Last night I had an experience that gave me pause and pushed me to think about the way I have been approaching my business, my photography, and my life. I know that sounds dramatic, but it’s true. I attended a Light It Up event, a series of workshops presented by local photographers to bring education to our community of photographers. This event was lead by Sara and Rocky Garza of Sara and Rocky Photography and was a discussion on branding. Branding is a word that gets thrown around a lot in the photography world and when most people use it they’re referring to their colors, logo, and website design, and their packaging and marketing materials. Sara and Rocky define this as something much more broad and deep than this. Your brand is something that is intertwined with YOU and could very easily tell the story of who you are, what you enjoy, and how you live your life. So, your brand and your business are part of your way of life and represent you and who you are at your core.
The reason this gave me pause is because it struck a chord in me that felt so true and authentic. I love what I do and I love people, but I somehow got so fixated on creating a pretty picture or, to be honest, a photo that other people would think is pretty, that I lost sight of who I am what I bring to the table that makes me unique, gives my clients a unique experience and allows me to see the world, and capture it, the way no one else will. I lost sight of what is deeply important to me, the relationship I have with my clients, and the relationships they have with each other.
Before becoming a photographer, I was a Marriage and Family Therapist. My specialty was working with couples and I loved being in a room with a couple who were being real with each other, opening up, accessing their emotions and sharing them and genuinely connecting. Why I have not used this in my work as a photographer is beyond me, but hearing Rocky speak last night, I realized how important this is to me and how much I desire to bring that back into my life and to my clients. Obviously my photography clients are having a different experience of each other than my therapy clients were, but isn’t being authentic and genuinely connecting with those around you something we all want and something that solidifies all relationships? And for me, a photo of a couple genuinely in the moment with each other and sharing a love that is so deep is much more beautiful than a photo of people putting on a show for my camera.
You may be asking what this has to do with branding. Well, for me, realizing what I want from the images I capture and what experience I want for myself and my clients has everything to do with where my brand will go from here. I want my clients to have a genuine experience, to have a chance to slow down from their wedding planning and arrangements and truly experience their love for each other and have it captured for them. I want for my clients to have an intimate experience and to have their connection to each other and their families be of utmost importance.
My business is very much a part of my life and I need it to be something that is an extension of my values and reflects what is important to me and hopefully to my clients. I am excited about this new realization and newfound inspiration and I know there are many more complexities to this than just what I’ve laid out here, but I am excited about the road ahead. I hope that me sharing this will inspire someone else to reach deep and think about what is important to them and help them to be more truly themselves and bring that to others.