve. Preferably people in the industry or people that hire photographers, grandma won't cut it, unless you come from a long lineage of successful commercial artists, then, my apologies to your famous grandma for assuming.These are people I can trust are giving me honest feedback and not just a pat on the back. Remember that time you got a great pat on the back for your work and you were like, "Oh I know what I can do better!" Nope, because it never happens. For growth we have to be able to objectively see what others see in our work and adjust if it's honest feedback that is in line with our vision .
Printed portfolios: call me old fashioned but this is still a must! Enter House of Portfolios in Manhattan. They gentlemen working the day I went in were very helpful in walking me through what I can expect from a finished book, pricing, and they even let me dig around in the fabric room by myself for an hour.
Next up, tackling a new logo. This is possibly one of the most important things you can do for your brand. It's on EVERYTHING. It's often the first impression. I built reached out to a designer in my network, presented her with a mood board and creative brief outlining my values as an artist, how I would describe my work, and a Pinterest board of things that I feel accurately represent where I am/where I want to be as a photographer. I pulled architecture that I really liked, design aesthetics, colors, fonts, and some photography that wasn't mine. After one round of designing, we came up short on my initial vision and then I started researching other photography brands and realized that most photographers put very little effort into branding, which was pretty discouraging.
BUT, I truly believe that as commercial artists, we are companies and brands just as much as our clients and we need to present ourselves the same way. Remember that; you are a business. Armed with that info, I'm going back to my designer and we are going to talk about how to proceed. I will definitely be making follow ups as we progress through the process.
More to come as the book is made, promos are designed, and branding is finalized.
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