Branding: Define It


Senior Portraits: Create the Ultimate Experience


Lesson Info

Branding: Define It

In the next step in building your brand is to define it. So you've done a lot of discovery. Self discovery, ideal client discovery, you know, gotten all these notes down now you've got a plan and you got to define it. So how are you going to do that? The first step is to define your style and then build your portfolio. Those are two things that could start attracting the right client to your brand. So define your style and I mean photographically are you somebody that likes the moody, you know, black and wide imagery that's great that's, your style. And you're going to attract the kind of client that likes that style. Are you? Somebody likes loud color, you know, bright colors and and all that good stuff. Well, that's your style. Are you somebody? That's, more vintage. Maybe you would attract photo girls, you know, thrift shop shopper. Because you've got more of a vintage feel and that takes time to do. I mean, you have to shoot quite a lot and it takes. And it's, always evolving. Your...

photographic style is always evolving. I remember when I first started, I thought I had to put texture on everything because that was the truth that wasn't me but I was like, oh, I guess that's what I gotta do no do your style you like texture do it but don't do it because it's the trendy thing to do do it because and then also when I first started I thought you had to turn everything in black and white I thought I had to give everybody a color version of black and white version you don't have tio I never turn anything in black and white anymore because it's not me not my style every now and then I'll get a get a photo that's emotional and that is when I think of black and white is good that's me and that's my opinion and that's my style so figure out your style and start showing that so that you can can really attract the right client. Now building your portfolio according to your style is important because you've got to show what it is that's your style so you can attract those girls if a girl want you know, like I say vintage photo and they start looking at my portfolio well they're not going to see vintage so most likely they're not my ideal client my brand is not for them right? And that is fine I've got plenty of girls that like the style so it works so how do you build your portfolio if you don't know anything years we talked about this a little bit earlier you start shooting anybody you can find that fits that age group you've got to start showing what you want to shoot I like to take this quote from I think it's a league of their own no it's baseball movie though shoot what is it field of dreams filled dreams I've never watched the movie but I know the quotes in the movie if you build it they will come right if you build it they will come if you show it they will come if you show that portfolio show your style then you're going to start to see those senior clients come to you you can't really expect a book a lot if you're not showing it so that is really important so once you kind of shoot a lot and you figure out you know you figure out your style start to be consistent with the style and start to show that style through your portfolio so I got a couple of pictures my portfolio is you can see I like color hannah shout out the hand if she's watching on this this was a girl in vegas at aa senior ology shoot out way do one every year so so that was there and we did some a little more glamorous with her her outfit that what that shows to my actual clients is they can do something more blame er's that they want teo the majority of my portfolio is not full of of this kind of stuff but it's nice to show that it's an option on dh they do really think it's cool so that's nice sort of track them that way so what is your style like I say style is always evolving and none of us really know exactly what our style is when we first started out I mean like I said I was putting texture on stuff and like you know, doing all the things I thought was trendy thing to do and I was I really like this but I think I've got to do it right but no, you don't have to do it you have to do what's right for you and it may take you shooting a little while to figure it out you may change it over the years like I say I mean I started out thinking I had to do everything black and white and color I don't do that anymore and it's okay? Because I've evolved and figured out that you know what? I'm going to put out there what I want to put out there and people are going to come because of that so again your ideal client will be attracted to your style don't follow the trends bu that's super important look at your portfolio and what stands out to you things you've shot so far even if they're not seniors go back through some old work and say cash what's what's consistent here what is what's standing out to me? Color stood out so and I also used to get a lot of comments about look, I love your color so I started listening to people and said, ok, well people are commenting on this they're they're obviously liking it I like it I looked in my closet in my home it's full of color that's who I am so that's where that's what my photos ended up being is a reflection of me and all aspects of may you go into my closet there is no black there is on ly bright orange coral, turquoise yellow stuff, my house same thing there's grey that's only non color but then there's pops of shar truce and turquoise and coral and all these different colors so, you know, that kind of seeped into my photography and I looked back at my portfolio no matter what I was shooting and I kept seeing the same thing and I thought, okay, well, I got to go with this clearly I'm doing it said this is what I'm goingto make my style, so do that take the time to look back at your photos you learn a lot from looking at how you've grown over time and seeing how you you know what has stayed consistent what has changed and that becomes your style has anybody started out with one certain style and gone a different way? Can you tell me leah last year I I did a matte finished everything right trinity everything on and I took all of that off this year and just kind of went with more of a clean at it and I've gotten so much more feedback from it so obviously I was doing something right but it was also even though I was doing the matte finish last year I kind of would look at other photographers work and be attracted to the to clean at it right contract yeah and I like to clean it with color that lion although matte finished trying to pull it down yeah, absolutely photographers would only do that yeah, but that's their style yeah and it was a little trendy at the time of course he tried it and it's okay to try it and figure out exactly what time did you figured out it maybe wasn't for you and that's the key didn't keep trying to do something that wasn't used now that's also yeah that's a good example I could be back so good that change was good change with exactly have anything you changed do you like um actions a lot? Yeah and shopping now even used for the shop early slate room because I like very clean very clean yeah kind of I've found recently like I like light and airy just clean something all right that if you look at my house that's how are you teo and my cough it exactly I mean talking is a reflection of you your decor is a religion of yours fashion is a reflection of you and all of this stuff can be incorporated into your brand so that you can attract the client that is like a light mary fed you know or if you didn't keep matt maybe you had attracted by it they're like matt you know me I think matters little vintage e looking I think that kind of client would would be attracted to that kind of photographer would be attracted to that. So did you have anything anything from out there and then we do we do okay in the chat rooms michelle kersey photography says the most consistent thing for me is that my images always have to be clean. I love natural, clean and timeless images and that's what I've start to producing yes, what I love yeah on here's the thing you're seeing your photographer do you really want that senior to look back two years from now and be like cash that the unit of a night like I did with lasers I needed to bring that photo? Oh my gosh, my mama isn't it doing because you'll die a layer of huge bangs and the lasers and it's all going on? Okay, but yes, seriously though, you know, figuring out your style is the way to get don't do anything just for trends sake, because then you're going, you're not going to be consistent that way and you want your ideal client to relate to your brand, which should be consistent in cohesive, so so, yeah, that's great. Okay, so next is teo um, build your senior rand with your visuals. Okay, so now we're going to start to create your visuals things like your portfolio we've talked a little bit about, but your logo, your website, your packaging, your printed materials, your social media, everything that goes along with running a business, your personality online, you're the way you interact with people online, all of that should be assistant with who you are, who will who you're a deal client is and your brand okay, so when you're thinking about, you know, maybe maybe you want to rebrand or maybe you're, you know, doing your visuals and working with the graphic artists, maybe you start a pinterest board that talks about all these things that you love because your brand should be a reflection of who you are and therefore your visual materials should showcase that s so, like we said earlier, somebody wrote in and said, you know, I want them to have fun. I want it to be fun. Well, then her website should be fun. Her logo should be fun should catch the eye of somebody that wants to have a good time, right? Her the way she talks to people online should be fun. She should interact with them and have a good time maybe, you know, you see, some people sometimes have make negative comments just in their personal life. Well, guess what your seniors or you're potential clients might be on your personal facebook. They might be friends or friends of friends or whatever. So you want to always be thinking about your brand on dh. How you interact with people is a reflection of that. Your packaging, how you package up your products when you deliver them, how you even go about delivering them to you, shift them or do you personally deliver them? I deliver him. Guess what? Because that's part of my brain and I I want that personal connection so I will either deliver it or they will pick it up. But it's a personal thing, it's not a shipping thing, I want to see him. When they get those products, you know, domain and I want that packaging to be a visual reflection of my brand, which is bright and colorful, you know, with leslie kerrigan photography I used coral I used kind of a bluish turquoise color brandi killer all these things remind me of the beach was just my favorite place in the world so that's why I'm attracted to those colors and so therefore I used that in my brand because that's who I am and that immediately attracts the girl that is on and outgoing and I'm not using subdued colors that maybe attract more of them mood or whatever, you know, I mean, think about that it's a big process but in a graphic artist can help you with all of that. These are very important to make sure it's all consistent with who you are and who your ideal client is that those two steps you can't really create a brand on dh then again, social media you want to constantly be you on social media, you want a glimpse into who you are so people can start to relate to your brand, you don't always want to be posting photography stuff maybe you post something personal about you when I posed fashion stuff oh my seniors comment on it because they've kind of gotten a glimpse into who I am and that is marketing, but not over the top blatant marketing, you know, domain, like I'm just letting him know who I am and I am their friend and I want to talk to him and I want to talk about fashion. I want to do all this stuff, so my social media personality is me. I am who I am, period, there is no personal here. So when I talked on social media, when I common on somebody's photo, when I do this, that the other when I post things personal or business wise, it is always a reflection of me. It was always just me putting it out there. So that's part of your brand, so remember that, okay, so now we're going to go into tips or visual branding. First tip is to discover and define your style before you spend the money to pay a graphic artist just we've all been there. I'm quite certain there's a ton of stories out there where maybe you paid somebody thousands of dollars, and then you ended up with this logo in this brand that didn't really didn't really like, right? You've done it right? Maybe you're somebody that started out d a y in your logo and your visuals and stuff like that that's better than spending the money. And regretting it so a lot of times you really need to start into your photography business before you figure out who you are before you define your portfolio so that you can then at that point spend the money smart you know I'm a night you spend it when you know who you are when you know you're going to do seniors when you know your ideal client is when you know it's going to attract that ideal client that's when you need to spend the money on dh then find a graphic artist that can help you create that the visuals for your brain. So okay, so and like I said earlier created inspiration board tio on pinterest to talk about things you love because those are things that you can somehow incorporate into your branding and your visual aspect of your branding you know things that make you happy look in your closet look at your dick or in your home these are all things that are a reflection of who you are and your brand really should be who you are hire a professional it fits your style you don't want to hire that it branding guru just for the sake of the fact that they're popular made you want to go with somebody that fits your brand and can can understand you and can interpret that into these things like logo and colors and you know all that staff maybe your background or your patterns or your watermark or all of these things are aspects of branding you need a graphic artist that can do that but you need to make sure you know who you are before you spend the money because look I mean I did it too I started out with a d I y logo that I did myself so awful it was all so I have to say uh like this like I don't know like tile looking thing the one thing I will say though that's been consistent with all of my logos and visuals the color is all in the same family so that's good so I somewhat knew who I was clearly but then I went from the d I y one to the paid somebody I think six hundred dollars to make the logo andi I just was like oh my gosh about six hundred dollars crazy him out and then it was just like funt which is fine but I was expecting something more but I didn't miss you know I didn't you know clearly communicate that but it did keep that for a long time and it was really bright and colorful but it was when I was really more into kids and families so what attracted? So once I started figuring okay I'm really starting to build my business more towards seniors this kiddie looking cute c logo is not it's not going to track my ideal client it's not the visual thing that my ideal client will be attracted teo so that's when I knew I had to then rebrand and rebrand to attract that ideal client yeah, which is super interesting because sequins in the charente says I'm going to have to redesign everything since I started with family and child photography it definitely looks childish and I'm excited about revamping everything so people definitely are in the same scenario right now, which is your a great place to be right now in this class and again you have to figure that out before you just go make a logo or whatever so it's good that she's figuring that out and I kept my childhood's logo for a little while when I was shooting singer I didn't immediately get rid of it the minute I thought I wanted to shoot singers because I had to figure out okay, well, who do I want to be a senior photographer? I know I want to shoot seniors, but you know, I needed to build up some clientele and figure out who my ideal client wasn't my style of all this stuff before I actually took that childish logo and re branded it to meet the needs of the eighteen year old you know the name so leslie, do you have any tips for folks about that d I y and we have built land website because I'm part time photographer. I can't afford someone to do for me. What advice do you have for those on a budget? So are there any tools thatyou would? E I wasn't a budget to so I've been there, I understand it that's why I did that deal I logo at first there's so many great template out there that you can customize, which is a much cheaper way to g o, then completely custom website and that's what I did for a long time, I had a word put template, blah guy had a show it website and I just, you know, worked it to where it incorporated that childish logo that I had for a while is this it's ju it's, super cute it's like this circle and it's got bright red on the outside turquoise on the inside, and then it's got yellow and it just was more like primary colors, which to me says childish, but I kept it for a long time and you know, but the way you can get around custom is there are so many templates out there pro photo is awesome. They have a ton of different designs, some that actually come with or something. You pay a little bit extra and get more of a design there's tons of designers they have different designers it's not one designer with all these templates is a bunch of different ones so there's bound to be something that really fits with you if you're clean and simple get a clean and simple website or blogged block sight I like better now than the two separate so for a long time I had to separate it with a lot to keep up with so my suggestion is to try to get more of a block sight s so that it is one place wordpress is great on dh pro photo is great for that so I would suggest that and maybe she uses a d I y logo for a little while but uses maybe a template sight because that will give her a little bit more professionalism unless she's great it designing websites which I knew nothing about so I had to go with a template for a long, long time I had a template also with the with the logo it doesn't have to be like a logo right? It could just be a font that using for your name or what they call that a logo mark or yeah, what a martyr not a watermark but the margin of just the name just yeah simple, clean, simple that's a great way to go you don't have to have some like I say, I had that circle and I thought okay, I gotta have a thing but you don't have to have a thing but then again nothing could be your your thing jamie bain hate ginny, ginny bean photography eyes pink out photography is jeannie bean and the photographer she has now that's her thing. It's, almost a cz as emblematic as an apple for at for apple products. You know, nothing like that was her, you know, she was thinking, like, okay, I want to think so, but that's her that's, her personality that's her bringing. And but, like kenna said, you could simply just have your words if you're clean and simple kind of girl and you want clean lines and you want, you know, straightforward, no color kind of thing, just pick a fine that works best that in fonts are huge because there's so many, and they themselves kind of say who you are, you are, you are you curls kind of girl or you, you know, aerial, which is a straight, you know, straight letters or whatever that also is an aspect of who you are, and your graphic artists should really be able to if you're going that route, your graphic artists would be able to help you with matching bonnets and who you are and stuff like that. But if your d I wire think about that when you're looking at temple it's because it comes with a font and you need to make sure it's a font that you like I mean, are you a to mean typewriter type font fitz fitz more of a vintage feel you know, like a vintage typewriter and that's kind of housing urology started neurology was was not about me. So it's branding isn't necessarily my personal taste do you know so that's a whole another thing that I had to do it take myself out of it otherwise it would probably be bright and colorful and you know all this stuff but it was more about sharing knowledge for a bunch of people, so I needed it to be sort of more subdued, if you will on dh we started out more vintage because ology a study of makes you think I mean anthropology and all these things make you think of something sort of vintage. So we did start out with a very vintage look on dh then I kind of figured out that it really, really was not made like vintages very much not me I think is beautiful, but it is not me, so I then re branded to sort of come in between vintage and leslie kerrigan photography because it it is me behind the scenes I'm the girl behind the curtain so I guess I do need to show that somewhat even those senior ology is not all about me it's about sharing other photographers and stuff like that but I'm still the one doing it so I felt like I needed to now put my personality a little bit into it you know the name so yeah, but back to the to the question on the internet definitely look att some simple it's aight I know there are a ton out there I personally used pro photos that's why that one came to mind that I know promise stan german is an awesome graphic designer I mean, I truly want to be her when I grow up like me she's younger than me, but I kind of want to be here because she says thinking cool looking well and you want her hair right now they're having just just her visual also the whole package. Michael, you two hanging out I really want to hang out with her like secretly have a girl crush on her because I'm like, oh my god, we would be friends I think but she has great stuff and she's got great template so you know, and she's got a lot of different variety but it is a very distinct style, so go in with something like that and I'm sure there are many other ones that I don't even know about it do you have any that you want to mention real quick just from people typing in that are not mentioned somebody you don't have to go protect professor know know know yeah now people are sharing in the chat room and also people are saying you know, remember that that once you are able teo higher graphic designer they're pros at what they do it like we're pros on what we do with photography exact certainly once you're to the point way that point that I mean anything like I say when you're still in the early stages of photography and you're still shooting a little bit of everything and you're still trying to figure out who you are is a tarver in your style don't spend that money go with maybe a template because you don't want to look back and think oh my god thousands of dollars and this is not me and then you feel like you have to keep it because you spent the money so I would highly suggest you know figure in all of this out first and then yes hiring a professional bout homie and now I'm seeing some of these ones we've got wicks w y exes bp for you and ash designs smugmug we have graph paper, press ok have some great wordpress sites and themes squarespace okay and there's so much b yeah there's time for you you are never going to find something that fits your style with all that out there if you are somebody that still needs to go the temple around I think templates nowadays are great anyway I don't think you know I don't I don't think even if you do know your style that you can't still use a template that's maybe customized to your style you know like they're very professional looking they're great so there's no reason you have to completely go the custom around do what works for you on dh I just shout out to a couple of great graphic designers I know I mentioned promise but also my leslie carrigan photography was designed by salted inc and she's super awesome she's in north carolina eso shout out to her serra and then also see neurology was designed by get brazen ashley is there and she's great so just you know and there's tons of other ones but those were just who I used so anyway okay so let's get back to the tips for visual branding like it's a hire professional pitcher style limit the amount of finds you it can get confusing on be cluttered if you've got a ton of different fonts and things like that I remember when I was talking to sarah about my personal website I don't really like a lot of curls which is weird because of god this right, but in a fight I'm not I don't like all these leg curlicues, it's, cute it's, more keeps e and I wasn't going for the cute see person anymore. My ideal client wasn't that she's, you know, she's, still eighteen year old, seventeen year old girl, but she thinks she's, you know, modern and cool and older than she probably is. So you gotta, you know, use something like that currently thought maybe like a really curly find is maybe more for kids in my nine, you know, so think about fine, try not to use too many because you don't want to do look cluttered. You do want to still, no matter who you are, you do want it clean and easy to read and all of that stop on dh, then be consistent in cohesive again. Every aspect of your brand should all go together. You shouldn't be doing a logo that's vintage, but show on a bright, colorful photo in your portfolio. It all should be cohesive and consistent.

Class Description

High school seniors are energized, creative, and fun – and the best photographers know how to take portraits that capture that spark. Join Leslie Kerrigan for a guide to designing, marketing, shooting and sustaining a senior portrait business.

In this course, you’ll learn everything you need to know to create senior portrait sessions that aren’t just a photo shoot, but are memorable, once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Leslie will share her unique approach to creating a style closet, providing wardrobe consultations and keeping up with the of-the-moment social networking tools teens use. You’ll learn about connecting with seniors’ personalities, interests, and sense of style to ensure their portraits are every bit as unique as they are. You’ll hear from the teens, themselves as Leslie hosts a roundtable discussion with a group of teenagers who will talk honestly about what they want out of their senior portraits and how to reach them. You will also explore ways to leverage that personal connection into more sessions, sales, and referrals.

Don’t miss this opportunity to become the dynamic, must-have senior photographer for every teen in your area!


Lynn Powell Roberts

I learned a lot from this course. I watched all day when CL replayed Sal Cincotta's senior course and I wanted a second perspective, so I bought Leslie's course. I'm really glad I purchased Leslie's course because it was a great complement to Sal's course. Leslie covered different things like using a style closet that I especially found useful. She also did a beach shoot with a male and female model, which I found very useful and different from Sal's style. Leslie is so excited about "her girls" that she photographs - it's very engaging. I highly recommend this course.