I have gave knitting a go, once in my life. And by giving it a go, I mean I attempted it for about an hour and then gave up and never looked back. Watching Kate, owner of Oakleaf Goods, knit in peace and seem so content had me wanting to give it another shot. The way her hands moved with such ease was soothing to just watch.
Kate's Behind the Brand Session was exactly like her knitting. Filled with content and a complete breeze. We jived right off the bat and I loved getting to know her during her session. Her shoot was prefaced with planning, mood boards and the like. When we discussed her aesthetic, my mind started to go crazy with ideas. I should add that I had no idea she had rainbow hair until she showed up and I could not have been more thrilled.
If you are into knitting, I highly suggest checking out Oakleaf Goods. You won't be disappointed in her work or her patterns.
Check her out here: www.etsy.com/shop/OakleafGoods
I love photographing branding sessions so much, and think every professional can benefit from one. Included in your Behind the Brand Session, I try to incorporate a few simple headshots too. With each branding session comes questionnaires and lots of research on my end to give you the best possible experience.
I thought I would take a minute to go over a few tips that I have picked up over time to help with getting your headshot taken.
1. What am I supposed to wear?!
This is the most frequent question that is asked believe it or not. I first direct my clients to dress in solid colors and fewer patterns. Sometimes as awesome as the pattern looks, it can come off as too busy or noisy in your images. I direct my clients to incorporate their brand colors into their clothing choices. By doing this, you will tie in your brand to your session and keep everything cohesive.
During our planning stages, we will go over different options, take time to discuss your outfits and figure out how/where we will use these options during your session.
2. Check your hair/makeup right before your session starts.
Sometimes the hustle of getting to your shoot can leave your look a bit disheveled. Take a couple minutes to look in the mirror and fix those flyaways or smudged eyeliner before the camera starts snapping. I encourage my clients to bring a brush or hairspray to assist with flyaways or any other hair mishaps. If your budget allows, I have several recommendations for hair and makeup artists that I refer my clients to. These professionals know exactly how to make you look your best!
3. Should I wear my glasses?
Do you typically wear your glasses daily? Are they just for reading? If you wear your glasses daily to see, yes absolutely wear them; however, with that being said, if you only wear them to read or typically use contacts, I advise skipping the glasses. When your photograph is being taken, push your glasses up as close to your face as you can. Sometimes, they tend to slide down your face and can cut off your eyes in a photo. I should add to make sure they are squeaky clean. The camera picks up all kinds of minuscule details including dust or smudges on your lenses.
4. Empty your pockets.
It is pretty simple, if you are having full body shots, empty your pockets. Like I mentioned above, the camera picks up everything, including the shape of your phone if it is in your pocket. Put keys, phones, any other pocket contents to the side until after the session. Tied in with this is hair ties. I know so many people (myself included) that wears hair ties on their wrist. Those pesky little things are often forgotten about because they are so often on. So take those little guys off too!
Yep, that's it. Relax. I will guide you in posing, smiling, not smiling, where to look and more. I will be honest with you and work to photograph you at your best. I want you to walk away feeling like a million bucks!
Let's throw it back to the end of 2020. In my last post, I talked about how a lot of my weddings had been downsized or moved to this or next year. Alexi + Jacob's wedding was no different. Unfortunately their originally planned wedding had to be reduced in size due to the pandemic and state restrictions. But that did not take away from the beauty and love in their day. I have said it once, and I will say it again, the small weddings are so intimate and beautiful. I cannot even begin to express the amount of love that is in the room.
Watching couples relaxed, not rushing around and truly enjoying each other in that special moment is something that I thoroughly enjoy capturing. Jacob + Alexi had their closest family and friends with them. I have had the honor of photographing Alexi's senior photos, capturing their first baby's newborn photos, their engagement photos and now their wedding. Their ceremony was in the most beautiful venue, and Alexi's dress was to die for. My heart was so full for them watching their wedding. I cannot wait to see what their future holds.
Ok, every year I go down this road of "I am going to blog my sessions!" and every year I start out doing it. Then about 2 months down the road, I ghost everyone haha! Not really funny, but a little funny.
Anyways, last year was nuts as everyone is aware. Weddings were moved or downsized. Sessions were cancelled or rescheduled. Indoor sessions were put on halt. And unfortunately, a lot of that held true for the beginning of this year too. But as we all know, there is always light after the storm, and I saw a bit of it this past weekend.
I have not had an indoor studio session since last January. Between converting my home studio into a classroom for my kids, lockdown and the safety of my clients/family, there wasn't a chance for me to photograph indoors. That changed this weekend when I was able to rent a studio space from a friend and photograph a personal branding session for Maria. Was I nervous? Absolutely. I haven't shot in a studio in a year! But let me tell you, it was like riding a bike.
First, Maria was amazing. We talked a bit before her session about her brand colors, the direction she wanted to go in, the style she had in mind and more. Everything she envisioned spoke to my soul. If you haven't noticed I am drawn to neutral, light, clean, muted colors. It is just part of who I am. When she showed up, I was so excited to start photographing. We went all over the place to get the shot. Some places seeming unconventional, but photographing like a million bucks.
I truly don't think I could have jumped back into studio sessions any better than I did with Maria's session. Here are just a few of her personal branding session shots below.
Are you a business owner or professional? Have you ever considered a personal branding session? If not, you should! Your clientele/customers want to relate to you! They want to see who is behind the brand or business. Personal branding is personal. For many entrepreneurs + professionals, your brand is you and that should be portrayed on your website, social platform, and branding material. If you provide a service or product, these sessions are for you!
If you haven't noticed Branding Sessions are quickly becoming a favorite around here. This past weekend I was lucky enough to work with the cutest and most happy person ever, Bella. Bella currently works as an Esthetician. She is a ridiculously hard worker and you can find her at LifeTime Fitness in Rochester Hills and Gowdas Plastic Surgery in Troy working her magic on all of her clients.
When I sat down and talked with Bella, it was clear that she truly loves what she does. She has a true passion for self care and it is completely expressed through her profession. I wanted our session to emulate what she loves about her profession. We talked about possible set ups, colors and what drives her the most - Family, Self Care + a Happy Lifestyle. When session time came, I had decided on a spa-esque set up as well as our standard simple head shot set up. Bella brought in a faux client to perform a face mask on and we got to work. We photographed for approximately 1.5 hours and after all was said and done, Bella was delivered over 100 images to choose from.
You read that right. 100+ IMAGES IN JUST 1.5 HOURS! BTB sessions are meant to provide clients with a large variety of content to make posting to social media accounts easier. Social media is so important for branding yourself or a business. And as most of you know it isn't an easy task to stay on top of posts and stories to keep your audience engaged. BTB clients have the option to choose packages based on monthly postings. Each package differs in the amount of time we spend together.
Do you know how many images we could capture in 4 hours? 8 hours? You're right! Enough images to last you months of posting! This is one business expense that will make your life easier and bring you a more clientele by captivating them with your incredible images.
Clothing: Hudson Jeans, Forever 21, H&M, Zara
Products: Vivier, Phytomer, Trish McEvoy Beauty
Sometimes I come across the some quality little shops. My most recent shop I have photographed for is HMarr Designs. HMarr Designs is owned by Heidi Marr, based in Elkhorn, Nebraska. Her shop is full of amazing custom apparel. We started talking and I had mentioned my son was having a dinosaur themed birthday party. She didn't waste any time customizing dinosaur t-shirts for my little loves as well as myself! They are such amazing quality. The fabric is soft, the printing is clean and clear, and the fit is wonderful.
So why am I telling you this? Well, for one, everyone should visit Heidi's shop or follow her on IG at @hmarrdesigns. Secondly, branding sessions don't have to be based around a person. Branding photos can be about your products. Do you own a shop or a business where you produce physical products? If you do, are you showcasing your products in the best possible way?
If you aren't, I would encourage you to seriously consider outsourcing your product photography. Having high quality, authentic images truly brings your products to life. Let me help you bring your website and marketing materials to life! And if you are a clothing boutique, don't worry I have models on hand that I can bring in to assist with making your product look the best that it can.
Want to see some examples of what your product shot could look like? Below I have added some shots themed around the dinosaur shirts I received.
Heide Marr's Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/hmarrdesigns
Goodie Bags: Target, Walmart, Hobby Lobby
I will say this 1000x over, when another photographer trusts you to take their photos, it is truly an honor. I have known Dina for quite some time now. We met a few years back through a local photographer Facebook group (that I will be forever thankful for). This group has brought me friends, clients and loads of inspiration. I love how we truly embrace community over competition in such a saturated photographer market.
Dina is such an incredible example of community over competition. She is one of the most driven photographers I know, and her business shows that. She truly loves to help and watch other businesses grow, including mine. She has given me more inspiration, advice and motivation than I can even begin to explain. I am thankful that her career path crossed mine.
Dina has photographed families and weddings over the years, but I can tell you without a doubt her speciality is high school seniors. She excels in this photography niche and every senior she photographs is an indication she is truly talented at what she does. When Dina contacted me, she was looking for some headshots. We talked about things that she wanted her clientele to know about her and what she thought defined a bit of who she was. We discussed her brand colors and items we thought would fit her branding story we were going to tell.
When the day arrived, I think we were both overly excited to do this session. We drank coffee, made sure to capture all the details and even talked a little bit of shop. Her Behind the Brand session went so smoothly and I was ridiculously excited about all the images I had captured. To say I was on a high the rest of the day is an understatement. With that being said, I present to you Dina's Behind the Brand Session!
Hair + Makeup Stylist: Stephanie Tocco - Salon Bliss (IG: @stephanietocco_)
Hair Coloring: Lisa Bollinger - Salon Bliss (IG: @lisambollinger)
Let me tell you something about this little lady. She is one of the most kind people I have ever encountered in my life. It truly is a blessing to have her as a sister in law. She has been nothing short of supportive and I am forever thankful for her. A couple weeks ago, after talking about sessions and what we wanted to do in the future, she asked if I would take a few "quick" headshots of her. With out any hesitation, I said yes!
There was no doubt that the session would take place in her home studio. However, I wanted to expand outside of her studio and into her actual living space. I wanted a few more relaxed images and a few with her most favorite little human, her son. Each Behind the Brand Session revolves around the client and their profession. Whether it takes place in your space, my space, somewhere else or all three, I work to create an image that represents you and your business.
If you haven't seen Suzy's work, you are really missing out. Her style is bright and airy. It is natural and absolutely breathtaking. Her vision to pursue birth photography has me overly excited for her. She is a natural when it comes to capturing real life emotion and truly an artist. I couldn't imagine this industry without her.
Five years ago, I started this little company that turned into my full time job. You know it as Little Anchor Photo. Over the past five years, so much has changed and my company has evolved.
At the time Little Anchor Photo was created, I was just starting out on an adventure that I had no idea would become what it is today. I was a new mom, working a full time 9-5 job in payroll. I started Little Anchor as a way to let my creative mind run free.
I started out mainly photographing families and at the time, felt that the business name Little Anchor Photo represented exactly what I wanted to be. As the years went on, my client base continued to change. I found myself photographing more and more weddings as well as personal branding sessions. Little Anchor didn’t seem to fit the track my business was on.
There is so much to consider when rebranding, but I am thrilled that I finally decided to build a business around my name, Serena Gojcaj Photography. This change wasn’t an easy decision. I truly love Little Anchor, and will be forever grateful for the amazing start it gave me in this industry. But using my name as my business allows me to reach clients on a more personal level. I truly believe it attracts the clientele that my business has grown to service. It holds the longevity I want my company to have. I mean what holds more longevity than my name?
Lastly, the main reason I decided to make this change is because I love my name! It’s different and hopefully one you won’t forget! And if you’re wondering how the heck you are going to remember how to spell my last name, well sing it like the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse song. G-O-J-C-A-J…that’s how you spell GOJCAJ! Haha! That was definitely corny, but I am ok with that.
PORTRAITS, WEDDINGS, PERSONAL BRANDING
February has began and that means that this months BTB sessions are officially under way. Remember how I told you that BTB Sessions were for every professional? Well, Gina is proof of that. Gina graduated with a BBA with a focus in Marketing, so she understands that branding and marketing a business as well as ones self is very important.
As a young professional starting her career, it is important that she has professional photos of herself for her business profiles, work head shot, business cards and more. Gina’s session was perfect in every way and completely reflected her lifestyle. Simple, crisp, clean. Three essential words that describe how this session went.
I asked Gina what are three things that describe you or that you want people to know. She immediately answered with: a healthy lifestyle, family and anything that brings happiness. I love that she was so genuine in her answer. I tried to incorporate little bits and pieces of these things into her session; whether it was a piece of fruit, an inspirational book or a photo of her family on the computer.
Branding photos and head shots are essential to get you or your business noticed. If you can do anything to improve you or your brand, it should be professional brand portraits.