#iHeartFaces Conference | Signature Style

This post is part of a series of posts I will write as I reflect on the iHeartFaces Photography Conference for women which I attended the first weekend of October, 2013.  To see the all posts, click here.

During the fifth session on Saturday, Amandalynn Jones went over signature styling with some of us.

This session sort of stemmed from some things I’d been hearing about branding and that the way we process and present our images is part of our brand.  While I arrived late to this session, I did get a ton out of this and have, therefore started moving toward developing a focused portfolio, image styling, and, well, anything at all.

First of all, Amandalynn focused on a few items which are essential for creating a brand:

We must be consistent over time. Our clients want to know what they are hiring and should know, in general, what sort of images to expect.  Amandalynn told a story about how one of her commercial clients told her that, when they hire her, she shows up.  Not just that she arrives on location, but she is always the same person, delivering images that they love.   This story stuck with me and I hope to begin creating consistent images for my clients, especially as I have more experience and develop more as a photographer.

We must create a recognizable brand.  Amandalynn tied in our consistency as further developing our brand.  Our images are part of our brand, especially since we are in the visual arts sector.  Clients will tie our art to our brand name.  For me, this means further embracing the bright and happy images I try to attain in camera and in post-processing.

We should be sure to unify our portfolio.  As I review my portfolio, I may notice a few pictures that don’t jive with the rest.  If I do, I shouldn’t put them out there as examples of my work. This doesn’t mean that I cannot put just one black and white picture in with the bright and colorful one; it just means that my b&w images should match the theme/mood of the other images in the collection.

We should also be sure to avoid trends and stand out.  It can be easy to drift into current trends in photography, especially if we buy presets, actions, and popular textures.  However, if we are different, we stand out.  And I really want my work to be timeless and adoring.  I saw some presets that I could purchase that mimicked Instagram photos.  I thought about jumping on that, but then I realized that this is a fad–a trend.  I don’t want to blend in with a trend.  I want to be set apart and different.

After reviewing this information, Amandalynn ran us through a couple reflective exercises.

First, she asked us to think about our images–our favorite images, the images that catch our attention, the purpose we have when creating images, and the vision for the photos.

Then she showed us the difference between a picture about a cupcake and an image of a cupcake.  I don’t have the two images, but the image of a cupcake was just a cupcake, at the same level as the cupcake.  The image about a cupcake had strawberries slightly blurred in the background, some milk in a bottle next to the cupcake, and a cupcake from a 50 degree angle or so.

Then, she spoke about pre-visioning and collaborating.

Pre-visioning, she said, involved making storyboards.  She showed us an example of a storyboard she might make for her clients.  She–and I love this– made fun of her own drawing and revealed that, even though she had a degree with a focus in drawing, she still felt she was awful at it.  So, in essence, drawing a storyboard helps her to vision what she will do with the clients.

Then, she spoke about collaborating with her clients.  She showed us an email she sent a client where she said she pictured the client’s two daughters dancing in the field where she had been recently.  Since she shared this information with her client, the two daughters had been practicing dancing and she was able to get super-cute and authentic pictures of them in action.

For homework, Amandalynn told us to choose 3 to 6 adjectives (ENGLISH WORD!!) for the images we want to shoot.  She suggests we put these in a place where we can review them before every shoot.

So, Amandalynn, I have completed your homework assignment:

  1. Happy
  2. Bright
  3. Joyful
  4. Sentimental
  5. Authentic
  6. Fun

What about you? How would you describe your images or the images you’d love to have donning your walls?

Thanks, Amandalynn, for sharing your insight!

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Brothers | Owen and Quinton

A while back, I got to hang with Owen and Quinton.

I’m not sure if you know this, but little boys have a ton of energy.

Most of the time, we did this:

Anyway, friends, meet Owen:

This is when he finally tagged me.  No worries, I totally won the game.

And, friends, meet Quinton:

He has apparently just gotten into running.  And he runts purposefully and constantly.

He ran. Just like that.  Pretty much the whole time.

But he did pause a few times.

What a cute little man!

And then Owen climbed a tree and pretended he was Spiderman:

He’s been around the photography block a time or two, so we hung out for a bit while mommy got her afternoon workout with Quinny.

Crystal, you have darling little boys! Thanks for letting me hang with the three of you to capture some fun!

Your new friend,
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Kaylee |Class of 2014

A few weeks ago, I hung out with Kaylee and her mom to celebrate her seniorhood!

Friends, I am pleased to introduce to you, Kaylee:

Kaylee is planning to go to the University of Kentucky for nursing next fall.  Her parents are graduates of UK and her dad played football for the school while attending.  So, overall, these two are fans of God’s country, aka, Kentucky.  I felt right at home with these two.

We hung out in Lithopolis, Ohio, at the Wagnalls Library and Memorial for a few outfits before spending our favorite time around town.

Then, we meandered around, well, um, town.  Yeah, town.  We meandered around it.  We found some perfectly rustic locations.

Kaylee, I love your shoes.  And, in general, your taste in clothes.

No, really, can I borrow that scarf? And, by “borrow,” I totally mean that I intend to keep it.

You are stunning, young lady!

Kaylee, best wishes to you this year and in school! I loved hanging with you and your mom (shout-out to Missy!) and I am truly blessed to have met your family in general.

God bless, you classy lady!

Love forever,
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#iHeartFaces Conference: Posing Couples

This post is part of a series of posts I will write as I reflect on the iHeartFaces Photography Conference for women which I attended the first weekend of October, 2013.  To see the all posts, click here.

Jean Smith taught a session on how to pose couples.  For this session, we had to RSVP, so space was limited, but what we learned was so valuable and I’ve already used it in an engagement session.

First, she gave us her five-step quick-shooting couple formula–ya’ know, for those wedding days when you just don’t have a ton of time.  She said that she gets a ton of pictures using this formula, then uses any other free time to get more creative, artistic shots.  I wish I’d known this at a wedding I shot last summer, when I really did have about ten minutes.

I didn’t take notes during this session since most of it was hands-on, but she spent the first ten to twenty minutes talking about her strategy and gear.  I’ll focus on her strategies for the purpose of this post.

For each of the poses below, Jean shoots from far away, half-way between far away and close up, then close up.  She said we can do that with our lenses or with our bodies.

  1. Bride and groom facing each other
  2. Bride and Groom facing the same way with the bride in front
  3. Bride and Groom facing the same way with the groom in front
  4. Bride and Groom facing away from each other
  5. Bride and Groom side-by-side

Then, she demonstrated with some live clients and we got a few shots in.  Here are mine:

Then, Jean demonstrated what she’d do if she had more time to get pictures of the bride and groom; she showed us some posing and shooting angles.

Seriously, Jean! Thanks for your invaluable insight.  You were so helpful and I’m glad you drove in overnight to show us your tips!

Forever grateful,
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