Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Personal Branding Part II — Will it Blend?


So anyway, where were we? Oh yes, we were talking about Personal Branding.

I’ve been thinking for some time now. Percolating, you know? It’s Christmas Eve and I finally have some time off to write down my thoughts. Thinking about 2015 and all it will bring, and where I am going with my photography business. This blog is a little place for me to write and think out loud. To wax poetic or philosophical, or talk about whatever, psychology, gardening, photography. Or, you know, cats. 

I don’t do well with limitations. Well, that’s not exactly true, I actually like structures in which to create. I think it enhances the creative process to have a few rules here and there. Like in poetry and verse, or harmonious music. And then it’s super fun to smash the rules up now and then. Like, say, Shoenberg. Mash and smash and mix everything up and turn it on its head. Put it into the creative Nutribullet making something completely original out of the sum of broken pieces.

“They won’t take you seriously.” The life coach said to me when I explained I am trying to build my boudoir photography business while simultaneously pursuing my commercial photography business. 

These two genres of photography are apparently not two worlds that coexist well together. I’ve heard it from two different mentors of mine now. 

Can it be that this has supercharged me to try prove them wrong? 

To be honest, typical body-objectifying boudoir photography bores me. 

I mean, sure, I can put you in extremely uncomfortable yet provocative and sexy poses, light and shoot you like a high fashion model and photoshop the living hell out of you. We’d come up with awesome sauce, magazine-worthy images that will make people’s tongues wag. While I admire looking at work like that, and I even enjoy doing that kind of photography, I find it…I don’t know…just kind of, well, shallow?

Yeah. I know you agree. 

And then there’s the fact that I feel like a shyster trying to convince people to part with their money in order to do it. Rattling off the big boudoir cliché sales pitch about how the experience will transform you.

Come on people, this is photography, not enlightenment (or plastic surgery). We all know this.

And while some people become addicted to stripping for the camera,  you might find that you actually hate it, and then you’d be really mad at me for my sales pitch, wouldn’t you?

In order to make it more interesting for myself, I have a different approach. Typically, a boudoir session is associated with photographing women’s body parts. But I am about relationship. Interaction between me and my subjects is what I love the most about photographing people. I coax out your personality by listening and being engaged, and I photograph you.

My experience is that many women who are not models get incredibly bashful when in the vulnerable position of being half naked in front of the lens. They often get shy and try to hide.

I will find a way to see you, the Victorious, the Valiant.  There is usually a whole lot of laughter involved. 

Because I’m a story teller, in front of my lens, you, are the story being told. 

Here comes the is the mashup part. 

Truth. It’s easier to sell photography to professionals than it is to consumers. Photography that tells your story, what you do, how you work, what you work on, what you love, is necessary. Professional and documentary lifestyle photography, specially cropped to fit your social media banners and other online and print needs — it’s vital to your business.

Here’s how I would pitch it:

I tell visual stories that you will use to promote yourself and your business anywhere dynamic imagery that tells your story is needed. High impact head shot portraits included! (That guy on the right, he's a life coach and a super duper nice guy. I tried to capture his intelligent niceness, did I succeed?) 

don’t need to convince or strong-arm anyone to do this kind of thing because the need for this is a no-brainer. Everyone selling anything needs this. Am I right or am I right? 

Add to the images an in depth interview and a feature on my blog that you can link to and point editors to. Oh, I almost forgot, if you need one I can make you a photo rich sleek and modern website design. Yeah, I do that too. 

You hire me for the day or for parts of a day. I coax you forth and tell your story in images and words — whether in lingerie, covered in clay, or working the crowd in a three piece suit. 

This professional lifestyle and personal branding genre actually has a marketable value that can be fully written-off as a business expense.

Sold?

So what is my personal brand? The overall umbrella that encompasses all I do, and allows me to be who I really am.

I am the revealer. I am here to expose you. Mwuhahahahaha!

How that will be done and how much will be revealed? That is up to you.

So this mashup — to me it sounds good in theory, but, will it blend?

Catherine Vibert
Photographer.
Storyteller.


Thank you for indulging my self indulgent ramblings in which I try to figure out who I am. My storytelling blog in which I will focus on others is going live in a few days and when it does I will link to it here. Merry Christmas!! I hope you and yours are having a wonderful holiday season!
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