How to Define Your Style and Brand
I've introduced myself a little bit first I'm a photographer and educator on living in l a just south of l a outside of the craziness on gay weddings and editorial work on but what I did was awesome in school job on outside of photography, I love nature campaign climbing, run around the wilderness, all that kind of stuff s o I actually pulled a couple of pictures from my phone, so you guys and get to know me a little bit better before we dig into everything. I'm a fan of friendliness, so we'll get friendly for a little bit so it's, my awesome wife and I on we were at the eagle river at a wedding a little while ago, I just want to show she's pretty on she's, the one on the right, she's not the bearded one just to clear that up. Thankfully, there, next up is my wife and kaya, one of our rescue cats. Um, so I'm probably more of a cat lady than most actual cat ladies, eh? So that's, why I'm showing some of these photos just taken gonna get to know that a little bit better and now you belie...
ve, russ, I haven't unmanly love for cats on, so this is our little, graceful model cat are my other cat is not quite as graceful on that's her this is what my friday nights look like, this's, what we do, we stack things on my cat said so in case he thought it was a cool guy now, you know, I'm not charge for life is not as glamorous as you think it is. Um, so in case you still think I'm cool, this is me face timing with my cat while I was in mexico, she missed me, so I had to do it. Um, but whenever you see me shooting cool things in cool places, this is what I'm really doing behind the scenes post the like cool photos on instagram and then that's what's really happening in the hotel room later on, but I think that's enough of that for now, so let's, go back into what I'm going to talk about. I'm basically talking about defining your style, your photographic style and building a brand around that s o talk about developing a style that's recognizable and consistent on I'll talk about fostering progression in that style, which will keep you from becoming stale on. But if you could become stale, you're not enjoying your work in your clients are enjoying your work either, eh, so obviously you want to be able to push out style along. On that we'll talk a little bit about building a brand that best represents your style and brings out the best in it as I go along each section is kind of broken down so I'll give you some homework afterwards that we have some kind of tangible ways to move forward with it on as we go along obviously if you guys have any questions online or in here right him down because I would love to hear them and we'll have plenty of time for it so let's go ahead and talk about what his style is s o if you have ever taken a picture and showing it to somebody whether it was on like my space thirty years ago or whenever that was or if you took a picture on your phone showed it to somebody that's all part of your style that all plays into it any time you show an image that now goes into your style because people recognize that as your work your style might not be as refined as you want it to be yet but it's still there essentially your style is a culmination of every image that you decide to show on something that's super important to knows your style isn't made up of what you shoot it's made up of what you show and that's a huge difference I promise I've shown our shot plenty of things that I would never dare to show um and if you've seen those things, I'm sorry, don't judge me. It was a while ago, but you were the one that gets to decide what your style is. I'm just because used to shoot certain things doesn't mean you have to put them on your web site. You can kind of find it a little bit more into what you want to be shooting more of on that selected if selective ness is kind of what narrows down your style into what it is. So if you think about it, like a chef who owns a restaurant, he knows howto cook plenty of things, but he's not going to put everything he knows how to cook on the menu, you might know how to make toast, but he doesn't want to make toast for a living, so he's not going to put it on this menu. Um, and if he owns an italian restaurant, he's not gonna poke a city is on the menu because it just doesn't make sense. Um, essentially, your portfolio is your menu, so you're the one that controls what goes on it and what your clients are seeing that you offer. I'm just cause you know how to shoot a certain genre or certain look doesn't mean that you have to put that on your menu, um, so next up, the more you control what your audience sees, the more defined your style becomes. This is something that's super important. What will dig into it a little bit more later on on the first, I want talk a little bit more about how to develop a style, because this is a question I get asked all the time on facebook or, you know, I always get message that just says like, hey, you ever really well developed style, how you get there? I'm kind of struggling, I'm gonna run. I feel like I'm going this way and that way, it's a super good question I struggle in the beginning. I think everybody does with that. The first thing you need to know is you cannot force it. You can't force the style, I promise. I've tried, it just doesn't work, whatever you do, try to force just won't stick. I see so many photographers and I did it to try to mimic a very specific style in industry, I'm just finding out that, like maybe two or three years later, just not is working for them anymore because they're not inspired by it. They're getting burned out on it because it's not something unique to them it's something that they saw, and they tried to mimic exactly that. S o when I started there were a couple of photographers I kind of tried to emulate one of them was benched fish which if you know him you know his work is awesome on another was nikon can you also has awesome work on day each had two aspects of their work that just really loved and I tried to mimic that and after a little bit trying to mimic it I realized that you know, I really love their work but when I tried to shoot exactly like they did and try to end exactly like they did, it just wasn't as inspiring to me and that makes sense because they're unique people and so my and we're not inspired by the same things um and yesterday in the panel I was speaking out here peter hurley mentioned you mentioned in relation of sailing but he mentioned kind of seeing what the greats are doing well on dh mimicking that but then taking that making it your own which is totally true we all do that we kind of look up to the greats and see what they're really succeeding on how they're succeeding at it but then once we kind of see that and understand that our purpose is to kind of create on our own and go on our own path because otherwise we're just going toe even if we do mimic exactly and get to exactly where they are we'll be we'll be right here and we'll be right there next to him instead of being like totally over here and something that's totally uniquely us, which I think is something that's super important s o the best advice that I can give um to kind of define your style is to shoot what inspires you and your style will develop naturally that's something I'm always telling people to just shoot what inspires them otherwise you're just going to get stuck later on and then you'll have to change it three or four years down the road and you would have lost those three years that you kind of mimic someone else um and I know a lot of people think how can I make money now, which is understandable because they have to pay rent photography is not really an easy thing to get into um so even me when I started out I thought I need to figure out a style that can make me money so I can continue to do this. But it's this is not a job of money and it's not it's not really a job of success although obviously every job is a job of success and you can't make mine you can be successful but this is a job of passion where artists were not business people we need to be good business people that ultimately we're here because we like creating art so find something you're passionate about and create that don't create something that's more lucrative don't create something that will get you appear and social media or appear on some awards ceremony, create something that you enjoy creating because you're going to be better at that than anything else that you could possibly think about trying to create your own. Be better at something you enjoy creating, so if you are she shooting, what inspires you will be creating your best work will love what you do, and you'll be improving faster than you would be if you were trying anything else. If you're not shooting, what inspires you? You won't be proud of your work, and you're going to start to find your job pretty tedious because you're gonna be shooting something over and over again that you just don't enjoy nobody likes you that's like doing dishes or laundry is just not fun on then again and like three or four years, but now it's going to set and you're gonna have to move on to something else anyway, so you might as well start at the beginning. Just shooting. What inspires you? Um, so let's talk a little bit about inspiration as well, because one thing I notice a lot is that people don't know how to look at inspiration. Properly as if there's a proper way to look at it people don't know how to get the most out of it is what I should be saying one thing that I always tell people is to never accept inspiration at face value there's a lot more than you can dig into for example, if you see an image that you really love there's a lot more that you can kind of dig into it, you don't have to just see the image and say ok, I'm inspired by that and then put it on your inspiration while we believe that that um on I always heard the term that all artists steal um and I never really wanted to believe I want to believe I'm unique and I create only original things and I don't look at anybody else but that's not true like if I watch a movie now I've been inspired by that movie that's something I've seen visually so that might come into my work it might not but it's all something that I have seen it has passed through my eyes and now now that's something that if I saw like a color grading in that movie that I really love that might incorporate it into my work a little bit and that's ok that's important to know that they don't copy um they take little pieces of inspiration and kind of work it into their own um and back tio not accepting at face value on instead of just looking on image and saying this image is great I love it okay that's it breakdown an image and to everything its made of so for example like this image right up here I might really love the bouquet and nothing else I might really love her pose I might really love the location I might love the color grading the smile, the expression whatever it is in the image find out exactly what it is whether it's the mood, the editing, the lighting breakdown each image into aspects of what it is that way you can kind of move forward and know what it is that really inspires you and what it is that you want to be creating more off. So if I obviously you can see I like soft light and that's something that I've always always been inspired by an image is so whenever I see that I recognized that very easily and I say I love soft lighting that's a great image and that's kind of something that I've mimicked in my style um so what's going to next week this is something that's super important your style will not develop overnight, so don't be discouraged when it takes time um when I graduated high school, my yearbook teacher gave me an old film camera and that's actually how I got into photography andi I went out I think that same week actually and started shooting some like random high school high school or things on I was like man, I'm going to be great right away this is going to be awesome and then I got that film back and I was like, ok, nevermind it turns out I'm not great I expected to just, like have great pictures right off the bat and apparently that's not how photography works andi I learned that so I kind of stopped for a little while on a stop shooting I kind of kept it as a hobby about didn't really pursue it at all after that, but like three or four years down the road I met someone who was basically my age and shooting full time they were awesome what they were doing so I kind of picked it up again, but once I started shooting again um I kind of became a collector of inspiration I had like two or three drawers full of magazine pages that I torn out put in there my desktop even still if you could see my desktop right now, it's just like screenshots of images all over the place on my desktop andi I just always collected inspiration andi wasn't just inspiration, it was kind of hope because I saw all these great artists creating beautiful things and I wanted so much to be a part of that I wanted to be like, one of the great to be here, and then maybe right next to him, creating awesome things as well, they're essentially showing me what I could be making, and I just didn't have the talent yet to make it on debt was pretty frustrating. I wanted to be there, I wanted to be right up there, but I just kind of yet because my talent wasn't there on the talent just takes time on there's, a really good video by ira glass called the gap, which you guys should look up. Russ is an honest head over here, and I remember the first time I saw it, and I was just like, yeah, yeah, yeah, some of the video is called the gap, so please go watch it. I can't show it for legal reasons on creative live, which is cool, but essentially talks about the gap between your taste and your talent. So if your taste is way up here like the images you want to be making, you know how good they will. They're going to be there right here, your talents still down here, you have to fill in that gap with a lot of hard work to be able to match your taste and your talent, but that will come. They say that I think it's ten thousand hours is how long it takes the master something, eh? So you can't just expect to be greater something right away. You have to put in that time to be able to actually get your work where it should be, where you want it to be. And the good news here is that all the greats started just like we did. They started maybe with an old pathetic little film camera and terrible images, I can out of their first time, um and that's how everybody starts even annually, woods had to start somewhere she had to learn how to press the shutter button and learn what I s I wasn't all that, so you had to develop a style everyone has to do is just part of the process on the bad news is it doesn't happen overnight, so it just takes that time that you have to put in some next up. Um, I like to break down photographic styles into two different aspects. Um, one of them is the emotional style, and one of them is the visual style, and they're both very unique things, but they obviously worked together thie emotional style is made up of the moods that come across in your work, um so in these images there's there's a mood there, it's. Not something it's, not something you break down and see how I shot it or anything like that is just the initial feeling that you get when you look at an image or what you feel like, the mood is and the image that's, that's, your emotional style, your visual style is made up of the tangible visual patterns that you can see in your work, and we'll break this down in a sec. But I always suggests that everyone knows at least two or three things that make up each part of that style. So for my emotional style, I should know two or three moves that kind of fit in there for my visual style. I should know two or three things that make up that those visual patterns. So for my emotional style, minus fun and intimate, everything that I shoot well, everything I show falls into those categories. So for weddings, obviously hot and lifestyle work, I have a lot of smiles, happy moments, a lot of laughter, all that kind of stuff for the fun side and then for the intimate side. Obviously, I have the software kind of feelings, but for me, intimate is more about the human connection, it's more about the realists and, um and part of that comes through with how I pose people oppose them naturally, I make sure that they're comfortable with media, so it doesn't feel stiff and cheesy, but part of that also comes along and the way I produce my images, they're not overly lit, they're not overly edited there's very clean and simple, which plays into the real nous of the image on dh has that human connection instead of a super glossy magazine ad with like crazy wardrobe in hair and makeup and lighting, you're not going to have that human connection to it because it feels more of an advertisement or something that was more produced eso that's my emotional style is fun and intimate my visual style is made up of a couple things I have four things that I recognize in mind the first is the environment um I obviously love nature everything I shoot is natural has earth tones like even this one up in the middle in the top has would it's a building but it's all made of wood. Even the wardrobe I choose all has earth tones in a knot plays a lot into what I do as a person plays a lot into my style is just what I'm inspired by andi if I was to shoot something else like a hotel ballroom, I might not show it because it doesn't really play into that visual style and it's not something I want to be shooting more yeah even though it's a studio image the like the texture and the material that the closer made of gives that earthy field test so that that sounds consistent even when you're not outside when you're not on location here in a studio but yeah that's something even because I recently started playing a bit more shooting studio and background stuff and all of my background is all our thumbs all blues and and brown's everything like that just cause that's what I love s oh that's the first one is the environment the second one is the light obviously I shoot in all soft light on that's pretty clear I'm just not a huge fan of harsh light from my work I love it for other people's but not mine but the way I do that is I either always shoot in the shade or I always shoot backlit it's that simple um and also wear a white shirt so light bounces off of me into their faces to brighten up a little bit but that's about um it's in the shade or backlit so this image up in the top corner you can see his back lit next one's in the shade next one's in the shade of ah sailboat sale next one's backlit that one in the middle has indirect light coming in from a window so there's never any harsh light on my subjects that's something that has kind of become one of those visual patterns in my work. Next up is the camera settings, and this is something that I used to not really focus on, but I just realized became a pattern I love shooting shallow depth of field. Obviously I love drawing, not like, really close focus into whatever I want my subject to be. S o because of that, I'm almost always shooting at one point eight for almost everything except for weddings, for the group shots, but pretty much everything else. I'll have it on one point eight or to almost all the time, and that kind of mimics that soft light as well, because it softens the image a little bit, um, and has become a very recognizable visual pattern in my work. S o became part of my visual style on the other settings don't matter as much I esso shutter speed, all that obviously changes, but the aperture is what usually stays the same on last up is my editing. Obviously, editing is something that should be super consistent. I always preached that to people it needs to be consistent, especially if you're working for weddings because brides going to be able to trust what they're going to get from you, you can't be all over the place. It'll be really hard to get hired that way in the wedding industry and other industries it's a little bit more acceptable that weddings it's kind of tough um, so the reason I think it's so important to have such a solid idea of what your styles are made of, but the emotional and the visual eyes because that will help you be consistent if you don't know why you're consistent, you're not going to be consistent, but I know I know what my moods are. No, my lighting is I know my environment is I know what defines me as a photographer, so that helps maybe a lot more consistent than that would be otherwise on and also help you push your style forward whenever you want to experiment a little bit more, which we'll talk about later s o consistency creates trust and trust creates easy clients. Um, this is something that I realized, like maybe three or four years, and I wasn't super consistent before this, um, but kind of revamped my portfolio took out a lot of things that weren't consistent with what I wanted to be shooting a mme, and once I did that, I had a much easier time with a lot of us aspects of my work um, so clients will be easier to book because they know what they're going to get from you. S o the book you faster? There won't be more, more of that e mailing back and forth, trying to figure out and get to know you and all that they'll just see your work don't know exactly what they're going to get, and they're going to love it or not love it, so if they don't love it, they don't hire you and that's, okay? They're also easier to shoot because they trust you and they trust exactly how you shoot, they don't have to direct you any more, your style align with theirs or it won't. And if the lines with you with there's a book you and trust you so I do portfolio reviews a lot with photographers, and one thing I realize is that a lot of photographers will have, like two or three different styles going on in their portfolio, and they're all very recognizable. If you separate them out, they'll have, like style, one style to in style three on I always tell them to kind of narrow that down into one, because if you have two styles going on in your portfolio, your potential clients will see that and they won't know what they're going to get so there's two possible outcomes, either they don't book you because I don't know what they're going to get. They don't know what they'll end up with or they will book you, but they'll feel the need to direct you more, which isn't fun. We've all had clients that kind of say, hey, I really like this, and I want you to pose me like this, and I don't like this, andi, it kind of sucks, it's just not fun to shoot that way. Um, so we don't that neither of those air really ideal options if you only have one style in your portfolio, if they book you it's because they trust you and they know what they're going to get that they don't book you it's because you're just not their style and that's okay, we don't want to be working with clients that don't really fit our style anyways, um, so another question that I get asked a lot is about specialising if you should be an expert or if you should kind of branch out and cast a really big net. So what I always say to people is if you had to have your hair colored, so obviously I don't think I'm gonna have to tell what color my hair it all, but if I decide to do that I know you know about you're shaking your head over here if I had to worry about that. What I rather go to someone who cuts hair and does make up and colors there or what I just go to someone who they're full time thing is coloring here obviously I would trust somebody who just colors hair more than someone who does all of the above so that brings us to the next point which is being expert not a jack of all trades on and I use the casting a big night reference reference I'm not a fisherman I don't know why I use that reference but it works I have a lot of people that kind of talk about this and I always say or they always say that rather just kind of throw a big net and catch a lot of clients um but you're just going to get a bunch of random clients if you do that you're going to be all over the place in your work your day today is going to look crazy you're going to be shooting newborn stuff portrait staff wedding stuff on do you might have different styles going on within that which is kind of dogs down your mind and you can't really focus as much on one thing so instead of a casting and that use a lower you something that's very specific for the targeted um targeted bride or targeted whatever that you are trying to attract um so three years ago my portfolio looked entirely different and then what it does, I had a bunch of filler images and there that were just in there because I thought I shouldn't have only fifty images direction I have only one hundred or whatever it wass I thought I needed to put some more stuff in there that way brides know that I'm working a lot and that I'm busy and all of that, but the truth is those hillary, which is I just didn't really like there weren't my favorite and that's why they were filler, I just kind of put him in the middle of two great images, which now, looking back on it means what my bride saw was great image, great image and and then great image again, essentially we're only a strong as our weakest image because when no brides he's a weak image that that's what can stick in their head as if this guy is on his worst day that's what I'm going to get so I don't include those filler images anymore. I'd much rather have a very small portfolio, even if it's like five images, I'd rather have that than twenty images where most of them are just kind of um, so what? The things I took out a lot of them are things like hotel ballroom weddings, city wedding stuff like that that I don't really enjoy shooting I don't enjoy shooting in the city because I want nature that's what inspires me so I'm not going to put this any weddings in there because that's not the bride that I want so what I do is I narrow down everything took out a lot of the work and just kind of showed exactly this work that I wanted to be showing on because of that clients tended to look me quicker because if they were having a natural outdoor wedding with a lot of like you d I y stuff and the kind of stuff that I'm showing there like oh man this guy is perfect at that instead of looking at my web site and seeing one of those weddings and then a city wedding and like new york or something that totally doesn't relate to that bride at all eh so I took that stuff out and now I only show what I want to shoot that doesn't mean that I don't get brides that have city weddings I still do that but I don't I don't show it at all because that's not it's just not part of my style s o next up at the end of this section is homework I told you I'd give you tangible things so first thing is pick ten of your favorite images and figure out what the common thread is um and originally I meant this as ten of your own images but I think that it's actually super helpful to do both to take ten of your all time favorites and ten images that, um, our favorites of years, and figure out what that common threat is just they can kind of understand what your most inspired by, even if it's just one specific thing, an image, even if it's just the lighting or just posing that will kind of help you know that step down, if anything else, just to kind of learn that thing a little bit better and know that you are inspired by it. Next up is defined the three things that you want to make up your emotional and visual style, so three for each emotional style is all about the mood, and the visual style is all about the visual patterns that you see in your work next up. If you have work that doesn't fit into your star fit in your style, take it out. It doesn't need to be in your portfolio this remove it. Um, so figure out what those styles are first, and then if it doesn't fit in there, just go ahead and take it out your portfolio, because it's just kind of pulling your portfolio in directions that it doesn't need to go, and then last up a show on lee, the type of work that you want to shoot more of. So if city weddings are your thing, take out everything else. Pretty simple concept, but that's, how you're going to start shooting more of what you want is when you take everything else out. Go on before we move on rest who have any questions from online we should do, and if we have any questions in the room, feel free to just raise your hand and I will grab it me renoir to always help pick outfits for your client's portrait sessions and engagement sessions and whatnot does it also go with your environment and locations? So are you helping your client's guide them toward picking things that support your style? Or are you just trying to make sure that the people who find you already matched that that's? Really good question and I do both eso obviously try and guide my portfolio in my work and the kind of style that I want to be shooting more of, but one side book, clients, and even beforehand, when I meet with clients, I let them know, like, if they want engagement, sectional kind of say, like, I really love shooting like, natural, outdoorsy kind of stuff. Do you guys have any? Sort of nature that really inspires you because I'm in california, so I'm by mountains and rivers and beaches and all of that s o I can kind of say, like, which one do you prefer and what kind of speaks the most to you that way we could get into that ondas faras outfits and stuff like that, I always suggest that photographers have, like, a very easy blogged post that they can send someone even if it's just invisible page on their block that's like kind of a breakdown of like what to wear for your engagement session were had to make the most out of your session that way, even if it's just like just earth tones, whatever it is, just kind of send that along and send some like, inspiration images as well, because a lot of a lot of people don't do this all the time, they don't know what to wear, they don't know howto act, they don't have no idea what to expect eso even beyond just clothing just kind of tell them like, hey, just so you know what we'll be doing, we'll just be walking around will be to stop in every now and then for some images, but kind of just hanging out and shooting a little bit. That way people don't come and have no idea what to expect and just get freaked out before it even if you didn't tell him had a little drink before that's okay, too perfect so you were saying that you like to shoot at one point eight or two point or whatnot? Do you find that it makes some of your images solved or is that what you're going four because that knows when I do that it seems like one I will be in focus and everything behind it will be out there just like I don't really want it to be that way, but how did you come back? Yeah, so there's there's kind of two asked tio schools of thought on that yes dance your question it does make them little bit soft if you were to look at this image super blown up on your screen like if you were editing it, you would probably see that I guarantee one of their eyes or out of focus same thing with them same thing with them that's all at one point eight but that's not how clients are looking at their images they're usually looking at because I don't I don't sell canvases or anything like that, I offer them, but I just don't sell him I don't push that kind of thing, so they're usually looking at the images this big so if they were resuming it like crazy, they might see that but that's again, that's a photographer thing that we might recognize but they don't really care about um they don't care if like, one eyes like slightly out of focus or whatever it is because they're not looking at that stuff s o I don't worry about it either. I would much rather get that very shallow depth of field toe have that kind of softer look, andi kind of going off that another thing they asked a lot is if I sharpen my images, which I don't it all, um and the reason I don't is just because I would never want to see my face sharpened, so I'm not going to do that to my clients because I just don't want to see like pores and wrinkles and all that enhance, and if that means they're going to enjoy their image is better because they feel like they look better, then I'm just going to go ahead and, um, sacrifice sharpening for that, but yeah, I I'm totally ok with having like when I enter out of focus one more if you don't also you were talking about the south where deal, what do you use just one type of software to use plug ins are running right? Yeah, I use I do everything in light room s o I have a pre set that I made that basically just get some things out of the way for me it doesn't create a finished image by any means, but it just kind of speeds up my work flow that I use light room for absolutely everything I actually have a class if anybody wants to buy it was just like a self his class on my entire editing work flow process on debt covers absolutely everything in life um ben sasse oh dot com slash education perfect express no problem happy toe linked to capo actually has to serve at the similar question would he recommend to achieve a certain style of editing so can check that out but like to capo and ben g twenty two and then seven other people all wanted to know this subject? What if I really like to debt very different styles? Would you recommend to different websites or do I have to pick just one and then the question from ending if you like different styles you decide on one for your portfolio how do you fulfill your creative desires to shoot other things too? That's interesting actually haven't thought about that um for me I really like one style for me but that's a good question I think that for example someone like german cower shoot stuff that's all of all over the place his style is experimentation so you can do on that works really well and commercial fields and what other fields but for weddings, I think it is pretty important tio specify what your style is honestly, I don't know of any photographers that shoot two styles and advertised to styles it might work like maybe that's a new niche where you can say, hey, you can choose this one or that one about sam just not sure that's great, because I'm kind of the same thing where I problem is a very creative life get exposed to so many different damn it! I'm like, oh, I want to say that I want to write that on that on I think there's a lot of people who would do the same thing around the world, but one things that I thought is having basically your professional kind of this is my, uh, like if you're waiting for talking for this in my wedding work and then having a separate web site that's your personal projects and that's where you do your experimental stuff and so if you could put them both up there and people can find it, but if you're like you key wording and ceo is all for your weddings and your business what you think about that, I agree, and I think it's super important to be shooting personal work as well actually, the next section is all about experimentation, so definitely talk about, like stepping out of what your usual is kind of pushing yourself forward a bit fantastic, maybe one more from facebook and three other people voted for it as well. Do you feel that your personal style, the way you dress your personal instagram pictures, et cetera, should also fit into your brand? Absolutely not as much in terms of the editing of that, because obviously in surgery and you're going to add a little bit different than otherwise, um, but what you're posting should on dh that's, all in our final section for branding, but for me, like just quick thing on it, I like to be very relatable, which is I mean, it's also cold in here, but that's one, the reasons I'm wearing a hoody instead of, like wearing a business suit up here because I want I want people to feel like I'm approachable and they can talk to me and ask me questions on that's, part of my brand and that's kind of what I post on facebook as well, and like I showed cat pictures in the beginning of this, I'm obviously not like an uptight business person, so that's, yeah, that kind of plays into that bring in this well and tastic, um just a final one from j keyser here on one of the person voted for as well. I have a hard time with no filler. I find myself wanting to constantly update with new content, but that almost rick acquires a lot of pretty good shots. So where do you think the balance is? Do you think updating less frequently? But with on lee really consistent style images is better than a constant stream of maybe slightly off style? Um, yeah, I definitely think it's better to be a little bit less frequent eso for me, for example, after maybe every every like two or three weddings or every two or three shoots, I will take out a couple of inches my portfolio and that's, anyone's and on debts, not taking out images that I really love it's taking out ones that I just don't really like is much anymore or aren't as I don't fit in with my current style because my side was always moving forward, it's not stale on we'll talk about that in a second, but because of that, I'm always kind of switching things out and updating it with my new favorite work. I never put up work either on facebook or on my website or anything that I'm not. Like truly proud of like obviously we're all kind of discouraged at times, but they're still images that where I'm like ok that's a good one I like that one if it's my style really well and I'm proud of it so that that's the kind of work that I post okay great. All right moving on to the next section on next sections all about experimentation experimentation foster's progression there's no other way to move forward um then experimentation you have to step out of what you know to be able to push your work forward on there's a really fine and dangerous line between having a well defined style and putting out stale work on obviously we want to be consistent and we want to have that well defined style but we don't want to just be putting out the same exact like almost like template images week after week on if you think about like sears for example, if they had a photo bog it would be pretty dang mooring like they take portrait of people sitting like this and like cheesing like this in the same background it's all very simple even if we did love those images it we might follow that for like a week and then find another bog that changes it up a bit because all those images of the same on and obviously it's easy to say that our images are more exciting than ceres, but the truth is, we all have our normal right. We all know what we create, and we know like exactly how to make a certain image. Good, because we've just been doing it for so long. So if I wanted to, I could create, like, little template images where I know this is gonna work. I know it'll be popular on facebook or whatever it is, but I don't want to do that as much as I know it will get, like, a lot of likes and a lot of all that kind of stuff that will kind of fade out after a while. Um, so the thing I want to say here is step out of your comfort zone it's, so important to do that we all have the lens that we love shooting with. We have the light that we like shooting, and we have the moves that we like capturing, but if we don't step out of that, we will always be stuck there. And if your comfort zone never grows, you will become stale. That's just how it works. Three years ago, I had someone tell me that all of my images looked the same, and I was like, okay, I don't know if that's and insult or a compliment on they were very straight faced about it, so I couldn't tell, but I took it as a lesson for all of my photos are the same why would people want to be coming back that they've seen one seen them all? So I had to change something there's just something I had to do differently to keep people coming to my work and keep people excited about what I put out andi I was stuck in my comfort zone of shooting happy moods with my thirty five backlit outside like that was a shot, that kind of stuff all the time. It's like a big sun flare right here. Happy, smiling person and big warm glow on. So this right here is what my comfort zone kind of looked like, right exactly like I described the big sun player smiles, the warm glow on that's about it. I put out that kind of stuff like week after week, all the time, everything is the same shooting of the same it's, just boring. Um and the truth is I was afraid to step out of that. I knew that was working really well for me. I knew that my images were popular, but I was afraid to put effort into something and kind of put together a shoot that I knew would it pay off and I don't suggest obviously experimenting on clients photos, you can do a little bit, but obviously stick to your normal for most of it because that's what they hired you for, but I do suggest setting up something unpaid just so you can have the freedom to experiment. Um, but I was afraid to change what was working so well for me, it was great getting great feedback, but my taste were changing as well. This stuff was saying the same about my taste. We're moving in this direction, and I wasn't changing my work. Um, as your tastes change, your style should too that's another thing, that's super important we are, we're artists like we can do whatever the hell we want. We don't have to stick with shooting the same exact thing because that's, what our clients want, like we are artists, we can go this way, we go that way, we can, I can start painting on my photos if I want to and start selling that I have the freedom to do that we don't have, ball says, we don't have anyone overseeing us, but freedom is only great. If we use that, we can't just say, yes, I'm an artist, I can do whatever the hell I want, and then keep shooting that same exact thing and just not moving forward at all. So this right here is an image on that kind of stepped out of my comfort zone in a while ago, when I was shooting all outdoor happy natural, why style kind of work and this is like my first very little step outside of that onda obviously I still cut my style intact it's still soft light, but there are a lot of things I changed. I I should all almost all digital for paid work thiss was my first shoot on my contacts, which was filmed, so I was the first time really using film I shot with and direct window light instead of backlit outside, and I use cooler tones to bring out software mood instead of the warmer, happy kind of lifestyle stuff that I normally shoot so there's a lot of stuff in here that I did very differently, and I was kind of afraid to set it up because I didn't really shoot inside at all like I did when we were like, getting ready for weddings and stuff like that, but I never shot something like this inside, so I was just worried that I wasn't going to get any great photos from it, but even if I did. That's okay, I experimented and stepped out and I can move on to something else that that didn't work on this is still one of my favorite photos and it's still one of my more popular images, and I remember when actually posted this I got like amazing feedback on it because people weren't expecting it. It was just something new from me on dh now this has become part of my style I stepped out of my comfort zone and then my comfort zone kind of grew to meet me on its own. Now that softer mood has become part of my style, you can see these are all images that kind of follow that same thing, they're not as not a smiley, they don't have the big, bright sun flare in them, they're not as warm. Um, they're pretty soft there's like a lot of more still moments. And there, um and it's become a huge part of the way I shoot, but for weddings, for lifestyle or predatory, a work on dh it's a great compliment to those higher energy images that I was so used to shooting obviously that's still a huge part of my style, but now my style has a bit more depth because I took that experiment and stepped out a little bit next up is homework to find the three things that make up your comfort zone so for me, a tw that time they were my thirty five, which was my favorite lens still kind of is, um it was my lighting, my super warm editing, my high energy, all that kind of stuff that I was so familiar with that was my comfort zone. So know what three things are that make up your comfort zone? Next up has set up a shoot to step out of your comfort zone. So for me, that was that one with the floral head crown. Um, and now that's become a huge part of what I shoot. So even if it's something that you aren't sure if it's going to be part your style in the future, just step out, try something totally different. Um, I had a couple of chutes that I did, where it was just a night, because I'm so used to shooting a natural light, so I just shot after the sun went down and had a flash and, like, drag the shutter and at a bunch of weird things with it, just so I could kind of get used to something else and learned something else because we all have our bag of tricks that we can pull out of, like, at a moment's notice for me, it was my thirty five and happy lighting and all that, um but it was just the same exact bag, so I had to hide something else to it on the only way you can do that is when you step out of your comfort zone and, um and set up a shoot, something different taken. Learn. Uh, you have any questions after that section? You know, I think we've got a few, um, see, do we have anyone in the room? I've got one here? Don't we've got one big girl in the chat room says I found if I shoot the same thing in my comfort zone, if I have to shoot something else, I get thrown and might not do as good a job because I'm not thinking about what I'm doing or thinking my way through the shoot. Do you have any suggestions on maintaining your standards of professional level while still doing the experimentation? Yeah, essay, obviously when you step out of your comfort zone, it's not gonna be killer first most of time on and that's. Ok. That's what that's the point of it is to get out, try something new and then kind of developed that into something greatest. Well s oh, that's. One of the reasons I suggested not stepping out on a client shoot, you could step out a little bit. But obviously, keep mostly your style in that shoot on dh then if those images that you did step out on work, great, you could deliver him and if not that's ok, you don't have to deliver them, but you did learn from it. But if you set up something that's totally separate from paid work here, even if you're paying for it yourself, that's okay, do that, you can take your time on it, you can experiment, you can really think about what you're doing and why you're doing it instead of kind of rushing through on a client shoot with new things that you've never done before on then once you kind of learn that, well, you can start incorporating it into your current style, and when you are experimenting, do you recommend being upfront with people and saying, hey, I'm trying something new this out of my comfort zone, I'm doing it a little bit different, or do you recommend just going and keeping your same? I think I'd recommend letting people know, maybe not saying I'm not totally comfortable with it, but saying, hey, I'm gonna try something new. I think this could work really well, because that will show them that you're excited about creating those photos form you want to try on experiment. And you want to push things forward a little bit for him on don't make them feel a bit special because you're trying something new with them that you haven't really done before, so it would be like, oh, cool, we're getting this, like, new ben sasse everything that no one else has really gotten before. So so in the room, how about you guys? Do you do experimentation with your photography? Or are you pretty well established in your style and just find yourself kind of stuck in that in that zone? I'm experimenting because I'm still in school? So is every instructor has something they want us to do about whether it's you know something different, we're live ing or styling a location or, you know, whatever it is, I mean young constantly ah, experimenting, but at the same time, I want to actually just get down and define a style that's, you know, that I want to call my own and you have to worry about ok, we're not going to change days. I gotta change that. So, it's, the whole report is, you know, just kind of want to experiment you know this now that you kind of want to go towards, so yeah. Yeah, I think for me I started I started all over the place like everybody does, but I developed a style and then realized the importance of experimentation instead of experimenting first so I think for me it might have been easier because I know I knew exactly what my style was so I could incorporate that experimentation into it easily whereas if I was experimenting first and then trying to define the style, I think it would be much harder just because I'd be all over the place that's interesting I never thought about I guess with me I kind of have a bit of an identity crisis going on right now with my style that's like I really love this like the beautiful soft, shallow depth of field outdoor in the shade work and then I also love nighttime with, you know, strobes and backlighting and like harsh light, so I think it's hard to balance my portfolio either way and kind of bring the two together, I think because those are so separate because obviously you can't shoot that like beautiful natural I kind of stuff at night I think that's that's ok because you have a day style in the night style um and that's something that a lot of photographers don't realize is that it's ok to have different styles for different things like maybe not different editing styles but different lighting situations or something like that, for example, like outdoor work might be different than indoor work nighttime in day time might be different, as long as those styles are uniquely consistent, you know, like I like I have my black and white work a little bit more faded than my color work. It kind of fits the like disco kind of look a little bit more, whereas my daytime or my color work just doesn't really said that, but they're each uniquely consistent well, and I love that you talk about being able to have those two different styles, but I think that they're going back to the last segment there's a lot of things that you can do to keep them consistent, you can keep the clothing styling consistent, you can kind of keep the like the mood and the facial expressions consistent, so there's a lot of ways that you can maintained kind of your year. I don't know medicine tile over those, even when you're using different types of lighting in different situations, so finding those consistent elements, it seems like the way that you, khun yeah and that's sort of like it because it kind of it basically comes down to, like, emotional on visual style like your emotional style, I think is what should be consistent s o for me like a night time, it would be still smiles and laughter and intimate moments, but my visual style might be different because I have a flash on my camera. I'm shooting things a little bit differently. That's really good point a little bit that's great. All right. Unless we have any more questions, I think we're good to you know what? Hold on. Allied. We've got a great one that just came in from mike, his ear and at three other people actually voted for this as well. How do you go about setting up shoots for experimentation? Do you find models willing to work with you for free? How do you go about that? Yeah. So when I first started out, I started on model mayhem, which you guys might know as the sketch is placed on the internet next to craigslist. But that's how I started and, um actually, this girl on the corner is a good friend of mine. Now on she's she was from model mayhem to go that I had the floral head or ethan was also from model mayhem. She's great. Um, there are great models on there, I assure you, there's also a lot of really creepy people on there s so if you're over eighteen, check it out and find someone that works and that's professional but that's a really great way to find models in the beginning. Once you're a little bit more established with editorial in my style work, you can start reaching out to agencies the start of smaller modeling agencies first and kind of move up on and asked if they have any new new models that need test images and, like all pretty much all of my work where I'm kind of stepping out of my comfort zone, I'll reach out to an agency and say, hey, like, this is what I'm planning, I'll send them a mood board, I'll send them some images of kind of what represents what I want to be shooting on don't say, do you have any girls that would fit this loker that needs some new images in their portfolio and they'll send me a package with, like, maybe three or four girls that I can kind of pick from? And I'm working to the shoot next up is brand super important on. So the way I describe this is, imagine a stranger ask you to describe, um, everyone in your friend group with one word, obviously the person asking you that would be a weird person, but imagine that that happened, so we all we all know that that wouldn't be difficult, we each person our friend group is very easily have a word easily described, um I have a friend that's humble have a friend that's hilarious I have a friend that's adventurous on everything that they have done in the past has kind of funneled into that thing some people might be humble andl areas whatever it is but you can always describe your friends using one or two words s o for example my humble friend he's a writer he actually married my wife and I but he everything he does is amazing and I never find out about it from him so if he gets published or if he like wins an award or something like that I always hear about it from someone else and then I called my friend I'm like oh dude that's awesome and he's like oh yeah that happened it was like that you could have told me about that that's awesome congratulations so I never hear about it from him he never brags and that's just that's just who he is he's a quiet, humble person um my other friend is hilarious every time I'm around him I'm always cracking up there is just nonstop have a smile on my face that hurts I have to go home and like ice my cheeks that's that's everything he's ever done has added into that one word is hilarious my adventurous friend has lived on a salmon fishing boat in alaska has been like over twenty seven countries is just always adventuring and that's kind of made him into adventurous that's his brand now um so just like we have perceptions of people and our friends, everything that we do that connects to our business is part of our brand and since our business is who we are as a person like my business isn't um blah blah, blah photography it's ben sasse oh, that means everything I do is a person becomes part of my brand as well because I am my brand to ben sasse is my brand so everything I do plays into my brand on becomes that perception, so my job is to control that perception, so I think or so people think this way about me in this way about my photography in this way about my work s o your brand is the sum of everything connected to your business anything that anyone's ever seen in relation to you if it's a photo on facebook on instagram if you write a block post the way you write that plays into it, if you sneeze in front of a client that becomes are your brand so don't do that too much. Um I like tio breakdown photographic brands into three different aspects each one of these has to work together it's like a car you can't have justice steering, we only need the wheels to and you need the seat on the gas pedal so the three different prospects I like to break it down into our style, design and communication uh, it's, a three part machine and all these have to work together. So your style we obviously already talked about, um, so we'll move on to design. Like most photographers I invested when I first started, I invested in the logo and I was like, sweet and done I got a brand now I thought that was all I needed, but design is essentially anything that represents you visually, that is not an image if it's an image it's your style if it's not it's your design, whether that's on facebook or your website collateral that you send out your contracts, all of that plays into that design that's colors, typefaces, logo's, print materials, all that next up is communication communication a simple it any time you use a word on your block post here about me section facebook posts instagram all of that, your emails on and something I think is super important that a lot of people don't realize is that talking to clients isn't just about giving or getting information it's not like, hey, I'll meet you this time here for our engagement shoot that's, not all it's about controlling the perception. They have to think a certain way about us for me I want them to see me as relatable so I'm going to relate to them I'm not just going to say hey meet me here this time okay? By you know um so I'm excited about what I'm doing I tell them that I asked them what they're most excited about for their wedding day um I say are there any like unique traditions to you guys that I should know about when we're shooting and that kind of gets them talking about them and about their wedding and things that they're excited about? So it puts kind of a happy frame of mind when they think about me because they're talking about hot the things so next up is your style should be the driving force behind your brand this is something that's super super important uh you're designing communication should enhance your emotional style, so for me my emotional style is fun and intimate so my design of my communication should mimic that the way I communicate with people should be fun and it should be international connected them on an intimate level and I should be fine that's why I say, heck, yeah all the time on my facebook that's just who I am I want to be fun I want to be exciting on I want to get them excited about shooting with me so having a style that contradicts you're designing communication will just break down all three so for example, if I had a super fun and exciting bold style and then my design and communication were very sophisticated and prestigious that just doesn't make sense together and it weekends my photographic style and it weakens mind design and communication because they were just pulling apart at each other eh? So for example if I was more of a sophisticated prestigious photographer, I wouldn't say heck yeah all the time on facebook I wouldn't say buzzing and I want to say has all I want to say any of that I would just be very home or not humble because I'm prestigious but I would talk about awards I've won and I didn't say I'm I've been honored to speak here or this or that um so my style is fun and intimate so let's talk about how my design communication play into that s so this is a new web site well fairly new that flow sites designed for me on and I'll pitch them justcause they're great flow themes also has awesome template sites that are pretty customizable for photographers I didn't use one themes they built one for me but my design is very clean it's very simple that's what just what have are always liked something that's super is simple and my design is my color is my my green down here at the bottom it's, just like a bold pop of color that is in there to bring out the fund in my work, I don't like it all over the place because I'd like everything to be pretty muted except for my images, but I do like having that little pop in there and then also my tagline for my communication photographer educator. Heck, yeah, um, that's something that's fun in there that most of the prestigious kind of photographers might not have on their website because that's not their brand, but it is mine, so I put that in there because it quickly tells people what I do, and it introduces that communication aspect of my brand. Next up is my about page, so obviously with this one there's a couple things that you he should be doing in your about page one of them is telling people who you are quickly, because when someone's looking for a photographer there, looking through tons of photographers, some people care about the photos. Some people care about the connection with the photographer if they care about the connection with a photographer there reading everyone's about page, so you want to make it quick, easy and concise, says hello, I'm a photographer and educator living in los angeles, california aside from taking pictures, I love to be in nature campaign climbing, running around haven't unmanly love for katz thanks, russ, and above all, alice, I am the husband. I'm a firm believer in fostering and close knit photo community and encouraging individual progression. We're all in this together, so that's me in a very small nutshell, but that's, what I wanted to be, I want people to kind of get a quick overview of me, which is campaign climbing cats, and we're all in this together that's it and as far as the image that should also figure brand for me, I have a big smile on my face and a color that kind of goes well with my actual brandon color and the style of image fits my work and my style is, well, if I was more prestigious, I might have, like a black and white, I might be dressed little bit better. I might not be on the sailboat wearing a rain jacket. Um, so next up is he also have to go back to that site. One thing I also think you should be doing on your about pages, lending credibility to yourself, whether that's through publications or speaking. So for me, I have a list of my publications and I have a list of my teaching and writing and speaking, but that's not what's first, I don't want to put that right up there because I don't want it to be like right in your face I'd rather have the smile on your face first and then if you want to dig in more, you can kind see what I've done and where I've been published next up is the connect page this is essentially the last harada before they get in touch with you so for me I have my get in touch or come be my friend in the internet world which is kind of fun language instead of just something that's like hey follow me on social media it says come be my friend and then the very last thing they get before they send a message to me is heck yeah that's my little like forced excitement like you can't get in touch with me without being excited because you have to press the heck yeah, but um and that's something I got from my brother and my brother a designer and on his website he used to have a big yes with an exclamation point for the send button s o that's why having included in mind has become one of my tak lines um so next up let's talk about one of the our biggest public faces for communication andare photographs and everything else on social media so pretty much everyone these days are using social media my mom uses it um everybody used and that's where most of our public communication lives on every time we post, we should be reinforcing our brand. We shouldn't be pulling our brand this way or that way, we should post with something that reinforces our brand. Um so like I said before, I like to be approachable. I'd like to be relatable. I teach a lot have a lot of classes online. I do mentor sessions. I like people to see me as someone they can always come to you with a question I always answer questions when people message him to me sometime is hey, I'm sorry, I can't get totally into this because it's a very long answer, but I'll give them a quick answer to it. Andi, I want people to feel comfortable asking me questions and because of that that's how I talk on social media, I say and if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments, I'll do my best to get to them. I like to put on a friendly face so that's, what I do on that also means I have been very good at bringing myself down a peg because I remember when I started I saw all the other photographers is like way up here. And I never wanted to reach out I did, but I was always intimidated too, because I was like, man, they're super like elite and they're going to think I'm an idiot for asking a stupid question so I always kind of make myself in idiot so they know that and that's why I talk about having unmanly love for cats and other stuff like that. So, um, this one here this was actually pretty recently about speaking here on creative life, but one things I said in there is if you ever wanted to see how awkward a person could be on camera come join in so that's just me bringing myself down a peg andi you're joining in and you can see how awkward I am on camera so now you know thank you but that's something fun I put out just because I want to kind of take myself down a peg and not be like the very elite, prestigious um raggedy kind of photographer and also I get my image in there so it goes well with my style as well. Next up on this one this is these are actually two friends of mine own and sarah I shot their engagement session on a sailboat but I got to attend their wedding as a guest which was awesome that's one of things I wanted to talk about, um and here is that I get to attend as a guest, and I get to be a little bit fun, and I say, bring it on dance floor because I feel like that's, something everyone going to a wedding can relate to. Um, I was like most people, like, once dinner and the toast are, they're kind of just like, all right, come on, music, let's go, um and I love dancing, so I just put on there that I got to dance. Um, yeah, they're awesome like him a lot, I'm next up is ellie she's awesome. S o this one, I just said it flying back home from shooting a wedding, and I can't wait to see this weirdo hashtag cat lady so again, it totally brings me down a peg makes me more relatable to my clients, who again, I kind of target people that like cats, so I'm ok with that makes me more relatable to them on dh takes me down a peg, which makes me more approachable and yes, athena sasso up there is my mom, she comments a lot. Next is this one. This was from onset about two or three weeks ago on, but again, just want to post like a fun photo behind the scenes last one, I think, is ah, this one. This was a real thing that happened. I said to my wife, I said, I love you and she didn't hear me and said, I love colombian coffee because she was drinking at the time. So again, this is just something that makes me a little bit more relatable. It kind of humanizes me, um there's a real moment it's funny on and shocking at the time when she said that. So next up his homework. So homework is what do you want your business to be known for? You want to be fun and approachable. You want toby were respected and sophisticated. You wanna be prestigious, elite, soft spoken, whatever it is, I know what you want your business to be known for on obviously, that should play into your style and your brand because that is your style in your brand, your style is a driving force behind them. Next step is, um how can you use your design and communication to enhance your style? So again, your brand is a three part machine at style design and communication. So you're designing communications should be there to enforce and enhance your style and that is all for this, so I'd love to take any more questions if we have any do we have any in the room here? Lorenza yes, you were saying like this first like your design or getting logos and all that stuff where do you recommend giving like a graphic designer to kind of design your logo and because they more like I guess psychiatrist or psychologist kind of sit down with you and trying to figure out what s o I'm lucky my brother just is a designer and he does all my branding, which is awesome because it's pretty expensive sometimes, but it is really important to hire professional like where professional photographers and we kind of cringe when people don't hire professionals to shoot something especially like a wedding oh, you shouldn't do that but then we'll try and design our own stuff right? That happens all the time and it shows like we should be hiring professionals to do the work that we cannot dio on dh when you work with a designer he said, hey like this is my style I want to be seen as approachable I want to be seen is fun andre will kind of walk you through that process and what that looks like on something that's really important is if your designer doesn't tell you why certain decisions are made you should ask you should know like that for example I know that my green is there because it introduces a little bit of fun into my brand I should know why certain colors were chosen why a certain sponsor chosen? Why I have more white space on my web site to show off my photos better like all of that kind of stuff you should know that way, you can kind of have a better grasp of what your brand is, how you communicate and all of that may I definitely hire professional and do things that you're not able to do great! We've got a couple questions that are coming in. We've got cindy peroni, how do you brand your business if what you do is fine art photography rather than portrait or wedding, for instance, with abstract macro still life, et cetera, is there anything different in the process for you for branding a non wedding, your portrait business? I think it can depend. It depends what your ultimate goal is. So for me, my ultimate goal is what was booking brides and them saying these funding intimate so that's what I kind of pitched for if I shot fine art stuff and I wanted to be in galleries, I might have more of a sophisticated kind of high end fine art brand s o that would play into how I talk to my communication, my design might be a little bit simpler and more sophisticated, my communication will be that way, I would show my awards a little bit more predominantly on my website all that kind of stuff plays into it, but the important thing, I think, is knowing what your end goal is, because that will help you define what your style and branch of kind of aimed towards. Right? Um, question from a facebook user, how does the pricing relate to the branding process on that's? A good question, so I personally think that pricing is a huge part of your brand. We all see prices, they're all over the place and industry, whether it's weddings, portrait or anything else on most the time when we see someone, for example, shooting a wedding that's priced at ten thousand dollars, we think holy crap, that guy is really good at what he does like we might think, man, how does he charge that much with his photos? But we also think, man, that guy is really good at what he does he's like top tier and that's, our clients think, too, if we see someone else shooting a wedding for four hundred dollars for like, a full day of wedding stuff, we might think, ok, they're kind of on the lower, and they're starting out and obviously those are extreme cases, but even in the more mild cases that plays out and that's how our clients think so if your price really low they will value your work a little bit less than they might kind of pull. Try to pull a little bit more out of you. Whereas if your price really high, they're going to value your time of a lot more because they know you are the best of the best because they see all of your previous clients and they see what your prices are. So they know all these previous people paid that much. So you must be worth that much, right? We talked a little bit about logos. S nobody said I notice you do not include your logo on your facebook page. How do you deal with copyright? And then how do you brand your work when it's, just out in the world, do you put ben sasse of incessant photography and what you think about branding with initial? So a couple questions there, first of all, about logo's thoughts on those that's. I'm putting them on your images. All that even water marks, you know, due to stuff like that. And then naming your company princess open says a photography initials, magic memories. Whatever happens in the u s o my initials r v s so you know, um, but as far as everything else, um so as far as watermarks, I feel pretty strongly about not having watermarks especially on top of your images I know a lot of people feel very differently about that, but if someone wants to steal your images they are going to steal your images andi I know that your thought behind that is if they do stealing my name is still on it um but honestly, I would much rather take a watermark off my image and just show the image for what I created and if someone steals that I'll try and take care of it later if I find it um but even if it is shown somewhere else, I'd still rather just have my image there even if they're claiming as their room and I'll find out about it on day I'll tell them to take it down, but I just don't want a watermark on my image because I I just don't think they look good on there that's not how I prayed the image so I don't use it a zafar is not showing my logo on my facebook my logo is essentially my name has just been sasso and my type, so I don't need that on my my facebook because my name is already there I'd rather show my work I like to keep things very simple and keep it very photograph based s so that's why my design is super super minimal other people are pretty different. They might have a new image with, like their logo right in the middle of it as a cover photo and that's totally okay, it's, just not part of my brand personally. Um, a belling bid says hi ben do you edit your instagram photos in light room before posting them on instagram to achieve consistency? S own, I'll add to you post iphone photos there, or do you only use your like landing on their mobile photos? Not to say I have s o I shoot almost everything they post on instagram on my phone sometimes all posted dslr photo from making an announcement for something. So for example, if I'm announcing a workshop will have likable design over an image that is basically like the dates and stuff, my workshop for the majority of it is just my phone on and I did everything on my phone I use visco cam for everything just cause that's why I love it's a totally separate process for me, but obviously plays into my brand through the way, communicating what the images of but as far as the actual editing style of it it's pretty different, and I like to do it on my phone and keep it separate. So I'm seeing a lot of questions coming in that are about like, how do you deal with closer friends that want you to photograph your engagement or wedding price wise and things about posing and all that? And that? Is there fantastic questions? And I think that if you want to hear ben, maybe answer them, you could either ask him on his facebook page or come go to creative life dot com slash suggest and tell us that you want us to bring back then for more workshops here and also check out his videos that he's got on his web site as well. But because this class is is a very focused class about styling brands, so those are the questions that we're going to be asking abby photo kind of going back a little bit, too, maybe the even the first segment, this one of the of course, if you shoot a wedding that doesn't fit your style, do you not even block it or show it at all? Don't clients notice if you don't share photos from their wedding and then same with true light photography? Do you have clients that ask if you will post their image on your facebook and they aren't your style? What do you tell him? So if you guys follow my block, you probably noticed that I may be blogging. One wedding every like four months or three or four months. Maybe most of my other work is the editorial stuff that I shoot because that's kind of the route that I'm taking more of now. But even when I was shooting weddings completely full time, I usually only blogged a wedding about three or four every three or four months, and the reason I do that because I want to control exactly what my style is, um, and because of that, all of my clients don't expect to be blonde, and I tell them like there's there's, a path I want to take with my career, and it goes this way on defy a lot of the weddings that I'm shooting don't exactly sit where I want to be in five years from now, so I might not show your wedding, and they understand, obviously, I word it very nicely, and I let them know that like, I totally loved your wedding and had a blast. But it's, just the style of it doesn't exactly sit where I want to be going in the future on day all understand that, andi, I've never had anyone that's kind of been upset that their wedding wasn't log this because I don't block often, so they weren't expecting that if I was blogging every single wedding every single week. And then I miss a week when their wedding happen, they might be like, hey, did our photos like what happened? But I don't have that happen, so I don't really have a problem with it. But I think just being up front with your clients, if you decide not to block and they ask and just tell them that, like it's, just not the direction that my work is going to take in the future. So I wanted to try and narrow that down a little bit. So it kind of goes back to the answer that you gave earlier when talking about would you rather blawg a ton that are not necessarily the greatest or just the few exactly ties into that? Uh, great let's. See, l came three b would you alter your portfolio if you move to a drastically different location or climate where you can no longer offer a certain location or feel like from hawaii to alaska? Uh oh, man, if you're going from those places here in virtually, um, that's a good question, I think that I probably would start to kind of weed out some of my older images if it was such a drastic change on def, the location played such a big part of it. Like if you shoot in places like like washington a lot of photographers here or colorado location is a huge part of what they do they shoot in the mountains and gorgeous places but if you if you move to florida where that's not there um I would probably suggest trying to get more of those florida images and they're that way your style is more consistent with what you're able to shoot now if you if you want to be shooting in florida if you'd rather still travel and shoot all over the place then leave those images and they're kind of brand yourself as a destination for doc for love that but eso like to capo kind of goes on from that when talking about logo's what if you start to dislike your logo after some time or what if you just decide that your style needs to change would you rather keep the logo or change it and what are your just thoughts on rebranding in general say that you have been shooting this and all of a sudden you decide you know what I hate is I want all contrast the images all shot at night with strobes of angry people but how would you go about making that was fun s o I think rebranding if that's something that you feel like you need to do you should absolutely dio obviously should sit on it for a while and think about it but if you feel like your work is taking a different direction, you should absolutely rebrand whether it's just the actual design of your brand that isn't fitting your work anymore. If that's the case, you might be able to melt your current brand or just totally rebrand like do it all over. But even if it's photographic style like a mirage hotel who's an awesome retire for recently did that hey just totally switched what he was doing and redid everything on it works. How great like that's, where his career was going that's where he wanted to go and what he was inspired by. So he took a switch from here and went totally in this direction, unlike his clients know that that was going to happening and it happened and it's great on I think that was a super bold move and I remember when I was kind of watching it, I was like, I wonder how this is going to play out that he's doing awesome and he's probably living what he's doing a lot more now because of it, it's fantastic. Alright, I think maybe our final question that we have time for here from alan phipps, I've had the nickname of rhino what do you think of using nicknames is company names and, you know, go toe like again using like magic memories air timeless photographer or something like that where it's a description of it rather than branding as yourself eh so this is another one where there's kind of two schools of thought on it I think it could work if you are more bow tiki on you're kind of working with like families their newborns or something like that um but it is I think it's very true that people see companies like that where it's a separate name as a little bit lower than something that is just a name and the reason for that is because if you think of like um for example like any liebowitz doesn't go by magic memories photography like it's her name she is that she is the artist like it is her brand almost all of the greats jeremy cowart chase jarvis they go by their name on dh they like that's who they are they are the person they are the artist they don't have a company that they kind of fit under and I think that's something that's really important to know um but also having a name like that could be really good if you're more of like a very small market where you want to be known as someone who like a super family friendly or something like that where it's just like a company that kind of like brings people in puts him out and gives them great work time after time but if you want to be a little bit more elite, a little bit higher. I think that. And it usually works best.